7 Step Guide To Creating Perfect Content

wittlake
Eric Wittlake Director of Media, Babcock & Jenkins

Posted on July 9th 2013

7 Step Guide To Creating Perfect Content

Happy New Year 2013Have you ever clicked on a promising headline and then been horribly disappointed by the results? Have you then been amazed at the number of social media shares you continue to see of that same thing post?

I know I have. Those writers have discovered the foolproof formula for creating killer content with minimal effort or original thought. Content that consistently delivers results (shares and visits, not people that actually care, that’s not worth the trouble to measure anyways) for your efforts. Warning, sarcasm may be found dripping at additional points throughout this article.

Do you want guaranteed success too? Just follow this simple formula, and ignore the people quietly laughing at your expense.

The Perfect Content Marketing Formula

If you just follow the formula, you can’t fail.

This 7 point formula delivers content that earns page views and social proof, likely vaulting it to the top of search results for every single term you care about. Yep, more sarcasm.

1. Write a Catchy Title

Something vaguely related to your topic is good, something valuable to your audience and using your target keywords is even better.

Always start with a number, and remember that fear is a stronger motivator than reward. Following this guideline, this post could have been called 5 Things Every Content Marketer Needs to Know, or better yet, 7 Mistakes Every Content Marketer Makes Today.

2. Nail the Subheads

No one is going to read the entire post, but if they skim it, they will read your subheads. Hit the main points in your subheads to increase shares and retweets.

3. Quote or Reference Key Influencers

For instance, Jay Baer (@jaybaer) is widely quoted as saying “Content is fire, social media is gasoline.” What Jay might add is top social media influencers are jet fuel. Get some jet fuel on your side by referencing key influencers in your content (and telling them when it is published).

4. Make It Skimmable

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Bold what you want skimmed. If it isn’t in bold, most visitors will look right past it.

Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Keys to creating skimmable content:

  • Bold your key points
  • Use bulleted lists (but keep them short!)
  • Skim your article in 15 seconds

5. Add a Visual Element

An image, video, infographic or slideshare adds a visual element and draws your visitor in. Better yet, include one from an influencer (see #3).

6. Occasionally Break the Rules

Rules are meant to be broken, as long as you don’t do it too often. After all, if you follow the same formula all the time, you will look like the automaton that you are!

No, there isn’t a rule #7. But 7 always sounds better than 6. Maybe it is because bonsai group plantings always use odd numbers.

STOP! Let’s Be Serious

The real problem with this formula, despite the bit of sarcasm, is the main points sound like much of the advice you read and content you see! The bar is low, the content is predictable, and the format is repeated over and over again throughout personal, professional and corporate blogs and even publications.

The real mistake content creators make is continuing to follow formulas like this and producing more and more blasé content. Someday, hopefully soon, this content won’t be good enough for anyone any more.

Your Turn

Is it just me, or do you see a sea of content today that is just ok, that might have one or two small nuggets (at best) but does little to educate, inform or inspire versus the time you spend finding and reading it? Share your opinion in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Photo Credit: Nik Cyclist via Flickr cc

wittlake

Eric Wittlake

Director of Media, Babcock & Jenkins

A B2B and digital marketer, with a background in online media and analytics, that believes marketing needs to focus on serving their audience. You can connect with me on Twitter (@wittlake) or on my blog at http://b2bdigital.net/.
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Comments

Eric, very enjoyable read with great information.  

I like #6 but, by far, #7 is my favorite.  

Why?

Well, it made your post memorable.  It made me pay attention.

Kudos!

With your permission, I would like to use an excerpt form this post in a post of my own to direct back to your content.  Yes, it was that memorable! :-)

 

Thanks Kyle, glad you liked the last (non)point!

Feel free to quote an excerpt in your post, send me a link to your post on Twitter (@wittlake). Please link back to the original source article on my blog. Thanks!

Will do  - on all the points mentioned above.