7 Actionable Tips for Creating Remarkable Content
Every blogger wants to create content that truly resonates with their audience. I’m talking about really hitting home with advice, guidance, insights, and commentary that each and every reader can put into practice right away.
That’s the goal, but it is much easier said than done. In fact, much of the content that is published these days on blogs is just the opposite of remarkable. It’s the same old stuff churned out in the same old zombie-like fashion.
But, I’m here to show you how to avoid all that. No more zombie blogging for you!
In this article, I’ll share seven actionable tips for creating remarkable content. This stuff really works, if you actually use it on a regular basis with your audience.
In fact, I challenge you to write a blog post that incorporates as many of these tips as possible (at least three). Once you do that, share a link in the comments section below so I can personally check it out.
Okay, let’s get to the good stuff.
1. Watch for trends
One of the more frequent questions I get asked regarding blogging is in regards to choosing topics. “I don’t know what to write about” is a popular phrase many marketing consultants hear on a regular basis.
Well, choosing a topic isn’t something that should be done blindly or based purely on a gut instinct. These days, there is enough data out there for savvy bloggers to get a good gauge of whether an article topic will perform well or not, before they even type the first paragraph.
All you have to do is know where to look to see what people are talking about. Some call this trend spotting, others call it cool hunting. Whatever you call it, you can do it pretty easily.
One of my favorite tools to use for this is Google Trends. Just type in a word or phrase, and Google will show you how popular it is over time. If you see something with a steady downward slope, maybe it’s time to pick a different topic. Often times, it’s simply a matter of knowing what to call something.
For instance, look at this chart showing the popularity of the phrase “internet marketing.” Not very impressive, eh?
Now, what if we throw a second search term in there for “digital marketing” and compare the two.
Oh, much better, isn’t it?
So if you have a topic in mind for your next blog post, you might want to throw a few keywords into Google Trends and see if there is a better way of wording your idea. It can’t hurt.
2. Find out what people want
In addition to Google trends, another tool I use all the time to find out which topics my audience wants to read about is BuzzSumo. I have the paid plan, but you can get a fair amount of this info with their free plan as well.
Basically, all you have to do is type in a keyword or phrase and BuzzSumo will show you some of the most popular articles on the topic. What you want to look for here is how they’re worded. Are several popular posts on a topic all answering the same questions? Are the posts mostly listicles (10 best ways to…)? Which questions are the authors answering?
To give a specific example of this technique, here is a search on BuzzSumo for “search engine optimization” sorted by most shares within the past six months. Basically, these are the SEO articles people are really talking about right now.
I’ve highlighted some of the keywords that stand out.
Do you see how this data can be useful? If I wanted to write a relevant article about SEO right now, I’d probably consider writing about deep learning, or decreasing your bounce rate, or DuckDuckGo. You get the idea. There are so many ways you can use this info to inspire your next article.
This can help you shape a vague topic idea into something very specific.
3. Get visual
Some marketers are calling 2015 the year of visual marketing. Whatever you call it, blogging and marketing has never been more visual than it is right now.
If you forget how plain and boring blogging used to be, just take a trip down memory lane using Internet Archive. Type in the URL of your favorite blog (given that it’s been around for a while), and see what it looked like three to five years ago. Big difference, eh?
So, it goes without question that you should try to incorporate visual elements into each and every post you publish.
At a minimum, this means having one big compelling image at the top of each post. This is a great way to give your readers a quick way of understanding what you’re writing about. And equally important, it’s essential if you want your article to look good when people share it on social networks such as Facebook and Pinterest.
In addition to that, consider adding multiple images (or GIFs, slide decks, videos, and charts if you’re really brave) to the body of your posts. One is good, but a few more is even better.
4. Make it scannable
Just as images allow your readers to get the big picture in an instant, the way you actually write and format your text can help in this regard as well.
You see, people just don’t have time anymore to read every single word of the average blog post. In fact, I bet you’re not reading every word of this post right now, are ya?
This is how the majority of you are probably reading this article right now (if it were a book)…
True or true? Come on, be honest.
Many readers will scan or skim articles instead reading every word, which is fine. You should embrace that, and format your posts in ways that make them easy to scan.
How do you do that?
For starters, make sure you break up your text with sub-headings. Also, use shorter paragraphs than you normally would with your formal writing.
Sometimes, I even have a “paragraph” of one sentence. Gasp!
Hey, if it makes it easier to read, I’m fine with it. Last I checked, this isn’t my homework assignment for English class. So write in a way that is easy to read, even if that means bending a few rules of grammar from time to time. Sorry Mrs. Fine. I still learned a lot in your class.
Furthermore, use bolded, underlined and italicized text to help certain keywords and phrases stand out. But be careful not to overdo this one. Okay, maybe I’m guilty of being an overbolder at times. Is that even a word? It is now!
5. Add a personal touch
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had with blogging is allowing my personality to stand out with everything I write. It’s not easy, because you can’t always gauge an author’s tone just from the words on a screen.
But, just because it isn’t easy does not mean you shouldn’t strive for it. So give this a try. Attempt to make your writing style so unique, that even if your name wasn’t on an article, your most loyal readers would still recognize it as coming from you.
Ready for an example? Here’s a pop quiz. Which well-known marketer wrote these articles below? Don’t worry, I blurred out the by-lines on purpose.
If you guessed Seth Godin, you’re a marketing wizard! Seth has a very unique writing style that is short and direct. He uses a lot of interesting buzzwords that wouldn’t normally seem like buzzwords. And he writes a new post pretty much every day without fail.
Essentially, these posts live and breathe Seth’s unique style. Find your own style and do likewise young grasshopper.
You can add a personal touch to your posts by using humor when appropriate, or ending each post with a specific phrase, or even in the way you choose to write your headlines. Try different approaches until you find a style that is uniquely you all the way through.
6. Keep it targeted
Let’s face it. There is a lot of competition out there in the blogosphere. The only way you’re going to stand out from the noise is to differentiate yourself in some way. This is where we could get into a deeper discussion about personal branding and positioning statements. I’ll sidebar that for now.
— Nicholas Scalice (@nscalice) June 20, 2015
But just try to think about how you are different. List your competitors and figure out what makes you unique.
And once you’ve figured it out, make sure your blog posts reflect this uniqueness. If you’re a food blogger for instance, and you live in New York City, you probably don’t want to blog about “New York City Food Reviews.” Blah. That’s too generic. Everyone is doing that.
Maybe you want to be the gourmet burger critic in New York City. While others might be doing that as well, this type of specificity significantly reduces the level of your competition, making it easier for you to rise to the top.
So, be unique and write about unique things.
7. Inspire Engagement and Action
I know, I know. You’ve heard this before. It’s such a buzzword. Engagement. But what does it look like for bloggers? Engagement comes in many forms, but most importantly, it means that you’re asking your readers to take some sort of action.
You can do this by asking a question at the end of your post encouraging your readers to share on social media, or comment below. Maybe you’re asking them to subscribe to your newsletter, so that they can get more of the good stuff right in their inbox.
Whatever it is, you’re providing your audience with a next step. Get into the habit of doing that.
In this sense, your goal is to make your blog post actionable, rather than just a bunch of passively written words with no substance.
Going back to one of the tips above, your readers want to know what is in it for them. This is your opportunity to really give each and every reader a clear direction of how they can use the information in your posts.
This very article is a living example of writing actionable content. I mean, come on, the word is even in the title!
And don’t tell me you can’t start using these tips right away. The only reason you shouldn’t use them right away is if you don’t have a blog, or you’re already doing all this stuff. In that case, why are you still reading this?
Make me proud
I hope you’ve gotten some important nuggets out of this post.
Now, I turn it over to you to beef up your blog posts and knock it out of the park with your audience. Be sure to show me what you’re working on. If you leave a link below, I’ll check it out and try to give you some specific feedback.
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