Hello dear SEMrush Blog readers!
Do you like good content as much as your users? On a previous Twitter chat we were joined by special guest Content Marketing Institute (@CMIContent), the organizer of Content Marketing World event and publisher of the Chief Content Officer Magazine. Along with hundreds of our participants, we determined that great content is a high-priority task for a lot of marketers. Everyone shared their insights, inspiration and techniques regarding high-quality content creation.
— SEMrush (@semrush) March 11, 2015
Every piece of content we create is not only valuable in itself; every article is a piece of the puzzle that we put together to create a clear and panoramic picture of the business niche we work in.
So, the next step is to define topics that are relevant. The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours brainstorming. Instead, spend your time listening.
Yes, straightway to the reader’s heart is to “help them solve their problems. You need to get to know your audience in order to provide useful content.” Jen (Picard) Dewar @jenpicard.
You can find these topics in the comments on your social media channels, on forums like Quora or Reddit, and even in your mailbox.
A1 I love re-working long emails to clients and turning them into posts. Heck, I've already done research, why not re-use it. #semrushchat
— Thomas J. Armitage (@ThomasJArmitage) March 11, 2015
But content doesn’t have to be merely educating.
Speaking of entertaining, every piece of content, no matter how “boring” the topic, should be catchy - you don’t want to lose your readers in the middle of your article, so carefully consider the structure and rhythm of your text.
Webbee SEO Spider @webbeeseospider suggested the following structure:
- Lead with dialogue
- Make something up
- Focus on emotions
- Anchor to a story people already know
- Use pictures
Yes, visuals can also be a great help.
A1: Including beautiful images/graphics to break up the text in a long article makes me love content a lot as a reader. #semrushchat
— Josephine Hardy (@JosieMHardy) March 11, 2015
Remember that first and foremost, your readers have to trust you. Don’t neglect the basic rules of writing.
Obviously, there are so many different types of content that it’s impossible to create a “recipe” that can fit them all. Still, knowing the basics will allow you to do your best.
Let’s take a closer look at each article element.
Headline writing is a big topic, so we devoted an entire question to it - you can find it below, so we won’t spend time on it here.
— Kirill Ougarov (@kougarov) March 11, 2015
Anything that will give your article “rhythm” and something to catch the reader’s eye counts. This will not only help the reader to better perceive information, but it will also help you to sharpen your ideas and messages.
Don’t be “noisy,” though. Your goal is to help your readers perceive information, not to interrupt them.
A2) Click-bait headline, spun content, lots of pop-ups and adsense placements. Those always seem to work well right? #semrushchat
— Adam Dince (@AdamDince) March 11, 2015
The final part of an article is not less important than the body. Dan Smith @itsdansmith recommends creating “a conclusion that piques the reader’s interest, ideally with an appropriate CTA.” Martin Kelly @MartinKSEO suggests “leaving room for discussion”.
But don’t forget - if it works once, it won’t necessarily work a second time. Repeating yourself will make it look as though you’re out of ideas.
Writing a catchy, relevant headline is really an art. Use your imagination and be creative, but follow the rules.
— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) March 11, 2015
As we said previously, answering your audience’s questions is the best strategy; so if you’ve written something useful, let your reader know right away! Appealing to other emotions is always a good hook too.
But don’t learn from tabloids – a clickbait headline or edgy vocabulary can attract attention, but this choice can damage your reputation. Movéo @moveo said it well: “NO CLICKBAIT--headlines like "you won't BELIEVE what ____ did yesterday!" will cheapen your brand.”
A3: Make sure to include profanity, racial slurs, sexism, and something edgy. That works right? #semrushchat
— Devin (@DevDawg) March 11, 2015
What else can be very eye catching? Numbers! “526” instead of “five hundred twenty six” is much easier to read.
A headline is the quintessence of your article. You can’t create one until you have material to draw from.
A3: One thing that I find helpful is to write your headline LAST. Let your headline materialize naturally from your content #SEMrushchat
— Andrew Dennis (@AndrewDennis33) March 11, 2015
Think about your headline as a “spice” you add to a dish - different spices provide different flavors, so it’s nice to have a range of them and find the one that compliments your article in the best way.
Creating headlines is an interesting and difficult topic, which was illustrated by the number of links recommended by our participants.
- 19 Headline Writing Tips for More Clickable, Shareable Blog Posts, WordStream Blog
- How to Write Click-Worthy Blog Headlines Without Resorting to Clickbait, Unbounce Blog
- 6 Tips For Perfect Headlines, SEMrush Blog
- 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work, Copyblogger Blog
- 74 Clever Blog Post Title Templates That Work, Dex Media, Dex Media Blog
- 5 Data Insights into the Headlines Readers Click, MOZ Blog
- 30+ Ultimate Headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts, Articles, and Emails, Buffer Blog
As we said previously, visuals are a very important part of good content - images illustrate and support your theses and help to break the article into smaller paragraphs, creating the right structure and rhythm.
A4: My toolkit is a camera, Photoshop and my friend the "designer" #semrushchat
— Agent Palmer (@AgentPalmer) March 11, 2015
Creating your own photos and images can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but it can distinguish your blog from others. Plus you don’t have to worry about any copyright issues.
If cameras and Photoshop sounds like the big leagues to you, there are some other tools that can help. Canva and Pablo seem to be everyone’s favorites. They’re also very easy to use if you are not a designer. If you have problems creating color palettes, you can use the color scheme generator.
— Elena Terentyeva (@LenaTerentyeva) March 11, 2015
If you want to create a unique visual, use relevant photos that will stand out from all the rest.
A4: For B2B avoid BS images of people smiling at meetings. BORING.#semrushchat
— Michelle Tackabery (@mktackabery) March 11, 2015
If you are not a designer and want more tips on creating great images, check out this article - 8 Visual Content Apps to Create Stunning Images and Videos, Social Media Examiner.
Long or short? We collected all pros and cons that our participants shared during the chat, and created this checklist.
This question is continually relevant - content optimization is a must. There are just few simple requirements, but you'll undoubtedly benefit from them.
If you want some more - check out recap of our previous Twitter Chat - How to integrate SEO into the marketing mix.
That's it for today. We hope you enjoyed it!
Before we say goodbye, we want to say 'thank you' to following participants for their Tweets which we used for checklists.