I’d like to think I’m in a pretty good position when it comes to judging what makes great content.
After all, it is part of my job here at Webrevolve (yes, the website you’re browsing right now) to develop a series of engaging, informative and creative pieces of content for the company’s broad and wide-ranging set of clients.
Thus, while writing content is one aspect of my work (note to boss: refreshing my Facebook feed certainly is not), reading content from across the web is another. It’s here I that I’d like to share something with you – I think a lot of it is rubbish.
‘Who are you to judge?’ I hear you cry.
Well, it’s all subjective, of course. What I find to be a truly inspired and majestic piece of content writing could be portrayed as dull and tepid by someone else.
With that being said, I thought I’d share with you some of my golden rules when it comes to content writing – or “guest posting” as it’s more familiarly recognised in some SEO-related circles.
– Hook the reader in
I’m glad that you’ve got to this part of the post. It means that my hook worked (either that or you’ve scrolled down to the juicy bits, damn you).
Perhaps the most important part of any piece of content is the introduction – or the first line. This applies across the board, whether you’re writing a creative feature-length guest post or simply a straight news item.
The introduction is your chance to land the reader’s attention. You’re half way there; the user has landed on your content page, now you need them to read your work. Ok, so what do you write? Well, try to be engaging and tempt the user into wanting to continue reading beyond your first line.
Perhaps you could pose a question – or like I’ve done in this particular example, be slightly controversial. Go on, read it again. I’m being ever-so boastful in the assumption I know what I’m talking about. Furthermore, it’s always important to mention what the article is about. So – in this case – great content.
– Keep it punchy
You know what I do when I see something like this? I sigh. Before I’ve even attempted to sink my teeth into this monstrosity, I’m sub-consciously dreading it – or more likely, clicking off the page.
Aim to give the reader a chance, make your text manageable and easy to digest. I often structure my writing by creating short, sharp and snappy paragraphs. This is by no means a gospel journalistic writing rule. In fact, it’s probably frowned upon by some that – in some instances – my paragraphs are so short. However, it’s a method that I believe works well and makes life easier for the reader – that’s who you’re catering for after all (it’s probably quite ironic that this is the lengthiest paragraph so far).
– Be personable
You don’t have to be comic genius to write great content *but* for the love of God – show some personality!
There’s nothing worse than looking at a blog post that reads like it has been written by a robot.
Great content is key to SEO and you can help build powerful links by developing long and meaningful relationships with blog owners. Furthermore, sharing your content on various social networking platforms can really expand your global reach – Urghh. I’ve bored myself just writing that – just imagine how the reader feels…
I have come across countless examples of this type of mind-numbing content (too many to list) and a lot of the time it involves SEO. Even at the best of times, Search Engine Optimisation isn’t the sexiest topic to indulge in, so wouldn’t it make sense to write with a bit of flair?
– Get to the point
A note to all the content writers out there: I don’t want to waste my time reading about something completely unrelated to what I’m actually looking for – so get to the point!
I read far too many articles online that are drawn-out and over-complicated in their execution. Unless you’re writing specifically towards a word count, don’t feel obliged to accentuate what you have to say because it looks better to have a lengthier post. Remember, the longer your post, the harder it is to keep your reader’s attention (bravo, if you’ve made it to here then).
Explain what you’re trying to put across, yes. But don’t send me round in circles for two pages until you finally nail what you’re trying to convey. Likelihood is, my attention span would have had enough anyway.
It’s time for you to create that great content
Now I’ve divulged the secrets to my success, it’s high time you considered whether your content is really excelling – or falling flat on its face.
Your purpose – believe it or not – is to inform and entertain the reader. I’m sure you’re not that boring – go on, get writing!
I’m off to refresh my Facebook feed continue writing great content.
You can find +Matthew Wood on Google+ where he shares all of his latest blogging ventures.