Wondering how to write great content? Successfully marketing a business or idea online centers around that one thing: content. It can be a challenge for those who do not know how to write great content or only have experience producing one type of content.
With the following 15 tips, consider the secrets of great content revealed. Use these practical rules of thumb to boost conversions and grow and satisfy an audience.
1. Hunt for inspiration.
Seeing what formats and topics competitors are having success with is a good way to begin. Visit their social media profiles or use content engagement measurement tools to see what is most popular.
2. Focus on originality.
Although other content is inspirational, the cardinal rule of how to write great content is to make it original. Revisit the competition’s most popular posts, and figure out what information or conclusion is missing from their content. Now the fresh, original content can also feature something important and valuable others do not address.
3. Assume that no one will read it.
High-performing content is structured in a way that lets people skim over it. Whether it is a landing page or an article, keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use subheadings and simple words so that readers can get the gist of every piece without carefully consuming it.
4. Stay on-brand.
When producing many pieces across many formats, be cautious not to give the brand a personality crisis. People who discover and engage with a friendly, conversational brand might be confused by a sudden shift in the opposite direction.
5. Balance light reading with denser reads.
Any brand can maintain a particular voice, but still come off as ultra-knowledgeable and dynamic. This is achieved through depth, not tone. If someone is very interested in a content topic, they will appreciate the chance to read a longer-form content format. For example, eBooks and white papers are often promoted within blog posts that serve as a primer or teaser for the denser read.
6. Make trends translate.
People who know how to write great content are never out of ideas. It is not necessarily that they are more talented, but they are more resourceful. They know how to sift through current trending topics, and tie a brand or industry to the topic. This makes for timely content that has a better shot at getting a lot of visits.
7. Reuse and update past successful content.
Some of the highest-ranking posts on particular subjects have been at the top of the search results for years. How? Because they are updated to stay current and posted again. This is a good way to earn a break from posting all new content. Over time, it can make a single piece of niche content the most helpful and authoritative resource online.
8. Take in audience feedback.
If a brand is not 100% certain what an audience wants, they ask. They pay attention to what content they enjoy most and watch for their feedback on social media. A lot of the biggest brands pushing content today let their audience in on the action with hashtags and voting, as well as interacting with them directly in comments.
9. Keep everyone in the loop.
If the content is not shareable on social media, it is probably not worth posting. Keep social profiles active by posting links to the latest content. Profiles that also interact with users can see their clicks tick upward.
10. Only associate with the best.
Linking within the content is vital. Readers like it because it serves as evidence that what they are reading is true. But they will not accept links that lead to unrelated topics or push false information. Only link to authority sources, or else the trust will never come.
11. Do not get experimental or fancy.
An ambitious writer or storyteller might think they can attract readers by being offbeat. Some brands can get away with offbeat humor, but this is a carefully employed strategy. Avoid long, vocab-heavy sentences and drawn-out musings. When investing time and money in content, it is safer to build off of and improve what is already successful than it is to come out of left field.
12. Be visual.
So, flowery language and leading readers on is out. The way to stimulate a reader and provide a more complete, memorable experience is through visual aids. Infographics and videos are a plus. High-quality images are a must.
13. Stick around.
One or two great pieces of content are not enough to gain a captive audience. Have content on offer regularly, so people are seeking it out instead of just discovering it. Consistent content is also a top way to ensure customer retention and a higher search rank.
14. Never assume the audience is totally in the know.
There is no telling where a new visitor will land, or how they got there. Therefore, one should never pick up from a point made elsewhere or leave out essential details. Each piece should be complete, with everything a new reader needs.
15. Deliver the goods up front.
Many are familiar with the journalism phrase “bury the lede”. That is where the writer teases the reader to get them to keep reading. The point of the piece is buried somewhere further down the page. Good web content very rarely does this. Everyone who knows how to write great content puts need-to-know information first.
Some of the best businesses, brands, and bloggers started not knowing a thing about truly great content. Keeping things simple, especially when it’s for a wide audience, can be complicated. But with up-to-date insight on what the best content creators are focusing on, anyone can get started.
As for how to write great content, many of the principles are timeless. Maintain the voice that is most familiar and relatable to the audience, make it useful and easy to read, and always ensure the piece has an easily accessible point. Most of all, keep at it. The best content strategies will be tweaked and updated consistently.