Every day tons of new blog posts spring up like mushrooms after the rain and thousands of promising headlines strive to tempt the reader.
It is quite evident that if you want to be noticed, creating content is just not enough. To win the battle, you need to create quality and outstanding content. But realizing it is much easier than implementing.
Here are some tips and advice that can help on every stage of the content strategy.
1. Choose quality over quantity. Don’t concentrate on producing more content – focus on creating better content. Although this might seem quite obvious, many content creators still consider their number of published posts the biggest indicator of their productivity.
“Making less content is the next step. Nowadays almost everyone has a blog, but it's better to craft two or three e-books each year than to have a blog that no one reads.” - Jonathan Crossfield
2. Add value. Don’t write content just to tell others, “Hey, I’m still here!” If you pick up a pencil, make sure you create something valuable.
Dan Petrovic offers some advice: “Bring something new to the table; if you can't, just don't bother to write. Don't write because it's Tuesday and on Tuesday you have to publish content. Everyone talks about quality content, but not everyone knows what that is. Few people scroll below the headline "write quality content" in the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Publish unique content that has never been published before!”
3. Write evergreen content. In other words, create content that is always relevant for readers and won’t go out of date. This type of content will be a long-lasting source of traffic for your website. Some examples of evergreen content are:
- How-tos and tutorials
- Top tips
4. Use your own experience. Write about your own hacks and tricks, tools that lighten your work, and resources that have helped you. Also, analyze your success. Productivity hacks are among the most popular and shareable topics!
5. Use the experience of others. Even if you don’t have any experiences of your own that you would like to share, you can use content created by others. Pick the best content with the help of tools like BuzzSumo, and make it even better using the Skyscraper Technique.
A1: Skyscraper technique. Research what top dogs have done & produce/deploy it more effectively! Measure, Analyse, Repurpose. #semrushchat
— Sam Hurley ➤➤➤➤➤ (@Sam___Hurley) March 11, 2015
6. Be a problem solver. Find out what your targeted audience’s pains are and give them clear, detailed answers.
A1 Look to solve problems and answer questions that users have. Tools like Soolve, Buzzsumo, & Quora are great for Q&A / trends #semrushchat
— Crystal Ware (@crystalware) March 11, 2015
7. Ask your customer support team for your users' most popular cases and problems. “Customer service and internal search are a goldmine for issues/suggestions from customers that can be turned into content,” according to Simon Swan.
8. Use different sources to generate content ideas. You can find some awesome resources in the article “How To Find Niche Questions That Can Inspire Your Writing” by Ann Smarty.
9. Check out a premade lists of ideas. If you still feel an inspiration block, you can find a lot of interesting and unhackneyed examples in these articles: “The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas” and “266 Killer Blog Post Ideas.”
10. Create an editorial calendar. This will help you draw up your overall content strategy and plan the whole process in advance, as well as keep you organized.
11. Use both short and long forms of content, depending on your current goals and purposes. Here is some advice on choosing the most suitable length for your content:
A5: Start with long content - if organized well with sub-topics , it can easily become short content and be repurposed. #semrushchat
— Angela Pitter (@angelapitter) March 11, 2015
A5: Long content to convey research, draw conclusions & make recommendations. Short content for tips, tricks and life hacks. #semrushchat
— Anneke van Aswegen (@anneke_aswegen) March 11, 2015
A5: Short is great for text-only content--but you GOTTA break up your long content with images to keep readers energized! #semrushchat
— Peter Starr Northrop (@SEMStarr) March 11, 2015
A5 Short form content is great for mobile. Also if you're interested in Knowledge Graph inclusion :) #SEMrushchat
— Brandon Seymour (@Beymour) March 11, 2015
12. Whatever type of content you prefer to focus on, include long posts in your content strategy. Researches demonstrate that the longer content is, the more social shares it gets:
13. Keep the structure of your post clear.
A2: Structure varies. Knowledge piece example: Intro (problem presented), Body (prob solved), Summary (objections answered) #SEMrushchat
— Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk) March 11, 2015
14. Make your text skimmable. Breaking text into segments makes it much easier to read and keeps users’ attention longer. “Don’t be afraid to segment. Create digestible chunks for better engagement -- and even better headings." - Matthew Young. Here are some techniques you can use:
- Break your text into segments, each with a heading or subheading
- Write short paragraphs
- Use bullets and numbered lists
- Highlight key points
- Incorporate visual content
15. Take time to think of a good headline. Your headline can make or break all your content efforts. The 80/20 Rule of Headlines says that eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest. Make sure your headline is irresistible enough to get more people in the twentieth percentile!
A3. Always think: "Is this something I would open up in a new link if I saw it"? If it's not, change it. #semrushchat
— Digital Media Const (@DigitalMedia123) March 11, 2015
16. Follow the headline formula. “Use what, why, how or when. Good formula Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise.” - Gabriella Sannino.
17. Create a few headlines first, then choose the best one. The Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule can help you analyze your headline and propose ideas for improving it.
18. Explore more insights on writing magnetic headlines in the post “6 Tips for Perfect Headlines.”
19. Write a compelling yet brief introduction. An introduction is almost as important for your content as a headline is.
20. Make actionable content. Those who are looking for advice are not just interested in what to do. They also want to know how exactly they can do it. Illustrate your advice with examples, provide video tutorials or screenshots with comments, and offer links to additional resources.
21. Support your statements with real cases and statistics. People love facts and numbers, and adding them to your text makes it more believable. Here are formulas that might help you find relevant data for your article in search engines:
- keyword + "statistics"
- keyword + "survey"
- keyword + "study"
22. Provide bonus materials to get more conversions. Create downloadable materials using your brand’s color and style and include your logo, for example:
- Cheat sheets
- Extended versions of PDF articles
23. Enrich your texts with visual content. "It's hard to do marketing without using visuals at all," as Andy Crestodina points out.
Image credits: QuickSprout
24. Use stock photos and visual content tools. Even if you’re not a designer, you still can create stunning images with the help of visual tools. You can find the best ones along with tons of resources in the article “The Ultimate List of Visual Content Tools.”
25. Create attractive, tweetable visuals. “Display key messages inside images that can be tweeted straight from your content!” - Sam Hurley.
26. Use simple language. Avoid pompous words, long and complicated sentences, and flamboyant phrases. They make your text harder to read. Also, try not to use jargon or corporate terms – talk to your readers using the language they actually speak.
27. Follow this rule: one idea per sentence. Make your sentences short and straight to the point. Use more full stops and less commas.
28. Optimize for search engines. No doubt, you’re writing for people, but do not forget about search engines as well. What’s the use in creating brilliant content if no one will find it?
29. Double-check your grammar and punctuation. A text written by a bad speller seems unprofessional. You can use tools like Grammarly to guarantee that your post doesn’t have mistakes. “Structure is going to differ greatly from niche to niche, but all content should be grammatically correct and user-friendly.” - Jesse Stoler.
30. Localize your content when you’re writing for a global audience. Sometimes a simple translation is not enough. If you want to learn more about content localization, check out this presentation by Sarah Mitchell.
31. Create powerful calls to action to make your content effective and remarkable. You can follow the formula suggested by Angie Schmottmuller:
32. Make it shareable. Add social buttons, ensure they’re visible enough, and add calls to action encouraging people to share your content.
33. Share your content more than once. It helps you get more traffic, reach audiences living in multiple time zones and acquire new followers.
A1 don't forget to Schedule the content over time so that it is not a one-hit wonder #seocafe
— Doyle Buehler (@doylebuehler) December 29, 2015
34. Write to experts whom you’ve mentioned. Give credit to people you’ve featured in your posts. This is a good way to both show your gratitude and encourage them to share your content with their audience.
35. Reply to those who share your content. A simple “thank you” will be good, and if you have time, you can write longer and more personal answers.
36. Create outreach templates. If you’re going to promote your content by email, it would be handy to create templates that you can use multiple times. This saves a lot of time and energy.
37. Repurpose your content. You invest time and effort in creating every piece of your content, why not to make the most of it? Content repurposing can help you:
- Reach new audiences
- Cover different promotional channels
- Extend the lifetime of your content
- Reduce time spent on content creation.
A7: One to many! Make a long post and repurpose the hell out of it! Blog to slideshare to infographic to tweets, etc #semrushchat
— Angela Pitter (@angelapitter) March 11, 2015
38. Repurpose content created by industry experts. Turn interviews or podcasts into blog posts; collect tips and advice from influencers, divide them by topic and create infographics or images with quotes. Here is an example of such a post written by Olga Andrienko, which features the best tips from leading marketing experts.
39. Repurpose video content. Repurpose your webinars into other forms of content – take key points and quotes and write a blog post; take the slides and turn them into a SlideShare presentation that you can also embed in a post.
40. Repurpose your blog posts. Summarize posts to create an engaging SlideShare presentation or infographics that you can share on social media. Expand your old posts and turn them into valuable guides.
41. Turn your email outbox into content. Turn the problems you solve for your clients into success stories or case studies.
42. You can get more ideas on where to publish your reused content in this article: “50+ Places To Repurpose Your Content: The Ultimate Guide” by Garrett Moon.
43. Find more great advice on repurposing content from Kevan Lee in his article “The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write.”
44. Set a clear goal for every project. Understand what you want to achieve and estimate what results you expect to see. Do you want to spread the word about your company? Collect leads? Convert leads into customers? Drive traffic to your website?
A7: run the numbers, make sure that your content has targeted goals in line with product conversions #Semrushchat
— Martin Kelly (@MartinKSEO) March 11, 2015
- Consumption metrics (e.g., number of visitors, time on page)
- Sharing metrics (e.g., social signals and actions)
- Retention metrics (e.g., new and returning visitors, bounce rate)
- Leads metrics
- Sales metrics
Also take a look at detailed infographics created by Curata.
46. Avoid vanity metrics. It’s easy to fall into the trap of counting likes or pageviews, even if these exact metrics have nothing to do with your goals. A large number of social shares makes you feel that you’ve done a great job. But does this number matter considering that your goal is to generate leads?
And what are your favorite tips and hints that help you to create compelling content?
Please share your advice in the comments below!