Content marketing is making a resurgence. The good news is that SEOs and web marketers are now, more than ever, focused on producing quality content, rather than simply generating large amounts of it. Quality trumps quantity.
While it’s important to blog on a regular basis, creating and keeping to some type of editorial calendar, we want to stay focused on the quality of that content. If you need to miss a deadline because the quality isn’t what it needs to be, then so be it. Better to go without than to publish something that just doesn’t work.
But even the best content could use a little help. Or perhaps a push to move it from great content to “epic” content. Yes, great is often good enough, but why not take a few extra steps so you can turn “good enough” into something incredibly awesome?
Use Attention-Getting Headlines
It’s amazing what a good headline can do. Many writers will tell you that they spend 50% of their time creating content and the other 50% working on a headline. That’s how important a headline can be to the success of your content. Heck, a great headline can make even mediocre content stand out and get more attention than it deserves. How much better would a killer headline be for your epic content?
I’m not going to tell you that you need to spend 50% of your time working on the headline alone, but that should tell you to stop and give it a good deal of thought.
Over the years we see certain types of headlines come in and out of vogue. You’re welcome to follow the trends and write the kind of “attention-getting” headlines of the day. Some find those a bit too gimmicky, but people are using them because they work. But there are also some tried-and-true headline styles that work as well:
- The Direct Approach: Free Diabetes eBook
- The Indirect Approach: Cut the Sweet Talk
- News Headline: Hospital Opens New Diabetes Clinic
- How-to Headline: How to Lower Your Blood Sugar
- Question Headline: Is Your Diabetes Out of Control?
- Command Headline: Get Help; for Your Diabetes Now
- Reason Why Headline: Five Reasons Why You Need to Get Your Diabetes Under Control
- Testimonial Headline: “I Got my Life Back, Thanks to this eBook!”
You want to make sure your headline matches the content, but just about any content can work with any of the headlines above. You can also look to any magazine cover in the checkout aisle of your local grocery store for some headline ideas. Not that you need your readers to know which celebrity just had an alien baby! Just study the headlines to see what they do to grab attention.
Implement Worthy Content
A great content idea does not make great content. But all great content starts with a great idea. You need both to be epic! Follow these six steps to turn a great idea into exceptionally great content:
- Stimulating Intro: Yes, you already captured their attention with the headline and title. But you can’t immediately disappoint them with a lackluster first paragraph. You need to start with a bang and make sure the reader knows that the headline wasn’t a fluke!
- Images: Face it, text is boring to the eyes. Simply adding one or more images to your body content makes the same words seem much more appealing. Use images to convey or illustrate your point. This can be a great way to get skimmers to take a second look and read more deeply than they might otherwise.
- Be Organized: Start with an outline and stay on point. Using stories to illustrate what you are trying to say is a great way to keep content interesting, but don’t go down rabbit trails that provide little or no value to the reader. Everything should reinforce the point you are trying to make.
- Speak Human: In other words, speak naturally. Don’t try to get all King James or Encyclopedia Britannica on your audience. Just write the way you speak, and your readers will be grateful for it.
- Share Links: If you can link to content elsewhere that reinforces your point, do it. This is especially true if you can link to another authoritative source. Not only does this make you look more knowledgeable on your topic, it helps establish you as an authority.
- Call to Action: Once you’ve made your point, is there any action your reader should take next? If so, let them know what it is. You’re not always looking for a hard sell; sometimes it’s nice just to let the reader know what next actions they can take that will benefit them.
If you get a chance, throw in some multimedia. Scratch that. Make the time to produce some quality multimedia you can add to your content when appropriate. Content just isn’t text anymore, and those pushing epic text will get left behind those who are pushing epic text with multimedia.
We are now in an engagement society and the incorporation of multimedia gives people a reason to talk about, and share, your content. Don’t just let them read— let them immerse themselves in your content.
Think Outside the Box
What do you do when you have a flow meter manufacturer for a client and you’re responsible for their social media? You have to think pretty far outside the box, which for some clients isn’t a very distant journey.
Sometimes even small things can seem big to a client who’s accustomed to coloring within the lines. Here are some examples of some holiday-themed posts we did for our flow meter client:
None of these are groundbreaking by any means, but for this client they were. What can you do that falls outside of your comfort zone? It just might be this kind of outside-the-box thinking your site needs!
Whatever it is that you do with your blog, find ways to take otherwise good content and turn it into epic content that hits on all cylinders. Not everything has to be a slam dunk, but you have to pull a rabbit out of your hat more times than not. Because if your content isn’t epic… someone else’s will be.
Note: This post is part of a larger presentation, which can be found here.
All images in this post were either created by author or are creative commons licensing (or a combination of both), with the exception of the Sierra ads, which are used by permission of company.