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Five Steps to Content that Doesnt Suck

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 05 May 2008 09:03


*The following is a guest post from David Snyder; life saver and SEO blogging junkie.

I let out a juvenile giggle every time I listen to SEO’s and other Internet marketers’ rail off their initial strategies, strategies that rarely involve high quality content creation plans. So often the cliché, “Content is King,” is screamed through blogs, but rarely is it the king of online marketing plans.

Without quality content why would anyone come to your site? Without quality content why is your site relevant enough to rank? Without quality content how will you convince anyone to utilize your site the way you want it to be utilized?

Ok, step back. Understand something before we continue my rant, coming from a heavy writing background, having taught writing for several years, the reason I got into Internet marketing was my love for writing.

So, obviously I am biased.

If you are still reading this post, it is possible your content needs some help.


5 Steps to better Content

No blog post is going to make you Shakespeare over night, or even Dan Brown, but I can give you five simple steps to make sure your content isn't complete garbage;

1. Choose only one keyword to center your content around – Too often marketers try to shove keywords on top of keywords into a piece, and it makes it unreadable, and useless from a conversion standpoint. Choose one keyword to assign to the page you are creating. By centering your content around one keyword you allow for more long tail and semantically rich keywords to be utilized, and as most marketers realize these are often your best converters.


2. Your title is as important as your content – How many of us get hundreds of blog posts in our feed readers and choose what we read based on title alone. Create a title centered on your keyword, and make it buzz worthy on its own. To make sure you do this properly you should really create your title after the rest of your content has been created. The title should be the silky bow on your shiny new package.


3. Plan your content out – If you just take an idea and begin to write you are doing yourself a major disservice. You don't just get in your car and drive if you are going on vacation, unless your Jack Kerouac, you plan and chart out your journey.

By sitting down and planning out your piece, you are able to think over any difficult arguments, capture needed research, and also sculpt the information into an entertaining format. I read work that intrigues me, either from an education or entertainment standpoint. A poorly planned piece Mind Maprarely does this.

Some concepts for planning your content:

  • The first step is to establish your audience. If you don't know who you are writing to, how will you effectively speak to them in a way that matters?
  • Once you have chosen your keyword sit and create a list of terms that come to mind when thinking of that term, both negative and positive. This brainstorming activity will open your writing up passed your initial thoughts on a topic
  • Create a simple mind map, or web, taking your brainstorming list an separating it into a logical pattern. Basically, organize the madness. During this part of the process you can also add more concepts that will undoubtedly creep into your mind.
  • If you are creating a piece based on a sequence of events, time lining the concept will undoubtedly make the writing more crisp and coherent.
  • If you are comparing and contrasting, you can easily utilize the classic Venn diagram to look at differences and similarities of a topic.


4. Create a hook – If your opening paragraph doesn't suck in the reader you have lost. There is more than a ton of content on the web about exactly your topic. Why should the reader listen to what you have to say? You need to tell them off the bat. The first battle comes with your title, if you can win the second battle with your introductory paragraph , you will likely win the war.

Note: For the love of all that is holy be creative here. This is where entertainment is imperative. Even if you are writing the most strictly academic pieces, you had better differentiate your piece, or suffer the consequences.


5. Revise your piece! - Prewriting and drafting a piece of content are the easy part. They are getting your ideas on paper. If we look at our writing like a house, you have built the foundation, and you have built the walls and roof, now it is time to make it livable. If you just draft up a piece of content and throw it out there, no in is likely to live in it for very long.

My personal preference here is to take a day away from the piece after it has been drafted. I then come back and look over it. Revision and editing are different. Sure you want to pick up on spelling mistakes and other issues, but what you are really looking for is:

  • Sentence Fluency – How well do your sentences flow and interact?
  • Word Choice – Can you utilize better words that are more on par with your audience? Are you speaking above or below your audience’s level?
  • Organization – Make sure the organization you setup in your prewriting translated to your completed piece.
  • Voice – Does your piece sound the way it needs to, to speak to the audience you have chosen. You don't write like Dr. Seuss if you are writing an article for Gynecologists. Make sure your voice matches your audience, and that you create a piece that accurately portrays your chosen audience without mocking or distancing them.


Building your Kingdom

If you follow these five steps the next time you write a piece of content it will likely not suck as bad as your last piece. Remember that no matter the reason you are creating a piece of copy or content, whether it be for viral purposes, SEO, or simply for conversions, if your original intent fails, the content should at least stand on its own as a worthwhile read for your audience.

If you approach your writing with these concepts in mind, you will likely never be disappointed, because your work will at least have some meaning. It will be King, and maybe the next time you create an online marketing plan your newly found skill will influence the way you approach work on the Web.


Dave’s notes; thanks ever-so-much to Dave for pinch hitting today (thanks to Ann for heads up) – Dave is a regular contributor at Marketing Pilgrim and recently started his own SEO Blog (be sure to visit). It's always nice having company on the trail ;0)

If you feel up to guest posting on the Trail over the next while, be sure to get in touch


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