Content is the engine that drives your website. From high traffic news sites and blogs to e-commerce product reviews and descriptions, the need to produce insightful, entertaining information is as great as the demand to access it.
Everyone knows that delivering content is key for online success, but coming up with and managing content takes time and effort.
Put in the time and strategize your approach to producing content. A good mix of creating and curating content is a successful strategy for any webmaster.
What’s the difference, exactly?
When you create content for a website, you’re introducing new knowledge to the world. And creation isn’t always easy.
Assuming you have some expertise on your topic, there’s still a certain pressure to make it more. It’s not exclusive to your targeted audience — the pressure to get +1’s, retweets, shares and likes across social media is enormous. Creating content may be influenced by, or gleaned from other sources, but needs to stay mostly original. The information portrayed, the tone, the wording should be recognizable as you. And being you is easy, right?
Content creation has rules. Remember your “Websites 101” lessons? They all start with the following: stay true to the fundamentals. Draw an honest line between your ideas and someone else’s work. Resources and quotes may lend your content authority, but plagiarizing is an obvious no-no. Always use citations and proper crediting. When in doubt, play it safe. Always ask permission from authors or webmasters.
This style of content management is the process of updating or revamping existing content, whether your own or from another source. This process usually begins by finding a great topic, idea or structure from a previous piece of content and tailoring it to your target audience.
By finding content that has already "struck a chord" you can gauge if and how your audience will enjoy the premise in an updated way:
- Enhance old content with a new title.
- Reword the material and add your voice.
- Write in new knowledge you’ve got yourself some valuable, refurbished content.
The fundamentals still apply: be mindful of who and what you source, and use good judgement.
Curation isn’t necessarily easier than creation, despite the idea of already having something to work with. That might seem less daunting than coming up with something brand new. Ask any editor, what’s more frightening — a blank page or a terribly written manuscript.
That being said, when choosing old content for curation, don’t disregard something unfinished or unpolished. Curation is filling in the gaps.
Constancy and Quality through Creation and Curation
Authority, rankings and traffic are indicative of users’ trust. Maintaining reliability and dependability for your readers is crucial in keeping and growing your platform. Regular visitors to your site should anticipate the next post and know exactly when to expect it.
This requires constancy in addition to consistency. Constancy is consistency that’s achieved over time and is how you reap the rewards of SERPS as well as your audience.
Tips for Maintaining Constancy
- Regularly publish content. Regularly publish content. Get the picture?
- Put pen to paper. Fingers to keyboard. Stop talking about needing content. Sit down and get some! Start writing.
- Don’t put out 500 words of garbage just to say you punched in on the content clock. It’s got to be high quality.
Types of Content
The overall look and feel of your website depends on a variety of content. It's imperative to avoid uniformity. It's essential to create outside the box and color outside the lines.
- More diverse forms of content = more diversity of users attracted to your site.
- More variety of content = more engagement and loyalty from your followers.
By far the most traditional option, it’s got to be quality. It has to sing.
Whether creating new sentences or curating old ones, wake them up! Get them dressed! Experiment with new headings, fonts, layouts, formatting, etc. Great, shared content is either funny, controversial, emotion-provoking, useful or popular. Paragraph after paragraph, good text is a blend of relevant, quality information, fresh style and a little personality.
- Images that fit your brand or message. Vivid imagery evokes familiarity or wonder. It can stop users in their tracks (and on your page).
- Moving pictures simulate experience. Attract a new audience and entertain regular users with short, relevant video clips.
- Interactive animation, polls, podcasts, audio, infographics, and more. Get creative!
Creation and Curation are interchangeable across mediums. Practice curation by turning an article you just wrote into an infographic. Or practice creation by turning one key point from an old article into an inspired image gallery. Switch it up, and surprise yourself and your audience.
Strategize and Analyze
Stick to a schedule. For example, aim to create and publish something brand new, once a week. Focus on a specific few articles that have curation potential. Aim to publish content from those, once a month. Never “publish and pray.” Avoid posting content for the sake of posting content which will only result in an absence of quality. Don’t force it.
What strategies work for your peers/competitors? Research and outreach. Make contacts and stay in touch with people “in the know” and in your industry.
What’s working for you? Always take time to look through your site and the existing content. The tendency is to over-analyze what needs improvement. You must take stock of your successes as well! Prospect your past work for curation opportunities and get inspired by something you wrote that provokes you to write something new!
If your site needs a fresh start in the content department don’t beat yourself up. Don’t get emotional. (Save that for your content.)
Above all, make creation and curation your priorities. Expand your voice. And … publish content constantly and consistently.
Any other suggestions? Leave a comment!
Image credit: Canva & Picjumbo