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Article Marketing Success: What Is Outstanding Content To You?
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What is top-notch content to you?

I’d like to ask you to take a step back from your own articles for a moment and answer this question as a reader:

What makes a piece of content (article, blog post, any type of online content) outstanding in your eyes?

For example, imagine that you are looking for information via Google, and you run across several articles/blog posts on your topic of interest.

What would make one piece of content stand out above the rest?

Or here’s another way to think about it:

What makes you want to share a piece of online content with someone?

What makes you remember an article or blog post that you’ve read?

Over the next several posts I’ll be covering several criteria that I believe greatly contribute to a top-notch article, but first I wanted to set your mind thinking in that direction and discover what you think makes a great piece of content.

So, what makes an article or blog post outstanding in your eyes?

I’m looking forward to hearing your input!

Photo credit:

Top-Notch by Nuevo Anden


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31 Responses to “Article Marketing Success: What Is Outstanding Content To You?”

  1. Gwen Tanner says:

    Unfortunately, I am a little tainted. I can recognize an article title that has been “optimized” for SEO – which is fine, we should all do it. But that sometimes makes me overlook that particular article because my guess is that it has a hidden agenda. However, if can capture my attention if I feel the title shows it offers a unique perspective. If it does capture my attention and I click on the link, I skim it to see how its written and if I can notice that it’s been outsourced. If it has been outsourced, then I feel it isn’t “from the heart” :) I will usually just move on (sometimes you can really tell).

    So in summary – I guess what makes articles really stand out for me is a title that indicates it will offer a unique perspective and that I can tell it’s written from the heart by the actual author. For me to share it, it will have to cause some type of reaction or shock or “ah-ha” moment. It would have to give me something I can “take away” and use. That means just not give a bunch of facts that have been rehashed over and over again.

    Well – thanks for this post because now I have an idea for my next article!

    Gwen

  2. Steve Shaw says:

    @Gwen Tanner: Hi Gwen–

    YOU have given me an article idea too!

    Thank you :)

  3. Compelling Headlines then bullet points that complete the data.

  4. A great article for me would be one that has, first of all, a GREAT attention-grabbing headline that applies to what I’ve been searching for.

    Then, when I get to read the article…it has ORIGINAL, not re-hashed content that is totally relevant to what I wanted information on. It is genuine, carefully thought out & thought provoking content that provides me with real information that I can use – not a bunch of words that have been hastily strung together simply to creat an article for marketing purposes.

    I must feel that the author really knows about the subject and really wants to share with me.

  5. Personally I believe in engaging and questioning the reader, encouraging them to reflect and critically think about the message. Clearly I believe that the above post has been successful in engaging me and I think this attributable to the following factors:

    I have read several of your e-mails and you have built up a rapport with my and I understand your writing language.

    I am interested in the content as it has direct impact on my work.

    You have asked several questions and challenged me to respond.

    Your use of the word “you”, “your” etc makes me think you are talking to me directly.

    The key and pivotal question is how do you apply this logic to cold sales, new customers or to people whom you know very little about? Cast a wide net or focused targeted marketing?

  6. Eria Odhuba says:

    Two things make an article stand out:
    1. A headline that promises to show how something I am interested can be done better. I don’t need revolutionary ideas, but small steps that help me achieve my desired outcome.
    2. A bit of personality in the article itself. I want to connect with the person writing the article, and not feel I am simply getting a ‘faceless’ treatise on any subject.

    BTW – Great articles!!

  7. What makes an outstanding article in my eyes would be the title of the article, a compelling 1st paragraph, the layout either bullet points, numbered or short paragraphs. I would not bother reading an article that lack the above points. Sometimes I miss out on good quality content because of this. But hey, time is money, why waste time on poorly structured articles.

  8. Outstanding content is when I can apply the content to help me achieve my goals in my Internet Businesses.

  9. Hands down, what makes an article outstanding is when it contains information that I didn’t previously know and, ideally, that I can use. That’s also what makes me want to share an article.

  10. mra says:

    Quality of an article can be judged not only with the uniqueness of its content but also with the genuineness and authenticity.Contents of article reflect the depth of knowledge and research done by its creator which make it stand alone in the crowd. People loves the thing and know-how which appears real and touching to brain and sixth sense.

  11. 1. Text that’s easy to read. No dark text on dark backgrounds.
    2. Layout that is attractive and enticing to read.
    3. Good Heading and sub headings.
    4. Articles that get to the point, unlike newspaper articles that go on and on.
    5. Articles that aren’t laden with humor that only their friends would think is funny.

  12. By submitting the last post, I just realized how bloggers attract comments; ask a question. People love to give their two cents.

  13. An outstanding, memorable article to me is when I’m panicked into printing it off in case (in a busy schedule) I might not be able to locate it again. Some articles are so informative that one feels that this chance could be the only one in which to absorb all the information or lose it.

  14. Uche Nwaobi says:

    Great post. I really like this discussion.

    One thing that catches my attention each time I’m searching for contents or articles is GREAT HEADING. It makes all the difference. That is where the real compelling force is.

    If your article has a great heading, then it is very certain that you will get lots of readers. Consequently, your article heading determines the traffic to your site or article.

    Thank you.

  15. Well, contributing real value to a reader’s knowledge base is the primary factor. I personally prefer specific, tactical, “how-to” information that can be applied easily.

    Anything that falls into that category is always more executable, and therefore, more personally valuable to me as a reader… so I know that is a good guideline to follow when providing information to someone else.

    If you can say something that hasn’t been said before, then your content will have a leg up. If you don’t have anything new to say, then you had better at least say it in a way that creates clarity for the reader and helps them to apply it in a productive way.

  16. I believe outstanding content gets the point delivered with a minimum amount of words. Chosen for their simple ability to communicate ideas thoughts or opinions and quickly tells me something that I didn’t already know.

    If you want to impress folks with a “wordy” treatise and demonstrate your vast knowledge of the English language — take an English lit course at the local university.

    If you want readers — write in a straightforward language they understand!

    Believe you me — I am still very much learning to do that!

  17. Leon Noone says:

    G’Day Steve
    Thanks for the invitation. I respond at two levels: a headline that attracts my attention because it promises information that interests me or that I can make use of.

    Secondly, the piece must, yes must, be easy to read. That also covers two specific issues: words and layout.

    Simple language, active voice, few long sentences; written, as the great Robert Gunning used to say, “to express not to impress.”

    For layout, I prefer serif fonts. I want black type on a white background or as near as a screen permits; upper and lower case not capitals; lots of relevant crossheads; a beginning , middle and end that makes sense to me.

    I’m not fussed if I happen to disagree with everything the writer says. I guess i’d sum up my position in three words. Is it readable?

    I struggle to read so many landing pages, blogs and websites because they’re so cluttered, messy and over-coloured.

    Here’s my advice to any article writer. Learn what “easy to read” means. Then strive to make everything you write easy to read. That’s all.

    Regards

    Leon

  18. Mike Bond says:

    A first class headline has to be the primary consideration. After all, it’s the first thing you read, so if it falls flat, you’re not likely to go much further.

  19. It is definitely a title. A title usually prompts me to read more, if the title is not interesting to me or does not grab my attention I move on

  20. Wendy Owen says:

    I groan when I see a “spun” article. It can be done successfully but needs very careful proof reading before submitting. The combination of spinning and an author that doesn’t have good English is just awful. I am frustrated when I see good content cloaked in incomprehensible sentences and it’s happening more and more.

    Sorry about the rant!

  21. Nancy Stark says:

    Although, “How to” articles are compelling because it helps the reader solve a problem. The reader wants to know there is an answer out there.

  22. When Charles Dickens published the Pickwick Papers in serialized form, people would que up waiting for the publication to be delivered in order to ensure obtaining a copy. Those readers knew from their own past experience or from word of mouth information obtained from acquaintances that the publication was worth waiting for.

    A technique that Google appear to be using to gauge the quality of an article is to measure the length of time that visitors remain on a page. This technique uses the wisdom of crowds concept to help determine the quality of a published article.

    If an article is of low quality, then few visitors will remain on the page long enough to read more than a couple of paragraphs. However, if an article consists of well written, informative and entertaining information, a far higher number of visitors will remain at the page for long enough to read the entire article, and some visitors will then refer other readers to the article either by word of mouth or through links located on their own website pages.

    The search engines, especially Google use the acquired length of stay information to promote quality articles to more prospective visitors. This technique, combined with conventional word of mouth promotion and direct linking from established quality websites, helps ensure that articles which visitors read in full are promoted over and above articles located on pages that readers quickly leave.

    Content is king.

  23. A great article is one that grabs your attention with a great headline and pulls you through to the very last word and makes you want to click on the author’s link. It means you recognize value and want more

    La Digue

  24. Dr. Anavaratham says:

    To me, a well remembered article has teh following elements:

    1. Originality of content
    2. Provides value addition
    3. Authentic
    4. Provides solution to some of the issues taht are commonly being discussed

  25. Arnold says:

    Make the title of your article eye catching to your readers as much as possible that by reading at it they will take a pause and spend sometime to know exactly of what you have written. Make your content and ideas unique to stand out even more even if you’re dealing with the same topic. To me, less words but more unique content is the essence of a good article.

  26. Sir,
    Your training is very useful to me. This is a
    golden opportunity to me.

  27. @Terry Johnston: Hi Terry. I loved your comment. There is a fantastic tool at http://www.editcentral.com/gwt1/EditCentral.html

    Paste this version in and check your readability score:

    I believe outstanding content gets the point across with a few well chosen words. It quickly tells me something that I didn’t already know.

    If you want to impress folks with a “wordy” treatise and show your vast knowledge of the English language — take an English lit course at the local university.

    If you want readers — write in simple language they understand!

    Believe you me — I am still very much learning to do that!

  28. Content attracts me if it hooks to my present thoughts. It holds me if it is well written – light, tight and clean. I recall it easier if it is well structured.

  29. Nicki Goff says:

    First of all, a title that makes me believe that article contains the specific details I want, not a general title that tells me nothing much.

    Second, a good summary that will entice me to click on the link.

    Third, concise writing, use of bullets or number points if applicable, and a unique viewpoint.

  30. @Gwen Tanner:

    The headings and sub-headings make it stand out.
    The initial ‘summary’ must explain it instantly and concisely.
    For it to be memorable it must teach me something I didn’t already know.
    For me to want to share it, it must be cutting-edge information.

  31. @Richard Broome: Hey Richard thank you for your kind words and recommendation — all the best!!

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