The content writing advice that I’m about to give you is not what you may have learned in school. Last I checked, they don’t even have classes for this kind of thing. While most colleges offer some type of journalism or creative writing class, what they teach is form. This is not about form or sentence structure, as I don’t pay them much mind when writing content. Thankfully I have an excellent editor for that, my wife. My advice for writing content would have to depend on the reason behind the writing.
Sentence Structure and Grammar
Let’s say you have a college paper to turn in. No matter what the subject is, I would recommend taking a class on writing first. College professors do care about form and structure. That advice you will not find here as I have yet to take one of them myself.
Content Writing for Search Engines
There are many terms that get thrown around when it comes to this topic. Keyword density would probably be the biggest term out there that you may have read about. If you haven’t, it deals with the ratio of text to phrases on the page. For example, if content writing, or advice about writing content were phrases you want to be found under, you would want to make sure to include those phrases in your text appropriately. That part is debatable, as many experts have varying opinions on the subject.
I would advise a natural amount of phrases on the page. When writing content for search engines, try to keep in mind that while robots may like repetition at first, humans never like it at all. I write from the hip, or off the cuff if you will. Very much as I would speak about something. If there is a term or phrase that I am talking about, that phrase will naturally come into play during the conversation. When writing your content, try to do the same thing, and you will see when your phrases are needed, or being plugged.
You’ll notice that some of the words on the page are bolded or in italics. That is phrase emphasis, and you do it to the words that you want to emphasize. Sounds simple enough right? Hey, why not bold all of your text, and make it italic; let’s even make it all green, that will emphasize it even more right? Wrong, this only works when used properly. If you were to write an article in which every word was bold and italicized, what you would be doing is setting that as the standard, or par, for the page. Any text that you had not made any changes to, would then become the emphasized word, or phrase, on the page. Once again, natural is best when using this technique in your content.
Writing Content for Fun
This is by far the easiest content to write. It is meant to be for fun, and not anything else should be in your thoughts when writing. While I make it sound easy, it can get complicated by outside factors. I enjoy blogging, and for a while had posted on a daily basis. It is a way to release your thoughts or emotions, and can be very satisfying. Writing content can be very draining as well. I put a lot of effort into writing, and always have. So when contracted content comes along, it can be quite draining. For lack of a better phrase, I had “lost my words” for about a week, due to a not so fun content writing marathon of sorts. If you find yourself in a similar situation, there are many ways to find inspiration for your writing. My favorite resources are Flickr, and Stumbleupon. Images are a great source for finding something worth writing about. I often find myself making fictional stories up about the images that I see. It’s something I do in life as well. A broken down car, a stray shoe on the highway, a Christmas tree in the trash before Christmas. Inspiration for writing is everywhere, it’s the angle in which you look at it that will bring the words you seek.
I hope you found this content writing advice helpful, if not a fun read at the least.
Writing Advice Update: 1-25-2008
What was once good advice may not always be the case. That is why it is important to update the content that you provide on your website.
Think of your site as a newspaper. The content that was written on the day of publishing may not hold true at the current date. Why would someone today want to read the paper from two or three months ago?
Does this mean that you need to rewrite all of your content?
No, but having a section of updated content will help keep the freshness filters out there happy, as well as your readers.
Information is one of the most valuable resources you can provide to your readers, and at no cost to you other than time.
Here are some helpful sites that I found to aid in your creation of content:
When to Use Apostrophes…and When Not to Use Them As I mentioned above, I’m not the best at this stuff. This site gives easy examples of the proper use of apostrophes.
Sentence Structure: Are you Following Stale Advice? The advice here sure isn’t stale. There is even some good advice on phrase emphasis.
Accessible Title Tag Separator Sounds The site has sound clips of how the title tag separators that are commonly used sound to people that hear the internet. Lightly touches on the proper use of the separators used in title tags as well.