7 hallmarks of useful, compelling content

To make your work worthwhile, write for a specific audience, optimize it for search, offer tangible takeaways and distribute it strategically.

The volume of content online is staggering—and there’s more of it every second.

It’s getting harder to get your messaging to stand out, land and resonate. It’s difficult, not impossible.

Effective content shares seven traits:

1. Good content is written for a specific audience. Compelling writing is rarely generic, vague or impersonal. You can’t be everything to everyone, so write to a specific group of people. Ideally, craft content geared toward your buyer personas. Before writing anything, think carefully about whom you’re addressing, what their needs are and how your content can benefit them.

2. It’s optimized for search and social media. A major part of the game today is getting your content found. Inserting the right keyword phrases—as naturally and as judiciously as possible—eases discovery of your content via search and online networks.

3. Good content provides value. What’s in it for your reader? What benefit will they receive from your content? Those questions should guide your content creation. Always offer useful takeaways for your audience. If you don’t provide value, why would anyone come back for more?

4. It must be structured well. Nobody wants to read a massive block of text. Help your readers glide through your prose by providing bullet points and subheadings. Write short sentences and break up paragraphs to increase readability.

5. Your content should inform. Facts, statistics, how-to advice—your content should have data-driven meat. This establishes credibility, accountability and authority. Don’t force the reader to call you or buy your product to obtain value. Your content should be enriching and informative without any strings attached.

6. Good content converts. Don’t skimp on strong, simple, clear calls to action. Make sure your content is mobile-friendly, fast-loading and concise to remove potential conversion barriers.

7. It should be strategically distributed and promoted. Do you plan how, when and which content gets shared on your social media channels? How about your email newsletter? Don’t be shy about promoting your good work.

Amanda Clark is president of Grammar Chic. A version of this post appeared on Business 2 Community.


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