Writing By Design

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Decoration and design are often used interchangeably, but they’re vastly different in scope and scale. Consider the difference between interior decorating and interior design. An interior designer plans from the floor up, working with architects and craftsmen to transform a space completely. Decorating is part of the job too, but it’s the final step to a lengthier process. Your writing team should design your business content too. It’s more involved than decorating an empty landing page or blog with words; it’s an integral part of your overall marketing strategy.

When you hire your writing team, look for authors who give you designed content instead of decorative filler. If your site’s well established, how well is your content built? Is it a spin on someone else’s words or concepts with a new coat of paint or is it custom work crafted to meet your needs precisely?

You may not have thought of it in such terms, but you’ve read plenty of merely decorative writing on business sites. The context and meaning of the featured articles don’t matter; the words exist only to wrap around links. A sure way to spot shallow, decorative writing is to replace links with other company names as you read the piece. In thin content, links are interchangeable because the words around them are generic; they tell instead of showing.

For example, “Company X brings you the most creative, wonderful, exciting business writing you’ll find anywhere on the planet” is a meaningless phrase. Would any content writing service not tout their writing as creative and exciting? Superlatives and empty adjectives are decoration, but they contribute nothing to the design of an article. Good content is concrete: “From blog posts to social media, we use a variety of platforms to develop a comprehensive content marketing strategy and position you as an authority in your industry.”

Would you rather go with the company that promised spectacular results and amazing content or the one that delivered an average of a fivefold increase in site traffic to its clients last quarter? If you subtract the decorative fluff, it’s obvious that you’re better off with the company that offers concrete, proven results – even if it doesn’t use a single superlative to describe itself.

Content creation by design has four distinguishing characteristics:

Specificity

Your content should be just that – yours. It focuses on your strengths alone, the things that differentiate your company from any other. It gives solid facts where applicable such as in white papers and feature-length articles.

Depth

Instead of aiming at a broad but shallow audience with keyword stuffing and transparently spun content, designed writing drills deep to tap a more engaged audience. The people who read it will finish an entire article instead of bouncing from the page after seeing that it doesn’t have anything new, meaningful or creative to impart. Custom content is deep content even when it covers light subject matter.

Integration

Every content channel fits together when your content creation team works by design. Your company has a unified voice and tone. Links weave readers’ attention throughout social media channels, blog posts, static pages and specialized content such as e-books and webinars. Instead of a piecemeal crazy quilt of a content strategy, thoughtful content creation looks like the same team designed every element.

Skill

Insubstantial, padded writing and elementary grammatical errors have no place in a well-designed content strategy. Everything from brief tweets to feature articles and e-books is factual, grammatically correct and thoroughly edited.

Just as it’s simple to tape inexpensive posters to your wall as makeshift decoration, it’s easy to find decorative content to fill space. Buying cheap filler to cover a bare site, though, won’t give you professional results. Design carries a higher price tag than decoration, but when the final product makes you proud to call it your own, it’s worth it.

© Business Content, Inc. 2013 All Rights Reserved.

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