There is no doubt that content is at the heart of marketing. According to HubSpot’s 2021 stats, 82% of marketers invested in content, and nearly 35% cited content creation as their primary marketing approach.
Content goes hand in hand with SEO, paid marketing campaigns, social media, and inbound advertising techniques. Needless to say, modern marketing relies on content creation to succeed. And a huge portion of marketers agrees with this assessment.
So how do you make your content stand out when countless others are producing the same?
We all know consumers are bombarded with numerous pieces of content daily and don't have the time to consume it all. Gone are the days when a hastily written blog post with low-quality information and irrelevant backlinks would get attention from readers.
Today, the audience wants high-quality, valuable, and legitimate information. Therefore, we must focus on the golden rules that will help us create premium quality content that grabs our reader's attention and keeps them coming back for more.
Below are a few chosen rules of content writing that will help you create attention-grabbing quality content in 2023.
1. Know Your Reader
Who will read the content you're writing, and what do they want to read?
It may sound simple, but sometimes writers forget to visualize their audience before picking up their keyboard. The first rule of good content is that it satisfies your reader's user intent, i.e., the reason your reader searched a term on the search engine.
When you know your audience, you can provide them with the information they will find most helpful. Moreover, by knowing your audience, you can empathize with them and subsequently identify all their pain points and address them in your content.
For example, suppose your reader is a pet enthusiast in Ontario who wants to buy a GSD puppy in their area. In that case, you can start your write-up by listing all the breeders in the state. Moreover, you can also put yourself in your reader's shoes and answer all the questions that may arise in their mind. This includes content related to the quality of the breeding program, the price of puppies, the application process, training and socialization, after-sale services, etc.
Understanding your reader helps you create content that is both informative and engaging to the audience.
2. Optimize Your Content
Modern businesses live and die on search engine result pages; therefore, understanding how to write content that ranks on SERPs is crucial in today's market.
While your audience may find your content through different paths on the internet, the most common is through Search Engines. Marketing insights reveal that more than 44% of users engage with 3 – 5 pieces of content before contacting the vendor. These potential buyers use Search engines to find information.
Unfortunately, 90.63% of web pages get 0 organic traffic. To be among the other 9.37%, marketers must incorporate white on-page and off-page SEO techniques, such as:
- Analyze and find the right keywords
- Analyze your competitors
- Get high-quality, relevant backlinks
- Choose topics with search traffic potential
- Ensure the page is indexed
Most importantly, ensure that your content is relevant to the search intent of your reader. At the brink of 2023, stuffing keywords in irrelevant and low-quality content will not help you rank higher.
Web pages that provide high-quality content, i.e., helpful, well-written, well-referenced, and utilizing SEO best practices, will rank on SERPs.
3. Get to the Point from the Get-Go
Some call it the inverted pyramid method, but I call it getting to the point and fast.
Humans have an attention span of only 8 seconds. If your content fails to hook the reader and provide the information they need (or promise to provide) in those 8 seconds, you've lost your chance.
Your consumer will close your tab and open another one.
Therefore, start your content by providing the most important information, i.e., the who, what, why, where, when, and how, and then move on to the crucial information explaining the first part. This may include background, evidence, logic, arguments, points, an expanded view of the most important information, etc.
Finally, you end your content with extra information, which is not critical to the main point but provides a deeper understanding.
Reference: Ohio State University Press Books
For example, if you're writing a blog on whether cherries are poisonous for dogs, start by giving the answer. Then discuss the intricacies, the dos and don'ts, the daily dosage, the methods, etc.
Can your dog eat cherries? Yes, but…
4. Keep It Short, Simple & Readable
48% of adult Canadians have an average reading age between a primary schooler and a high school freshman, i.e., between 12 – 14 years. If your content is difficult to understand or takes too long to get to the point, your readers will switch to another blog faster than you can say, erudite!
Therefore, the 4th Golden rule of content writing is to keep your sentences and paragraphs short and skimmable, i.e., easy to read, and your selection of words simple. Typically, experts recommend the following:
- Sentences should be at most 35 words.
- Paragraphs should be 2 – 3 sentences long.
- Use headings and subheadings to break your text.
- Use bullet points and numerical lists to provide more information in fewer words.
- Use active voice and avoid passive voice.
Luckily, many online tools can check the readability of your content and adjust it according to your audience. First and foremost, refer to the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level to help you understand the score of your content and adjust it according to your audience.
5. Use Multimedia
Include multimedia to make your text-heavy content appealing. Integrate relevant, high-quality images, videos, infographics, and other visual content to energize your text.
Visual elements provide 3 benefits:
- They make the content attractive
- They make it easy to communicate hard-to-understand concepts
- They increase the readability of your content
It’s not new information that human brains love pictures; they process visuals 60,000 times faster than textual information. Therefore, embedding images into your content is an excellent and easy way to improve your content.
Here are a few tips on how to use multimedia in your content effectively:
Photos, Illustrations & Infographics
- Make sure the images are of excellent quality. Poor-quality photos ruin the content’s impression in the reader’s mind.
- Make sure the images are relevant to the content, don’t use images for the sake of using images.
- The first preference should always be original photos for your content taken by a professional. Original photos are shot while keeping the brand, topic, and overall marketing strategy in mind, so the photos are 100% relevant and strengthen your brand.
- However, if you have to use stock photos, make sure to purchase from reliable stock photo sites to avoid copyright issues. Moreover, customize your stock photos to match your content and brand identity.
- Create and use your original videos
- If you are using someone else’s video, make sure there are no copyright issues. Also, give a reference to the video’s original creator.
- Use videos when you need to explain a complex procedure or concept. They are also helpful when you want to show how readers should do something; for example, how to install window proofing, etc.
- You can also use video to showcase your products or services. For example, Hydensiq used the video below to showcase its web development portfolio:
6. Keep it Interesting
Finally, keep your content engaging along with being informational. This is how you can do it:
- Don’t Give Vague Information
Your readers may have a reading age of 12- 14-year-olds, but they aren’t naive. Readers know what they want to read about, and if your content provides the information they need, they will move on to your desired action.
Therefore, avoid writing filler sentences and giving vague, generic statements. For example, avoid a sentence like “the XYZ breeder has the best puppies in Ontario.”
Instead, be comprehensive by writing, "The XYZ breeders use selective breeding by testing their parent dogs for AKC-identified health markers and matching them based on temperament to get the best litter."
The more specific and descriptive your information is, the more valuable it will be for the reader.
- Don’t be Monotonous
How would you feel if you ate mac and cheese 7 days a week? By Sunday, most people wouldn’t want to even look at mac and cheese ever again in their life. Generally, people become fed up with repetition, and they lose interest.
Therefore, mix up your words to keep your text vibrant and interesting. Here is how you can use a variety of words without wasting a lot of time:
- Use free online word cloud generators to keep synonyms handy.
- Use online lists of power words, emotional words, and persuasive words.
- Use tools like Grammarly to suggest synonyms for common words.
However, remember to use contextually correct synonyms. For example, content in the context of this blog post can be replaced by online text, article, video content, blog, etc. But it cannot be replaced by happy, satisfied, or fulfilled.
Use a CTA
What do you want the reader to do after engaging with your content?
Do you want them to purchase something? Contact someone for more information? Watch a video related to the blog they just read? Read another blog post?
At the end of your content, use a strong Call to Action to persuade the reader to take the desired action. You can use this strategy to increase sales and traffic to other website areas or promote your content by sharing it with friends and family.
Suggest action through a clear and prominent CTA button, such as Read More, Subscribe, Call Today, Watch, etc.
Write Content that Stands Out in 2023
Content is still king in the digital age, and your reader's experience must be your priority if the content is king. Whether you're looking to boost your game as a content writer or increase readership, the golden rules of content writing above will guide you in producing evergreen content. Go ahead—give your users a reason to stick around and keep reading. Contact Hydensiq for assistance in creating an exceptional digital marketing strategy.