February 6, 2018
This question of what makes content “good” was asked by a student in the FreelanceAMA discussion I hosted a few weeks ago. I thought it would make a great freelance writing blog post to learn what makes content “good” and what makes content shareable.
A: Great question and it’s one everyone is asking these days.
What makes content great is different for every client, editorial site, and brand that I write for and work with. Some clients might find that video content does well for them. For other brands, an infographic gets a lot of shares and ‘pins’ on Pinterest and drives traffic to their website, and for another client “what makes great content” could be slideshows that drive page views. For a different freelance client, great content could be a thought-provoking essay that goes viral. (Like the “Cat Person” fictional story in the New Yorker.)
One of the things I enjoy most about digital writing and freelance writing for online clients is that I can see how often a piece of content has been liked on Facebook, favorited on Twitter and Retweeted, and Pinned on Pinterest sometimes. Usually on the back end of a digital website, the editors are monitoring Google analytics and looking at how a certain piece of content is trending. Some of my editors have said to me in the past, “XX piece of content you wrote for us is doing very well. Do you have any ideas similar to that to pitch?” (When a piece of great content is performing well and getting a lot of clicks, usually a homepage editor will see that through analytics and make sure it’s positioned “above the fold” of their homepage as long as it keeps performing well.) Those “immediate results” that I learned while working on staff as a digital editor at websites can be quite gratifying in a way that a print magazine doesn’t necessarily deliver.
If you want to make sure you’re turning in good content–or even better, great content–I think it’s wise to ask your editor how you can improve your writing to deliver work that will help them maximize audience engagement and traffic goals.
The editor might suggest using more SEO keywords, using bullet points or subheds to break up the article copy, or offer up another idea that will help the article be qualified as “great content.” As a former assigning editor, I would be thrilled if a writer I worked with asked me, “What can I do to make sure this piece of content performs well for you?”
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Tags: content marketing, freelance, freelance course, freelance pitches that worked, freelance writing, freelance writing advice, magazines, online course, pitches, productivity, time management, work at home, writing tips
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