How to create content that people will care to read and share with others, most resources that I examined while preparing for this very course will advise you to create great content and call it a day. I mean, what does it mean to create great content and the content you create great already? And how do you know if it’s not? Well, I don’t consider myself to be a content marketing superstar, but in the last few years, I managed to make it shivs blog, one of the best ones in the space. And they think along the way I figured a few ingredients that will make your content great.
Here they are quality, uniqueness and authority. Let me expand on each of them one by one quality. In all honesty, there is no shortage of advice on how to improve the quality of your content. So I’ll just do a brief recap of the things that I’m sure you’re already well familiar with. Here are the number one learn to write. Well, writing is a skill that almost anyone can learn and master. Think of playing a guitar when you first try it. You surely can produce some sounds, but it can hardly be called music. But then you learn some chords, how to pick strings and so on. And after some time, your friends are asking you to take the guitar and play them something. Same with writing. At first it will be very clumsy and tough to read, but after some learning and practice, people will start enjoying your articles. Luckily, there is no shortage of advice on the topic of how to improve your writing. Just start learning and practice and as soon as possible. Now, the next thing you do to ramp up the quality of your content is improve how it looks. It is a well studied fact that most people will skim through the article before reading it, which will help them to evaluate if it is worth reading at all. And if your article doesn’t look good, people are unlikely to risk their time reading it. Here are the things that make your content visually appealing. The design of your blog, quality images, short paragraphs, subheadings quotes, lists and all sorts of formatting tricks. All these things make your article pleasing to the human eye and transmit a message to your blog Visitors that the author of the article invested quite some time to ensure pleasant reading experience. But let’s move on. The last but not the least, you need to craft and I catch a headline. Headline is the only bit of your entire article that people will see on Twitter, Facebook, Google and on the homepage of your blog, which means you only have about a dozen words to persuade people that your article is worth their attention. Writing headlines that lure people into your article is both art and science. There are many ready-Made headline templates that you can try using, as well as many psychological tricks that will educate you to create your own attention grabbing headlines. I won’t teach you any of that because I’m not a professional copywriter. But there is one piece of advice that I can give you. Make sure to brainstorm at least five different headlines for every article you write. If you won’t invest the time and effort into coming up with just five headline variations to choose from, your entire article is almost guaranteed to flop no matter how good it is. In the words of Andrew Chan from Uber, titles are often written as a vague thought, but in fact it is the most important creative decision you’ll make. And this wraps up my brief recap of ramping up the quality of your content. But in all honesty, all of these things are just a proxy to the actual idea behind your article. Which brings us to the second ingredient of great content uniqueness. I see a rather upsetting trend in the blogging and content marketing space when they go after some keyword. Many people research everything that has already been published on the topic and then try to squeeze it all into a single article of theirs. But this way you’re only creating a clone of existing content and not adding any extra value. And if it’s a clone, it doesn’t deserve more attention than the original. So with this approach, you’re immediately putting yourself one step behind your competition. If you want to stand out with your content, it has to be unique. So how to create unique content?
Well, you still have to research everything that has already been published on the topic. But then you don’t create a clone. You create something that would be different from what’s already there. Ideally, you want to say something that hasn’t been said before, which is rather hard to do as it requires you to be at the very forefront of your industry. These people are called thought leaders and most likely you’re not one of them just yet. So another option is to find a new angle, which would be somewhat different from the conventional opinion on the topic. Ideally, you’d want to turn 180 degrees and challenge the status quo. This often generates a lot of buzz, but only if you have good arguments to make your point. And finally, if the above is not an option, you might simply try to explain the topic better. You might not be the thought leader of your industry, but you might be a great writer, teacher and storyteller. If you invest enough time into finding better arguments, better proof and better examples, you do have a chance to outperform the original piece on that subject. And now here goes the last ingredient of great content authority, like I just mentioned, in order to say something entirely new and unique. You have to be at the forefront of your industry, you have to be an authority in your niche, let’s say do a few weeks of research and write a cool article on the topic of colonization of Mars. Would you read my article on the topic or would you prefer to learn about the colonization of Mars from someone with more authority in the subject, like Elon Musk, for example? If you go to YouTube and search for his thoughts on the subject, you’ll see that they get millions of views that because Elon Musk is probably the most qualified person in the world to talk about the colonization of Mars. So, you know, he can teach you a lot of things that you won’t be able to find elsewhere, hence the crazy amount of use. And that is a nice illustration of the impact that authority and credibility have on the content that you create. But what if you’re not the Elon Musk of your industry? Does that mean that you’re doomed to oblivion? Not at all. There is a simple trick to hacking authority that writers have been using for ages. Take a look at this article that way. But why? That explains the colonization of Mars start to finish. It is super long, so you’ll need a rather compelling reason to spend your time on it, right? Well, how about that? This article was co-written by Elon Musk. I bet now you’re thinking that every paragraph of this post is totally worth your time, right? That’s how you hack authority. If you’re not the best person to talk about a certain subject, find the best person and interview them. Obviously, it is almost impossible to get a hold of a person like Elon Musk and interview them for your article. But I’m sure that whatever industry you’re in, there are many high profile people who are easily accessible. Think about journalists.
This is one of the core duties of their profession to find credible sources and use them in the writing. If you want to create great content, you need to be a journalist. Here’s an example of our own article Articulated Ensures blog, where we try to answer a question how to become a marketing manager. We could easily crank up an article on the topic in a few hours and call it a day. But instead we took time to reach out to 10 high profile marketers and use their advice to create a great resource on the topic.
As you can see, we featured all 10 of them early in our article so that to show our readers that there are quite a few very smart people behind what they’re about to read.