When it comes to creating great content, what determines a successful outcome? While there are definitely many factors in play, we feel that the five suggestions below are solid pieces of advice. Whether you’re writing blog posts (which is what this article is mostly referring to), a pitch, a press release, or web page copy, here are 5 simple steps to creating great content:
Write Enough, But Not Too Much
Confusing, right? Not really. Here’s the deal: aside from having exactly 2 milliseconds to capture a reader’s schizophrenic attention, you also must keep it. That means creating enough varied and great content to keep that reader interested, while assuring he (or she!) doesn’t get bored.
In our experience in writing blog posts for our clients, the optimum number of words to publish is roughly 500-1000. Under 500 doesn’t work well for Google analytics (under 300 words won’t do anything for you), and over 1000 runs the risk of your reader getting bored or distracted and ultimately checking out early.
You must hook, interest, and engage your reader fast, and for a relatively short period of time. This means getting to the point quickly and with oomph. You can do it. We believe in you and your 500-1000 words, and now you have the optimum length to structure your blog posts around.
A good rule of thumb for a pitch or press release, is to limit to under one page. (Typically, 250-300 words.)
Use Bullets and Images
In other words, shake it up. The monotonous appearance of copy gets boring, and we’re all way to ADD to manage our boredom while reading a blog post. Instead, insert a couple of images or illustrations, as well as a few bullets.
We like lists, and we know you do, too.
Make Sure Your SEO Makes Sense
You can write the best blog posts ever, but with so much competition for information to be seen and passed along, you also need to know how to get your great content to be recognized by various search engines. Here’s how to improve your SEO:
- Don’t link to similar content
- Use 5 outbound links
- Link back to your website
- Link back to your last blog post
- Make sure your links go to webpages that are viewed (don’t link to the little guys, unless it makes sense)
- Use searchable keywords
- Make sure your title contains a searchable keyword (ours in this post was ‘great content’)
Edit, Edit, Edit
And then edit again.
First drafts are great, but you know what’s better? A fifth draft. (Yes, seriously.) Editing is just as important to the writing and publishing process than the actual writing is. Editing is where the magic happens, where new ideas are born, and where you catch all those awful, embarrassing punctuation and spelling mistakes.
You need to edit, and if you don’t, you’ll never produce a polished product. Remember: people pay good money for editors to take a red pen to their work, and there’s a reason for that. Great content is not created all in a day’s work.
Which brings us to…
Sleep on It
Never write and edit and post a blog post immediately after writing it. When you’re done writing, sleep on it.
Every. Single. Time.
We promise that when you wake up in the morning with fresh eyes after a good sleep, you’ll find ways to make that blog post better. (Even if it’s just finding one more copy error to fix.)
Good luck! For more tips on creating great content and how to market your content effectively, click HERE.