It’s no secret that the internet is full of blog content. People have written, edited, and published over 525 million blog posts already this year, and we are barely a quarter of the way through.
Given that quantity, it’s no surprise that not all blog posts are created equal.
Some posts convey high-quality information, cite educational sources, and provide depth to a topic to the point that makes you feel guilty for consuming the post for free. Other posts are more “meh” than mesmerizing.
Some lower-quality content is the result of apathetic writers, but not all. Time constraints, strict deadlines, and limited resources create the perfect low-quality content storm.
So, how do you escape the storm and create quality content quickly?
This article will answer that question and suggest ten ways to lift the quality of your content without investing a significant amount of time and effort into re-writing it from scratch.
High-quality content: what it is and why it’s important
Before we get into our web content creation tips, let’s first define “quality” content. Everyone has their own definition of engaging content, but generally, high-quality content is:
- Clear = it’s easy to follow and accessible for most readers.
- Relevant = it includes all relevant information about the topic and doesn’t dedicate large chunks of text to tangents or loosely-related information.
- Natural and humanlike = it doesn’t look like it was written with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the writer’s tone is conversational and normal.
With good intentions in mind, many bloggers, copywriters, and digital marketers unintentionally take a “quantity over quality” approach to their content strategy. But this is a mistake.
Low-quality content portrays a lack of professionalism, bores people, and ultimately turns them away. Once someone reads a bad post, they are unlikely to seek out more of your work (let alone join your sales funnel).
While you might imagine that most bloggers post steadily, you may be surprised to learn that they create content less often than you think they do.
Research on 1,067 self-identified bloggers conducted in September 2021 shows that 45% of bloggers only post weekly or several times a month. Only 13% of bloggers posted several times a week, and just 2% posted daily.
Some of the internet’s best content creators also post rarely. For example, YouTuber Barely Sociable published just seven videos last year and still nets over a million views in a bad month. LeMMiNo, a documentary-style channel, posted just twice yet still averages three million monthly views.
The point is: reducing your publishing frequency and only publishing quality content won’t harm your content marketing efforts long-term. You don’t need to constantly put out new content to stay on people’s radar. If they like your work, they’ll remember you.
10 ways to improve content quality
It’s easy for me to sit here and tell you to “write good content.” It’s harder to put that mantra into practice (especially when you’re in a time crunch).
So, if you are strapped for time, here are ten ways you can quickly increase the quality of your blog posts:
1. Write a captivating headline and meta description
British advertising executive David Ogilvy (who you may remember as the “Father of Advertising”) wrote in his book Confessions of an Advertising Man that “when you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” He also clarifies that “five times as many people read the headline as the body copy.”
His message here is that the headline is the real moneymaker of any article, whether it’s a personal story, a news article, or a branded blog post. If your headline doesn’t catch people’s interest, they won’t click.
Similarly, you can quickly freshen up a blog post by simply changing the title.
The trick to creating clickable headlines is to incite curiosity and a desire to know more. Which headline would you click: “I tried 30 French cafes in 30 days and here’s what I found” or “my France trip 2022?”
Great headlines are also:
- Short, spanning 75 characters or less
- Descriptive of the contents of the article
- Light on adjectives
Of course, no great headline is complete without a matching 160-character meta description. Craft a mini-summary of your post and add your primary keyword for good measure, and you’ll have a description that will draw people to your content marketing.
2. Sharpen your writing
You don’t need to re-write your post from scratch to improve the quality of your copy. Instead, you can tweak a few small things to increase the readability of your article.
- Passive language. Passive language frames the sentence’s actor as the recipient of an action (like “the horse walked by her” rather than “she walked by the horse”). Unnecessary passive language can lose people’s attention as it’s vague and hard to follow.
- Purple prose. Purple prose is ornate, flowery language that distracts people from the meaning of sentences.
- Excessive adjectives. These can confuse people and make your article seem less polished.
- Chunky sentences. Chunky sentences break people’s focus.
- Sentences with no purpose. These distract readers from more valuable points.
Writing tools like Grammarly and Writer.com can help you sharpen your writing quickly. Other tools like the Hemingway App can point out complicated and confusing sentences within your text. To use these tools, you just paste your content and edit where the tool suggests.
3. Optimize your content for search engines
If Google Analytics shows that your post isn’t drawing in a lot of organic traffic, you can boost its views and help it perform better in search engine rankings using Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
To optimize your article, select a primary keyword that draws in a decent amount of monthly searches and has few competitors. Then, add that target keyword to your introduction, headings, title, and body text.
You should also:
- Use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords that are conceptually related
- Add some of the questions from Google’s “people also ask” section to your article as H2s
- Give your images alt-text and label them appropriately so they rank in Google Images
- Link high-quality sources within your article
If you don’t want to optimize your content blindly, you can use SEO tools like MarketMuse, Frase, and Clearscope. Or, if you’ve already uploaded your post into WordPress, you can optimize it with plugins like YoastSEO, RankMath, and AIOSEO.
4. Make your content unique
If your article reads like all similar articles on a topic, people won’t have any reason to click your article over someone else’s. You can fix this problem by adding unique content to freshen up your article.
This content could be a fresh take or a new perspective on an old issue. For example, you could include perspectives from an industry expert, quotes, or personal anecdotes.
Alternatively, you could make your content delivery method unique. You could add a short video viewable with a QR code, for example, or you could supplement your article with a downloadable template or topic cheatsheet.
Mattress and bedding company ZomaSleep provides a fantastic example of what creative delivery can look like. In this example, from the post “Not Enough Time in the Day: Exploring How Busy Sleep Schedules Affect Americans’ Sleep,” ZomaSleep delivers much of the content through infographics.
5. Write an engaging introduction
Rewriting your entire blog post would be pretty time-consuming, but rewriting the introduction will only take you a few minutes.
Those few minutes are well worth your time. Research from Databox shows that 45% of blog post readers spend 3 — 5 minutes reading each blog post they click on. People spend longer when they are engaged, and the “thing” that gets them engaged is often the introduction.
To produce a fantastic introduction, start with a hook. That hook could be a question, a statistic, a hypothetical scenario, or a quote.
Once you’ve grabbed the audience’s attention, tell them what they will learn from the article. As Lance Beaudry from Avalanche Creative explains it, this brief summary will “sell them on why it’s worth sticking around.”
Here are some more tips for great introductions:
- Keep your introduction under 150 words
- Don’t use flowery language
- Add a table of contents
- Tell readers why the article matters
And, to get you inspired, here’s an intro I love from an article about discounts for teachers from dontpayfull.
6. Format your article carefully
Have you ever clicked a blog or social media post and noticed that all the content fit into an enormous paragraph. You may have kept reading (if the author was lucky), or more likely, you said “can’t be bothered,” and clicked “back.”
Good article formatting is vital in keeping people engaged and scrolling down the page. So make sure you use it wisely.
Present your title as an H1 and supplement all of your main points as H2s. Then, all subpoints should be H3s, and so on for H4s and H5s. Make sure you don’t mix up the title hierarchy — adding H4’s to a section without an H3 will make your article feel odd to readers.
You should also format your paragraphs carefully. Limit each paragraph to 80 words or less, keep your sentences short, and change up the styles of each sentence so they don’t seem monotonous.
7. Add visuals
Text isn’t the only part of your blog post that matters — visuals are important, too. Visuals grab people’s attention, help them understand complicated concepts, and make your article aesthetically pleasing.
You can get really creative with the visuals you add to articles — think infographics, charts, gifs, tables, diagrams, and illustrations.
Your industry really matters here. For example, if you were creating content about a social media-related topic, you could embed a cool Instagram post into your article.
Or, if you were creating content about an exercise, you could add images of people doing that exercise. That’s what StretchZone did in the article “How Isolated Stretching Can Benefit You.” The author included images of people performing some of the stretches in the article. This was clever, as it’s easier to copy a stretch when you can see someone do it.
8. Use statistics and data to strengthen your points
Adding recent statistics into your article is a great way to freshen up content and prove you’re a subject matter expert. When readers see reputable, high-quality sources in your article, they view you as reliable and trustworthy (and thus, they’ll respond better to your article).
Adding statistics is easier than you might think. You can find data on websites like Statistica, in industry reports, and by reading articles written by industry experts. Alternatively, try the references section of the Wikipedia page for your article topic.
When selecting statistics, look for data that’s less than five years old and comes from a good-quality source. You should also consider your target audience carefully. If you are writing for a UK-based target audience, for example, some statistics from the US won’t apply.
9. Cite high-quality sources
If you can’t find any statistics or data on your topic, you can also draw on expert opinions and cite them within your article.
Here are some ideas of sources you can add:
- Findings from recent studies on your topic
- Excerpts from speeches given by industry experts
- Quotes from books
- Key points from white papers
- Examples given in speeches and other blogs
For best results, make sure you acknowledge every source you use with a do-follow link. This will help readers find the source if they want to read it themselves (as well as ensure you don’t annoy your sources!).
10. Give the reader a reason to keep reading
Finally, work hard to make the experience of reading your article fun and engaging.
Don’t bore the reader with dry language, long paragraphs, and unnecessary stories. Instead, spice up your paragraphs with humor, depth, and a friendly tone that keeps people entertained. You don’t need to speak like a comedian or anything; just use everyday conversational language.
Similarly, think carefully about your website’s User Experience (UX). Choose an aesthetically pleasing theme with easy-to-read fonts, make the website mobile-friendly, and use accessible colors.
Make your blog post shine
You don’t need to spend hours pouring over a blog post to take it from a decent article to a great one. Instead, you can increase the quality of your work and its value by tweaking the headline, writing, formatting, and introduction.
Similarly, adding new, relevant content to your article can give it a fresh face. Consider adding visuals, links to high-quality sources, statistics, and unique things that make people say “wow.”
The secret to good content creation lies in the details — so make sure you pay attention to them.