Content marketing is more than just ‘writing stuff’
Yep, that’s how I recently heard it described. As you might imagine, this came from a client who thinks that it might be an idea to have his secretary ‘write stuff’ for his website. Yes, secretary. This is about as daft as those business owners all those years ago who thought it was a good idea to put their secretaries or worse, their IT guy in charge of their social media (by which they invariably meant their ‘Facebook page)’. Well, the good news is that things have moved on from there and businesses realize that there’s just a little more to social media. But content marketing?
Surely that secretary, who is obviously under-employed because people keep wanting to use her or him, knows about the business, they argue?
Maybe, so just in case you’re tempted to use an under-used employee to create your content, here’s a nice, handy checklist for you.
- Be sure that he or she is a marketing expert. After all, this is content marketing. (And I just want to ask, if this person is so great at marketing why are they working as a secretary or IT person? Just thought…)
- This person will, naturally, have many years experience writing for the internet and this means for a global audience. They will fully understand the current desired level of keyword density.You’ll need to buy a professional density checker – yes,they exist online and are free … so you know what sort of results to expect, don’t you?
- While you’re buying software, be sure to get the latest version of Photoshop – in fact the entire Adobe Creative Suite. We know how amazingly visual the internet is. And I shouldn’t have to say this but please be sure that your employee knows about copyright and that they can’t, for example, just steal images from the web. (I know you don’t need telling that but I promise you there are still people that think that they can steal whatever they want from Google images.)
- In fact, while you’ve got the credit card out make sure that they have a good camera – a photography (or iPhoneography) course can’t hurt either.
- Oh, and be sure to get a professional subscription to a plagiarism checking service. I’m sure that your employee will write original content but with so many gazillion websites out there it’s easy to use phrases that are already online. And remember, plagiarism means penalties.
- CMS makes it easy to add copy to websites these days but do make sure that your content writer has a good working knowledge of HTML and is aware of the errors that can happen when, for example, pasting content from word processing programs.
- Ask your content writer which research tools they use. If their knowledge extends only as far as checking Wikipedia entries (which are notoriously inaccurate) then get someone else.
- Be sure too that they have at least a reasonable degree in English. Few things turn search engines – and humans- off quicker than poor grammar and spelling.
- Ask them to write a sample article or two first to ensure that they have the ability.
- Always, as with any employee,check them out on social media. Check their LinkedIn profiles, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and if you must, their Facebook.
- Spend several hours studying their existing online writing. This will ideally be on their own blogs, or on writing platforms such as Squidoo. If they don’t have plenty of examples, then look elsewhere.
- A good test of their abilities is to ask them to write an article about an obscure subject that will require research and understanding. Be sure to check it for keyword density, plagiarism and duplicate content.
On the other hand, give us a call….