Here we’re going to answer the question:
What makes excellent content?
There is a huge chasm between excellent and bad content.
You’ve definitely felt the satisfaction of clicking onto a good piece of content.
You’ve definitely felt the bitter disappointment of clicking onto a bad piece. But what is it exactly that separates the two? What makes it good or bad?
And why is it important that you create good content at all?
Let’s take a look.
Why Is Good Content Important?
Content creates an emotional connection with the reader.
It’s the point of contact where people learn about:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why they should trust you
More importantly, they’ll use content to decide if they like you. (People only buy from people they like!)
If you can:
- Hit the right emotions
- Impart the right information
- Show your personality
You could have a customer for life.
If you don’t, they might never return!
Think of it like this…
Content is your front-line store worker. The face of your business. The person who communicates with your customers on a human level.
If your store worker is:
People are likely to buy from them.
If your store worker is:
- Poorly informed
- Struggling with word
- Responding with irrelevant answers
People are likely to walk out of your store and down the street to your competitor.
Creating good content isn’t about being an:
- Incredible writer (The best content creators I know failed English!)
- Industry expert
- Immensely interesting person
- Or an amateur psychologist
I may be an SEO expert, but I’m definitely not the other 3x things.
It’s about using all the tools at your disposal to share information and connect with your reader in the right way.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
Good Content Vs. Bad Content
I’m going to compare some examples of content with a breakdown of what makes them either good or bad.
Please take the time to look through each post yourself!
Get To The Bloody Point!
The 1st topic we’ll take a look at is:
How To Take A Screenshot On A Mac.
This is a topic where people want a quick and clear answer.
WIRED created a BAD piece of content for this:
It’s very wordy. There’s a lot of waffle between the reader and the information they want.
Worse still, you can’t see the key information by just scanning the page. You have to work for it!
Apple created an EXCELLENT piece of content for this.
Within milliseconds you can see exactly how to take a screenshot on a mac.
There is no waffle. Just information. They also use images to support the written content.
In fewer than 10x seconds you can read the entire post and understand the topic.
Understand The Reader’s Needs
This time, let’s look at:
Best Child Bike Seats.
This is a sensitive subject. It involves safety and children!
You need to understand:
- Who is going to read this piece (parents of young children)
- Why they are reading it (they want a safe option)
The content should help them reach the correct and safest decision.
What Baby Needs have created a BAD guide for this.
It’s basically just a list of child bike seats. There is little emphasis on safety or the needs of the customer.
It’s clearly just someone trying to push affiliate links – naughty!
Two Wheeling Tots have created an EXCELLENT guide.
They put an emphasis on safety and the needs of the reader. They also provide a lot of context for each review, including:
- Age ranges
- Child’s weight
- Product features
They’ve also added comparison tables to readers can see products side-by-side:
And, towards the end of the post there’s a complete buyers’ guide:
You couldn’t ask for more from a review post!
Be Accurate And Current
Let’s look at a review-based keyword:
Disney Plus Review
There’s one golden rule when writing reviews: being right is better than being first.
Don’t rush to produce content if you can’t accurately cover the topic. You should also make sure all of the information is current when you publish your content.
Janine Huldie created a BAD review of Disney Plus by falling into this trap.
This post adds ZERO value to a potential customer. Why?
Because it’s missing so much. Mostly, it’s not accurate or specific enough. Look at this section:
It basically says:
“The bonus of having Disney Plus is that it has content from all of Disney’s companies.”
This feels like someone trying to cash in on a potential keyword. There’s no substance.
Tom’s Guide has a GREAT review of Disney Plus.
From the images alone you can see the reviewer has used the product.
This review took time to create. Each section explores a specific section of Disney Plus. It’s all accurate and up-to-date.
Organize The Content Logically
Finally, let’s look at:
How to build a racing drone.
This is a complex topic. The content needs a logical order, full of:
- Clear reference points
For it to be useful and helpful to an audience.
Digital Trends made a BAD tutorial.
People could not read this post and gain enough information on how to build a racing drone.
Even with a high level of technical skill, there is not enough to go on.
They also haven’t used relevant:
- Reference materials
To provide context (and value!) to the post.
The content is also hard to navigate. They use small paragraphs and images are not relevant to the sections they’re in.
Oscar Liang has an EXCELLENT post on this.
There is a clear structure to the post. You can see this in the interactive table of contents. This is useful for people who want to jump to a specific section of the content!
You’ll also find a complete shopping list with links to the right parts and their alternatives.
Images also help to add a logical order to the content.
As you move through the post, you can see the evolution of the drone the author is building.
It’s also provides a helpful reference point for any readers who follow along at home.
This piece has a real WOW! factor. The value presented here is just crazy.
(You can see how I do this for digital products in this in my Surfer SEO review.)
The Verdict: Excellent Content Is…
The answer to the question is simple: excellent content is useful to the reader.
You can ensure the quality of your content by making it:
- Short enough to be interesting
- Long enough to cover the topic
- Well organized
- Easy to read
- Accurate and specific
You should also use all three forms of content:
To create context and add more value to the reader.
You could even go further by citing industry leaders and referencing scientific studies.
You should also use links that sparingly and make sure they’re relevant.
Don’t turn your content into an affiliate link spam farm!
Now you know what excellent content is…
I’m going to show you how to create a set of writing guidelines.
These will keep you on the straight and narrow and ensure high-quality content every time whether your write it or hire someone else to the hard work for you!