5 Things to Do When Content Inspiration Hits

5 Things to Do When Content Inspiration Hits

Inspiration Can Be Fleeting.

Do These 5 Things When Content Inspiration Hits

Inspiration can strike at any time, and when it does, you need to be ready.

But, what do you actually need to do to ensure that you get the most out of your content inspiration? Only a few things actually, and most of them are pretty self-explanatory.

Get busy cranking out killer content by knocking out these # things to do when content inspiration strikes:

1. Write It Down

This may be a little bit of a “duh” moment, but you’d be surprised at how many amazing ideas you pass up simply because you neglect to write it down. I’ll be honest, I have and now I keep a pad of paper next to my bed at all times.

I <3 my bedside journal, and you will too.

Begin by writing down every single idea you have, big or small. That way you can not only remember it, but you can also cross-reference your content ideas when it comes time to…

2. Google It

So, you’ve had an epiphany.

Great!

Now, take the next step and check your work. Because you took the first step in writing it down, you can easily plug it into Google in the morning to find out if you’re the first one to have thought of it, or if your idea is pretty generic.

Remember, that just because you aren’t the first to have the idea doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea. Think about different ways to approach the subject differently to achieve a different result with the same basic goal.

3. Sleep On It

No matter how simple or complex your idea is, it is always a good idea to sleep on it.

Sure, it seems like a good content idea now, but it may not sound so smart in the morning.

So, always try to get a solid 8 hours after your content inspiration hits to ensure that you get the best end of the deal.

4. Bounce It Off Your Friends

After you’ve let your idea simmer, start bouncing it off your nearest and dearest friends, co-workers, influencers, and network buddies.

Start with your closest friends to make sure that you don’t sound like a raving lunatic when you approach influencers and networkers. If your idea still has steam, bring it to your next networking meet!

Remember to always tread lightly. Networking meetings are always a touchy subject and you’re best off offering something that can help your networkees versus selling something.

5. Get to Work

If you’ve done the work and knocked the previous four steps out of the park, now is the time to get down and dirty.

No matter how large or small your content inspiration is, you should always start from the beginning and do it right rather than doing it quickly. You’ve taken the time to make sure it’s a good idea, why wouldn’t you take the time to do it justice?

Take your time and lay out your project in clearly defined steps from beginning to end, and attack each of those steps with a clear head.

So, next time content inspiration strikes, make sure to follow these steps to get the most out of your idea no matter what it is. Do you have a great tip to add to this list? Let me know!

Top 5 Worst Content Mistakes All Small Businesses Make

Top 5 Worst Content Mistakes All Small Businesses Make

Are You Guilty of One (or more) of These Top Worst Content Mistakes?

Let’s Hope Not!

Although content marketing is “not” a new concept, many small businesses still have a hard time grasping the idea. The only thing worse than ignoring content marketing is completely screwing it up.

So, get ahead of the curve by learning from the top 5 worst content marketing mistakes that all small businesses make.

Like…

1. Understanding the Power of Content.

Content is everything. Literally, every piece of communication that your business puts out is content. So, it would stand to reason that content is pretty damn powerful, wouldn’t it?

Sadly, many small businesses STILL don’t get the significance of good content. It can make or break any marketing campaign, customer contact, website impact, etc. So, for the sake of your sanity and the longevity of your brand, start respecting content.

In fact, here are 5 reasons great content is important to your business.

2. Ignoring the Needs of The Audience.

Your audience makes your brand go ‘round. You know it. I know it. Your audience knows it.

That being said, your audience is a unique group of people that have unique wants and needs that are specific to your business. Ignoring those needs can be absolutely disastrous to the longevity of your business, making this the WORST content marketing mistake you could ever make.

To get ahead of this and make sure that you’re respecting the needs of your audience, start by building out targeted buyer personas for your brand. Not sure what a buyer persona is? Here’s a sweet blog article to help shed some light: What is a Buyer Persona and Why Does It Matter?

3. Not Implementing Tracking Options.

Let’s face it; there are STILL businesses that aren’t using Google Analytics and Search Console. I know, crazy.

If you’re one of these businesses, get on that right now. Seriously, open a new tab and get to work.

If you are using GA and SC, are you actually tracking goals or reviewing your analytics on a regular basis? You should be. Google Analytics is absolutely crucial to knowing how your content performs and how your audience consumes content. To get ahead of your content, start by implementing some of these custom reports:

Content Analysis Dashboard

Social Media Dashboard

4. Not Testing.

You would NEVER buy a new product or system for your business without testing it, would you?

Well, the same goes for testing your content to ensure that your audience is getting the best you can provide, and your marketing team is getting the most out of that content.

Now, depending on what kind of content you’re running, testing may come in different forms. But, there’s always a way to do it.

One free testing option is actually through your Google Analytics account (you do have one of those, don’t you?), called Google Experiments.

Another free option is a very aptly named program called ABTesting.net. You get 5 free A/B tests when you signup, and you can earn more free tests by sharing your experience on Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s a pretty small price to pay to know how your audience responds to content.

Need to know how long to run your test? Check out this handy dandy little tool: Visual Website Optimizer Split Test Optimizer. Or, THIS TOOL to determine the significance of your landing page.

5. Not Hiring A Dedicated Content Marketing Pro.

Last, but not least, is the idea that if you are utilizing content marketing, then you should definitely hire a dedicated content marketer for your team.

This may seem a little overkill to most small businesses, but trust me, content marketing is a FULL-TIME JOB. The worst thing you can do is overload an existing employee with the responsibilities of a content marketing representative and just wait until things fall apart.

And, fall apart they will.

Trust me when I tell you, from personal experience that there’s a fine line between wearing many hats and being overwhelmed. Save yourself and your team the stress by vetting and hiring a professional to handle your content marketing needs.

Keep in mind that this person can be an intern, contractor, or a part-time employee. As long as their sole focus is on content marketing, you don’t have to break the bank

So, to rock the socks off your audience from the very beginning, work to avoid all 5 of these content mistakes that all small businesses make and you’ll be in good shape.

Have you made a content mistake that you’d like others to learn from? Share it with me in the comments below!

Make Content Creation More Fun in 3 Simple Ways

Make Content Creation More Fun in 3 Simple Ways

Content creation can often be seen as a chore. It’s a regular chunk of time that could be spent on something more tangible, like hustling sales. But, in the current age, creating quality content should be a priority because it is an opportunity to promote both value and community, which goes much farther for your brand in many ways.

If you’ve been avoiding content creation for any reason…

Here are 3 simple ways to make content creation easier and more fun for everyone involved.

1. Crowdsource

Make a point to regularly ask your audience what they want to hear from you, and be GENUINE about it.

You can go about this several different ways, and one method will work better for you than for other businesses.

  • Sift through testimonials.
  • Email survey.
  • Web pop-up survey.
  • Social media survey posts.
  • Ask them in person.

Test each of these methods to streamline your best opportunity for crowdsourced content and stick with it. Your content should evolve with your business, and your customers will always be the best source of inspiration.

2. Make It A Team Activity

No matter whether you’re a company of one or a Fortune 500 brand with over 200 employees, making sure to include your employees in the content creation process is crucial.

Everyone has a different perspective and personality, so trying to incorporate that into your content can take your content from “ok” to “amazeballs”.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Take your content from “ok” to “amazeballs” by making it a team activity.” user=”inkedigital”]

Start small and work within your particular department. If things go well, expand outward slowly (with manager permissions, of course) until you create a healthy number of involved individuals and departments.

Schedule a meeting at regular intervals to collaborate and gather ideas, but always be sure to stay on topic. Be wary of the dreaded meeting hole and read our article: 6 Ways to Make Meetings More Productive.

3. Involve the Family

Strange as it may sound, your family can provide some real insight into the value of your content. Plus, incorporating human elements and culture into your content can be more rewarding than you expect.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Your family can provide some real insight into the value of your content.” user=”inkedigital”]

Set a day each week or month to sit down for an hour with your friends and family to involve them in your work life. Your spouse will likely provide the most tangible ideas, but your children will provide the element of fun and creativity that your content needs. Never underestimate the mind of a child!

TIP: If you’re often accused of being a “workaholic” this would also be a great opportunity to show your friends and family exactly what you do all day and invite them to pitch in. Not only will you gain incredible insight from someone outside the business, but you’ll also gain more respect from your peers.

No matter where you are in your content process or what kind of industry you’re in, you can apply these three simple methods to make content creation and curation easier and way more fun for everyone.

Do you have a great way to make content creation more fun? Share it with me!

Content VS. Copy: The 3 Key Differences You Need to Know

Content VS. Copy: The 3 Key Differences You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered exactly what differentiates content from copy? Well, I’m here to tell you that the differences are monumental. Literally, everything is different.

Tip: Don’t ever call a content writer a copywriter. You may need to run.

So, in the great battle of content vs. copy, here are the 3 key differences that you need to know.

Content Is:

1. Conversational

Being conversational is probably one of the most important facets of what makes content, content.

No matter which platform it is being executed within, good content can create, promote, and nurture healthy conversation by being HUMAN.

While copy is often cold, distant, and lacks a human element that people connect with.

2. Valuable

Value can be perceived in many different ways depending on the platform or media outlet being used, but the basic definition is:

“The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” Thanks, Merriam-Webster!

Content is useful in every sense of the word. If it doesn’t work hard to solve a problem or answer a question, it’s not content.

[easy-tweet tweet=”If it doesn’t work hard to solve a problem or answer a question, it’s not content.” user=”inkedigital”]

On the other hand, copy simply just tells you one version of the story without attempting to resolve the issue.

3. Non-Interruptive

Good content is designed and implemented to provide value without being obnoxious.

You don’t feel like you’re being marketed to because properly executed content can inspire you to make your own decision.

4. More Than Just Words

Content can often be perceived as being just words. It’s not, content is literally everything that you’re putting out there to connect with your audience. From blog posts to radio shows.

Content evokes a feeling.
Content inspires action.
Content creates community.

Copy? Copy just tells you what’s going on.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Think of copy as a boring news article, and content as an in-depth “How To” article or video.” user=”inkedigital”]

So, if you’re still confused about what you need to further your brand marketing efforts…ask any millennial passerby. They’ll help shed a little light on the subject in simple terms.

4 Quick & Easy Ways to Do a Content Audit

4 Quick & Easy Ways to do a Content Audit

If you have a ridiculous amount of published content already living on the web, it’s always a good idea to perform a content audit to make sure that it’s working as intended.

But, when you’ve got a boatload of content, how do you keep things simple?

Well, here are 4 quick and easy ways to do a content audit.

First of all, what is a content audit?

An audit is an essential overview of your current content; its reach, value, and engagement rates. A well-prepared content audit can help you better determine what is working and what needs a little love.

Use one or combine any of the following methods to get a good look at your content effectiveness:

1. Google Analytics

What outlet does it cover? Pretty much everything.

This is by and large your best option to analyzing the effectiveness of your content. If you’ve set up our Analytics account properly, it covers just about everything.

Start by choosing an appropriate date range within your GA dashboard. Three to six months is always a good option, but it should depend on when you began implementing content.

Next, take a peek at your Search Console landing pages or Social Network Referral Landing Pages.

Google Analytics Top Landing Pages

If you have goals set up, look for pages or content that have produced the highest conversion rates. If your goals aren’t set up (do that right away) look at content that has produced a solid combination of low bounce rate + high time spent on site + higher number of pages viewed while on site.

Google Analytics Network Referral Insights

Any pages or content that have produced great numbers in any or all of these categories need to be reviewed for commonalities. These results should be used to adjust existing content and produce new content.

2. Union Metrics

What outlet does it cover? Instagram and Twitter

Union Metrics is an incredible FREE option to assess and optimize your Instagram and Twitter feeds in a matter of seconds.

Union Metrics

Simply input your account, hit run and rake in the insights.

Union Metrics Instagram Insights

You’ll get the most relevant information out of the top trending hashtags and top post sections.

Plus, you can look at your competitor’s account insights to see how you can improve and compete.

3. Facebook Insights

What outlet does it cover? Facebook

Everyone is on Facebook. I mean everyone. So, it would make sense that their insights platform would be pretty robust.

So, get your feet wet by hitting the Insights tab from within your Facebook account.

Head over to the Posts section from the left navigation list, and look for posts that had both a high reach and high engagement rates. You can switch the engagement column to show the total engagement rate percentage rather than compartmentalized engagement statistics.

Facebook Post Insights

Anything over a 1% engagement rate is great. But, anything above a 5% engagement rate should be studied!

TIP: Figure out your engagement rate using the following equation: total engagements (likes, comments, shares, etc.) / total number of fans reached * 100 = engagement %.

The unspoken rule is always to strive for a solid 5% engagement rate on a post by post basis. Start by implementing a content strategy and then use these three options to perform a smart content audit, figure out where you stand, and begin working towards healthy engagement.

4. SumoMe

What outlet does it cover? Your website.

SumoMe is a FREE plugin for WordPress that allows you to track a ridiculous amount of things in a very small package. My favorites are the heat map tool and the content analytics tool.

First and foremost, the heat map tool. I’m sure you’ve heard about this technology before.

It essentially maps the location of clicks and cursor hovers on your website to help you determine which areas are the most popular and which button are or are not working.

SumoMe Heat Map Tool

Pretty sweet, right?

Next up is the SumoMe content analytics tool.

This handy dandy little guy helps you see how much of each piece of content or page is actually being read. Obviously, the higher the percentage read on average, the more valuable your content is.

SumoMe Content Analytics Tool

The only kicker: Each campaign will only track a single page or post, so you have to set up individual “campaigns” for each blog post.

So, get started with a simple content audit right now. It doesn’t take a village to get it done, and you can get some really amazing insights quickly.

Do you have another resource for performing a quick content audit?

How to Tell If Your Content is Valuable as a New Brand

How to Tell if Your Content is Valuable as a New Brand

Determining if your content is effective and valuable is easier than you think, especially if you’re an established brand. But, what if you’re a newly minted business? It can be a real challenge to figure out where you stand with no benchmarks for comparison.

Here are 4 steps to determine how to tell if your content is valuable:

1. Do YOU Believe What You’re Saying?

Take a minute to evaluate whether you genuinely believe in what you’re saying. If you don’t, no one will.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Evaluate whether you genuinely believe in what you’re saying. If you don’t, no one will.” user=”inkedigital”]

If you don’t passionately believe in what you’re doing and saying, it will be obvious in the. If that happens, you audience will pick up on it right away, and it will automatically put them off.

2. Do YOU Find It Valuable?

Not only do you need to believe in your content, but you must also find it valuable. Even if you don’t fit into the primary demographic of the brand, you should still find something useful about the content. If not, your audience won’t love it either.

3. Run it by Your Staff

Has your content passed the first two personal tests? Run it by your team!

You’ve already chosen your team well, so give them the opportunity to share their opinion.

4. TEST IT!!

So, your content has passed each internal test put to it by yourself and the team. Now, what?

FIELD TEST IT!

Now, you test, test, and re-test.

Check your content as many times as you find it necessary to get the results that you desire. Depending on the type of content or the source of delivery, some content may require more or less testing.

But, the bottom line is, if you have been diligent and have cross-examined your content carefully, your audience will devour it in seconds.

5 Reasons Great Content Is Important to Your Business

5 Reasons Great Content Is Important to Your Business

By now, you probably realize that content is important. But, how important? What kind of content? Are you different?

The questions can be a little overwhelming, and many businesses avoid content marketing because they just don’t quite understand it.

The truth is, everyone needs content for a different reason and in a different context. But, the overall importance of that content never changes.

Here are 5 reasons why great content is important to your business, no matter what industry you’re in.

1. Great Content Builds Trust

The definition of content marketing is offering value to your audience and answering their questions in a way that is non-obtrusive and easy to understand.

“Content Marketing represents the gap between what brands produce and what consumers actually want.” ~ Michael Brenner

[easy-tweet tweet=”“Content Marketing represents the gap between what brands produce and what consumers actually want.” ~ Michael Brenner” template=”quote”]

So, by default, providing great content helps build trust and foster brand loyalty among your customers, prospects, AND employees. When your employees see you making a genuine effort to provide support and value, they’re more likely to become brand advocates. We all know that an employee is one of the best brand ambassadors a business can have, right?

2. Increases Brand Awareness

By churning out content that is specially tailored to your customer’s needs, you are building brand awareness on several different levels.

  • First, you’re developing healthy SEO by creating quality, consistent content.
  • Second, your audience sees your name more often, which fosters top of mind awareness.
  • Third, audience members that interact with your content are more likely to share it with their friends and family.

3. Helps You Understand Your Audience

By appropriately tracking and measuring your content marketing efforts, you can learn more about your audience in one month than you learned all of the last year.

Seriously, if you follow best practices, you are guaranteed to learn something that will help you tailor future content to the appropriate demographic.

Great content can help you get inside your ideal customer’s head and understand their unique wants and needs.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Great content can help you get inside your ideal customer’s head and understand their unique needs.” user=”inkedigital”]

Plus, this insight can help you tailor in-person interaction to further conversions. Meaning that you can use what you’ve learned to train your staff and adjust your physical location to better suit the customer’s wants and needs.

4. Set the Standard for Your Team

By being consistent, creative, and thoughtful with your content, you are automatically setting the standard for the rest of your team.

Whether you’re a small or large company, someone is always looking to you to set the standard of quality for the brand. Quickly and efficiently do this by providing great content that your audience actually NEEDS. Your team will catch on and carry through in less time than you’d expect.

5. Content is 100% Actionable

While many people say that content marketing is hard to track, that doesn’t mean it isn’t actionable.

Creating great, actionable content that does it’s job and engages the user can help you:

  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Monetize.
  • Build a foundation for further marketing efforts.
  • Inspire action in your audience.

So, if you’re still in the dark about whether content is important to your bottom line or not, ask your customers. They’re not afraid to tell you what they think, and believe it or not, will praise you when deserved.

Do your part to make your content work for your business by developing and implementing a solid content marketing strategy. Combine that with tailored platform content strategies, and you’re unbeatable. Get it going today!

My Journey Down the Content Marketing Rabbit Hole & Why You Need to Take The Leap

Like Alice, I randomly stumbled upon and tumbled down a rabbit hole. The difference is that my proverbial “rabbit hole” happened to be a headlong skid into the realm of content marketing. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that tumble saved my life.

So, I’d like to share my journey down the content marketing rabbit hole and explain why you need to take that leap as well.

What Is Content Marketing?

In essence, content marketing is the act of providing rich, relevant content to your audience across all platforms. This means that you’re doing your very best to engage your customer and give them what they’re looking for on your website, social media, newspapers, etc.

Content Is everything and everywhere. You can’t afford to mess it up.

Everything the light touches is content.

My Personal Journey

My personal journey into content marketing began in 2011 when I inadvertently landed my first marketing job.

I had just moved back home and was in desperate need of a job. I ended up taking a marketing and office assistant position at a local sign-making franchise and found myself immersed in all sorts of social media, email, and direct marketing. Needless to say, I was lost but I quickly learned how to “swim” and took to marketing like a duck to water.

Since that fateful initial marketing position, I’ve always gravitated towards marketing in many ofits different forms taking jobs in copywriting, social media management, and SEO among others.

I began hearing about this new-fangled type of marketing called “content marketing” and after reading up on it I realized that it pretty much sums everything up in two words. I continued to learn and keep myself up to date on all the new things happening in the world of content marketing, as I plugged away at my day job.

Why It ClicksWhy It Clicks

Day after day of learning about content marketing but not being allowed to implement best practices within my current day job kind of cinched it for me.

I decided that in order to do right by what I know and what I’m good at, I had to strike out on my own. I needed to be able to share the wonderfully simple idea of content marketing with people that were willing to listen and were willing to grow their business.

Thus, Ink.e Digital was born and I am now pushing my content marketing craziness on everyone that I meet!

Why It Makes Sense to You

Content marketing is a very simple concept that takes quite a few different moving parts to be effective. However, when it is effective…boy, is it EFFECTIVE! Seriously, you’ll notice a difference and you’ll hear your customers talk about you (and your content) in such an excited tone.

Taking advantage of the wonders of content marketing and taking that leap down the rabbit hole begins here. Are you ready to take the tumble and begin giving your audience what they crave?

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Or, if you need a little more convincing…here are a couple of other articles that I’ve written about the wonders of content marketing.

What Is Content Marketing & Why Should A Business Owner Care?

Does Your Business Need a Content Marketing Strategy?

5 Ways Content Marketing is Like Owning a Cat

 

I’m A Millennial & Here’s What I Learned At A Marketing to Millennials Workshop

Millennials have gotten a bit of a bad rap lately. Maybe it’s because we’re impulsive or ask too many questions. Or, maybe it’s because we’re just too uncomplicated to be human. Whatever the case may be, the simple fact of the matter is that millennials make up the vast majority of the active population of this era.

I am a millennial and here is what I learned from attending a workshop on marketing to millennials in the digital age.Hello, I'm A Millennial Badge

1. Transparency & Honesty Are Key
The thing about millennials is that we don’t mess around. Millennials value honesty and transparency above all else.

Don’t bother beating around the bush or trying to pull the wool over our eyes about your product or service. Regardless of the industry that you’re in, we can smell a liar from a mile away.

Be honest about who you are and how your product or services can help us grow and live easier. If you can stick to that, you’ll be fending millennials off with a stick.

2. Don’t Dress It Up
Millennials understand that nothing is all sunshine and rainbows. Some things are scary or nitty-gritty. But, that’s the way it needs to be and we understand that what we see is what we get.

Don’t put lipstick on a pig. It’s still bacon.

Don't put lipstick on a pig. It's still bacon.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Some basic life necessities happen to be a little scary but are still necessary to a healthy life. Say it like it is. If you’re selling financing services…say so. Managing your finances is kinda scary, but we get that and we won’t shy away from straight talk and transparency.

3. Keep It Simple, Stupid
Seriously, the K.I.S.S. principle is still a thing. Whether you’re looking at a website or a TV advertisement, marketing to millennials should contain simple and easy to understand content.

Don’t overcomplicate things with extra hoops to jump through, industry jargon or overly stylized design. You have all of 3 seconds to grab out attention and roughly 3-5 additional seconds to keep millennials interested. Extra steps, flashy buttons or flowery content do nothing but distract us from the end goal…to buy your product or service. You don’t want that, do you?

So, what did we learn?
Millennials can’t stand fluff. Once you grasp that fact, you’re on your way to a successful and well-respected business.

Are you a millennial? Do you agree or do you have something to add?

Learn How to Create Amazing & Easy Content Marketing for Kids

Learn How to Create Amazing & Easy Content Marketing for Kids

In honor of National Be A Kid Day (July 8th), we would like to share some great ways to create amazing and easy content marketing pieces that appeal to kids and their parents.

If your particular business or brand caters to families with small children, you’ve probably learned that children are pretty darn fickle and sometimes their parents can be even worse. So, how do you appeal to both of them on the right level without turning them off? Well, tailored content marketing geared towards engaging the little ones, of course!

Kids Playing on the Internet

1. Take a moment to evaluate your brand story, mission and values to make sure that they are perfectly aligned with your audience. This is the basis for why you’re doing what you’re doing, and your audience needs to know that you’re there for them.

2. Next you should definitely begin by nailing down your unique buyer personas. Those personas should consist of: parents, babysitters, daycare providers and the kids themselves. Remember that we want to touch on every aspect of a child’s daily life, which includes all of the adults that are making decisions for them.

3. Take some time figuring out what your brand voice needs to be based on the needs of your audience and your brand story. Chances are good that you’ll want to be slightly goofy, understanding and to the point. Parents and caretakers simply do not have the time or patience to pay attention to something that takes forever to get to the point.

4. Find out where your audience spends their time and what kind of content best suits them. Depending on your buyer personas, you may be looking at several different media channels.

5. Create engaging content! By now you should have a pretty solid grasp on what your audience wants and needs. You will want to create content that provides value to them, whether that be through simple education on your product or services, some insight into the industry, or through an interactive piece of content that the kids can enjoy.

This is going to be very dependent on what industry you’re in and what you’re selling. Some cool examples of engaging content geared towards kids and their caretakers are:

• Educational coloring book pieces.
• Crosswords.
• Fill-in-the-blanks.
• Short, fun videos.
• Animation (gifs, flash or videos)
• Simple lists of great resources for parents.
• Create a brand specific character/mascot that the kids/parents can relate to.
• Simple interactive games.

Always try to keep things bright, fun and simple. Whether your viewer is a child or adult, they aren’t going to sit there and try to read through a lengthy article or post.