Let me ask you a question (well, two – and the second answer will surprise you).
What do you think is the most common reason people come to me for content copywriting help? Better word choice? Stronger messaging? Content creation assistance?
However, here’s the second question: what’s the most common copywriting service I actually perform?
If you answered, “improve content flow”, you’d be right again.
But you probably didn’t say that, and you’re not alone. Content flow is the biggest challenge all businesses face when creating content, and yet most don’t even know what content flow is or that they’re even doing it wrong.
So, let’s discuss how poor content flow is costing you readers, and how to fix it.
Prefer to listen, rather than read? Here's the Podcast summary!
What is content flow?
Content flow is the story sequence and the pace of your content, both of which should intrigue people, keep them engaged and inspire them to take action.
I always say that each sentence should make the reader want to read the next.
However, it’s much more than this. It’s about creating a story journey that takes the reader from one step to the next. The minute that you jump around or miss a step, then your reader can’t follow, and they just leave – which is a bad outcome for both them and you.
For more about the new type of storytelling sequence your brand should be using now, see my article: How storytelling in marketing has changed.
If your blog, landing page, EDM or website doesn’t have a good flow, then you’ll lose readers.
What is poor content flow, then?
Don’t you just HATE when someone tells a story wrong? They take forever to get to the punch line, include so much unnecessary detail or tell the ending too fast that it leaves you bewildered.
FRUSTRATING!!! This is bad content flow.
When your content doesn’t have a logical sequence and a good language rhythm, your reader gets fed up, tired or confused – then they leave. It’s simple! Would you stick around if something was boring or disjointed?! Hell no!
The example I give in all of my classes is Kanye West.
When you hear or watch his interviews, he goes on so many tangents about how he is a genius and how he can see sound and so on. By the end of the “interview”, you have absolutely no idea what he was on about, what he was saying or any meaning behind his words.
A good content flow should do the following 6 things:
To do this, you need to progress at a good pace throughout, from A to B to C to D and so on. If you go from A to D, or jump around sporadically, then it’s costing you readers.
Check out my related blog here for more information: how to build your brand with storytelling content.
I’ve read many pieces of content that, on an initial glance, appear to be well-written. However, it quickly becomes a real slog to read because the pace or sequence becomes too tedious to follow.
To read more, read this interview I did about my take on storytelling for your brand: what is it about stories that resonate with us?
How do you ensure your content has a good flow?
1. Map out the order first
Start by making a “skeleton” of dot points for your piece of content so you have a bit of a guide to stick to. This way, you can review the sequence and stick to it rather than writing like a mind dump.
A content map gives you the chance to check each piece will go from start to finish in a nice flow.
2. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
The number one rule of content marketing is: create for the audience. Content flow is no different here. Think about your ideal customer reading through your piece of content – will they find what they’re looking for?
Have you left anything out, jumped ahead too fast or used an approach that’s far too complicated? This needs to be addressed if you want them to engage with your content marketing.
3. Don’t assume knowledge
The problem we face, as businesses, is that we live and breathe what we do every single day. This means we take a lot for granted about what we do, how we do it and so on. Your customer doesn’t.
They only think of your brand when they’re triggered by something they need. So, if you make it very complicated or assume a lot of knowledge, chances are that you’ll lose them. Instead, make your written content super accessible to someone who is looking to potentially buy from you.
4. Get someone else to proof-read your content
This is a simple and highly effective way to check your content flow. Get someone with a fresh set of eyes to review what you’ve written – preferably someone who isn’t working on the same project. For example, ask your parents, reception staff or a colleague from a different department to read it and see if they can get the main points of your message, or if you lose them along the way.
5. Ask your customers
This is another really great way! If you want them, then ask them! You may directly ask them for feedback or consult the data on how each content marketing piece is performing.
When did you lose their interest and why? That’s what you need to address.
6. Hire a professional copywriter
I’m not going to lie. Getting content pacing and sequencing correct is a real skill that is honed over years of practise.
It’s not easy, as I keep being reminded when I’m given content to review. You may be a great writer and smart communicator, but creating a strong flow from start to end is a very different (but equally as important) skill.
It’s hard to lift yourself out of your own writing and consider the flow of what you’re expecting a reader to consume.
Content flow is just as important as word choice and messaging
This is copywriting 101 and content marketing 101!
In fact, copywriting flow goes hand-in-hand with these other elements, supports your message and helps your content deliver the impact you’re looking to make.
Look at the above blog. See how I took you through a comfortable pace and logical sequence?
How Can Melotti Media Help You?
To engage your customer and achieve ongoing business success today, you need a powerful message, quality copywriting and consistent content. However, this is easier said than done.
Perhaps you’re time poor and spread thin, or writing may not be your expertise.
So, let us take care of your message marketing, copywriting and content marketing needs!
For more information or to speak to a quality marketing copywriter to get the results your business deserves, contact me now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Message Marketing services can sharpen your words to achieve your goals, today.
Melotti Media | Copywriting & Message Marketing Bureau
DISCLAIMER: This blog expresses the opinion of Christopher Melotti (Melotti Media) and should be taken as general information only. No responsibility is taken for your actions in response to any content in this blog. See the website's Terms and Conditions for more information.