The 3 Keys to Effective Content

February 9, 2016
emily amos

We all want effective content—content that attracts users, engages audiences and compels interested people to click, sign up, buy or call.

So what is effective content?

Effective content is clear

Clear content speaks to people in a language they use and understand. Big words aren’t impressive. Even highly educated readers do best with plain English because we can recognize and read common words more quickly than less common words. Think about “utilize” vs. “use.”

Clear content is also organized in ways that make information easy to find and use through things like clear button labels, page titles, links, headers and subheaders. Your content should also clearly help your users accomplish their goals by offering them precisely what they need, just when they need it.

Effective content is compelling

Compelling content is meaningful and useful to your target audience. It helps them accomplish the tasks they came to your site to accomplish. By keeping the focus on your audience’s needs, your audience will be more likely to do what it is YOU want them to do as well.

One great way to engage your target audience is through brand story-telling—getting to the very essence of who you are as an organization and what that means to your audience. Give your visitors a reason to take action through strong and compelling calls to action in strategic places throughout your content.

Effective content is concise

Get rid of needless content. First of all, too much content makes things harder to find. Secondly, when resources are finite (which they all are), spreading those resources even more thinly to produce even more content results in a decline in quality.

How do you know what content to cut? Traffic analysis, user research and sound editorial judgment are useful. You may also want to start by cutting pages like mission statements and history pages because really, does anyone care about that stuff?

Once you’ve gotten rid of whole pages of content, then you’ll need to go through each page and cut needless content at the paragraph and sentence level.

Emily Amos of Word Savvy is a Halifax web writer and web content strategist.

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