I recently read two blog posts which were fascinating to me because they directly addressed what I do for a living: content writing. Both posts were featured on the Business 2 Community website, a site I find to be of invaluable importance in keeping my head in the game. In commenting on both blog posts I’m taking a risk because I’m revealing two trade secrets of the content writer. Yet I think it’s a risk worth taking due to the fact that good writing is still more of an art form than a technical skill.
The Importance of Research
The first post authored by Ben Richardson, talks about how research is vitally important to the content writer. If you’re wondering why, consider the fact that those of us who produce web content may write about dozens of different topics in any given week. And for every one of those topics we must write authoritatively, comprehensively, and in a way that convinces readers the information can be trusted. Such a monumental task requires a writer to either be an expert in everything or be an expert in research.
In discussing the topic of research Richardson wrote:
“…I research the product or service as a whole. If you sell battleships, then battleships will consume my next hour. I’m not just researching your battleships either; I’m learning about what the competition is making, the history of the industry, the future of the industry, etc. I have to make sure I get the big picture before I can start writing about your niche.”
I must confess, I’m surprised Richardson makes a living if he spends an hour of research on a single topic. But then, he may be charging a lot more for his services then I’m making. My research tends to be closer to 30 minutes per topic, for something I know nothing about, and maybe a bit more for a topic that’s especially challenging. But one of the things I do to reduce my research time is to compile the knowledge I glean into a useful format.
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For example, if I learn something about cinder blocks I never knew before, I input that information into a database for later retrieval. With the click of a mouse I can bring up any topic I’ve previously researched to see a list of bullet points with facts, figures, and other useful information. That’s part of effective research.
Having a Plan
The second trade secret I’m willing to reveal is the practice of formulating a plan for clients. In other words, producing good content on a single article basis is one thing, producing it a continual basis is something entirely different.
One of the clients I write for, for example, gets two articles from me every single day. Both are on the exact same topic. In order to make sure my content continues to be fresh and relevant I have formulated both a short and long term plan regarding the type of information I want to disseminate. That plan needs to be altered every now and again, but I stick to it for the most part.
According to Tara Hornor, the author of the second blog post referenced, having a plan is necessary if you want your content to convert casual readers into paying customers. In her post she talked about how the complete lack of a plan can ruin even the best SEO efforts. She wrote in part:
“The first and most obvious content marketing problem is the complete lack of a plan. Most firms have a short term plan at best…”
Hornor hits it right on the head with her statement that most firms try to get by with a short-term plan. This is worth mentioning given the fact that the content writer can only be responsible for his own strategy of developing relevant text. If he’s working directly with a website owner the two of them need to develop the overall strategy plan. If he’s a freelancer working for an SEO company, the overall plan is the domain of the SEO professional.
Now that you know two of the trade secrets of the content writer perhaps you want to try giving it a go yourself? Probably not. That’s why Carman Online Content Publishing exists. We’re here to offer you the best content money can buy; content designed to increase your page ranking, convert casual users into paying customers, and keep your product or service at the forefront of your customers’ minds. If you’re ready to start making your website work for you in the best way possible, contact us today.