Creating world-class content is one of the pillars of a powerful online presence, but this is no easy task for those that are not professional writers. Choosing appropriate subjects, collecting accurate information, and even posting the content at the correct time often makes this process feel like a full-time job. For those that have had trouble writing eye-catching articles, here are some tips to create pertinent, useful, and up-to-date content.
Make It Original
It was not long ago that “article mills” were dominating the search engine results pages. Countless programs stole headlines, paragraphs, and even full articles from other sources in order to create incoherent content. Those days are long gone and plagiarizing even small portions of an article could hurt one’s rankings. It is never a bad idea to get inspiration from similar articles, but the tone and phrasing must be as distinct and original as possible.
Nail the Headlines
The numbers change slightly between every website, but only around 20 percent of traffic that reads a headline will go on to read the entire article. Even if a certain individual is not interested in the information offered by an article, a catchy headline could keep them on the page for longer and increase the chance of a conversion. One great idea is to create four or five unique headlines, write the article, and then choose the headline that most appropriately describes the content.
Make Every Article Actionable
Before starting on an article, authors should take some time and think about exactly what the readers are going to do with that information. If the readers cannot do anything with the article, then it is time to think of a new angle. Even if the final goal is to get the reader to explore the subject matter further, writers always want to think about what can be done after finishing the article. This may include contacting a company, making a purchase, or simply sharing it with their friends on social media to spark further discussion.
Double-Check Sources and Stats
Companies that think they can get away with shoddy sources or inaccurate information are in for an unfortunate surprise. Online traffic is exceptionally well-informed and many individuals make it a point to check and double-check anything that they read from a commercial source. Using sources such as a similar blog is a great way to share some traffic, but only reputable organizations should be used for hard facts and figures. This is especially important for businesses in highly regulated fields such as law and medicine.
Add Media and Links
Articles should never be a single block of words. Even if the information is useful, an article that is not visually appealing will almost always be ignored. Writers should limit paragraphs to just a few sentences and break them up as much as possible with sub-titles, videos, pictures, and infographics. Adding a few high-quality outbound links is another great way to improve the legitimacy of an article and break it up for the reader.
Keep It Short
There are very few instances in which an article will need to go on for thousands and thousands of words. Some content such as white pages can be rather lengthy, but the average blog entry or informational article should be as brief as possible. If the author can answer a question in just a few paragraphs, then they should leave the article as short as possible. The longer an article is, the bigger the risk that readers will leave before they find the clear call to action.