The secret recipe for great writing requires these ten ingredients.

Today’s digital consumer is oversaturated with content — from blog posts and case studies to white papers and ebooks, branded resources abound across every corner of the internet. While subject matter and strategy greatly vary from brand to brand, all great writing generally encompasses these 10 principles:

1. Attention-Grabbing Headline

Think of your headline as a pickup line. It has to be original, compelling, and an accurate portrayal of the content it represents. Take the time to determine whether your headlines are working effectively, and find the right testing tool for optimization.

2. Strong Intro

Once your headline has successfully pulled readers in, wow them with your opening words. A strong introductory paragraph is essential to prove to readers that they have invested their time wisely by clicking through to your content.

3. Interesting Visuals

No matter how useful your content may be, you won’t maintain a reader’s attention with lengthy blocks of copy and no visuals for balance.

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Incorporate relevant images, videos, infographics, or embedded social posts to enhance the flow of your content and strengthen your narrative or argument.

4. Easy-to-Read Format

The most readily digestible content consists of short paragraphs and subheadings that can be easily scanned. Internet readers are often short on time, and want to be able to quickly skim through information for the details that are most pertinent to them.

5. Clearly Organized Thoughts

Before you begin writing, outline all the points you want to cover in your content. Upon editing, review and omit any unnecessary details or long-winded asides, focusing instead on the topics you’ve deemed relevant in the initial outline.

6. Reputable Sources

No matter how compelling and organized your content may be, it must also be factual to be considered valuable. Drawing from reputable sources helps validate your advice, so readers will be more likely to perceive your brand as a trustworthy source of information. Which leads us to our next ingredient…

7. Valuable Information

When possible, include actionable takeaways and step-by-step guides, encouraging your readers to reap tangible benefits from your content. Remember, the best content consistently offers something valuable to its readers.

8. Relevant Topics

To produce great content, you must write about topics that people care about. Find a topic that is relevant to the interests of both your target audience and your brand.

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9. Unique Perspective

Great writers find new and exciting ways to tell old stories. Brand new topics are hard to come by these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore a tried-and-true beat from a unique angle.

Encourage a variety of team members to contribute to your content strategy, writing about relevant topics from their own points of view. Your existing readership will appreciate the diversity of perspective, and this approach may just gain you the attentions of a whole new crowd of consumers.

10. Passionate Storytelling

If you’re writing content that you’re not passionate about, your readers will be able to tell. Write about subjects that your target audience is interested in, but find a way to weave in your own interests for a genuine storytelling experience.

So there you have it! Incorporate these 10 characteristics into your own writing, and you’ll be well on your way to content marketing success.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer B2B content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into a sophisticated trade publication that builds influence and visibility in your market. Learn more about B2B content marketing here.

Author Hilary Krutt

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Hilary joined L&T after several years in the publishing industry at Simon & Schuster. As a member of the editorial board for the Off the Shelf book blog, her writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, among other major publications. At L&T, Hilary manages content quality and production, collaborating directly with writers, content managers, and clients to ensure every piece we write hits the mark every time. In her free time, Hilary is an avid reader and live music enthusiast. She hails from Boston but currently calls Brooklyn home.

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