Three seconds. That’s the average amount of time you have to capture a reader’s attention online.
Every day, we’re bombarded with information from news outlets, coworkers and clients. We’ve all learned to scan for key facts and are careful not to waste time before moving on to another source that can provide the same information in less time. That’s why content is king—quality content, that is.
A recent study by Hubspot reports that nearly 70 percent of businesses invest in content marketing, a statistic that continues to grow year after year. Why? People prefer to do research on their own now more than ever. They would rather type keywords into Google’s search bar to answer their questions and make important decisions before speaking directly with an organization.
So, as a healthcare provider, it should be your mission to create content that appears during that decision-making process. We recommend starting with the ever-popular “listicle,” an easily customizable content format that can be published quickly (perfect for your team) and consumed quickly (ideal for readers).
Here are seven tips to ensure your next listicle informs, inspires and, most importantly, builds trust in every click.
1. Pick the right topic
Make sure your content is appropriate for a list format. In healthcare, a listicle could be a roundup of new studies or a personal take on a trending medical topic. Search online to see what else has been done on the topic, and come up with an angle that will make your listicle stand out.
2. Choose the best keywords
A listicle is a particularly great opportunity to focus on long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is a search query that usually takes the form of a question, phrase or sentence. In general, most people use Google Keyword Planner to identify keywords, but there are many free resources you can use to find opportunities to rank in organic search.
3. Pique readers’ interest with a compelling headline
A strong headline is critical for that initial click, but make sure you aren’t creating click bait. Readers won’t take the time to read your listicle if your headline is misleading.
4. Tailor the content to the number of items
If your list has 25 items, keep the descriptions brief. However, if you only have 10 items, give yourself permission to explore those topics in depth.
5. Entice readers with surprising information
To draw readers in, you need to provide very specific, unexpected information. Make sure you’re delivering information readers can use themselves or use to inspire others. They will be more likely to share it on social media.
6. Use images
Search for images that will enhance your content. In a study of more than 1 million articles, BuzzSumo found that content that includes an image once every 75 to 100 words received two times more social media shares than articles with fewer images. Gifs are another a great way to illustrate each point.
7. Consider creating a video listicle
Videos are fun to watch, and readers know at the outset how much time it will take to view them. Wyzowl Research reports 86 percent of businesses are using video as a marketing tool. What’s more, videos can easily be shared on social media. When you create a listicle for a video, be sure the points are brief. Also, consider using music to make the experience more engaging. Just make sure you have the rights to use the tune.