“The other thing that comes to mind about compelling content is that….. it leaves me thirsting for more. There’s something about compelling content that drives me to subscribe, join or bookmark because I’ve had a taste of something I’d like a second helping of.”
This comment was left by Grant* on my recent post asking readers to tell me what compelling content is to them. I think it sums up pretty well what I want to write about today in the continuation of this series on the topic of compelling content…. creating momentum with your content.
As Grant points out above – one of the most common reactions to someone reading something compelling is that they want more of it.
I know this reaction for myself.
- When I read a book from a new author that I enjoy I immediately look for more information on the author to see what else they’ve written.
- When I read a column in a newspaper or magazine (yes I still read them) by someone that I find insightful I make a mental note to look out for what they have to say next week.
- When I find see someone tweet something that grabs my attention or makes me think – I check out their other tweets and usually follow them.
- When I watch a TV show that entertains me, makes me laugh or gives me something to think about – I tell my wife to remind me to watch it next week (I need a Tivo)
- When I read a blog post that informs me, teaches me or stretches my mind – I look at other recent posts and will generally I subscribe to the blog.
I do these things because when something is compelling it gives me a thirst for more. Anticipation kicks in, momentum has been built without the person really needing to ask me to become a loyal consumer of their content (although a call to action and suggested next step can be helpful).
Take Home Lessons:
1. On one level the content itself and how good it is creates momentum whether the author of it tries to build momentum or not.
2. Having said that – there are also ways to help to build momentum and anticipation in your blogging even more than just writing good content.
Other savvy media producers do this – that’s why publishers add pictures of the covers of other books by an author to back covers of books, it’s why magazines often dedicate a page to highlighting what’s coming in upcoming issues, it’s why newspapers run ads for features coming in tomorrows paper and why on TV they show snippets of next week’s show at the end of this weeks one.
As a blogger I’ve found that similar techniques can definitely work in creating anticipation in readers.
9 Ways to Build Anticipation on Your Blog
I’ve written about this previously in How to Create a Sense of Anticipation on Your Blog and More on How to Build Anticipation on Your Blog but let me touch on a few methods that I find particularly useful:
- Have Your Own Sense of Anticipation – perhaps the most important thing about helping others to have anticipation about your blog is to have it yourself. If YOU don’t have some kind of an idea about where your blog is headed how will you help others to have that? This means knowing what your long term goals are for your blog but also setting aside time to plan your medium an short term next steps. Things like knowing what you’re going to post about in the next week ahead of time mean you’ll be better placed to communicate that to readers and help them get the feeling that you’re not just flying by the seat of your pants but are being intentional about creating a space for them to keep coming back to.
- Write Series of Posts – whether its writing a series of 31 daily posts over a month on a similar theme or writing 2 consecutive posts – signaling to your readers that you’re going to explore a topic over a number of days definitely creates anticipation and helps to build momentum in your content.
- Polls – I didn’t mention this in my previous posts on anticipation but lately I’ve noticed readers coming back to my blogs to see what the results of polls that they’ve voted in are. If the topic is interesting enough it piques interest and curiosity into what others think on the topic.
- Competitions – a good competition can really stimulate excitement in readers and give them a reason to keep coming back.
- Sharing your Vision for Your Site – I find that occasionally sharing with your readers information about how your site is going and what your plans are for its future can help to build buzz, good will and anticipation on a site. One way to do this is by having a ‘Town Hall Meeting‘ on your blog.
- Highlighting Your Best Archived Content – one of the best ways to show people that you’re going to produce great content in the future is to showcase what you’ve already done. Creating sneeze pages of your best posts, interlinking posts or suggesting relevant reading can help do this.
- Ask Questions – it struck me today when I was rereading the comments on my ‘what is compelling content to you?’ post that quite a few of those who commented left comments that included things like ‘Looking forward to your take on this’ and ‘I look forward to reading the posts on this subject’ and ‘Looking forward to reading further!’ That post was nothing more than me asking readers to share their opinion and signaling that I would write more on the topic – yet it seemed to create a thirst for more in many.
- Suggest a Next Step – it is one thing to create anticipation and another to convert the person with the anticipation into acting upon it. One important thing to help increase the chances of this is to make it easy for them. Include an invitation to subscribe or become a member, share a link to the next thing that you want them to read and/or give them a strong call to action for the thing you want to them to do. Not all first time readers to your blog will know what to do next so make your calls to action clear, simple and easy to follow.
- Don’t be Too Comprehensive – Sometimes a blog post can cover a topic so well and so fully that there’s little more to say on the topic. If you write a definitive guide that answers every single question that a reader might have they might simply go away knowing everything there is to say on the topic. However if you write in a way that shows that you’re still learning, that you’ve got more to share, that you’ll explore other questions or related topics you give your readers a reason to keep tracking with you on the topic. While it’s OK to write in an authoritative and comprehensive tone I find I’m much more likely to subscribe to someone’s blog if they show that they’re human and still learning and still exploring than if they present as a know it all (or is that just me?).
Again – if this is new to you I talk more about these techniques (and others) in my previous posts at How to Create a Sense of Anticipation on Your Blog and More on How to Build Anticipation on Your Blog.
Creating a sense of anticipation in your readers is great for converting them into loyal readers. These techniques show readers that you’re not just a one hit wonder and are seriously interested in the topic and are developing your ideas on it and you can genuinely help your readers to grow and develop on a topic over time.
Your Homework For Today
Take 15 minutes out today to plan your next week of posting. You might not be able to plan every post that you write if your blog is more ‘news’ focused but think about what posts you might be able to write that you can tie together and build into a series (remember a series need not be lots of posts – it can be as simple as two related posts over a few days).
Once you’ve got your plan begin to make it a reality. One thing that can help make it a reality is to publicly commit to it. I find that when I announce a series of posts that I’m much more likely to actually do it than if I simply quietly plan to write it. Announcing it makes you accountable to do what you say you’ll do.
A Word of Warning about Anticipation
Sometimes too much anticipation can be too much of a good thing. I don’t know about you but there are some TV shows where the cliffhanger that they leave viewers on at the end of every single episode leaves me with the kind of anticipation that isn’t necessarily a positive one. There’s nothing wrong with a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting to know what happens next on occasion – but if you do it every single week it can become a bit tired and leave those watching or reading wondering if they’ll ever have the answers.
Take Home Lesson: Build anticipation naturally but don’t over do it. Treat your readers with respect and keep in mind that your content needs to be useful. A post that simply ‘teases’ but which provides no real value in and of itself could do the opposite of what you’re wanting to achieve with some readers.
Stay Tuned….: Of course it would be remiss of me on a post like this not to let you know that I’ll continue this series of posts on creating compelling content in the days ahead (I’ve got 2-3 more posts lined up for next week). Keep an eye on the ProBlogger feed for these updates.
What Do You Have to Say on the Topic?
I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this topic – share your thoughts below. Here’s a few reader comments that have been left previously that I think are relevant to get you thinking:
- “What makes compelling comment? Something that either brings people back or makes a new visitor subscribe.” – Shannon
- “(it) causes me to want to learn more about a particular subject, perhaps do research, and then take action if there is any to be taken.” – Krissy
- “Compelling content is content that draws me in and keeps me coming back.” – Celes
- “It makes me want to come back for more and to follow them.” – Martin
*Grant, if you have a URL I’d love to give you credit for your quote.