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Writing for the Web: 7 Tips for Getting Read and Shared Online

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Anyone can put an article on their website. But few people know how to stand out in the inboxes and social streams of your audience. If you’re just dipping your toes in the waters of content, where do you start? If you’re experienced in creating traditional content, how can you translate that to copywriting for the web?

• How is writing for web different?
• What type of writing tends to get clicked, opened and read?
• How do you find the topics that will connect with an audience?
• Which images will drive more clicks?


During this presentation, Andy Crestodina will present the science of social and the art of content. After this session, you’ll have the topics and tactics you need to drive traffic and real results.

Published in: Marketing
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Writing for the Web: 7 Tips for Getting Read and Shared Online

  1. 1. Writing for the Web 7 Tips for Getting Read and Shared Andy Crestodina Strategic Director | @crestodina
  2. 2. @crestodina Weak Contributor Amazing Contributor Perceived Content Performance
  3. 3. @crestodina Weak Contributor Amazing Contributor Actual Content Performance
  4. 4. TOPICS
  5. 5. @crestodina Sources of topics 1. Keyword research 2. Q&A websites 3. Listening to your audience
  6. 6. @crestodina Google Suggest
  7. 7. @crestodina keywordtool.io
  8. 8. @crestodina Google Keyword Planner
  9. 9. @crestodina Answer the Public
  10. 10. @crestodina Answer the Public
  11. 11. @crestodina Google Analytics: Queries Report
  12. 12. @crestodina Google Analytics: Site Search Report
  13. 13. @crestodina quora.com
  14. 14. @crestodina Listening 1. Sales team 2. Customer service team 3. Customer stories
  15. 15. @crestodina Your outbox is filled with content
  16. 16. The 2 Power Topics
  17. 17. @crestodina source: Moz, BuzzSumo
  18. 18. @crestodina source: Moz, BuzzSumo Most content gets no links and few shares
  19. 19. ...if you want to create content that achieves a high level of both shares and links then you should concentrate on opinion forming, authoritative content... or well researched and evidenced content.
  20. 20. ...if you want to create content that achieves a high level of both shares and links then you should concentrate on strong opinions original research
  21. 21. The Power of Research
  22. 22. @crestodina Three ways to produce research 1. Observation: Pick a data set. Gather data. 2. Aggregation: Combine data from existing sources 3. Survey: Mass outreach and analysis
  23. 23. @crestodina Three ways to produce research 1. Observation: Pick a data set. Gather data. 2. Aggregation: Combine data from existing sources 3. Survey: Mass outreach and analysis
  24. 24. @crestodina Three ways to produce research 1. Observation: Pick a data set. Gather data. 2. Aggregation: Combine data from existing sources 3. Survey: Mass outreach and analysis
  25. 25. observation
  26. 26. @crestodina
  27. 27. @crestodina
  28. 28. @crestodina
  29. 29. @crestodina
  30. 30. @crestodina
  31. 31. @crestodina
  32. 32. aggregation
  33. 33. @crestodina
  34. 34. @crestodina
  35. 35. @crestodina
  36. 36. survey
  37. 37. @crestodina
  38. 38. @crestodina source: 2016 Blogger Survey, Orbit Media @crestodina
  39. 39. @crestodina
  40. 40. “What do people in our industry often say but rarely support?”
  41. 41. Find the missing stat It is frequently asserted, but rarely supported
  42. 42. Sonia Simone CCO, Copyblogger Media Don’t take shortcuts; they take too long.
  43. 43. The Power of Strong Opinion
  44. 44. @crestodina
  45. 45. @crestodina The power of strong opinion
  46. 46. @crestodina The power of strong opinion
  47. 47. @crestodina The power of strong opinion
  48. 48. @crestodina The power of strong opinion
  49. 49. @crestodina
  50. 50. @crestodina
  51. 51. @crestodina
  52. 52. @crestodina
  53. 53. @crestodina
  54. 54. @crestodina
  55. 55. @crestodina The power of strong opinion
  56. 56. What do you believe that most people would disagree with?
  57. 57. What do you believe will happen in the future that most people think is unlikely?
  58. 58. What questions are people in your industry afraid to answer?
  59. 59. HEADLINES
  60. 60. Explicit benefits
  61. 61. @crestodina
  62. 62. @crestodina
  63. 63. @crestodina
  64. 64. @crestodina
  65. 65. @crestodina The curiosity gap and sharing
  66. 66. @crestodina source: What makes online content go viral? Emotions get shared
  67. 67. @crestodina
  68. 68. @crestodina source: OK Dork / Co-Schedule Average EMV score for headlines based on shares
  69. 69. @crestodina User numbers source: Conductor: 5 Data Insights Into the Headlines Readers Click
  70. 70. @crestodina
  71. 71. @crestodina
  72. 72. @crestodina
  73. 73. @crestodina Great headlines... 1. Make a promise 2. Trigger curiosity 3. Use numbers 4. Ask a question 5. Use power words 6. Sized to fit the purpose 7. Keyword first source: How to Write a Headline That Won’t Get Ignored: 7-Point Checklist
  74. 74. Write many. Chose one!
  75. 75. @crestodina • Upworthy writes 25 headline variations • CoSchedule writes 25-30 headline variations • Buffer writes 25-30 headline variations • Orbit writes 5 headline variations Write many, choose one
  76. 76. FORMATTING
  77. 77. @crestodina source: How Little to Users Read? NN Group Readers don’t read Users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit 20% is more likely.
  78. 78. @crestodina
  79. 79. @crestodina source: 5 Easy Tips to Improve Every Blog Design Format for scanners
  80. 80. Short paragraphs get read. Long paragraphs get skimmed. Very long paragraphs get skipped. Jason Fried Basecamp
  81. 81. @crestodina Internal links Use the “site:” search operator
  82. 82. @crestodina Types of formatting 1. Headers, subheads 2. Bullet lists, numbered lists 3. Bolding and Italics 4. Internal links 5. Multiple images
  83. 83. WORDS
  84. 84. @crestodina • More formal • Longer (polysyllabic) • Fancy, proper Examples acquire, transmit, construct, resist, deposit, imitate, determined Latinate words
  85. 85. @crestodina Anglo-Saxon words • Less formal • Short (often monosyllabic) • Forceful, direct Examples get, send, build, stop, put, mock, set
  86. 86. @crestodina
  87. 87. @crestodina
  88. 88. @crestodina “This was perhaps the most significant finding of the study”
  89. 89. @crestodina “This was perhaps the most significant finding of the study” “This was perhaps the biggest finding of the study”
  90. 90. @crestodina “This was perhaps the most significant finding of the study” “This might be the biggest finding of the study”
  91. 91. @crestodina “This was perhaps the most significant finding of the study” “This might be the biggest finding of the survey”
  92. 92. @crestodina Success rates after rewriting a health care site for an 8th grade level readability… source: NN Group, Lower-Literacy Users: Writing for a Broad Consumer Audience Write for 8th graders
  93. 93. @crestodina
  94. 94. @crestodina source: LA Times 1 in 10 Americans think that HTML is an STD
  95. 95. @crestodina Words that get clicked in Google 1.How to 2.[List-related numbers] 3.Free 4.You 5.Tips 6.Blog post 7.Why 8.Best 9.Tricks 10.Great source: 131 Words, Orbit Media
  96. 96. @crestodina Words that appear in viral posts source: 131 Words, Orbit Media 1.Smart 2.Surprising 3.Science 4.History 5.Hacks (hacking, hackers, etc.) 6.Huge / Big 7.Critical
  97. 97. @crestodina Negative words that get shared source: 131 Words, Orbit Media 1.Kill 2.Fear 3.Dark 4.Bleeding 5.War
  98. 98. @crestodina Top re-tweeted words source: 131 Words, Orbit Media 1. You 2. Twitter 3. Please 4. Retweet 5. Post 6. Blog 7. Social 8. Free 9. Media 10. Help
  99. 99. @crestodina Words that get people to open emails source: 131 Words, Orbit Media 1. Urgent 2. Breaking 3. Important 4. Alert
  100. 100. @crestodina Words that trigger buyer behavior source: 131 Words, Orbit Media 1. You 2. Free 3. Because 4. Instantly 5. New
  101. 101. LENGTH
  102. 102. @crestodina source: BuzzSumo dataset: OrbitMedia.com Long content gets shared more
  103. 103. @crestodina Long content gets linked to more source: HubSpot Word Count vs Average Linking Domains > 2500 2250 – 2500 2000 – 2249 1750 – 1999 1500 – 1749 1250 – 1499 1000 – 1249 750 – 999 500 – 749 250 – 499 0 - 249
  104. 104. @crestodina source: Moz, Buzzsumo Article Length Avg Shares Avg Referring Links < 1,000 2,823 3.47 1 - 2,000 3.456 6.92 2 – 3,000 4,254 8.81 3 – 10,000+ 5,883 11.07 n = 489,128 articles (over 85% had less than 1,000 words) Long content gets more links and shares
  105. 105. @crestodina source: CoSchedule Long content ranks higher
  106. 106. @crestodina Long content generates more leads source: Curata
  107. 107. IMAGES
  108. 108. @crestodina source: Twitter Media Blog, March 2014
  109. 109. @crestodina source: Social Bakers, March 2014
  110. 110. @crestodina
  111. 111. @crestodina
  112. 112. @crestodina
  113. 113. @crestodina
  114. 114. If you can’t write a caption for it, it’s a stock photo.
  115. 115. @crestodina
  116. 116. @crestodina
  117. 117. Visual Cues
  118. 118. Eye Tracking Studies Show...
  119. 119. ...you look where they look!
  120. 120. @crestodina
  121. 121. @crestodina
  122. 122. Use Multiple Images
  123. 123. @crestodina source: 2016 Blogger Survey @crestodina
  124. 124. COLLABORATION
  125. 125. @crestodina
  126. 126. @crestodina
  127. 127. @crestodina
  128. 128. @crestodina
  129. 129. @crestodina
  130. 130. @crestodina Content should be designed to attract visitors
  131. 131. @crestodina Optimized for search...
  132. 132. @crestodina Optimized for social...
  133. 133. @crestodina 5 Ways to Collaborate 1. Mention them in your content 2. Ask for a contributor quote 3. Include them in an expert roundup 4. Invite them to guest post 5. Deep dive interview
  134. 134. @crestodina Simple quote
  135. 135. @crestodina
  136. 136. How many people are waiting for your article to go live? Make sure it’s not zero.
  137. 137. Share and mention
  138. 138. An ally in creation is an ally in promotion
  139. 139. If you’re not making friends, you’re doing it wrong.
  140. 140. @crestodina YOUR SITE OTHER SITES WHERE to publish
  141. 141. @crestodina WHO does the writing CREATED BY YOU CO-CREATED WITH INFLUENCERS
  142. 142. @crestodina Content = 2 Links = 0 Friends = 0 Content = 3 Links = 1 Friends = 2 Round One
  143. 143. @crestodina Content = 4 Links = 0 Friends = 0 Content = 6 Links = 2 Friends = 4 (better links + real connections) Round Two
  144. 144. @crestodina Nice blog, but… This is what great content marketing looks like. Round Four
  145. 145. What’s in it for me?
  146. 146. Eugene Schwartz Copywriting legend Copy is never written. Copy is assembled.
  147. 147. @crestodina Andy Crestodina Strategic Director | @crestodina THANK YOU!

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