We know content is king - but what is good content?

If you’ve been keeping up with marketing trends, you’ll have heard this phrase more than a few times and yet, many companies are still failing to adopt a structured approach to content marketing.

Well written content on a website is important because it:

> Engages the reader
> Increases search engine rankings and traffic
> Attracts quality links from other sites

Google has made it clear that it wants to reward websites that contain original content and will penalise those that don’t i.e. those with duplicate content either within the same site or scraped from other sites.

So exactly what is good content?

#1. Conversational.

The University College London, found that the brain separates speech into words and intonation. We process much more when we hear language than just the words being spoken. Without the sound and voice to add tone to words, writing is more successful when there’s a natural rhythm and conversational tone.

#2. 1-2-1 communication.

The pronoun “you” can be very persuasive and invites the reader to engage with the content. Even though it’s a one-way conversation, using the word “you” implies something active – a choice to listen.

#3. Cut to the chase.

Your website visitors are hunting for information and they’re extremely fickle! Web visitors only glance at your site and will make a decision to find out more or leave within the first 15 seconds. Don’t assume people will enjoy reading volumes about your products or services. Give them a simple statement of what you do, with links to read more if they want to.

#4. Every page can be a landing page.

Web visitors can arrive on your website via any page so every page needs to be easy to scan, clear and concise and provide clear calls to action (CTAs).

#5. Spend more time on “framing”.

When you’re working to deadlines and have a demanding content calendar to adhere to it can be all too easy to send the article off to the web team, or your agency or to upload it yourself once it’s written, without allocating a bit of extra time on perfecting the title or refining your share text or lead image. But this is the stuff that will intrigue the reader and drive them to share.

#6. Develop a strategy.

If you’re not familiar with it, the periodic table of content marketing is an excellent illustration of the essential elements of a content strategy, which are:

> Strategy
> Format
> Content type
> Platform
> Metrics
> Goals
> Sharing triggers
> Checklist

#7. Use a variety of formats.

Content is much more than articles and blog posts. Mix up your approach by using different formats such as videos, e-books, slideshows, webinars and infographics.

#8. Creating content – what you can’t live without.

First and foremost, you need to have an easy to use content management system (CMS), such as WordPress or Perch which allows you to update the website yourself. It’s advisable to have a blog that’s part of your website as opposed to a separate blogger site, to benefit from the SEO advantages off adding new content.

Secondly, it’s crucial to get a better understanding of your customers, how they are talking about your products or services online and what questions or problems they need to be addressed. There are plenty of ways in which you can get to know your customers. Forums are pure gold for gathering customer insight and it’s there’s nothing wrong with a bit of stalking on competitor websites to understand their approach and identify how you can be different.