Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

4 Techniques Pros Use to Make Their Content Fascinating Images, data, quotes and storytelling are important.

By Mike Taylor Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd | Getty Images

Have you ever wondered why you read the articles you read online? How it is that some articles manage to grab our attention even with all the distractions online today? No matter how busy we are, there's always certain content that manages to gain our undivided attention. So what do those writers know that the rest of the online world doesn't?

Well, as it turns out, there are a number of psychological factors at play that we aren't always aware of. You could almost say popular content has somewhat of a "secret sauce" that mediocre content doesn't tend to have.

Related: 3 Ways to Stop Overcomplicating Your Content Marketing Strategy

If you're thinking content that stands out is simply better-written or more valuable, you're wrong. At least for the most part. The internet is filled with valuable content. It's almost a commodity at this point, and it's certainly not a differentiator.

The truth is, the gurus in your industry aren't much smarter than you are. They may have a certain level of authority, but that authority isn't the sole reason people read their content so intently. The keys to a fascinating piece of content are much simpler than you probably realize, and they're right at your fingertips.

So if you're looking for a way to break through the online clutter and make your content stand out, here a few secrets the pros use to draw readers in, keep them engaged, and entice them to take action.

1. Use data and images to give your content instant credibility.

It's pretty obvious that we all tend to trust data more than a person's opinion. So what do you do when you haven't built credibility with an audience yet? You use data to your advantage by finding statistics and studies that will back you up.

To take that a step further, Brian Dean from Backlinko quoted a study from Claremont University that found that images boosted content credibility by 75 percent. (See what I did there?)

Another study cited by SiteGrain found that people were more likely to believe in a particular medication's efficacy when presented with visuals that appeared scientific (graphs, formulas, etc.), even when the visual contains no new information over the text. So what does all that mean?

Include data and statistics, then take those statistics and put them in a visual of any kind, and you should see engagement increase significantly. It's a simple fact: human brains love proof, numbers and images. So it only makes sense to use a combination of statistics, graphs, charts and screenshots to your advantage.

Related: 9 Cool Ways You Can Use Data-Driven Marketing to Gain Customers

2. Use quotes to give your content instant authority.

"The internet is filled with valuable content. It's almost a commodity at this point, and it's certainly not a differentiator." - Mike Taylor, Marketing Specialist

Sound familiar? That's because I just wrote that line in the intro of this article. It's a little more powerful when wrapped in quotes though, right?

You can put a powerful statement in an article, and I might skim right past it without a thought, but put that same statement in quotes with a byline after it, and suddenly it becomes a statement to live by. It's as if our brains think it must be true if it's in quotes. Maybe it's because we tend to quote influential and successful people, usually after they've died. Maybe it's because quotes carry with them a bit of implied legitimacy. Who knows. Either way, quotes work, and they're a great way to instantly give your content a certain level of authority.

Quote an expert to support your content, and you'll instantly add a layer of authority to your message.

3. Use stories to keep your readers engaged.

Why do we love movies, TV shows and books so much? Why is it you can mesmerize a hyperactive toddler just by turning on Toy Story? It's because we're all hardwired to love stories. You can take a simple boring topic and spin it as a storyline, and you'll instantly make it more appealing and engaging.

This isn't always easy to do, but even the smallest amount of storytelling injected in your content can make a huge difference. Maybe instead of simply making your point outright, you tell a story as an example to really illustrate your point. It will resonate much more with your readers, and they'll be much more attentive.

That's because when you're telling a story of any kind, you're speaking a language people's brains understand at a primitive level, and it can be a powerful thing.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Emotional Storytelling in Your Next Sales Presentation

4. Use subheadings to keep your readers on the page.

And of course, none of the above matters if you can't keep people on the page. If you want to engage your readers and entice them to take action, you first have to keep them from leaving the page -- which is 80 percent of the battle. The key to this is understanding how people consume content in the first place.

Think about how you read this article. You probably saw the headline, read the first few lines, then skimmed until you saw a subheadline that seemed interesting. Then you probably skimmed that section until something jumped out as read-worthy, then you read that section.

Keep this in mind: Most people only actually read after they've skimmed their way to a line that grabs their attention or resonates with them.

Use that principle to structure your content in such a way that someone could get the gist of it just by reading the subheadlines. They should be able to understand the main points you're driving home without having to dig through the content to find them.

Mike Taylor

Writer, Founder of Gazellish.com, Content Contributor at Digium, Inc.

Mike Taylor is a marketer and writer who quit his day job for work he loves and found a way to do it for a living without a college degree.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Social Media

How To Start a Youtube Channel: Step-by-Step Guide

YouTube can be a valuable way to grow your audience. If you're ready to create content, read more about starting a business YouTube Channel.

Growing a Business

Want to Expand Your Market Overseas? Here's Everything You Need to Know About Global Logistics in 2024

With rising geopolitical tensions and changing market conditions it can be hard for businesses to navigate supply chain logistics even in a post-pandemic world. Here are three tips from the CEO of an international customs brokerage.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Elvis Presley's Granddaughter Fights Graceland Foreclosure, Calls Paperwork 'Forgeries'

The 13.8-acre estate was scheduled to be sold in a public foreclosure auction on Thursday. Presley's granddaughter and heir, Riley Keough, is fighting to save Graceland in court.

Business News

Kickstarter Is Opening Up Its Platform to Creators and Making Big Changes to Its Model — Here's What's New

The company noted it is moving beyond traditional crowdfunding and making it easier for businesses to raise more money.