Content development takes time and effort. You need to come up with ideas, shape them into quality articles, and actually write them out. But there’s more to it. You also have to maintain practices that help you ensure quality writing standards. Here are 17 quick content development tips for the stage that comes after your ideas have been captured and most of the heavy lifting is finished.
Go through these after every article is written, and you’ll improve your writing quality immensely.
- Set the thing aside and let it sit for least an hour.
- Read it again out loud and flag stumbling spots.
- Break up paragraphs to increase pace (variety is the spice of life). Go with short graphs first, then vary the amount of lines from 3-5. Sprinkle in some one line paragraphs, if possible.
- Break long sentences into two simple, shorter ones.
- Eliminate extra words.
- Eliminate “thats.”
- Eliminate words with “tion” “sion” “ance” “ate” “able” “ment.”
- Eliminate excessive adjectives.
- Eliminate passive voice (this includes “is” “are” “can” etc.).
- Eliminate cliches.
- Make cannot and is not into contractions for conversational tone.
- Pay particular attention to commas (start a new sentence if you’re layering too many ideas into one sentence).
- Make sure bullet lists start with either a “How to” phrase or a number or a powerful verb or something equally compelling.
- Write rhetorical questions into your copy that can be answered in the affirmative (YES!).
- Make sure you have some numbers for impact (specific numbers are better than generalized ones). Keep the % and the numbers themselves. Don’t spell out.
- Proof read on paper and mark it up
- Read it aloud before you post.
One last note about SEO. While your articles should be checked for optimization (Is your keyword phrase in the title? H1? The URL? In the body copy at least once or twice? In the meta description?), I would advise against obsessing over it. Intense focus on SEO tends to make articles unreadable by humans, and if you start producing content from this perspective, you risk developing content that penalizes your site via Google updates like Panda and Penguin.
A more sane approach is to create content that’s useful to humans then share it consistently on social networks. This approach is much more useful than trying to game Google and hoping for that elusive, magical SEO bump.