17 Content Creation Secrets to Wow Your Readers
Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2016.
Creating high-quality content is critical to content marketing success. With more than 2 millions blog posts published every day, you need a way to make your content stand out.
But you’re probably wondering, “How do I create high-quality content that drives traffic and engagement?”
Today, I will make things easy for you. I am going to show you 17 techniques you can use to improve the quality of your content in no time.
1. Capture Readers’ Attention With Your Headline
The goal of a headline is to get your readers to read the first sentence. If you do not capture your reader with a good first impression, you will lose them. You’ll have wasted your effort in creating the content, no matter how good it is.
On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. — David Ogilvy
There’s one main reason this is important: Most people will share content based on the headline alone.
All great headlines have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Unique: Your target audience might have read articles like the one you are writing. If your headline is not unique, they will think that it is the same. You need to make sure that no one else is using the headline of your article.
- Ultra-specific: It has to offer enough information for your reader to know why it is worth sacrificing their valuable time to read your article.
- Convey a sense of urgency: Something that compels your reader to read so that they will not miss out.
- Useful: Your headline has to communicate a benefit to your readers after reading your article.
Here’s how you can create great headlines:
Step 1: Create 3 Benefit-Driven Headlines
The first step is to create three benefit-driven headlines. We will be testing the effectiveness of these three headlines later.
You can create benefit-driven headlines using various headline formulas. In this post, I use the Ultimate Headline Formula as an example:
Noah Kagan has analyzed almost one million headlines and found that list posts got the most shares. Whenever possible, you should include specific numbers and data in your headline.
For example, let’s say you are writing an article about losing weight. Some examples of headlines using the Ultimate Headline Formula might be:
- 9 Surprising Weight Loss Tips that will make you slimmer in a week
- 10 Quick Weight Loss exercises that you can do today
If you are stuck in creating headlines, you can use this handy tool, Portent’s Title Maker:
Refresh the site to create another headline. Once in a while, you might be able to get some great headline ideas.
Step 2: Check Your Headlines for Uniqueness
The next step is to ensure each of the three headlines you have created is unique.
How do you make sure that your headline is unique? Simple: surround your headline in quotation marks, and search it on Google. Here’s an example:
Note that you must use double quotation marks to get the exact result you want. You want to see Google telling you that there are “no results found.”
Step 3: Run Headlines Through a Headline Analyzer
You can also check your headline using the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. Just pop your headline into the analyzer, and you will get a score.
The headline analyzer summarizes the quality of your headline into a single score. The analyzer also lists down ways on how you can improve your headline. You should try aiming for a score of 70 and above.
According to CoSchedule’s guide to writing better headlines, you can improve your headline by:
- Focusing on the keywords of your content in your headline.
- Having a nice balance between common, uncommon, emotional and power words.
- Restricting the length of your headline to 50–60 characters.
- Restricting the number of words to 6–7 words.
- Reflecting positive emotions.
Step 4: Test Your Headlines
You might not know which headline is the best for your article, so you’ll have to test.
Fortunately, we have affordable tools around. In this example, I will be using Optimizely. It is great for A/B testing, and it’s free! Once you set up your Optimizely account and install the Optimizely WordPress Plugin, place your three headlines in the plugin.
Every test has a goal. The default goal is the number of visitors and engagement. You can set more goals in your Optimizely Platform.