How do you Develop Good Website Content?
With the onus being shifted towards quality content versus just key worded content, there is an important question that now has to be asked by businesses, “How do you develop good content?”
If developing good content was easy, then everyone would do it. Unfortunately, or luckily depending on your point of view, good content is not that easy to generate. As Google makes their shift to how they rank pages based on things like shares and author rankings, it is leaving some people scrambling to figure out what to do about content and who should do it for them.
Types of Content
When you boil it all down there are only a few types of content on web these days:
- News – This is a pretty straightforward category. Something new happens in the industry you are in or perhaps in the world and you comment or report on it. In the case of smaller or niche industries, providing news content can be very valuable if nobody else is doing it or if they aren’t as timely as you are.
- Opinion – This is also sometimes touted as authoritative content, which it isn’t always. Your opinion, or that of whoever is writing the content, is the focus of the content itself. Perhaps you are relating some recent news about oil futures and then providing your opinion on which way the stock market will go. It becomes authoritative content when you speak from the voice of experience or that of an expert. If I were to talk about which way the stock market will go it is opinion. However if Warren Buffet talks about it, then it is authoritative content because he has the qualifications of an authority on the subject. Never try to claim you are an authority unless you actually are or it will affect your brand.
- Original – This is one of the hardest categories to fill because there are so few original things to talk about in our digital age. A new product you are producing or ideas and theories that are wholly your own fall into this category. Art, videos, and even humor also fit the bill.
- Unique Perspective – This is a very commonly used category, but one that is often abused. People rehash ideas a lot on the web. More than likely this article is a rehash of other things you will find on the web. In this case it is completely unintentional, but as I am a writer like thousands of other writers out there and we have read many of the same books regarding writing it makes the likelihood of this being original is about the same as the Cubs winning the World Series this year. But I still look to bring my own unique perspective to the topic based on my experience in the field and style of writing. The bottom line, and something that is drilled into writers who do journalism, is always have a unique angle. Even if a story has been reported 10 times before, if you can find something new that adds value for a reader and is interesting then you have something worth writing. The key is to focus on the new angle and only summarize previous aspects.
Crafting Good Content
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This classic proverb fits writing on the web perfectly. Good writing has always been a skill. Finding a news story, obtaining a unique perspective, or creating something wholly original has always been a challenge. You need to find a topic, perform research and then write the piece followed by numerous revisions to get it right.
As the internet exploded a lot of people jumped to writing on the internet by simply re-hashing printed works such as books and magazines or even copying other online articles. But now with a premium being placed on good writing once again, you have to go back to the basics of good writing if you want to develop quality content.
- Research – Look into an idea. See if it has been discussed before. If so, then how long ago was it talked about? Have there been changes since then such as new research or information. What are you adding to it? Why should people want to read what you wrote?
- Headlines – You need a good headline. Not every headline has to be great and trust me when I say you can sit for hours and come up with something you think is amazing that other people find boring. A good headline needs to draw attention and interest because it is descriptive and informative, or it is catchy and intriguing.
- Editing – Typos and errors are part of the writing process. Most authors self edit. In the old days you had the safety net of an editor reviewing work before it was printed but now most things publish live five minutes after being written. A good rule of thumb is to edit final work at least twice and to take breaks between editing so you look at it with fresh eyes.
- Display – Using sub-headers, bullet lists, bold and italic along with images are all a way to spice up good content and make it more visually appealing.
- Feedback – If you write for the web have a thick skin and understand that work will be critiqued. However this gives an opportunity to learn and understand the group that is reading the content. Feedback, even negative, is useful if you look at it as such.
The bottom line is that writing is a craft that people spend years developing. If you truly want good content you should have someone available with a proven portfolio of quality work to do it for you. For those who want to handle their own content simply take some time to learn the process of writing from either books or writing classes.