The ABCs of Formatting Content: Making the Most Out of Your Website
Formatting content is often easier said than done. No longer is a single block of text able to generate the attention that it may deserve. A growing number of marketers are now beginning to appreciate how content formats and different types of media can impact the perception of a page. Let’s take a closer look at how you can capitalise on such a trending approach.
Long-Form Versus Short-Form Content: What Are the Differences?
Traditionally, most content marketers emphasised what is known as short-form marketing. This was defined as posts that were between 350 and 600 words long. The main aim was to encapsulate all of the most important information within a text that was streamlined and easy to read. However, this was before the days of inbound marketing and massive amounts of online competition from similar firms. Although there is no doubt that short-form marketing still has its place within the digital community, there are several problems here. The online publicity portal IMPACT notes that:
- It is tough to summarise difficult topics with a limited number of words.
- Keyword stuffing is more likely to take place; creating clumsy articles.
- Google algorithms choose quality over article length.
Long-form marketing is now seen as a more effective way to convey an idea to the reader. In fact, it is not entirely uncommon for articles to contain 3,000 words or more. By providing greater leeway in terms of content, the article can be written in a more appealing and professional manner. It would be nearly impossible to accomplish this feat when just over a page is allotted towards each subject. While there is still a time and a place for short forms, many are now embracing a content format that allows for more words per topic.
Images and Infographics
Have you ever come across an interesting topic only to be numbed by boredom after only a few minutes? You are not alone. We live in an increasingly visual world. It is estimated that an incredible 84 per cent of all online communications will make use of imagery by 2018. In order to format content with a truly “eye-popping” appeal, it is a great idea to incorporate images and infographics. Besides creating a sense of visual appeal, there is some very real psychology involved with this concept.
- Formatting content that contains imagery will arouse a greater sense of interest.
- Graphics can be used to emphasis a specific point.
- Images will help to break up a text; ideal within long-form documents.
Infographics can be particularly useful when dealing with complicated topics, as the reader is much more likely to refer back to them if they become confused. This is especially true when we consider that the average visitor spends no more than 8.5 seconds deciding whether or not to continue reading.
Were you aware that no fewer than 500 million hours of YouTube videos are viewed by users every day? This signals an undeniable trend. Creating content has just as much to do with the momentum that videos can provide as it involves the run-of-the-mill sales pitch.
Not only are users now more visual than ever before, but a growing number are accessing the Internet via a mobile device. They are much more likely to play a video than they are to zoom in on static text alone. Videos also allow the page to appear more modern and presentable; ideal when dealing with the demanding millennial generation. Thankfully, hosting platforms such as WordPress have streamlined the embedding process.
Other Content Formats
The content types mentioned above are only a few of the most common. You have the ability to choose from countless other options depending on your needs and the audience that you are trying to connect with. Some other examples include:
- How-to guides.
- Opinion posts or “rants”.
- Link round-up pages
Everyone is familiar with memes. These clever and eye-catching images are great at adding a bit of humour to your website. They highlight its trending nature and more often than not, they can help to summarise the content itself. They are very easy to make and each image can be uploaded in only seconds.
How-to guides are another popular way of creating content. This content form is excellent if you are providing instructions on a certain topic. As sections can be broken up into bullet points, they will provide a bit of variety to what might otherwise be a rather dull text.
People love to hear the opinions of others. These are often styled from a first-person point of view, so you will be able to directly connect with the reader. Additionally, opinions and rants are more likely so spur reactions. This is an excellent way to develop a loyal base of followers.
Round-up pages are simply pages which redirect the reader to other reputable sites related to yours. They consist of a hyperlink, a short description and nothing more. Not only can you “spread the love” across the Internet, but authoritative outbound links will help to boost your Google SEO rankings. This is very important, for 90 per cent of all Internet users will not navigate beyond the first search page when looking for a specific topic.
Creating Content and Knowing Which Options to Choose
In order to format content properly, it is essential to know which type should be used. The fact of the matter is that there is no “wrong” time to use content other than text. However, it makes sense to employ specific strategies during certain circumstances. For instance:
- Videos are excellent when used in conjunction with how-to guides and viral content.
- Infographics can provide immense help when explaining a lengthy process or when highlighting statistics.
- Images can be always be used alongside the other two.
- Long-form content should be employed when addressing important subjects that require a more detailed explanation. Short-form content is often used during regular blog updates or when you wish to provide feedback about a specific topic.
Formatting content properly should take these factors into account, as creating an engaging page is the first step towards attracting more readers and experiencing higher click-through rates.
More Strings to the Bow
Although the points mentioned above are invaluable, we need to stress that the days of the written word are far from over. On the contrary, streamlined content texts now need to be bolstered with an equal amount of quality media formats. Variety and visual appeal are of the utmost importance in these modern times. You have a number of content formatting options at your disposal and by appreciating the power of each, it has never been easier to imbue your well-written text with the digital “spark” of life.