In its simplest form, word-based content is any copy you read on a company website, blog, social media, collateral, etc. Good content is essential for your brand. It’s a major component of how your audience gets to know you, who you are, and what you offer. Articles and blogs are a great way to provide company updates, helpful information, and service offerings for your audience. If you’ve decided to write your own copy, you might be wondering how to tell if you’re writing good (or not-so-good) content. There are several distinctions between good and bad content. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you on your way.
What makes good content:
The language you use will vary depending on your brand and the topic at hand. If you’re writing technical-based content, you will likely use more formal language. If you’re writing something more casual (like a Level Up post, for example) you’ll likely use language that is more laid back and friendly. The key is to make sure you’re using language that is easily digestible and resonates with your audience. People can’t connect with something they don’t understand. Even if you’re using technical language, make sure it’s still written in a way that can be understood by your viewers. Avoid jargon phrases or exclusive language.
Identify your audience
It may sound obvious, but a key component of creating good content is connecting with your audience. To connect with them, you need to identify them. Offering solutions to potential problems is a great way to engage and acknowledge why the viewer might be on your site. It’s also important to make sure your website isn’t all about you! Refer to your viewers and let them know you acknowledge and understand their potential pain points, and explain how your services and/or information may help. Most people would be more willing to put their trust in an organization that has established connections and built a rapport than one that feels disconnected and unrelatable. (You’d put your trust in a friend quicker than a total stranger, right? Your content should work to establish that professional friendship with your viewer.)
The most important rule when writing good content is to be authentic. The only true way to build trust with your audience is to provide the services you say you offer (never use click-bait titles or headings just to get users on your page), and be as genuine as possible. It’s okay to admit when you don’t know all the answers to something! It’s even better when you show a commitment to finding the information elsewhere (links are great for this). Trying to be everything to all people through your content writing will leave you looking unauthentic and unrelatable. Be true to your organization and your brand. In the end, you will attract the right audience for your business, which will lead to a higher-quality engagement.
What makes bad content:
A bunch of jargon
Don’t make your content feel like an exclusive club by filling it with words and phrases not everyone is familiar with. It creates a barrier between your organization and your viewer and gives the impression that if someone doesn’t understand the lingo, they aren’t included. Oftentimes, jargon can be replaced with everyday language. If a jargon word needs to be included, make sure to provide additional context or link to an explanation to keep your site welcome to all.
Telling instead of showing
Good content “proves” its statements. Anyone can write about why their service offerings are great or why their information is useful, but can you prove it? Bad content is filled with declarations without evidence to back it up. For example – if you are an artist, you will likely need to display your portfolio or recent work on your site. You may even want to provide links to places your art has been displayed, purchased, or featured. This will establish your credibility and show your viewers that you can walk the walk, not just talk to the talk.
Has poor design and functionality
Your ideas are brilliant – but if people can’t properly navigate your site no one will know! It’s important to use a design that uses the right balance of copy, photos, and videos to balance your site. Break apart content into digestible chunks that can be easily skimmed by the reader (headings and subheadings are awesome for this). Purposefully placing images and videos along with your copy can also enhance your ideas and help your audience get a better understanding of your message. It’s also important that your audience can move easily and freely across your site with a clear sense of direction and hierarchy. Broken links, disjointed pages, and poor design can all lead to audience frustration, a lack of credibility, and the potential for loss of interest.
If you need a hand with your content, send us a message! We’ll make sure it’s filled with a whole lot of the good stuff, and none of the bad stuff. We can also make sure your design and functionality best support your messaging and brand, keeping your audience engaged, intrigued, and eager to learn more.