What Makes Good Content?

In any content marketing strategy, there will come a time when you will ask yourself whether what you’re doing is really working. Is your content better than your competitors, and is your audience responding as you had hoped?

Here’s why certain content works better than others:

#1 Excellent quality: Search engines reward good-quality, well-researched pieces, with newer algorithms favouring longer pieces, and penalising sketchy writing where keywords have been stuffed into every available space in an attempt to gain preferential ranking. Make sure that whoever is creating your content knows what they are doing. Using a specialist content agency who employs qualified journalists to create your content is first prize.

#2 Strong headlines are used: Think of your headline as an answer to a question – usually one that has been typed into Google by your potential reader. Denis Pinksy, director of Digital Marketing and Analytics at Forbes, advises, ‘Search engines reward authors that reveal the big Ws of the piece – who, what, where, when and why.’ Of course if you can make that headline provocative, concise, humorous and inspirational (using 70 characters or less) as well as catch the audience’s attention, then you’ve really got a winner!

#3 Competitor insight forms part of the strategy: Knowing what your competitors are up to is as important as knowing your audience. Market research can provide valuable insights, into what your competition is missing. By monitoring their content output, you can see what is shared, where there are gaps in their strategy (maybe a weak social media pres- ence) and fill that gap. Are they using links, visuals (are the visuals relevant?), what is the overall tone, is their content cutting edge? By being where – and doing what – they are not, you gain leverage in the market.

#4 Being nimble: There is a place for evergreen content, but on many social media platforms you may have relatively little time before a post disappears into a timeline. Efficiently selected topics and useful content, created for your specific audience, is less likely to be ignored or brushed over. Be relevant; immerse yourself in current trends and be a part of the broader conversation.

#5 Using more than words: Audiences are around 10 times more likely to engage, share and comment on video con- tent than blogs and social media posts (Content Marketing Institute, US). There are also greater SEO opportunities, as adding a video to your website can increase the opportunity of a front page Google result by 53 times (according to US-based media measurement and analytics company Comscore).

#6 Knowing your audience: An audience needs to feel you have created the content just for them, you are helping them to identify a problem and offering solutions. One way to outline exactly who your audience is, is to create customer personas. Once you have an idea of who you are speaking to and what they want, you can go about giving them a solution.

It’s important to come from a place of authority, to be the expert your audience is looking for, in a professional and conversational way. Producing content in all its forms requires expertise. Pointless, rambling pieces are going to frustrate and put off people (aside from the fact that it insults their intelligence and wastes their time). Content agencies are there to help you hone your strategy and produce the kind of content that will put you head and shoulders above the rest. Above all, they know the journey is never finished, and can assist with monitoring, improving and refining.

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