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Conquering The Content Beast or Developing Web Content

Conquering The Content Beast or Developing Web Content

Of all things website related content seems to be left for last in so many cases. Why? Well for many reasons, to name a few I've run across: lack of time, not good at writing, don't know what to say, don't think it's that important and on and on and on.

Hope springs eternal. When looking to conquer the content beast for myself , my clients or my associates, I find it helps to start with a simple list. The list should start out in the most general of terms. Here's an example of a list for an about us page for a fictional manufacturer of custom umbrellas called Stella Umbrellas.

  • who are we?
  • what do we do?
  • where are we located?
  • when did we go into business?
  • why did we get into this business?
  • what is the primary benefit of our product or service?
  • How can customers reach us?

You probably recognize the basic theme: who, what when ,where and why and a how thrown in for good measure. Cliches exist for a reason, there generally true and work as expected. By beginning with a list we can at least start the process of molding an outline of what we want to say.Now that we have a list of questions, we naturally should take a minute to answer them in one or two sentences or key phrases. See example below:

  • who are we?
    • Stella Umbrella are manufacturers of custom steel and wood umbrellas
  • what do we do?
    • we make design, manufacture and bring to market custom umbrellas for well to do clients
  • where are we located?
    • we are located in Smith town business complex at 1900 Commercial Blvd, Camptown, RI.
  • when did we go into business?
    • Our business began in Liverpool, England in 1903 and migrated to the US in 1939.
  • why did we get into this business?
    • As a custom metal and woodworker our great great grandfather made a custom umbrella for a client who requested one and from there others saw the umbrella and wanted one for themselves. The rest is history.
  • what is the primary benefit of our product or service?
    • Dependable and elegant protection from the elements.
  • How can customers reach us to do business?
    • As all umbrellas are custom , customers can place an order with our online umbrella building form or call our office directly where a representative will assist them in placing an order.

 

We now have the beginning of the information we'll need to create our content OR we have enough information to give to a professional content writer who can sew together the questions and answers into a appealing narrative. This last point is important to note. It's understandable if you don't have time or the inclination to take this any further. That's perfectly acceptable. If on the other hand you do wish to try your hand at performing the sewing together of questions and answers read on.

The next step is to determine the audience who will read your content. Most times, the audience isn't people like you, they may be somewhat familar with what you do, but most likely not familiar with specific industry jargon. Your task in writing is not to teach them everything you know about your subject but to give them a basic understanding that they can digest to further the interaction/conversation between you and your organization. It also helps them to become familiar with the tone and personality of your organization. An example is given below to illustrate an approach of creating a paragraph from our first and second questions and answers:

 

  • who are we?
    • we are a manufacturer of custom steel and wood umbrellas
  • what do we do?
    • we make design, manufacture and bring to market custom umbrellas for well to do clients

 

Stella Umbrella designs, builds and delivers the worlds finest umbrellas. Our umbrellas are made from the non-rusting Stainless Steel and African Mahogany and are guaranteed never to fail for life.

Short, sweet and powerful. Always a great way to start an article. It generates interest to read further to find out how this company came to be, what makes it so special, why do they use the materials they use, et etc, etc,. We don't necessarily have to use every word in our questions or answers and some can be combined to create the narrative. The point is to develop the ingredients and then try different combinations of them until you have a tasty short story that speaks to and engages your client.

I hope this article has been of benefit to you in conquering the content beast. In my next article I'll delve further into developing and formatting content. Till then, Caio.

Mike Panessa