The Reader's Journey: A Story of Love and Loss
You see him in the rear-view mirror and a tear escapes from the corner of your eye. The person you see is a reader who is never coming back into your world. You captured his attention with your wit, charm and even good looks. Then he departed within 30 seconds. How did this reader come into your life? Why did he leave? The answer lies in the reader's journey. Knowing what people love and hate about your publication gives you an idea of how to keep your readers longer and in love with your content. Think of your readers as a relationship, and see how the saga of love and loss plays out in your publication.
After you capture someone's attention on the first date, desire and interest keeps someone coming back. What else do you have to offer to get to the second date? Perhaps those enticing links to other content come into play at the bottom of your article, or maybe you have links within your piece. The comment section also looks enticing. Professional images and image-based pieces serve as eye candy, while more multimedia pieces let your date feast on your site's explosion of the senses. You don't want to overdo it, because that turns off your readers. However, the right mix of words, photos and videos makes your cohesive website look great. All of these elements combine to maintain interest and desire beyond the first look.
You held your love interest in your clutches for this long, so how do you move to the next stage in the relationship? That's where credibility comes into play. You wowed your other half with dashing good looks on the first date, then you need to show your readers that you aren't a one-trick pony. Longer content, superior insights and trend-setting pieces show why you're better than any other dates out there. You might just get to exclusivity soon as the other person looks longingly into your eyes after realizing you have great looks and brains, too. Short pieces are great hooks, but long-form content flexes your expert muscle to show you're stronger than competing publications.
Leave your date wanting more by building anticipation. When can he see you again? When is the next batch of content going to appear? You don't want to divulge everything in the first date. Let your readers know that another post is coming in a certain number of days or the same time next week. Promise inside scoop or have a special piece next week that you've never shown anyone else. Perhaps you host a live chat on social media following your newest post as a treat for your readers who stick with you to the second date. Once you build anticipation, keep your date interested with consistent offerings at regular times. Your date loves the routine of knowing when to look for you.
Your love story comes to fruition with engagement and belonging. You finally recognize that you're made for one another. You responded to your date by replying to comments. You even took requests for content and acknowledged the viewer's request in your follow-up column. Keeping your readers coming back for more every week means making it easy to engage with your content so they feel as if they belong with you. Follow best SEO practices, make your content easy to read, keep the topics fresh and write for your audience. Your website has a niche, and you love it while your readers love it. Engaging with your readers maintains interest even when your content remains consistent month after month and year after year.
Don't be afraid to change things up a bit to keep your relationship fresh. Think polls, competitions, contests and sharing your favorite posts. Your story of love and loss is all about nurturing your readers one step at a time rather than putting all of your personality on the table all at once. You have to save some surprises for later on in the romance. From the first date to a long-term commitment, keep these things in mind as you wow your audience through a reader's journey that has a happily ever after.
Marketing Director at SquareOffs #OnwardandUpward