Many content writers have watched in dismay as the content heyday turn into resentment and disillusionment over the last decade. Content marketing was being thrown a parade asgo your easy way to connect with customers. Your business was told it could connect with your clients, support SEO and better search results while creating a presence as easy as pie.
What actually happened was that a lot of directionless people wrote a lot for a long time. The promised land of content glory didn’t eventuate. As a result, the death knell of content and the content writer has come to pass.
Enter 2019: Business owners, content marketing is dead. Blogging is a waste of time. There’s no way to measure the benefits of blogging.
I call bogus.
Not only because I am a content writer, but because I know we’re all still connecting with content marketing. We’re no longer consuming the bad stuff. That’s what’s changed.
Here’s why your content might be ailing – and what the right content writers can do about it
You’re not investing in good content writers
If you underpay content writers, the outcome will likely reflect it. you’ll get less intelligent and poorly researched work.
The difference comes down to 4 things:
- The time it allows for research
- The existence of external editing within the budget
- The creativity it inspires
- How human and/or on brand it sounds
Bad content reads like every other piece. Sure, there’s a twist of humour or a turn of phrase that’s different. But if the same ‘5 points to small business success or ‘10 ways to make your home office smile’ are regurgitated, you’re not adding value.
All you are doing is propping up SEO and frustrating your audience.
They want difference, heart and information they cannot get anywhere else.
You’re ignoring research
Think about the times you have been researching on the web for a new product or service. You might have several tabs open. You’re comparing the branding of that company. You’re want to know how transparent, knowledgeable, engaged and friendly the company is. You’re also checking that they make your life as simple as possible.
A key point in how we find the right company is by looking for trust factors. Testimonials, awards, qualifications and guarantees help your customer trust you.
Well, with content writing you seed this trust in your blog. It’s part position of authority. By using research and linking back to quality sources that prove your point, you show you are an authority on a subject. You prove you’ve taken time to research the topic and are knowledgeable.
Source quality matters to reader and for SEO alike. Links to university papers, the BBC and sources such as government, research sites and so on are more likely to garner trust. This applies to customers and Google.
If it’s commentary without references and links, it looks and feels like opinion. Opinion is easier to dismiss.
You’re forgetting the legal case for proper research
Oh, there’s also a cover your butt reason for giving time and budget to research-driven content writers. If you include misleading information on your blog, problems surely follow. It could lose you brand trust with customers. It could cost you money in making amends. Or even get you sued.
Copying other ideas and recycling them doesn’t save you in this situation. There is no legal defence built on “but everybody else says it too”. This is another reason why a professional writer charges more than less seasoned writer.
We come with experience. That translates into safer content from a legal or brand damage perspective.
You think it’s OK to skip the editor
For large scale copy jobs, many content writers use editors. We know we get snow-blind to what we have written. When we read our work back, it’s in our voice in our head. That voice often ignores what is written in favour of what it imagined.
Editing and proofreading are dying arts. Look at newspaper articles. The sub editor is the first to go. Hence so many articles that become viral for the wrong reasons. They have questionable headlines, spelling mistakes, typos and sentences leading nowhere.
If you choose a content writer that is cheap, you don’t allow for them to have budget for an external editor. Not only that but it is usually compounded by your chosen content writer doing too much work for not enough pay. Your content blends in with the last guy and before you know it, you’ve got some soupy editorial mess.
The overworked, underpaid writer sucks more at spotting the mistakes.
I know I have typos throughout my website on blogs for this reason. My budget doesn’t allow for me to pay an editor to review my blogs. I will however be asking you for enough money to ensure I get a good editor for you. Can your content writer say the same?
You place pressure on creativity
One of the things I am known for in the Freelance Jungle and other places that carry my writing is a quick draw with humour. I can also write a lot of words in a short period of time. It’s because I treat writing like fitness training. I recognise the time it takes for me to ignite a creative flame in my mind. To get to some great quality writing is directly affected by the amount of time I spend working on content in the first instance.
The more you spend time allowing yourself to create, the more creative you become. Getting to express your opinions and attract your ideal client with that act is a bonus.
There’s a sensation that begins to take over successful content writers. That is, our art, play and creative time becomes an obligation. We welcome the stock standard writing into our lives. It pays the bills. Yet with budget pressure, time pressure and then subject matter pushing, squeezing and twisting our process, we lose our edge.
If it becomes go, go, go with your writing all the time, you stop looking for the exotic flowers or even stopping to smell the artistic roses.
It becomes a slap it down and get to the next one exercise. Conveyor-belt copy. Work for the sake of it.
Again, that isn’t fair on you or your business.
It’s the content writer’s responsibility to protect their creative habits. It’s not something many writers are especially good at.
The trick for you then to spot the person in training, working on their creative writing and linkage is to look for it. Where are they guest blogging? Where are their current content assignments? What does their blog look like?
And content writers- we need to get over this whole idea that our blog doesn’t give us clients and so we should abandon it. Or adjust it to maintain SEO. You need to explore ideas and run off leash in the world of words to stay fresh, happy and able to do your job.
You’ve bypassed the humanity
You can tell when content writers connect with the work. There’s spark, joy, curiosity and a passion behind it.
When it’s written by a content spinning machine, it shows. There’s nothing in there that connects you. The same is true of a tired content writer. You can almost hear them pushing keys to get the job done so they can forget it and move on to the next bit.
Content marketing appeals to us because as humans, we’re centred on story. Our histories give us comfort and identity.
Our lessons and tales come in the form of action and consequence stories. We don’t have to stick a fork in the toaster to see why it’s a bad idea.
How we learn is through story. Look at your kids’ homework- even the maths problems posit situations steeped in story.
We find inspiration and direction in our favourite business biographies. There is beauty, relaxation and more than a little empathy within fiction. We relate to the characters. We see them as mirrors to ourselves. That is the power of story in action.
Why then do we undersell content marketing? Because it’s on the web? Because that writing is a creative art and so, the joy alone is enough?
It doesn’t work that way.
You cannot teach, build trust and inspire your customers to follow you with poor content. If you plonk down the packet mashed potato equivalent of content and call it nourishment, nobody is fooled.
Your customers want to be enveloped by a story that makes us happy and reflects us. We want your content to tell us where we belong.
This is an essential part of what content writers do. Without it, what’s the point?
Why choosing the right content writer matters
Every product or service on the market exists for its own special reasons. Your customer already knows the same tired points everyone trots out. They’ve probably read them on the way to your blog.
You need to give them something else that sparks their imagination and gets them thinking.
Not all content writers are created equal. Why not hire me as your content writer and enjoy the difference?
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