Key Components for Making Captivating Content9 min read
Anyone can churn out piece after piece of content. Still, it makes no difference to Google if it’s not holding people’s attention (and hence indicating to Google that this content is not valuable and exciting to web searchers). Your content needs to grab their attention and keep them on the page for a longer time. So in this post, let’s delve into making captivating content so that your blog posts, videos, podcasts and presentations can rank higher on Google.
What is content?
What qualifies as digital content? What is it that makes content truly captivating? And why does it matter, anyway?
Well, content – synonymous with digital content, online content, web content or digital media – is all media you view on the internet. This could be a blog post, a video on YouTube, music, social media or even a SlideShare presentation… The list goes on! Essentially content is anything that can be published and everything you look at, watch or listen to online is digital content.
What is good content?
Good content is something of a holy grail for marketing teams, freelancers, solopreneurs and corporations, big and small.
- Engages audiences with information and entertainment. It can hook the audience and keep them interested in your brand, product and story – digital storytelling is particularly useful for this.
- Creates a relationship with your audience, fosters trust, loyalty and commitment by using the right content to build this relationship.
- Builds your brand credibility and authority by consistently providing top-notch content that benefits your readers and viewers! Visitors to your site or social media channels hence remain permanent fixtures there.
- Quality, captivating content helps turn your traffic into leads, and as every digital marketer knows, once you build traffic, that audience can be turned into customers, users, donators or subscribers. That means more $ for you!
Remember, behind every successful piece of content is a solid social media marketing strategy. That just means that every carefully created piece of content should be part of a bigger picture – don’t forget to see the forest from the trees!
So – what is it that makes content captivating and worthwhile enough to impress your audience to stick around? Read on for the key components of crafting quality digital content.
Key Components of Crafting Captivating Content
Coming up with share-worthy brand content is easier said than done. Many things must be taken into consideration – the tone, the credibility of the brand, and a knowledgeable source. Great writing on its own won’t make your content stand out if the idea behind it isn’t interesting.
Therefore, it’s worth spending time brainstorming concepts that are important to your brand and the general conversation around your brand at any given time.
“Content ideas should be relatable to your audience, entertaining, educational and at the same time, represent your brand authentically,” says Shirley Reilly, a business blogger at Next coursework and Brit student.
Take Dove, for example. With their Real Beauty Sketches, they created exceptional content that was heartwarming and inspiring – all the while promoting Dove as a progressive, socially conscious company. The #WeAreBeautiful campaign added to the conversation about body positivity and individual beauty. And, like all great content, it began with a great idea.
- Brainstorming with other creatives is a failsafe way to uncover unique ideas, especially if you go into the session with a general topic in mind. Start with one general theme and discuss how its being portrayed in the media lately – think about some fresh approaches, new angles, and different perspectives that your content could add to it. You could take a current theme that’s trending and look at ways you can go into more detail with this theme regarding your brand, too.
- Read what’s popular at the moment within your niche – if you’re a beauty brand, look at what your competitors are doing, if you’re a sports brand, look at other sports brands, and so on. Don’t be blind to what is happening in your industry – stay alert to new trends and ideas and be sure to follow them!
- Stay open to all forms of inspiration – ideas can come from the news, movies, novels, and so on. Keep exposing yourself to new content and let the ideas come! Pay attention to what you and your team find enjoyable, too – after all, we all view content and know instinctively whether it’s interesting or so boring it makes you want to press the skip button immediately!
2. Find and Develop Your Topic
By now, you should have many ideas – you just have to pick a couple and start developing them into quality content. It’s important here to fully develop your topic and lay the foundations for whatever kind of content you are creating. Without a plan, even the best ideas will crumble and fail. Follow these steps.
- Take your time. As noted, you will by this point have many ideas, and some of them will never be more than ideas! Some are worthy of becoming truly stand-out content. Don’t rush the process and continue to add to these ideas with relevant research, questions and examples of similar ideas. Some topics require a lot more research (with sources) and might be best released at a certain time of year.
- Encourage people (your creative team, your content board) to find problems with your ideas. Collaboration is king! Get your peers and colleagues to add to your idea, provide new perspectives and get some input before you publish it and it’s too late!
- Remember what you want the end product to be. Don’t get lost in the development stage – always remember that this will be published, and keep the audience in mind.
- Look at the bigger picture. One fantastic idea won’t stand out if the rest of your content is rubbish – you need to consistently produce valuable, compelling content before you see the results you desire from content marketing. So, don’t get caught up in one idea – if it’s not working, let it go, and focus on the big picture!
After brainstorming and planning, it’s time to create your content! “This is the most important stage and shouldn’t be rushed,” says Reece Clay, a marketer at Origin writings and PhD kingdom, “Make your content well and pay attention to detail!”.
How you create your content will obviously vary hugely depending on what kind of digital content you are making. Let’s take the example of an article or blog post. As you are creating this post, you need to keep a few things in mind.
- Good writing hooks the reader. Okay, we know we said that good writing alone won’t make your content stand out – but it certainly doesn’t do any harm! Contrast a banal sentence like ‘in recent years, scientists have been researching the depth of arctic ice…’ with a more punchy, catchy introduction like ‘melting arctic ice could have 90% of the world underwater by 2050’. Which is more likely to make you read on?
- Parallel wording is your friend. Parallel wording is basically just introducing the same idea twice, using expressions of similar content and function. It allows readers to recognise the same idea and content through different word choices.
- A broad vocabulary is also your friend. Good writing is not boring – sentences can be livened up by the use of an unusual and exciting lexicon! Expand your vocabulary and use new words – your readers will thank you.
- Remember the reader’s perspective. Write as if your reader knows nothing about your topic and remember to lead the reader through your article. This means spelling ideas out clearly and having an easy to read and follow structure.
Engage your readers
Google places a lot of importance on how long a new visitor to your page will stay on it, scroll down the page and click about. This is a clear indication that your content is actually proving useful, entertaining and interesting to the web-searcher. Conversely, if a searcher lands on your page and decides it’s not for them and then leave the page to search for a new link that better satisfies their search criteria, then this reflects very badly on your site, and is detrimental to your page rank and SEO.
This is where engaging your readers is imperative. Here are a few tips you can try to incorporate to keep people on your page for longer:
- Use shorter paragraphs – they’re less daunting to look at, and will tease the reader from one section to the next more easily.
- Use an anchored menu -this helps show people the sections they can expect to find later in the blog, and when they click on a link it’ll automatically scroll them down your page to the relevant section. Scrolling tells Google that the person is reading your page and is engaged – big green tick!
- Use Infographics – these are guaranteed to grab the attention of those driven by more visual content. And this can translate into considerably more time on the page, as well as resharing your infographic resource on social media, or even within another blog post! Lovely backlinks, yay!
- Include opinion polls – people love to see how their opinions and answers match up against other peoples’. So including a poll can add a really unique element of interest to your posts!
- Ask people to comment – asking people for their opinions is the only way to generate discussion, so don’t forget to do this!
With that said, please comment below if you have any hot tips for creating captivating content that I haven’t already mentioned, we’d genuinely love to hear your ideas, and may be able to feature them in future blog posts!
If you can’t find the time to create your own content, you can always curate content – that is, share – other peoples’ content. As long as it is relevant to your own story and accurately reflects your businesses’ ethos, then you’re good to go.