You’ve heard all of the lines before. You know that “content is king” and your brand needs to develop more “hiqh-quality” content. And while that all sounds great, you aren’t exactly clear on what is meant by “high-quality” in the first place. So instead of pushing forward, you lag behind.
With a proper understanding of what constitutes quality content, you can overcome your marketing paralysis and move forward with action, conviction, and a new level of intentionality.
5 Defining Characteristics of High-Quality Content
Content is a brand’s digital currency. It can be used for everything from white hat link building to social media virality. And if you treat it with the attention and focus it deserves, big things will happen for your brand.
The beauty of content is that there’s ample room for creativity. Having said that, there are a few core principles you’d do well to observe. As you aim to develop quality content, keep the following characteristics at the front of your mind:
1. Compelling Headline
Most people decide whether or not to engage with a piece of content based on the headline. Whether they run across your content on social media or the search engine results, it’s your headline that ultimately determines whether or not people click. So rather than viewing your headline as an afterthought, you’d do well to give it the focus it deserves.
Research shows that 8 out of 10 people will read a headline when one is displayed, but just 2 out of 10 will click on it. This indicates that most headlines aren’t where they need to be (in terms of engagement).
There are plenty of clever tactics you can use to enhance your headline quality, but if you focus on the “4 U’s” you’ll see an instant lift in your results. This simple framework says that headlines should be Urgent, Useful, Unique, and Ultra-Specific.
2. Snappy Intro
The goal of the headline is to get people to click and read the first sentence of your copy. The goal of the first sentence is to get that reader to stick around long enough to read the second sentence of copy (and so on).
The biggest challenge (after getting someone to click on your headline) is getting them to make it through the entire introduction. But if you can get them to read your first couple of paragraphs, you have a pretty good chance of getting them to stick with you for the remainder of the content.
A good introduction is quick, snappy, and specific. Not only does it provide a promise of specific benefits, but it provides some sort of proof as to why these benefits are desirable in the first place (or why the reader can be certain you’ll follow through).
If you can develop an effective piece of copy that’s just 500 words in length, more power to you. But generally speaking, you need to dig a bit deeper.
There’s no word count requirement for effective copy. However, if you study the most successful pieces of content on the web, you’ll find that they’re typically long-form pieces of content. In other words, they’re 1,000-5,000 words in length.
Your content should be deep yet digestible. In other words, it shouldn’t feel like it’s 5,000 words in length. The copy should captivate the reader and excite their emotions. To accomplish this feat, you have to keep the readers’ eyes moving down the page. There are a myriad of ways to do this, including using subheadings, bullets, numbered lists, bolded words, italics, and images.
5. Unique Graphics
Nobody has the attention span to read a 2,000-word blog post that’s nothing but line after line of text. In an age of social media, YouTube, and visual stimulation, people need graphics to keep them engaged.
Make your content even more compelling by developing unique graphics and custom visuals (rather than using generic stock photos). A simple tool like Canva can act as your own DIY graphic design department.
Putting it All Together
Every piece of content will be unique. But if you follow the principles outlined in this article, you’ll do well. At the end of the day, content creation is a game of quality – not quantity. The sooner you embrace this reality, the better your results will be.