A How-To Guide For Strategic Content Development
For many freelance writers, content development for marketing is a big part of their income. Clients use the content to get good search engine results and attract people to their sites. The desired result may include affiliate sales, direct sales or pay-per-click activity. The client will also use the articles to keep visitors on the site longer, convince them to get his newsletter and inspire them to return to the site.
Clients may ask content writers to write many forms of material including articles for article directories, social media sites, and websites and blogs. Other examples include ad copy, autoresponder messages and emails. Content development involves more than just grammar and writing skills. The client also expects the freelancer to have an advanced knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO can make or break a website, so it is up to you as a writer to become familiar with it.
How to Write Good Content for Readers
No matter what the topic, an article must keep the reader's attention and engage him. The flow of the material should be set up so that the reader is anxious to learn what comes next. You can do this by moving through the information in an organized fashion, and by making the last sentence of a paragraph or the first sentence of the next paragraph show that there is more to come.
For example, this paragraph starts in such a way that if the reader were considering leaving the Web page, he may now read the next paragraph to see the example. It works, and there are other ways, too.
The article should teach the reader something. If it is the same information everywhere on the Web, or if it is a lot of fluff and gibberish, the reader may not stay on the site for more than a few seconds. Additionally, the information should stay focused and concise.
SearchEngineOptimizationJournal.com says that articles that are too lengthy or not broken up will also lose a reader's interest. Their advice is to break the article up with bullet points, lists, graphics and subheadings. This helps retain readers who like to scan for information.
How to Write Good Content for Clients
It is important to understand the client's audience, goals and niche. You must know if the article should be "sales-y," didactic or entertaining. You must also understand the style the client wants. He may want it written in first, second or third person.
Other tips include:
Use a twist. To help your client's site be separated from the rest, always offer a unique twist in your writing. Look at it from a different perspective than you have seen in most articles on the Web.
Avoid the shotgun blast. Keep the article focused to only one to three ideas.
Assist the reader. Solve his problem, answer his questions or offer innovative ideas.
Include current events. Search engines love hot topics.
Call to action. It may be necessary to have a call to action to inspire some kind of action on the part of the reader.
How to Create Good Content for Search Engines
The first rule of content development for search engines is not to stuff. That may prevent the search engine spiders from returning because the Web page is stuffed with keywords.
Tips for good SEO content:
Write the content first, and then research the keywords.
Keep the keyword density to two percent or less.
Use related keywords. Example: a "red wagon" can also be a "wagon that is red" and even "blue wagons.
Use long-tailed keywords. Example: red wagons go with short red wagons and children's red wagons.
Use LSI keywords. Latent-semantic keywords are also related keywords. Example: dogs can also be canines, hounds and puppies.
As a freelance writer, it is your job to learn everything you can about your craft. This includes not only writing and SEO skills, but also sales and people skills, or the art of persuasion. Once your clients discover that you are a pro at these, you will never run out of work.