The building blocks for outstanding content
Whatever anyone tells you, creating quality content is no walk in the park – I’ve learned that the hard way. Not because the writing itself is hard – the vast majority of people nowadays know how to write and have access to the Internet. By that logic, anyone can create content! But just like having ten fingers doesn’t make you a pianist, having basic writing skills and an Internet connection isn’t enough to make your content good.
Of course, I am starting this article off with the assumption that everyone knows the basics of content creation. This is probably not a good assumption to make. So here’s a quick refresher on the very basics of creating content.
Content needs to be 100% unique as otherwise, it is pretty much worthless. Because of that, you should ensure that it’s written from your own, unique point of view. Naturally, fill it up with keywords in a way that feels natural and not forced – remember that you’re aiming at people first, bots second. And then there are general writing tips – make sure it’s cohesive, that the most important info is at the beginning, and so on.
There are so many things you have to consider if you want your content to stand out. That’s mostly because there are so many dimensions to content. In this day and age, it really isn’t enough to make content that is compelling to a reader. It still has to be that, of course, but it also has to be so much more.
Most importantly, your content needs to have the means of reaching your audience. So you have to make sure that it pops up in search results, that your readers will want to keep reading, that they’ll share it, and so on.
So where do I start?
The first thing you want to focus on is, ironically, the last thing that people will get to see. Sure, attracting people to your piece is incredibly important, but what truly matters in the end is that the reader feels fulfilled.
Your first instinct should be to write content that is easy to read, engrossing, and provides the reader with a sense that they’ve learned something. Don’t show off all of those sesquipedalian words that you learned studying English. Keep your words, sentences, and paragraphs short and simple. That, in turn, makes the text easier to read, and the point of your text is made clearer.
And I just went against that by using “sesquipedalian” in a sentence. But now that that’s drawn your attention, you’ll remember the lesson, see? This leads me to my next point.
Aside from gripping a reader, your content needs to make a lasting impression. After all, content is there to educate its reader in one way or another, and making a lesson memorable is a reliable way to achieve that. There really is no one way to do that, though.
One way to really reach a reader is starting an article with a little anecdote. Because people memorise stories far more effectively than they do raw data, this is how you can use this to your advantage.
Humour is another tool that can help make your content more enjoyable and memorable. Go wild with puns, jokes, funny images, and wordplay. Be careful with memes, however. While a well-executed meme can make your content really funny and effective, Internet culture is rapidly evolving at all times, so you might just end up beating a dead horse.
Of course, the most important element to your content is its originality. Make sure the topic you cover is valuable to a potential reader and that you are offering them something that no one else can offer. Considering how much content there is out there, this might seem impossible, but once you find a niche for yourself, you’ll get to show people just how unique your voice is.
So what do I do now?
You’ve done it. You’ve written a piece of content that is not only nice and easy to read but leaves the reader with a sense of fulfilment and more knowledge than they had before. And yet, most people won’t continue reading beyond the first line or paragraph. It’s up to you to prevent that.
Never underestimate the power of the title. The title is your first hook that will determine whether someone thinks they want to spend time finding out what you have to say. It’s the first impression you’ll make on a reader – don’t ruin it!
You can phrase your title as a question – one that will hook your readers and make them want to find out what the answer is by reading your article. Alternatively, you can entice your readers with the promise of new, enriching knowledge.
But just because your readers will start reading your content, doesn’t mean they’ll finish it. A vast majority of readers simply scan articles instead of reading it from top to bottom. You can partially avert this by adding sub-titles in-between paragraphs. At a certain point, the reader might take notice. “Hey, this looks interesting!” they’ll think. “I should take a closer look!”
Treat every paragraph title as you would the title of your article. Make your readers crave your wise words time and time again.
So how can I boost my performance even more?
So let’s say you’ve followed my guidelines to the letter so far. You have a nice little piece of content that is interesting to read and entices the reader to read to the end from the very beginning. What comes next? Making your content visible, of course!
The obvious route of going about this is making sure to have just the right keywords – this is pretty basic stuff. But there’s actually, even more, you can do to make your content not only more compelling but also more accessible.
Linking to other websites or other content on your website can make a world of a difference. If you’re listing, say, comfortable beds for pets, it’s a good idea to provide links to the shops that have them. This will make it much more informative and practical to your reader, making your content stand out even more among the competition.
Do the same with photos and screenshots – in general, add and link to everything that can help enhance your reader’s experience. The Internet is a new medium that we are all still figuring out on many levels, but there are already so many ways that you can use many of its features to your advantage. Don’t let them go to waste!