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The 3 commandments of writing quality content

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What is great content? You’ll probably get a lot of answers to that question, and sifting through them all can be exhausting, because there is so much contradictory and confusing information that it’s enough to make you throw up your hands in defeat.

But when you cut through the all the noise, the answer boils down to one question that readers always ask when consuming content: What’s in it for me? 

If your content doesn’t answer that question, then you will know immediately that is isn’t valuable content, because valuable content provides a solution to a problem, answers a reader’s question, or satisfies some type of want or need.

Think about your own expectations when you decide to read a blog piece or click on a video. Whether you are seeking entertainment or information, you want to be fulfilled after consuming that content, right? So why would it be any different for your audience?

It’s always much more important for your marketing efforts to create smaller amount of quality content than greater amounts of content that isn’t very good.

Let’s take a look at three strategies that can help ensure that you create quality content every time you write a blog piece, make a video, or host a podcast.

Create headlines that grab readers by the throat 

You may not think about your headlines before you write them, but research has found that headlines are one of the most important ways to attract a reader’s attention.

We live in a digital era in which there are millions of content pieces, and as your audience browses through this thicket of information, they will only stop and click on your content if the headline is compelling enough to stand out.

Studies have found that 80 percent of people will scan the headline of a piece of content, but only 20 percent of them will actually consume the rest of that content, whether that means reading an article, watching a video or listening to a podcast.

So when you’re crafting your headlines keep these tips in mind:

  • Use Active Verbs – Headlines like Crush the Competition With These 5 Social Media Strategies, or Shock Your Audience With These 5 Controversial Subjects will create more of a want-to-read than headlines that are more passive.
  • Create Curiosity – Headlines that ask questions or challenge a reader can spark interest, because they create curiosity about the solution. For example, a headline like Do You Know Why Your Content Sucks? may generate interest because it elicits curiosity, anger or even amusement in a reader.
  • Be Concise – Use headlines to tease not to give away the entire content. A good headline hints at the subject matter with a few, well-chosen words.

Target your audience

The one big fallacy about digital marketing is that one size fits all, and that’s simply not true, especially when it comes to your content.

Before you can create quality content, which we’ve defined as content that is valuable because it solves a problem, answers a question or fulfills a want or need, you have to know whom you are targeting with that content.

Because when you know who is most likely to be interested in your content, you can also answer where that group is most likely to consume your content, especially on social media.

But knowing your target audience also dictates the type of content you create and in what format.

For example, if your target audience is older professionals, your content can focus more heavily on long-form pieces, white papers and detailed webcasts. It also likely means that you will want to post that content on a professional social media platform like LinkedIn, as opposed to a more image-and-video based platform like Instagram.

Creating a customer persona, which is a detailed description of your ideal customer, is the most effective way to identify your target audience.

Provide specific examples for different types of businesses

When you set out to create content, you need to make sure that you provide your target audience with specific examples that make it easy for them to understand what they are reading, seeing and hearing.

So for example, if you are writing a blog piece about how to market your business during the holidays, you would have to provide examples of brands that have launched successful marketing campaigns during the holiday season.

You can’t simply write that kind of blog piece using generalities, because as previously mentioned, content marketing is not one size fits all.

An e-commerce site, for example, has different needs and goals than a business in the legal space, so when  you write about launching holiday marketing campaigns, the example you choose for an e-commerce site will differ from the example you use for a legal firm.

If you don’t provide examples, your audience may think that your advice will work in all situations, and that’s not true.

While some general concepts about content marketing may apply to both an e-commerce site and a legal firm, each business will have to craft a holiday campaign that is unique to their core product or service.

So a legal firm is more likely to launch a holiday marketing campaign tied directly to its local community, than an e-commerce site whose target audience is much broader.

Embrace quality over quantity in content creation

By applying these three strategies, you will begin to understand how every piece of content is vital to the branding of your business. If you’re unsure whether a piece of content is valuable, apply the standard question that your target audience will ask: What’s in it for me? 

Any content that doesn’t answer that question in all its aspects, including solving a problem, answering a question or fulfilling a want or need should be discarded. Be tough on your material and you will build credibility while also rewarding your business with higher conversions, higher engagement, and increased sales.

About Tabitha Jean Naylor

Tabitha Jean Naylor is the owner of TabithaNaylor.com and a certified Inbound Marketing Consultant with close to a decade of experience in both B2B and B2C markets. A self-described digital marketing machine, she prides herself in her ability to craft text that generates action. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand-in-hand has resulted in a variety of successful campaigns for start-ups through NASDAQ traded companies.  Connect with her on Twitter @TabithaNaylor or visit TabithaNaylor.com.

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2 Comments

  1. orangebee@orangebee.com'

    Buddy Hooper

    January 5, 2018 at 1:51 am

    Tabitha,

    A great article.

    I sure hope that I do not insult you with this offer, but I will give you $50.00 cash for an hour of your time.

    It can be at your place, my place, or a restaurant for lunch, which I will pay for.

    This is something that I have never offered anyone, which means that I really want to talk with you.

    Looking forward to hearing from, and meeting with you soon.

    Buddy Hooper

  2. johnpeter159753@gmail.com'

    John Peter

    January 19, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Nice article….

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