Bad news for both myself and anyone else who professes to write content as a professional: everyone is now doing it, and doing it well.
A couple of points to make, first:
1. ‘Content’ is just a fancy word for ‘writing online’ (there’s audio and visual content, but I’m strictly talking about written content in this post) – that’s all it is.
It’s called content because it simply fills space in the vast void that is the internet. It’s still just writing, and the rules are pretty much the same as they always were for good offline writing.
2. No matter the technical side of writing content – H1 and H2 tags, meta-descriptions, vital keyword phrasing, links, repurposing content for different platforms – it still has to be relevant, interesting, and shareable.
It’s simple: you can do all of the things necessary to optimise your content and make it visible, but if when I get there it’s crap, boring, irrelevant, or poorly written, I leave the site and I don’t come back … which renders everything else pointless.
To put it another way, it’d be like pumping the delicious smell of baked goods out of a bakery, to entice me from down the road, but when I get there your goods are poor, your shop is dirty, and everything is overpriced.
You’ve got me there, but I’ll be leaving straight away, I won’t be coming back again, and I certainly won’t tell my friends about your bakery.
So, good content is about what you write being engaging, interesting, and shareable … and more and more people are becoming good at this.
I hope she won’t mind me saying, but a friend of mine has started blogging (having stated that it’s ‘not her forte’) and I really enjoy reading her content.
Why? Because she’s simply a good story teller, with a naturally funny tone, and she’s not writing in a contrived manner. Her posts are also succinct (approx 200 words), so I have time to invest in reading them, and they all have a relevant point at the end. That’s it. Job done.
Remember: copy (or just writing) was written by/for humans for thousands of years, for pure pleasure – to be enjoyed – long before it became technical. So, as humans, we still gravitate towards that – a well told story – rather than how well optimised it’s been.
I spotted others, who I already considered to be intelligent and good writers (and I hope I’m not being patronising here), who started doing the ‘750 word challenge’ and got better and better (they started publishing their posts more, rather than saving them as private ‘brain dumps’, in draft), just through practice.
Their content became more and more interesting and shareable, until it got to the point where each time they posted something, I knew, without thinking, that I could share it.
And I don’t just share any old crap, even if it’s posted by a friend or colleague. I’m careful about what I share, as it reflects on my judgement and what I’m saying I consider to be good writing.
The overall point is: in reality, anyone can write good content – it just has to be engaging and shareable.
The quote below sums this up well – just replace the words ‘Ad/and ad’ with ‘content’: