Re-post from the blog
Content is the main driver of Internet traffic these days and an increasing part of online marketing revolves around creating more of it.
While that is good for end users who have access to more and more top-quality web content, it is not always pleasant for content creators — competition is steadily on the rise. As a consequence, they need to find strategies to stand out from the crowd.
Of course, you can always try to compete on sheer volume. Churn out masses of articles and try to drown out everyone else.
However, that’s not the most practical approach. After all, creating content that wows readers and is picked up by search engines [please add the link to SEO copywriting link once it has been published] takes a lot of time and effort. With only so many hours in the day, you will quickly run into problems.
For that reason, a better idea is to increase content quality. Producing less but stellar material that is ready to take the pole position in Google, sets you apart from the rest of the pack while leaving time for other things.
To help you do so, in this article we have put together a number of strategies to greatly improve your website content. Follow the advice below and your visitors will thank you.
How to Easily Increase Content Quality
The strategies below are simple but effective ways to put a little extra polish to your content. When you do, leads and traffic will follow.
Know Your Audience
What makes content truly great? In short, the impact it has on the person who consumes it. Epic content changes people’s lives, helps them solve problems or makes a difference in some other meaningful way.
However, in order to achieve such results, you first need to know who you are writing for. The more you know about your audience, the easier it is to create something truly useful for them.
Think about it this way: who do you find it easier to prepare a gift for, one of your best friends or someone you only know by an acquaintance?
Creating content for your audience works the same way. The better you understand them, the better you can serve their needs and prepare gifts in the form of awesome content.
Therefore, one of best ways to increase content quality is to thoroughly research your audience. We have already written about how to do this in advanced SEO techniques so you can start there.
Know Your Topic
Of course, besides getting to know your audience, you also need to invest in owning your topic.
In simple terms that means researching the crap out of it. Start with the core but then travel outward to less well-known parts as well. Find as much information as you can, learn as many details as possible. This will make your content endlessly more useful and valuable to people who read it.
In addition to that, make sure to fact check whatever you claim. Avoid putting anything out there you can’t prove. Putting out only reliable information is a great investment in your content quality, reputation, and authority and that can never be a bad thing.
Therefore, before publishing your latest piece, make sure to go through it once more and check for accuracy. Better yet, have someone else do it to get an outside perspective.
Write The Way You Speak
Ok, so now you have a clear picture of who you are writing for and are knowledgeable about your topic, it’s time to talk about delivery.
The ability for your visitors to understand what you are talking about is an important marker of content quality for them. It won’t do readers much good if you include all the information they will ever need inside your blog post but make it so dull or hard to understand that they give up halfway through.
How do you make your posts easy to understand? First, by keeping things simple. Your goal is to have even newbies walk away feeling enlightened. For that reason, avoid complicated jargon or, if you absolutely have to use it, be sure to explain in detail.
Secondly, make your content entertaining and engaging. That doesn’t mean you have to crack corny jokes every second sentence (though that can help if you are good at it). Just avoid being purely factual and let your personality shine through.
One of the best strategies to do so is imagining you are talking to a friend while writing. How would you express yourself if you were to explain your content to one of your buddies or girlfriends?
Chances are you would be informal, personal, avoid fancy words, ask questions and make it more of a conversation than a lecture. If you can do that, it will make your writing much more relatable and pleasant to read.
We already talked about the importance of fact checking your claims. One of the best ways to do so is to back them up with verifiable data. This immediately increases credibility, shows that you have done your homework and allows readers to feel confident about your content.
That doesn’t mean you have to come up with your own case studies or create original data (though if you can do that, even better). It’s enough to link to other credible and up-to-date sources.
For example, did you know that blogs are one of the most trusted online sources of information? It’s true. However, that also means it’s your job as a content creator to make sure they deserve that reputation. Including relevant data in your content is just one step in that direction.
Like data, examples can do a lot to clarify points that you make in your writing. Remember when I asked whether you found it easier to buy presents for close friends or near strangers? That was an example to drive home my point about audience research.
Did it work? I hope so.
Using examples makes it easier for people to understand what you are talking about. It helps translate loose concepts into concrete and relatable information.
As we have established earlier, the amount of value readers get out of your content is directly related to their perception of its quality. Examples are a great investment into that.
What’s better than using data and examples to clarify your points? Using them in visual form!
Our brains understand visual information much faster than spoken or written (some say 60,000 times faster). Consequently, many things that need pages and pages to explain in written form can be understood from an image in the blink of an eye.
For example, I could talk for hours to describe the happiest animal in the world or I can just show you the picture of a Quokka below and melt your heart right here right now.
It worked, right? For that reason, if you really want to help your readers out, include lots of images, photos, infographics, diagrams and other visuals in your content. They greatly supplement the rest of it and are also a signal of quality to Google. That way, you also do something for your SEO.
A post’s formatting has a lot of influence on how easy to understand and engaging it is. You might have noticed that in this post, I’m using a lot of paragraphs, headings and subheadings, lists and other ways to break it up into smaller pieces.
This makes it the article endlessly easier to digest than if everything was one big block of text. Were that the case, I could be telling people how to literally turn manure into gold but nobody would care to read through the entire post to find out.
At last years WordCamp Europe, Joost de Valk and his wife Marieke van der Rakt of Team Yoast gave a presentation on what makes content great. Here’s what they had to say about formatting:
- Use clear paragraphs, one idea/core sentence per paragraph
- Don’t randomly add white space within the paragraph
- Use transition words
- Include clear headings
- No more than 20 words per sentence
- Use simple words of up to three syllables
- Avoid passive voice
- Use synonyms
- Mix sentence and paragraph length
Aside from that, here’s a dirty little secret: the majority of your readers won’t even read the entire post. With the surplus of information out there, most people simply scan content and read the parts that interest them.
Thus, anything you can do to make your web content more scanable will also make it more popular with readers. Besides the stuff mentioned above, images are also a great way to break up your blog posts. For that reason, using them increases your content quality in more than one way.
Edit and Proofread
We already mentioned in SEO copywriting tips [add a link to SEO copywriting tips] that writing is not actually the biggest part in creating content. Most of the work goes into research, creating an outline and editing. Especially the latter is where much of the magic happens that takes web content from mediocre to great.
As a consequence, investing in editing and proofreading is a direct investment into content quality. Before publishing a post make sure to check for spelling and grammar mistakes, examine the entire structure of the post and each paragraph.
Better yet, hire an experienced editor. Many of the biggest bloggers out there routinely ask others to proofread their work. An outsider’s perspective is always different than your own and other people will likely pick up on stuff that you are blind to. For that reason, an editor can give you fresh input on how to make your writing better and greatly improve your web content.
Boosting Content Quality in a Nutshell
In an online world that is increasingly competitive, improving content quality is an efficient way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Producing less but better content is a better long-term investment than producing loads of mediocre posts.
The strategies in this article are not rocket science and can be used by anyone to increase their content quality. Properly researching both your audience and your topic forms the basis for great content. Working on your writing, using data, examples, and visuals to stress your point will make it much easier to comprehend. Proper formatting and editing are the final polish.
In the long run, setting high standards for your content will pay off dearly with increased traffic and engaged readers.