I love clam chowder and this week I made it for the first time. I felt brave enough to attempt this creamy classic because I found a five-star recipe on line. And… it was delicious. Why? Not that I am a total slouch in the kitchen, but it really was because of all the butter, cream, clams and potatoes—all prepped and combined accordingly.
Like that delicious first bowl of chowder, the metaphorical look, smell and taste of your internet content can also pull people in (and even get them to have seconds) if you have the right ingredients and the steps to put them all together.
Reading on the internet is not comfortable. The glare, the small screen, the competing (and often flashing) ads, and the sheer volume of content to wade through on the internet means we often scan more than we read–and we move fast.
We will stop and actually read an article, though, if the content is good and meets our needs.
As content creators we need to remember to think like the content readers that we are. This means that your article or blog post must be well written, easy to read and useful to your readers. Easier said than done—I know. But, in today’s post I will give you my best recipe to create premium content that people will read.
Before we get started, you will want to choose your dish. For me, it’s creamy soup. What do your readers want? Take a look at my post, The Seven Best Blog Topics for Your Medical Practice, if you need some help picking a topic.
Now, let’s get cookin’!
Your headline is your first chance to grab a reader. Only about one in five internet readers make it past the headline so you want it to count.
Images should be clear, well produced and relevant to your content. You can be literal or metaphorical with them, just make sure you use them—you’ll get more clicks. Read more about this in my posts, Clinic Blogs: Always Better with Pictures and The 411 on Images for your Practice Blog.
Your lede is the opening sentence or two that can pull the reader further into your article. Make it relatable and try not to flood it with too many medical terms or statistics. For better or worse, my lede for this article is a clam chowder metaphor.
4. Nut Graph
The nut graph comes next, here you give the reader the gist of what your article will be about. Here, mine is the second paragraph where I tie the metaphor into the subject of this article—writing internet content.
This is where you flesh out all your ideas and provide the meat of your content. The body should be full of useful or entertaining information.
6. Call to action
This usually comes at the end of your post. The call to action is something you want the reader to do next. It can be a request to have your reader explore your website more, or to make an appointment, or to subscribe to your blog.
Before you just slap together all those ingredients, here are some tips for making your article extra creamy and delicious.
1. Grade Level
The average reading level of the American public is surprisingly low and even lower when it comes to health literacy. Aim for content written around an 8th grade level. Learn more about this in Amy’s post, Two Editing Tools for Writers That Will Help Your Content Sparkle and my post How to Blog Like a Person: 4 Tips for Doctors.
2. Active Voice
Keep your reader moving forward in your article with active verbs. Passive verbs and sentence structure is common in clinical writing but comes across as weak in a blog post. Read my post, Mistakes Were Made: Passive Voice and the Clinician Writer, to learn more.
3. Paragraph Length
Keep your paragraphs to 3-5 lines deep. Nothing will repel a reader like a huge block of uninterrupted text.
4. Bullets & More
Formatting your post with bullet points, headers, indentations and font changes is one of the best ways to make your content easier on the eyes and more scannable (unless you over do it so do use a little discretion here). Learn more about this in my post, Eight Ways to Get More Patients to Read Your Posts
5. Style Guide
The AP Style Book, written by the Associated Press, is the most commonly used guide for journalists, news outlets and marketers. Using a guide of some kind will help you polish up your post to make it more professional and easy to read. Read more about this in my post, Do I Need a Style Guide for My Medical Blog?.
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 1: What is Content Marketing?
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 2: Why Use Content Marketing for Medical Practices?
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 3: Bare Bones Approach to Content Strategy
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 4: Copywriting: Not Just for Selling Bananas
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 5: Stay on the Right Side of Medical Ethics
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 6: The Who, Where & What of Medical Content Generation
Image credit: © mareciok / AdobeStock