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Writing Tip: Content with a Purpose
Writing with an unclear purpose is an exercise in blatant time and space wasting.
Yet many bloggers and webmasters, in a rush to get their sites up and running, post unfocused content throughout their site.
Click on one of their sites and you'll discover articles that end abruptly or articles that drift from one random tangent to the next.
It seems that taking up space is the only purpose for these kinds of articles and that's just not going to cut it. In fact, everything you place on your site, including widgets, must have a purpose. It doesn't matter if they're cute - they are just cute space-wasters. If you are interested in wasting space, just call me and you can waste some space with a free advertisement of my site! :-) But if you really want to create some really valuable content, you'll have to take some time to consider your purpose for writing in the first place.
Writing Tip: Before you type even one word, ask yourself some questions:
- Who is the audience? Who will read this?
- What is the purpose for writing to them?
- What outcome is desired from them? / What do I want them to do after they've read this?
- What might be their purpose for visiting this site? / Reading this article?
The last question might seem like it's asking you to be psychic, but you won't have to be psychic if you know who your potential customers are. You'll have to try to be intuitive about their needs in order to anticipate what information, products, or services you will offer them. It really is a bit of a paradox, in order to fulfill your purposes, you'll have to consider your potential customers' purposes.
The attention span of the average visitor is so short that you really can't afford to lose them to aimless rambling. You must have a clear purpose or goal in mind. What do you want your visitors to do once they get to your site? Once you've analyzed your own purpose, you can get to the next important writing tip: give your potential customers a reason to fulfill your purpose.
Writing tip: Gently persuade; don't make blatant sales pitches
If you want them to buy something, you'll have to gently nudge them by providing highly persuasive reasons - you'll have to provide some type of evidence that your product, service, etc. will benefit them in some way. If you want them to subscribe to your site to fulfill your purpose of creating a mailing list for follow-up email marketing, you'll have to give them more than a subscription box that says: "Enter Email" - you've got to give them a reason to do it. Most people aren't just going to give you their email address without receiving something or at least "perceiving" that they've received something valuable in return - they need a good reason.
Writing tip: Consider your readers' purposes
In order to accurately understand which reasons your readers will respond to, you'll need to refer back to your potential customers' purpose for being at your site. What might they be looking for? Most people are looking for information that answers a question that they have. You'll have to anticipate your readers' questions - then you could offer an answer in exchange for an email address... or even eventually, a purchase.
First determine your purpose and goals for writing. Then, anticipate your readers' purposes. You'll be able to write more persuasive content that leads to the very actions that fulfill your purposes/goals. This might sound overwhelming even a little confusing, but if you really think about it and are honest; you'll come to realize that you can't help a potential customer if you don't know they want. Your purpose won't matter if you disregard your customers' purposes. And more importantly, you can't get them to do what you want if you don't give them a good reason to do it.
Learn from an affiliate veteran.
Your host, Allan Gardyne, has been earning a good living from affiliate programs since 1998.