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Most companies in one survey undervalued content as a lead-generating tool. Here’s how to make the most of your content

You’ve created a product or service and now want to get it to the masses as quickly as possible. But which marketing channels should you invest in?

Related: How Content Marketing Can Help Your Company Do More For Less

Online marketing expert Neil Patel came up with some possible answers by studying 208 companies’ marketing efforts; he found that nearly 60 percent of those companies’ marketing budgets, on average, went into Google Adwords campaigns.

Meanwhile, almost 20 percent of those budgets went to Facebook Ads. “Content marketing” came in at less than 10 percent. Although Google Adwords and Facebook Ads had the highest conversion rates by far, content marketing had over a 600 percent return on marketing spend. The ads both came in at less than 350 percent each.

The obvious lesson here is that ads are effective but that you’ll spend far less for higher returns through content marketing. And this finding makes mastering copywriting a necessity. So, the next question to ask yourself is, How do I write effective copy? Here are some answers:

1. Master the F-shaped pattern.

Many would assume that people read an article from left to right, and from the top to the bottom. However, back in 2006, Nielson Norman Group discovered the “F-shaped” reading pattern. This refers to how people scan content online and on mobile. More recently, the researchers decided to revisit this study to see how it had changed.

While the F-shaped pattern still exists, it’s not the only way people scan content. First, it’s important to understand this common reading pattern: Readers scan a line near the top of the content before jumping farther down the page to scan another line. Finally, they scan the content vertically on the left side, typically glancing at subheads. This gives you that “F” shape.

Since there are other scanning patterns, such as the spotted and marking patterns, it’s important to format your text to accommodate a wide variety of readers. Some suggestions from Nielson Norman Group include:

  • Use clear headings and subheadings.
  • Put your most important words first, both in your intro paragraphs and the first few words of headings and subheadings.
  • Boldface important points or words.
  • Make small sections more visually appealing with borders, colors or images.
  • Use lists and bullet points.

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