Top 10 Hallmarks of Outstanding Content

By Skellie

At some point, every blogger strives to create outstanding content. Whether it’s written for personal satisfaction, to get more subscribers, or to hit the front page of Digg, a truly outstanding piece of content has fantastic benefits. Creating it isn’t easy, but doing so is definitely worth the challenge.

In this post I’ve distilled what I believe to be ten common ingredients you can find in truly outstanding content. I hope it will help you add some remarkable elements to the next post you write.

The hallmarks of outstanding content

1. It’s never been seen before. When you think of an idea, search for its key-words, get no results and think: “I can’t believe no one has thought of this before”, you’re probably on to something good! Great content is highly original. It solves problems that haven’t been solved, answers questions people didn’t know they had and meets needs that haven’t yet been met.

2. It’s truly useful. A resource list of 300 tools on the topic of your choice will probably be something your readers bookmark and never visit again. Why? Because the more you add, the less likely it is to be of consistent quality. Outstanding content prizes real usefulness over all other factors — even if it means posting one tip instead of 101.

3. It does more than make readers think. The ‘how-to’ industry on blogs is booming. Millions of readers add new tips, suggestions and tools to their raft of knowledge every day. Whether they act on any of these insights, or change any of their behaviors as a result, is another question entirely. Outstanding content doesn’t just make readers think about their actions in a new way — it motivates them to change the way they do things.

4. It’s audacious. Outstanding content provides grand solutions, truly useful advice, earth shattering revelations and big ideas. Or, at least, it tries to. Outstanding content has the audacity to try something big, even if it means risking failure.

5. It’s lean. A blogger who creates outstanding content knows how to spot fat and how to cut it. If an idea is worth one sentence, it gets one sentence. If an idea is worth 1,000 words, it gets exactly that. Being lean doesn’t necessarily mean being short — it means cutting out the unimportant and leaving only what’s essential.

6. It provides concentrated value. Outstanding content often contains a treasure-trove of value in one place. Instead of a quick fix, a truly valuable post will outline the whole solution, from start to finish. It’s the complete blueprint, rather than just a snippet.

7. It doesn’t insult the intelligence of its audience. Outstanding content tackles big ideas, tricky challenges and important revelations, even if it’s the kind of material you can’t shrink down into bite-sized quotes.

8. It’s clear. Innovation, advice and analysis will all mean little if nobody understands the point you’re trying to make. The battle to write outstanding content is the constant battle to be clear while expressing something quite profound.

9. It’s multi-layered. Outstanding content adds depth by linking out generously and often. It reaches out to other authors who’ve touched on your ideas elsewhere, connecting readers to a web of knowledge stretching far beyond the bounds of your post.

10. It’s memorable. Your content will be disposable unless it influences the reader in some way. It should change the way they feel (or change their mind), inspire them, set them on a new course, make them more skillful or more informed. Truly outstanding content leaves a mark on everyone who reads it (from start to finish).

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32 Responses to “Top 10 Hallmarks of Outstanding Content”

  • Editor, The SciTech Journal

    NICE ARTICLE. THANKS FOR SHARING. THOROUGHLY ENJOYED READING. GOOD LUCK 🙂

  • Richard Dewick

    Great post Skellie, point number 5 is something I keep reminding myself of. I love to write and write but waffle can be a big turn off. I’ll try to match your lean mean posts in the future!

  • CatherineL

    Another great post Skellie. I’m just about to email you to say thanks. One of your recent posts inspired me to “do more thank think”.

    I put some of your advice into action and my traffic multiplied overnight. Thank you.

  • Ruchir

    “it motivates them to change the way they do things.”

    Or rather, it makes them actually do something rather than simply motivating them to think…

  • James Chartrand – Web Content Writer Tips

    This is a great article, Skellie. Well said and the kind of article that should be posted to my wall next to my computer. Thanks!

  • Daniel

    “Or rather, it makes them actually do something rather than simply motivating them to think…”

    That is the point indeed.

  • Steve Nguyen

    Skellie: I think, for me, what makes content outstanding is the ability to inspire people to stop talking and start doing (like that IBM commercial said) so I agree that one of the hallmarks of outstanding content is that “it motivates [people] to change the way they do things.”

  • Jay F.H.

    Super post Skellie. The tip about “search for its key-words, get no results and think: “I can’t believe no one has thought of this before”, you’re probably on to something good!” was spot on.

    P.S. LMAO @ the first comment, that “editor” is everywhere, and saying the exact same thing. Did you strip out the link too? ;o)

  • David Bradley

    Point #2 rings very true, you see all those enormous lists of tips and tricks from mashable.com etc but who on earth actually works their way through the whole list employing each one in turn. I’d much rather have one fantastic tip than 634 almost randomly selected mediocre tips.

    db

  • Wayne Liew

    A hallmark content should own the writers writing style as well. Of course, having all the hallmarks can be a style but not many can write superbly well by having all of it.

    Trying to incorporate something which is the same to any of our posts written, such as use of vector images, humor and story telling, will let readers remember not only what the article is all about, they will also remember who wrote it. 😉

  • Blog Contest Central

    Thanks Skellie. It’s a good reminder on how to write good content.
    One think I try to do is combine 2 ideas on from what I’ve seen and piece it into a unique piece by itself like my recent post on “Better SEO rules for your blog contest”

  • Daniel

    @Jay, yeah I strip self promotion links from comments.

  • Allison

    I like the last tip – we often get so caught up in listing resources, ranting about idiots, giving tips, etc, that we don’t stop and think about if a reader will be back to use the page time and time again. If it isn’t something people will pass on to their friends or come back to in a month or so when they have more questions…is it a good post?

  • Murad

    Great tips, it is easy to start slacking on post content when you post over and over and over… but that is what your blog is, it would be like a grocery store starting to order rotten fruit because they got sick of paying full price for the fresh stuff.

  • Vincent Parker

    While I have read so many blogs about blogging, I have come to the realization bloggers who write about blogging are beating a dead horse. With so many people on the band wagon blogging about making money while you blog, then the ads, then the top 1000 blogs for the century, etc. It is no wonder no ever writes about a voice to entertain, just for the sheer enjoyment of entertainment. I am not talking about the Hollywood/Sport/Porn star crap either. I think the Internet is becoming bored, henceforth, how to make it yourself, more porn in cyberspace and the same stuff keeps coming up. There is only so much a person can take before they shut down the computer.

  • Kupa, Seramik, Seramik Kupa, Fincan, Kul Tablasi, Porselen Kupa, Seramik Dekor

    gurus says : “Content is the king”, thanks for advices

  • SEO Genius

    Good article i have to admit i am definitely after that perfect article that people bookmark and come back to again and again.

  • FT Lauderdale Real Estate

    thanks for the tips! i will use these tools when writing my next article

  • Wayne Lie

    While I have read so many blogs about blogging, I have come to the realization bloggers who write about blogging are beating a dead horse. With so many people on the band wagon blogging about making money while you blog, then the ads, then the top 1000 blogs for the century, etc

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