5 Rules to Make Your Content Great

Whether your content is text on a web page, a blog article, a comment, post or tweet — this article is referring to any online information with strategic intent. If your goal is to inform or persuade, these five rules will help you be more successful in providing content of value and positioning your company.

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Sincerity is important in any relationship, and that is often the end goal of creating content and inbound marketing tactics — to create a mutually beneficial relationship. And even if you’re not looking for that kind of commitment, being honest is a good rule of thumb for any communication. Although we seem to live in a sound-bite and 140 character universe where the most sensational gets the most attention, don’t try to mislead or get carried away with hyperbole. It should always be your intent to earn your readers’ trust.

Equally as important is being authentic; be true to yourself and your corporate brand. Be conscious of your “voice” and your message and ensure that it is coherent with your personal or company image. To assist with a genuine corporate voice, it is ideal for management at all levels to be involved in your corporation’s online messaging. Note that you can have different members blogging with very different points of view, but the corporate brand and goals should still be supported at all times. Everyone has a voice in this brave new digital world and that supports your authenticity.

Relevant

Your information has to be of interest to your readers, so make it relevant. Be knowledgeable about what you’re writing about and understand what specifically is most useful to your readers. If readers find a valuable take-away in your email or blog post, they’ll probably be eager for more.

Another aspect of relevance echoes a point made above: be consistent with, and support, your brand messaging.

Educational

Tell your readers something they didn’t already know, or at least word it in a way that resonates with them. Just as being relevant is important, offering something new or novel is providing value to your market; and that makes you a worthwhile corporate source.

Some people may favour Entertaining for the “E” over Educational, but I’ve taken the high road here. Even though entertainment is a proven means of generating interest, unless you’ve linked it directly to educating or influencing your targeted market you’re wasting everyone’s time. Natalie gave us an example of how you can be entertaining and educational with her article 6 Humorous Examples to Engage your Consumers.

Active

OK, really would have liked to say “Dynamic” here, but that would be GREDT! But this is great, in fact Active has three applicable traits to help your writing excel. Dynamic headlines entice people to read further. Surely you’re aware of how important a good headline is. If you haven’t caught their interest with the headline your market won’t bother with the content. (Check out Lydia’s article on 6 Easy Ways to Write Headlines That Get More Clicks.) The subject of your writing may not be active, but the tone can be. Try to involve the reader, almost like a conversation (except you get to do all the talking).

With the fast pace of technology and life these days, active writing also implies that it is keeping pace and up-to-date. So terms and examples should be current, or at least relevant. Depending on the industry or context, citing statistics that are a year old may render your text irrelevant.

And let’s not forget SEO. Your words can be doing more than simply entice and encourage your e-reading entourage. Well-written content should also be active in helping search engines direct traffic to your website. Keywords should be strategically worked into your content, but ONLY in a seamless inbound marketing professional content generation manner that assists in the comprehension of the text.

Thoughtful

This can be interpreted a couple of ways. One is to be mindful of your readers; and if you’ve been both genuine and relevant in your writing efforts then you’ve undoubtedly considered them.

The other aspect is giving your readers something to think about, and that goes beyond being educational. Sometimes “just the facts” is just a little boring. People typically respond well to a little character in their reading, and often enjoy being challenged mentally or philosophically. Showing some of your personality in your writing can be advantageous, and don’t be afraid to challenge conventional thinking at times. (Having said that, be mindful of your corporate brand too!)

What would you add to this list to help people write great content? (Regardless of what letter it starts with.)

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