If you want to succeed online, then there is one thing that is more important than anything else: knowing how to write great content. Content is what Google will be looking for when it adds your site to its index. Content is what your visitors will be looking for when they come to your website and content is what people will want to share. Ultimately, content is how you provide value. And value is what drives business. If you have nothing of value, then you have no business!
If you can fill your site with great content and regularly keep adding more, then a few things will happen. Firstly, people will increasingly begin finding your site. When they search for related subject matters on Google, your pages will come up in the search results because Google will match some of the keyphrases and keywords they searched for.
People will find your content, and if they enjoy it, then that is something they will remember and associate with your business in future. They will remember your brand and remember that it was your site that provided them with the useful information and advice.
Therefore, the next time that someone goes to look for information in that niche, they will be more inclined to notice your site listed in the results that come up. If they had a good experience last time, then of course they’ll be more likely to click again and to engage with the content by reading through it. This sends more positive messages to Google and further increases your rankings… so far so good!
Over time, things get better. After finding your site a few times, your visitor might decide that they like what you have to say and the way you say it and they may therefore decide that next time they will just head straight to your site and read there instead of looking anywhere else. Eventually, they might decide that they should follow you on social media. Maybe they sign up to your mailing list. Maybe they decide to bookmark your page.They are now a fan!
There are more benefits to adding lots of great content to your pages too. For one, this is obviously what is most likely to get shared. When someone sees your content and enjoys it, they will often post it to social media or tell friends about it who they think could also stand to benefit.
Most important of all, your audience now trusts you. You have demonstrated time and again that you know your stuff and that they should listen to what you have to say. All this means that now, when you have something to sell or to recommend as an affiliate, your audience is going to be far more likely to trust you. And that goes double for services!
Imagine that you’re an internet marketer (you likely don’t need to imagine, if you’re reading this). You’ve been reading this one fascinating website on design for years and have learned a ton about using white space, leading the viewer’s eye, choosing the right font etc. And it has been fascinating. Now you need a new web design. You know that that great website owner also happens to offer their web design services…So, what’s the first place you go? This is the power of content marketing.
Great Content: The Basics
So how do you go about adding great content? Let’s take a look at some of the basic-but-crucial steps.Firstly, you need to make sure that your content ticks all the fundamental boxes when it comes to things that it requires. So that means:
It needs to be the right length
The length of your content should always serve the subject matter. If your subject is a ‘quick tip’, then your post should be short. If you are writing a comprehensive guide to a massive subject, then it needs to be a bit longer.
Google has recently shown a preference for long-form content that provides as much value as possible to the reader. This also tends to work better as link bait because people will share it as a ‘reference’.
SEO tools like Yoast SEO recommend that your content always be over 300 words. In reality, you should aim for at least 800 in most cases, while about 1,000-1,500 is probably the ideal sweet spot.
Spelling and grammar
This goes without saying, but good content should be spelled correctly and should have good grammar. This will not only improve your search engine ranking, but will also help you to avoid looking amateurish which can turn away visitors otherwise.
Break it Down
Lastly, remember that people on the web are in a rush. They don’t want to spend hours reading blocks of text, so find ways to break your articles up with multiple headings, bullet points or even just images. Likewise, make sure to use the right font (something large, stylish and clear) and consider using things like pull quotes that will stand out among the rest of your content. This is all incredibly important because there are few things more off-putting than loading up a site only to be greeted by a huge ‘wall of text’.
Don’t be Heavy Handed With Your SEO
Stuffing your articles with keywords isn’t worth it in any way shape or form and there are countless arguments as to why you shouldn’t do this. First of all, it is a strategy that won’t bring you positive results in the long term. What you have to remember is that Google’s only loyalty is to its visitors and users and its number one aim is to provide them with good content that they will want to read. In other words then, every time they improve their algorithm, they will be looking for ways to weed out those sites that abuse the system more and more.
Next you need to think about the quality of your traffic – using heavy handed SEO you might be able to get people to your site, but if they are put off by your repeated use of the same phrases and they leave right away… what was the point? This is content marketing, not SEO.
So how much SEO is good for your blog? The recommendation is that you include your keyword or phrase with a ‘density’ of about 1-2%. That means that you’ll be including the phrase in its entirely about once in every 100-200 words. But don’t force it: only use it where it comes naturally. Better yet, is to include your keywords in a few important sweet spots.
- the first paragraph,
- the last paragraph,
Add keywords also to your alt tags, your meta descriptions and your file names. Finally, be sure to use LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing. This means that you’re going to include relevant and related phrases within your content. Not the keywords – but terms related to the keywords that you would naturally expect to encounter when reading and writing about that subject.
So if your keyword is ‘baking’, then words you might expect to find would include ‘cupcakes’, ‘cakes’, ‘oven’, ‘timer’, ‘bake’, ‘cooking’ etc. The same goes for longer phrases.
Style Tips for Great Writing
If you follow those tips, then you’ll have content that is technically proficient and serviceable. But that alone isn’t going to be enough to draw in your readers. Next is style.
Write How You Talk
If you want to bring the biggest number of people to your site, then you want to write for the broadest possible audience. What that means is that you don’t want to write articles that are heavy with jargon, or that are worded strangely. Try to write as you would talk to someone – make it friendly and easy to understand and throw in a few jokes in there too.
Have a Great Title
A lot of people will write their content, pouring all their love and care into it. Then, once that’s done, they’ll quickly give it some random title – whatever pops into their head – and be done. The title in this scenario is an afterthought.
If that’s how you approach titling your articles and blog posts, then you need to have a rethink. Far from being an afterthought, you should consider your title to be the most important aspect of your content. After all, when your post appears in Google or on Facebook, the title is the first and main thing that your audience is going to see. It may be the only thing that they see!
So, if you don’t have a good title, you’re not going to draw in the audience and gain the traffic. Your title should be relatively short, it should spark interest and it should accurately describe what’s in the post. What is it that sets your content apart? How is it different from everything else out there? What is shocking, impressive or unbelievable about it? Imagine that title appearing on your own Facebook feed and then ask yourself: would you click on it? If not, then it’s back to the drawing board!
What to Write About
You need to write articles that are going to grab attention and keep it. Make sure that your titles turn heads, and that you have something to say in your article. This is partly why advice articles are so good, but if you’re going for something more editorial in nature try to ensure that it is in some way memorable to make it stand out among the competition. Remember that your titles are in effect headlines, and you need to use these to get clicks when your site is listed in the search results.
We’ve talked about the importance of providing value through your content, and this is what should always be on your mind here too. What is the value proposition of your content? How will the reader’s life be better after they have read it? If it won’t, then perhaps the content isn’t worth writing?
Providing value also means being unique and original. One of the very worst things you can do, is to write content that is tired and derivative. For instance, posts like
- ‘How to Get Six Pack Abs’
- ‘Top 5 SEO Tips’
just don’t cut it. Why? Because they’ve been done before. We’ve all read hundreds of articles like that.The titles show the value – what the reader stands to gain from reading – but they aren’t really offering value because there’s nothing new there.
Instead then, you might try concepts more like these:
- “How Little-Known Technique ‘Accelerated Cardio’ Can Help You to Burn Abs in Record Time”
- “These 5 SEO Tips Are THE Most Important For 2018”
Now your content stands out because it appears to offer something new – or something that will actually make a difference. Recognize the importance of emotion too. Emotion is what drives behavior and that means you want to try and ensure that your content is going to trigger a visceral reaction in your readership. They need to be excited, curious, jealous, fascinated or otherwise strongly emotionally charged to read your content.
To summarise then, your content needs:
- A good idea/hook to set it apart
- A great, head-turning title
- Good formatting to make it easy to read
- Great pictures, lots of paragraphs
- Good spelling and good grammar
- 800-1,500 words in length (ideally)
- 1-2% density for keywords and keyphrases – no ‘stuffing’
- Latent Semantic Indexing
- Casual, personable tone
- Provides real value
If you can tick all those boxes, then your content will be destined for success!