Some of the best memories are created at school.
When I think back to the good old days of high school education, I often wonder why I ever moaned – I’m sure this is the case for most of you.
I mean, I had it good.
I’d wake up, talk to my friends for six and a half hours, then go home.
Obviously this wasn’t an ideal situation for teachers – turns out they aren’t too keen on people engaging in social discussions whilst others are trying to learn – and as a result we had our fair share of run-ins over the years.
I’ll always remember this one time when I thought it would be a hilarious idea to poor PVA glue all over someone’s chair before they sat down.
They wouldn’t realise, it would dry rock solid, and they’d be stuck to the chair all day. A completely foolproof plan, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Except it didn’t really work like that.
The person in question sat down, instantly knew what had happened, stood back up again and blamed it all on me.
I protested my innocence, but to no avail.
Detention was like a second home to me anyway, so it wasn’t the worst of outcomes.
Admittedly, I was 12, and I’ve never had the most common sense in the world. Obviously I should have used something stronger.
I’ve since moved on from childish pranks and onto more sophisticated things.
Nowadays, forget the chairs and forget PVA, I spend my time figuring out how I can metaphorically glue your eyes to my latest posts.
So far, so good. I haven’t been caught for it (yet).
I’d like to think I’ve got a pretty good hit rate with my eyes-to-screen stickiness strategy too:
This is how long users have spent reading my posts, on average, in April 2015.
I was surprised to see it myself – well over 5 minutes!
To get this figure, I simply excluded all ‘pages’ from my site within Analytics – leaving me with my posts.
You’ll notice my overall site average is exactly 4 minutes; a figure I’m still chuffed to bits with.
So, how am I doing this?
If I’m not blatantly just reaching over and pouring glue onto your chair – I imagine I’d have to have fairly large arms to be able to do that as you crazy bunch are reading this from all over the world – how am I making you stick?
How to Create Magnetic Content
As you can imagine, for a kid that spent more time outside of the classrom than in it as a schoolkid, I never thought I’d be the guy preaching about writing compelling copy or using the English language in the most effective way.
Well, here I am regardless.
On my last post 11 Things All Bloggers Need to Get Their Heads Around I was intrigued (and delighted) to see people saying things like*:
*WARNING: Complimentary comments go straight to my ego, and may make their way into future blog posts as a way of bragging.
It dawned on me:
If I can, then anyone can.
The truth is – whilst I’ve started bathing in compliments and it’s had colleagues questioning my personal hygiene – I’m not a great writer.
It’s all about making the most of the knowledge you’ve got, and combining it with techniques that work.
Magnetic copy is a topic that’s been discussed a lot online, and I never want to be the one churning out the same old shit that you can read anywhere else.
So, as always, expect a no-nonsense approach to this subject, with my own unique tips and suggestions for bossing the online world.
Flip Your Posts From Back-to-Front
Something I do with my posts on a regular basis is that I like to show off my results before I get into the nitty-gritty of how to do something.
This started when I developed the Comment Collection technique as I knew I had to hook inquisitive readers right from the start, after making some bold claims about the approach online:
Well, I came to realise that it WORKED. It worked really well.
There’s logic in it too – if people are landing on your post to learn something new, they’re gonna need proof that it works.
I don’t like to claim I’m an expert – too many people are doing that these days – however, I do like to think I know a thing or two about SEO and the online world.
I’m not naive, I know the majority of people that land on Intergeek:
– Have never heard of me
– Have never heard of Intergeek
– Think I look like an uberdouche in my picture
The proof is in the pudding, and if I can serve up dessert upfront so that new visitors are instantly won over then I’m going to do that.
Had you noticed that I already utilised this same technique in this post by including the aforementioned Avg. Time on Page statistics and ego-fuelling comments?
The Break-Up Text (Structure)
Don’t worry, there’s no heartbreak here.
You’ll notice that I – and the majority of other, much more successful bloggers – like to break up paragraphs into sharp, snappy sentences.
This is something that took me a while to get used to, I’d always thought it looked a bit silly; but also saw people preaching about the success it can bring.
After sticking with it (and seeing the results) I’ve learned how awesome this approach is.
Whenever I land on a site that has huge paragraphs of text now, I lose a stone through vomiting, and then have to spend the rest of my night consuming crisps, sweets and ice cream to put it all back on. It’s a nightmare.
Break up your paragraphs and you’ll keep the majority of your readers on your page for longer.
Are you really writing these posts for readers to leave after the first few lines?
Personality (& Knowing Your Audience)
If you’re a lawyer and writing a legal blog, I wouldn’t go throwing insults and controversial comments around like no tomorrow.
However, if you’re a social media blogger, there isn’t too much wrong in voicing a strong opinion and watching the internet react.
It’s all about knowing your audience.
Right from the start of launching Intergeek, I knew exactly who my target audience would be:
I wanted my readers to be passionate about blogging and online success, whilst also being able to have a joke and some fun.
Fortunately, I got both of these things and MORE in the awesome people that frequent this site. [/brownnose]
Showing your personality – where appropriate – can play a key role in keeping visitors interested whilst on your site:
Sure, some people aren’t going to like it, but if you aim to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no-one.
Tell A Story
Something I greatly admired in Kevin Duncan (and subsequently went on to steal) was his ability to tell a story.
Not only does Kevin start his posts with an amusing tale, but he manages to make the post tie into his introduction, despite usually being a tutorial of some sort.
This is exactly how I like to write my posts:
I tell a story, sometimes, that will (hopefully) lighten the mood.
After this, I get down and dirty into the dos and don’ts of improving web success.
This could be an incredibly boring topic, but with the ability to keep it lighthearted, enjoyable and fun (with the aid of a story) we can keep a reader invigorated and eager to learn like never before.
Pushed recently by Brian Dean, the term ‘Bucket Brigades‘ refers to old school copywriting techniques that keep people engaged for longer:
Originally used in old sales copy, Bucket Brigades are proven to keep people engaged and interested for a longer period of time, with a reader always wondering “what’s next?”
It doesn’t always have to follow the ‘Statement:’ format, it can also be a question such as “want to know the best part?”
I commonly use questions on a line of their own, and you’ll often find your reader screaming “YESSSSSSS!” at the top of their voice when you do.
For the most part, though, they’ll just carry on reading quietly.
Just like with the Bucket Brigades, it’s great to ask rhetorical questions throughout your post as you go.
When you do, it makes a reader feel more engaged, doesn’t it?
Okay, that wasn’t the best time to throw in an example as it’s staring you right in the face – and now you know the trick you’ll probably pick up on it more often than not.
However, this thing really does work.
You should make use of anything that is going to keep your reader more engaged – because an engaged reader is a happy one, most of the time at least.
Happy, engaged visitors are the ones most likely to comment on and share your article.
The more people you can swoon with your copywriting skillage, the more traction your post is going to pick up on social media.
Be Direct & Succinct
Don’t beat around the bush when you write – just tell it as it is.
You don’t get anything for word count alone, so there’s no need to add masses of extra detail if it doesn’t add any value to a post.
Make your points, make them well and offer your reader as much information as is beneficial.
A really important thing is to make sure your post flows.
You don’t want to be jumping from one thing to another, then back to the first thing, then to China, then onto a new thing, then to a darts game, then back to China and finally finishing with the first thing again.
Because, probably like you are now, your reader will be left thinking one of two things:
– “What the fuck is going on here?”
– “What are they on?”
I’ll tell you what I’m on. Strawberry yoghurt. It’s absolutely delicious.
Anyway, AS I WAS SAYING, make sure you’re fluid – things should follow on nicely from each other and be presented in an order that makes the most sense to a reader from start to finish.
Otherwise, your reader will be left wondering why you’ve just mentioned yoghurt.
When you’re writing posts that are upwards of 1,000 words in length – which most, if not all, of yours will be – you can go off track from time-to-time.
After completing a post, always leave it for a little while before returning to edit; you’ll spot so many improvement ideas if you give your eyes a break.
Engagement is so important; making sure people are happy with your content will be something that Google increasingly looks at as it tightens its search algorithms.
Increase the number of people that return to your site and you’ll increase the number of new visitors also.
Implement these clever copywriting hacks to boost your Avg. Time on Page figures and show that readers are truly delighted with your content.
How do your figures look at the moment, is there room for improvement on your blog?
Now that we’re done here, you might want to use this tactic to identify where you’re losing visitors.