I have been developing content for websites for nearly 15 years now, and I’m proud to have been able to weather the many developments in the field. Changes range from learning to write for a fully mobile web audience (when I started, data on phones was a luxury only the wealthy could afford, and tablets didn’t even exist), to studying and understanding the ins and outs of Google’s many ultra-secret, super complicated algorithm changes.
Creating content for websites is my specialty, and the SEO results of our many clients proves that I do it well. SEO results are based mainly on the quality of your website’s content combined with the integrity and usability of your website’s design, and so if Google doesn’t seem to be noticing my work I know I have to try harder.
Over my time as a website content developer, I have written hundreds of blogs and dozens and dozens of pages of website content. In addition to that, I’ve probably come up with thousands of blog ideas. In fact, for just one client I have put together more than 300 original articles on a huge range of topics. Yes, believe it or not, it is more than possible to write hundreds of pages of interesting copy for just one small business.
An Ink-Stained Background
One of the reasons I think I am successful at developing content for websites is because I have a background in journalism. The most basic tenet of journalism is to create content that is informative, factual, and easy to read. It’s because of this that many are beginning to refer to content for websites as “branded journalism,” a moniker I think describes the practice rather well.
The reason journalists are so good at writing for websites is because they experts at finding stories in just about everything. Anything that piques a journalist’s interest provides an initial seed for a story, and investigating the topic provides the water, sun, and nutrients necessary to make that seed take root.
How to Find a Story
As we work day to day in our regular jobs it can be hard to figure out what others may want to know about what you do. I am a firm believer, however, in that we all have something meaningful to provide an audience of readers. Just paying a little extra attention will pay off with big dividends. A few simple ways to find story ideas include:
- Speaking with frontline and sales staff about what they are most often asked by customers. If they are often answering the same old questions over and over, well, perhaps it’s time to answer that question thoroughly with a blog post or page content. This way, too, staff have a place to point customers for further information if necessary.
- Trusting your instincts. Every so often I will write a blog that is based solely on something that I noticed that I know a particular audience would be interested in, even if it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with what the particular company I am blogging for actually does. But these types of blogs often do very well, as they show that you understand your target audience and are always working to provide additional value.
- Staying on top of developments in your business. Anything that’s going on that may affect your products or how you provide your services is something your customers or clients likely want to know. This way, if you make changes, you can offer the why you did it, which improves your transparency and will help strengthen your brand.
- Let your people speak for you. You more than likely have a long-term employee who has been with your company for many years. Ask them why they stick around, and what makes working for you a positive experience. This is a great kind of story to help tell why you do what you do.
- Express the customer experience. Similar to the point above, customers and clients committed to your business can explain what it is about your company that made a difference in their life. This offers an honest, real, and human perspective to your business and illuminates the best about you.
The Journalist’s Toolkit
It’s been awhile since I was in journalism school, but I am pretty sure that professors are teaching the same sorts of things that I learned. The main difference is most likely just the tools being used.
Think like a journalist to develop content for websites and follow these basic rules:
- Never forget the five “W’s.” In every story, article, or blog post, attempt to answer who, what, when where, and, most of all, why. These will ensure the main points are being explored.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the same question over and over. If you are researching content for a website, don’t rely on just one source. You’re bound to miss the whole picture. Check with several respected sources to get the most well-rounded and impartial result.
- Think of a good headline. But don’t be “clickbait.” A catchy headline is one of the best ways to catch a reader’s attention, but nothing frustrates them more than failing to deliver on what you promised.
- Start with the most important information. In journalism, the beginning of a story is called the “lede,” and one of the first things you are taught is, “don’t bury the lede.” Since internet browsers tend to scan, your introduction needs to be engaging and on topic. Good writing will keep them engrossed in what you have to say.
- Include others’ perspectives. Provide quotes for context, and always make sure to cite properly. Sourcing everything with outbound links also provides credibility, and can improve SEO performance.
- Edit! Read once for grammar and style, then again for content. Then have another person read what you have done for a clear second set of eyes. You don’t want to put a lot of effort into a blog post only to have someone dismiss it because of a simple typo.
Content Development From Emphasize
Writing content for websites is interesting and enjoyable, but it also takes expertise. In addition to website design services, we also provide content development services to help you get your website fully optimized. Contact us today to learn more!