in Misc

Content Writing 1.01

In 1996 Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled Content Is King. He made a lot of fine points in said essay, but the gist of it is as follows: the age of the Internet was upon them at that time and is the one we live in nowadays and it has provided us with the best possible medium in which to unleash our content. Said content, when used properly, can prove to be a valuable tool.

There has been a lot of debate, especially in the US, about net neutrality and as long as net neutrality remains the norm by which we access the World Wide Web, our content writing is a very, very powerful tool.

Nowadays, all you need in order to get your opinion out there is a will, a social network channel and/or blog and, well, an opinion. However, when you’re aiming to provide a professional opinion, one that your readers will respect and respond to accordingly, you’re going to need a bit more.

There’s never going to be any foolproof way in which you will manage to get your content out there and receive proper recognition for your work. The Internet is now accessible to approximately 40% of the Earth’s population and when you put it like that, it doesn’t sound like an awful lot. But when you think that 40% translates to 2,925,249,355 users, the picture starts to look a bit different. My point is that there is absolutely no formula that I could give you that, when followed, would give you content that everyone on the Internet will enjoy.

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However, there are a few pointers that content writers should follow if they want their work to be taken seriously.

Properly define your quality standards

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Much the same as “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, if you’ve got nothing truly good in your writing, just scrap the article. You shouldn’t be going for “good enough”, because, more often than not, that is what will drive your readers away. When you start off wanting to provide your visitors with quality content, when you’re still excited about being a journalist/blogger/content writer, when you still believe hard work pays off, you attract a certain type of audience. You attract people who want to read professional opinions on the subject of your choice. If you start to drift away from the quality of your initial work, so will your readers drift away from you. Don’t just write to have something new to post every other day.

Know your audience3

Now, I’ve had a number of rows with my boss over this. I, myself, have a very peculiar mix of interests that range from fluffy baby bats and the latest album by All Time Low, to Neil Gaiman books, fresh trends in web design and the best way to organize a database for large amounts of data. Unfortunately, Top Design Magazine provides an outlet for only one of my interests and it’s a damn good thing that my boss every so often thumps me upside the head and reminds of this. Because, quite frankly, no matter how passionately I could write to you about “Fortunately, the Milk”, I sincerely doubt any of you would care. Any content writer should remember the audience they are writing for and provide them with content they’ll be interested in.

SEO and Conversion Rates

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As I’ve said before, my boss has a very good habit of keeping me on track with my article subjects, but, like every other website owner, he’s also attached to SEO and Conversion Rates in an unhealthy way. I mean, do I want my articles to be SEO friendly and help this website climb in Google Rankings? I think if I’d say anything other than ‘yes’, I may get more than a thumping after my article is reviewed. But the fact of the matter is that SEO and Conversion Rates shouldn’t be the driving forces behind your writing. Especially if you’re just starting off. Remember to create quality content, remember that you need to create a stable reader base that will keep coming back to your website and, most importantly, remember that there are a lot of other factors that go into having a successful website besides your content.

UX

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Remember how I said there’s more to having a successful website than just your content? Well, here’s what I was talking about: user experience. You could have the most kick ass content available anywhere on the World Wide Web on your website, but if your readers have to jump 3 hurdles, go round 2 roundabouts and take the 1st, then 4th exit and dance around a pile of autumn leaves before they get to it, it’s worthless. For those of you out there who are in charge of your website’s design as well as your content, you’re lucky. Take care to always make your content as accessible as possible. For those of you who, like me, have to read ahead A Song Of Ice and Fire and threaten your web designer with spoilers if he doesn’t fix the pagination issues, I feel for you. And, also, since there’s always the high road available, be aware of your website’s weak points and work around them. Keep in mind, your reader has to have the best possible experience with your content.

That’s it, that is all the content writing wisdom we’ve had to share with you. Now, go forth and write good content.

Anamaria

I read, I write, I sleep.

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