Great Content 101

Blogging

It’s probably been repeated more than a million times online among marketing blogs – our own blog might even account for about 25% of those. The phrase “create good content” has risen to a level high among other cliche phrases, and with good reason.

Creating quality, relatable, and shareable content with your audience online has transformed into the hallmark of so many modern digital marketing strategies. Whether it is based on inbound marketing, or just social media, there is a clear need for good content.

We all talk about it and refer back to it regularly, saying, “if you can make good content, you can own your market”. But in reality, how do you develop interesting photos, articles, blogs, and posts?

It’s rare to come across advice about how to actually go about creating good content. This is probably because it’s the “secret sauce” for many businesses or agencies. Good content is what makes their marketing so effective, and makes them so successful.

Honestly, our business was created to help small and local businesses do their thing. We like to believe we create some good content that people enjoy reading – especially small business owners.

So keeping with that same motivation, we’re writing this article to help you get a better grasp on how to create this contantly-talked-about, desirable content. All of our ideas might not fit your business’ needs best, but I bet some of them might relate. Hopefully these 7 tips get you one step closer to being able to “create good content”.

Let’s get into it, starting with the most important.

 

1. Write well and be captivating!

Nobody wants to read a boring article. If your posts or content already have a low readership rate, then you should be doing all you can to make that grow. Personally, I think this starts with how well it’s written.

Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors, and make sure your thoughts come across clearly. Need some proofreading? Get a second or third set of eyes to look it over. Create a purpose for your writing. It’s going to be much harder for someone to read your article or blog if you’re not going anywhere with it. Have a goal in mind and stick to it.

If you are regularly trying to write and create content, this part might be especially tricking. I’m personally at blame for this and it’s something I’m actively trying to improve. You have to be captivating if you want people to read your content.

Stay interesting, write with some personality, and take a stance or opinion. This makes your topic much less mundane and for the truly skilled, can make anything worth reading.

 

2. Keep It Relevant

This one might be common sense, but make sure your content really relates to your audience and their needs. Use their input and feedback to keep your going with fresh ideas.

Look at comments, what posts have been liked, and anything else that shows what your audience liked best. Leverage this as best as you can, so you can continue to engage the audience.

The posts your online followers find most engaging is also the content which they consider “good”. Since almost no one ever specifically says, “Wow this is really good content!”, you need to look at the other forms of data learn what your audience is thinking.

So remember, always keep content relevant and purposeful for your viewers. It should be insightful and help them in some way – ideally, in a way that relates back to your industry or business.

 

3. Use A Starter

What if your writing is great and you know how to reach your audience? Your problem might lie with developing new ideas. Honestly, this can be one of the more frustrating parts of content marketing. Coming up with ideas that meet all of your criteria is much easier said than done.

We know this all too well; one of the best ways to overcome this type of writers block is to use something as a starting block. This can be a post made by someone else on social media, a blog comment, or even a full article in itself.

Read, evaluate, and leverage it for your own marketing needs. If it helps, just take a side of the debate and go from there. But even if you are looking for some straightforward, objective content, these sources can be a great catalyst for ideas.

Make sure you always give credit where it’s due and cite the original article source. Even consider quoting it throughout your own content to give readers a clearer picture. If it’s in response to something smaller like a Tweet, certainly make that clear and link to it.

As a bonus, use an article or subject that has seen some popularity recently. If that article got well circulated and shared online, it’s more likely that a response or follow up that you write may have a better chance of doing the same.

People love a good story, and rarely forgot or drop it right away. Creating your piece of content with that in mind, might do you a world of good. Popular content is many times mixed seamlessly with good content, especially when a topic is new.

 

4. Use An Emotional Connection

Similar to what I just mentioned about popular topics becoming a good place to start, using an emotional connection with your audience can make your content much more relatable.

Marketers and advertisers have been using this tactic for years now; social media only encouraged its continuation recently, as it rightly should have. Social media is perfect for selling on an emotional basis since you can connect with your followers on a more human level.

When marketers use this approach, they know that it will create a stronger bond. In modern marketing, it’s widely accepted that customers who have an emotional connection with a brand or product will always buy more than those who do not.

Creating an emotional connection with people has the same benefit when it comes to your content. Your audience is much more willing to read, share, or like a piece of content that connects with them on a deeper level.

Find articles, use pictures, or write content that you think is in line with your audience’s mindset, and make sure to keep posts relevant to your business. Posts like this will be much harder for your customers to forget about, and can help create a longer lasting bond between your business and the consumer.

 

5. Use Great Images

Humans are innately visual creatures. We see with our eyes first, and then rationalize with our minds. If something is visually appealing, we are already predisposed to take notice of it, no matter what that might be.

This relates to creating quality content for your marketing strategy, because if you can put your best foot forward visually then you have an advantage. When they see something that looks interesting, your audience online will be more likely to engage.

Maybe this doesn’t mean you have created good content in itself, but helps draw attention to it. People will still need to read what you create and decide for themselves, but starting with an image puts you on the right track. Adding pictures alongside and right into your content will only compliment it.

Including a good picture can help reinforce that that your writing is also good. It is more likely to encourage people to share, like, and comment, which has the added benefits of increasing your content’s visibility.

If your content is seen by more people, it means that you may be reaching audiences or groups that may find it interesting, but would never have seen it in the first place. These same people might really enjoy what you have to say. Hopefully they continue the cycle of sharing online, but this is the heart of what good content is.

 

6. Keep it Controversial

Our last tip on actually creating some good content might go without saying. We’re including it because many times marketers dismiss it as not always being the right approach. Although I do agree with their sentiment, I still find it to be an under used approach.

We have been shown clear evidence all our lives that using controversial subjects is a simple way to get noticed. From sensational news headlines, to persuasive writing courses, and much more on the internet especially, it’s now almost second nature to filter through controversy.

However, if it relates to what you are trying to create and convey to your audience, then by all means use it. You can either use it as the subject for your content, or get opinionated on your own and take a bold new stance.

The latter will probably get you noticed a little more depending on the situation, but they both can be effective. This translates into quality content, because you are may only be one of a few taking this stance.

Maybe you’re not alone in your opinion, but it’s sure to create interest. The most beneficial aspect of this is the fact that your idea is fresh. It’s new, it’s interesting, it’s relevant, and it’s not the norm.

Many times, this is all readers want. It’s way more exciting to read content created with a new angle and take on things. People are more likely to read this kind of content, and you are more likely to have better a better chance engaging readers with this approach.

Take a position, back it up, and inject some life into the topic. You might find your content being created with a bit more fire, personality, and interest than it normally would. If you can notice it then your audience surely will as well. Just remember not to offend anyone in your audience with your opinions; always keep them fair and have solid evidence to back your ideas.

When it comes to creating good content, consistency and creativity are key. If you’re struggling with your content, go through the list above and see if there’s anything you can improve upon.

Remember, if you want to engage your audience, you really do need to create engaging content. You want your viewers to be captivated by your posts, and you want them to emotionally connect with the posts as well.

As I mentioned, using quality photos, as well as covering controversial topics can help draw people in. If you need to, get some ideas, don’t be afraid to look around the web for starter topics. And remember – try to always correct any spelling and grammar errors throughout your content before you post it.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you should be well on your way to creating quality content. You might see a spike in interest from your audience if your posts are actually improving. If not, reevaluate exactly what your followers are looking for; not everyone will connect with the same thing.

Good luck!

Kevin Gaertner

Kevin Gaertner is Co-Owner of Cyclone Strategies, a marketing agency which helps small and medium sized businesses create and implement online marketing strategies. Visit their website to get a free copy of their digital marketing eBook and read more of their small business blog.

7 thoughts on “Great Content 101

  1. Hi Kevin,

    This is a great post, I couldn’t agree more that ‘content is king’ and it is becoming more and more important.

    I am trying to incorporate more video on my sight to keep people engaged, and it is a little different from the norm, so I’m hoping that will keep my readers interested.

    Cheers,
    Josh

  2. “Content is a King” indeed!
    I agree at #5, eye-catching and shareable graphics/photos will definitely help boost engagement.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Nice post. I think using great images is the most important part. People on the net don’t tend to read a full article they skip the post and the picture will stand out.

  4. Great article Kevin- Another key point is to diversify your content through Video and Photo (as you mentioned). This will help to keep your audience captivated.
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  5. You included some good points. But you left out one important point, which is content design. You could create great content, but if the presentation is ugly or boring, noone is going to read it. People have very short attention span, especially on the web.

    So, to make your content more appealing and compelling, I suggest everyone to put some design efforts into it. You may need to include the help of a designer to help with the layout, typography, adding grapics and images, etc.

    The key is to make it beautiful, visually interesting, entertaining, and useful.

    Here’s an example,
    http://www.hotspotshield.com/protect-your-privacy-online

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