According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt:
Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.
What does that mean in terms of quality content?
There’s more to quality than originality.
When I started out writing, I spent hours researching my topics before writing a single word. One blog post could take me 9 hours to complete. The end result?
Little to no reader engagement, a drop in SERPs and basically zero opt-ins.
Because with so much information readily available online and offline, there’s really not much you can say that hasn’t already been said.
The fact is, originality is not in the content but in the delivery.
My delivery at that time was in this weird text-book authority voice. Not something that people could warm up to. No personality injected whatsoever. Barely a hint of a personal opinion.
In short, my content sucked.
I thought it was “quality content.” I put in the research, my facts checked out, I didn’t spin or copy-paste articles, I put thought into every word that ended in that post…
But it just didn’t hit the right notes.
Fast-forward 6 years til today and I’ve figured out the proper keys to creating quality content that sings.
1. Value & Purpose
There are two things I want to discuss when it comes to value & purpose.
First of all, the content aspect.
In the business of content marketing, it is your job to solve the problem your reader faces.
That’s why “How To” articles and numbered lists are so popular. When people search for something online, they likely want to quick answer, a full solution or a step-by-step plan on how to get what they want.
With content, you want to target topics that people are talking about. Common problems that people face. Clear roadmaps and tutorials on how to solve these problems that readers can immediately take action on.
Before you start writing an article, ask yourself:
“Does this article have a purpose?”
Secondly, the writing style.
Long form essays have a time and place. A blog is neither the time nor the place.
- Keep sentences short
- Bullet point the main takeaways
- Remember that people have a very high BS radar
- Don’t add unnecessary fluff to fill the word count
If I titled an article “10 ways to make $10 in an hour,” what would you expect when you clicked on it?
A numbered list of 10 viable ways to make $10 in an hour right? Makes for easy reading and even easier digestibility.
Yet I’ve seen bloggers write walls of text of content. Hard to read, complete turn-off, I’m hacking at the back button as fast as I can.
2. Opinion & Personality
Dry, bland, textbook. That used to be my writing style. And it’s so embarrassing to think about, even more embarrassing to admit.
Because I thought that’s what it meant to be an “authority.”
The truth is, authority is all about personality.
And personality makes for quality content.
Don’t be shy to speak your personal opinion. On a topic that has likely been covered thousands of times by other writers, your opinion will probably be the only thing that stands out.
And that’s what gets people coming back to your website for more.
When people seek you out to see what you have to say about a certain subject, then that makes you an authority.
If they wanted the facts, they’d Wiki it.
Worried that people will judge you on your opinion?
Fuck them. Your opinion should only matter to one person. You.
Don’t compromise for others.
That being said…
Anyway. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be “professional” by using fancy words and perfectly constructed sentences.
Online, on your own website, you can write. Any. Way. You. Like.
Friendly + personal = happy readers.
3. Rewards & The Cool Factor
Why do people share things on social media?
It’s partly to help others.
But mostly… it’s to look cool.
Status updates are rarely written for the benefit of anyone. If a person took a selfie where they looked sexy as fuck, they could keep that picture on their phone and smile to themselves at how sexy as fuck they look whenever they look at it. Some people do this.
Other people share it on their social network.
Why? Are they afraid they will lose their phone and that sexy as fuck picture of themselves? They could always transfer it on their computer or email it to themselves…
They’re doing it because they like getting likes, shares, comments, any interaction… It’s the thrill of being the center of attention. It’s the need for peers to give you a pat on the back.
I think a lot of people would disagree with me.
But seriously, dudes taking selfies of their bodies post-workout? Girls taking selfies in the car #trafficjam #imsobored #itookaselfie #lol
I’m not bashing.
I’m just totally digressing… into what has morphed into some sort of fat girl rant. Gaddamn.
My point is that social media is like year books. The more signatures you get from people, the cooler you are.
Likewise the more interaction you get on your status update, the cooler you are.
(I really should have kept this rant for a post on social media…)
BACK TO THE POST AT HAND…
The missing piece of quality content is that it has to be rewarding, and has to have a cool factor.
Because some (not all) people feel like they are being judged by what they post on social media, give them content that will make them look cool, smart, awesome, funny, helpful, insightful etc.
The articles that get social shares are the ones that reflect the personality of the sharer.
Nobody will share your content if it’s bland and dry and boring. Because nobody wants to be seen as bland and dry and boring.
Turn the tables around and view your article from your reader’s perspective. Would it be socially rewarding to share it? Does it add value? Is it funny, or interesting? Is it controversial, or enlightening?
Formatting-wise, is it user-friendly and easy to read?
It took a long time to get to the point.
I actually totally enjoy looking at my friends’ selfies. Unless they are ugly.
A summary for an article with only three points. Geez.
Rambling on a whole new level.
Ironically this article is about getting to the point and solving problems quickly and all that jazz.
- Value & Purpose
- Opinion & Personality
- Rewards & The Cool Factor
Add those things and you’re good to go.