You’re an astronaut. Yes, an astronaut who is also publishing content for a product, service, brand, or personal musing… And you are doing both at the same time from a terminal in a rocket blasting through space. The twist here is that this rocket is fueled by online traffic. And that’s how you should be thinking about it. Why else bother creating great content that nobody will ever read? So, crash-and-burn or shoot-for-the-stars?
Ah, you’re still reading, glad you chose the latter and weren’t bothered by my 2nd-grade analogy. So, here are the 10 steps I follow to make sure my content is deployment-ready. This list will ensure your content is well written, insightful and discoverable.
1. Is the content insightful? This is the most important point IMHO. If you don’t want to come off as salesy, make sure your content gives your reader something useful. I have an easy test to make sure it qualifies, ask yourself, does it hurt a little when giving it away for free? If yes, you’re good to go, move to the next point.
2. Is it targeting the appropriate audience? Or, in other words, do you have a plan, do you know why you are creating this content? You don’t want to meander, dilute your brand, or confuse your readers. Always keep the theme or purpose of your site in mind when creating content.
3. Is the title the best it can be? This is critical. A title is the hook of your piece. You fail here, everything under it won’t matter as it won’t be read. You need to make sure that it clearly states what the article is about, no mystery or vagueness.
4. Is it well written? Your content needs to flow, be easy to read, be clearly laid out. It should deliver on the promise mentioned in the title. It needs to deliver quickly, from the first paragraph. It should yield ‘aha’ or actionable moments depending on its goal. Run a text-to-speech on it to make sure it flows.
5. Does it have the required SEO stuff? If you control the HTML, make sure it contains the right title tags, the right meta tags, only one H1, and so on and so forth.
6. Does it have an image? This is from Jason McDonald, he states that every piece should have an image with the appropriate name, title tag and alt tag. I take his word for it and now devote some time tagging my images.
7. Did you name the URL like correctly? This is an easy one, make sure it contains the title of your piece and not some autogenerated and obscure code.
8. Are you offering an email signup form? This doesn’t need to be louder than a gentle reminder at the end of the piece, but it is key to building a brand and you shouldn’t waste that opportunity.
9. Are you offering promotions to products, free eBooks, or additional articles? It’s always good to offer those interested with the ability to learn and get more, c’mon, don’t let them down.
10. And finally, don’t forget to share that link on social media!!!