The sheer volume of content generated across the web is staggering. For example, fresh estimates suggest that more than 2 million blog posts are created every day. Also, billions of posts are written on social media.
In other words, we’re living in the age of content bombardment.
For marketers and anyone wanting to get their message heard through the storm, this content abundance represents a huge issue. Just imagine the competition you have to beat to ensure that your website doesn’t just get by.
There’s some good news, though. A large share of the content that is getting published out there is good.
“How is that good news?”
Well, “good” web content is insufficient to ensure that your website flourishes. You need outstanding content to stand out and get your message across.
How to create that content? Include the following 5 elements.
Element #1: Value
The most important purpose of web content is to provide value to readers. You could write error-free, fascinating content every day but chances are you won’t succeed if you don’t make it useful for readers.
In other words, quality is more important than quantity. Here are some ways to provide value in content:
- Offer advice that readers can test right away
- Give useful professional information
- Provide how-to tips
For example, if you’re writing about benefits of yoga, add them with opportunities to experience these benefits such as information on yoga vacations for various budgets.
Element #2: Strong Headlines
In most cases, the only element that Internet users see in your articles is the headline (in fact, 80 percent of Internet users never get past headlines). You have just several seconds to capture their attention, so trying the most effective techniques is a must.
Here are some of them with examples:
- Leave them hungry for more (“The winner of this year’s Academy award will surprise you”)
- Show the readers the benefits (“These marketing tips will improve your strategy right away”)
- Hit emotional button (“3 things you need to avoid to reach your goals”)
- Ask a provocative question (“do you make these three common mistakes in the gym?”)
Element #3: Images and Video
The majority of people, therefore readers, are visual learners, which means they prefer to obtain information through images and videos. That’s why modern textbooks feature so many visuals.
For web content, visuals are equally important because they can reinforce the idea and improve the reading experience. Besides, they work great to improve the popularity of the content.
For example, articles that had at least one image were shared much more than those without any visuals, according to a study by OkDork and BuzzSumo.
Element #4: Credible Sources
While it’s perfectly okay to voice your opinions, the readers tend to resonate with content supported by facts and evidence provided by well-known, credible sources.
The reason is simple. Just ask yourself: who would you listen to if you were looking for an advice, a person who cites studies or a person who has no evidence to support their claims?
Of course, you’ll listen to the one who backs up their claims with information from credible sources. That’s why you should be that person.
“By improving the credibility of your content by including credible sources, you’re increasing the chances that your content will be trusted by viewers,” explains Becky Martin, a marketer from A Writer.
Besides user experience, including outbound links to trusted sources in your text is also great for Google rankings because the search giant prioritizes popular content.
You can find what outbound links are the most popular in your content using Google Analytics.
Element #5: Personal Connection
A really great web content is able to make a personal connection with readers. Marketers have already acknowledged the importance of personalizing content, as more than half of digital marketers agree that it is a fundamental part of their online strategy.
It is a known fact that people tend to connect with other people, not companies. That’s why so many brands have famous ambassadors and representatives.
To let the readers know that there’s a real person behind the words, you can use the following techniques:
- Write content in the form of a personal story
- Write in a conversational style
- Elicit an emotional response by including emotionally charged words
- Don’t be afraid to share frustrations and fails (and how you solved them)
- Address the audience by using second-person (“you”).
- Write like you talk to highlight your personality.
Unleash your personality in writing but keep the main focus on the readers to maintain their interest.
The Bottom Line
Use these elements to take the content on your website to another level. Don’t settle for “good” because most websites out there are offering the same quality. To beat the competition, you have to dramatically improve quality and value for readers.
Author bio: Nancy Spektor has sharpened her pencil at “The Daily”, a newspaper for the University of Washington. After graduating, she decided to combine her business degree with her passion for written communication at college-paper.org. Nancy writes about marketing strategies, content management and other topics she finds interesting. If she’s not composing on her laptop or notebook, you can find her playing with her dog, Bok Choy.