4 simple ways to create killer content

We all know KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid – the theory that often simplicity is the best option. While we've all grown up since learning this in primary school (hopefully), many of us tend to try and punch a bit above our weight when it comes to content creation without perfecting a few of the basics, and could learn a thing or two from KISS.

Content marketing is by no means a new thing. While many businesses have become attuned to the perks that engaging and informative online content can bring, internationally, businesses have been making use of the marketing technique for well over a decade. My point being, there is a lot of competition out there, so here's a few basics you need to perfect before you get back in the ring.

A killer headline goes a long way

Many of us apply the same principles to online content that we would to an essay at University, where the marker is required to sift through your work to the very end, digging for gold.

But there is nothing stopping the reader from continuing to scroll past your content or clicking back. It needs to be cut-throat, and that starts with the headline.

8 out of 10 people will skim read a headline when browsing over it, according to CopyBlogger, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. Therefore, every sentence needs to convince the reader to keep going.

So how do you get a good headline? Well, that's not an easy question to answer and depends entirely on your readership, but here's a few statistics that might help point you in the right direction.

Headlines with eight words receive 21% more clicks than normal, according to Outbrain's Managing Director, Europe, Simon Edelstyn, who collected data from over 150,000 headlines. He also found headlines featuring odd-numbered lists receive 20% higher click-through rate than even-numbered headlines.

To bring to light what type of headlines do best, Conductor categorised the different types of headlines.

  • Normal (Ways to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful)
  • Question (What are Ways to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful?)
  • How to (How to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful)
  • Number (30 Ways To Make Drinking Tea More Delightful)
  • Reader-Addressing (Ways You Need to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful)
What they found was that headlines with numbers received 36% more engagement, followed by headlines that addressed the reader (25%), how to (17%), normal (15%) and questions (11%).

Share the news on social media

Even if your content is on the same level as Ernest Hemingway, the sad truth is that if you're not sharing it around, no one is going to see it.

But before you start creating an Instagram account, it's a good practice to only invest in the social channels worth your while.

For instance, if you're a manufacturing company trying to reach other businesses, sharing content on LinkedIn is a great way to go, while if you're selling something like clothing, posting pictures onto Pinterest and Instagram would give you the best bang for your buck.

In fact, at present Instagram receives more engagement than Facebook and Twitter. According to Locowise, who studied 2,500 Instagram profiles, the average post on Instagram received 2.81% engagement, compared to Facebook at 0.25% and Twitter at 0.21%.

Sharing industry news on social media is also a great idea, as more and more people are getting their daily news through social channels.

Figure out what audience you are trying to reach, and target your content towards them.

A picture is worth a thousand retweets

What do Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest all have in common, besides being some of the world's most popular social networking sites? Pictures. These sites are entirely focused on visual content.

As humans, we are naturally drawn to visual content, with the brain processing visual cues in just a quarter of a second, according to content strategy agency Column Five, much faster than it does a word.

On Twitter, posts with images receive an average of 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets, according to Bufferapp.

While on Facebook, posts with photos receive 87% more interaction from fans, according to Social Media Examiner.

Therefore, investing in high-quality and captivating visual content is a must-have.

Link only to sites you know and trust

Including links to other sites in your content might seem counter-productive, but referencing other sites is a great way to convince readers, and Google, that you know what you're talking about.

So feel free to add in the links to studies you've mentioned, but be careful not to link to any dodgy sites as it might affect your site's Google ranking.

Google's algorithm is able to spot the difference between sites that have true authority to them, and sites that are simply popular, just by looking at links, Google's head of search and spam, Matt Cutts explained last year.

For instance, adult sites receive a lot of traffic, but often have poor rankings in search results, while government sites on the other hand are often the polar opposite. This is because very few respectable sites link to adult sites, while many link to government sites.

Consider applying these tips to your content next time to you post something online, and remember to keep it engaging and thought-provoking. If you need some extra help get your brand's content out there, connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or flick us an email.

Content creation is relatively simple in theory - write content people find useful and interesting - but there are few basic techniques you should try and master to help you create truly killer content.


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