What makes content great?

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“Great content is something you provide to your audience that captures their attention and encourages them to engage and share.” 

– Dan Norris, Content Machine


I didn’t read Dan Norris’ book Content Machine because of the claim on the cover that it “outlines a strategy for using content marketing to build a 7 figure business with zero advertising.” Not interested. I read it because of this claim:

“By teaching the fundamentals of content marketing, how to create great content and how to stand out from the crowd, it simplifies the otherwise challenging process of creating content with impact.”

In addition to being a lifelong writer with the somewhat lofty goal of writing a novel, I’ve also been a professional copywriter for over six years now. Reading and writing are such a big part of my life that when I meet people who say they “don’t have time” to read and who can’t remember the last time they wrote anything other than a Facebook status, I have trouble relating to them. In other words, content, both creating it and taking it in, plays a pretty important role in my career and creative life.

While I didn’t love Content Machine as much as the majority of reviewers did, I did manage to walk away with some insights into creating great content that I thought I’d share with you here.

Content advice from Content Machine 

  • Creating lots of content isn’t the point, neither are the number of page views you get. People need to engage with your content. They need to post comments and share it with others.
    How do you get that? By having great content.
    Don’t be generic. Don’t be boring. Be unique. Be inspiring.
  • Try to connect with your audience, find out what they care about. Pay attention to what they like and what they share.
  • Don’t be afraid to have a different point of view. You don’t have to disagree with everyone just to be different, but if you do it will probably get a bit of attention.
  • Tell a good story. You want to move people, make them feel something. To do this, it really helps to know who you’re creating content for.
  • Write your topic, then write a problem you can help solve for that topic. Then just choose a content type (case study, how-to, infographic…) and come up with a descriptive title.  Add a hook, and you’re good to go.

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