When most website owners think about quality content for their sites, they think search engine optimization and little else. SEO is of course important—so important we wrote a whole book about it—but it’s only relevant if your content actually deserves to be read.
Good SEO can, at least until Google sees a high bounce rate, bring people to your site. Just as the right headline made you pick up a magazine or newspaper (back when those were things people picked up), good SEO can lure people into an article.
What it can’t do is make people read your content, enjoy it, recommend it or come back to your site because of it. Quality content is key for content-driven sites, but it’s equally important to have well-written explainer text and a handful of pieces designed to attract people through search.
The problem is that while writers are plentiful, good ones are not. Writing is an elusive skill. Everyone can do it on some level, but most can only write well enough to get through a school assignment.
Recognizing good writing and hiring top-notch content creators can also be challenging, in that you never quite know what you’re getting. Writing samples offer little value, because you can’t tell how much independent writing the person did on his own before submitting a piece.
At the various newspapers where I worked as an editor, I’ve run some brilliant pieces bylined to various reporters who were not great writers. Those reporters did the legwork and handed in a story, but what actually made the paper was a product of editing. It’s more common than you think. In my long media career (which has included working for Microsoft on its news and finance apps and running the Boston.com business desk for The Boston Globe), I’d say the breakdown was 10% great, 30% good, 30% passable and 30% “yuck” writers.
Some of the people in the “yuck” category had other redeeming qualities. They had great sources or were excellent interviewers (or maybe they made good chocolate chip cookies). Universally, however, every single writer between “good” and “yuck” thought she was better than she actually was.
These writers are fine when well edited, but are a huge problem if you—a non-writer or editor—hires them to create content or copy for your website.
The content game, especially when it’s not your site’s main focus, is a difficult one to play. To meet the challenge, follow these steps:
Even the best writers need editors
While some writers are so clean with their copy that they don’t need to be edited, these are rare. Unless you have a qualified editor on staff, you’ll need to hire one to edit the work of writers (later on, we’ll look at hiring of writers and editors).
For this reason, it makes sense for a writer to hand his work to you and for you to give it a read before an editor does. Your goal is correcting mistakes that involve substance, names, spellings of industry-related words, or other things that even a skilled editor won’t necessarily know.
After that, hand the work off to the editor, who can strengthen the writing and eliminate embarrassing mistakes.
SEO, Freelancer, and Website Growth - Content Creation Guide Reviewed by Aamir Pathan on 12:26 PM Rating: