What constitutes outstanding content?
What I think it boils down to is emotion. In fact, there's quite a bit of research that backs this up. Emotion drives an audience to read beyond the headline of the story. Emotion also drives people to take action beyond just reading the story, too.
All authors recognize that emotional content is what will help their book or article sell. Great writers know how to harness the power of that emotion to propel the reader into a completely immersive experience.
As marketing professionals, we try to capture emotion and harness it for the good of our businesses. We utilize words that evoke specific emotions that, in turn, get the reader to interact with our content in some way. It could be a click-thru to a website or a retweet. It could also be the difference between a reader just looking at some content or clicking that always important BUY button.
As I've been reading more and more about developing good content, the one overriding theme is that we have to stay positive. We have to give a reader hope. Not in some doomsday scenario or else kind of way, but in a way that evokes an emotional response and triggers the sense that reading our content provides a bright path as opposed to a bleak one.
If you're cultivating engaging content for your readers, consider the emotional way in which you write and develop your headlines. There are several online lists of trigger words and other emotionally charged ways to draw a reader in, and I suggest you become familiar with them. Use them in a way that appears natural rather than just click bait. When you engage in a meaningful conversation with your readers you are much more likely to get them to interact with you in the way you want them to.
As a good exercise to test your emotional wordsmith abilities, check out this handy tool that will assign an Emotional Marketing Value score to your headlines. It's a great way to envision how your writing conjures an emotional response from your readers. I utilized it for the headline on this post and it helped me think more critically about my own writing and how I can continue to improve.
Good luck in your content marketing endeavors, and be sure and let me know in the comments what I missed. I'd love to listen to some feedback!