There is a mind-blowing amount of content being added to the internet every day. A lot of it is very helpful, some of it is interesting, and some is just outright a waste of space. But everyone who puts in the time to publish a piece of content wants it to be seen by as many people as possible, that’s the goal, right?
So how do you make your content stand out among such a crowded space?
There are a lot of answers to this question, and there is a great deal of debate around it. If someone knew the perfect formula we’d all be using it. There are however some elements that can make a piece of content great.
I’m not talking about finding low competition keywords, or using some grey hat techniques to rank a piece of content. I’m talking about writing content that matters, content that people want to read and thank you for.
This is the best type of content. It picks up momentum on its own, it gets shared, linked to, talked about. Writing good content makes the internet a better place, and it’s exactly what search engines want. Here are 5 tips for writing better content:
Create Fresh and Original Content
Original content is what search engines, and people want to see. What’s the point in repurposing or copying old content. It’s already all over the internet and available for anyone to read. It takes time writing content, use that time to produce something interesting and original.
A well-known and interesting example of this was the way Google handled ezine articles. They realised early on that they could procure content quickly by using contributors, allowing them to write about anything, and cashing in by dominating the search results.
Well, it’s no coincidence you don’t see them in the search results much, if at all. Google targeted them directly and devalued their site in an algorithm update, along with many other content farms.
Google’s aim is to provide a natural, valuable and useful set of results to the person searching for results. You can’t blame them for shutting down these content farms, I’d rather be shown sites that are dedicated to specific niches than pages that are just self-promotional.
So next time you sit down to write an article, think about being original. Think about how you can put a spin, or take a new angle on what you’re writing about. How can you personalize what you’re writing? This will engage the user and take them on the journey with you.
Think about the Headline
Anyone with a journalistic or copy writing background will tell you how important the headline of an article is. You may have an awesome article, but without a headline that will grab people’s attention – no one will read it.
It’s estimated that around 20% of people reading the headlines of your articles will actually read the article. People who are good at headline writing have much higher conversions of course, but what makes a good headline?
Using numbers in titles correctly can help peak the interest of a reader. If you were to say ‘5 Reasons to Eat Fruit’, it’s a much more interested read that ‘Why you Should Eat Fruit’. Having the 5 points lets you know there will be 5 actionable points in the article, you won’t be met by a wall of text.
Use interesting adjectives
Put an interesting adjective in your title, like;
Adjectives resonate with people, it gives you something to think about. You’d much rather see a title telling you that the call to action is going to be fun, or effortless.
Don’t be keyword heavy
Obviously all the SEO people reading that are shouting ‘keywords!’. Yes, you need to include keywords in your title and header tag. But never keyword stuff or write unnaturally to fit them in. Readers are far too savvy to this now, if your title looks forced it’s likely to be overlooked.
Walls of text can get a bit boring and hard to follow. I am as guilty of this as anyone, and this is an area I need to improve on for sure. Using pictures, videos, and diagrams can help get your points across.
Lots of people either don’t have the time to read in-depth, learn better by visual representations, or just enjoy the experience of having multiple sources of content. Always check the copyright restricts of using images however, it’s a grey are for some people but can result in a lawsuit if you’re just stealing images.
Use Short and Informative Paragraphs
You will probably have noticed how online writing styles have changed over the years. Just look up a really old site and see how the content was written. It used to be long blocks of text, sometimes I long piece per page. In came header tags, paragraphs, and larger fonts. All intended to make the experience lot better for the reader.
Internet browsers have a notoriously short attention span, and when faced with a wall of text they may bounce. Break up your content into lots of smaller paragraphs with headers, make it easy to skim.
Don’t add fluff for the purpose on content length either. As mentioned earlier you’re not fooling anyone any more by padding out content and adding irrelevant posts. It’ll show in the bounce rate on your site, a metric Google uses to determine the value of a post in the SERPs.
Give Readers Something to Action
Reading a post is one thing, leaving with the feeling that you now have the power to take action is another thing. The best content gives the reader all the information and motivation they need to apply the information. I’m not talking about a step-by-step wikihow type of article, but more of an article rich in information.
Personally I love reading informative posts that spark off ideas in my head. Something that gets the cogs turning, and gives me a reason to do some research of my own. Many great ideas were born from reading the ideas of others, nothing wrong with that.
Writing better content means putting in more time and effort than other people, as well as giving your content an interesting twist an incorporating the points as described above.
If you’re new to blogging and freelance writing I hope I have given you some food for thought here. I know for me there was quite the learning curve when I started writing content, and I am still far from perfect. It’s an ongoing process, and the landscape is always changing.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have anything to share, I’d love to hear it.