The Art of Making Good Content Great: An Insider’s Guide

What are the key distinctions between okay and outstanding content?

Good content

  • it’s interesting
  • tends to be general in nature
  • merely informs the reader
  • coddles the reader

Great content

  • delivers specific takeaway value that creates tangible results
  • inspires people to share it with everybody and say, “Oh my gosh, you’ve gotta see this.”
  • challenges your reader to think in a whole new way about your industry or your topic area
  • elevates your reader’s ambition for who she is and who she can become

How to write content that gets people hooked

In order to get your audience hooked, you need to:

  • Pinpoint irresistible topics and stand-out story angles that bring you massive attention
  • Create the exact content your ideal target audience is looking for
  • Write for one person and really connect with them

3-step action plan

Here’s how to hook ’em and reel them in:

1. Find a strong hook

2. Focus on one thing

3. Write stories that resonate:

    • Helpful/ value-driven
    • Emotional/ bold controversial 
    • Timely – Piggyback on trending news, hashtags, or events to get visibility

What’s a strong hook?

A strong statement at the start of your story stops your audience dead in her tracks.

She needs to know more.

She’s hooked.

Can you think of strong hooks that keep you suspended?

Here are a few:

    • last sentence the newscaster says just before “We’ll be right back, after the break…”
    • first line of a novel that you just can’t put down
    • beginning of a movie trailer (and the end!)

Here are 3 key insights we can learn from these type of hooks:

  • Strong hooks trigger our pain or pleasure points. They understand our aspirational desires and deep fears.
  • Quotes and questions are perfect hooks for critiques or persuasive pieces, while facts or statistics work well for argumentative articles.
  • Relevance is still key. Don’t start your article with a great hook simply because it’s great. Make sure it’s relevant to your topic.

Examples of hooks: 

  • Lists
    • [3] Common Digital Marketing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
    • [#] Things your ____ Doesn’t Tell You
    • [#] Surprising Ways ____ Right Now
  • Comparison
    • ___ VS ___ : Which Do You Need?
    • ___ VS ___ : Which Is Really Better?
    • Why ___ beats ___
  • Questions
    • Why Do You Want to ____?
    • Should You Create ____ To ____?
    • [#] Myths About
  • Best Tip Ever 
    • Wish I had Known
    • One thing…

One thing…

Pick your point and stick to it.

Exclude everything that doesn’t contribute to your key idea – the “spine” of your story.

Cut the fluff. List all the items you absolutely must talk about and throw out half of them.

Focus on one thing!

Great writing is either entertaining or useful or both Click To Tweet

Beware of the professor mistake

You’ve always got to pay attention to who you’re creating this content for. Is it your peers or is it your prospects and are those two different sets of people?

We often make the mistake of trying to impress our peers and wind up sounding like a professor, which is not good. We create super-advanced content and use fancy industry lingo. Sure, that can impress your friends, but it can make the people you’re trying to sell feel dumb, isolated, or totally confused. And when you’re trying to sell, that’s bad.

For so many of us, our prospects tend to be brand new to our topic area and they don’t have the level of experience that you or your peers have. The things that make the biggest impact on people are basic universal ideas that most of us can relate to.

Ultimately, as long as you’re clear on exactly who your audience is, you’ll rock this!

Jenn Wise is an information technology enthusiast and AWS solutions architect. An innovative product, business development, and strategic operations executive, she is experienced in e-commerce, marketplaces, global expansion (APAC, EMEA, and LATAM), and leading innovation initiatives. Jenn is currently the Director of Business Development at Reactionpower.com. Her mission is to help busy tech and marketing executives get more done, particularly during fast-paced periods of challenge and change.

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