Writing isn’t just writing anymore. Content creators like us here at clovio have to be aware of so much more than just putting pleasing words into an acceptable order; these days we have to be aware of keywords and SEO, proper page breaks or structure, and everything in between. It’s challenging, frankly.
But while good quality writing is integral, it’s worth squat if the reader immediately clicks away just because of how information is presented. So if you want to excel at content creation, you’ve got to be acutely aware of certain rules and expectations…
A reader is won or lost almost immediately. How a web page looks is perhaps the most decisive aspect since too much clutter or text will only be off-putting and likely cause a would-be reader to click away immediately.
Overly long paragraphs, long reams of text without subheaders, or even too-wide a page width all contribute to the general look of a page. Ensuring there is a sensible structure to every article that follows such guidelines should be the first thing to do.
We go one step further with structure, though, by ensuring our different types of articles are all consistent across clovio’s various brands and the markets that we’re involved in. Our reviews, for example, each have matching critical criteria with their own headers, while our FAQs are purposefully kept short and punchy.
This means that any reader travelling around our sites will feel comfortable wherever they land and will know how and where to look for the information that they need.
Every copywriter would love to finitely control the reader’s experience from the moment they land on the page until the time they close the tab down, but that’s just not possible.
Formatting is imperative for this one reason. Knowing that some readers will try to skip to the info they’re looking for changes the way you think about content, and that’s why bolding important phrases – which coincidentally subtly nudges its SEO value up – or condensing long text into bullet points or numbered lists makes it simpler for those looking for specific details to find what they’re after.
The smartest way of guiding a reader through an article is clever use of subheaders, which should be as descriptive as they are eye-catching. This means they need to be big, bold, and a clear font so that those pesky readers scrolling through aimlessly without care for your carefully constructed layout will know when to stop to read what they’re interested in.
But take care to consider the styling of these subheaders. Mixing in numerous styles of headers can be confusing to the reader, so keeping it simple with only two or three header styles is the best route to take.
It’s easy to spot content that has been written exclusively for SEO and web practices. We’re a little different; of course we want to get readers travelling across our sites but if that is at the expense of the quality of the text itself, then we most certainly won’t bother.
Links are most effective – as in readers are more likely to click through – when it’s clear what the content on the other side of the link will be, it offers extra value that the reader will need, is smoothly implemented into the copy, and the linked text isn’t too long.
This is an area where some companies will differ from others since the ‘style’ of any media platform has to be decided on by someone at some point, and often that’s down to personal preference.
However, where style guides can really help is in laying down the law for content usability, in denoting the rules that editors and writers must follow to ensure consistent, reliable functionality to an article. Your writers might not all agree with the regulations put in place, but at least if they’re followed you can be sure that every article will maintain a good level of usability.
Then there are the metrics. While this isn’t exactly the most entertaining area of content creation, understanding what works and what doesn’t by tracking bounce rate, time spent on page, number of pages viewed, and the overall visitor path through the website all helps to learn about how readers consume the content on your site.
In our case, knowing how readers enjoy one of the categories we’re active in helps us to make more general adjustments to how each of our websites are designed and formatted, ultimately making all our content easier to find, read, and appreciate.