As a freelance writer, businesses ask me a lot of questions about content development and placement. Even after the many Google updates penalizing websites with low quality content, there are still many businesses that do not understand why they need better content. And for those who do understand, they don’t know where it needs to be placed. In this post, we’re going to discuss what makes content high quality, and where you need to publish it.
What is High Quality Content?
The words “high quality content” get tossed around a lot. But some businesses still don’t seem to know what it exactly means. Lots try to figure it out based on technical aspects. Is it based on just length – are shorter posts considered low quality and longer posts considered high quality? Is it based on relevance? Is it based on a certain percentage of the wording being unique to anything else on the Internet?
The truth is, high quality online content usually meets the following criteria.
- High quality content is unique. Any content that has gone through software to be “uniquely” duplicated is no longer high quality content.
- High quality content is as long as it needs to be to fulfill the promise of the title. This can be 600 words, 6,000 words, or anything in between.
- High quality content is not pushed down or obscured by advertisements.
- High quality content is not filled with dozens of text links.
- High quality content is written for people, not search engines.
- High quality content is relevant to your business, your customers, and your industry.
- High quality content is generally supported by media – images, video, audio snippets, and/or slideshow presentations.
What it really boils down to is this. If your largest potential customer were to come to your blog today, or to find an article written by your company on a major industry publication, would they be impressed enough to want to learn more about your business? Would they recommend it to their network? Or would they just end up reading a paragraph or two and moving along?
Why You Need Expert Content Creators
Each piece of content your business puts out should be thought of as a vital piece of marketing material. You wouldn’t trust the copy of your business’s main marketing brochure to a person who knows nothing about your business or industry. You wouldn’t trust the copy on your website’s homepage to a person who you paid $5 to either.
So why would you trust your blog content to people who know nothing of your business or industry, and aren’t getting paid enough to care?
You have a few choices when it comes to finding the perfect content creators for your business. Your first option is to look within your business itself. Who are your in-house product or service experts? Do they enjoy writing? If so, you already have some people to count on for blog content development.
If you don’t have in-house experts that love to write, or you do, but they don’t have the time because they are focusing on revenue-generating work, then you need to outsource your content development to experts outside of your business. These can be in the form of freelance writers and guest bloggers.
What is the difference between hiring an expert freelance writer or inviting an expert guest blogger to create content for your website?
- A freelance writer is someone you will pay to create the exact content you want for your blog. They will write content that they claim under their own byline, or ghostwrite content that can be used with your byline.
- A guest blogger is someone you will invite to create content for your blog in exchange for allowing them to promote themselves (and usually their business) to your audience.
There are two things you can expect when approaching experts in your industry vs. anyone else.
- If you reach out to expert freelance writers in your industry, you can expect to pay premium rates for their services.
- If you open your doors to guest bloggers, you can expect to spend a lot of time screening the submissions to ensure they are, in fact, experts.
While you will have to make a large investment into expert writers to create high quality content for your business, it will be worth it as you will have the kind of content that will attract more visitors to your website, and convert those visitors into leads for your business.
So how do you find expert content creators? Start by looking at the top blogs in your industry – you’ll find a lot of them listed by topic on sites like Alltop. Look at the people who are regularly contributing content that would fit your business and start reaching out to see if these people would be interested in writing for you. You can also use Google searches like site:techcrunch.com “am a freelance writer” and site:techcrunch.com “is a freelance writer” to specifically find people who are available to hire.
Reasons to Invest in Onsite and Offsite Content
Which is better? To place high quality content on your own website or to submit high quality content to other publications in your industry? The answer is both. You need high quality content on your own website for a number of reasons, including the following.
- You want to have content that people want to share with their social media networks, leading new customer prospects back to your website.
- You want to have content that you can use to engage with your own social media and email marketing audiences.
- You want to have content that visitors can peruse to demonstrate your business’s expertise and knowledge in your industry.
With that said, publishing high quality content offsite has its benefits too.
- You get the chance to gain exposure with your target customers on new platforms.
- You get to build up your business’s reputation as an industry authority with regular contributions to respected publications.
- You get to build valuable links back to your business’s website from highly authoritative publications.
This is why you need to invest in both onsite and offsite content. The added bonus to having high quality onsite content while also contributing to other publications is that people who love your work on another website will be able to continue consuming your content on your own website. The added bonus to having high quality offsite content is that you truly say your business has been featured on the top publications, which adds credibility to your business’s reputation.