A huge part of my work involves partnering with graphic and web designers to help them write content for their clients. Companies, and frankly the rest of the world, are tired of canned content. They want something fresh and unique that will actually appeal to their audience. If you’re tired of hearing empty promises and bland slogans, you’re in good company. I’ll show you how to write high quality content that actually gets people thinking.
Are you a website, or are you a blog?
I want to start off with some confusion that I think needs clearing up. A lot of companies show me their website template and basically tell me to fill in the blanks. They’ll say, “we’re looking for search optimized content for all of these pages.” I say, “Great! But there’s one issue. What about your long term content strategy?”
It really isn’t enough to simply fill in the home page, the about page, the testimonial page, or whichever other pages you’ve got on your site. I would normally say you need to have a blog, but that’s not really my point either. Your entire site needs to be a blog! You need to update it at least once a week with something relevant to what you do.
The rest of the content on your site only makes sense in light of the articles you write. You can write the content for all of your other pages, but it carries so much more weight when it’s backed up by legitimately useful articles. I liken it to the difference between saying you provide great customer service and actually providing great customer service. Be active. Be an educator. Be more than a WordPress template you hired someone to fill in.
Consider your audience.
At this point, many of you are wondering what you should write about. I’m a big fan of mixing it up. You want to have some content that aligns with keywords, and you also want to have content that just comes off the top of your head. I’ll tell you from experience that my best posts are the ones I think up on my own. Keywords are important, but they can become a prison of sorts.
At the very least, do not simply copy the keyword and make it the headline of your article. The point of creating content is not to simply hit on certain keywords. You need to think to yourself, “Why would someone search for this? What other sorts of questions might this person have? How can I answer all of those questions at once?”
You are basically doing psychoanalysis on your website visitors. In this case, I would imagine you are looking for quality content. So now I’m answering your other questions too.
“Quality,” as we all know, is a subjective thing. One person’s rose is another person’s thorn. Yes, the writing has to be grammatically correct. Yes, it needs to flow. And yes, you most certainly need to do the basic things like appealing to peoples’ curiosity. All of that goes into creating quality content.
But the most important thing is…
You guessed it: tailoring that content to your audience. Answering questions is always priority number #1.
So this is what we do when I sit down with companies looking to build a website. We go through all of the different types of questions their customers or clients might have, and then we make a huge list of them. After that, we’ll head on over to the Google Keyword Tool, and we’ll try to find the keywords and keyphrases that best match those questions. It’s an iterative process that eventually gives us a huge list of content ideas.
In other words, if you think you don’t have anything to write about, you’re dead wrong. I guarantee you I can find at least 20 different topics you haven’t even thought of. Every piece will be high quality content your readers will appreciate.
Quality content comes at a price.
Beware! Some companies hire out these huge content farms, and they wonder why they haven’t received any traffic from search. In my mind, it’s a no-brainer. You can’t offer pennies and expect to attract the best talent out there. Good writers know not to accept any project valued at less than $50. To do so is business suicide. If you don’t see yourself as someone who is talented with words, make sure you hire someone who is.
This isn’t about putting content out there and hoping it gets into the search engines. It’s about engaging people who show up on your website. If people get to you through search, and the content appears to have been written by someone with limited English skills, they’ll go somewhere else. The traffic is useless if you don’t do anything with it.
At the end of the day, only your customer matters. You aren’t in the SEO business or the sales business. You are in the business of answering questions.