As an online and creative writer, I often run into head-slamming misconceptions about digital word wizardry. From the plain insulting to cocky denial, everybody has an opinion on what kind of person reduces themselves to writing for the technological age; after all, there’s already a string of crappy content online, why should anybody make it their life’s work to add to it?
It’s a feasible question, eye-popping but completely understandable. There IS an abundance of meandering content and poorly composed material floating around in cyberspace, jumped as a landing page or spun together in three minutes flat from a bunch of paraphrased sources – there’s no meaning to these space fillers, other than algorithmic magnetism and an antiquated sense of cheating the system. Point of Fact: Google cannot be cheated or tricked. One way or another, it will find ya, it will find ya, find ya, find ya…And no one will ever click on your pages again!
Not all content is created equal; not all content is created by humans or for humans. With this thread of thought at the fore, there are a few myths I’d like to dismiss right now regarding content writing and marketing. Why? Because content is key to success, and the sooner we address the prejudices or issues stopping you from engaging a content writer, the better your website will be.
MYTH: You’re a content writer? Oh, so you work for a content mill?
Ah, the usual content story. If you’re lucky enough to captain a site or business with an amount of traction on the internet, you’ve probably encountered companies like Text Broker, Contently, Demand Media and Odesk who treat content writing as a commodity, engaging creative minds for peanuts and turning around spun content in a short amount of time. While these models certainly have their place and may benefit you if are taking charge of your own back-linking profile (why waste time on internet whatsits, when you can source professional help?), they aren’t particularly amazing for much else. We’re different. Since I’ve stepped aboard the HMS SF, the content marketing team have taken on a new heading, offering a specialised and highly consultative service. We care about our content, it’s as simple as that – from the first word, to the last draft, everything from website content to SEO articles is tailored to the voice of your company, your inherent goals and dragging conversions out of the most suspicious minds.
Food for Thought: Would you rather content take an extra slip of time and earn jaw-dropping results down the line, or have words delivered to your inbox, without thought or cost, achieving absolutely nothing? Time is not the enemy. You have plenty of it, the internet is going nowhere and your client base will only grow.
MYTH: Content isn’t important. It just is. SEO and SEM will convert more customers, so why would I bother?
The Internet Is Content.
Every time you open a web page, skim your favourite blog, catch up on the latest headlines, listen to a new song, debate stocks on LinkedIn or offer your POV online, you are engaging with a content based interface.
Meta descriptions? Content.
Landing Pages? Content.
Websites and Pages? Content.
Text Ads? Content.
Your Comments? Content.
SEO is important, there is no disputing the tenacity and relevance of the Penguin/Panda Show. Think of content as the unsung technology behind SEO, driving optimisation and bouncing a poorly ranked page up a few spots, sometimes unpredictably, when a superstar blog rates well or a webpage overhaul pleases the rampaging Panda. You need content to thrive in the online world, so why not make your words worth it and be not just another page you write or pay someone five quid to write for you? Your image is worth more than a few cents and a beer. Don’t devalue a universal method of selling yourself, when all other gimmicks die an inevitable death.
MYTH: It’s just writing. Anybody can throw a few words together. And SEO? Pfft, anybody can learn how to use Google Analytics. Graphic Design…Now THAT is where I’ll spend my money!
Here’s the thing. Designs go out of fashion. Conversion content? Comparatively timeless. Words will never be outdated; sure, anomalies like totes, ridic and lol might crawl into our vocabularies and we may absolutely slaughter the English convention, because NON-STANDARD USAGE! Though a well composed piece of content is never going to fall down against a site pinned together by a few witty, pop-culturally aware one-liners and horrendous expression. Constructive and well written website content has no solid expiration date; it may be worth taking another glance at its relevance a year or two down the track, but once you’ve built the skeleton of your site and image, any fixes will be minute and time efficient. Yes, most people can string a few words together and send them into the ether, but are you willing to bet your entire business or online brand on your ability? We are.
Content is a weapon. How will you wield it?