We’ve been reading a lot lately about SEO, changes to Google’s algorithm and a whole host of issues with content and blogging, and figured it was a good time as any to weigh in.

It seems, that we’ve gotten very far away from what great content is about. Not to say that SEO is dead, but let’s face it, the pendulum has swung too far in favour of creating content for bots, and not people.

Connecting with an audience, building a community around that connection, and extending a helping hand through thought leadership and our products and services is our collective goal.

We thought it would be handy for you to have a few steps that might serve as a guide to creating that kind of quality content.

Step 1 – Understand who you are writing for

Believe it or not, you are not writing for a search engine. Sure, it might help to improve who sees your content in the long run, but in the short term, you need to connect with real people.

Be authentic with your audience, so that your message resonates. Try to involve yourself in the conversation, don’t start it.

Not to long ago, we thought of our customers in demographic or psychographic buckets. Those days are over.

With the blurring of what demographics even mean today, it might be worth while considering your audience’s knowledge around a topic. In a B2B scenario, where are the people you are trying to reach in the buyer’s journey? Are they just at the top of the funnel looking for general information about your product or service in the larger context, or do they have a ton of knowledge and are just trying to finalize a decision? The way you write and what you write for each stage is very different.

Step 2 – The title needs to grab them

So many studies, so much analysis, but even a seasoned writer or marketer knows that if the title doesn’t grab your audience, they are less likely to read your missive. But some of the analysis suggests that your title needs to have a personal pronoun.

It needs to evoke some kind of emotion, it should contain superlatives, capitalization is a must and don’t make the title too long. Sounds like a lot to remember, but know that it all makes a huge difference so its worth remembering. Depending on how much you do and how much time you spend, title can make an impactful difference.

Step 3 – Structure your content so that it’s just right

Too long, didn’t read (TL;DR). Never knew this term even existed until Ann Handley from Marketing Profs mentioned it in a talk we were at a few months ago. It’s just something that we always thought made sense. That’s because our personal attention spans are generally short. But let’s face it, depending on what you’re writing – and better yet – who you’re writing for, you don’t want to go on and on.

The other curious thing about writing these days is how your audience is reading the content. We spend a great deal of time worring about responsive websites for mobile, but what about responsive content on those websites? If your paragraphs fill up an entire screen on an iPhone (not the iPhone 6+, or Samsung Note), who is going to really spend time reading?

People are time starved, they are commuting and they are hopping around from site to site. Consider being appropriate in how you structure your content and you will deliver better performance.

Step 4 – Be a Grammarian

Seriously. If you want to induce your reader into a fit of rage, create complex sentence structures that even you have a hard time decoding.

Remember: the simpler the sentence structure and the more appropriate use of the English language, the better chance you have of capturing them.

We know for example that content written in an active voice outperforms content written in passive voice and every time we mention that, people always say “of course”. So why don’t more people do it? Digital audiences want content that they can easily digest and understand.

Limit your jargon, write colloquially, and consider who you are writing for.

Step 5 – Swim where the fishies are.

My favorite topic. It’s not about writing for your website, or for social media. It’s about writing great content, no matter what platform it will appear on. Don’t just share content to those platforms either.Consider who your audience is and what social platforms they are engaging on.

Another great idea that our friend Brian Fanzo loves is “upcycling” content, so that it can live for longer on various platforms.

We aren’t written this piece to make writing great content seem like a daunting task. There are great tools in the marketplace to help you achieve your goal of writing quality content consistently. Amongst them, is our own platform.

We believe that our tool can help guide you through the process and validate your work with performance data.