Track content trends with these 3 best sites to stay current, find topic ideas to write about and learn what terms people are using to search the Internet.
Do you have the right content writer for the job? The questions a content writer asks will tell you a lot about a writer’s ability to drive traffic to your site and convince prospects to take the next step.
1) Do they ask for the objectives of the website or of each page?
Without clear objectives it will be difficult for a content writer to satisfy your needs.
2) Do they ask for the keywords and keyphrases you are targeting for your business?
If your writer doesn’t ask about keywords it’s a clear sign they don’t know much about search optimization . Without the right keyword and keyphrases, your firm’s content won’t improve search results.
3) Do they ask for the names of clients to contact, to learn more about your product or services?
Good content writers know that the most powerful testimony for any product or service comes from the customer.
4) Do they ask for the names of product or service experts to contact?
Asking for additional resources to contact demonstrates a writer’s willingness to delve deep to get a firm understanding of the product or service.
5) Do they ask for the names of your competitors?
A good content writer will ensure that your website content is unique. Checking out the competition is smart strategy.
6) Do they ask you to describe the tone and feel you want for your site?
Will it be informal, formal, or humorous? A good content writer saves time by finding out up front.
7) Do they ask for the names of websites you like?
Sometimes it’s hard to describe what you like. Showing someone what you like can be an efficient way to communicate it, even if it’s completely unrelated to your industry.
8) Do they ask for previously written literature or successful promotions?
A good content writer will want to know what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t. There is no sense repeating a mistake.
9) Do they ask how you will measure the success of what they do?
Asking this question demonstrates a writer’s commitment to achieving results, not just creating words for a page.
A good content writer asks a lot of questions, and seeks out the answers. If your content writer isn’t asking those questions, your content is likely to show it. Is there anything a writer shouldn’t ask about?
As a content writer and strategist I go through a lot of information every week. I rely on my own systems (using various methods for filtering the glut including Google Reader that I described in another post). I keep them in a “Smart Ideas” file. I remember some content from mere memory. Smart ideas don’t grow easily but this week’s plums were there for the picking.
From the Supply Side Community forum Alissa Marrapodi, managing editor for Inside Cosmeceuticals, writes:
“The consumer is driving the cosmeceutical market. No longer are manufacturers introducing niche markets and suggesting consumers’ needs proactively; but the consumer is putting their demands out there via social media, etc., and manufacturers are now reacting and responding to consumers. The shelves are not setting the trends; consumers’ demands are…A total of 63 percent of purchasing is driven by beauty blogs.”
From Seth Godin’s blog post on How to be Interviewed:
“If your answers aren’t interesting, exciting or engaging, that’s your fault, not the interviewer’s. “ He also says that interviewees don’t need to take every question posed literally. Redirect and talk about what you care about.
From a live conversation with Investment Banker Doug McConnell:
After a meeting with owners of a B2B company start up, Doug said to me: “It’s good to have an outside source filtering industry information to them. Entrepreneurs tend to become insular, only seeing what they want to see.”
Questioning Smart Ideas
Sometimes I ponder questions posed in an article, even when it’s the smartest sounding idea. In her article, A Better Way to Get Vitamins, Anita Marlay, R.D., L.D. writes: “Really, wouldn’t eating an orange for a snack make better sense than eating a processed fruit snack with added vitamin C?”
It would seem so, but another choice is emerging through the fast growing Functional Foods industry. Commercial organic farm operators that pick fruit when it’s ripe and freeze dry it immediately can create powerful antioxidant rich compounds. New ORAC (total antioxidant capacity measurement) tests show a fresh plum has an ORAC value of 9.49 (per gram); compared to a dried plum (prune) with an ORAC value of 57.7 (per gram). The same is true of grapes. Fresh grapes have an ORAC value of 4.46 (per gram) versus dried grapes (raisins) which have an ORAC value of 28.3 (per gram).
What makes sense is that drying removes the water and concentrates the antioxidants. Bio technology firms are positioned to partner with companies to offer new food or beverage products that are not only convenient but lend scientific support to the effects of added nutritional ingredients. That’s a long answer to her question, but sometimes it’s good to stop and think about what you know.
Do you have a smart ideas file? How do you retain those you’ve read or heard?
When a business loses focus on its content, a content strategy is needed. Erin Kissane, author of The Elements of Content Strategy, believes there is only one guiding principle of good content: “It should be appropriate for your business, for your users, and for its context.”
Storify, a content curation tool, went public today. Storify allows you to search multiple social networks including twitter, Facebook, and YouTube from one site, grab entries, and organize them into a story. Businesses can compile customer reactions to products, services or events. Go to the Storify website and open an account or sign in using your twitter account. Add a title and brief introduction text, then start selecting entries from social networks. Click on the embed story button and insert the code on your site, much the same way as inserting a video from YouTube. Here is what I created in just a few minutes time.
Included are some tweets, a blog post, and a video from YouTube. See what you can do or ask a content writer for help in creating a story for you. A content writer can add context and help you choose what entries are best for meeting your business goals.