Considering the eye-popping rate at which people create content, it’s important to create one piece of good content rather than churn out one piece of crap after another.
Good content is one that is fresh, has a distinct point of view, adds to what the reader already knows, is written in an easy style and uses the right data.
But what happens after you’ve written a good piece of content? Should you instantly hit ‘Publish’ and sit back and wait for readers to flood in?
Of course, you know better. Writing good content is not the single most important thing to do. There are a few things that may be equally, if not more, important.
Of those many things, here’s a list of the most important 4 things you should do after you’ve written good content.
1. Edit one last time to improve a structure
Over time, the writing style has changed. From the Victorian English that had long, almost convoluted sentences, we’ve come to a point where we use not only shorter sentences but also short paragraphs (this sentence turned out a bit longer, though :) )
But that’s not all.
An increasing number of netizens consume content from hand-held devices and this trend will continue. As a result, we’ve moved from writing that must be highly readable to writing that must be highly scannable.
As per the well-known Nielsen study, most people don’t really read posts - they scan through posts. It’s important you keep varying the size of your sentences and avoid long paragraphs. Variation in sentence size prevents monotony in content.
Short paragraphs, apart from being more readable, allow more white space, giving the impression of a neat design.
For instance, an extremely short, stand-alone sentence after a particularly long paragraph shows the writer wants the reader to absorb the significance of the few words.
Washington Post writer Lavanya Ramanathan uses a sudden change in structure to create impact.
2. Reach your subscribers, not just email them
Even after you’ve created good content, you’ll need to let your subscribers about it.
Sending out a crisply written email to your subscribers lets them know you’ve created something of value for them.
As your subscriber base increases, you may want to consider using the services of Email Service Providers (ESPs) like CampaignMonitor, Act-On, AWeber, InfusionSoft, BenchMark, MailChimp and so on. Your free Gmail, AOL or Yahoo mail server isn’t designed to handle 1,000s of outgoing emails from a single account.
Even while using the services of an ESP, you’ll also have to follow best practices. Because we all receive a large number of emails daily the recipient’s email server can flag your email Spam if you aren’t careful.
It makes sense to know how to stop your emails from landing in the spam folder of your recipients. For instance, emails that aren’t backed by SPF and DKIM authentication are a lot more likely to land in spam folders.
Note: The CAN-SPAM Act of the USA and the GDPR of Europe are placing strict rules about sending out unsolicited emails, so you’ll want to build your own list, not purchase one.
3. Measure the right stuff
There’s one tragic thing about good content most people miss - you create content with one objective and use performance metrics that measure something else.
How does that happen?
Let’s say you wrote a post showing how to go about doing local SEO for a gym. When you wrote the piece, you were looking to add readers at the top of the funnel. The post begins to do well, and before long, it’s on the top of search engine results.
Your boss tries to figure out the conversion rate from the post. Because the post was meant to educate rather than sell, the conversion rate will be, at best, negligible.
So your boss and you conclude the post was a failure, beyond vanity metrics.
The problem is not the post, the problem is with the metrics you used. If you use the wrong metrics, chances are most posts would look like a post.
When you create a piece of content, make sure you set down the metrics right and stick to using them when the piece of content goes live. In short, you must have a clear content strategy when you start out.
4. Update your content
Digital content, unlike print media, is permanently editable. Content that is proven good, therefore, must be enriched and updated regularly.
Let’s say you wrote a post on “7 tools to monitor your brand online” five months back and it received good feedback. It makes sense to go back to the post, review and update the offerings of each tool - and probably add an 8th too that you learned about recently.
For instance, your post could contain old, invalid data that’s not useful to readers anymore. There could have been some keywords that could have emerged since you wrote the post. It gives you a chance to remove dead links and insert a fresh presentation, image or video.
And search engines love posts that are updated because that shows the post cares about its readers.
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