What is good content? Is there a formula for creating good content on a consistent basis? You betcha. Top performing content, including viral content, has some things that are easy to replicate. Use this eight-item checklist to crank out good content on a consistent basis.
Is your content original?
Whether you are composing a tweet with an image or using an image in a blog, an original image can be essential for your audience. Take the time to create a new image if it’s needed.
Your writing needs to be original as well. Use analogies and examples from your own experiences to enhance the originality of the article. Remember, original content is not an imitation or copying of other content. To increase the freshness of your content:
- Use personal experiences and storytelling in your content.
- Create channel-specific content.
- Hold a brainstorming session with colleagues to come up with original ideas.
Is your content actionable?
What is the goal of your content? You should always be driving your audience to a next step – whether that’s viewing another blog post, signing up for a newsletter, or sharing the content. Good content is actionable because it asks the person viewing it to do something. Every piece of content you produce should provide a clear, actionable next step. To make your content actionable, be sure to:
- Include calls to action above and below the fold, make social share buttons available.
- Direct audience to next piece of content (make sure it “fits”).
- Tell the audience what to do next with bold language (it’s okay to be direct).
Does your content answer a question?
The title of this post is “What is good content?” and the entire article provides tips and answers to this question. Good content answers a question that the audience has and would like to know more about.
You may notice that you often find yourself asking Google a question. Sites that answer questions can often return very high in the search results through a number of ways.
Content that answers a question hits two targets at the same time – you inform your audience, and you rank well on search engines. To better answer questions with your content:
- Read Moz’s full guide on how to appear in Google’s answer box.
- Conduct research to identify knowledge gaps for your audience (i.e., Twitter, Quora, Google, etc.)
- Use an FAQ on your site or Question/Answer format on your blog post or landing page.
Is your content properly sourced?
No one likes content that is inconsistently or improperly sourced. Creating content that makes your audience mistrust you is a huge turn-off for readers. One bad experience with an improper citation could mean a loss of some potential customers or audience members. To properly source your content, remember to:
- Cite it if it’s someone else’s original idea.
- Use trustworthy sources/sites.
- Include links to sources where applicable.
Is your content unique?
Does your content propose a new take on a topic? Is it thought-provoking? Creating interesting content may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re not saying anything new or interesting on a topic, then you’re not providing value to your audience. Offer value by producing unique content. Yes, that takes time, but if you produce boring content, expect boring engagement results. To create unique content:
- Take a new angle.
- Start from scratch.
- Throw in a pop culture reference where applicable.
Is your content concise?
Keep it simple – probably the best advice for life, but also for good content! Attention spans are insanely short. Keep that in mind when you are creating content. If it’s a video, keep it under three minutes. If it’s a blog, shoot for 400-1000 words. If it’s a tweet, use a limited number of hashtags, an image or preview, and just enough information to inform and provide a call to action. To keep your content concise:
- Keep the overall length of content short.
- Use short sentences in your writing.
Is your content grammatically correct?
Proofread your article. Proofread your design. Use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar for content that doesn’t turn off your audience. For grammatically correct content:
- Use a copywriter or third party to review it before publishing.
- Run spell check and proofread it yourself multiple times.
- Read it aloud.
Is your content formatted correctly?
Use lists, bullet points, and white space to break up your article if you’re writing a blog post. Make it a simple, exciting, and pleasant experience for your audience. To format your content properly remember to:
- Skim your content – is it easy to skim?
- Break up paragraphs when switching topics, or even within a paragraph to make it easier to skim.
- Use headings, subheadings, lists, and bullet points and be consistent.
What is good content? Good content is original, actionable, and answers a question. It’s properly sourced, unique, concise, grammatically correct and is formatted properly.
Use this formula to craft content that will increase likes, shares, and will rank well on major search engines. Need more help creating good content? Reach out to the content marketing team at Volume Nine – we’re here to help!