As he sat in the chair, sweating and shaking profusely, John had two choices: to either pass the test or get shot by his psycho dad…
John was a dull student, everyone knew that. Calling him an “F student” was an overstatement. And on this hot afternoon, as he sat in the exam room, John was faced with being expelled from school for the second time in two years.
His only saving grace was the essay test he had to write and pass. But the thing is, John didn’t know anything about writing good essays. And every time the thought of failing crossed his mind, he remembered his father’s shot gun at home.
His dad shot his elder brother, William, in the leg because he was suspended for two weeks for missing tests. Now, John faced the same fate. In fact, he could already feel his left leg throbbing from gunshot wounds. Ouch!
For John, staying in school and staying alive was his challenge—he just had to make it work. For you, however, there are bills to pay, a family to feed, a life to live and a business to run, but for some reason you’re not seeing any traction. The only thing that’s standing in your way is the ability to create just one epic blog post that would bring in all the sales you want. But the thing is, creating epic content isn’t one of your strong points, or so you think.
Anyone can create epic content, but for some it could take five to six hours just to write a 1,000 word blog post. And with the challenges in your life and business, you don’t have that luxury of time. So, what do you do?
Fill In the Gaps Using Content Frameworks
John was probably taught how to create good essays using frameworks, but I guess he didn’t pay attention during that class. So, this is your class and I’m you tutor…let’s get going.
Why should you use content frameworks? Because it works, period!
Actually, creating content that people want, in a way that they would appreciate it and see the value within, isn’t that simple. In any place you find yourself, there are rules governing your existence there. And as long as you abide by those rules, you’re safe.
The same goes for the internet. In order to build an effective content marketing strategy for your business, there are rules that govern creating content for the internet. Some people know these rules and use them to their advantage to get more traffic, engagement, or sales. Others ignore these rules because they feel they are not important. You’re not one of them, are you?
A content framework gives you a “skeletal” structure that your content should follow if you really want to get results. And the good thing is that this structure makes creating content pretty fast because all you do is fill in the gaps.
Content frameworks are also flexible, meaning you can restructure them to suit your business and your kind of audience.
How to Use Content Frameworks
Now this is the part that John would have wished he knew.
Back in high school, you were taught that articles have to follow a basic outline:
Title of the article ———– Introduction ———– Body ———– Conclusion
Well, the good thing is that it still follows the same outline. Only it looks somewhat like this:
It looks simple, right? Let’s break it up:
1. The Title or Headline
Your headline should be able to make the reader decide whether to read your content or just pass by. It should start selling to your reader what’s in your content even before they start reading the introduction.
Now the thing is you may not get the headline right every time. I also mess it up sometimes. But with practice, you’ll get the hang of it and it’ll get easier.
If there’s nothing else online that has formulas to work with, headlines do. So, I really won’t go into that here. Here are a few great resources that will help you create headlines that rock:
2. The Introduction
The introduction is the next step in drawing in your reader. If you got it right in your headline and your introduction is crap, then that content has failed. Your content will only bring results if the reader gets to the end of it and follows the instructions in your call to action.
So, what goes into the introduction to make it work?
Nothing much: Just a simple, compelling story that lights up your reader’s brain and keeps them glued to their screens. But like everything else, stories have structures.
As you have seen in the diagram, you start your introduction with a hook.
What’s a hook? This is simply a statement in your story or about your article that is compelling enough to make the reader move to the next sentence. That’s the only purpose. Get this right and you’ll see your “Average time on site” in your analytics increase by an extra few seconds.
After the hook comes the real story from the beginning. It is important to note that your story has guidelines as well:
1. It must not be disconnected from the hook.
2. It should state the problem that your reader is facing. And then focus on that problem.
3. It should have a main character, which could be your reader or a fictional character with a name.
4. Give specific details in your story. Saying, “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,” wouldn’t have the same effect as saying, “Humpty Dumpty fell off a six-foot fence and lost his left leg.”
After the story comes the “conclusion to the introduction.” This is where you give your reader hope that his or her problem can be solved. You gradually hint at the solution, without explicitly stating it. Just keep them hanging in there.
3. The Body
The real value of your content is in the body. The information that could turn the life of your reader around should be found in the body. For example, what you’re reading now is in the body of this post.
So what goes into the body of your content to make it work?
Simple: A subheadline and a whole lot of value!
The subheadline is simply a continuation of what you finished off with in your introduction. In a few words it briefly explains what you’re about to teach your audience. The body of this article started with, “Fill in the gaps using content frameworks.” For me, I particularly use it to answer a question I ask at the end of the introduction.
After the subheadline comes a brief introduction to what you’re about to teach the reader and then you go to the main points. Depending on the kind of article you’re writing, you could separate your main points using bullets (if it’s a list article), or break them up as subheadlines as well. In this post, I combined the two methods.
4. The Conclusion
Your conclusion must do two things: Assure the reader that he or she has the solution and help him or her to take action.
So what goes into the conclusion?
Three things: A summary of the content, what the reader should expect when he or she takes action, and then your call to action (what the reader should do next to take action). If you started your content with a story, you should also end it here. What does this mean? It means you’re about to find out whether John got shot by his dad or not!
It’s important to note that every part of your content must communicate value to the reader and must be connected. By making your introductory story flow into the body and also into the conclusion, you lead the reader on a journey that would finally end on your site. That’s some extra traffic juice. And the good thing is that you can make this a consistent habit by always using content frameworks to create your content. It’ll not only add more value to your audience, but also to your pocket and lifestyle.
Too bad John didn’t know about frameworks and how to use them to create good essays. But the good thing is that he didn’t get shot by his father. That was a huge relief…for a moment. The bad thing is his dad used a sledge hammer instead!
But unlike John, you know how to use content frameworks. So use it to create epic content that cuts down your writing time to one hour or less.
9 Free Apps Every Writer Should Consider The Ultimate Writing Productivity ResourceFeatured photo credit: Great Northern Cheer and Dance Championshipsvia Flickr