Content is king. You’ve heard it again and again.
Content is king. Content is king. Content is king.
But how — how — exactly do you make good content? What makes something good? What about it grabs the attention of readers? What makes it engaging?
There are not easy answers to these questions. So much of what makes content great is intangible. It’s like that “it” quality that people talk about in stars — it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.
That being said, there are things you can do to make your content better and more engaging to your readers. Here is a content marketing checklist you can use to get the results you need:
Do People Care about What You’re Writing About?
Sure, the topic seems interesting and important to you, but is it as interesting or important to your readers?
The easiest way to answer this is to do your keyword research.
Sure, keywords aren’t as important as they once were, but they continue to be valuable. You don’t want to just pick a keyword with high search volume and write a post around it — using it as many times as possible — but you do want to research keyword volume to learn more about what your customers need or value.
For example, if you find that there is high search volume around “rain garden,” you’ll want to think through why people are searching for that term. Do they want to know what kind of plants to include in a rain garden? Or do they want to learn about methods to control erosion?
The answer may be “both.” You can use your other keyword research to find the answer, and then you can create content that provides that information. You’ll be creating intent-based content that Google values, and you’ll be creating content that your target audience wants.
Is Your Post Unique?
When something is blowing up headlines, you’d seem out of touch not to be writing about it.
If you’re an entertainment site and you aren’t writing about Beyonce’s “Lemonade” right now, you’re irrelevant. Ditto for a political site that’s not writing about the latest White House correspondent’s dinner or a marketing site that’s not writing about intent-based search.
However, you can’t just be contributing to the echo chamber. If you are, you won’t stand out, and you won’t be offering value to your readers.
Make sure that you are providing a unique take on whatever you write about. Don’t offer the same old summary or the same tired opinions. Present a new take on an issue, offer a controversial opinion, or share some information that hasn’t been presented.
Do You Have an Awesome Headline?
Your headline is like a mini sales pitch for readers. Does yours convince your visitors that they should stay and read what you have to say?
Good headline writing is an art, and it will take a lot of practice. Until you’re a master, you can stick with headlines that offer how to answer some problem or that provide a list. These are the most popular headline types, and they get the most clicks.
Most importantly, make sure that your keyword is in your headline. It’s one of the best indicators of your content when Google is crawling your site.
Do You Have Subheaders?
Not everyone has time to sit down and read a 1,000 word article. But most people have time to scan the main bullets of your article and maybe a sentence here and there.
Using subheaders helps readers scan your article quickly and get the primary information that they need. Subheaders also help Google index your content, and they give you opportunities for including important keywords.
Also include bullets and other visual cues to break up your text. Make sure you put all the most important information in these highlighted areas.
Have You Included Internal Links?
If someone is reading your post, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to increase that engagement. One of the best ways you can do that is by linking to past articles or other pages on your site.
Make sure to link to some of your best and most relevant content. Use the right keywords for your anchors so that the links will also improve your Google search rankings.
You don’t have to manually include links — that can take forever trying to remember the relevant posts and finding them. Instead, you can use apps and plugins that can search your site and find content automatically.
CodeFuel also offers an creating content that your target audience wants that will scan your site to find the best placement for ads. That way, you can increase your ad revenue without alienating your readers.
Creating engaging content is an art. However, using these tips will help you to get more of the readers you want and make the process a little less mysterious.