Writing Valuable Content for the Web

Writing Valuable Content for the Web

What does valuable, human-centered content look like?  It really sounds like a bunch of political, double-speak—but, despite whatever label it wears, the concept is very simple and powerful.

Valuable content for the Web starts with the users, is written to the users, and is written for the users.

When I was teaching English Composition in College, we called it reader-based writing.  The marketing people call it audience-centric content.  Regardless of what you call it, it means you know the users you are addressing, you determine the information that they want or need, and the best way to connect with them, and then you write your message to that specific group of users.

An example may help clarify our definition of valuable content on a Website.  If, for example, you sell building supply products and services, you may have identified multiple audiences.  One target audience couple be the do-it-yourself homeowners.  A second audience could be the general contractors who do construction professionally.  Both groups have different needs, different experience levels, and arguably different language.

The homeowner is handy, but probably does not own all of the tools to complete their job.  He or she may need information about how to use the tools properly, and which tools they will need to purchase to complete their project.  You may connect with them in the first place by helping them to calculate building materials, or showing them how to use a tool safely.

The general contractor may need a replacement tool, but will most likely not need instructions for how to use them.  They may be working from plans and won’t need tips on how to construct the item.  Instead, they may need to know the different in material properties.  What is the rate that one concrete dries verses the other.  They may also need civil code information, or how your company works with purchase orders.

What gives value to one group, may not give value to the other.  So, rather than writing pages that are directed towards a specific keyword, write content that is directed towards a specific audience.  Give the do-it-yourselfer a section of the Website that speaks to their needs.  It will show them products and information that give value to them.  Then create a separate section for the construction professionals—and, deliver to them the information, products and services that they will need and want.

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