If you are marketing a product or building a brand, the internet is arguably the best tool at your disposal. It has the potential to introduce your ideas to thousands or even millions of viewers a day. In order to get those numbers, however, you need high quality, attention-getting content.
While it can seem like everything under the sun has already been covered, creating great content is still a very achievable goal, especially if you approach a topic from a new perspective or bring a level of expertise to the mix. If creating great content is your goal— and it should be—here are nine ways to get started.
1. Write Attention Grabbing Headlines
No one is going to click if the headline doesn't interest them. Try to communicate your value clearly enough in the headline that your reader knows (or at least suspects) what to expect, then deliver on your promise.
Use as few words as you can to communicate the point, and use action verbs rather than the passive tense. Fast Company published an interesting post about the proven ideal length of various headlines.
2. Be Unique
Search engines reward unique content, as will your readers. If you use the same content in more than one place on the internet, search engines will mark it as plagiarism and not index one of your pages. If viewers have seen very similar content before, it doesn't matter that the search engine brought them to your page. They will simply click away and find something more interesting.
3. Know Your Audience
Write to your audience. If your readership includes professionals with plenty of technical knowledge don't insult them by going over the basics. If you are writing to laymen, be a little more precise in defining your terms. Whether you should use a professional or friendly personal tone depends entirely on the audience.
4. Have Actionable Content
Tell your readers what they can do with the information you've given them. Should they write to their congressmen, try a new approach to a problem, or buy your product? Direct your reader to the next step.
There is a common misconception that calls to action should be subtle, that it’s rude to ask your reader point blank to take a specific action. However, the truth is that your reader expects you to guide them to the next step, especially if you have shared something truly valuable. So don’t be shy.
5. Be Concise
No one has a long attention span on the internet, so keep it brief and direct. Give the information and end the article. There are a handful of useful ways to break up content to make it easy to consume. For example:
- Use lists
- And bullet points
- And remember that short paragraphs break up the content and make it more visually appealing.
6. Use Multimedia
Media can add a lot to your content. Images make reading a long article more palatable. A video can communicate clearly what might be difficult to convey in text, with the added benefit of giving your readers something to share. Always use the right tool for the job to communicate clearly.
7. Be Accessible
Don't use overly academic or flowery language. Deliver information in easily digestible packages that will keep your readers interested. Unless you happen to be writing for an academic or highly specialized audience, use plain language.
Opinions vary, but it’s generally recommended to write at between a 5th and 8th grade level. Readability-Score.com will help grade your content. Example: It placed this post at about an 8th grade reading level.
8. Explain Why
Before you write, know what you are trying to achieve with your article. When writing, make a point to tell your reader why they should be interested. Are you going to give them important information, help them perform tasks more easily, or entertain them? Let them know what to expect in the first paragraph.
9. Offer Real Answers
Make your content useful. Before you start writing, try to think of what problem you are solving for the reader. Be sure to offer insightful options that look at the problem from a multitude of angles.
Publishing great content is the key to getting a high search engine ranking and getting attention from the audience you are looking for. If you set out to be the best available resource for your topic, you will gain interested visitors who stay on your page and follow through on your calls to action.
For more information on crafting great content, check out this Writtent blog post about why content is the core of your SEO strategy, and this Writtent Academy article on creating effective calls to action.