Easily one of the most amazing sessions at #CMC17, Nancy Harhut’s session on “Five Easy Steps to Create Brain-Craving Content” was jam packed with useful information for content marketing professionals.

Or anyone who ever wants to sell a product, service or idea. Which means everyone, since we all sell something sometime.

Backed by solid research, Nancy’s presentation laid out the steps to creating content that captures the attention of readers and reels them in.

Nancy’s no-nonsense presentation style perfectly suited her content, and by the end of the session, an astute listener could see how Nancy used her own tips to keep her audience enthralled.

Here are the 5 steps Nancy prescribed: 


Some Words Count More Than Others

Readers respond to text that speaks directly to their interests. This includes words like “new”, “now”, “introducing” and most especially “free”.

Effective content should also speak directly to the reader, using “you” and “your.”

How many times do we see marketing content where the writer has obviously struggled to de-personalize the message by using “the customer” or “a company”?

While we may see this construction often, it doesn’t hold our attention. Use simple but impactful words.


Opt for Easy

Nancy recommends short, descriptive sentences that emphasize benefits to the reader.

Readers don’t stay with content that’s hard to read or hard to absorb. In fact, readers subconsciously equate the ease of reading to the ease of using the product.

Make sure your content represents your product in a good light by making it easy to absorb or you’ll start the sales cycle with the need to overcome a negative impression.


Design for the Mind’s Eye

The brain absorbs images more easily than words, so use images wherever possible.

Graphs, charts, tables and especially pictures of people are effective and keep the reader engaged.

Surprisingly, images engage readers even when they have nothing to do with the content, so load up your pages with pictures to go along with your text.


Tell the Story

Stories are the most effective way to get your point across.

Case studies, testimonials and endorsements that focus on how your product resolved an issue for your customer resonate strongly with readers.


Add Emotion

The strongest emotion for marketing is relief. If a customer faced a challenge and your product brought them relief from the nagging problem—tell the story, and don’t hold back.

One counterintuitive point Nancy made is that negative superlative words have stronger impact than positive superlative words, so don’t shy away from using them.

After watching Nancy’s presentation, we were charged up and couldn’t wait to get back to work writing more-effective content using the lessons and research that Nancy presented.

Although every session at #CMC17 was valuable and insightful, this session by itself would have been worth the price of admission.

This session left me craving more of Nancy’s wisdom, and we guarantee when we have the opportunity to hear Nancy present again, you’ll see us there, in the front row, listening intently to every simple, impactful word she utters.