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7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content

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7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content

Jawad Khan
7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content

High-quality content creates trust, builds brand awareness, and turns strangers into customers and advocates. We all know this, yet marketers keep failing when creating content; this post will show you how to avoid failure and be successful from the start.

The 2019 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report shows that 96% of the most successful content marketers strongly believe that their organization’s credibility has increased because of high-quality content.

What is not so obvious is the definition of high-quality content. Words like “value” and “quality” are open to interpretation, and everyone seems to have an opinion on what these words mean.

I have put together a list of the core elements that constitute a high-quality blog post based on Google’s documents on SEO Best Practices, Webmaster Quality Guidelines, and the experiences of several renowned content marketing experts.

If your content covers these elements, it should fit most definitions of high-quality content. 

1. It is Aligned With Your Business Objectives and the User’s Intent

You can’t define quality in isolation since it is a relative term. In digital marketing, it is largely determined by your business goals and the needs of your target audience.

You can’t call an article “high quality,” no matter how beautifully written and presented, if it doesn’t give the readers what they want from it or doesn’t contribute in some way to your business goals.

This confusion is precisely why searcher-intent is a key factor in Google Search algorithms.

For example, if your primary target audience is comprised of CMOs and Digital Marketing Managers of B2B eCommerce companies, even a 3000-word article about generic SEO advice is unlikely to gain their attention or turn any of the readers into your customers.

For you, and your clients, a more specific article would be much more valuable (something like this).

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 0 Source: BigCommerce

So before applying any other quality criteria to your content, ask yourself if it is something that your audience really want to read about. And even if they do, will it convert them into the kind of leads your business wants?

If yes, move on to the next points in this post. If no, come up with ideas that align with both the user’s intent and your business goals.

2. It Covers a Very Specific Topic in Detail

This is one of the most significant traits of high-quality content. It is comprehensive, in-depth, and goes way beyond surface-level knowledge. Instead of vaguely covering a dozen topics in one article, it addresses a very specific topic and covers it from all the relevant angles.

I am not advocating a certain word count or length.

If you can answer all the questions of your audience and cover a topic comprehensively in 1000 words, don’t drag it to reach 2500 words just because some expert says so.

I know several studies have proved that longer content ranks higher — for example, this study of more than 1 million search results by Backlinko.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 1 Source: Backlinko

But correlation doesn’t imply causation. There are other variables to consider.

Word count alone is not an indicator of quality. In fact, it can be really misleading. For example, I recently read a 3000-word article titled “73 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your eCommerce Store”.

From the outside, the word count looked impressive. But, I found that the article simply listed 73 different traffic generation strategies describing each in 30-40 words. As a result, the readers got no practical value from it.

The same article could have been much more useful had it focused on only one traffic generation strategy and described it in detail like this article about Quora.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 2

To be considered high quality, your content needs to go in-depth and answer the questions of your audience.

What to Know About List Posts

I have nothing against list posts. In fact, they are among the top blog post types in terms of user engagement But creating list posts doesn’t mean you can’t address a topic in detail. For example, here is a list post that is still focused on one topic and covers it in-depth.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 3 Source: NicheHacks

So, rule no. 2 for creating high-quality content is to answer all the questions of your target audience on that topic no matter how many words it takes.

Your aim should be to create a resource that is more useful to your audience than anything published by your competitors.

3. It Solves Specific Problems and Offers Actionable Advice

High-quality content doesn’t just share information.

It also solves specific problems and offers actionable advice that the readers can apply straight away. It goes beyond “What” and describes the “How” part of a topic. For example, here are a couple of articles on the same topic: YouTube SEO.

One is published on a popular marketing magazine site.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 4 Source: Business.com

The other is published by a leading SEO and content marketing blogger, Brian Dean.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 5 Source: Backlinko

They even have similar titles, but this is where the similarity ends. The first article shares half a dozen generic tips with little to no actionable advice.

The second one on Backlinko also shares 7 or 8 tips but goes beyond sharing information and tells the readers how to put each tip into action with step by step guidelines.

It is easy to see why it generated more comments and social shares as compared to the first article. So the next time you are writing an article, see if you have given your readers any concrete steps to follow.

4. It Shares Real-World Examples, Case Studies, and Data

We live in the age of fake news and propaganda, where it is increasingly difficult to verify anything you read online.

In a survey of US-based internet users, 65% of the participants considered online content “unreliable.”

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 6 Source: Content Science

Which is why sharing real-world examples, case studies, and scientific data to back your arguments is crucial to your content’s credibility.

Data, in particular, not only makes your content more reliable but also helps you earn natural backlinks from other high authority sites, as this survey of content marketers indicate.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 7 Source: Link Assistant

Shopify is one company that uses examples and case studies in its content marketing strategy very effectively. This recent article on their blog is a great example.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 8 Source: Shopify Blog

Every sub-heading in this article has at least one real-life example of how entrepreneurs used the described strategy.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 9 Source: Shopify Blog

Doing so validates your opinions and give your readers a reference point to gauge the success or failure of your strategies.

5. It Uses Custom Visuals To Simplify Complex Ideas

Nobody likes reading never-ending blocks of text.

Because we are primarily visual learners and 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual according to a study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

One of the primary objectives of content creation is to share knowledge with your audience and help them take action. Content with visuals does that almost 323% better than plain text.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 10 Source: NeoMam

I find it much easier to remember information and understand complex data if it is presented in a visual format. Here are a couple of articles about website performance and speed. One shares all the information in plain text.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 11

The second article shares the same information using visuals.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 12 Source: WebsiteHostingRanking

Which one is easier to grasp and remember?

The second one, of course.

It is wise to create original visuals for your content in-house, by hiring a freelancer, or by using free tools like Canva, Pablo, DesignWizard, etc.

You could also use clippings from relevant infographics published on other sites (linking back to the original source, of course).

Another strategy, which I feel is really under-utilized, is to embed relevant YouTube videos in your content. It not only enhances the overall user experience but also increases the time readers spend on your site.

This article about different animation companies is a good example.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 13 Source: YumYumVideos

They could have simply listed each company, but they chose to embed one video for every subheading, which drastically improved the readability of the content and the average time on page.

Considering the impact of visuals on your content’s performance and the ease with which you can find them, it’  is almost criminal not to use them in your content marketing strategy.

6. It Shares Relevant Resources and Tools

An essential part of making your content actionable and useful is to route your readers to detailed external resources they can use to explore the topic in more detail (if you haven’t created them yourself).

The same goes for any relevant tools or applications that can help your audience put your advice into action.

Ethical, for example, is an online magazine that promotes environmentally conscious spending and consumer behavior. Their content not only talks about different reasons why consumers should be more conscious of their buying choices but also gives them a huge list of alternative products they can use to make an impact straight away.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 14 Source: Ethical

There are several ways you can help your readers with external resources. For example, you could recommend relevant books from Amazon, link to a published scientific study, route them to a course, or, if they are really serious about a topic, introduce them to a full university degree program.

For example, here is an article that lists the top skills social media marketers will need in the coming years; Data Science is one of them.

But instead of merely telling the readers about the importance of learning Data Science, it links to a complete online degree program in Data Science for marketers by a reputable university.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 15 Source: Maryville University

You need to be careful in recommending any resources or tools; make sure the privacy and security of your readers are not compromised in any way.

7. It is Scannable and Written in a Conversational Tone

Writing great content is useless if no one reads it.

A study by the Nielsen Group found that users barely read 20% of the content on a webpage. In fact, often they don’t read at all; they just scan content for highlighted points and important information.

Here is one of the heat maps from the study that shows user eyeball tracking.

7 Key Components of Useful and High-Quality Blog Content. Image 16 Source: Nielsen

The red area shows the parts of the page that the users read.

You can clearly see they are looking at the headlines, sub-headings, images, and lists. In comparison, there are hardly any eyeballs on the large text blocks on the page.

So how do you use this information to your advantage?

By making your content scannable.

Here is how:

- Break down your article into multiple sub-headings.

- Break the reader’s flow with frequent use of images.

- Highlight the key parts of your content using bold, italic, and possibly underlines.

- Use shorter paragraphs of 2-3 lines max.

- Write in a conversational tone and use words like You, I, Me, etc., that talk directly to the reader.

The formatting of your content plays a key role in determining how much of it is consumed by your readers; make sure you pay special attention to this part of content creation.

Are You Ready To Create High-Quality Content?

I have tried to break down the key components of high-quality content in this article so the next time you are creating an article you know exactly what you need to do to.

As apparent from this post, it isn’t as hard to create high-quality content as some people think. If your article covers all the points I have mentioned in this post, it will satisfy most definitions of high-quality content.

Let me know if you need clarity on any of the points. I would love to respond to your comments.

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Jawad Khan
Guru

A bearer of digital marketing wisdom.

Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant, a certified inbound marketer and a freelance blogger. He helps SaaS companies, tech startups and entrepreneurs find their voice online and connect with their target audience using high quality content. Follow him on Twitter and his blog, WritingMyDestiny.
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Comments

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Adrian Lawrence
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

I think we also need to include some things that Google measures quality by such as CTR, Time on page, bounce rate, they have used their reviewers and huge dataset to draw the conclusion that quality correlates to these factors.
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Hey, this post is helpful and if you also need help regarding the transfer of files like contacts and messages in Incredimail then visit http://bit.ly/2MhqiMw.
Hamza Ali
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Helpful points for creating high-quality content for blogs.

Quality is all about delivering value for the reader. Once you take up human-centricity as your starting point for writing a blog, or even script for a video, podcast, course, infograph or even an Ad, you automatically focus on understanding their painpoints and putting in the effort to give them the most actionable information.
Hamza Ali
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Hamza Ali
Liked the minimalistic and clean design of your personal blog too! Do share a case study on it someday. All the best!
Dmitry Kotlyarenko
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Great article. I agree with you completely. On my view points 2 and 7 are the most important. Thank you for sharing.
Newcomer

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The points what you have raised are really good. Thanks a lot for publishing this peculiar article.
Jyoti Thapa
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

I would say, you have actually spotted some key components of blog writing for SEO purposes only. Amazing description and thank you for sharing.
Gary Watson
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Great article and will definitely be trying to include a more visual format in new post.
Newcomer

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Great post!
Bhupati Barman
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

So amazing, keep in touch.
Astha Upadhyay
Expert

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

Thanks Jawad for the wonderful piece of article. You have rightly highlighted the fact that the key to writing a successful blog is writing according to the needs and reading habits of the readers. Because users hardly read in totality, the importance of visuals is further enhanced for engaging the user and for delivering the message in a simple manner. It is a must read for all blog writers.
Alena Piksaeva
Newcomer

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Great article! I find number 5 especially helpful
Ivana Kinsley
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

It was too long but the most important issue for me. I learn more thing about content creation. I have a new site and there were a few more visitors. Most of the valuable visitors said my site really helpful but my some of my content information really poor. I try to improve my content. Most of the time we understand that the plain text most important, but after study your content my concept totally change.
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

This article has answered my biggest question during my job search. A lot of marketing job descriptions will emphasize being able to create high quality content but that’s a subjective aspect of content marketing. Thank you!
Jawad Khan
Guru

A bearer of digital marketing wisdom.

Aubree Carter
Hey Aubree,

Glad you found it useful :)
Christian Schulze
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Great post, thanks!
Brigitte Vleghels
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Great post, thanks!
Riya Sachdeva
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Hey can I write discount offers in Title tag like 40% off on this and this . .. ?? Is it a good idea or not?
Umesh Singh Rajput
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Riya Sachdeva
Yes you can. But you have to ensure that the user should get 40% discount on clicking or taking action. There are platforms where this is done by dynamic insertion and upon click the peg content has some other discount percentage. In a nutshell it should not be deceiving.
Sebastian Hovv
Enthusiast

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Great insights. Thanks!

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