by Don F Perkins

I thanked a Twitter follower for retweeting one of my blog posts recently and he tweeted back: “Good content always gets shared.” It was a great compliment, and it also got me thinking: What is “good content” exactly and how can a blogger make more of it?

Hey Mikey, open up another can of that good content and pour some on this here website, will ya?

All bloggers probably wish that there was a simple way of choosing topics or words or even ideas that are “good” but the answer goes much deeper than that because “good” is in the eye of the beholder.

I don’t think there’s any secret formula for creating good content (and if there was, I wouldn’t trust it anyway.) Every blogger needs to find their own voice and style, but here’s seven ideas for constructing content that has proven to be share worthy.

7 Characteristics of Good Content:

Know Your Target Audience

What do they care about? What do they not care about? What ticks them off? What makes them laugh? Who do they respect? What have they heard before? What are they afraid of? What do they need? Yeah. I’m generalizing, and I don’t like it either. But it’s hard not to for developing a major audience.

When it comes to blogging or business in general, it’s impossible to be all things to all people. However, you can make reasonable predictions about what people will and won’t read.

Consider Your Audience’s Persona

Where do they hang out? How do they spend their time? Where would they rather be? Who do they trust? How do they view things? What creeps them out? What are their priorities? Who are their enemies? Who are their competitors? Who are their allies? What kind of things do they share with their cyber friends? What terminology do they use? Would they prefer charts and percentages or allegory? Again, these are all generalizations, but these are just some of the questions to consider when trying to label content good or bad: Where is my audience and what are they thinking about?

Listen For Problems And Opportunities

All business people have problems. We live in a messed up world. I listen to my customers and peers and read between the lines. (Sometimes they even tell me directly about their problems) Opportunities are a bit trickier, because pain is seemingly a better motivator than pleasure. Perhaps it’s simply more primal? I don’t know. I am always looking for ways to improve a business, and when I find one, I jot it down.

Present Solid, Elegant Solutions

Fortunately, it’s not that hard to come up with a solution to most problems if you are willing to apply your intellect and lean into it. I’m against spouting off answers though, because I know that having all the right information does not always solve the problem. I also hate “quick fix” blogging. That’s right. I used the word “hate.” It’s your blog. Do what you want, but as for me, I can’t stand it when I see a post like: “Get 5 Billion Followers Overnight!!!” or some hooey. First of all… why? Second of all, no. Thirdly, it just smacks of cheap, stupid snake oil. ICK! If it’s truly among the best ideas in business, chances are good not everybody is going to be able to do it and it’s also not likely to happen overnight. A solid solution is a positive comprehensive change that can be executed within the context of the current situation, can coexist with existing systems and can endure as a profitable, sustainable part of the business for years to come.

Tell The Story

This is my favorite part. Before the written word, history was passed down with stories. I remember the difference between two of my teachers in grade school: One was droll and monotone. He would sit behind his giant oak desk and drone off lists of facts, which he would then quiz us on to see if we had memorized them. We were like little thumb drives to him.

Meanwhile, Mr Ruiz read us stories, using different voices for each character. He would stop and ask us questions throughout. We were rapt. Guess which one I prefer? I like to think most of my readers are not just thumb drives. We live in stories. We know life through stories. It’s what separates us from the microchip.

Think Up A Catchy Title

Ok, This is my second favorite part. I’ll be driving down the road, standing in line at the market or opening a fortune cookie and all of a sudden a catchy title pops into my head. I scramble for my phone so I can add it to the list of catchy titles I will use someday on the blog! There’s about a hundred in queue right now. It’s taken me two and half years to write 200 posts, so I’m still well stocked with catchy titles. I realize not everyone daydreams about blog titles. I’m kinda spechul. 😀 However, here’s one tip I remember from a seminar: look at Cosmopolitan magazine’s cover. Now think about your subject matter and try to merge the two. Example: “6 Ways to Please Your Customer” or “What Your Customer Isn’t Telling You.” You get the idea. Titles are so important. Without a good headline, no one will click through!

Offer Ancillary Linked Content

Social media and blogging is all about engagement and sharing. Share the link love. Find a few other posts that address the same problem, or provoke further thought on the subject. Linking to other content helps your readers get another point of view. It also helps you grow your network. It’s a win-win.

Experiment And Test

A large part of content marketing is testing to see what works and what doesn’t. Experimenting is similar in my mind, but a bit less scientific. For example, a test might be trying an A/B test of two different calls to action. Side by side comparisons, with controls and measurements, etc. However an experiment might look more like tying a key to a kite and flying it in a thunderstorm to see what the lightning will do. Either way, sometimes the only way to move from speculation and theory is to try it out and see what sticks. Like my friend David A Brock said to me: “You can read all the books and blogs about sales, but the best way to learn? Eventually you have to go out there and get your teeth kicked in! Then you know what your customers, your market, your process needs.”

Your turn: What about your readers? What do they consider good content?

Check out these other content marketing posts:

13 content marketing tips from the experts: how to write a great blog

How to Write Interesting Content for a “Boring” Topic

Video: How To Write Great Content: The Pillar Article