So, what defines content that’s good? Is it length? Is it the use of keywords? Is it relevance? All of these are factors, it’s true, but for my money, I think it really comes down to two elements: Is it enlightening? Is it practical?
For an article or post to be enlightening, it has to make me think about something in a new way. It can point out something that I hadn’t considered before, or inform me of some facts or events that I’d been previously unaware. It has to show me or teach me or inform me.
If it’s practical, then it has given me something that I can apply to my daily life in a very direct way. It has taught me steps to help me achieve my goals, or it has shown me new tricks to make something easier.
So, I’ve graphed this out in a quadrant scale: Along one side we can see if an article is enlightening. Along the bottom, we can see if it’s practical. Each space helps to score the overall quality of the content.
- Square 1: In the lower left, we have content that is neither enlightening nor practical. This is 90% of the sludge out there on the internet now. It’s sales letters, and ad campaigns. It’s vapid blogging. It’s everywhere. And it’s lame.
- Square 2: This is writing that is enlightening, but not practical. These are philosophical musings, opinion blogs, well-thought essays. This can be really well done, and enjoyable to read.
- Square 3: Here we’ll find content that is practical, but not necessarily inspiring. How-to articles are frequently here in this section. This kind of content frequently draws inbound links, because people like content that solves problems.
- Square 4: Content like this is often difficult to write. It requires knowing your audience’s needs, and knowing how your information can best help them, both in a personal and a practical way. It’s powerful stuff, and it draws lots of links and attention. If it’s placed right, it can go viral and draw lots of qualified traffic. Even though you might not hit this everytime, always strive for this, the best of the best.
Compare what you write to the graph and see what you get. In time, it'll improve your efforts as a web content writer!
Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.