With content at the heart of the majority of digital marketing strategies, it is important to make sure that your content team are creating the best content possible that will engage your audience and encourage shares.

The best content takes time and hard work, but it is worth making the effort for the numerous benefits you will receive. Not only does high quality content boost your rankings in the SERPs, but it also drives traffic to your blog and ultimately generates leads.

Sizzling-content-1 8 Simple Rules to Follow to Make Your Content Sizzle

Great content requires a few different ingredients, all baked together to make something to be proud of. Here are 8 easy steps you can follow when creating high quality, engaging content:

Strong Headlines

A headline is the first thing your audience will see, and although 80% of them will read it, only 20% will go on to look at the rest of your content. Because of this, your headline is as important, if not more so, than the article or piece of content itself.

With over 2 million pieces of content published every single day, it is important to make sure that your headline stands out in the crowd and encourages your audience to click on it. Take time to really think about your headlines, and if needs be wait until your content is finished to go back and see what works best.

A general rule of thumb is to keep your headline short and snappy while giving your reader a reason to look further – provide them with a list of useful tools or guidelines, or ask them a question they may want to know the answer to that they can will find in your content. Here is a full guide on writing a catchy headline.

Unique Content

Google penalises sites that use duplicate content, so creating original and unique content is key. You need to make sure that the content you create is fresh and not something that other content creators have already done to death. If your content is something that has never been seen before, other people are more likely to link to it and share it with their friends and followers.

Many people mistakenly think that the quantity of content produced is more important than the quality, but that’s just not the case. Yes it is important to regularly update your blog and keep the content on your site fresh, but churning out pages of pointless text won’t get you anywhere.

If you write useful and interesting content that is genuinely helpful to readers and optimised for search engine, people will eventually find it. The time and effort put into creating good content is well worth it when it produces the reaction it deserves.

Punctuation and Grammar

Pay attention to your punctuation and grammar in any written content that you create. The two main punctuation marks to watch are commas and full stops, as they are often put in the wrong place and are the main things that can regulate the flow of your thoughts.

Ensure your paragraphs aren’t too long, as heavy blocks of text can really put people off reading your content. Try and stick to around three sentences per paragraph, and don’t use sentences that go on and on with just multiple commas to break them up.

Find a way to check your punctuation and grammar that works for you. This could either be correcting as you go, looking back one paragraph at a time or just waiting until you have finished the entire document and then going back through and editing it.

Ready, Set, Action

There is nothing better than producing engaging and informative content that your audience can actually action. After reading your content, you want readers to be able to have learnt something and use it to benefit their own work or life.

Really great content doesn’t tell readers what to do, instead it guides them by providing tips and materials to help them get the most out of what they are doing. The main reason people read non-fictional articles and blog posts is to learn and become better at what they do.

What is very important though, is to try what you are suggesting before you actually suggest it. There is nothing worse than reading a piece of content that links to a site that no longer exists or suggests a strategy that won’t actually work. Try before you write and make sure your content is credible.

Data and Statistics

Using data and statistics is a great way to supercharge your content, as it not only boosts the quality of your work, but also makes anything you publish seem rapidly more credible. The more credible your content is, the more interesting it will be and the more likely it will be to generate discussion and engagement.

There are lots of different ways to use data in your content, including as a benchmark for measurement purposes, a demonstration of success levels or even as a strong statistic that backs up the reason you are creating the content in the first place.

If you are going to use data and statistics, make sure they can be verified. The easiest way to do this is by linking to the original source. By linking to other high quality pieces of content, you will not only be referencing the original study or article, but you will also help search engines relate your content to a specific topic.

Images and Videos

Visual content is not only easier to process, but images can also help to create a stronger message and boost your social engagement. Images are much more attention grabbing than a block of text and are more likely to evoke emotional reactions from viewers.

There are lots of ways you can incorporate images and videos into your content, whether it is just to emphasise a point by using a diagram, or to provide an entire guide through video.

Make sure the images and videos you add are relevant though, as pictures that have nothing to do with your content could actually have a detrimental effect and distract your reader from the purpose of your content entirely.

Get to the Point

One of the main places content writers can go wrong is by trying to make their work too long. It is easy to become overly focussed on the Internet as a place to publish content and not using it as a platform for communication. Once your content has been published, readers still need to understand it and be able to read it in a manageable time period.

Make sure you don’t use overcomplicated language in your posts, otherwise there is a chance you could lose readers from the word go. Keep your writing clear and concise and don’t use “fluff” just to make it as long as possible. The quicker you get to the point with your content, the more your readers will appreciate it.

Use appropriate subheadings and captions so that your readers can easily scan and navigate the content you have created. Links, page titles and meta descriptions will also help to introduce and explain your content, telling the reader straight away what your content is about.

Leave it

Once you have created a piece of content leave it. For an hour, for a day, for a week. This may seem like an odd thing to do once you have finished a piece of work, as you will most likely be thinking of publishing it, but it can really help to reset your mind and give you time to assess the work you have created.

When you come back to your content you will have completely fresh eyes and be able to see any mistakes you have made or any parts of your content that could benefit from being tweaked or even completely re-written.

Alternatively, if you don’t have time to walk away due to deadlines, ask someone else to have a look at what you have done. Their fresh perspective may draw your attention to things you hadn’t seen or thought of, giving your content a whole new edge.