For the blogger, a masterful piece of content will accomplish a predetermined goal and can be measured - was the goal was accomplished? For the reader, masterful content has a stated purpose and a value - the reader believes they got something of value out of their investment of reading.
The best masterful content will be simple AND valuable, clever and concise, unique and specific, entertaining, and create a sense of urgency while calming the readers fears and concerns - all at once. Wow! How does one go about accomplishing this feat?
In this article, we will present you with the basics of writing masterpieces, and provide you with “extra resources,” so that over time you can dig in deeper and develop mastery writing skills. Our goal is to help you to acquire a mastering of content marketing.
Typically, masterful content will have one of several, and perhaps all, of the following elements.
It all starts with the headline. If the headline does not grab a readers attention, there is no sense of investing time or energy into writing the piece because no one will see it. Forget about "great writing" if you do not intend to give it an attention-getting headline. Your headline should command attention instantly, but be authentic. Be careful with being too clever or too provocative. Don’t mislead the reader with your title.
Your first paragraph should hook your audience and convince the reader to read the entire article. To hook the reader, you have to tell them what they are going to receive and why it is worth their time and energy. In the headline demonstrate the article's value proposition by revealing what the read is going to get by investing time in the article. Tickle the reader’s curiosity right from the start. Note: The article better deliver the value proposition, or you might lose readers forever.
Sometimes a great headline will have a bite to it. Meaning, sometimes “shock and awe” in the headline works. You might be able to enlighten your reader to a "danger", or some risk they were not aware of until they read the headline. In essence, you are giving your readers a swift kick in the head or a sock to the stomach. It can be a “wake-up call, a warning, or an alert to something they should know.
If you leave the reader with the sense that he or she “must read this article”, you have done your job. But again, do not use this technique to trick them into reading the article. You had better deliver!.
Useful content always works. When you properly educate a reader, giving them something valuable they didn’t know before reading your piece, then you’ve done a good job.
When you teach, instruct, and give the reader useful information, they are more likely to follow you and read more of your stuff in the future.
If your educational piece is unique, easy to grasp, and related to the reader (meeting their needs), you’ve won them over. Educational pieces can be a “how to”, but does not have to be. Pertinent, timely and important information is considered to be educational content, especially if it solves a problem or answers a question.
Although masterful content does not have to be entertaining, it can be under the right circumstances. Entertaining content has extra added value.
Even the most boring subjects can have a touch of entertainment or humor. However, when attempting to entertain through humor, be careful not to go too far. Use moderation. If you are not funny, don't attempt to use humor - it will backfire on you.
All people want to be inspired. Moreover, most people deal with obstacles, problems, or need immediate solutions. Great content inspires, brings forth hope, is uplifting and sends the message “YOU ARE NOT ALONE, YOU CAN DO IT, AND WE ARE HERE TO SHOW YOU THE WAY!”
If you can show your reader how ordinary people just like them can overcome, succeed, and triumph, then you have done your job. If you leave your reader with the sense that they too can win, achieve, or overcome, then they will come back for more of your content. If you inspire, you build trust and loyalty.
The resolution of a major problem, conflict, or irritating issue (villain) needs a “hero”. Hollywood movies are based on villains and the hero. The villain is important to the overall plot of most movies, and without a villain, there is no hero.
An inspirational story is one where the hero overcomes the villain. And, there is a reason - everyone likes to see a hero overcome and defeat an antagonist. If it works for Hollywood, it will work for bloggers - at least, using the same "principles" of the Hollywood movies will work for bloggers.
When it comes to creating masterful content employ the persuasive story technique. Look at the problem (villain) or obstacle (antagonist) and craft a hero (solution) that overcomes the problem and lifts the reader above the obstacle. Prominently portray someone or something as being the victor triumphing over injustice. Use a real story of a real person who has overcome.
A moral is a lesson, especially one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
Bloggers can benefit by using the “moral” of the story as a thread that is woven through the entire piece. The “moral” technique is the use of principle, character, truth, and justice as the reason to support a purpose. Crafting a "cause and effect" that inspires the reader is a powerful technique.
The use of "good guys" vs. the "bad guys" - the hero and the villain, can compel the reader to appreciate your writing, accept your ideas and come to trust your advice. Use "morals" to help the reader realize that they are not alone and that they can find a better version of themselves if they follow the principle (purpose) of your article.
In the use of "morals," bloggers can use real stories of real people as a way to inspire the reader to trust your work. For example, "Jeff Stewart buys his coffee at Starbucks because Starbucks recycles their cups. Jeff has saved 3 rain forest trees by buying his coffee at Starbucks" Using "morals" can be quite compelling (you must be a good guy if you care about "green" commerce).
A masterful piece of content will have one, two, or more of the elements described above. However, if your content does not lead to an action, or lead the reader to take a certain action, then you have not fulfilled the mission. The call to action should be simple, clear and direct.
Tell the reader what to do by giving them options they shouldn’t refuse. Even if the call to action is to come back for more content in the future, there must be a place where the reader is led to do something that benefits them, benefits you the blogger, and benefits the bigger blog audience in general (i.e., buy your coffee from Starbucks!)
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For more masterful information on creating Masterful Content and Achieving Mastery with Content Marketing, see the resources below.
About the BlogNetwork - When each one of us started blogging, we had no idea what we were doing - but we all had two things in common. We had a vision backed up by tremendous passion. Our attitude was, “Come hell or high water, we were going to figure this blogging thing out.” If you have the same vision and passionate drive we are here to show you how to use it, and turn your vision into a reality.
Today we are successful bloggers, authors, strategists, consultants, and speakers. What does that mean, really? Essentially, we have been very successful at “being found online”, or at least, our blog posts are found online. We create quality content that resonates with our target audience. Overtime, through blood, sweat, and tears, we’ve built a massive group of friends and followers.
Each person involved in the founding of the BlogNetwork has a unique “blogger’s story” - how we started, why we started, and how we became successful. However, we also have a few things in common. Our “blogger’s stories” are riddled with bumps and bruises, trials and errors, and fortunately, a great deal of enjoyment and success. Moreover, we all had vision and passion, at least enough to keep going through the rough spots.
To Read, "6 Marks of Effective Content: 'The Lego Movie' Edition, click "Next Page" below.