[Last Updated: 02 Nov 2022]
One of the key roles in content marketing is to lead a team of writers (agency or freelancer).
Therefore it is important to follow a standard content guideline for all future articles for a brand.
This is not a replacement for the brand study guideline. Instead, consider this checklist for content quality (SEO optimization, readability, etc.).
Note: These guidelines are no fixed rules to follow by every SEO or content marketer. I’d recommend these guidelines to the writers. Please make changes as per your brand guidelines.
Table of Contents
What makes good content?
A good piece of content should:
- Demonstrate trustworthiness
- Answer common question(s) of readers
- Feels like a conversation
- Helps reader to pull out the important information as quickly as possible
1. Writing Introduction
The introduction should tell the readers about the purpose of the article/webpage and what benefits/information users will get after reading the article.
- Think of introduction as a quick way of informing ‘who is this article for’ and ‘why they should read this.’
Make the blog introduction short and concise under 80 words (max).
Don’t add unnecessary statistics (add only if it makes sense), stories, & fluff in the introduction.
You can check the following introduction examples:
Example 1: The Beginner’s Guide to the Metaverse
Example 2: The Beginners Guide to Fintech
2. Adding external references
Don’t make people search for something that you mention if it already has a page.” – Duke University libraries.
- Mentioned a person? Add link to the official bio page (LinkedIn/Personal blog/ etc.)
- Mentioned a study/staistic? Add link to the primary source.
- Mentioned a brand name? Link to the official website of the brand
Always add citations to related information research papers, studies. And, only cite sources that are authoritative and trustworthy in the field.
How to know if a site is trustworthy or authoritative?
Generally, you will know based on your experience and knowledge. Otherwise, an expert-level website will have lots of content on the topic, publish quality content, generally high DA etc.
3. Add links to grab attention
While adding links (internal or external, informational or promotional) in the content, consider adding them at the end of the sentence.
Bad example: If you want to understand about marketing, these 10 top-rated marketing books will help you understand what marketing is and how to master it from scratch.
Good example: Want to improve your marketing skills? Check out this guide where we’ve curated 10 top-rated marketing books of 2023.
This helps the link to standout from the text.
Hence increase the CTR and readability.
4. Write descriptive anchor text
Always write descriptive anchor text while linking out to external references.
Bad example: Read this to learn the benefits of cloud computing.
Good example: Check out this guide and learn the benefits of cloud computing
Note: If you use any research paper (say from Google Scholar), consider adding citation like this at the bottom of the article:
5. No room for sharing opinions
Readers want information that is trustworthy and credible.
Don’t write your opinion. Want to justify a point? Add statistics, data, research points to justify your claims.
Bad example: I think X is the most important skill needed to become a data science engineer.
Good example: X is the most important skill needed to become a data science engineer, as per Mckinsey’s survey on 1000+ employers.
6. Write easy-to-digest content
- Every sentence should add value/ something unique to the article.
Use simple words. Try to limit using words that people don’t use in their daily life.
Image from MarketingExamples
- Limit sharing one piece of advice/solution/insight per sentence.
- Don’t write longer sentences unnecessarily. Here’s an example:
Bad example: We can automate the task so that by using it, the time of the users is also saved.
Good example: We can automate the task to save the user’s time.
TIP: If you’re using comma (,) in a sentence, consider breaking it into two sentences.
- To-the-point content is highly suggested.
- Limit paragraphs to 3 lines max.
Use Bucket brigades to make the content highly readable.
Some examples of bucket brigades →
- Here’s how/why
- The truth is:
- Here are some example:
- The question is:
- That said:
- Let me cite an example.
- Let’s break it down.
7. Writing definition/specific answer the right way
While answering the definition (e.g. what is [term], definition of [term], etc. ), the first paragraph (Under 2-3 lines) should be only about the definition.
Repeat the question at the beginning of the answer.
Q. What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is a intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to the natural intelligence displayed by animals including humans.
Q. What is copywriting?
Copywriting is the practice of crafting written text in order to inform, inspire or persuade. In most cases, copywriting is used to increase sales and conversions.
Q. On average, how much does a data scientis make in the US?
On average, a data scientist in the US make $1,44,934 per year.
This helps to win featured snippets in the SERP.
8. Break chunk of information into pieces
Always use sub-headings (H3) or bullets to make the content easy to read and easy to scan.
Use sub-headings and H3 to make the content more readable.
Don’t expect the reader to read an article line by line.
9. Improve credibility
Try to add at least one statistic within the content where it makes sense. Make sure that the source of the statistics is authoritative and credible.
For technical topics: Use google scholar to link out to related studies, mention other study papers or researches that improve the content quality and information accuracy.
10. Add multimedia
Found a related chart? Add the image in the content. Found experts’ opinion on the blog topic? Add the screenshot in the content.
Add images, screenshots when it makes sense.
Avoid adding illustrations just for the sake of it. If the image doesn’t complement or simplify a concept, do not add it.
Plagiarism isn’t allowed at all.
Best you can use https://plagiarismdetector.net/ before submitting the content.
We are aware of ways to bypass plagiarism checking software. If your content is found paraphrased or with too much similarity with other articles, the draft may go rejected.
12. Readability test
To measure the readability of the content, use this tool: Hemingway Editor.
Unless the blog topic is technical or scientific, the hemingway readability score should be less than 8.