Cracking the Content Code: How to Write Good Content

Part 2
Cracking the Content Code is a three-part series on, as you might expect, content! Focusing on written content, we're exploring why good content matters, how you write good content, and what to do when you hit a creative wall. Ready to crack the code and learn the ins and outs of good content? 


How to Write Good Content
In Part 1 of Cracking the Content Code, we discussed why writing good content is essential. Here, we'll dive into how to write good content. While the concept of content in today's online space has evolved to include design, graphics, images, video, etc., here we'll only be examining the written word. 
Before we dive in, let's take a moment to remember what precisely good content is. In the previous installment of this series, we defined good content as "original, analytical, and innovative." Remember, you want to produce unique content that solves customers' problems and solves them in a way that no other company or product can. 

Good written content drives search engine results, increases website traffic, and establishes your business as a thought leader in your industry. But it doesn’t happen by accident. Content writing is a skill that takes practice and time to hone. With the right strategy and approach, you can produce pieces that exceed your content marketing goals and improve your online presence. 

Remember, you can write a great piece of content, but it will not be engaging if it isn't relevant to your target market. Once you're confident you know what topics a segment of your target audience is interested in, these steps will help guide your content creation efforts.

Research Your Keywords 

Take the time to do keyword research. You’re looking for specific words and phrases that match search queries and your topic. You can start finding keywords related to your topic with Moz's Keyword Explorer or Google AdWords' Keyword Planner. Choosing the right keyword is a balancing act, so if you're stuck, look for a phrase with decent traffic and reasonable competition – bonus points if the keyword is trending. 

Remember not to overstuff your content with keywords. If the keyword usage feels forced, it will be awkward to read and it won’t engage your audience. When that happens, search engines will avoid boosting your content on results pages. 


Start With a Headline 

Here's the deal: eight out of ten people will read your headline, but only two of those ten will read the rest of your content. If people aren't intrigued or enticed by your headline, they aren't going to read it. Think of the headline as the hook to draw readers in. 

Put some thought into what headline will be most captivating for your audience. For SEO purposes, you should also use your target keyword in your headline to make it easier for search engines to crawl and categorize your content. 


Demonstrate a Need  

Your target audience needs to care about your topic. Whether you are looking to engage existing customers or attract new customers, you need to make sure the content is relevant to your audience. Why is the piece of content essential or needed? How is it going to change their life? Address the challenges your customers face and be upfront about it. Good content is compelling and engaging and encourages readers to spend more time on your website. 

Form a Solution  

After demonstrating a need, you have to make that challenge more manageable. Use your content to answer questions and solve problems. Think about how often you've looked something up because you're searching for an answer. People searching for your content are searching for real solutions to their questions, problems or challenges, so providing solution-based content is important. Depending on your industry, your content could be a "how to" guide or answer other types of questions your audience may have.


Tie in Emotion  

Empathy plays a significant role in content creation. We need to create one-on-one connections with our customers to cut through the digital clutter and increase engagement. Tying in emotions means actively engaging with your audience, listening to their pain points and feedback, and reflecting their feelings. 

There is also a correlation between the emotional responses to content and the number of times it is shared. Surprise and delight your readers, and you are more likely to see engagement rise. The emotional tie-in also creates (or strengthens) the customer relationship with your brand. 

Include Visual Content 

Visual content is a must in any content marketing strategy. Effective writing needs to be supported by compelling images relevant to your topic and resonate with your audience. What types of images should you use? It depends on your business, but often for products, you can try an image of the product and an image of the product being used – like a lifestyle shot. Work with your photographer and graphic designer to brainstorm and develop some ideas for imagery that you can test.

Have no fear if you don't have a photographer or graphic designer. There are plenty of tools available to help you. Stock images are available for purchase through websites like Thinkstock and Canva. If you're ambitious, try creating an infographic that summarizes your piece with Piktochart.


Incorporate Links 

Links support your content in multiple ways. If you are using a statistic or quote, you need to cite the source and, if possible, include an external link to that website or piece of content. This conveys to readers that you have done your research and are giving credit where credit is due. Finding a balance when externally linking is important because you do not want to send people away from your website unless there is a clear and helpful connection to your business and your content. You should also be linking internally to other copy or service pages on your website. Not only does cross-linking increase page relevancy in the eyes of search engines, it also encourages visitors to stay on your site to learn more about your business and offerings.


When you learn to write good content, you improve the user experience and encourage visitors to become customers. What you share should have a well-defined purpose for your business and your audience. 



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