17 Expert-Approved Principles To Follow When Creating Content

Content marketing has long been a key part of the digital marketing mix, with businesses consistently leveraging content to drive website traffic and create leads. 

However, as content creation platforms have become more prevalent and consumers have gotten more sophisticated in how they interact with content, there’s been a shift in how companies can effectively use content to advance their business goals.

Like anything, your business’ approach to creating and publishing content will evolve, but if you’re just getting started or need some new ideas that work for your business today, here are 17 expert-approved principles to follow when creating content for your business:

5 Principles (with resources!) to Creating Great Content
1. Understand your target audience deeply.
2. Craft a compelling and attention-grabbing headline.
3. Prioritize clarity and simplicity in your content.
4. Provide valuable insights that solve audience problems.
5. Incorporate storytelling to make your content relatable.
6. Utilize data and research to support your points.
7. Format your content for readability with subheadings and lists.
8. Create a clear structure with a strong introduction and conclusion.
9. Use visuals to enhance comprehension and engagement.
10. Inject your unique voice and personality into your writing.

1. Create A Content Calendar

It’s important to create a content calendar to guide your content creation. A good calendar is a great tool for planning and avoiding writing on the fly, which is when you’re most likely to produce low-quality or duplicate content.

Creating a calendar will also help you organize your content so that you don’t end up with unused ideas that never get published! It can be difficult for both writers and marketers alike to see all of their projects laid out in front of them at once.

But doing this helps us better prioritize what needs work done now versus later, so we can avoid issues like writer’s block or not having enough time left over in the day-to-day responsibilities that prevent us from getting everything done on time/at all before deadlines pass by…

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2. Understand Your Target Audience

There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re trying to reach the right person with your content. For starters, it’s important to know who your audience is: their demographics, interests, pain points, and buying cycle. But don’t stop there! 

You also need to know who the decision-makers are within your target audience and which influencers they look up to. You should also figure out what competing products your audience uses and how much money they have at their disposal for marketing activities like yours.

3. Know Your Customer Pain Points

Before you can create content that meets your customers’ needs, you need to understand those needs. To do this, you’ll have to ask questions like:

  • What pain points do they experience?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What goals do they have for their business or personal life that may not be being met right now?

Once you’ve identified these issues, your job is to figure out how to solve them through valuable information and helpful resources. This will help improve the quality of their lives and allow them to become loyal customers who trust what you have to say.

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4. Use Storytelling To Drive Engagement

If you want to create content that people love and share, use storytelling. People are wired to respond to stories they help us understand the world around us, and connect and learn new things. 

The more relatable your story is for your audience, the better it will perform on social media, where you’re competing with thousands of other posts for attention.

It’s not enough to just tell a good story; you have to use it as an opportunity to further engage with your audience by asking them questions or encouraging them to interact with something else in the post (like a quiz or poll). 

This way they’ll stay engaged longer than if all they see at first glance is some text without much substance behind it allowing their interest level in whatever message you’re trying to convey to rise even higher than it would otherwise.

5. Avoid Clickbait Headlines

The content you produce should be genuinely useful and informative, not just clickbait.

Clickbait headlines are headlines that lead readers to believe they’ll find something more than what the article delivers. They’re often misleading or exaggerated to get people to click on a link. This can be done through:

  • An over-the-top promise of exclusive information that doesn’t exist in the actual article (e.g., “You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!”)
  • A controversial statement that isn’t backed up by evidence (e.g., an opinion piece posing as news)
  • Headlines are written for search engines rather than for humans

6. Plan Your Content Strategy Ahead Of Time

Next, you’ll want to plan your content strategy ahead of time. This is essential for success because it allows you to create a game plan for what your audience needs and how you will provide it.

Planning can be as simple as writing down 3-5 topics that will resonate with people who visit your website. The key here is not just knowing the kind of information they need, but also understanding how they perceive themselves and what they care about most. For example:

If you run an eCommerce store, why not write an article on how men and women shop differently? That way, both genders become more likely to click on links within your post because they know exactly what kind of content awaits them!

Or maybe instead of focusing solely on products or services offered by companies like yours (which would require customers’ attention), why not write posts about lifestyle topics such as fitness trends among millennials or healthy cooking tips? 

This way too many people will feel connected online rather than being bombarded by sales pitches everywhere they go!”

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7. Connect Content With Sales

Now that you know what to create and how to create it, it’s time to think about how you’ll use the content. One of the most important ways is by connecting it with sales.

The best way to measure whether or not your content is working is by using sales tools and tracking leads. 

The most common tools for this include CRMs (like Salesforce or Zoho), which tie into websites built on WordPress and other platforms.

As well as third-party services like Zapier and IFTTT that help automate tasks such as sending an email whenever a new prospect signs up for your list, or automatically adding them into a customer database when they place an order online.

8. Don’t Just Sell; Also Inform, Educate, And Entertain

The old saying goes that you need to “tell your story, not sell it.” While there is some truth to this, it should be noted that the only way to tell your story effectively is by selling it. In short: You need to have a balance of content.

It would be wise for you not only to create content that informs, educates, and entertains but also to stick with one type of content for a while before switching gears. 

If you’re only educating people on how great your company is or informing them about a new product release without any entertainment value (for example), they’ll get bored and leave.

For any one piece of content be it video or text to stand out from the crowd, it needs all three components: 

Education/informative value; entertainment value; and an actual sales pitch at the end where people know what they can do next to buy something directly from you

9. Be Consistent In Your Style And Delivery

Consistent style and delivery are critical to making your content stand out. As we’ve said, people are bombarded with content every day, so you need to make your voice, tone, design elements, and overall brand consistent across all mediums. 

You want the style of your website to feel like it’s part of the same brand as your social media accounts, emails, and newsletters that’s how you’ll create a cohesive experience for customers.

If you’re not sure where to start with creating consistency in your business’ look and feel across all platforms (including marketing materials), read this guide by Buffer: How We Built a Consistent Brand Identity Across Social Media Channels

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10. Keep It Short And Simple

You don’t need to write a novel to explain complicated concepts. If you find yourself using long sentences and words, take a step back and try again. 

It may sound counterintuitive, but by keeping things short and simple, you can easily avoid the common mistake of confusing your audience with too much information at once.

One way we used this principle at Waygo is by making our subtitles as short as possible while still conveying their meaning. This helps readers quickly understand what they’re reading without having to read through an entire paragraph or sentence first!

11. Focus On One Idea Per Blog Post

Don’t try to cover too many topics in one blog post. The purpose of a blog is to inform and educate your audience, not overwhelm them with information. 

The last thing you want is for readers to get lost when they land on your site or leave the page feeling overwhelmed by all the information you gave them. Instead, focus on a specific topic or idea and go deep into it rather than trying to cover a lot of ground in one post.

When writing content that’s focused on one idea (for example, “How To Write A Sales Copy Headline”), make sure you:

  • Cover only what matters most
  • Don’t waste time explaining things that don’t apply directly to the topic at hand

12. Use Clear Headers, Subheaders, And Bullet Points

Headers, subheaders, and bullet points are powerful tools for helping your readers find the information they need. They allow you to create a logical structure for your content so that readers can scan it easily.

Use clear headers, subheaders, and bullet points.

If you don’t have a clear structure in place then it doesn’t matter how good your content is or how well you write it; the reader is going to leave disappointed because they couldn’t find what they were looking for.

13. Write For Users First, Search Engines Second (To Improve SEO)

When you’re writing content for your business, you have to write for users first, search engines second. This is because the goal of SEO is to create great content that will attract people who are interested in the subject matter you’re writing about. 

And when people are searching for something on Google or another search engine, they don’t want to see advertisements they want answers and information!

To do this successfully, start by making sure that your keywords are used throughout all of your pages: headings (h1 tags), meta descriptions (meta description tags), page titles (title tags), and internal links (link text) and image alt tags. 

You should also make sure that each piece of content has its unique title tag so it stands out in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

14. Ensure That Your Content Is Mobile-Responsive

With the average user spending more time on their mobile devices than desktop computers, you must make sure your content is mobile-responsive. 

Use responsive design to ensure that your website looks good and works well on all devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and desktop computers.

Check for mobile-friendliness by running Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test against your website. 

If it fails the test, consider using a tool like [Responsive Design Checker](https://www.responsivedesignchecker.com/) or [MobiPulse](https://mobipulse.com/) to identify issues with your site’s design before they get worse!

15. Tell An Authentic Story To Create An Emotional Connection With Your Audience

When you have a story to tell, you’re allowing your audience to connect with you on a deeper level.

The reason stories work so well is that they are memorable and impactful. They add value to the person who’s experiencing them because they can relate to them in some way, shape, or form. They also help us learn from our mistakes so we don’t make them again later on down the road! 

A good story will give your audience something they can take away with them after reading/watching it: 

An insight into how things work or why something happened in their own lives; a lesson learned that might be useful in their future endeavors; or an entertaining anecdote (hopefully!). In short:

 A good story should be both relatable and relevant – because there’s nothing worse than feeling like someone else’s experience is none of your business!

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16. Invite Guest Bloggers And Influencers

Inviting guest bloggers and influencers to write for your blog is a great way to expand your reach. If you’re able to get an influencer or expert in a specific area, they can help you build credibility in that niche by writing about something that they know very well. 

It also allows them to promote themselves as an authority on the subject matter, which could even lead to them being linked to your article.

You may also want to consider interviewing people through social media if it’s something that fits with your brand image and goals.

17. Focus On Clarity In The First Sentence Of A Blog Post, Paragraph, Or Even Main Message

The first sentence of every piece of content you write is it’s most important. It serves as a promise to your readers, and it should be clear and concise. 

The reader should be able to understand the article’s main message without having to read anything else after that first sentence.

Here are some principles to follow when writing your first sentences:

The topic sentence should be clear and concise; it should capture the essence of what the article is about in just one sentence.

It should also serve as a good summary of the rest of your blog post or paragraph, which might otherwise confuse or bore people who don’t want to spend time reading through everything else if they don’t see any relevance yet (aka “lazy readers”).

You want interested people who clicked on your link from social media or an ad on another site where they already got interested in something related before coming here (or maybe even just those who landed directly from Google).

So keep these things in mind when writing these initial paragraphs/blog posts!


So, what’s the takeaway? There are plenty of good ones you can take away from this piece. Beyond that, though, perhaps the most important thing I’d like to leave you with is a reminder: 

No matter how much content marketing advice is out there, sometimes it’s just better to go back to basics. 

If your approach to writing is clear, simple, and easy to understand like these principles we’ve outlined above it will get more traffic from both search engines and real people who are interested in reading it. 

And if you have any other thoughts about best practices for content marketing or anything else for that matter, feel free to reach out via email at [email protected]

Further Reading

Expand your knowledge on creating engaging digital content by exploring these valuable resources:

Our 9 Proven Principles for Creating Engaging Digital Content That Stands Out Short Description: Discover nine tried-and-true principles that can help you create digital content that captivates your audience and sets you apart.

7 Principles of Great Content Short Description: Uncover seven foundational principles that form the basis of creating exceptional and impactful content that resonates with your target audience.

Content Creation: The Ultimate Guide Short Description: Dive into this comprehensive guide to content creation, packed with insights and strategies to help you craft compelling content that drives engagement and conversions.


What are the key principles for creating engaging digital content?

Creating engaging digital content involves understanding your audience, focusing on quality, and delivering value. Prioritize relevance, clarity, and creativity to capture and retain your audience’s attention.

How can I ensure my content stands out from the crowd?

To make your content stand out, leverage unique storytelling, visually appealing elements, and in-depth research. Develop a distinctive voice that reflects your brand’s personality and resonates with your audience.

What role does audience segmentation play in content creation?

Audience segmentation helps tailor your content to specific groups within your target audience. By understanding their preferences, pain points, and interests, you can create content that addresses their needs effectively.

How do I maintain consistency in my content creation efforts?

Consistency is key to building a strong brand identity. Establish content guidelines, editorial calendars, and style preferences to ensure a cohesive and recognizable content presence across platforms.

What are the benefits of incorporating multimedia elements in content?

Incorporating multimedia elements such as images, videos, and infographics can enhance engagement and comprehension. Visual content breaks up text, making it more digestible and appealing to your audience.