Creating website content is one of the hardest things to get business owners to do. Most are too busy operating their business and don’t have time to write. But since solid, quality content is the foundation of any successful website, I have to find ways to help my clients create quality content without taking a lot of their time.
Call us at 503-890-6663 if you want our help in developing content for your website.
Content Creation Methods
Here’s a list of some of the methods I (or others) have used, ranked in order of quality.
#1 – Audio Recording (done by me). Recording your client via interview or pre-planned bullet points is a great way to get content “from the horse’s mouth” quickly, without taking a lot of your client’s time. A 5-minute recording should yield around 750 words of published content.
The Tools For The Job: I use Pamela software ($47, I think) to record the audio of a call on Skype. The recording can be used as a podcast or chopped up and used as the audio track for a video on Youtube. Audio tracks can be transcribed for $1-ish/minute and then used as the content for a page on a website.
5 stars. The client is the expert. This is my preferred method for content creation.
#2 – Video Recording. I’ve urged clients to setup a camera on a tri-pod in their office and once a week or once a month, record a handful of videos based on questions they’ve received from clients, product reviews, or educational pieces. As of the writing of this post, there’s been a lot of excitement, but it hasn’t actually taken place yet. (Although I do have a local client here in Portland who might be in for a treat when I show up in her office with my tri-pod the next time we meet!)
I do my own videos in batches and have begun to establish a couple of channels on Youtube for my SEO business and my Affordable Reputation Management business. Of course, if you want to use the content on your website, it’s got to be transcribed.
The Tools For The Job: I use a normal digital camera that has video capability. Recently, I purchased an HD version for under $100. Tri-pod cost me $20. I like to use a whiteboard to keep me organized. I just purchased Camtasia Studio for $300 and am learning how to use it. I’ve used Windows Movie Maker 2.6 (super easy) in the past. Jing is also excellent free software if you need to do screen capture vids. It’s got a 5 minute limit per video. I use it frequently to teach clients how to do something and have pondered making a WordPress tutorial series with it, for clients to access.
5 stars. Again the client is the expert. I love the 1-2 punch of video combined with written words. It’s two lead sources and the connective power of customers being able to see you can’t be underestimated.
#3 – Delegate To Staff. Find out who the knowledgeable writers are on your staff and give them topics to write about. You’ll still have to proof their work, but that takes a lot less time than writing it yourself. Send your approved content to your SEO for optimization and posting on your website.
The Tools For The Job: You can use Google’s Keyword Planner for direct long-tail keyword research in your niche, but I usually don’t come up with topics there. Instead, we identify the common sense keywords you’d like to rank for (like your products and services) and then use normal Google search to get topic ideas from Autocomplete and Related Searches. [searches related to] More commonly, I’ll have a discussion with clients and talk about what’s trending in their field. Keeping an ongoing list of questions customers ask also provides ideas for content.
5 stars. Some members of staff don’t require proof of their work by “the boss,” saving you time while you still get quality content.
#4 – Hire An Expert Writer In Your Field. We’ve located and hired expert writers for clients by placing an ad on Odesk or Craiglist. We screen them in advance and always get a test article to make sure our client is happy with the quality and content. You still ought to proof the content before it goes live on your site, but the advantage of hiring an expert is that 95% of the work is being done for you. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 – $100 or more for 500 words, depending on the niche.
The Tools For The Job: Craiglist and Odesk.
4 stars, 95% of work is done! Copy still needs to be proofed before putting it on your site, but the higher price you pay should mean less time proofing.
#5- Hire An SEO Copywriter And Improve the Content. Google “SEO copywriter” or “SEO content writer” and you’ll find lots of good writers who are making a nice living from home by writing content. Find someone who’s willing to do research, cite sources, write 100% unique content and make corrections as needed and you’ll be in good shape. I’d say this is an 80% method, as you’ll need to diligently proof the content to make sure it’s 100% accurate and up to date. You may need to make a few changes prior to the content being published, but it’s going to cost less than hiring an expert.
The Tools For The Job: I’ve posted jobs and hired writers on Odesk, but make sure you clearly indicate you want a native English speaking writer. You might have to weed through several people before you find someone you can work with. I’ve built good relationships with a handful of writers who found contact me through my website. Always get a sample article first. Expect to pay between $18-$25 for 500 words.
3 stars. Content is going to be generic and not authoritative, but depending on your niche, that might be just fine.
#6 – Re-Write Existing Content. SEO Copywriters are also effective at re-writing seed content if you provide them with a couple different articles to work with and a title. It’s a good idea to cite the source of the content, as you don’t want to plagiarize someone else’s work. The content needs to be 100% unique, too.
The Tools For The Job: Same as # 3. You can also post an ad on Craigslist and negotiate a price, usually in the same $18-$25 / 500 word price range. Use Copyscape to check for uniqueness.
3 stars. I usually don’t like to re-write what others have written, but some clients insist on it. I do; however, like this method for re-writing the client’s own seed content for posting to one of their micro-sites.
#7 – Hire Non-Native English Speaking Writers. You’d only do this if you were really on a tight budget and using the content to build out a web 2.0 site or maybe a micro-site. Writers from the Philippines, Ukraine, and Kenya will do a workmanlike job for you at bargain price. Expect to do heavy proofing.
The Tools For The Job: I’ve used Odesk exclusively to find writers all over the world. The going rate is different for different countries, but you can expect to pay about $5 for a decent 500 word article. I would not post this content on your main company website. I have a reliable writer in Singapore who writes great articles for me which I use to help create web 2.0’s for my reputation management clients.
1 star. It’s nice to get something to work with, but I’d only use this content on secondary sites. Otherwise, you might as well write it yourself. And that’s not meant to be a slight against foreign writers, but if you’re in a professional niche, there’s no way content from an overseas writer is going to cut it.
#8 – Copied or Plagiarized Content. Please don’t ever do this. Even doing it innocently can hurt your site’s performance. Google – to my knowledge – has never clearly defined a duplicate content penalty, but they have said their algorithm has been adjusted to only show one version of a web page in search results. So, if you’re publishing content that matches or is a near match to someone else’s, you’re probably not going to rank well. And if you don’t own the content, you open yourself up to intellectual property problems.
The Tools For The Job: Your mouse. Right-click, left-click. Just kidding!
0 stars. But you already knew that.
Written content is what Googlebot gobbles up when it comes to crawl your site. Lots of good, quality content on your site and in your blog are a great way to get found by searchers looking for information related to what you do. That translates into traffic, leads, and sales.
The best site wins. The one that looks the best, is easy to navigate, and with the best, optimized content should perform the best in terms of generating leads for your business. This is the guiding principal Google’s Matt Cutts has reiterated time and time again.
We seek creative ways to help each of our clients create great content on their site, while balancing that with the amount of time they can give us. Call us at 503-890-6663 if you need help with content development.