Have you ever read a blog post, listened to a podcast episode, or watched a video and thought:
“I kind of get what this person is saying — and I think I agree — but it’s difficult to follow their main points. The content feels incomplete.”
When content consumers have reactions like that, it delays them from sharing your content and subscribing to get more — ultimately increasing the chances that the content will be forgettable.
Conversely, when your content resonates with your target audience, your platform becomes a resource those individuals will remember and return to.
If you want your reader, listener, or viewer to share and subscribe, rather than hesitate and move on, incorporate the following two elements into your content creation process:
Below, I’ll cover what they are, why they complement each other, and how you can put both of them to work in your own content marketing.
The roles Structure and Intrigue play in your content
Here are my definitions of Structure and Intrigue, for the purpose of this article.
Structure: The intentional order in which you present the message of your content and its supporting points. It’s an outline that ensures your content is complete, without logical fallacies or misleading phrases that cause confusion.
Intrigue: The fascinating details that make your content unique. These are the characteristics that make people say, “I love that” or “I hate that,” rather than “I don’t remember that.”
Why they complement each other
Structure isn’t always the most exciting subject to talk about, but it’s a part of all winning content.
It’s vital to set your Structure before you infuse your content with your personality.
Think of it like this:
You need a strong foundation before you stamp your content with your special brand. Your audience will appreciate your unique qualities and creativity much more when you intentionally plan the Structure of your content.
No matter how effortless smart content may look, it takes a lot of effort to produce a cohesive content presentation.
The right Structure gives you the security and freedom to be creative with confidence.
Once that foundation is in place, you’re well-positioned to add Intrigue and give your audience a reason to consume your content rather than look elsewhere.
For example, if an issue arises in your industry or a big event happens, where do you go to get more information? Which person or brand do you want to hear from?
When you want an opinion or analysis from a specific person or website, that specific person or website doesn’t just produce “content” — they produce value that you’ll use to learn more about a topic.
And they’ve achieved that highly regarded status in your mind because they’ve balanced Structure and Intrigue.
Plan your next piece of content with Structure and Intrigue
After you write a draft of your content — whether it turns into a blog post, podcast episode, or video — use the steps below to assess and refine its Structure and level of Intrigue.
- Summarize your main message in one or two sentences, on a piece of paper or text file separate from the draft of your content.
- Locate where you introduce this clear message in the beginning of your content.
- Identify the logical sequence throughout your content that walks your readers, listeners, or viewers through the information you want to communicate.
- Reinforce your main message in a different way at the end of your content.
If you have trouble with any of these steps (particularly #3), you likely need to spend more time nailing down the best Structure for your content.
What type of presentation will help your audience understand your ideas? How can you clarify your intentions?
- Summarize the aspects that make this content stand out in one to two sentences, on a piece of paper or text file separate from the draft of your content.
- Locate the parts of your content where you add your voice and fresh perspective — especially in your headline or title.
- Identify how you help your audience with innovative solutions or approaches to their problems, showing them that you offer something special.
- Reinforce your brand by concluding your content in a memorable way that will inspire your readers, listeners, or viewers to return the next time you publish.
If you have trouble with any of these steps (particularly #3), you likely need to spend more time nailing down your USP.
What makes you and your content unique? What types of benefits, community, or style do you offer that others don’t?
Content structured to convey your intriguing message
See how each of the Structure and Intrigue steps above complement each other?
They need each other to effectively demonstrate your winning difference and satisfy the audience that will build your business.
Copyblogger’s Content Writing Masterclass
Join Copyblogger’s Editor-in-Chief, Stefanie Flaxman, for The Content Writing Masterclass. It’s for all types of content creators who want to build audiences of interested prospects.