When I made the move to digital, I found that the most important lessons from working in PR were still applicable. The lessons I’m referring to are those that dictate what good content should be.
Good content is relevant
Your target audience has to be able to relate to the content you put in front of them. In order to deliver on this measurement, you have to know your reader back-to-front. You have to know what their likes, dislikes and interests are. This is the only way you’ll be able to tailor your content to your readers. If you give your target audience something they’re not interested in, they won’t read what you’ve written. It’s that simple.
It provides value
Think about something you’ve read recently that has stuck with you. Why do you still remember it? Chances are it’s because what you read taught you something new, shared a point of view new to you, inspired you, or made you laugh or cry. That’s what good content does! It adds value to the reader’s life by being useful, educational or entertaining. How-tos and list articles are popular choices for doing just this, and of course very little beats content that talks to a topical news piece.
And it engages with the reader
In the digital world, you can use all kinds of techy gadgets to get your audience to engage with your content. You can add Facebook, Twitter or any other button, games or anything else that requires a click. But look at it purely from a content writing perspective and the basic rules apply – your writing has to be a pleasure to read. It has to be grammatically sound, it has to take the reader from one paragraph or thought to the next, effortlessly, and it has to be written in a voice or tone that speaks to the reader.
Furthermore, you can ask questions or pose problems. You can also use graphs, pie charts or videos. Anything, really, that’ll take your target audience beyond merely reading your words.
Of course there is much more that differentiates a good piece of content from a bad one. Your work should always be original and it also comes down to more technical matters like headlines, the length of your sentences, scannability and even design.
To me, however, relevance , value and engagement are the three main factors which determine whether content is enjoyed, shared and talked about by readers. And in the end, that’s what you want whenever you produce content – responses and discussions.