Have you ever wondered why some content gets so much attention on social media? Do you ever ask yourself why that article you wrote on The Impact Of Social Reinforcement On Branded Content, although incredibly well researched and insightful, only got 2 tweets (and one of them by a robot account)?
Do you ever ask yourself why you even bother creating content anymore, and why you shouldn’t maybe just give up all of this content marketing nonsense and go back to accept that manager position at the McDonald’s you were offered when were 17, only to wallow in self-pity every night due to your inability to achieve greatness?!
Well, you can finally tell those thoughts goodbye, because after you finish reading this article, you will finally be on the right path to creating exceptional content. But first, what you need to understand is that your content won’t become exceptional overnight. No, you will need to practice the methods laid out in this article over and over again until they become a habit and, in turn, exceptional content creation becomes a standard you always meet.
Create P.E.A.C. content
What compels us to create exceptional content in the first place? It all depends on the reaction we get from other people. You can call this “audience engagement” or “social reinforcement,” but in the simplest sense, good content is content that gets shared and backlinked. How do you create exceptional content? You need to strive to create P.E.A.C. content.
P.E.A.C. stands for Practical, Entertaining, Awe-Inspiring and Credible. Any content that can successfully be called “P.E.A.C.” is bound to get attention. Even if you create content that only manages to cover one or two letters from P.E.A.C., you will still produce content that increases traffic to your page. Striving for P.E.A.C. will push you to create content that is addictive and worthy of backlinks.
Identify the missing aspects of P.E.A.C. content
As I mentioned, there is no easy trick or formula when it comes to creating exceptional content. There are, however, some basic steps you can take to ensure that you are improving the quality of your content every time you create. Whenever you notice that a particular post is performing exceptionally well, follow these two steps:
1) Analyze the article in question and make a list of everything that you did differently this time around from past posts.
Compare the well-performing article with another one that didn’t receive as much attention. Create a spreadsheet and compare the posts based on the following:
- The title of the article
- The type of content in the article
- The format of the article
- The language used in the article
- The promotion that was done of the article
Odds are that your exceptionally successful post achieves more aspects of P.E.A.C. content than the others.
2) Repeat those steps in your next article.
Once you have identified where your exceptional content succeeded and where your other content fell short, you can look for ways to hit every letter in P.E.A.C. content in your next piece.
Practical value: the crux of P.E.A.C. content
Practical value is the most important aspect of P.E.A.C. content and is typically what most readers search for. Think back to the titles you generally click on. They often follow the “How to do ____ in 10 easy steps!” or “8 ____ tools that will make your life a breeze.” These titles tell you that the articles are full of useful information that you can practically apply to your own work and life.
People generally don’t want to learn about subjects that offer them no practical value because it is simply a waste of time. That’s why overly self-promotional content and blatantly sponsored content never does well–it offers no value to readers and comes off as too self-servicing on the creator’s part.
As a general rule, you should create content that offers practical value to the reader. This alone will put your content a head above the heaps of useless fluff content out there.
That being said, there are cases where content that provides no practical value still generates copious backlinks, but it did this by hitting at least two other aspects of P.E.A.C. content.
Here are three examples of content that performed exceptionally well by hitting at least two aspects P.E.A.C. content.
Example 1: Basset Hounds Running
One of BuzzFeed’s most popular posts to date is a series of images from Flickr of a couple of basset hounds running on a beach. Unless you’re seriously debating whether or not to take your basset hound out for a jog, this post is completely void of practical value. Although it may not offer the reader any practical information for readers, those floppy dogs are entertaining and awe-inspiring for many people, achieving two aspects of P.E.A.C. content.
This post that was featured on the Venngage blog is the most popular study on the site. The study about the perfect Pinterest infographic generated 10 times the average number of views and shares of almost any other article on our blog. Why? Well, Venngage is an infographic tool, so 99% of our users are here because they are interested in making infographics. The other 1% ended up here by accident.
So when these users come across an article entitled “6 Formulas For The Perfect Pinterest Infographic,” it makes sense that they would want to learn the secret recipe behind infographic creation for Pinterest. The article offers solid practical value to a niche audience. The article is also backed up with concrete proof and examples. This makes the post much more credible and much more likely to be referenced and backlinked. Practical value is extremely important, but if the information in your article is not credible, you risk tarnishing the reputation of yourself and your company.
Example 3: You Suck At Photoshop
If you have ever considered learning Photoshop on your own, I highly recommend this tutorial. In fact, I urge you to check it out since it achieves all four aspects of P.E.A.C. content. Typically, when you think about watching a video tutorial, the feeling you get is not usually one of enthusiasm. Sure they are pumped to the brim with practical value, but would you ever consider them entertaining or awe-inspiring?
Well, You Suck At Photoshop is a series of tutorials on YouTube, and each video has millions of views. There’s a reason it has gained so much more traction than other tutorials. As you watch the videos, you are instructed on how to use Photoshop by the depressed narrator, Donny, who lives a lonely and pathetic life in his parents’ basement. What you soon realize is that Donny channels his frustrations about his life through his Photoshop projects. In one tutorial entitled “Covering Up Your Mistakes,” Donny attempts to remove the evidence of what appears to be a dead cat in his living room by erasing the cat from a photograph.
The absurdity of Donny makes his tutorials highly entertaining to watch. The fact that they actually provide solid, practical instruction on how to use Photoshop is awe-inspiring. While his tutorials have a tendency to formulaically end with Donny spiralling into hysterics, each one does walk you through how to use the tools to achieve specific effects. So while his tutorials are entertaining, the valuable information that they offer you makes them credible.
You Suck At Photoshop achieves all four aspects of P.E.A.C. content and because of that, people continue to link back to it to nearly a decade since it was created.
The three examples above each use a combination of the aspects of P.E.A.C. content in order to produce exceptional content. Here is a simple breakdown of the content types and their outcomes:
|The Example||The Type Of Content||The Outcome|
|Basset Hounds Running (BuzzFeed)||Cute/Funny image-based post of dogs running||A feeling of euphoria and delight|
|Perfect Pinterest Formula (Venngage)||Credible research-based post analysing various infographic on Pinterest||Practical insight into what factors to keep in mind when creating an infographic|
|You Suck At Photoshop (MyDamnChannel)||Strong narrative tutorial on Photoshop told by a funny, albeit depressing character||Entertaining through-line as well as a practical guide for Photoshop|
Continue to practice exceptional content creation. Eventually you will build a reputation for yourself, and your audience’s engagement with your content will scale upwards consistently. It takes time and effort to enhance your work, but by approaching it methodically and objectively, your efforts will pay off. Keep practicing and you will be able to produce P.E.A.C. content every time.
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<a href="https://infograph.venngage.com/p/63856/create-peac-content"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-3047" src="https://venngage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Create-PEAC-content.png" alt=“Make An Infographic"/></a><p style="text-align: center; font-size: 14px; padding-top: 4px;">This infographic was made with the infographic maker <a href="https://venngage.com">Venngage</a>.</p>