9 Techniques to Make Your Thought Leadership Content More Effective

Kendra Estey | August 5, 2020

For most businesses and executives, content plays a crucial role in not only their overall marketing plan but also their leadership strategy. However, in terms of actually engaging readers, they can sometimes fall short. To put it bluntly, the content created is just not that interesting. While it takes a little more effort, delivering more interesting content — whether for the company blog, LinkedIn, or a major publication — is key to increasing traffic, driving conversions, building customer loyalty, and creating a thought leadership footprint. It also makes your content more relatable and shareable.
 
So, how do you make sure your content is more engaging? Here are nine tips for making every article more compelling to readers and more entertaining for you as the creator.

1. Plan Properly

Before you start writing anything, take a few minutes to plan out what your article will focus on. It might seem obvious, but it help ensure that your article has a clear, logical structure and it will make your writing process more smooth. Because nobody likes writer’s block! 
Start with the title and subheadings, and then plan where images (if needed) and links will go. Planning every post in this way will help you stay focused on the topic and give your audience a more attractive, readable piece of content.

2. Use Scannable Formatting

Even if your title is strong and the topic draws people toward your post, it counts for nothing if you don’t format your article correctly. It sounds obvious, but no one will stick around if your post is difficult to read. To make your content more digestible and scannable:
•   Vary sentence structure with long and short sentences.
•   Restrict your paragraphs to no more than four sentences (not a hard and fast rule, but helpful to keep in mind).
•   Emphasize key points with subheadings.
•   Use bullet points and images to break up text.
•   Bold important phrases in sections as needed.
By simply doing these five things, you can give every post a better flow that your audience will find easier to read. It will also help you focus on writing more clearly and concisely.

3. Hyperlink to Related Content

You can’t always keep readers engaged with just one article; sometimes, the topic doesn’t cover exactly what they’re looking for. However, you can encourage people to check out other related content on your site. This is why the most successful blogs and media publications cover topics from a variety of angles. Links to related posts keep people on your site for longer and the blue text of a hyperlink also makes a post more scannable.

4. Be Conversational

Using a more conversational tone creates a level of trust that you won’t get from using more formal language. The reader will immediately feel like they’re being spoken to rather than lectured at. Use words like “you” and “your.” Avoid industry jargon. And talk to your reader as if they were your friend. It all helps to build trust and makes people want to listen to what you have to say.

5. Show Your Personality

This is closely linked to the last point, but it’s more about showing readers who you really are. With so much online content out there, you can stand out by telling readers your personal thoughts on a topic and showing your personality. It’s not just what you write about that makes something interesting it’s how you write it. When people feel like they’re getting to know you, they’re more likely to trust what you have to say and come back for more of your content.

6. Add Multimedia Elements

An increasing number of people are tired of text-based content; they want visual stimulation in the form of photos, graphics, and videos. The bottom line is that visual content is more attractive and shareable. Insert a photo, graphic, or video early on in your article to instantly make it more interesting. For example, use an infographic to highlight important stats — it will help illustrate your point and make it easier for readers to understand.

7. Storytell

Stories can turn bland or dry information into inspirational content. They also make your articles more unique, memorable, and fun to read. You just need a few elements to tell a story: a character, a problem, and a solution. Use your own personal experiences or customer achievements to tell a story, but remember to make sure it aligns with the message of your post. 

8. Include Statistics and Sources

People like statistics. They’re used in marketing across all industries because they’re easy to digest, nice to know, and near-effortless to share with others. If you find a statistic that relates to your article’s topic, use it. And if it comes from a credible source — which it should — link to the source to improve your credibility and your search engine rankings.

9. Keep It (Relatively) Brief

Long, in-depth articles are a great way to showcase your expertise and drive traffic. However, it’s not always the best way to go. Some topics are not that complicated, so a shorter, more concise post can be better for audience engagement. Don’t fall into the trap of filling a post with fluff just to reach a high word count. In fact, most major publications expect a range of approximately 600-800 words — not too long, not too short.

Over to You

There are many things you can do to make your thought leadership articles more interesting, but these nine tips are a good place to start. If you keep in mind these strategies whenever you’re creating new content, you can ensure that over time, you build a powerful footprint of authorship that positions you as an expert and executive influencer in your field. 

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With over a decade of professional and academic experience, Kendra is a seasoned writer and editor with experience across industries and around the world; she is also the Executive Leadership Branding Manager at Massive Alliance and a contributor at Strixus.