FreshVoice’s Great Content Map: Part 3: Text Signposts

In the third post in our series based on Indie’s Great Content Map, we focus on the ways in which you can help your content seekers stay on course as they progress through your blog post.

In Part 1, we presented the concept of the map, and in Part 2,  Be the Captain, we discussed ways to brand your content so your travelers know who’s at the helm.

Once readers know who’s manning the ship, there are some key tools you can use as text signposts to get them and keep them on the path and eager for their next steps. Let’s look at three of the most common and examine why they work so well.

  1. Tantalizing Titles.  When it may be the only thing that your potential reader sees that determines whether they’ll even start this journey with you, it could be argued that your title is the single most important signpost you must craft.
map

Your title should help draw people to your blog post, just like a map would take you to your destination.

Think of it as the title to your map… And how are maps titled? That’s right—with their destination. We pick up the map that will take us to the place we want to go. Even more compelling are the marketing brochures for those destinations, whose titles entice you with brief but compelling language that’s focused on what you, the traveler, seek from that destination. And so it is with your blog titles.

What’s in your post for your reader? Focus on those deliverables in your headline (not only so you attract their attention, but so you ensure you’re credible).  Readers want to know they’re getting what you promised them, so the headline needs to be tightly connected to the copy. This is an excellent article on writing great blog headlines.

If you’re blogging regularly and scheduling reposts, you’ll also want to write multiple headlines for the post, picking up on different points in the piece. This has several benefits—including the potential for one headline to attract interest where another just didn’t work; and for different headlines to grab the attention of different target groups.

And remember, only a portion of those you market to (outside your subscribers) will see what you put out there at any given time, so re-posting multiple times is a must in your overall strategy.

For example, we’ll re-post this piece over the next 6 weeks under four other headlines, including Entice Your Content Seeker with Destination Titles and Text Tools Create Signposts for Blog Travelers.

  1. Smart Subheads. For shorter posts or ones that use lists (like this one), subheads may not be necessary. But without those characteristics, posts can become tiresome to your readers’ eyes, which can cause them to wander off your well-intentioned
    sirens

    Sirens that could be distracting readers include sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Buzzfeed.

    path. Remember, they might be viewing your post on a screen surrounded by other windows full of Sirens of other compelling content who are attempting to seduce your readers away from you and your messages.

Smart subheads can help keep your readers’ eyes focused on your path…take a look at the visual difference between these before and after posts—the first without subs (below) and the final wonderful post by leadership resilience catalyst and Fresh Voice client expert David White, who crafted and inserted foretelling subheads strategically designed to give his readers additional signposts along the path.

Check out the story-linking subheads in this David White post.

  1. Lovely Lists.  Bulleted or numbered, lists are beautiful. In this post, this point is the third in a list of three key points. This is intentional: Since blog posts are generally capped at under 1,000 words, you don’t want a lengthy list. Research shows that three key messages at a time are ideal for memory, comprehension and learning. Understanding this Rule of Three will give you amazing mapping power—not just for lists, but for structuring blog or any other content (speeches, webinars, sales pitches, presentations).

Clearly there’s more than just text signposts that make up an unforgettable journey for your content travelers (there are 5 steps in our Great Content Map after all!) so stay tuned for the next installment, where we’ll focus on Content Clues you can leave for your traveler…

 

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