The old saying that “Content is King” needs to be updated to “Quality content is King” because the days of publishing fluff content stuffed with keyword phrases are over. If you’re serious about a sustainable business online then you have to get serious about providing content that has real value to your audience.
But what if writing content just isn’t your strong point?
There are basically two ways to go…do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. When I first started back in 1999 my background was in carpentry…not writing. But back in the dial up days you could get by with just about anything so I had an opportunity to hone my writing skills without my business suffering from penalties associated with poor quality.
Times are different today. Thanks to Panda you have to dish up quality content from the get-go if you want any kind of a chance to rank in the SERP. If you’re going to do the writing yourself let me share a few ideas with you that I learned from a professional writer who worked for me.
- Really research your topic. In the beginning I tried writing articles off the top of my head using whatever knowledge I had on a subject and thinking that was good enough. My writer friend told me that professionals spend three times the amount of time researching topics than they do actually writing.
- Tell a story. Your articles need to be engaging and the best way to do that is to tell a story rather than just dumping out facts and features. People love stories. They like articles that are about real people and real events and other people’s experiences. Look at the hugely successful Amazon reviews. The listing for a product has all the features and sales pitch but if a visitor is considering buying the item they will check the reviews first because they want to know what other people think. Keep your articles real and tell a story.
- “Prove” your story. Include real names and quotes to back up your story. Have outbound links to authority sites. This not only lends credibility to your article but tells Google that you hang out with a quality crowd.
- Make your articles easy to read. People “read” the internet differently than they read a book. They scan a page first and then decide where to start. Use subtitles (h2 tags), keep paragraphs to 2 or 3 sentences and use bullet points where they make sense.
When I switched to really researching before I wrote the difference was amazing. My articles included much more information and became significantly more “authoritative”. And on top of that, my personal knowledge increased as well. Do your research.
Writing is a separate skill set and requires a good vocabulary, a working knowledge of grammar and the development of a style. If you find yourself spending too much time trying to master this skill you have another option.
Get others to write your quality content for you
Actually I do a lot of this. I consider myself to be a great story teller but I’m much better at “telling” a story than I am writing one…that’s why I love podcasts. I also find that I can be more productive focusing my time on other parts of my business than I can be if I have to do all of the content creation. Outsourcing just makes sense to me.
But outsourcing can be tricky. It’s been my experience that buyers who post projects on freelance sites like eLance.com rarely give enough information in the description of their project. For example if you were to post a description of “Need 10 articles 600 words or better on how to buy premium WordPress themes for use in my blog” you might get back the perfect article or you might get back something else.
The more you tell the writers bidding on your project the more likely you will get exactly what you are looking for. I’ve actually put together an outline that I follow when posting projects. Since I started using it I spend far less time editing and going back and forth with the writers and the quality of the content is superb. Here’s a bit of that outline that can help you in your next outsource project.
- Start with a general description of the project. In fact the sample given above is ok as a start. But then you want to get specific.
- I tell them the style that I want. I make sure I tell them that I want a story style and to use real names and real events where appropriate. I make sure they understand the importance of subheaders and bullets.
- I give them links to examples of stories that I like so they have a solid feel for the voice I want.
- I provide them with links to research material (many times it’s my podcasts or articles on my website).
- I give them a list of keyword phrases and tell them how I would like them to appear in the articles and at what frequency.
Basically I try to give them everything they need to create content that is exactly what I want. In fact when my writers leave me feedback on a project it almost always includes a mention on how easy it was to do the project because of the detailed description.
There’s one other great benefit of having a detailed description and that’s the fact that your project is more likely to draw the attention of the better writers. When you offer all the relevant research links they know they won’t spend nearly the time searching out the information meaning they can accomplish the task in les time. This also means they can be more competitive in their bidding.
So the next time you need a story on WordPress Genesis themes, email marketing or the latest gizmo or gadget make sure your job description includes everything a writer needs to create the style and quality content that you want. Outsourcing is the fastest way to grow your business and it frees you up to do what you do best.
So that’s my take on it. If you have other tips or questions please share them with the rest of us by filling in the comment box below.
About the Author:
James Martell is well known as an affiliate marketing specialist in outsourcing and SEO. He is a sought after speaker, affiliate marketing trainer and podcaster. James is host of the longest running affiliate marketing podcast (since 2003), and creator of the Affiliate Marketers “SUPER BootCamp”, where he teaches others how to earn a living with affiliate programs. James lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene and their 4 growing kids.