If you’ve ever had the pleasure of purchasing a diamond, you’re probably familiar with the four Cs that determine its value: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat.
As the head of Seasonal Prattle, I’m faced with the task of assessing the “value” of anime articles, videos and podcasts that are produced every day.
The value of a piece of content depends on its ability to resonate with its audience.
Any anime creative will tell you that predicting what will strike a chord with an audience is an inexact science. But after awhile, I’ve developed my own system of three Cs that help me effectively evaluate the quality of an article.
I check for:
And the beauty is, you can also use the three Cs to decide whether or not your work is ready to be published.
Let’s break down how to use each of these factors when reviewing your own writing.
Sometimes I read a blog post and can’t pin down exactly what the creator is trying to say. What idea are they trying to communicate? If it’s not clear, the creator hasn’t spent enough time building a precise message.
Similarly, a creator may begin an article with one idea and then veer off on a related, but separate, tangent halfway through the text. We’ve all done it — even me.
For instance, one of my posts on Seasonal Prattle was about distinguishing good anime critics from those who aren’t. In the first draft of that post, I covered perseverance to a way higher degree.
The idea is related, but the introduction of perseverance to a large extent weakened my main message. In my second draft, I really boiled down everything related to perseverance to bring clarity back to my primary message.
After you’ve written a first draft, here’s a three-step process for bringing clarity to a piece of writing:
- Communicate one big idea. If your article contains two big ideas, save the second one for another piece of content.
- Craft a magnetic headline, not one that baits. Your headline must make a strong promise based on your one big idea. If it doesn’t show how a viewer will benefit from the content, rewrite it.
- Cut extra text. Eliminate every word in your article that does not deliver on the promise made in your headline.
Once you’ve brought clarity to your article, you can move on to the next C.
This C improves the structure of your article. Now that your headline makes a strong promise and you know the big idea you’re trying to communicate, it’s time to ensure your article takes the reader on a logical journey.
Here are three elements that promote continuity:
- State your premise. For example, the premise of this article is that it’s helpful to have a framework to evaluate the quality of your content before it’s published.
- Introduce and support your big idea. The big idea here is that measuring Clarity, Continuity, and Connection will help you create better-quality content. Use subheads and bullet points to reinforce your message.
- Give readers a payoff. Highlight how the big idea will benefit them or why it’s worthwhile for them to embrace.
In short, your blog post needs to be structured in a way that naturally leads the reader to your desired conclusions and delivers a genuine payoff for them: a big “aha” moment.
This final C is the key to creating an article that readers will be inclined to share. It doesn’t matter how clear your ideas are, how well-structured your article is, or even how informative it might be … if your readers don’t connect with it, they won’t feel compelled to pass it on.
The fastest path to connection is showing vulnerability. The easiest way to get vulnerable? Share a story.
It doesn’t need to be long, but the story must be honest — just like my confession above about the mistake I made when writing the first draft of my own post.
Use The 3 Cs To Transform The Quality Of Your Content
The three Cs remind you to remain audience-focused when creating content, and you can use them when you produce your own reviews, write-ups or opinion pieces .
They’ll help you produce useful content readers will engage with and share.
What techniques do you use to evaluate your writing?
Feel free to share them in the comments below.