6 Help content that encourages people to read, watch, or listen

Without changing a word, you can make your content easier to consume.

Don’t expect a thank you. But look for signs that your audience appreciates the effort (e.g. more frequent hits, views, and listens).

The six tactics in this article make content easier to use by helping manage expected time, providing shortcuts, and letting people choose the format they prefer or need.

first . Stomach up to read

Many content destinations (including this site) display an estimate of reading time at the top of each article. You can see a time estimate at the top of this article next to the body line and publication date.

Here’s another recent CMI example showing a read estimate of about 11 minutes:

Estimating reading time helps people decide whether to read an article now or save it for later. They can also use it to quickly assess whether the section covers the topic in detail or provides a brief overview.

Adding a reading time estimate helps people decide whether to read the article now or save it for later, @AnnGynn via @CMIContent said. Click to Tweet Other tools assist the audience throughout the article. Example: Epsilon includes progress bar for written content as well as estimated reading time:

The progress bar helps the audience with long content. They allow readers to glance at the progress bar to see how much more time they need to complete that section instead of scrolling to the top to remind themselves of the reading estimate. (This trick also works well to keep people from taking a survey without giving up on one or two questions.)

I don’t know what specific tool Epsilon uses. But many plugins exist to provide this feature. Example: WordPress plugin Read Meter Analyze text and images to calculate time and progress.

2. Create chapters for your videos and podcasts

Ever watched a video tutorial where you wished you could skip the parts you understand and easily find the steps you need to see? Or maybe you heard a podcast recounting details you already knew and found yourself wanting to move on to another part of the story.

Your audience may feel the same desire for some of your content. Timestamps and chapter markers help them control the viewing or listening experience.

YouTube allows you to use timestamps and images to specify video chapters. Eg: YouTube Creator videos This feature explanation includes three chapters:

  • 0:00 An introduction to video chapters
  • 0:23 How to set up a chapter video
  • 1:07 Watch videos of chapters in action

Video how to do timestamp only 80 seconds long, but the chapters help viewers get to exactly where they want to be:

If you publish videos on YouTube, you should help your audience by includes chapters . To enable the optional feature, list the 0:00 timestamp (and a name for it) in your video description and timestamps for at least two other chapters at least 10 seconds each.

If you publish videos on @YouTube, you should help your audience by adding timestamps and chapter markers, @AnnGynn via @CMIContent said. Click to Tweet YouTube provides step by step instructions to automate chapters or execute them manually.

You can also use podcast timestamps to help your listeners go directly to the content they want to hear. Each hosting platform is slightly different, but most allow you to record timestamps in your show notes or episode descriptions. In some cases, the platform’s tools will allow you to associate a timestamp with that time in the episode .

This video shows you how to do that with WordPress or Captivate podcast sites:

3. Create a linked table of contents

A table of contents at the top of text-based content allows you to lead the reader through your text, much like timestamps and chapters guide your video viewers and podcast listeners.

Create a linked table of contents to guide readers through your text, @AnnGynn says via @CMIContent.

This tactic works well for content that covers several tips or topic areas. You can create a traditional table of contents or publish the key points detailed in the paper.

You don’t need a separate tool to create a linked table of contents. Friend can create a link using HTML anchor link . This is example of a linkable table of contents which gives readers the option to jump to sections of the article on the table of contents (yes, that’s a meta example), such as bullet styles and how to create clickable links:

Another approach is to list the main points of the paper at the beginning. For example, Atlassian’s award-winning Work Life blog includes a five-second summary box at the top of each article. (Each post also includes a progress bar).

Summary for 2.00 Articles 0 words Is a shorter workweek possible in your future? make the following points:

  • The label “four-day workweek” has become shorthand for any attempt to make the standard workweek shorter.
  • Companies, political parties and labor unions are exploiting shorter workweeks in a number of countries, mainly in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • But the Icelandic experiment that everyone was so excited about? Don’t believe the hype.

4. Get specific with your links

Have you noticed that some Google search results take you directly to the relevant section of an article? That feature saves you from having to search through the entire article to find what you’re looking for.

You can bring the same benefit to your audience by using Link to text fragment . The Google Chrome extension allows you to link directly to a highlighted or featured point on a page or web page.

@GoogleChrome extension #LinkToTextFragment allows linking to arbitrary text on a page so your readers don’t have to search the entire article, @AnnGynn via @CMIContent said. Click to Tweet

5. Let everyone hear

The Washington Post allows readers to view some of its content in audio form. The headphone icon and the words “Listen to the article” appear at the top of pages with audio. The module also shows the estimated time to listen.

You can do the same thing with your content. Ensure, accessibility tools help people with hearing loss to convert text to sound, but why not solve the problem for them? At the same time, you can also help your audience, who may want to listen to your content on the go.

Beyond AdWords and Play.ht are two plugins that allow you to create sound bars at the top of your content.

6. Show me the text

You should provide audio recordings to help audiences with hearing difficulties perceive your content in ways other than on-screen captions. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to start.

Companies like Rev , Otter.ai and Happy Scribe (freemium) provides transcription services. To use them, you upload a video or audio file. Then, depending on the service, you can choose an AI-only version or a human-made version.

TIP: If you record a video in Zoom mode, be sure to save it to the zoom cloud, not your computer. Then you can claim for free automatic transcription .

If you record a video on @Zoom, be sure to save it to Zoom so you can claim the free automatic transcription, @AnnGynn via @CMIContent said. Click to Tweet

Easily reach your audience

All of these tactics make it easier to consume content. As it turns out, each is easy to implement through plugins, automated services, or simple HTML coding.

Best of all, they offer great opportunities to attract and retain audiences with little extra effort.

Are you using any of these approaches? Let me know in the comments which answer works best for your audience.

Editor’s Note: No single post can provide all the relevant tools in the space. Please include additional tools (from your company or those you already use) in the comments.

Wa to learn how to balance, curate, and scale a great content experience across all your essential platforms and channels? Join us at the ContentTECH Summit (May 31 – June 2) in San Diego. Browse schedule or Sign up today . Use code BLOG 100 to save $100.

Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute


By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

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