Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Content Development Guidelines from Ragan.com

Hello fellow content developers,

I am going to paraphrase an article I read today on Ragan.com. I found the article via twitter and it looked like something worthy of your eyes so I encourage you to take a look at the original article and not just my review and summary.



Timeliness

Deadlines are nearly as important as the actual content the writer produces. If you can’t be on time, then you’re just causing more work for me and I can’t have that. I don’t have time to chase you down looking for content that I assigned a week ago and I’m sure most business owners feel the same way.

Posting content should be done on a regular basis - this means weekly, every Friday  the first Monday of the month, daily, every second Tuesday - it doesn't matter as long as it is regular so people know what to expect and when to come back.

Voice

A good writer has a definitive voice. In short, you can typically tell they wrote something by their style and delivery. I tend to avoid generic content writers as they are a dime a dozen. I’m looking for something distinctive in a writer’s delivery and ability to tell a story. This writer stands out from the pack by being creative, unique and a cut above the rest.

For example the voice that I use in my writing is very personal and informal to say the least. I write like I am talking to you guys face to face. I've never been an eloquent writer, but I have always been real and raw. If I don't like something, I say I don't like something with a reason behind it.

Adaptability

Writing academic papers might require a more fact-driven and dry approach than producing blog content. A good writer knows how to differentiate the two. Good writers are able to adapt their voice and style based on where the content is being published. Bad writers carry the same style across all formats and this doesn’t really lend itself to producing content across multiple channels. They might be great at blogging, but you’ll need a second writer to produce whitepapers, e-books or research papers.
I typically like writers who are adaptable enough to create content across multiple channels as well as in different formats.

Your audience is going to change over time. Their taste, your industry, something new will come out and force you into changing exactly what you are writing about or how you are writing it. This means that the person whom is more able to adapt to change will succeed far easier and far more likely than someone resisting said change.

Research

The best content uses statistics or facts to drive home the point the writer is trying to convey. Does your writer use numbers or facts in his writing? If it looks like the writer could open up Word and write the article without referencing anything, the content generally isn’t up to the standard we’re looking for. We want someone who can research any topic in order to produce a great piece of content.
Obviously they aren’t going to be experts at everything, but you won’t be able to tell based on their writing alone.

Content development is a lot like writing a paper from school. If you are not an expert with definitive, provable answers, then you need to get sources that are reputable behind you. You don't need to write in MLA or APA format, but you should be able to reference other industry leading people, companies, or blogs that will back you up.

Availability

I don’t want a writer who is booked solid weeks in advance. I need someone that has the flexibility to deliver content when I need it. We’re not talking about placing unreasonable demands on time, but a 500-word blog post isn’t something I want to wait a week for. If the writer can’t turn around most short projects within 48 hours or so, I tend to move on to those who can. This is one of the most profound arguments for hiring professional, full-time writers rather than hobbyists and those that use content as a means to derive a second form of income.

It shouldn't take long for you to write a good, high quality article under 500 words. You should be able to crank these out for your clients or company because without this type of production, the industry or news can move too fast. Think about it, when was the last time you read an article that was a week past due on something that had occurred. No one wants to read old news because they've already heard it and people have moved on.

Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/02/21/unlocking-the-secrets-to-finding-great-writers-to-produce-your-content/#f14f7yGQGGOuykCr.99 

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