In part one of this series about writing great copy for your site, we looked at how to best get people's attention and draw them in using different kinds of titles. In part two we will look at how to make the article itself interesting enough to both draw readers in and then keep them there.
The most obvious point to make is that the article needs to be compelling and of a high quality. Ask yourself if it will engage your readership, make them want to read it to the end and then leave a comment at the end of it. Will it provoke a debate? Will people want to share it via their social networks?
But of course the next question is how do I write such an article? The following tips will help with that, enabling you to focus your content writing into something people want to read:
1. Hone Your Content To A Specific Niche
If you want to stand out from the crowd don't settle for another 'Top Five Free iPad Apps' article; there are millions of them out there already.
Narrow the focus of your article down to something specific to your niche and then narrow it again. Whether your blog is about politics, potatoes, plants or pets you can be sure that if you write specific content about a specific subject you will attract readers who are looking for that exact content and who will be passionate about reading it and commenting on it.
2. Write Content That Will Start Arguments
Or at the very least discussions!
The point is that if you write content that provokes people, either because they love it or because they hate it, then they will want to get involved with it and will come back for more.
How many liberals do you know who watch Fox News just to get annoyed? There's a reason their ratings are so high and it isn't the fact that they are 'Fair and Balanced!'
Every article you write is a chance to get the reader involved and committed to your site. If they leave a comment, don't leave them hanging; respond to them as soon as you can. And don't forget to welcome them to the site and thank them for commenting.
3. Develop Your Own Voice
As you write more and more you will start to develop a certain distinctive style to your writing.
It could be that you are very funny, very snarky, plain old angry or even optimistic.
Don't be afraid to show the readers a bit of who you are. And even if you are trying to write fairly about a subject, perhaps for a review, it doesn't hurt to tell related anecdotes of a personal nature as part of your posts.
4. Never Post Something You Wouldn't Want To Read
This is an essential rule to live by when writing for the web.
If you don't think you would want to read the article, why would anyone else? Another way of looking at it is to work out whether you would read it if you turned the page of a magazine and it was sitting there. For some reason people think they can get away with rubbish content on the web that they would never think of putting into print.
Respect the intelligence of your audience. Or rather try to appeal to a more intelligent audience.
5. Do Your Research
If you're quoting facts and figures, check them and then check them again. If you've got them from another article, find the original source they are quoting from don't rely on anyone else. This is your article, your site and your name at the top.
Build a reputation for thoroughness and integrity. Get your facts wrong and the moment someone comes along and points out your mistake, you will lose a good few readers.
Also, if you are commenting on breaking news, make sure it has been mentioned in at least one or two of the main media outlets, rather than just from the blog of some guy in a tin foil hat.
6. Post Regularly
Aim for at least one post a week, or if possible bi-weekly. It's important that people know there will be something new and interesting waiting at your site if they check in regularly. You've got some readers now – don't let them down.