Delightful web content works hard to connect with readers and accomplish your goals. Include these seven elements in your web content to delight your audience.
What do you think of when you hear the word “delight”?
Sunny summer days? Snuggly puppies? A new episode of “The Bachelor”? (I’m not judging.)
From now on, when you think of your website, I want you to think of delight.
You might be wondering how your topic could possibly delight anyone. After all, you’re talking about cleaning a kitchen. Or dental care. Or toddler tantrums. Or how to use a scheduling app.
And none of it is really fun. It’s not puppy or kitten videos. You can’t see anyone jumping for joy, giggling as they read, or rushing to share it with everyone who might also get a laugh out of it.
That’s okay. While I’m always up for a good puppy video, that’s not the kind of delight we’re talking about here.
Think about Marie Kondo. She’s built an empire by telling people how to clean their closets.
I don’t know about you, but I do not find the idea of cleaning closets delightful. And yet, many people say that she has changed their lives.
And the word most commonly associated with Kondo?
The truth is, just about ANY content–no matter what it’s about–has the potential to delight the right reader. Here’s how.
Delightful Content Is Authentic
Your content is probably not original. That may be hard to hear, because we all want to be original.
But the adage that “there are no new ideas” generally holds true. Hundreds of people may have said the same thing or may be offering the same service that you are.
So what sets you apart?
The key is in that word: you.
It’s coming from YOU. And YOU, and your take on your content, are wholly original. You have something to say about this. You have something to offer. The reasons you care about it–and the reasons you’re good at what you do–are unique to you.
Have a dry sense of humor? Maybe you’re a little touchy feely. Maybe you’re blunt and business-like. Find your voice and stick to it.
People can sense when you’re pandering to them or trying to be someone else. Don’t do it. Be your true, authentic self. You will attract people who appreciate your authenticity.
Don’t worry about putting people off. Sure, your style may not resonate with everyone. Not everyone will become your fan. But keep in mind, too, that people can appreciate styles different from their own.
I follow experts with styles ranging from nurturing to blunt-bordering-on-rude and even the crudest of them don’t generally put me off–even though it’s not my personal style. If they have something valuable to share and their style feels authentic, I’m willing to listen.
Readers will know if you’re trying to be something you’re not. If it’s true to who you are, your fans will know it.
Delightful Content Is Personal
This may sound a little scary, but I promise it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to share your deepest secrets or the minute details of your daily life.
It’s not actually about you. It’s about adding enough of your personal story to make it personal for your reader.
Let’s say your topic is shopping for lightbulbs.
You tell a story about standing in the lightbulb aisle at Target–the most boring aisle there is–and you have no idea what to buy.
LEDs? What color? How bright? What shape? What does this label even mean?
You just want to grab a box so you can get to the Magnolia aisle.
Your readers are suddenly there, in your place, feeling the mild frustration and ready for your solution.
Telling the story of your struggle and how you worked through it will not only resonate with readers, it will stick with readers.
They’ll remember you, they’ll remember the story, and next time they’re wrestling with the same thing, they’ll remember and try out your solution.
If your solution works for them, suddenly you are a hero in their personal story. They’ll remember, and they’ll be back.
Delightful Content is Validating
People love nothing more than to read content that validates them. You’ve seen those headlines: “7 Things Only the Smartest People Do.”
You know you’ve clicked on something like this. Why are they so irresistible?
- We want the tips that will make us one of the smartest people.
- We want validation that we are already one of the smartest people. Usually in articles like these, we’ll find at least a few things that we’re already doing–and some others we can learn from.
The validation in an article can be positive or negative. Consider: “9 of the WORST Things About Moving (and How to Make Them Easier).”
People LOVE to feel validated in their gripes. Life can be tough and full of annoyances. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear, “YES, you have this problem. YES, it’s tough. YES, you can fix it. And here’s how.”
You don’t have to go to either extreme on this if that’s not your style. It’s okay to just give a little nod to a struggle.
So how can you work some validation into your content? Think of words that speak to problems or that are aspirational. Here are a few: Affordable. Energetic. Organized. Relaxed. Healthy. Stylish.
Just seeing words like this in headlines or articles is validating: they tell readers that it’s okay to aspire to them, that other people probably do too, and that it’s okay (and totally normal) not to have them–yet.
Delightful Content is Honest
To put it a different way: delightful content delivers on its promises.
Those example headlines up there in the last section? They’re promising a lot. They might be a little clickbaity, but that’s really only true if the articles don’t do what they promise.
If you’re making big promises in your headlines, your intro text, or your social media teasers, the content better deliver. When you write a great headline, reread your article to make sure it does.
If it doesn’t? Change the headline or make the article better.
Readers will not trust you and will not return after the first time you don’t deliver on your promises. Be the trustworthy expert they are looking for.
Delightful Content Is Hopeful
Now look back at those aspirational words above. Words like these are key to giving people hope. Give people hope that their problems can be fixed.
The problems don’t have to be big–it’s why people love life hacks–or they could be huge, and your solution could be life-changing.
There’s a book that came out in 2019 called Everything is Figureoutable. I haven’t read it yet, but I absolutely love the phrase. I’ve been thinking of it a lot this past year when I’ve had to do things I know nothing about.
The truth is, people get stuck when they encounter obstacles. Remind them that solutions are out there.
You may not have the exact fix to their very specific problem, but you can provide the hope that they need to get unstuck and believe that everything is figureoutable.
Delightful Content Is Transformative
Transformation is really the ultimate goal. Do this, understand this, learn this, buy this, apply this… and you’ll be transformed.
You’ll get the web traffic you want. You’ll be healthier. You’ll be more organized. You’ll be more productive. You’ll be a better parent or friend.
By now, you’ve given your readers hope that they can fix their problem. Also show them that this doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. Transformation is possible.
Help them envision the endpoint–the result of following your advice.
Let’s go back to our example of buying lightbulbs. You’ve made the experience personal–they understand the frustration of being stuck in the lighting aisle.
Now show them it doesn’t have to be that way. They can pop in, grab what they need, and spend the rest of their Target run browsing Joanna Gaines’ latest home decor.
Life-changing? Maybe not. But a few extra fun minutes at Target might mean a lot to a mom who doesn’t have a lot of time.
Readers can see themselves transformed. They are already anticipating the satisfaction that comes from that transformation–and that is a feeling they want.
Delightful Content is Actionable
There are two parts to making content actionable.
- Tell readers what they need to do.
This might be the steps they need to follow to make their transformation. Maybe it’s a recipe, journal prompts, or even just points to consider as they work on a project.
- Then tell them what they need to do next.
Give readers a clear path to their next step, so they can continue the transformation promised in your content. Do you have related articles? A mailing list they might like? A product or course that would help?
This is your chance to build on the trust you’ve created with your delightful content. You’ve already provided your readers with content that’s helped them. Now show them how you can continue to help them.
Give them the next action that will turn them from casual readers into true fans.
And now here’s your call to action!
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