With billions of articles available on the Internet, it will take real effort to make your content stand out. We’d like you to pause for a minute. Try to think back to the last time you saw an engaging ad or article online.
Now, think about all the terrible ads and articles that you’ve seen since. The Internet is saturated with content pages written in the hope of being noticed. If you look hard enough, you’ll find that there are forums, articles, and products for every hobby and interest under the sun. All this content jostling for high SERP positions makes getting to the top tougher.
There’s a lot of theories on how to get ahead of the competition in search rankings and traffic. In all of these theories, there are a few common themes. In general, the best content is well written, informative, original, and regularly updated or revised. These are the bare bones of successful online content writing, and just these alone will get you pretty far.
However, there’s still much more to be done. There are a few more things you need to focus on for your content to reach the peak of its potential. Naturally, this will be different for every niche and market, but there are a few aspects of content creation that are universal. Here are ten tips to ensure your content will stand out and help you push yourself to the top of your field.
1. Don’t Be More Of The Same
Redundancy is one of the most significant issues that affect many blogs and articles. It’s easy to skim a few sites and create an amalgamation of all of their ideas. However, there’s nothing original in this process, and your audience will notice.
Do some original research, dig deeper, and ask experts for their opinions and ideas. Above all, make sure what you’re writing is your idea and not just a repetition of someone else’s. It doesn’t mean you have to spend weeks looking for the next big thing in your field. Just take a new approach to something that’s been done before. Ingenuity and originality will get you much further in the long run.
2. Don’t Oversell If You Want To Stand Out
It’s a given that you want to write content that promotes a particular product or service. You want your brand content to shine, and that means making each of your offerings stand out, too. However, doing this dully or repetitively will estrange your potential customers.
People are constantly inundated with ads and commercials. Most users will know when you’re trying to force a product on them, and they’ll resist. Instead, be subtle.
Mention you used your product, but don’t offer praise or be biased towards it. Compare it honestly to competitors. At the core of this idea is a straightforward idea: show, not tell. People want to decide for themselves what’s best for them. Give them all the tools they need to make this decision on their own.
If you have some time, here’s a 15-minute lecture by Ben Steele on how to move and convince people by showing them instead of telling them. Most people search Google because they need a solution to a problem they have. Instead of saying that your company will solve all their issues, show them that your product is the solution.
The best way to do this is through customer reviews, succinct and sincere posts, and honesty. A customer or user could be easily influenced by an example of how a product works rather than just blatant promotion with nothing to back it up. Have faith in your users and your product. Pandering or bias is something that many users will not take lightly. This behavior never benefits your content or site to include it. After all, your audience is there to find a solution to their problem. Provide them with real answers to stand out from the crowd.
3. Update and Recycle Posts
In the modern world, particularly on the Internet, things get outdated fast. Even a year could entirely change or update an industry or product. Take cryptocurrency for example. Cryptocurrency is a highly popular yet dynamic field where you have to be on the cutting edge to be successful.
Even a day or a week can make a massive difference in the relevance of your site and posts. That may seem like a niche example, but if you look at social media, video content, or even food trends, you can see that many subjects are going in the same rapidly changing direction.
It can be pretty exhausting writing new posts to cover every new development. Instead, it’s often better to update older material. Maybe revisit an old article or post of yours and discuss what’s changed or developed since then.
If you’re stretched for time, you can often recycle older posts into different formats to increase their value. A good way of doing this is by posting it on a different social media platform or discussing it through a different medium like a podcast or vlog. By recycling older ideas, you expose your article to more readers that weren’t there in the past. What’s more, you learn more about the topic and how you typically convey ideas.
This self-reflection enables you to improve your methodologies drastically. Never think that as soon as you’ve posted an article that it is set in stone. You can always reuse or rewrite a past article to increase your site’s ability to stand out. However, make sure you keep this next point in mind.
4. Don’t State the Obvious
Repeating yourself or repeating other articles is the fastest way to make your content and site look old, irrelevant, and out of its depth. Don’t insult your audience’s intelligence. This goes back to showing and not telling as well. Assume that if they’ve found your page, then they’re at least going to know the basics of what you’re writing about.
For example, if you’re writing a post about baseball, don’t start explaining the rules of the game. Anyone who reads the article will find this demeaning. Also, it will probably make you look like you’re not sure of what you’re talking about. It’s important to remember that one essential commodity online is attention span. You want to keep your readers and users focused on your content for as long as possible.
The easiest way for them to lose their attention or interest is for you to start discussing something they already know. If you do feel like you need to clear up some points or necessary information, make sure you have your facts right and make sure that your tone shows your knowledge of the subject. It brings us to a critical question: how do you attract attention to your site in the first place?
5. Create Attention-Grabbing Headlines to Stand Out
Headlines can make or break your content’s success. A lot of the time, people will only ever read your headline and then move on to the next topic or page.
On average, around 80% of people will read a page’s headline and then move on. According to Copyblogger, only about 20% of people read the rest of the content. You have two options when it comes to creating headlines. The first method you can use is to make your title as concise and informative as possible. This method gives your readers as much information as possible. Plus, it creates the impression that you’re an authority on the subject of the article.
The second method is to try and make the title as eye-catching and engaging as possible. A lot of sites approach this by making clickbait titles–which have worn out their welcome lately. It may take a little more time, but a great headline is one of the best ways to make your content stand out.
For example, we saw an article titled: “We’re All Going to Die.” Naturally, we clicked on the link immediately. In the end, the article was about the possible effects of climate change on Earth in the next few decades. The subject alone made the article exciting to read. Yet, it was the title that got us to first click on the link, not necessarily the topic itself.
The title was extraordinarily simple yet it encouraged us to read the article. It should be the aim of any writer or content producer to improve and develop their site and product. It helps to start writing with a title in place, but you can adjust or improve it as you write the piece. But, although the headline is the most crucial factor in attracting people to your site, a much bigger challenge is keeping them there.
6. Optimize Your Content Structure
Poor content design is the quickest way to lose readers, users, and potential customers. Every site is different, and every website will have different needs when it comes to content placement. However, there are a few basic rules that you can follow to help improve your content structure.
The first way is to break up your content into paragraphs or line breaks so it’s easier for readers to read and digest. Also, make sure your sentences don’t run on too long. Using correct fonts and font sizes can also make a massive difference to your content structure. One of the most irritating things for many users is the small font or content that is placed on a colorful background, making it illegible.
Your content is the heart of your work. Your website structure should be the backbone. To stretch this body metaphor even further, next, we’ll talk about your site’s fluttering eyelashes.
7. Use Photos
Great pictures are one of the easiest ways to improve the look and feel of your website. A photo with poor resolution is an easy way to make your site look like old garbage. Images are powerful. Use them to create a welcoming and engaging site that customers will enjoy. According to Seyens, half of the human brain is devoted to processing visual information. This is not surprising as writing has only been around for a fraction of humanity’s existence (about 7,000 years).
To add to this, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that photo advertisements can be 43% more persuasive than text-only content. However, make sure that your images do not clash or obfuscate one another. The best way to learn how to do this is easy.
Just scroll through popular Instagram feeds. The most popular Instagram users spend hours organizing their profile to make it as appealing and attractive as possible. Learn from their addiction.
8. Be Personal
Another aspect that is worth considering if you want to make your content stand out is to make sure you take it personally. If you’re not enthusiastic about your writing, your readers won’t be excited about reading it. Audiences want to read a relatable story that excites them. Integrate your personality into your writing, create a voice, tell a story, and be human. You get more conversions when you resonate with your audience.
Although keeping your voice and personality within your content is essential, make sure it doesn’t take over the whole piece. Ensure that your own opinions and ideas don’t overshadow the work itself. It is one of the quickest ways to make your content seem self-indulgent, biased, or even lazy.
Writing things in our natural, conversational tone is often a product of just the first draft. In general, when writing, plan on writing at least three drafts. Write the first draft and leave it alone for a day. Then, take another crack at it. Again, allow a little time and space to grow between you and your writing. Then, when it’s final draft time, sit down to write confidently. Now, you’ll be more familiar with your subject and have plenty of material and time.
One of the best methods for enhancing your voice in your work is by writing about what you love. An article written by someone genuinely interested in his/her subject will most likely stand out from an article created by a less enthusiastic writer. This brings us to a topic that has the potential to ruin your site’s reputation.
9. Check Your Facts
In the modern world of Google, there is no excuse for being wrong or incorrect in an article. Even Wikipedia is no longer as dubious as it was five years ago. Take some time to thoroughly research your work and make sure that all the statements and facts you made are correct.
Check and double-check your content to make sure you’ve got your facts right. After this, check your content once more to make sure. Nothing kills your content faster than the wrong information.
If you’re having an issue finding the right information or a source online, ask someone. There are thousands of dedicated sites and forums out there with people willing to answer questions about anything under the sun. One takeaway from every point so far: give yourself plenty of time.
You want time for multiple drafts and time for outside sources to return your queries. As an example, we once needed to find out the difference between laminar and lamellar, which we didn’t know the first thing about. We had some issues finding some trustworthy sites to use, so we asked the question on a dedicated forum. Within minutes we had multiple responses. Some even came from professors and Ph.D. students–all overwhelming us with information about the subject.
For those of you who are curious as to what the difference is between laminar and lamellar, there isn’t any. For those of you who are curious as to what these things are, don’t be–it’s a method of armor crafting.
The best and most reliable way of earning your audience’s trust is with compelling facts. If you’re seen as an authority in your field, you will be guaranteed a stable level of traffic for as long as you remain informed and relevant.
10. Content-Length Alone Won’t Make you Stand Out
Content length can indeed help considerably with your site’s visibility and ranking online. Typically, for complex topics whose prime keywords you want to rank for, write at least 1,500 words.
However, don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Although you might get a better ranking at first, people will see pretty quickly that your site is inundated with filler and irrelevant content.
The best way to achieve gradual and reliable growth for your site is to create high-quality content that’s of the right length and doesn’t try to fluff itself up. Think of yourself reading a content piece. You’re far more likely to read a short, concise, and informative article than an excessively long post that never really gets to the core of the issue.
Tying It All Together
These are ten tips that will consistently help you improve your content writing skills and your site’s authority and ranking. Remember, don’t pander to your audience or insult their intelligence. Get your facts straight and put a personal, original spin on ideas. Do this, and you’re guaranteed to see a noticeable difference in your site’s engagement.
Above all, be patient with your content. Growth rarely happens overnight, but it will happen if you’re consistent, persistent, and dedicated to producing high-quality and well-researched content.