Content Strategy: Tactics and Best Practices

Posted by Surround Integrated on March 13th, 2014

When it comes to developing your website or blog, high quality content should never be an afterthought. Do it right and you can watch your business soar to success (once the story goes viral). But do it wrong and the reputation of your business can unfortunately plummet… and do so in the blink of an eye.

To put it simply: website content is built to influence, persuade, and compel. It has to be original, unique, thought provoking… the list can go on and on. Even though building quality content can be time consuming and often have a price tag attached to it, it is nonetheless an investment that can have countless benefits on your business.

Here are five ways that you can make your web content appeal to readers:

Develop a strategy

Before you start writing, you should ask yourself the following; How do you want to portray your company, your personal brand, and your online platform as a whole? Once you have answered these questions, you should have a solid vision in mind.

Now it’s time plan your content by developing an inverted pyramid. This structure will ensure that your article is to the point, informative, and easy to read.
Inverted_pyramid

The inverted pyramid allows you to organize your content; it’s wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, containing information that is most important first, down to the least important.

How it works:

Top – this section contains the most important, crucial and relevant information. Your readers must know the five Ws (who, what, when, where, and why).

Middle – this section contains subheadings and extra information that helps readers understand your message. Any important information that adds value should be placed in this area of your article.

Bottom – this section contains bonus information. It’s also a great location to finish with a final call of action or a question that prompts discussion.

Create a catchy headline

The headline is by far the most important element of your article, because it’s your first chance to get a reader’s attention. Not to mention that if your story goes viral, this one-liner will get searched and shared on social media time and time again. In a nutshell, your headline should always be relevant to the topic at hand, creative and catchy.

Here is a simple headline-writing formula:

Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

Try it for yourself! Here are two examples that illustrate this formula are as follows:

“10 ways to sell your house in a day” or “How you can sell your home in less than 24 hours

Both of these headlines are intriguing and spike the reader’s curiosity. It is vital that you take some extra time to consider what words will grab your reader’s attention. You want to ensure that when all the words are put together, the headline describes your content in an honest and attractive way.

Think before you write

There are millions of poorly-written, keyword-stuffed articles on the web. As a reader, nothing is more annoying than coming across one.  In saying that, make sure your content is creative, engaging, and original.  By doing this, more people will visit your website AND you will receive organic traffic in return.  Throughout the article, it’s also important to use simple terms and simple sentences as much as possible.

Here are some examples:

Avoid: Despite the fact

Use instead: Although

Avoid: Prior to

Use instead: Before

Avoid: As a result

Use instead: Because

If in doubt, leave it out

Web pages need to be concise and to-the-point. People don’t read web pages… they scan them.  

In saying that, make sure that your article contains short and concise paragraphs – they are far better than long rambling ones. If you don’t think something is important, then leave it out.

A picture says a thousand words

Attractive and appropriate images enhance the visual appeal of your content. Always make sure that the images you use are not under any copyright restrictions. Also, images should be optimized to a suitable size for the web so that they are quick to download.

In your opinion, what is the most important element of creating high quality content for the web? Join the discussion below by sharing your thoughts and ideas with us. We would love to hear them!

DO YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS? If so, then join us every week for new posts about writing the best content for the web. In our next post, we will talk about the importance of Search Engine Optimization within creative content, and how it has the power to affect your traffic, growth and performance of your online platform. Stay tuned!