I’d like to believe that content – regardless if it’s crappy or balls to the wall amazing –still requires effort of some sort. Though it’s not an exact formula, the common assumption is that more effort = better content. For me however, it’s not always the case. I’ve been writing for over seven years now (magazine articles, website content, press releases, blog posts, ad copies) but I still have days when I cannot even go beyond a single paragraph. Good thing, those days are offset by times when articles seemingly just write themselves. The fact is, if producing web content is as easy as Google generating search results then no writer would be too pressured about meeting the standards set by the kingly nature of content. Sadly, no such tool (or magic machine) exists—well not yet anyway—so like it or not, content production needs to be done the usual way. And by usual, I mean finding someone who’ll take care of your content requirements or if you like to flex your writing muscles, doing the whole thing by yourself.
Why you need great content
Before I attempt to inflict my opinion of what-makes-great-content on you, I think it’s a must to understand first why you even need to have content on your site or on the sites that convince search engines to put you right at the top of search results. As Mik Pam puts it, “Content is web currency.” You don’t even need me to tell you why you need to devote a part of your resources to content production. But for the sake of argument (and my inexplicable love of lists), allow me to rattle off the best reasons to form a content team, STAT!
- Content fuels Google organic traffic. (Check out this cool infographic on the importance of content for SEO.)
- Traffic equals prospects, which equal buyers.
- Because Bill Gates knows his stuff. (Here’s a link to the article written by Mr. Gates way back in 1996.)
- You need to have a well-rounded marketing strategy according to HiveFire’s B2B Marketing Trends Survey Report.
- Relevant content makes your brand trustworthy, which is a fancy way of saying “not selling, but helping customers make an informed buying decision.”
So what makes great content, well, great?
A definition of what’s good seems to be in order if great content is your goal not just for your website but for your outreach and link building efforts. Although I must say, you should also give some thought to the presentation if you want your target readers to actually stay on your site and marvel at your fantastic content. In terms of solid examples, Webdesigner Depot cites Mailchimp, 37 Signals, and Groupon as sites that offer excellent content. The lessons learned from these examples include using words that show rather than tell; avoiding overcomplicated business babble; and injecting color, humor, and character to the copy, where applicable.
Of course, you must also understand that not everyone will view your content as their cup of tea. Even if you are an authority on the subject or subjects that you plan to write about, not all will appreciate the usefulness of your content. Don’t think of it as a personal affront or anything. Just keep your eye on the prize, keep producing high quality content and keep hoping that your target audience will find your content relevant to their interests.