As Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, chats guest blogging and links, stating more of the obvious - I am going to take a look at why content is [and always will be] King, and how you can polish that crown!
The subject of content continues to be a hot topic as agencies, companies and organisations struggle to fathom the best way to engage with their target audience and (gasp!) get links from it, and potentially serve as a serum for the ills that Google’s algorithm updates have caused to many.
Do you know what the following have in common?
- Page Layout
In a technical nutshell, they are all recent Google updates targeting content short cuts.
Which is why (as thousands of people tune in to the latest webcast feat. Mr Cutts, listening with baited breath for advice about guest blogging) this ongoing content quandary still mystifies me. It is simple - you reap what you sow, you get what you pay for, you are what you eat etcetera etcetera.
Forgive me if my tone is somewhat jaded, but widespread disregard for quality content online has baffled me since I began writing for websites around 5 years ago. Anyway, back to the point in question.
As Matt so rightly states - high quality writers = high quality blogs. His examples uses well known writers providing guest blogs, which of course will always be great, but practically speaking, take his other nugget of advice:
Use writers that put some work into blogs and really have something original to say.
What needs to be understood is that we are not trying to reinvent the wheel here - we as a species have already mastered the art of communication - to master online communication we need to look towards the successes in journalism.
- Think oldschool - expect, actually DEMAND the same quality you would want from your favourite printed publication.
- Use real writers - choose journalists or people who have a passion for language, not someone who can just spell and knows what a semi colon is.
- Find specialists - want content about travelling in Thailand? Get a writer that has been to Thailand, not someone who can research and regurgitate information that is already out there.
Above all, content needs to be genuine - authenticity goes a very long way.
Think about the point of the content
- What is it for?
- What are you trying to say?
- What do you want people to do with this information?
Use this information to devise a strategy - more about that in next week’s post.
Time is money - good quality content takes TIME, it will cost MONEY.
And we are not talking a fiver for 500 words! If you are not a writer - I suggest you sit down and try and write just 100 words on a subject of your choosing. You think it’s not easy because you are not a writer? It’s not easy because it is not easy!
You need to:
- have an idea
- think about what you want to covey and how it might look
- read around and make sure you have your facts straight
- write it using the right tone and address, imbibing it with your own personality and brand
- edit it to make sure that your audience takes what you have to say seriously - which they won’t if it contains a lot of grammatical errors.
Just because you can ‘get away’ with sub standard writing, it doesn’t mean that you should add to the plethora of low quality content out there. Strive to produce the best, aim to dazzle your audience.
A good writer is a professional, expect to reward their years of learning and experience with a decent rate. It is in fact worth more than you think…
Upcycling - a bit about ‘big content’
Big content is content that has something to say, something that can be used and shared, something that can be upcycled, recycled and used again in another way - NOTE: we are not talking spinning here.
- Big does not mean long, it means ‘full’
- The information contains nuggets of useful information that people want to share
- It is information people want to come back and read again
Great content can be reused in a number of different ways. It can also be updated, revisited, and referenced. Great content is an investment so use it to:
- Create a video for a youtube channel
- Be a part of your newsletter
- Be included in a white paper
- Form the basis of a step-by-step guide
- Be integrated into a training course
That way you will get more for your money, and be able to see that paying a content writer what they are worth is actually a real investment; and that paying a few pence for low quality content is actually a false economy.
Big Content is about a concept, an idea that has come from somewhere, and is on its way somewhere else. A story that has another chapter.
The next chapter in my story is about devising a content strategy. Tune in next week to find out more!