Writing good content isn’t easy. If you disagree with this, then the content you are writing probably isn’t any good. I like to quote the lines from the film, A River Runs Through it: ‘All good things…come by grace. And grace comes by art. And art does not come easy.’ By this I am not claiming that good content should be a work of literature, only that it should tap into the same resources as literature to win the reader’s attention and interest.
One of the major resources of literature is music. We all share a sense of rhythm and melody, whether we know it or not. People know instinctively when a sentence isn’t right musically. Many websites suffer from tone deafness and a lack of rhythm, simply because not enough work has been put into the content. It makes reading more difficult and less pleasant than it should be. People tend to put their trust into well written content, so if you can’t get the basics right many of them won’t hang around.
Our sense of music also allows us to mimic, or adopt, certain voices and styles. This is very important when it comes to web content writing as it is extremely audience focused. Versatility is an essential for this business. In fact, it is so essential that you will probably never write in your own voice. Web content is shallow in this way but this doesn’t mean it comes any easier than other forms of writing, such as journalism or technical writing.
Another resource is imagination. Being an ‘ideas’ person will certainly help you to go far in this business. If you want to flesh out and expand on the five bullet points your client just gave you, you will need to be imaginative. If you want to put some vigour and originality into your blog post to capture the reader’s attention, you will need to be imaginative. If you want to think of new ways to generate business and promote your company through your content, you will need to be imaginative. Imagination is like the hook of a good tune: it will make people want to hear the entire song. Again, it doesn’t come easy but it is worth waiting for.
A third resource is the drive to give shape to ideas, to give form to our words. This is related to the instinct for music but it goes beyond that. It is a need for logic, coherence and fluidity. From word to phrase to sentence to paragraph, everything must flow and cohere. A good content writer will cleave to his art until he achieves near perfection. This can mean taking hours on a single paragraph. However, the reader will probably skim over most content in seconds and this is the way it should be.
Of course a lot more has been written about web content than this and a lot more will be written about it in the future. But we mustn’t forget these three basic posits as they are the foundation of all good writing. Many people with ecommerce sites try to write their own content. Some get it right but most don’t. This is because it is an art and if you want it done properly you need someone who knows the art. So if you are building a website, ensure that it performs well and is something to be proud of by hiring a good writer and investing in some beautiful and effective content.