Creating Great Content: The 4 Key Factors for Content Creation

Creating Great Content: The 4 Key Factors for Content Creation
Creating Great Content: The 4 Key Factors for Content Creation

Creating great content for websites, blogs, and social media, is in theory very simple. In my opinion, it comes down to 4 main factors. Let’s explore them together in this article.

In practice, I can see why you are overwhelmed to find the keys to great content. I just googled how to create great content… and I got flooded with 10 ingredients there, ultimate guides here, and 22 tips on top of that (how should someone consider 22 things in an article?). I say great content is simple. Content creation is also simple if you have passion for it. 

Read why passion in content creation is a must → Passion in Content Creating: Why It Is Simply the Most Important Thing

So you are passionate about content creation? Wonderful, you are qualified to create outstanding content. Step number 2 is to think about your engagers (I prefer to think of the audience of my content not as pure passive ‘readers’, but rather as active creators happy to engage with it. Maybe I will write an article about it. That is actually a good idea!). In order to engage your audience, consider those 4 factors for your content:

  1. Simple & clear (yes I mentioned simple but let me also use it as a factor)
  2. Useful
  3. Fun & Engaging (stories, diversity, style, …)
  4. Correct (to build trust)

So let us explore them!

Appealing Content Is Simple and Clear

Simple and clear content is number one on the list for a simple and clear reason: Otherwise, people do not engage with it. Think of when you browse through Google and Social Media and how concentrated you are. If you are fully focused and concentrated, congratulations! I for my part and the majority of people are taking their phones out on some breaks, after work, or just when I’m looking for something to do. My focus level is not, super high. That is a bit sad, but our attention span is constantly decreasing. That is why I like to think of people sitting in the subway when they engage with my piece of content. I want to give them an easy & clear entrance, guide them clearly through, and seek to amaze them on the way, so they actually do something with it. 

Now you want to know how to make your content simple & clear. Well, here we go:

  1. Provide a good overview: Make clear, from the start, what your piece of content is about. Of course, you can (and probably should) keep a little mystery
  2. Easy language: Use basic and commonly known words to convey your ideas. It is a great art to explain complicated concepts in an easy way.
  3. Simple sentence structures: If a sentence has 2 commas, it is time to make 2 out of it.
  4. Don’t overload it with points: People can not remember 22 tips, so don’t try to answer everything in one article, video, … Rather, create a piece of content with one clear message and not more than 3 points. This way you make sure your message sticks and hey if you have 22 tips, you have content for a lot of creations!

You might say that people also want to be challenged. That is absolutely true. You want to challenge them with interesting ideas and thoughts, not with complicated content. This way you trigger engagement rather than abandonment of your pages.

If you don’t agree with me, try reading my master's thesis. The topic and ideas are pretty interesting in my opinion but written in such a complicated way no one reads them. Not even myself. I consider it the most awful piece of content I ever created. That is why, in my opinion, science could make much faster leaps, if scientific papers would follow the 4 factors for great content of this article. 

Lasting Content Is Useful and Has a Purpose

People engage with content in general with a purpose in mind. Can be for information, for entertainment, or just to get something. In order to get an audience, your content needs to be useful and serve a purpose. I recommend thinking of the purpose you want to serve for your engagers and for yourself. Of course, we can break it down into 3 main purposes for content:

Purpose for engagers:

  1. Find information
  2. Be entertained
  3. Purchase/Receive something

Purpose for yourself as a content creator:

  1. Convey a message
  2. Create awareness (for yourself, your brand, …) & increase your audience
  3. Sell or advertise something

There might be more, but those are the most important ones in my opinion. Of course, pages can fulfill many purposes. I created a lot of pages in my career where you could find information and purchase something. The challenge is that you need to do a great job in both to have a successful page. If you exceed in providing information but suck at providing a good buying experience, then the overall experience of your page is still bad. In this case, I’d focus only on providing information in order to have a well-performing page with a good customer experience. If selling something is essential for you, it is also essential for you to provide an excellent experience there. Otherwise, I’d look for other ways to sell your product. 

There is a lot to add in terms of creating useful content. Discovering for yourself how you can serve a purpose is an essential part of content creation

Attractive Content Is Entertaining and Engaging

To get people to engage with your content, they should enjoy it. Particularly when you have bigger content pieces like full pages of content or videos, you need a sort of hook to keep people on it. In our snowflake times, we tend to jump from one thing to another if we don’t feel entertained or if content misses catching our attention. The best way to do it is to trigger emotions. Fear, anger, and Provocations are very strong triggers, but I rather leave that to bad newspapers. In the long run, I’d create feelings of excitement, curiosity, fun, personal growth, … In general, something with a bit of a well-being feeling. 

Tell a Story

People love stories. So try to convey your message in a good story. Usually, you should start a story at the beginning of the article. I make an exception here since the story point just popped up at this point in the article. At first, our story needs characters. Let’s just take a dinosaur. Then the characters need to do something so:

Dinosaur Pedro walks into a bar. He immediately likes the atmosphere. People are engaging in conversations, a bartender is tapping fresh milk from the cow and of course, over there kangaroos are playing darts …

So now we already described the setting but something interesting should happen, so you need a plot:

… Then something caught Pedro's attention. He hasn’t seen this before. Something very unusual. Even the bar is turning quiet as more and more people are turning their heads. The cow gets squeezed hard as the bartender loses focus. Darts are missing their target. Stunned silence. …

Now that you have the attention, you also need a good ending to your story. Something that leaves people with joy and satisfaction, ideally.

… It was magnificent. Pedro started to have tears in his eyes. Then he turned around and walked out of the bar.

What a good story. 

Diversify Your Content

Diversifying your content is also an excellent way to make engagement with your content much more enjoyable. Have you seen articles that were just a huge block of text? Very unappealing to read. Try to break it up with a variation of content elements. The simplest are images, infographics, tables, and other visual elements you can easily add. More advanced would be something like videos (or even sounds). Just make sure to keep a good structure and don’t overwhelm your engagers.

Diversifying your content is also a great way to give a more complete picture. If, for instance, you create content about a beach, the combination of text, images, and videos can be very powerful to give a very good impression of the beach, rather than just writing about it.

(insert image, video + text about a beach)

With all the diversification, don’t lose focus on your strengths. If writing is your strong suit, then this should be the core of your content. The rest are good complements. 

Create Your Own Style

My personal recommendation is to develop your own style of content. Doing the same thing as everyone else won’t give you much attention. Doing something different will stand out. My girlfriend is a creative director and when developing campaigns, she has a wonderful approach to it. She looks at what everybody else does, just to do something different. Something that feels creative, that is unique, and that fits the style of the brand. So look at what the others do and then do it however you want to do it. In a world where everything is the same, you will stand out and get attention. 

Reliable Content is Correct and Builds Trust

Having correct content is vital if you want to succeed as a content creator in the long run (often also in the short run). Avoid mistakes and don’t have false information in your content, otherwise, people will lose trust. The world is becoming more and more transparent, and people will find out eventually if the information you provide is correct. And when they do, rest assured you are going to lose credibility. 

In my experience, it is much easier to get a bad review rather than a good one. I, and my team, couldn’t avoid mistakes completely, as it was a bit part of the game. Mistakes meant that people became confused and did not book on our page in the end. So the first thing we did, seeing a page not working or getting bad reviews, was to find and fix the mistake. What I want to say is, that mistakes might never be avoided completely. What you can do is implement processes to constantly check the quality of your content and to receive feedback.

After Learning the 4 Basics of Great Content

Creating good content doesn’t need to be hard, and you certainly don’t need to follow a huge number of recommendations. Follow your passion and do what you are strong at.