Do you experience feelings of great doubt before you publish content?
Do your insecurities increase as the days pass and you see that your writing is not getting hits? How can you ensure that you’re writing great content?
Essentially, you need to make sure your content is well organized, easy to read, and searchable. In fact, there are about fifteen distinct points to check for to ensure your writing gets the attention you want.
With no further ado, here is how you can write great content, every time:
I. Evaluate Your Post
Is your post worth your reader’s time? Is it engaging? Why was it written?
1. Are your prospective readers interested in your topic?
Before you begin the content writing process, ask yourself whether people want to read about your topic. Run a search using the Google Keyword Tool (or Google) to gauge interest. Look at how many people are running searches on your topic by month and identify sites whose hits you can beat.
2. Does your post have a point?
Assuming you’re not writing a humorous anecdote, is your writing useful? Does it answer a question? Does it have a point? Make sure your reader can learn something from your post.
3. Is your content special?
Are you contributing something different to the discussion on this topic? Or are you recycling what has already been written? Your post should be special. Ensure that your writing brings something new to the discussion. Consider including useful graphics or providing more thorough coverage than other sources.
4. Write exciting headlines.
Write an irresistible title. It’s important to include your keywords in the title for search optimization, but you need to entice readers to follow the link. Learn how to formulate the best article titles. Next time, try beginning your heading with a “How To” or with a numeral. After all, everyone loves numbers.
5. Edit the slug.
Slug is the portion of your heading that becomes part of the web address. Your CMS might automatically make every word in your title a part of your web address. This can distract search engines from your desired keyword. To fix this problem, remove the unwanted lingo and retain only your desired keyword in your post’s web address.
6. Use your keyword in context.
Your keyword is in your title and it’s the only word in your slug. Don’t forget to use it throughout your writing! It should appear periodically in your content.
7. Don’t underestimate subtitles.
Your subtitles contribute to writing great content in two ways. First, they optimize your content for search engines. Use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to indicate title and subtitle levels to search engines. Writing that is properly tagged in headers is more likely to be picked up by search engines, so be strategic about the text you choose for your subtitles. Those should be the words you want search engines to find.
Also, bear in mind that most readers find large chunks of text intimidating. Subtitles make your content appear accessible and reader-friendly by breaking it into manageable pieces.
Give your readers a reason to read your content. Make your layout look manageable and easy on the eyes.
8. Keep it brief.
Never write large paragraphs and don’t justify your text. Long paragraphs scare away readers. Without being able to scan ahead to see subtitles, your readers can’t determine whether the content is worthwhile. Since they’re not going to risk putting in the effort to read something worthless, they will leave your page.
9. Assume your readers won’t read everything.
Your readers will never go out of their way to read something tedious. Assume your readers are in a rush, have poor concentration, or both. In fact, assume that your entire post will not be read. Instead, write your most important points in a format that readers will see at a glance.
Where it’s appropriate, make bulleted lists. Similarly, bold and italicized writing draws in the reader. Provide your audience with shortcuts so they feel comfortable moving through your content.
10. Make wise image choices.
Your images should attract and intrigue readers. Choose images that are eye-catching and exciting, and make sure you get the most out of your images by tying them to your keywords.
- Change your image’s filename from its default to match your keywords.
- Change the image’s title to match your keywords.
- Change the alternative text to match your keywords.
Don’t forget to label your pictures. You might think it’s obvious that your image furthers your point, but a caption can really help your reader. And of course, you wouldn’t want to miss out on an SEO opportunity.
11. Make references to past content.
Have you already written content that’s applicable to the writing you are about to publish? Be sure to insert hyperlinks to refer readers to your previous content. This is a great way to boost readership of your earlier posts and keep people on your website.
Also, search engines will pick up on your hyperlinks. Don’t exceed a small handful of links. Remember, you want your content to look friendly and manageable.
12. Make references to external content.
Don’t forget to attribute your content to outside sources where appropriate (for example, original authorities supporting your writing).
13. Check your metadata.
The language that’s in your metadata appears in search results, just below your post’s title. Make sure you’re happy with the language in the metadata, and edit it if you’re not.
How do you know if the metadata is telling the right story? Ask yourself the same questions you would ask about your title. Does the metadata support what you want to say about your keywords? Is this information exciting? Will it draw potential readers to your content?
14. Edit the excerpt.
Your CMS might automatically populate the excerpt field with the beginning of your post. But there is only so much content that can fit into the excerpt field. The result is usually an inappropriate selection of content that is awkwardly cut-off by the character limit. Be sure to select a logical and compelling portion of your writing and copy it into the excerpt field.
15. Tell your readers what to do!
Remember that great content should promote your website and your work. Every post should advertise your brand and your services. As such, your content needs to persuade your readers to do something.
What should you ask your readers to do? Request that they subscribe to your email list, reply with a comment, or share your article. This request should come toward the end of your content.
A Couple More Points
Don’t forget to proofread. Show your writing to a colleague—she might catch something you missed. Run your content through Copyscape to make sure you’re not about to post a redundant copy of previously published content. Checking is cheap and completely worth your time!
Never post again without double-checking that you’ve completed these 15 easy steps, and you will write great content. Every time.