Beyond the Content Idea: 6 Real Elements of Content That Converts

Good writers know that there’s more to captivating an audience than coming up with a killer content topic. Anyone can come up with an idea, but it’s what you do with that idea once you have it that makes all the difference.

Ready to earn more attention with your content? These elements have been repurposed from journalism best practices to bring authority, trustworthiness, and relevance to your content.

You can also download a handy infographic version of this list. Here’s the PNG version, and this is the larger PDF.

CONTENT ELEMENT #1: THEME

Who’s your audience? What, broadly speaking, are they interested in? Examples: weddings on a budget, credit union marketing, nutrition for people with diabetes. If there could be a book on it, that’s a theme.

This is where most content creators stop: They brainstorm a broad idea and start writing. The problem is, you won’t be able to cover everything your audience wants to know about low-carb diets or marketing a credit union in a reasonable amount of space. (Remember, there are books on the topic!)

CONTENT ELEMENT #2: ANGLE

Developing an angle (aka hook) helps narrow your theme down from a broad, book-like topic to a targeted, digestible, memorable slice of an idea. Low-carb diets becomes 10 best grain-free breakfasts. Weddings on a budget becomes the most surprising ways to save on your winter wedding. See how you turned a gigantic, unwieldy topic into a bite-sized idea?

Not only does this make it easier to write the piece of content, but it also helps ensure that your topic isn’t one that’s been written about so much already that your audience rolls its collective eyes and keeps on searching. Bonus: It gives you good long tail keywords for your SEO efforts.

Infographic "Beyond the Content Idea"CONTENT ELEMENT #3: PACKAGING

Packaging is how you organize and present your idea to readers. Notice how magazines never make you wade through a dense block of text? Take a tip from print pubs and consider how you’ll break up the content to make it more readable and interesting.

Think beyond the basics: Try infographics, “chunky” articles with boxes, photos with captions, quizzes, listicles, and more. For (way) more info, download our free report on 5 ways to add oomph to your packaging.

CONTENT ELEMENT #4: REPORTING

If you don’t need to research your idea, then it’s probably too simple, commonplace, or overdone. Delve into the research, talk to outside experts, and tap “people on the street” to find fresh, surprising info. For example, even though we have 20+ years of journalism experience here at Hero’s Journey Content, we researched SEO, journalism terminology, and more to create this post.

Many content creators consider this step a waste of time…and those are ones who turn out tepid content full of generalizations and stale information.

CONTENT ELEMENT #5: VOICE

Now we start writing. You don’t want to sound like a business memo, but also avoid falling back on a “popular” voice just because it’s easy. Content writers who don’t have a good sense of voice rely on exclamation points, snarkiness, and even swearing out of pure laziness. In their minds, swearing = “I’m a rebel”…snarkiness = “I’m cool”…and three exclamation points in a row = “This here is exciting stuff.”

What voice perfectly fits your brand and your audience? Feel free to mix and match. (Serious and playful? Why not?)

CONTENT ELEMENT #6: WORD CHOICE

Creating content that converts requires a keen ear for the way words sound when you string them together—and the emotions they elicit depending on how you do so. Study the rhythm and cadence of writing that makes you think, feel…and act.

Read your piece of content out loud. How does it flow? How do the words and grammar choices make you feel? Have someone outside your organization or your department have a read as well. Then tweak, edit, and polish until you have a perfect piece of content.

Looking for personality-driven content writing and strategy for your complex brand? Reach out to schedule a free discovery call to see if we’re a match for you.