Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Vasco Lourenço
No matter what you do online, creating great content always makes you win. Customers trust you more, they buy more and more frequently. That’s why the quote “Content is king” has become a favorite catchphrase of digital marketing professionals. It simply refers to excellent quality content that is unique, engaging, and adds value to your audience (human and search engines).
I’ve learned over a decade of managing my online business’ website and social media channels that content writing is hard. The good news is you can get it right with sufficient practice, patience, and passion for your brand. In this post, I will share simple yet effective ways to create great content based on my firsthand experience.
Before diving into the specifics, let’s get the caveat out of the way and clarify one extremely important question first: What is considered “quality content”?
Table of Contents
High-quality content should feature originality, have the proper format, is grammatically correct, and is actionable. Actionable in terms of creating a clear direction for your readers on what they need to do after reading your content. Imagine this: your readers are so hooked on your content, but upon reaching the end, there’s nothing else to do but to leave.
Capturing people’s attention isn’t easy to achieve. And when you do, take it as an opportunity to keep them to stay and learn more about your brand. The best way to do it is by setting a goal for your content.
Assuming you have successfully created a goal, you can incorporate it into your chosen piece of content. It’s usually in the form of a clickable button or hyperlink, which both lead to your website or relevant landing page. Don’t forget to include a kick-ass call-to-action (CTA) phrase, so your audience will know what they are getting.
Humans, search engines, and digital platforms have different standards when describing high-quality content. Therefore, your content will feature more characteristics depending on the online platform you are targeting. It doesn’t sound very comforting, but you will think otherwise when you implement these practical ways to write quality content online.
We have worked with hundreds of businesses, helping them in content marketing, and providing SEO and link building services. And the biggest mistake that we found them making is creating content for search engines rather than their targeted audience. While it’s important to have well-optimized content for making your content marketing efforts successful, it is also important to make sure that the content offers value to the users.Vibhu Dhariwal, Co-founder, Digital Gratified, a SaaS Digital Marketing Agency
Are you writing and publishing content just for the sake of doing it? If so, you know this content strategy is a waste of time for you and the readers who fell into the depth of emptiness. Let’s change this old habit and write content that your target readers will love.
A simple way to do that is to identify your target readers’ behaviors. The two most common behaviors are readers with clear search intent and readers who don’t know what they need. Let’s take a closer look into each behavior, shall we?
Readers With Clear Search Intent
Writing content with a clear purpose saves you time in content creation. Since you know what your readers are looking for, you can select trending topics that resonate with them the most. There are different methods to find these topics, and the most common option is by doing keyword research.
Keywords represent the words that people use when searching for something online. Finding the most searched keywords relevant to your brand/topic will make it easier for your content to get found. You can utilize keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs to see the search volume of your top keywords.
Keyword stuffing is an SEO practice of unnaturally repeating a specific keyword or inserting a large volume of keywords even if they don’t provide value to your readers. You can get penalized when search engines detect it. Aside from treating your content as low-quality, they can also demote the search engine rankings of your web page in SERPs or remove it altogether.
Next, you can use Google Trends to know the actual popularity trends of the top search queries based on the keyword or topic you have selected. Let’s take women’s lingerie sets as an example. Simply input the search term/keyword, hit enter, and it will show you its search interest over time and by region.
It will also provide you with related topics and queries you can consider in writing content. Though it will display numerous results, ensure to only focus on one big idea. I have shared a screenshot below to give you a clear picture of the result page.
Don’t worry if the results you’ve gathered aren’t to your liking. There are plenty of methods to get the latest trending topics. I have listed below the most popular platforms where you can find more inspiration.
- Social media platforms’ Explore tab.
- Visit popular forums like Reddit to spy on your competitors.
- Get the list of the most commonly asked questions from your customer services and sales teams.
Readers Who Don’t Recognize What Exactly They Need
If there are people who search online with a mission, there are also some who don’t know the exact search terms to use. This type of online user usually takes time browsing the search engine result pages to see if there’s anything related to their topic. Here’s an example to give you a better idea: Linda wants to create better images for her creative portfolio.
One common type of content you can write is a review post of different tools she can use to get the right look for her images. You can even suggest free alternatives to ensure it will fit all budget sizes. If you have an eCommerce store, you can lead them directly on the product page (ex., Free Adobe Lightroom preset bundle, Clipping Magic background remover, etc.).
Here’s the interesting part – This type of online user is open to all possibilities. Therefore, you can openly suggest topics that are not directly related to photo editing or enhancing tools. You can go to Google for inspiration, just type in your search term and look for the relevant content on the top search (see samples below).
- How to take professional photos for your design portfolio.
- Awesome photography portfolio examples and how to create them.
- 12 Tips to drastically improve your photography skill.
- The ultimate guide on how to take perfect smartphone photos.
If you want a more accurate answer, you can directly ask your target audience. You can run polls or surveys asking them what type of content they want to see more on your blog or website. Since people spend most of their time on social media, it has become an ideal place to run the polls and surveys (see the sample screenshot below).
Once you figure out who your target audiences are and what they want to know, you must consider the content’s readability next. You have to identify your target audience’s native language and other languages that they feel comfortable with. Running an online survey is an excellent way to determine your audience’s language preferences.
Another method you can use is checking your Google Analytics Demographic data history. Filter the demographic data by country to see where your website’s visitors are located. I’ve shared a sample screenshot of the Google Analytics Demographics Overview for your reference.
Translating your content manually into different languages is beneficial but consumes too much time and effort. You can save time by using the available language translation plugins in your chosen web-building platform (WordPress, WooCommerce, etc.). Or, you can simply hire a Java development company to take care of your web and mobile app development.
Nowadays, people have a shorter attention span. They rarely read content word by word. They usually scan the webpage and select words or sentences that stand out.
Therefore, it’s wise to keep your sentence length short. You probably wonder, how long can a short sentence be? Some professionals make a general rule that a sentence should not be less than seven words or 20 syllables.
But for content marketing and copywriting, the minimum acceptable length is 15 words per sentence because it can convey your meaning reliably. The longest sentence you can write is 20 to 30 words. Longer than 30 words can overwhelm or bore your readers.
If writing long sentences is unavoidable, you can optimize the sentence length by focusing on the core idea. Here’s an example:
Original sentence: As usual with buying a Personal Response System (PRS), it’s best for senior patients to shop around to make sure they’re getting the best deal.
Revised sentence: Senior patients should shop around to get the best deal for a Personal Response System (PRS).
Aside from keeping it short, you also need to write simple sentences. Simplicity further improves the user experience and reaches a broader audience naturally. Not to mention, it lowers bounce rates and increases conversions.
Unfortunately, many misunderstood this content strategy and wrote their content to fit a 7th-grade reading level. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about it if your target audience is within that class. But if not, you need to consider your audience’s expertise level.
Are they composed of business people, industry influencers, lawyers, or Ph.D. candidates? Once you determine your audience’s average level of knowledge, you can write for that reading level. You can use Hemingway Editor and other similar applications to help you measure your content’s readability.
There are other effective methods to simplify your sentences. You can use conjunctions (or, and, because, but, so) to connect two small sentences relevant to each other. You can also embrace brevity in your writing and remove filler words.
- Jargons (except when you’re writing for technical experts).
- Qualifiers (very, just, really, pretty).
- Nonessential prepositional phrases.
Here’s an example of the nonessential prepositional phrases: Alex, who is a dress form design student, loves to tinker with machines of all kinds. You can revise it by writing: Alex loves to tinker with machines of all kinds.
Deciding what type of content to write is an everyday problem for most individuals. Fortunately, there are many options available online, and each is designed for specific purposes (increase organic traffic, entice new prospects, etc.). If you also find yourself stuck, you can consider one or more of these popular content types:
A blog may be one of the oldest content types available online, but it remains the most popular. It starts as a diary-style platform where anyone can create entries about their personal experiences, opinions, and interests. The writing style is informal too.
Of course, its content quality and purpose evolve as the years pass. Now, digital marketers and influencers use it to publish well-written, relevant, and informational content. Most content created on blogs provides information to help the audience learn more about your product or service.
A good example is the Commaful blog. It shares thousands of writing prompts to inspire and cure creative blocks. All prompts are neatly categorized for quick navigation.
Another topic to share on the blog is answering prospects’ and customers’ frequently asked questions (FAQs). Since the pandemic impacts people’s livelihood worldwide, it has become a trend to share tips and a step-by-step guide on how to make money through blogging or online, in general.
Blogging’s relatable approach makes it an excellent tool for building trust, long-term relationships, and authority. If you want to drive more conversions, you can link any of your promoted web pages.
An Ebook, short for electronic book, is a type of long-form content that is downloadable. It’s saved in several file formats, but PDF, ODF, and EPUB are the most common. Accessibility is one of its perks because users can read the content in a computer browser, mobile device, and ebook reader.
Marketers commonly use it to build trust and authority, but it excels more as a lead generation tool. Here is how it works: marketers will offer their ebooks for free in exchange for the user’s information. Let’s take Vasco Lourenço’s ebook as an example.
Get a free ebook to learn how you can clone his framework to create a 6-figure affiliate marketing business. Due to the incredible results ebooks provide (traffic, revenue, and leads), they have become an integral part of everyone’s content marketing strategy. You need to consider two factors when creating your first ebook: content and design.
Choosing a topic for the ebook is not different from other content types. It should match your target audience’s needs or solve their concerns. You can get all your answers by communicating with your sales and customer service team.
If you are a small business owner or independent marketer, you can use topic generator tools to get more ideas. Match the topic with a head-turning title to increase page views. HubSpot also suggested effective title templates to help you save time.
- X Best Practices for [Insert Industry/Topic]
- An Introduction to [Insert Industry/Topic]
- X Common Questions About [Insert Industry/Topic] Answered
- X [Insert Industry/Topic] Statistics For Better Decision Making
- Learn From The Best: X [Insert Industry/Topic] Experts Share Insights
Once you choose a compelling title, you can start writing the introduction and outline each chapter. Ensure to be concise and break down big ideas with bullet points, subheading formats, and font styles. You can also use visuals to make the information easy to digest (ex., statistical graphs, affiliate marketing email templates, etc.).
Also, keep your format consistent for ease of reading. Ebooks are formatted as long-form content, but it doesn’t mean you need to overwhelm your audience with too much information. There is no standard word count for ebooks, but the average contains 2,000 to 2,500 words (where each chapter contains up to 350 words).
Designing your ebook isn’t as hard as you may think. There are a lot of templates and graphic design tools available online. So, no need to hire a professional designer for it.
You can also design it from scratch if you want. You need to balance the colors, text, and visual elements. The color you pick should match your brand and logo. It’s wise if the colors can evoke emotions like happiness and warmth.
When it comes to visual elements, you have a lot of options. You can add images (original and stock), charts, icons, and other illustrations. You can even highlight important details using quotation marks.
Like content, the ebook design depends on the topic. If you are designing an ebook for an anagram solver, it’s best to choose a creative and fun design. This is an effective way to engage your audience in learning how to use your tool.
Fact: the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. That’s why video content will remain the most popular form of content in 2022. Any video content can help you invite engagement and get a better position on the Google search engine result page, but some remain unbeatable when used in marketing.
- Educational videos (how to make money online or learn numbers and shapes).
- Call-in shows.
- Best practices (10 tips to save money faster or five ways to make better videos).
- Before-and-after revelations (house renovation or skincare tryouts).
Other forms of content you can create address pain points and provide real-life solutions. When writing your script, remember that you create quality content that provides real value to your audiences and no ads. So, use a conversational and enthusiastic style to make it memorable and relatable.
You also need to provide better visuals, captions, and audio content like stock music to make it more accessible to everyone. When it comes to video length, it varies on the digital platform. Seven to 15 minutes perform well on YouTube, but others require a longer length.
Writing original content is one of the best ways to grab the attention of search engines and readers, particularly if you are placing yourself as a go-to expert in your field. Of course, you need to consistently prove it by providing valuable information with clarity and confidence.
This type of digital content, also called authoritative content, must include trusted sources to support your details. There are numerous online sources available, but I will only share the three most reliable (see below).
- Archival sources (census, research studies, etc.).
- Professional publications and industry experts.
- Peer-reviewed sources (academic journals).
When writing authoritative content, it’s wise to approach it intriguingly or entertain your audience. The explanation is simple – people are naturally curious cats and love to be entertained. If you are looking for inspiration, Neil Patel (founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics) and Rand Fishkin (CEO of MOZ) are two industry experts who use authoritative content that both entertains and intrigues.
Using personal and professional experiences is proven effective in driving more engagement and organic search traffic. But there’s no need to limit yourself to that approach. The Internet contains many different channels with unique algorithms and content formats, so it’s wise to grab the opportunity to write dedicated content for each channel.
Social Networking Channels
Social networking channels are the most popular online channels today, with active users of 4.65 billion worldwide. Writing content for social media channels is relatively easy because they have an on-point purpose. What you need to watch out for are their strengths.
Let’s take Stories on Instagram and Facebook, for example. This feature is excellent for highlighting the in-the-moment type of content like sharing a sneak preview of your new product, customer testimonial, or inspirational quotes. It’s also a great place to run polls, surveys, and quizzes.
If you want to connect with professionals within your target industry, LinkedIn is your go-to social media channel. You can create business-related content-like strategies to find and hire the best talents and build long-term relationships with clients in your niche.
Image Sharing Channels
Not all quality content is written in text. Some are neatly displayed as visuals. If you are up for the opportunity, the popular image-sharing channels you can use are Tumblr, Instagram, and Flickr.
Creating a mood board is the best way to keep your ideas in the right direction. It’s wise to match your message with the right color palettes and themes. Don’t forget to apply the rule of thirds and use natural light.
The following screenshot is an excellent example of content for image-sharing channels. It’s simple, relatable, and easy to understand.
Writing quality content for trending topics can boost your brand’s reputation and online presence. However, people’s interest changes fast, so their relevance may not last long. That’s why it’s wise to write evergreen content.
Evergreen content is a type of digital content that focuses on topics that never get outdated. Topics related to career, finance, and health are what people always find the most useful and informative. The best part of it, you can write evergreen content in any format (infographic, blog, video, and so on).
Are you new to this content strategy? If so, just think about FAQ pages, how-to guides, tutorials, and case studies. These are the popular types of evergreen content you can write.
Though evergreen content is timeless, you still need to update it when necessary. You need to ensure all links included are up-to-date and aren’t broken. Also, check all the images if they comply with today’s web accessibility guidelines.
Long-form content typically reaches more than 2,000 words. When you reach this length, it’s wise to create a summary at the end. This will highlight all the key points discussed in the content and everything you think the reader should remember.
A summary is most useful for product reviews and comparison guides. It will allow you to discuss which product is the best option and state the reasons. Don’t forget to include a catchy call-to-action phrase so you can encourage them to take the next step you provide or leave honest feedback.
There’s no standard length for the summary, but it should be short and sweet. A range of 100 to 200 words is sufficient.
In the digital world, content is everything. It acts as a link that connects the readers to the information they want to know or learn. Therefore, it’s wise to write good quality content to save your readers time while satisfying their curiosity.
People are only interested in topics that apply to them. So it’s essential to write solely based on your audience’s interests, needs, and wants. Also, use plain language even if you are writing for technical experts.
You may write your content for a specific audience, but there are tons of curious individuals. The chance of attracting them to your content is plausible. So, it’s best to write the content in a language that everyone understands.
Following the best practices of writing quality content (including the methods above) will take your content creation on the right path. But remember to add your personal touch to it to show off the humanness of your brand. If you have other suggestions for creating better content online, leave them in the comment section.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. Follow Burkhard on his journey from $0 to $100,000 per month. He’s sharing everything he learned in his income reports on Novum™ so you can pick up on his mistakes and wins.