Standing out on the Internet is much like auditioning for a part in a play. Others may read the same lines or desire the same part, but your presentation, energy, and humanity are what make a difference. Internet readers are pelted daily with rehashed content striving for page views simply based on relevance or controversial perspectives. But building a lasting reputation doesn’t take cheap tricks. It takes a human connection, built on trust that delivers a unique and engaging experience.
Consider any article you’ve ever read. The first thing that caught your attention was likely the headline, followed by the site upon which it was featured. Each of these aspects helps form a first impression with a reader by establishing certain expectations.
For example, a headline that promises “10 Ways to Look Younger Now”, communicates a number of messages. There will be 10 items, the methods listed will be relatively easy to employ, their benefits will be immediate, and their focus will be exterior appearance, specifically signs of aging. Anyone who clicks on this headline knows precisely what they’re getting into and maintains an expectation that the message communicated will be fulfilled.
The site upon which these articles are featured provides a backdrop for the article and sets additional expectations. The aforementioned article mentioned on a blog for dietary supplements is likely to recommend their products. If featured on a site about holistic medicine, the expectation may be that the solutions offered will be organic or natural in nature.
The reason this first step is important is because it makes a promise. A lasting impression depends on trust; a relationship predicated on fulfillment of expectations. By creating an article title or holding a Google Hangout, you’re building expectations that you must meet in order to make an impression.
For this reason, focus on fulfilling expectations rather than making unrealistic promises. If you stumbled upon the aforementioned article and found it rife with pseudo-science and widely disproved claims, the likelihood of you patronizing further pieces would be drastically reduced. However, if the article was titled “10 Folk Remedies to Fight Aging”, or the methods proffered were of sound logic, the chance of you viewing further material, now or in the future, increases.
It’s important to note, however, that fostering a reputation of integrity is only the foundation of leaving a lasting impression. Internet readers have an expectation that the material they consume is valid, and meeting that simply avoids the reputation that your efforts are disingenuous.
Providing unique content is a vital next step in turning a brief page view into a lasting impression. With a smorgasbord of content to choose from on the Internet, it’s essential to offer something that others do not. One of the most compelling ways to do this is through proprietary knowledge.
Instead of rehashing what others already know, tap into your specific area of expertise. If you’re a business with a particular industry bent, lean on your insight to create compelling, original content. If you’re an author of a personal blog, look to your unique perspective as a font of captivating material.
But what readers wish to connect with, and what they ultimately remember, is a person, not an article. Leaving a lasting impression through your writing helps lay the groundwork for your authority, but charming readers requires conversation, engagement, and voice.
Include a conversation starter at the end of your article and engage readers as they leave comments. Doing so breaks the ice for discussion, and helps your audience understand that you care about their feedback.
Provide links to social networks and blogs where readers can find more of your material and contact you directly. The Internet is a limited place if the means are not provided to enable action. Links not only allow follow-up, but also provide a prompt for additional engagement.
Finally, show who you are through your writing. Scientific writers and those presenting essential facts do so in a reserved manner in order to preserve the integrity of their information. However, providing helpful tips and compelling stories opens the chance to be a person for your readers, which gives life to your work and longevity to your words.
The net result of all of these considerations is an indelible impression that readers carry with them when reading future content and evaluating other content creators. Your job as an author is not only to present valuable information, but do so in a manner that builds relationships, stands out from the crowd, and wins readership. Remember to set a foundation of integrity, deliver a unique reading experience, and connect on a human level, and your first impression won’t be the last time your newly minted readers think of you.