This year has been a long one, with plenty of spare time for a lot of people to browse the internet. Whether it’s a bit of extra time at home without the duration of a commute, staff on furlough, or kids out of school until recently, content online has never been more important as we head into the end of 2020, this hasn’t changed. Even the earliest figures revealed that internet and broadband use had shot up around 47% compared to last year’s figures, with a 17% increase from Q4 of 2019 too, and this was as early as March. As people began working from home and those that couldnt work busied themselves with streaming or reading content, these numbers are thought to only have increased. For this reason, making sure your content is the best it can be is the best way to stay on top as we head into the holiday period – here’s how you can get started.

Remove Distractions When You Write

Whether you’re working from home or still in the office, distractions are everywhere and can be more detrimental to content quality than you might think. Your coworkers, emails, social media and even desk clutter can make it difficult to focus in on what you’re writing, or even create a sense of urgency or stress. It’s easy to fall into the habit of dropping your current task to answer an email but, unless it is urgent, cutting out this kind of distraction can help improve the flow and quality of your writing. When you’re distracted, your content risks becoming fragmented which can jar customers or potential clients that come across it as they read, but it also risks the content being sub-par quality in general. 

Research shows that even slight distractions can make a task take considerably longer, and that quality degrades too, meaning that one of the best ways to produce high quality content is to cut out these distractions as much as possible.

Outline First

Whether you’re writing a fresh piece of content or you’re looking to remaster and rework existing content on your website, outlining what you plan to do or what you want the content to say will help to keep you on track from the get-go. When you make an outline, you have the time to plan the best way to go from your starting point, to your conclusion and be able to fit in all of the key points along the way. Even scribbling down a few topics in the form of headings can give you a stronger sense of direction when it comes to writing, which will result in better uniformity and flow throughout the content. 

How you outline will depend on your own thought processes and how you work best. For some, typing up a quick outline is enough, while others may benefit from taking the time to jot things down by hand. Writing an outline, or even a first draft, by hand gives you more time to think things through as you write which may make content more informative, engaging and generally higher quality.

Be Concise

Concise content doesn’t necessarily mean short content, but it does mean you need to ensure that your content is clear and easy to follow. Readability of content has never been confirmed as a direct ranking factor but from a consumer point of view, content that is easy to follow and read can improve engagement as a whole and encourage customers to spend more time on your website which, ultimately, will lead to them being more likely to convert.

Knowing who you’re writing for will help you determine the best style of content to write. If you’re more likely to attract consumers with informational intent, longer-form content that provides them with the answers they’re looking for or a solution to their problem could be beneficial, but should still be concise and engaging to prevent them losing interest. If you want to attract a broader audience, shorter, active sentences are best and use more frequently used vocabulary to ensure that things remain understandable. There are tools available to determine readability of your content, but the best way is often to read things out loud – are you tripping over sentences or finding yourself needing to breathe? The content may be too complex or difficult to read.

Tell A Story With Your Content

Everyone loves a story, and content that can provide some element of exactly that is likely to capture the most attention. People find stories and anecdotes far more human, and storytelling with your content can even propel people to take action. Stories are more percievable, providing more relatable context to the point you’re trying to make or the product you’re trying to sell – by providing a story-like element, it can inspire people to take the action you want them to either through challenging obstacles with your point or product, connecting with the customer and the community to create a sense of humanity, or by revealing fresh ways to solve an ongoing problem.

In simpler terms, storytelling is a form of emotional marketing, which is typically used to build emotional connections with potential and existing customers. This helps to build loyalty and create a longer-lasting relationship with consumers and if done correctly, can even put you ahead of competitors. Emotionally-charged situations – even just reading an article – can lead us to create longer-lasting memories, which means readers could return to your brand even if they aren’t ready to make a purchase at the time of reading the content. 

Check For Out Of Date Or Underperforming Content

The best way to stay on top of your content this year, particularly as things are constantly changing, is to regularly check for out of date or underperforming content. A whopping 90% of content listed on Google doesn’t receive much, or any organic traffic, and a lot of this comes down to the fact that it just isn’t good enough. You may have sat there for hours writing up content a while back, but if the information is out of date or doesn’t match user intent, it’s likely that both Google and your potential user base won’t rate it highly. 

This year, for example, new regulations and guidelines are constantly being released in order to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic and businesses in all sectors have had to rapidly change their business practices to suit – your website should be no different. From updates about how your business is working despite measures, to reassuring customers that you’re still in business in some way, making sure to remain up to date and that you’re most important content is kept fresh and relevant can help to put you ahead of the rest in such a volatile time. 

Improving your content can help give you the boost you need as we head into the end of 2020 and onto the new year. Now is the best time to get things up to scratch, so what are you waiting for? For more information, feel free to get in touch with our team, today.