Do you want to create outstanding and valuable written content?
Well, of course, first you have to know what one looks like.
We often see companies create articles that don’t help them achieve their goals. It often comes down to one thing: they don’t know how to identify great content.
In this article, we explain the key attributes of great content with tips for creating it.
Key attributes of good content
Think about the last great article you just couldn’t stop reading.
Did it read easily? Or did it get to the point quickly? Did the author guide you through his or her thinking smoothly? Was it so captivating that you couldn’t take your eyes off it?
These are some of the things every great content piece should make you feel.
Now, let’s break it down a bit.
Here are 8 key attributes that make a good content piece.
1. Clear message
It should be instantly clear what the article is trying to say. So, say what’s important first and then elaborate on it. Make sure that you guide the reader through the ideas, signpost paragraphs, and connect sections to create a good flow.
If your article focuses on too many things, narrow it down. As the marketing expert, Neil Patel advises, your article should have one clear idea from start to finish. Don’t try to make the article “everything for everyone”. Narrow down your focus and stick with that topic. If it’s too broad, turn it into more articles. Jeepers, you can even run a series!
Ideally, choose one idea per paragraph. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you’re trying to say too many things, the message will become diluted, and messy. Create a clear structure and define your key message at the start, then refer to it throughout. It will help you decide what information is important and what’s not.
2. Good readability
Great content reads well. To achieve that, keep the sentences short and simple.
You can also improve readability by creating a good rhythm and pace. Shorter sentences increase the pace, longer sentences slow it down. Make sure there’s a good balance.
Language also impacts readability. Choose words and phrases that are easy to understand. Sometimes, you might want to mention technical words or jargon. If you do, explain them first. Generally, it’s better to cut the jargon altogether and use words that anyone will get.
Here’s a useful tip: explain it like you’re talking to a friend who’s new to the subject. You might think that using clever words will make you sound smarter. In fact, it might cost you a reader who won’t get it and who’ll leave your site, thinking that your content is not for them.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that a typical 14-year old would understand everything after reading the article. Tools like HemingwayApp will help you check your readability score and help you simplify your writing.
3. To the point
If you want to create good content, state the most important message first and then elaborate on it. In other words, get to the point quickly. Your readers will thank you by sticking around for longer.
Also, keep your writing concise. Cut anything that’s not directly relevant to your message. Sharing too much unimportant information will dilute the message and distract the reader.
Burying the point in a sea of fluff will only confuse or annoy your audience. I’m talking about any unnecessary details that are not useful to your audience. This includes flowery text, irrelevant opinions, or redundant information that stops you from cutting to the chase.
In case you’re not sure whether to leave something in or cut it, ask yourself: Does the information help you explain your point better? Is it necessary? If so, leave it.
Or does it detract from your main point and there’s a simpler way to say it? If yes, cut it.
A key to creating outstanding content is addressing your audience’s needs.
To achieve that, find out what their problems are. What’s the biggest challenge your audiences face? What causes them to struggle? What’s their main pain point?
Address these questions in your writing to show that you understand your customers.
But don’t leave it at just talking about problems. Offer practical solutions.
Tell the reader how they can solve their problems – or better, how you, your product, or service can solve their problems. Remember: be honest about what you can deliver and always keep your promises. Otherwise, you won’t be able to build trust with your audience.
Doing the above will make your content more relevant to your audience – and relevance adds value to the reader. As a result, they will come back for more.
Do you need help with crafting your story?
What’s better than reading tips that you can immediately put into practice? Actionable content works like magic if you want to bring value to your readers.
Include practical examples whenever possible to help the reader imagine exactly what you mean. It will give the reader a clearer idea of what you mean and help them apply your ideas to real-life scenarios.
Another way to create remarkable content is to share step-by-step guidelines for solving the readers’ challenges.
Make your writing so interesting that once people start reading, they’re glued to the screen.
A great way to keep written content engaging is by telling stories. Stories can help people remember information. They will help your content stick in people’s minds. Stories can also help you make people care about and connect with your brand.
[Read more: Storytelling 101: What you should know about using stories in marketing]
Another way to keep the reader engaged is to use an original tone of voice that meets your brand’s persona.
Do you want to sound playful, conversational, or a little irreverent? The more original and interesting your writing is, the more likely the reader will pay attention. But remember: whatever tone you choose, make sure you stick with it in all your communications.
A great way to recognize outstanding content is the amount of research the author has done to create it. So, when you include statistics or make arguments, support them with credible sources. If you want to build on someone else’s ideas, include external backlinks to give them the credit they deserve.
But don’t turn your possibly awesome article into a sea of hyperlinks. First, it will look like you don’t have any ideas of your own. Second, if you send your prospects on a reading mission to other places, you risk losing them to other people’s content.
There’s a whole SEO debate on how many external links you should include in your content piece. My advice: use common sense. If you think it’s useful for the reader or if you’re quoting someone else, link it. Otherwise, have a think and come up with something original.
8. Easy to find
In case you follow all the previous advice in this article, your content might be outstanding. But if your article is the biggest secret on the internet, no one will ever find it.
To avoid this dreadful scenario, make sure you do solid keyword research.
Think about the words, phrases, or questions people might be asking about your chosen topic. Then research, research, research. See what words your competitors use when they write on the topic. Check what people search for on Google.
Alright, now you know everything. Ta-da, now you can take over the world.
Just kidding. Of course, it’s not that simple. The good ol’ practice makes perfect applies here, too.
Following these tips will help you make your content valuable and relevant to your audience. As a result, you’ll know what makes a content piece outstanding, and how to create exceptional writing that your audience will love.