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.


Published 13 August, 2008 by Patrick Oak

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Comments (3)


Cendrine Marrouat

Thank you very much for posting this! I really enjoyed reading your article. 

I believe that many people do not put much effort in their websites and undersell themselves. Building a website that attracts solid traffic takes time and patience. Sometimes, it takes years to actually figure out what will work. Further, they do not communicate or connect with potential customers, and do not know how to use Twitter or other social networking sites. They just drop links and think that it will do. 

For example, as an artist, I see that many of my fellow artists make most of their content available for free, especially when they have products to sell. They do not realize that potential customers (outside the artistic community) may end up thinking that their work has no value. 

Thank you again!

over 8 years ago


Karen Muller

The 5 factors of compelling content is a very interesting and eye opening article. I like that you point out the writer should " tell a story". With an introduction , exposition and a conclusion. One doesn't normally think of a short comment as a story, but this makes sense, and would help draw a reader into your " story".

Adding value by including something unique, or putting a new spin on something. Surprise your reader by re-inventing something timeworn.

Update the image of your focus and give it timeless relevance. Offer something that will stand out and stay in peoples minds.

Karen Muller

over 8 years ago


Joe Breunig

An excellent and well-written piece; the ideal and need of compelling content can not be overstated; stories can be a vehicle used by the writer to create a connection with the reader. By finding common ground through shared or uncommon experiences, writers are able to create new paradigms of thinking in their reading audiences' perspective. Seeing ideas from a fresh view will never be out of style.

--Joe Breunig, author/poet of: Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory

over 7 years ago

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