Listen — I remember what it was like.
Working hard on writing the best content I could. Content that solved reader problems, was interesting to read, showed some personality, and furthered my business goals.
Spending hours on posts that got nice attention from my small audience — but having trouble getting traction with a larger crowd.
It was working, but it was slow. And that’s frustrating. It’s hard to know you’re on the right path if only a few people are paying attention to you.
Over the months (and years), I learned some things about how to get that traction and grow my audience. Here are some of the most important ones I found.
Before we dive into that, it’s important to remember that getting attention isn’t the same thing as getting business. You can get attention pretty quickly if you’re willing to throw tantrums and behave like a general train wreck. But that doesn’t help you get clients, customers, or revenue.
So let’s focus on what does.
#1: Improve your headlines
Copyblogger has long been known for headlines, and there’s a reason for that.
Headlines are important.
They always have been, but if anything, they matter more than ever now. The more distracted your audience, the more they need a well-crafted headline to break through that distraction and capture their interest.
The headline needs to communicate that the reader (or viewer, or listener) is going to get something valuable out of that piece of content.
It might be a snippet of gossip. It might be a few moments of entertainment. Or (ideally) it might be a valuable tip or technique that addresses a problem they care about.
If you need a better headline for a piece you’re working on right now, try this tip. It’s quick, and it works like a charm.
But to get sustained attention to your content over time, you want to go beyond “hacks” and really understand what makes some headlines work and others flop. For that, you need our free ebook: How to Write Magnetic Headlines. It’s packed with quick techniques, yes, but also the underlying strategies that make headlines work.
#2: Get over your fear of numbers
Lots of talented content creators think that numbered lists and other number-focused posts are somehow “cheating,” and don’t result in quality content.
It’s true that there’s a lot of crappy content out there that uses numbers in the headline. There’s also a lot of excellent content that uses numbers in the headline.
If you don’t want to write yet another crummy list post … write a fantastic list post.
Gracefully fitting a number into your headline, and getting the boost in traffic that goes with it, won’t cheapen good writing. But it will get it more of the attention it deserves.
#3: Polish the first impression
Old, stale site design scares people off. So do sites that load slowly. And sites that are cluttered with irrelevant ads. And sites that don’t work properly on mobile devices.
You need to create an immediate good impression with your site, to keep traffic from bouncing. Because bouncing, turned-off users won’t help you move toward your goals.
Premium WordPress themes offer top-notch professional design for less than $100. Make use of that. (I know where you can pick up a good one.)
Use compelling images that create an instant impact.
Make sure your site is mobile responsive, for the ever-increasing number of mobile users.
Format written content so it’s user-friendly and easy to scan.
#4: Be clear, not clever
Good writers (and all forms of great content start with good writing) often love cleverness and wordplay.
That may work well for your breakthrough novel — but it doesn’t work in content marketing.
As Ann Handley says in her 13 Writing Rules:
No one will ever complain that you’ve made things too simple to understand.
Clever, quirky headlines or content may give you a chuckle — but they won’t get you the audience you need. Be clear before you’re clever.
(By the way, being clear doesn’t mean dumbing things down. It means paring away the fluff and self-indulgence and getting to what matters.)
Easy reading is damned hard writing. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
#5: Expand your network
Once you’ve made your content irresistibly attractive, you’ll want a healthy network to share it with.
Cultivating a network to help promote your content is a big topic — so big that I wrote a whole ebook on it. You can grab that here (it’s free): Effective Content Promotion.
Make friends — with all kinds of folks. The kinda-broke blogger you befriend today may well be CEO of a multi-million dollar company in a few years. It happens. Be friendly, nice, and likeable, across the board.
Don’t be the guy who’s only friendly to the “big” bloggers. Everyone hates that guy. Including the big bloggers.
3 Free Resources to Get Your Content More Attention
We offer some free ebooks that will help you attract more attraction to all that content you’re creating.
In How to Write Magnetic Headlines, Brian Clark walks you through the most important techniques and strategies to improve your headlines and immediately improve the attention you’re getting.
My ebook on Effective Content Promotion gives a variety of different ways to get the word out about your content, including expanding your network of content publishers.
And A Content Marketing Strategy that Works puts “Attention” into a 7-A framework for content success — because attention only gets things started.
They’re all part of our extensive content marketing library. You can snag these 3 — and lots more resources and marketing education — by signing up for MyCopyblogger. It’s just a smart thing to do.