I was sucked in. I couldn’t break free from the moment. It was alarming to me. After all, I understood the techniques used by the media to manipulate those who didn’t take time for conscious consideration of their media intake. It actually snuck up on me last Saturday morning.
I lounged in bed reading numerous Internet articles on my iPad. The sun had already lit up my room, the birds were singing and I was comfy enough to stay put. I easily jumped from article to article, some humorous and others curiously addicting. After about an hour, I couldn’t help but notice that I continually was captured by one particular publication.
The ezine grabbed my attention from numerous locations. It didn’t matter if I started on Facebook, Flipbook or Instagram. Every time one of their articles was shared, I felt compelled to read it. I had been captured by my own curiosity and leveraged by the marketers who published the blog entries.
The answer to being influenced suddenly popped up in an article titled The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post. Author Kevin Lee wrote about the sciences used in capturing readers and generating shares. Social Media had matured to the point of using science to influence its readers.
The techniques were simple enough and had proven effective in my life until I gave careful consideration to what I was actually reading. It was only then that I regained control of the amount of impact the influential articles could make in my life. Here are the main categories I learned about.
How to Write the Perfect Headline
The science of testing and retesting a reader’s response to headlines shows that people scan the first three words and the last three words. This suggests that a six-word headline gets perfect readership. Since this is close to impossible to achieve with many blog entries, marketers tested other aspects of headline readership and came up with the ultimate headline formula.
Number + Adjective + Keyword + Rationale + Promise = The Ultimate Headline
Start Your Post with Storytelling
Blogs that start with a story obtain about 300% more readership than a post without a story. Blogs sharing a story in the beginning of the article keep their readers 520% longer than those without a story. This makes sense to me, as by nature our society loves to hear or read a good story.
Reduce Characters Per Line by Using Images
The fewer number of characters used on a page shortens the eye movement and increases the reader’s comprehension. In other words, its better to use a picture that takes up half the column and reduces the number of words running across the page than it is to use a full column width.
Use Lots of Subheadings
The use of subheadings allows the blog article to be easily scanned. This scan ability gives the reader a quick understanding about what elements of your thoughts shared might be important to them. It also lays out your ideas in an easy way to understand much like a book or speech outline – Adding to the readers comprehension and consideration of your ideas.
Write the Perfect Length of Content
Blog posts of 1,500 words receive more shares than shorter articles. My guess is that it’s long enough to provide substantial content that’s worth sharing. This also puts the time of readership around seven minutes, which is just under the 8-12 minute window we can handle watching on TV – That’s why commercials interrupt your show every 8-12 minutes.
Add Tweetables When Possible
By making your post quotable, people will Tweet your comments. This is now done by placing a “Tweet This” or “Share This” link alongside the text. The old fashion way is to manually code a Tweet link.
Time Your Post for the Weekend
Saturdays and Sundays get far more readership of blogs than any other day. This is due mostly to the lack of blogs published on weekends. Less competition means more readership, not to mention that weekends provide more time for people lounging in bed with their iPads.
A Call to Action
Topping off the list of techniques is a call to action. Suggesting that people do something about what they read inspires them to embrace what you’ve shared, especially if it is actionable, relatable, urgent, visual, solution-based, entertaining and definitive.
So, there you have it. The 8 techniques that caught me off guard. The only way I found to counter its effect, was to give the articles I read my conscious consideration, which put me back into the drivers seat and slowed my compulsory reading.
I hope you’ve found this information interesting and that you add these tools into your readership tool belt so you know when someone is trying to influence you. It’s only then that you can purposely take time to consider if you’ll receive and embrace the message to improve your life or discard it to protect it.