Making a decision to create great content in order to promote your business, network with other people in the industry, or perhaps just to showcase your writing skills so you can get top-notch clients, is pretty much a no-brainer.
And that's about the simplest aspect of it. It takes a lot of skill, time, and effort to create brilliant content your audience will simply eat up. To continue to with the thinly veiled cooking analogy in the title, you need to avoid cheap substitutes and store-bought stuff, just as you would when preparing your favorite meal at home.
Junk food may taste good at first, but it's useless in the long run, just like poor content, instead of that which is nutritious, delicious, and filling, Cooking metaphors aside, good content needs to be useful, with a well-thought out presentation, and provide answers readers can take away and apply in real life.
So, you may be asking yourself, what are those secret ingredients? Well, you're in luck, because our list contains 10 carefully selected tips which you need to follow if you are interested in creating fresh, crisp, and punchy content.
1. Content Needs to Provide the Readers with Something of Value
The first reason why they've stumbled upon your website or blog is because they were looking for answers, and the search engine happened to cough your website's address. Once they are there, they expect to find some information that is going to help them figure a solution to their particular problem. Of course, your goal is to direct them to purchase your product, but they will be more likely to do so if you've went the extra mile to help them out, instead of trying to sell them something right away.
2. Originality Is Crucial
In addition to being useful, great content also needs to be original. This is your chance to share your knowledge with the world and have your voice heard, so why not infuse your content with a fresh, new twist, or a unique tone. Audience also responds well when you share your own personal experiences, because then your content appears more genuine and authentic. Also, there is the added benefit of Google not penalizing you for duplicate content. While it may be tempting to regurgitate existing content, refrain from doing so.
3. Make It Readable
Your readers want answers, and they want them as fast as possible, so make sure to make your content easily digestible. For starters, break up your text into smaller paragraphs and highlight all of the key points in it, either through use of bold letters, bulleted and numbered lists, or by using subheadings. Also, your articles should contain very little fluff, and your sentences should be concise and to the point. Avoid using overly complex and convoluted ones that are hard for readers to wrap their heads around.
4. Check Your Facts before You Publish
It is very likely that your posts will be read by thousands, or perhaps even millions of readers, especially if you are working for a high-end client, which is great, but you need to be able to get behind every single word and fact that is in your articles. Otherwise, you can permanently ruin your reputation as a content provider. Whether you've presented inaccurate stats or linked to an unreliable source, it doesn't matter. Make it your priority to fact-check everything you put inside your texts just to be on the safe side.
5. Visuals Are Important Too
You will also find that some people tend to be visual types, so why not insert some multimedia into your writing? This goes double if you are writing "how-to" articles or lists. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure that whatever you've written, along with some high-quality images, stays with the readers for as long as possible. There are plenty of tools and resources you can rely on to create eye-catching photos, infographics, or even videos, so not being a designer is no longer a valid excuse.
6. Craft Intriguing and Strong Headlines
If you are producing awesome content, it will be of no use to anyone if you don't have a good title that will persuade the readers to click on it and read the rest. It's seems a bit unfair to have all that effort depend on a dozen or so words, but that's how the internet works, so get with the program. While there are no guarantees a particular headline will drive the audience to click on it, those which contain words like "Top 10", "How to", or even "The Real Truth Behind" seem to be more effective.
7. Cultivate Strong Social Media Presence
When your article pops up on those elusive first few pages of Google Search, it only accounts for some of the traffic to your blog, but not all of it. Other major source of traffic is social media, which is why you need to develop a strategy. That doesn't mean you should open up an account on all of them. You should choose those which are suitable for promoting your business. For instance, if you are looking for immediate feedback, try Facebook and Twitter. If your work is focused on visuals, give Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr a shot.
8. Be Consistent
Everyone's schedule and work habits are different, which means not everyone will be able to post on a daily basis. However, you should make sure to post at least twice a week, or better yet, 3-4 times. Blogs and websites which are updated regularly easily become the darlings of search engines, as opposed to those which publish new content every now and then. Consistency also indicates that you are serious about the job, which will not go unnoticed by your readership. This principle also applies to the quality of your work, not just the quantity.
9. Use Analytics Software
There are plenty of variables to be considered when analyzing the success or failure of your posts, which is why you should rely on Google Analytics. The data it collects can help you figure out the most effective strategy for increasing traffic. For example, you can use it to track the times of day, or days of the week during which your posts have gained the most traction with your audience, or which of your social media accounts bring in the least amount of traffic. You can also set goals, analyze the demographic aspect of your audience, and plenty of other factors.
10. Keep up to Date with SEO
Keywords used to be all the rage, but now their impact has been diminished, because Google changes the way it reads content all the time. However, keywords can still be of use to you, can always focus on those long-tail keywords which haven't been used to death, and which can drive a significant amount of traffic your way, without any of the competition interfering.
As you can see, creating brilliant content is a bit like running a kitchen. You need to make sure the guests aren't waiting for their orders for too long and that all the ingredients are fresh, that nothing is overdone, or undercooked, while also making sure that the interior of the restaurant is a pleasant place to be in.
So, make sure your content is actionable, visually pleasing, thoroughly researched, and regularly updated. That way will be ready for whatever challenges that may come your way.