With strategic content creation, (the creation of content with a specific business goal in mind), it is critical that you take a systematic approach to ensure the quality and clarity of your content. As a result, I’ve put together this list of 10 questions to help ensure that the quality of all content you produce and publish is consistently high. I’m often guilty myself of only having a cursory read over articles before I hit the ‘publish’ button. The excitement of new content always leaves me eager to get it live and share it with people, but haste is not conducive to great quality content.
Rushing to share new content is tempting, but it won’t do you any favours
Even with good attention to detail, proof reading can be difficult, especially when you are the author and as such are highly familiar with the content. When reading the brain makes a number of inferences and educated guesses; instead of reading entire words the brain often picks up a few letter cues and based on those cues will fill in the blanks. This means that when we read, without realising it, we often skip individual letters which makes it difficult to spot the odd typo.
Once you start writing about a subject it’s easy to veer off topic or end up with content that is unbalanced or even a bit waffly. To make sure that your content is as good as it can be, considering the following questions will help. This list serves me well and I now have a quick run through it before I post any new content; I hope you will find it useful too.
10 questions to ask yourself before you publish new content
1. How clear is your messaging?
What is the point of your article? Do you say everything you need to say in a clear and easy to follow way? Do you waffle on and become irrelevant anywhere down the line? Content can often be edited down to improve the focus and clarity of the piece, but don’t strip it down ruthlessly. Bare can be just as unappealing as long waffly content is.
2. Are you using relevant keywords?
Does your content contain useful keywords that reinforce the subject matter of your article? For SEO purposes, ensuring that the keywords people will use to search for your content, are included in the headline and body is important in determining how well your content will rank.
Don’t forget that many commercial blogging platforms also allow you to choose keyword tags and categories for your content to be published under; making effective use of keyword tagging can be an effective way to reach new readers.
3. Have you looked at your content with fresh eyes?
Get a colleague, friend our family member to proof read your content before you post, just to be absolutely certain. Failing that, leave your content for 24 hours before goming back to it gor a final read through. You are much more likely to spot any errors you might have missed whilst writing and during your first few read-throughs.
4. Have you included calls to action?
Do you provide clear, useful calls to action in your content? Actions range from asking people to register for a seminar, picking up the phone and calling your company to find out more or leaving their own comments on the article.
5. Is your headline winning?
A good headline can make or break your content and will seriously determine the levels of engagement you are able to achieve. A good headline needs to be attention grabbing and should clearly summarise the nature of the content.
6. Does your content pop?
It’s a fact that people respond better to posts that are visual. Have you broken up your text by using sub headings, lists, quotes and images? This will ensure you achieve maximum engagement levels.
7. Have you included an Author link?
Link all of your content to you by using the Google+ rel=”author” link. This will ensure that your content stands out in search results and helps increase your credibility and exposure. It’s super easy to implement too so is definitely worth doing.
8. Do your links work?
Have you included useful links in your content? If so, make sure they all work and pay attention to how they open. Taking a reader away from your page might not be a great idea, in which case you might want to open a new window with your link.
Likewise, deep linking through to relevant content on your website, news or blog page plays an important role in SEO. Finally, make sure all pictures included in your post are showing correctly and don’t have broken paths or links.
9. When are you going to publish?
The time of day and actual day of the week that you choose to post content on will help to determine how well it is received.
There are universally accepted best times and days to post content. For example, currently, content posted on a Monday morning is reported to achieve the highest levels of engagement but find what works for your audience.
Try posting on various different days at different times and track what happens to find out which day and time work best for you.
Remember though, you can publish your content at pretty much any time you want and simply hold off promoting until an optimal time/day.
10. How are you going to promote your content?
Once you’ve published your new content you need to tell people about it. It can take Google anything from a few hours to many days before it will pick up and list your new content, so search engines alone should not be relied upon for sending you traffic.
Use all the channels available to you from your clients or companies news page through to social media. Social is the ideal way to promote your article so make sure you use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc to publicise your new content. Digg, Reddit and Stumble Upon can also generate traffic to your blog but in my experience traffic from these sources is prone to suffer from high bounce rates.
I hope these 10 questions prove useful to you and as always, i’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!
Shell Robshaw-Bryan is a marketing consultant at Surefire Media, the Cheshire based web design, eCommerce and marketing company. Shell specialises in organic search, content strategy and social media engagement for both B2C and B2B companies.