Creating content people actually want to read takes strategy, time and commitment. With an overwhelming amount of content available, online and off, readers are increasingly proficient at labeling content worthwhile, or not, within seconds of seeing it.
Producing content that is successful depends on how you define that success. Whether it’s the number of garnered click-throughs or the number of leads generated, creating content that is effective in bringing your messaging goals to fruition rests on a few crucial characteristics.
Capable content comes down to how well you incorporate:
- Quality (not quantity)
Content that not only invites audiences in, but keeps them there for the entire length of the party (and convinces them to come back again) rests almost entirely on its relevance. Engaging readers takes an understanding of what they want and knowing how they want it delivered.
Merriam-Webster defines relevant as having significant bearing on the matter at hand. But how do you cultivate content with significant bearing? E-commerce expert Angie Schottmuller recommends using the Triangle of Relevance to create more magnetic content that holds attention and garners return visitors.
Schottmuller’s Triangle of Relevance draws upon:
- Business objectives — Your company’s mission, product or service
- User interest — What your users value
- Time significance — Current events, seasons, holidays, trending news
Readers expect you to know who they are and what they like based on how they’ve come across your content. Using what you know about them combined with your company’s mission and current trends, your content will be thoughtful and will show you are listening (you’ll also show you aren’t living under a rock, which is a plus!).
When you can successfully incorporate these three points of relevance, your content will strike a chord with readers. On the flip side, if taking steps towards relevance are ignored, your content will end up just adding to the background noise that readers will inevitably avoid.
The Art of Concision
In a Nielsen usability test, different wording styles for a website were tested. The study found that concise, scannable and objective copywriting resulted in 124% better usability.
In essence, don’t waste a reader’s time with content they can’t discern quickly. Not everyone scans a page, but not everyone reads each and every word. Forging a balance between different reading styles requires strategic, pithy work to create content with substance that a reader can scan and still benefit from. Keep it sharp and to-the-point.
Use messaging platforms to do just that: relay a message, plain and simple. And no matter what platform you’re using, you need to know your target audience. Why do they care? Answering that question will get you to the heart of your message faster helping you share the nugget of information readers want without wasting their time.
Stoney deGeyter of Search Engine Land has some very helpful tips on how to engage with less.
- Start with the most important point. Many only look at a section’s first line, so make it count.
- Use short, snappy headings to spark interest.
- Use bulleted lists to break up content into more digestible pieces.
- Bold or italicize key concepts to make them stand out.
- Use images that draw the eye in.
When you make is short and sweet (and don’t forget relevant!), you will help readers find the information they seek quicker and easier. And they will most likely thank you with return visits and more interaction with what you’re offering.
Quality Not Quantity
Creating quality content will also get readers to want to stick around. But what is the definition of quality content? If what you’ve created can check off the following points, consider it quality.
- Shows you understand readers’ needs and wants. Don’t just tell them, show them.
- Shares a story that stimulates a response.
- Cites credible sources and shares trustworthy links.
- Uses appropriate style and voice for target audience.
- Institutes proper grammar and spelling.
- The layout and formatting is not only easy on the eyes, it grabs attention.
- It’s easy to find and share.
Quality content makes interactions with readers, existing clients and potential customers rewarding for everyone. Provide valuable insight, solve problems, give expert advice; the possibilities are endless when you use the right approach to content creation.
For even more on creating quality content, check out Forbes writer Jayson DeMers’ deft illustration on the 10 key elements he grabbed from Google’s leaked Quality Rater Guidelines.
Content Readers Want
The best way to create content people want, is to stay strategic with a laser focus on creating relevant, sharp, quality content. Producing good content is more than stringing together key words. Readers are smart and will see through that approach.
Compelling readers to engage takes a willingness to understand what they want, and to deliver it in a way that not only resonates with them, but keeps them coming back to you for more.
5-Star writer Shelby M is a writer and editor with 10 years of experience in a wide range of industries. She has a solid editorial understanding and the ability to produce compelling work no matter how complex the subject. Engaging people and forging connections through well-written content is at the center of what she does.