Where would we be without great content? When you think about all those things you read and see on a daily basis, how many leave a lasting impression on you? Great content is something that does exactly that — it stays with the reader or viewer long after they’ve finished reading or watching and in some way inspires and informs their actions.

Writing great content that is equally valuable to your blog or business and your target audience is a necessary part of owning a website, but it doesn’t have to be a complex process. Here’s a simple recipe to follow that will ensure you nail great content every time!

A fundamental ingredient that makes up all great content is engagement; an audience that is engaged by what you have to say will come back for more and share your content within their own personal networks.

From the most niche personal blog to the website of a multi-national corporation, engaging content is what makes any content marketing strategy work. Juicy content that is pleasurable to read will keep your audience hooked!

Understanding your target audience is key to creating content that they can connect with.

Knowing why people visit your website or blog will help you to define the type of things you should be writing about. Wherever possible make your content actionable, which can include leaving readers with ways to reflect on the information you’ve shared in your content or encouraging them to interact further by opening up a dialogue with them.

A great example of this is the PokerStars blog, which is a global gaming and casino community platform. This site regularly releases some great content that is tailored towards informing, educating and engaging with users.

Originality is another fundamental ingredient to writing great content. Content that is original in form and idea will go down well with Google and visitors to your website, both of which can reap huge rewards for your brand.

Duplicating content already published on the net will not only result in punishment from Google, but will also be far more detrimental to your relationship with your target audience. Rehashing the same ideas or concepts in your content, even if they’re ideas that are your own, gives the impression that you just can’t be bothered to write about something in a fresh way, which will create a negative impression of your brand.

Content that is unique will be read, shared and linked to, fulfilling all of the requirements of a good content marketing strategy. When it comes to an example of consistently original content, look no further than Wired, the original home for tech journalism. A variety of topics are covered in detailed, original content across the site; even news articles are presented with a unique angle and perspective.

So, now that you have the base ingredients sorted, it’s time to add in some extra flavor with formatting and frequency!

Readability is the essence of all formatting. Yes, you need to ensure your content is adequately proof-read for typos and grammar errors, but go one step further and think about how it looks on screen. A clear typeface combined with spacious column widths will start to make your content sing, and the finishing touches are appropriate visuals and a headline that readers just can’t ignore!

According to Copyblogger, 80% of readers will check out a headline, but only 20% read the rest.Click To Tweet

According to Copyblogger, 80% of readers will check out a headline, but only 20% of these will actually read the rest of the content, so you really need to make an impression with those first few words! While we’re on the subject of formatting, just take a look at The New Yorker’s website. This powerhouse of U.S journalism presents content in a clear, minimalist style that includes just the right number of visuals to prevent monotony.

And, so we’ve come to the final ingredient in this simple recipe for nailing great content — frequency.

You could write the most engaging, unique and well-thought-out posts or articles ever to be published, but if you aren’t publishing them frequently, then no one will read them. How often your website or blog needs to be updated depends entirely on your strategy, but as a general guide, if sharing content is part of your business model, then you need to be publishing twice a week, at a minimum.

Frequency will keep you at the forefront of your target audience’s mind, ensuring repeat visits and long-term visitor retention. Buzzfeed, that ubiquitous distraction website, is a masterclass in the production of timely content production!

So, there you have it — four simple ingredients that will get anyone writing and nailing great content!