How to provide value for your readers
Why your plan should be actionable and easy to follow
Provide value in order to create quality content. Without it, the audience has no reason to consume what you’ve put into the world. By demonstrating your ability to help you’re earning the audience’s trust. This trust can and will come back to you when it comes time to sell your product or services.
You know how you want to help, have your advice lined up, but you’re wondering about the best way to introduce your expertise. Where do you weave it into the content? And how?
Readers should listen to you because you’re an expert in the field and have the knowledge to share. How do you convince them to listen?
If you’ve seen the previous copywriting articles, this post will deal with the fourth of the seven steps, the plan. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a moment to check out this article on using story structure to create your content.
Your first step: Don’t forget about the steps that come first, the ones that come before your advice. Patience can be difficult when you know what you want to say, but make sure you hit every step of the story structure, so readers accept your suggestions. The set up informs them why they should listen to you.
The plan, the fourth step of story structure as described by John Truby in The Anatomy of Story, is the strategy the hero takes to overcome the opponent and fulfill their desire.
This step is where you, the creator, provide value for your audience.
It’s essential to outline your suggestions clearly. Outline steps your audience should follow and use lists whenever possible.
Throw a Header on the list title and describe your suggestions:
- Remember to follow the header hierarchy: Header 1 for titles, Header 2 for subtitles, Header 3 for Sections, and Header 4 for list titles. Different headers let Google’s algorithm know how to interpret your information
- Use a bulleted list or numbers whenever possible.
- Separate necessary steps into different paragraphs
- Avoid repetition
What to Avoid
- Avoid large paragraphs of text. Readers become disengaged, and Google’s algorithm won’t be able to identify highlights.
- Don’t start lists with the same phrase. (To get more information/To get more value/To get more subscriptions).
- Steer clear of using the same header # throughout the text, or no headers at all. Underline and bold can show readers where logical breaks in the content up, but Google’s algorithm uses headers to identify relevant information.
For example, if you were writing an article about the benefits of drinking water, there could be two separate lists.
- The first could outline the health benefits. It could use bullet points.
- The second could describe suggestions to incorporate more water into daily habits. These suggestions could be a numbered list.
What to watch out for
It’s normal to want to include every possible piece of information you possess about the topic as quickly as possible. Fight the urge! Be patient and make sure you tell a story, with your audience as the hero. When they get to the plan, they will be receptive to the strategy you have to offer.
Remember, your audience is looking to you for guidance. Readers have an idea about what information they need and are hoping your content will distill the information down to the essential points. Avoid complexity in favor of simplicity. Then, if anyone is interested in further guidance, they can look to future articles, or they could hire you if you or your company is available.
By providing clear, actionable steps at the proper time, in an easy to digest format, you provide value without overwhelming your readers with everything you know about the topic. Straightforward, actionable lists encourage readers to read, share, and remember your content. When your next piece of content is available, you will have the trust foundation of trust already built.