10 Content Creation Best Practices Your Business Needs to Know
Whether you’re a veteran writer or just getting started, your success depends on your ability to maintain the highest quality in your content. This means creating content that follows today’s top best practices.
Without a focus on the most important elements of content creation, you run the risk of wasting your time and resources. You’ll simply be disappointed.
Let’s get started with these 10 content creation best practices. By the end, you’ll be better prepared to create content that’ll stand out from the rest to bring you subscribers and leads.
1) Have a clear purpose
Your content creation depends on what you want to get out of it and how you’ll accomplish it. That’s why it’s so important to know your content purpose. The best way to approach this is to have a content strategy. Without one, you’ll be disorganized, and it will show in your content in one way or another.
You don’t want to create content just for the sake of having it. You always want to have a reason for why you’re creating it. A strategy with a description of your creation purpose is necessary to keep track of why and how you’re creating content.
DON’T create content for the sake of having content.
ALWAYS have a reason or purpose for why you’re creating it.
2) Know your audience
Creating personas for your content marketing efforts is essential to successful reach and conversion. You want your content to attract and retain the right audience. The best way to do this is to have a clear understanding of who this target audience is, their pain points, and how you can help resolve them.
In a past article, I dived deep into persona development, but these are a few of the highlights:
- A reader persona is a fictional representation of who your ideal readers are in relation to your content goals. If your goal is conversions, your ideal readers would be likely to convert. Personas are not based on complete assumptions but rather are formed from research-backed data.
- Personas give your content direction, which helps you stay focused on the right path toward your end goal.
You can find step-by-step instructions on collecting the right data and putting it all together by continuing on to the original article.
DON’T create anything without establishing a clear understanding of your readers via personas.
DO your research: What do they want? What are their pain points you can resolve?
3) Be business relevant
You might think you need to be hip and trendy to reach people and get attention. You’re missing the most important part about content: you need to reach the right people at the right time in the right way.
Yes, you’ll want to create content about topics you know your target audience is watching. Current trends are a great way to get their attention. However, steer clear of controversy and focus on trends and topics that can relate back to your business.
Some trends you can and should use can be found on social media. These topics are sometimes generic enough to avoid controversy while also giving your brand a human voice. You can use these trends to inspire people, but make sure you’re focusing solely on that. This is not the time for self-promotion.
DON’T create content that doesn’t match with your business goals. It might be trendy, but if it isn’t relevant, it won’t reach the right people.
ALWAYS create content that is business or industry relevant, and as a potential secondary addition, incorporate trending topics with it.
4) Provide value
Content creation is about offering valuable information and advice to help your readers solve a need or pain point. It’s not the time for a sales pitch or promotional broadcast. Your blog, for example, is not a press release platform. They are separate entities.
Your focus when writing and developing your content should always start with how you’ll help your readers. It’s not about SEO until you’re sure your content holds value to your readers. When you know you’re offering true value, that’s when you can carefully incorporate other items, such as SEO elements and calls-to-action.
DON’T create content without having a primary focus on providing value.
ALWAYS focus first on creating quality content for your audience.
5) Optimize your title
Whether it’s a blog post, an eBook, or a social media update, your title is how you’ll get people’s attention. It’s how you’ll get them to take the next step. For example, a social media update with an optimized title will get people to click-through to your destination.
Use CoSchedule’s headline analyzer for your blog posts to see how effective it is or isn’t according to best practices. You’ll see whether it uses strong words, has a good length, offers positive, neutral, or negative sentiment, and much more. It helps to get an outside point of view on your title to truly understand how it works or doesn’t outside of your own biases.
DON’T use titles that you find appealing or effective without researching it first.
DO make sure you’re getting input from tools or other people before finalizing a title.
6) Find a balance between text, images and video
Whether it’s a blog post or social media update, you should always be offering content variety. A blog post cannot be just block text and neither should your social media updates. Incorporate relevant images to enhance your blog posts and express a major point from your text. When creating a social media update to promote that blog post, add the featured image to your update to improve engagement.
If you want to take it one step further, start creating videos on your blog and social media. Video is taking over where text once reigned. Text is no longer the preferred format. It’s video, so you should be seriously considering a video strategy for your content creation efforts.
DON’T publish block text. Headings and subheadings help, but they’re not enough. At minimum, offer a featured image. Video would be even better.
DO consider creating a video creation strategy to add to your existing content strategy. It shouldn’t replace it – just enhance it.
7) Always have a call-to-action (CTA)
A blog post needs a call-to-action. An eBook needs a call-to-action. Social media updates should have CTAs. Do you notice a trend?
Calls-to-action are one of the most important elements of any content you create. It’s how you get your audience to convert and take that next step closer to a sale. Your content goal should be lead generation just as much as (if not more than) thought leadership. Of course, your content itself should be value-based, but it wouldn’t have a business purpose if you didn’t include a CTA.
DON’T publish content without including an attractive, convincing call-to-action.
DO add one CTA per content piece to get your audience to convert into leads.
8) Check for SEO
After you created your blog content, and after you’ve included value to the reader, you now need to get it found in search results. SEO is critical to have your content found by the right people, so it’s important you use a tool like Yoast to check that your content is truly optimized.
With Yoast, you get a two-in-one service. If you’re hosting your site in WordPress, use this plugin to check your content for both SEO and readability. The plugin will teach you how to create content that appeals to search engines while also maintaining reader value.
DON’T make SEO your #1 priority when creating a blog post. Keyword stuffing is a huge no-no.
DO focus your content creation on both SEO and reader value by investing in a tool or following best practices.
9) Proofread for any errors
When you’re creating written content, you’re bound to make errors in grammar, accuracy, or structure. This is why proofreading is so important. Check your content to see if there are any spelling errors. Are your facts and data accurate? Do your links work? Is the article formatting all in the right place?
If you don’t proofread, you’re almost guaranteed to publish an error-filled piece of content. The best way to prevent this is to both proofread it yourself and also have someone else take a good look at it. These are some other proofreading tips that can guide your content creation efforts.
DON’T publish content that hasn’t been reviewed for grammar, spelling, accuracy, etc first.
DO thoroughly proofread your content yourself and have at least one other person help you out.
10) Have a social sharing strategy
When your content is hosted on your website, you need to get people to come visit it. Social media promotion is one way that this can happen. Use hashtags you know your target audience is watching. You can now use hashtags on LinkedIn, so that’s one more platform where you can take advantage of that feature. Without hashtags, add keywords to your updates to be found by other social media users.
Make sure you’re adding update copy that draws people’s attention without being deceiving. Tell your social media audience what they’d get out of clicking through instead of creating clickbait. You want people to stick around after they click through, but clickbait will just increase your bounce rate.
DON’T use clickbait to get more people to click through. It’ll increase your bounce rate and damage your future click-through rate.
DO explain the value in what you have to offer behind the link. Express the benefits to them.
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Your content is how you’ll bring a return on investment on your marketing efforts. It’s important that you create content that attracts, retains, and converts a qualified audience. These 10 content creation best practices are here to help you achieve that.