Substantial content pieces that are 300 words long or more. In the field of creative writing, there is all kind of schemas, patterns, syntagmas, templates, and structures to fit one’s writing in. The waters are divided when it comes to using a clutch like that to write, but that is in the field of creative writing only.
In writing that is commercial, promotional,l and advertising it’s a very different story. Content that is used as a commercial tool is much, much more scientific and schematic than any creative writing.
Templates exist, and for a reason. They are the distilled wisdom of years of research and experimentation. They show the ways in which a piece of content has to be created to be effective and elicit the desired response from the reader.
Research for Content Writing
All valuable, original content starts with world-class research. You can’t possibly write good, original content after reading four or five web pages that you obtained through web searches. You can’t call that research.
I don’t mean to devalue the web, but the research data one generally requires for a good piece of content should be approached not by a single method but by a sequence of attacks that cover as many information-gathering avenues as possible.
Websites, libraries (both brick-and-mortar and virtual), journals, papers, studies, videos, podcasts, q-a portals, interviews, books. The more information obtained through any, and all, of these channels you can feed to your research document before you even start to write the piece, the better.
Content writing isn’t creative writing. Creative writing is an industry in which you can get away with minimal research and using the “writing about what you know” method indefinitely.
I don’t see creative content as lowbrow as, say, gobbledegook content, but I see creative writing as nearer to gobbledegook than to the kind of content a copywriter would write. Because when you’re in the business of delivering actionable, high-value content, writing from experience gets old very fast.
And, on this line of thought, let’s not get into the subject of writing fluff, something that is even worse on creative writing, but on pieces of value-oriented content, it is a downright mortal sin. Fluff is the death knell of a contemporary, digital, rich content piece. Readers see through it at once, and if said fluff is based on ego, boasting, or generalizations and hyperbole, then you have a piece of annoying trash instead of content or copy. You should never write such kind of content that is surely going to put off (or even enrage) your reader.
It’s a well-known fact that masters of different arts, all metaphysical considerations aside, have something in common when it comes to the masterful execution of their pieces. First, they master the methods and rules of their particular art forms and disciplines, and then they offset the structural commonalities of the method through their styles of structure-breaking and deviations from the rule. The same result can be obtained when writing copy and content.
I don’t know much about rule-breaking when writing content, because I generally try to adhere strictly to proven content structures and style rules. It’s a very well-known fact that when you have to write constrained by a structure the writing is all the more effective, alive, and powerful. What may seem like a restrictive scheme to outsiders, is a very powerful tool to write for those that can maintain a good flow of both imagination and mental organization of owned and earned sets of knowledge.
On this website, there are categories of examples. If you compare two examples of the same type of content you’ll notice that the content itself is different, but that the structure is practically identical. That’s because there’s a template for each kind of content that is advisable to always follow. The structure of a piece of content should be drafted starting from the established template, and, if you know what you’re doing, then bending or breaking a few rules here and there.
Generally, the structure of a content template differentiates itself by the sections it must have and how long each section has to be.
Content Word Count
The word count of an article is another variable that, like structure, constrains the writer and at the same time forces her to write the content in a much more economical and effective way. The negative side of word count would be someone that runs out of research assets before reaching the word count and then adds fluff that ends up taking up, say, 15% of the article.
In a case like that, I would rather finish an article with a missing portion of the content, rather than letting it have a percentage of fluff that I added to reach a word count.
Style in copywriting and content writing has a relatively different meaning than the styles of painting, sculpture, poetry, or music.
For content writing, style means following the rules and regulations of a certain guide. Two of the most famous industrial style guides are The Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook.
The voice a writer uses on a piece of content is the composite of all the qualities of his writing adapted to a determined piece. It’s conditioned by the subject, market, audience, and channel in which the piece will be featured.
The voice is a combination of the different qualities for each of the composition’s elements. The voice always is subordinated to the subject matter, topics, and themes that pertain to the piece at hand. The voice that a content writer picks, its tone, and all the other qualities, have to be an excellent fit for all the variables involved in delivering it.
Some of the context’s variables that determine the voice to use:
This simply means that the voice is one of the main focuses when writing content as it must match the context and gel with it seamlessly.
Technical Writing Resources
Examples of technical and industrial content. Technical white papers are educational articles dealing with the guidelines and protocols of something while the technical blue papers focus with the technical side of something in a scientific or pseudo-scientific way.
Technical White Paper
A rough template of a technical white paper would be a document, 3000 to 5000 words in length, covering different aspects of a technical topic. Examples of the sections could be context, tests, tables, surveys, charts, data, conclusions, acknowledgments, and bibliography
Technical Blue Paper
A technical blue paper is an informative technical piece of content aimed at potential investors in a business venture. It can be a document under ten pages in length, detailing all the technical aspects of a business: how it works, its features, scale specifications, etc.
An investment proposal is a document detailing all the aspects of a business project yet to be implemented. It is another of the tools that are used to attract capital for a new product or service. All the aspects of the business must be included, even if in seed form only. Elements that a proposal must have include:
Letter Writing Resources
Engaging letters for your business or occupation. Believe it or not, there’s a school of thought that touts a persuasion-based approach to letter writing. If you never thought that advertising techniques could be used in letters, bear with me because I didn’t either. The idea is making a great first impression on your prospective buyers, clients, customers, employers or bankers.
Website Content Resources
Custom-made content pieces to populate your website or publication. These are lengthy pieces that go beyond the parameters of what can be called copy. Even if they require copy, they are a more elaborate product that can stand on its own. A lot of time goes into creating these pieces, even blog posts, that traditionally are from 300 to 1000 words.
These pieces have different moving parts, starting with the research one does prior to writing them. Not everyone has the good fortune of writing about what one loves and knows. I count myself among those that don’t. For those of us that have to write for others that ask us to write about things that we don’t know research is a pre-requisite.
You can’t write any good, original long content about a subject you don’t anything about if you don’t dully research the subject before sitting to write the content.