I've been involved with online content in a number of capacities. I've run my own online content ventures, consulted with people running online content businesses and obviously am a content producer myself.
While I'm far from considering myself a "content guru," here are my five factors for compelling copy.
Compelling content tells a story. Even if you're not producing "entertainment," great content usually has all of the elements of a great story - from the exposition to the resolution.
Whether you're writing a blog post or producing a video, I believe that thinking of the content you're creating as a "story" is one of the best techniques for creating compelling content.
Compelling content usually comes from compelling people. I'm always surprised how much content is produced by individuals who are, for lack of better words, uninspiring and unimpressive. In my opinion, a key factor in content's appeal is the individual behind it.
Does he/she have notable experience? Does he/she have an interesting story? Is there something that makes him/her someone I would be excited to have a conversation with? Bottom line - it's a lot harder to inspire people with content that isn't produced by inspiring individuals.
Compelling content adds value. Some content is a commodity today. Thanks to the internet there are thousands upon thousands of places all providing the same sort of content from news to reviews. Most of this content is a commodity because it adds no value.
Good content has to have some edge that creates value. Do you have something exclusive? Do you have some insight or analysis that nobody else has? Do you have something to say that nobody else is saying? If you don't, you're probably not producing compelling content.
Compelling content has a price tag. In my post last week "How to price your product," I noted that underpricing can be very detrimental. Whether consumers are paying for your content outright or advertisers are subsidizing it, you need to establish that your content has real value by making it clear that it has a price.
Studies have shown that there's a direct correlation between price and perceived quality with many products and I think content is no exception. Therefore those who have compelling content never hesitate to let consumers know that it's compelling by associating an price that conveys that in some form.
- Compelling content is timeless. Great content doesn't rapidly depreciate in value. That is, it's still realistically going to be nearly as relevant and/or memorable tomorrow as it is today - even if just for reference purposes.
Producing compelling content is not easy, it's usually not cheap and not everyone is capable of doing it. But if you're going to give it a go, I think using these 5 components as a sort of "checklist" can be a valuable tool.