Characteristics of impactful content

In case you hadn’t noticed, in today’s online world we’re practically drowning in content — more content, to tell you the truth, than we could ever begin to consume. To give you a sense of the scale of it, just consider that every day 70,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, two million blog posts are published, and 294 billion emails are sent.

The problem is that a lot of that content is going to waste. Why? Because it’s not very impactful and, as a result, people are tuning most of it out.

If you’re a business trying to build strong relationships with your prospects and customers, that presents a real challenge. How do you go about creating content that stands out so your target audience not only reads it, but actually enjoys it and converts as a result?

Great content starts with information that your audience will find relevant, interesting, and perhaps even entertaining. But that’s just the starting point. Your language matters, too. That’s why the trick to making great content is making sure it has the following five characteristics. It has to be:

1. Readable.

When you create content, nothing is more important than making it easy to understand, which mainly depends on whether the content is readable. The readability of a piece of content is shaped by many factors, including your use of jargon, terminology, spelling and grammar, and sentence structure.

Following the principles of plain language is a guaranteed way of making sure your content is clear and easy to understand — check out our 10 tips to improve content readability with plain language to learn more. 

Likewise, for your content to be readable, it has to be scannable. Scannability focuses on concise paragraph messaging, streamlines complex sentences, and makes use of lists and tables to easily convey ideas. Learn more about the benefits of scannability in enterprise writing here.

2. Engaging.

To build relationships with your customers, your content has to create the emotional connection with your audience necessary to foster interest. So writing with emotive language can have a real impact on your target audience. 

Did you know that emotional content performs nearly twice as well as purely factual content? Emotions are a big part of who we are as human beings — in fact, research shows that we experience at least one emotion 90 percent of the time. To be engaging, your content should be written with specific intentions and make use of emotional analysis. Check out our guide if you want to learn more about how to write with feeling!

Poor readability makes your content less engaging, but other factors play a part too, including your use of personal pronouns (say “I” and “we,” not “it” and “the company”), how concise and lively your writing is, and how your tone of voice sounds more generally. Tone is a great opportunity to engage your audience. Are you punchy and to-the-point, or laid back and expressive? Learn how to build and maintain your tone of voice in our eBook

3. Consistent. 

Because content comes from many sources both inside and outside of your organization, inconsistencies are inevitable. Inconsistencies confuse readers. Inconsistencies can also affect your company’s brand recognition. Rising above the noise of a crowded marketplace is difficult, but if your company name, product names, or key messages appear inconsistently, then rising above the noise becomes impossible.

Start simple: make sure all of your company specific words and phrases are in order and well documented. Then focus on making this accessible to writers across the organization. If you need help setting up your enterprise terminology council check out this blog for some helpful tips. 

4. Findable. 

Whether you’re publishing support content on a dedicated portal, or making marketing content available on your website, you want your most relevant content to appear at the top of people’s search results. 

While there are SEO “tricks” that you can try to boost your search rankings, the most important thing you can do is to focus on creating high-quality content that includes appropriate keywords in appropriate places. That means content should be well researched, informative, and impactful for the reader. The more you think about prioritizing audience-aligned content, the more likely you are to see conversion. 

5. Translatable. 

Many emerging markets, such as India and China, have driven huge increases in global trade over the last decade. To satisfy consumers in these new markets, companies must localize their content into more languages. That means doing everything you can to ensure that your writing is clear and readable to make translation as smooth and efficient as possible.

The reality is that your content needs to meet your audience where they are — and that means in their native language. It also means that you have to move past just translation into localization, so creating clear source content is a must. That’s all a part of understanding your target audience and connecting with them through language. Learn how Acrolinx can help turn translation into localization here

5 characteristics = impactful content

The bottom line is that it’s not enough just to create content anymore. Your content has to be great or you’re losing an opportunity to help your business. Making sure that your content is readable, engaging, consistent, findable, and translatable will go a long way to getting you there. It also powers great business results. If you want to learn how Acrolinx can help you create impactful content, let’s talk

This blog post was written in collaboration with Scott Abel, otherwise known as the Content Wrangler. Scott is a content management strategist and social media choreographer who helps organizations improve the way they author, maintain, publish, and archive their information assets.