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Creating engaging content for your website without hiring an army of content writers
28th August 2012

Illustration by Bhakti Chande

Recently a client asked for ideas on how to create engaging content for a website we are creating for him. Although he is passionate about the subject he does not have much material about it other than what he has read in books and on other sites. So the dilemma was to create fresh content without hiring an army of content writers.

So here are some ideas and thoughts on how someone can quickly build up some serious content on the website.

It need not be academic.Personal views and analysis can make for some great content.

You do not need to be a PhD. in the subject and write tomes about it. All of us (or almost all) have been given some common sense to analyze and express our views on the subject. Start writing your views and opinions. When writing opinion pieces you can use multiple sources and give them due credit within your article. People are always interested in reading your take on what is going on in your chosen field. Not everyone would like to read some dry academic piece. Your website is the ideal place for you to shine and express yourself. Just remember to be respectful and kind, there is no need to be abrasive. Writing such articles will also come easily to you rather than some stuffy researched academic article.

Run a competition. Local schools and colleges are fertile grounds for new thoughts and ideas that can add value to your site.

Run an essay/speech competition in your local school and college based on some interesting topics. Offer enough prize money to motivate the students (usually not that much). What you will get is a rich assortment of ideas and thoughts that you can publish on your site and which will be appreciated by your visitors and industry people. You can further recruit the prize winners to do more in depth writing for you in exchange for some sort of acknowledgement or certificate which will look good on their resumes. Just ensure that the students do not plagiarize from other sources.

Industry events, seminars and exhibitions can be a great place for material.

Every industry has organizations that hold regular events which attract the best speakers in the industry. This is a fertile ground to get ideas. Many speakers or exhibitors will allow you to publish their speeches and presentations verbatim on your site. Network yourself into a position where you can attend and communicate with the organizers and speakers. Also post announcements and schedules for such events on your site. It projects you as someone in touch with your industry as well as make the organizers very happy. I usually sit through these events looking for ideas to write opinion pieces about.

Interview People. Experts are always happy to share thier views provided you show your genuineness.

You might not be a reporter but that does not mean you cannot conduct an informal interview with an expert in your industry. Be prepared with a list of insightful questions and record the answers. This will be rich material for your website and very interesting content for your visitors. Always make sure you project the interviewee in the best light. Post his brief bio and photo with the interview article and write a flattering introduction to him/her. This will also help your business as you make more contacts.

Vendors, clients, partners are all good sources of material - time providing of course.

Make your website a hub of information not only about your products or services but also about your vendors, clients and partners. Being in the same industry can give you a lot of common topics which they can write about. Avoid posting their brochures or sales material on your site. Rather request them for insightful articles that will introduce their services/products in a way that is relevant to your core business. All this is provided they have the time to help you, but if you are patient long enough and followup diligently you will get it from them eventually.

Tie up for third party content - RSS feeds from magazines, newspapers etc can add volume to your site.

Although not the best solution, RSS feeds from various magazines and news sources can shore up the content on your site. But most of them will be linked to articles on their own site so you might just end up being a gateway rather than a source. Use this till you can put together relevant content of your own.

If all else fails - hire an army of content writers because content is just too important to neglect.

Ye, yes, I know what the blog title says but sometimes if you have a budget, let the worker ants do the heavy lifting. Build a 2-3 member editorial team and get the best content together in your industry. It will pay huge dividends in the long run as your website becomes an industry hub for information and links.

Remember in today's search engine market - Content is King.

Cheers,
Ron

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