Content Marketing: The Science Behind A Readable Blog Post
by Rachel Speiser on 8/1/16
Remember newspapers? Those weird, fold-y, black-and-white scrolls that magically made their way to your doorstep?
Even though newspapers are a bit old-fashioned, they are readable as hell. The classic layout contains columns with a constrained width, skimmable text written in simple language, bold headlines, and big photos.
Readers expect a newspaper to look this way. Long, narrow newspaper columns mean your eye can easily jump from the end of one line to the beginning of the next without missing your place.
Similar to newspapers, writing and formatting a blog post is both an art and a science. If you’re a blog writer, you should be mindful of the same things a newspaper layout does well.
3 Facts About How We Read Online Content
Here are the three key facts from today’s experts on how people are reading online today, plus some tools you can use to optimize your blog content.
Fact #1: Eight out of ten people will read your headline. Two out of ten will read your post.
This is what Copyblogger has determined as the 80/20 rule. It means that headlines are often your only chance to spark a reader’s interest.
Readers are more likely to read the first three (and/or last three) words of a headline, according to KISSmetrics’s usability research. When we scan the body copy of an article, headings and subheadings jump out at us.
For SEO purposes, try to get the meat of your title within the first 60 characters, as those will be the ones that appear in Google search results.
Make sure these very important six words in your very important headline are good ones. Need help formulating a headline? Try out the Portent Content Idea Generator or the SEOPressor Blog Title Generator to get some ideas flowing.
Fact #2: Blog posts that share an anecdote perform 300% better than posts without a story.
Since the beginning of time, we human folk connect with a good story.
Just ask Buffer. They found out that posts with a narrative did 300% better than posts without. That’s a pretty impactful stat!
A reader’s time on page improves if you tell a story with your words. Buffer also found out that people were scrolling all the way to the bottom of story posts. How much more time? Oh, just a mere 520%.
Sharing personal stories and anecdotes stay with people more than spewing out factual information with zero context. Stories must be engaging and compelling — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be complex. In fact, you should try to keep your post as simple and readable as possible.
To help, you can use this Readability Score tool, which provides you with an average score and details on the grade-level readability of your post. All you need to do is copy and paste your story to the site, and your score will be generated.
Fact #3: Articles with 2,500+ words receive more shares and inbound links.
Let’s be clear: a great blog post isn’t great because of the number of words used. Sometimes short blog posts are enough to drive the point you’re trying to make.
However, HubSpot determined that articles with more than 2,500 words got the most social shares and earned the most inbound links. They analyzed the effect of word count from their own organic traffic and found that the sweet spot was between 2,250 and 2,500 words.
Based on their data, it’s clear that there is, in fact, a positive correlation between a higher word count and more social media shares. On the other hand, it turns out that blog posts with fewer than 250 words receive a higher number of social shares than posts with fewer than 1,000 words.
If you write a long-form post, make sure you make it look as pretty as possible, as most readers will be scanning. Here are 15 blog formatting tips to increase your readers’ time on page to help you out.
Need More Blogging Tips?
Blogging is a big part of content marketing. Not only is content marketing at the core of our own marketing strategy at 9 Clouds, it’s also the center of the digital marketing services we offer our clients.
If you need assistance in creating useful content and distributing it to the right people, we can help you. Our content marketing methods are proven to help clients attract more qualified leads and convert more qualified customers.
If you’re looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place! Subscribe to our blog, and we’ll occasionally send out interesting articles and useful resources (including our monthly roundup, which highlights the best stuff we found on the web each month).
Originally published at 9clouds.com on August 1, 2016.