Writing content for the internet has taken on some characteristics that in the “politically correct” journalism world, may cause quite a stir. The good news is, you get to let your hair down a bit. Your focus for writing virtual content is flow, much like a conversation has.
- 1st Person
- Visual Appeal
What is Flow? Flow describes how well your content moves from one idea or thought, to the next. Is it logical? Is it easy to follow? Or do you lead your audience down a rabbit hole and turn off the lights?
This particular element may, for some, may be the most difficult one to achieve. Organizing your thoughts into an outline, will help give your copy flow. For a quick review on composing an outline see “Content is King” If some of your topics lead up to a larger main point, then those should be arranged in the beginning and middle, in an effort to pull the reader along to the “big bang”. This is a great technique for keeping your readers captive, which can be a difficult task on the internet landscape. Dropping hints of what’s to come, along the way, is another great technique for keeping your readers awake and alert. 🙂
Talk to your Readers
You may feel as though you’re talking to yourself and you just might be. It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. If you manage a blog then writing personalized content is a must. Conversation style, casual copy is preferred. Since the web provides a fairly prominent wall between you and your audience, your job is to break down that wall, and pretend you have just stepped into their living room. Personalize your posts, by speaking directly to your readers. Offer them rewards for their loyal readership, and keep the content coming. Give them a first hand look inside your business by being as transparent as possible.
Pack as much rich information as you can into one article and one sentence. But try to keep your sentences short. Long sentences will tire your readers. It’s important not to exhaust them before they make it all the way through. An easy way to remember this tip: Short sentences for short attention spans. :). If all else fails, and none of the above are possible, at least try to provide something useful to your reader. Make the time they spend reading it, worthwhile.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to go “off-topic”. Sometimes a break from the norm is good. Write about something you do in your free time, or whatever you feel like that day. You can even make it a regularly scheduled “off topic post day”.
The Winning Visual Presentation
Unlike a book or other tangible media, the internet provides a challenging landscape for content writers. There are many distractions that can draw the readers attention away from your article or web site. By following a few simple visual tips, you can tame even the most wild of easily distracted readers.
Leave enough white space between paragraphs. This is soothing to the eye and makes your content easier to tackle. One long clump of words on a page looks painful to a reader and could be the cause of considerable emotional distress. Or worse…they’ll leave. Split your content up into paragraphs with headings that describe what’s to come. Most people scan web content before deciding to read it in more detail. This is your chance to snag their interest, so make your headings clear, concise, and helpful to someone seeking information on the fly.
When searching for information, via written content on the web, one must learn to create their own ideas from what they absorb and give their best effort at remaining objective to the content being read. Unlike encyclopedias or dictionaries, web content is not regulated nor weeded through for accuracy. On the internet, anyone can post anything, any time of the day. The answer to your question on the internet’s great world wide web, is, most conveniently, whatever you want it to be. You might say the internet is starving for accurate information; fact based statements on subjects that can be supported by either scientific evidence, experimental trials or some other means of credible measurement. Something we can rely on to tell us not just a viewpoint, but something concrete, sparing the “I thinks, or most likely’s or In my opinion’s.” While this type of written content becomes more scarce it naturally becomes more important in the eyes of the only “regulators” of content currently existing – search engines, namely google. As google strives to be revered as a legitimate deliverer of quality content, it will favor those sites whose data is more of the objective nature. Content writing that is opinionated or subjective in nature will likely fall in a category below that, regardless of SEO, keywords and other tactics once used to gain popularity in organic search. Ranking will have more to do with quality and reliability of information than it will amount of backlinks from high page rank sites.
Isn’t this what the internet needs? Maybe so, but what does this mean for SEO professionals and many others, who have clearly, or rather unclearly created what I like to call Gray Hat SEO, a hybrid nickname I coined from the popular Black Hat vs White Hat oppossing technique types. Referring to anything that is SEO related as black and white seems out of character, even humorous considering the amount of unknown associated with its very practice. I am not sure what color you get from your web investigations. I most often get grey, which appears to be the area of vast majority!
What affect will this demand for straight forward provable content have on the internet as a whole? Will it stifle the many brilliant minds that although offer mainly subjective content, have a gift of initiating action or provoking thought and ideas in groups of people? The limited intelligence of the sub human search engine will most certainly lack the ability to spare such a crop. Will they be lumped in with the other conversationlists found on every corner? Probably not, when considering their daily flow of worthwhile ideas that change to the tune of algorithims, we will most likely find them gracefully chaired when the music stops.
If you’ve done any research on the internet, you’ve likely heard oppossing data on your topic of choice no matter what the topic might be, especially if you were thorough in your research. Did you come to a conclusion about your topic? Were your questions answered most definetely? The reality is, probably not! For every yes there is almost always a no. You get the idea! And that’s really all you’ll get. It’s up to you to form your own answer. How do you see the future of web content?
A Content Writer For SEO
Website content though often overlooked with the many details of building a website, is actually one of the fundamentals to ranking well in the search results. A good content writer will devise text that is carefully planned so it is informative and well organized with the necessary SEO components like keywords, links, and meta tags. Search engine optimization and a good content writer is crucial to not only your rankings but also your traffic.
A Content Writer’s First Step to SEO
If yours is a small business it may also be wise to pick keywords/phrases that are less competitive and generally easier to move quickly to the top of the search results with. When possible picking the fewest well targeted keywords is optimal. Though often not realistic, it is ideal for SEO purposes by promoting smoother, well written, and keyword saturated content. Trust me on this, you can’t go wrong here! A good content writer will consider, before choosing the keywords, exactly how they will be used within the text. This ensures the keywords make sense with the direction of the intended message. Be careful not to choose keywords/phrases that are too general, though they may describe your business somewhat and they may provide “search engine optimization” by driving traffic, you will have optimized for the wrong kind of traffic producing nothing but a chunk out of your bandwidth for the month and a step backward from your objectives. This type of negative SEO is characterized by high traffic, bounce rates over 50% and low conversion rates i.e. while visiting your site they did not complete a purchase or didn’t fill out a contact form. A good content writer will choose well targeted, closely matched keywords with a fair amount of searches each month. Whenever possible, choosing keywords/phrases with realistic ranking opportunities, keeping in mind budget, and overall objectives, will produce the fastest and easiest route to the top of the search engine rankings and a successful SEO campaign.
A Content Writer’s Ongoing Job
SEO (search engine optimization) will only become more important as information becomes more readily available and rapidly delivered to the public via many different social mediums. As such, a content writer must keep updating text as new information becomes available. This is crucial to any SEO campaign. Content writing must be re evaluated regularly with up to date, innovative and informative text to keep the interest of visiting traffic and a quality ranking. In theory, it is safe to assume that as information delivery becomes more sophisticated and rapidly attained through various channels like twitter, facebook, linkedin, myspace…etc. websites will also become more accurate and update to date, leaving the many less attended websites out of the game. This will undoubtedly create fierce competition amongst the warriors in the search results. Luckily, for those whose budgets cannot withstand the battle, there are other alternatives to search result ranking as a means of driving traffic. Hopefully this has provided some insight on making realistic decisions about which method is right for you or possibly which method isn’t right for you. Though search result ranking and SEO can be a great way to drive traffic to your site, there are other ways to effectively market your business online.