Here on the vast seas of the Internet, we seek out islands of great content amidst churning waves of garbage. It’s the sad truth that many people don’t know how to make good content. They churn out something that no one really cares about, or do so in such a lackluster way that no one notices them. We don’t want you to be one of those people. We want you to create great content for your community and followers, so that that group grows rather than stagnates. Join us as we talk about some simple tips to create great content.
Fill a Real Need
How many articles have you seen online that make you think, “Do I really need an article to tell me that?”. Unfortunately, there is a lot of content like this, and most likely those articles perform poorly. When you set out to create great content, you need to start with something that people actually want to see.
The easiest way to implement this rule is to answer a question. But not just any question! If you write an article about something hundreds of other blogs have written about expertly already, you might just be wasting your time. Do your research, and identify questions that few others have effectively answered. It’s okay if there are already a few people who wrote the same thing, as long as you do a better job of explaining it! You can use the Google AdWords keyword tools to see monthly search volumes for your questions, poll your community to see what their knowledge gaps are, and see what searches drive people to your website already.
This is exactly what happened to Digital Zealot on our YouTube channel. We identified through Google Analytics that “how does Discord make money” was a popular search that brought people to our Discover Discord site. So, we decided to write a blog about the topic, and follow up with a video on YouTube. It wasn’t instant, but eventually the YouTube algorithm realized people were searching for this question, and our video had the answer. This resulted in a huge growth for our channel and our community, all because we answered a simple question that no one else had bothered to talk about.
It doesn’t just have to be questions, though. Sometimes people just enjoy entertainment. Be one of the first people to discuss a new feature in a video game, or to review a product. People love to consume content, but it has to be relevant and timely!
In order to create great content, you have to stand out from the crowd. There are so many other people creating content, whether it be about something very obvious or something extremely niche. There are two key ways you can differentiate yourself from everyone else online:
Find a Niche
One way to get noticed is to identify a topic that no one else is covering. Of course, do your research to figure out if it’s something that people are even interested in. But if there is an interest, the people will come straight to you. If you are the only resource to learn about a certain topic, then people have no choice but to consume your content. However, make sure that you stay on top of your game, because there is also a second way to differentiate yourself…
Do it Better than Someone Else
If you want to cover a topic that has already been covered, there is one effective way to become the new authority on it: do it better. Dive into existing content about your topic of choice, and identify how you can add to that content. Whether it’s more detail, better presentation, or a fresh perspective, there is likely some place in which you can add value to readers. Identifying those weak points in existing content will open up doors for you to gain an audience.
Update and Repurpose
Why create brand new content when you already have something that works? Well, it’s always good to be trying new things, but sometimes it is best to take something tried and true and improve upon it. If you had a piece of content that did well in the past, return to that piece and find where you can update information, or where you can work to improve the quality. While you can just copy and paste the same content, there is likely some way that you can spice it up. And unless the content was time-sensitive, it is likely to do well the second time around.
This is a step beyond just sharing an old post on social media. This is the copying and modifying of an old post into a new post. The old post will still exist, but so will a brand new shiny one!
Get a Second Opinion, and a Third
Sometimes a piece of content has great information, but it’s presented poorly. If your sentences and grammar are mediocre, then no one will be impressed by how good your research is. Luckily, there are some easy ways to improve.
One of the simplest ways is to use an online tool. If you blog on a platform like WordPress, there are great plugins like Yoast SEO (more on that later) that give you a Readability score. This checks for passive voice, run-on sentences, and more, which determine how enjoyable and easy it is to read your post. If you are making a script for a video, this will also help you write more clearly and concisely. This tool utilizes the Flesch Reading Ease Test, which you can use even if you don’t have the plugin. It is a benchmark writers can use to determine how easy to read their content is. As fun as it can be to sound overly sophisticated, you will get better results with your content if it is very easy to read and understand.
It is also great to get a set of real human eyes on your writing. Share your work with a friend or coworker, and ask them to be critical. If a sentence sounds awkward or doesn’t make sense, they should let you know. Then once you have your suggestions, decide if you should make those changes. Don’t feel like you need to make every edit; not every person will interpret the content the same way. But keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to share.
Utilize SEO Best Practices
If you don’t know what SEO is, you really should. It is at the core of your content being seen. SEO, or search engine optimization, is an aspect of creating content that tells search engines like Google what your piece of content is about and how legitimate it is. Ultimately, SEO also determines how high in search results your content appears. While there are a lot of algorithms going on in the background, there are also a lot of best practices. Here are the basics of how SEO works and how to optimize your content.
- The end result of SEO is your content coming up highly on search results for a specific search term
- Using the desired search term (your keyword) effectively in your content impacts your search rank
- This rank is 100% organic – SEO does not take into account paying for advertising placements
- The keyword should be used in the body, title, image tags, and meta description of your content, but it is a fine balance between repeating the word too much and too little
- Keywords can be a single generic word, or a more specific longer phrase
- SEO is always changing, which means staying on top of what works and what doesn’t can be a challenge
For a basic mastery of SEO, we return to the previously mentioned Yoast SEO plugin, and others like it. When you enter your desired keyword in the tool, you will receive prompts to use the word or phrase in the proper locations of your blog. It also informs you if you are using the word too much or not enough. Following these guidelines will give you a better idea of basic SEO practices. At the bare minimum, you should follow these suggestions. After all, if web traffic comes directly to you, then you may be able to save time in other areas like social media, to meet your content goals. SEO is a massive topic. Being an expert on it is a full time job in and of itself. Start small, and learn more about it as time goes on.
Creating great content can be a constant battle. It can get frustrating when some articles or videos seem to go viral for no apparent reason. Luck can be a factor sometimes. But we believe you can make your own luck. If you create great content consistently, search engines will love you, and your audience will grow. We hope that these content creation tips help you out with your blog, YouTube channel, fan page, or whatever it may be. With all the competition out there, it helps a lot to know what you’re doing!