Build a Great Headline (And 7 More Tips for Writing Awesome Content)
October 25, 2018
Content is king.
It’s a phrase that’s existed for as long as SEO has and it’s no less relevant today than it was 20 years ago.
The big difference is that everybody now knows that it’s quality, rather than quantity, that matters.
Years ago, websites could get ranked just by loading up on terrible content. They just needed to use keywords and create a lot of pages.
Today, Google’s algorithms actively look for content that reads poorly. If the content doesn’t deliver what the reader wants, it drops down the rankings.
That leads us to a big question.
How do you create a quality piece of content?
We have eight tips that will help you out.
Tip #1 – Start With a Strong Headline
You need to attract the click before anybody sees your content. And that means you need a headline that captures attention.
Your headline needs to strike the balance between standing out from the crowd and telling the reader what they’re getting when they click. It may have to inspire emotion, especially if your article talks about a controversial topic.
It needs to attract the click.
Look at your headline and ask yourself if it’s something you’d click. If it isn’t, it needs to go in favour of something stronger.
Tip #2 – Get Rid of the Huge Blocks of Text
This tip is less about the quality of your writing as it is the way that you present it.
Remember that you’re not writing a book here. People don’t want to read huge blocks of text when they’re online. They need something that delivers a snappy message in an appealing format.
That means you have to keep your paragraphs short. Four lines is about all you need for a paragraph when writing content for the web. Include plenty of line breaks too.
Tip #3 – Answer a Question
What does your audience need to know?
If you can’t answer that question you can’t create a great piece of content.
Remember that you’re the authority that your audience looks to for advice. If you don’t even know what questions they have, how can you possibly give them useful information?
Thankfully, there’s loads of places that you can look to find the questions. Your social media accounts highlight plenty of them. You may notice that current clients ask the same questions.
You can even pop your keywords into Google or a tool to find out what people are asking.
Once you know the question, you have a topic that you can cover with your next piece.
Tip #4 – Keep it Simple
You may be the best-spoken person in the world.
But that’s not what people are looking for when they read content on the web. They want something that’s easy and scannable.
If you’re spending too much time on fancy language, you’re taking too long to deliver your most important points.
The Hemingway Tool is great for keeping track of the complexity of your language. If you’re hitting double figures for the grade, you may be creating content that’s too complicated for your readers.
Finally, try to avoid jargon. And if you do have to use it, make sure you explain it.
Tip #5 – Make it Actionable
There’s a big difference between telling people what’s wrong and telling them how to fix the problem.
Your content needs to give the reader some actions that they can take to improve their situation, whatever it may be.
You could offer a tutorial or give tips that the reader can put into practice.
Just remember that if readers can’t apply what your trying to teach them, they’re going to find someone else to show them.
Tip #6 – Check Your Sources
You’re not always going to create pieces that are loaded with facts.
But when you do, you need to keep an eye on your sources. If you’re making a statement of fact, you’re giving people an opportunity to question your credibility.
Your content needs to pass the fact checkers for you to build authority with it. Any mistakes you make damage your authority and make people trust you less.
And if you’re basing an opinion on an incorrect fact, you’re causing even more damage.
Always check your sources. Look for secondary sources that reinforce what the first source has to say.
If you can’t find several sources that back your fact up, it may be best to leave it out of the piece.
Tip #7 – Be Cautious With Your Keywords
There’s all sorts of advice online about how many keywords you need to slot into your content. The concept of keyword density is a pretty popular discussion point.
Keyword density is the number of keywords a piece has relative to the amount of words in the piece. For example, a 1,000-word piece that uses 10 keywords has a density of 1%.
We’re not going to claim to know the magic number. We’re not even sure it exists.
Instead, we’ll give you this simple piece of advice.
If a keyword doesn’t slot naturally into the text, it doesn’t need to be there.
Don’t compromise quality for the sake of adding a keyword.
Tip #8 – Keep Updating It
It’s always the dream to create an evergreen piece of content that you’ll never have to go back to.
But the fact is that a lot of pieces go out of date over time. New techniques emerge or new facts come out. You need to account for that if you want the piece to keep performing well.
If you know a piece uses time-sensitive information, it’s worth going back to it every so often to give it an update. Even it if doesn’t, you may be able to go back and add something worthwhile to an old piece.
We’re not saying you need to update news pieces and the like every few months. But you do need to keep your pillar content, which is the foundation of your website, as up-to-date as possible.
The Final Word
Here’s what we want you to do.
Follow each of these tips whenever you create a piece of content. Focus on quality at all times and always ask yourself if what you create is something that you’d find useful.
You’ll create better content that achieves stronger rankings for longer periods of time.
Of course, you may need a little help to give your content that extra push. That’s where we can help. Get in touch with the Pear Digital team to talk about the next step in your digital strategy.