How to Create Great Content: A Step-by-Step Guide to Content Marketing That Delivers Real Results
Different indicators have different use cases. SEOs may want to look at rankings, traffic, or links. But ultimately, businesses should measure things like conversions, qualified leads, and revenue.
How to Create Great Content for Search
Patrick Stox is Product Advisor, Technical SEO and Brand Ambassador at Ahrefs. He’s an organizer for the Raleigh SEO Meetup, Raleigh SEO Conference, Beer & SEO Meetup, Findability Conference, and moderator on /r/TechSEO.
Shows estimated monthly search traffic to this article according to Ahrefs data. The actual search traffic (as reported in Google Analytics) is usually 3-5 times bigger.
Share this article
Subscribe for weekly updates
A lot of content that you’ll find on the web is created by SEOs or writers who do a little research and rehash a lot of the things other articles talk about. Some content may even cover a topic well and touch on the main points. But the information is usually basic, and the articles all read the same. While this content may bring you some search traffic, it’s not going to impress anyone.
They’ve had time to gain a lot of links, and many of the pages may have updated content. If you want to beat these sites, you really have to put in the work needed and go that extra mile to create great content.
Define Your Content Marketing Goal
All content marketing starts with a goal. How are you going to measure the success of your campaign? Is it with traffic? New subscribers? App downloads? Conversions? Social shares and engagement? Video views? Podcast downloads? Sales?
"You have the freedom to make these choices at the beginning when they’re free, fast and easy. Not later on when you’ve made commitments to other people and yourself."
It’s easy to get caught up in all the tactics of content marketing, but without a unifying strategy–a strong why, no matter what you create, it will fall flat.
Understanding your goal early on will guide other important decisions as you develop your content marketing strategy. Such as, what are we making? And where are we going to distribute our content? As Godin explains, your strategy is like building a ship. You need to know where it’s going to sail before you can start nailing planks of wood together.
As Godin emphasizes, "Matching what you build to where you put it is more important than what you build in the first place. That’s why we need to start by understanding what is this for?"
When I’m brought on to build out a content marketing strategy for one of my clients, whether it’s a freelance gig or through my side project, Pro Content Marketer, we always start in the exact same place–with first getting a freelance contract in place, then defining an ultimate goal and backing into smaller mini-wins that ladder up to the bigger picture achievement.
Essentially, attracting new readers to your blog (content), then converting them into email subscribers who can later be warmed into paying customers as the rest of the marketing team works to build relationships with subscribers.
Once you have this larger goal in place, it’s easier to determine–based on your average conversion rates–how many readers or listeners, viewers, users, you need to attract to the content you’re publishing, in order to hit your signup goal.
How to Write Great Web Content: 5 Good, Bad, and Ugly Examples
THIS Is How to Write Great Content for your Website
CoSchedule regularly nails great content with their comprehensive blog posts. From the headline to the intro, to the organization, the writing, the research, and the value provided, you can’t go wrong studying their posts for a primer on how to write great web content.
For examples of great blog posts that are fun to read and informative, look to SmartBlogger. This blog, in particular, is well organized and bursting with valuable information.
Examples of Lackluster Web Content – Don’t Make These Mistakes!
Here’s an example of a landing page gone wrong – there’s no clear headline, no visible call-to-action (you have to hunt for it), and too many little pieces of information screaming for your attention.
If you’re writing blog content, don’t follow this example. It’s supposed to be a blog post with a recipe for a brownie ice cream sandwich, but the ingredients list unhelpfully calls for “brownies”.
Plus, the content is nonexistent – there’s no information about what this tastes like, suggestions for serving, tips for decorating, or ideas for variations. We just get super-vague ingredients and instructions.
Creating Your Audience Personas
Now, let’s talk about audience personas–the fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. These personas are constructed with the goal of internalizing who your ideal customer is, and gives you an idea of how to relate to these people as real humans. For each of the audience personas you’re creating, write out their (demographic and psychographic) attributes on a bulleted list.
Next, you want to visualize exactly who this person is. Goulet suggests using a stock photography site like Unsplash or Pexels to find a photo of the person you’ve just described. It might seem a bit silly, but this will seriously help solidify your vision and create more of a connection between you and your ideal audience.
Lastly, you want to take that photo, the bulleted list and write a story about them in paragraph form, that really describes the environment and the feelings that your persona lives in. Give them a name and describe their day-to-day activities.
These are all critical questions to address during your early days of your content marketing, so that you can maximize your opportunities for getting your content in front of your ideal audience–where they’re already spending their time. This is also a core tenant of the advice I’ve gleaned from some of the best business books I’ve gotten to read over the years.
While you don’t want your ideal audience to be too broad and diverse, especially in the early days of your business (readers might get confused about who your solution is for). However, as long as you understand who your audience is and go through this step you can create great content for them.
Last but not least, if you are having any problem in the content development field, then you can opt for a suitable course either online or offline. Try to strengthen your basics and grammar part.
Start your journey of developing content as a beginner and excel in the field while improving yourself on your own. There is a sea of knowledge in front of you, and you just have to make a suitable choice at the right time to take action towards brushing up your content development skills.