How To Create Great Online Content And Outsource The Entire Process
Since the dawn of the Internet the way we consume online information has changed a lot.
The days of very basic blocks of text with no graphics, images or videos are long gone.
You also now have more than just a website as a platform to reach clients.
With the boom of social media communication your options have never been better.
From the perspective of communicating with your existing and potential customers, the many different online platforms are an excellent way to get your message out there.
However, all these platforms require varying types of written content that have some similarities.
Just putting random content on your webpage with no attention to creating a convincing message is essentially like hiring a great sales person and then not giving them any information about the product, service or listing.
It doesn’t make business sense and is easily fixed.
On this page you’ll find out exactly why online content must be approached differently along with some tips and tricks to create a convincing message.
You will also find out how to outsource all your online content needs with Outsource Workers.
Why Online Content Is So Important?
This might seem like an obvious question, but many people are still surprised by some of the answers.
With the help of the following points you will get a lot more inspiration and motivation to clean up your online presence and provide great information.
So, let’s take a quick look why it’s so important for your business.
People Turn To The Internet For Answers
Whenever people have questions they turn to the Internet.
Google has become everyone’s best friend and even the Oxford dictionary now has an entry for the verb “to google”. And with smartphone technology making searching on the go so much easier, it’s no surprise it has become such an integral part of daily life.
The way Google works is to try and work out what it is that people are looking for and then figuring out what the best information to display is.
The better and more comprehensive your online content is the more likely it will be to be picked up by search engines.
The quality of your content is a significant factor for all search engines these days, so you must put in the effort to make it great.
You Can Test And Perfect Your Message
Your sales staff will likely constantly tweak their pitch and approach to different clients.
This same process can also be achieved with your online content. Whether it’s general information or a sales page that you set up, you can constantly refine the content and calls to action to see what works best.
Putting some effort into exploring what type of content and layout converts browsers into clients can pay huge dividends. And this is not something that is expensive or overly time consuming.
People Looking For General Info Can Become Clients
Not everyone that turns to search engines for advice is likely going to be looking to buy immediately.
By providing high quality general advice you can quickly capture the attention of such people. And just like with a random or cold sales call, it’s about providing these people with completely free advice with no strings attached.
This is so easy to do when it comes to online content.
With a simple blog post about some industry news or buying advice you can easily present yourself as an expert. And without an immediate hard sell, there is a much higher likelihood of building up some trust.
When such readers are then ready for making a buying decision they are more likely to turn to someone who helped them along the way.
It’s One Of The Cheapest Ways To Reach New Clients
Creating a high-quality article with informative content might take a bit of time or money investment. But that investment is small when you compare it to your potential audience.
The obvious aim is to have people find the content when they are searching the Internet. But the higher quality your content is, the more likely people are to share it on social media. And if you can regularly achieve that, then you can build up an audience of regular readers with practically no advertising costs.
You don’t have to aim for the next viral blog post that rocks your industry. But a regular following of interested people can pay off hugely over time.
That most likely brings you to this question: What should you write about?
Planning What You Write About
Now that you know why creating online content is so important, let’s take a closer a look at how to decide what to write about.
Start With The Basics
People are often afraid to ask simple questions for fear of coming across as stupid.
However, those fears don’t exist so much when it comes to online searches.
By creating easy to follow and understand information on very basic topics, you can help build a very early stage relationship with people who can become buyers.
Because you spend so much time in your business area, you can quickly assume that everyone else knows what you’re talking about. But if you start from the premise that you need to explain all aspects and details you will build up a great online content library.
Find What People Are Searching For
Another great way to come up with content ideas is to research what kind of search terms people are using.
There are many tools available that help simplify this process. But one of the easiest ways is to go directly to the source: Google Keyword Planner.
By entering a broad search phrase, you can drill down into much more focused terms that people are using.
For example, starting with “How to sell a house” could lead you to an active search topic of “legal fees when selling a house”.
This is a much more precise topic and you know that people are looking for answers.
Using this approach as the basis for your content research will provide you with great topics and more importantly topics that will answer questions a lot of people have.
Present Your Take On Industry News
This is actually a very important topic to consider for a regular feature on your website and other online resources.
There is constant news and many stories often add confusion for people. By taking industry news and creating a simple to understand take on it will help present you as an expert on the subject.
With the busy lives we all live today, it’s no surprise that we constantly look for news summaries.
If you can create such industry news summaries you have a good chance of creating a regular following of readers.
Create A Content Series
A lot of topics would realistically have to be dealt with writing a book. But that is not what you want to do with your web content.
When it comes to online articles, people want answers and they don’t want to spend hours to get there.
However, even very complex topics can easily be broken down into smaller bite-size articles.
Look at it like creating chapters in a book.
The process of buying and selling a home involves many steps, and you could simply create an article for every one of those steps.
The advantage is that you can still get all the information online, but in much easier and quicker to digest sizes.
This strategy is also a great basis for email marketing and newsletters, which we deal with here.
If all of this sounds like it will take up a lot of your time, then you’re right.
Content strategies require time for careful planning and execution. But it’s also something that is easily outsourced to a VA.
Contact one of our advisers at Outsource Workers today for some free advice.
With the understanding of the different ways to come up with content topics, let’s look at some types of content you need to be aware of.
Different Content Types: Sales vs Information
When it comes to the style of online content, you are mainly going to focus on informational and sales content.
It is very important to understand the differences as using the different styles can quickly turn readers off.
Goal Of Sales Content
When it comes to selling in written form, it’s always important to appeal to the reader’s pain points.
The man goal is to convince the reader that you (a) understand what their problem is and (b) that your product or service will fill that void.
When it comes to doing this in written form there is an entire skill set involved called copywriting.
This technique uses a very specific style of writing to present your product and service as the solution that addresses all or the most common pain points.
There is some further advice in the “Tips For Creating Better Online Content” section below on how to structure your content and effectively appeal to the reader.
Goal Of Informational Content
The best way to summarise the goal of informational content is to say that it should provide value.
A reader should come away with the feeling of their questions answered. And answered in a way that makes them feel confident in what they have learned.
Because the Internet is full of very poor content, people are often very suspicious of what they read.
Unless it’s a very well-known and credible resource, you must convince people with what you write and how you present it.
If your readers come away with a feeling that what they were searching for has not been answered, then you won’t build credibility as a trusted resource.
The more information and detail you can give away free the better it will be received.
Be Careful About Combining The Two
A lot of people are tempted to create informational content and then jump into a sales pitch too quickly or obviously.
This can backfire very badly and the reader that came to your page is likely to be turned away immediately.
The reason is that someone looking for informational content to answer a question will physiologically not be ready to make a buying decision.
If they don’t get their question answered, but rather are presented with a sales pitch, then they will completely ignore this.
The most likely reaction will be hitting the back button to look for some other resource.
However, you should not waste the opportunity of pointing a reader to your product or service. But rather than go into a sales pitch on the informational page, you should just highlight that you offer a service to help with the problem the reader is trying to solve. Or even just point out that if the reader has more questions that they should get in contact with you directly.
The option then is to either get your reader to use a contact form or phone number, or else get them to click to another separate page that is designed as a sales landing page.
This is a much safer approach than taking the risk of annoying someone who is not yet ready to consider making a buying decision.
Essentially, you want to gently nudge them towards your service.
Why Online Content Is Different Than Print
A very common mistake many businesses make is that they simply create content that looks the same as a newspaper or industry magazine article.
Large blocks of text and long paragraphs. However, physiologically readers behave very differently between print and online media.
If you scan through any magazine or newspaper you will find plenty of articles that run into the tens of thousands of words.
There will be endless paragraphs and blocks of text surrounded by a few images.
This kind of layout has changed very little over the decades and even centuries.
It’s what people expect and what they are used to. But when you open a double page spread in a magazine or newspaper you can quickly scan the overall layout.
You can see the different subsections and know what’s ahead.
Online content is very different. When you get to a webpage you only see a very small section of the entire article.
And if that is taken up by many long paragraphs of text then you don’t get an immediate overview of the article.
You also have to consider that when people are looking for something online they generally want a quick answer.
They don’t plan to sit down and spend half an hour reading an article like they would in print media.
People will generally trust printed media more than what they find online, unless it’s from a large and trusted media outlet.
The reason is that there is a lot of bad information online with poor and completely wrong information being provided.
To overcome that you have to create a sense of credibility.
How do you gain credibility?
There are two ways. First of all you need to publish a lot of high quality informational content.
The more free information you give away linked to from all your articles, the more credible you will come across.
Secondly, you have to provide resources and proof for any claims that you make.
This can be done by either linking to other trusted sources, or by creating a reference section at the end of each article.
We already mentioned in the text length section that people don’t react well to large blocks of text on websites.
This is where you need to become a bit creative with your paragraph length and how you place them on the page.
Ideally you don’t want paragraphs longer than 3 or 4 lines of text and regularly mix in single lines of text. This makes it a lot easier to read and scan the text (more on this in the next part).
You also want to make sure that you are using lots of headings and subheadings.
This allows your readers to scroll over your article to get an initial idea what it’s about. Or to skip to a section that they are most interested in.
The easier you can make navigating, the better. And the final piece to add is a clickable table of content at the start.
Readers can get an even quicker idea what’s ahead and maybe even jump to the relevant section.
When it comes to online content, people behave very differently than with print media.
You have probably found yourself sitting down to a news, sports or industry article in a magazine, quite prepared to invest some time in it.
Now try and observe how you consume online content. In most cases you will skim over the content and try to find those sections that most interest you.
This is very common behaviour and has been proven with many studies that actually measure people’s eye and mouse movements.
There are certain common patterns that are followed and even if you have content of many thousand words in a great layout and structure, your average reader will likely spend less than 5 minutes on the page.
In the following tips section we’ll look at how you can take advantage of that behaviour and what it takes to create better online content.
Tips For Creating Better Online Content
At this stage you know where to get content ideas, what the main types of online content are, and why it is very different to physically printed content.
It’s now time to look at some of the most important ingredients for making your online content work.
First thing you need to know is the flow of how you grab someone’s attention. The reader will first see the title of the page.
If this is not compelling they will immediately head back to where they came from. If you’ve convinced them with the heading then you need to capture them with the introduction.
These sections are where you want to focus most of your time and effort to perfect them.
This is essentially where you convince the reader that your content is worth their time and effort. And you have to convince them that you will provide them with what they’re looking for.
Here’s how you put it all together:
Create A Compelling Title
In both print and online content it’s all about the title. Businesses spend fortunes for marketing agencies to come up with great tag lines for their advertising.
Tag lines that immediately capture interest and intrigue.
Now the good news is that you don’t have to spend millions, as there are a few simple types of headings that work exceptionally well every time.
Here are two excellent examples for online content.
“How to” Headings
This is one of those fool proof options.
Creating a headline that promises to help a reader find out how to do something is one of the top converting options available. “How To Prepare Your House For An Open Viewing” for example, makes it perfectly clear what you’re going to present.
Not only that, it implies that you have all the answers and that if the reader goes to your article then they will know this too.
In addition to this, “how to” is very commonly used in online searches, so if someone types “How To Prepare Your House For An Open Viewing” into Google, and you have an article with that title, then you have practically got them convinced you have the answer.
If you’re struggling to find a good heading, then always head for a “how to” one.
An example of this would be “5 ways to increase the value of your house”.
Such numbered headings work very well and you will find them everywhere these days on news and social media feeds.
Physiologically they work because people like the idea that there are going to be X amount of tips they can follow to get a certain outcome.
For some strange reason odd numbers have proven to work better than even numbers. So when you’re creating new content that can be numbered in this way, then try to stick to odd ones.
Once you have come up with a great heading for your article, it’s time to tell the reader what to expect and start reeling them in.
Draw The Reader In With A Focused Introduction
Now that you have captured the reader’s attention with the title you need to convince them that spending some more time will be worth it.
The best way to do this is introduce three concepts into your introduction:
- Highlight a point the reader will agree with
- Make a promise about what your article will deliver
- Provide a preview of what is to follow
Let’s look at these individually.
This is where you point out a common concept or problem that all readers will agree with.
This can be a simple enough statement about how difficult it is to get reliable information on a topic. Or that free actionable information is simply not available elsewhere.
You want to get a little bit creative here, but the important thing is to find something that the reader would agree with.
This is where you make a promise to solve the problems or answer the questions of the reader.
You don’t want to understate this, but you also have to follow it up with your content. There is no point promising something and then not delivering. That will only annoy your readers and strip you of any credibility.
Essentially this should be worded in a way that conveys “If you read this article then you will fully understand this topic/problem”.
The reader has now agreed with a statement you made and has been presented with the promise for a solution.
Now you need to reel them in a bit further with…
You don’t want to beat around the bush or start introducing too much information. Get to the point and summarise what it is that your article is about.
A really easy way to do this is to write this part last.
You can then use the subheadings in the main content to highlight what is ahead in the article.
This helps the reader understand what is ahead, and ideally is designed to convince them that you understand their problem or question and that the article is structured in a way that will solve the problem.
When you get this right, then you will quickly boost the amount of readers that stay on your page and ideally take some actions.
Focus Attention On The Reader Not Yourself
One of the most common mistakes people make when writing online content is to focus on themselves.
You can tell if this is the case with your own content if you make a lot of references about what you and your business do.
There will be a lot of use of pronouns like “I”, “we” and “our”.
The reason this happens is understandable.
Most people are proud of the business they have created and like to highlight what it is they do. But this doesn’t resonate well when it comes to online content where you’re trying to get someone to take a certain action.
When we say “focus the attention on the reader” we mean that you need to focus on what the reader will gain, not what you will provide.
This is best explained with a simple example.
Take this simple statement: “Our team of staff have extensive experience that means we provide fast and reliable service”.
This will work much better when you say: “You will receive fast and reliable service from an experienced team that will focus on your needs”.
It’s a simple but highly effective way to make sure that the reader is the centre of your attention, not you.
This is very similar to how you would approach verbal communication in a sales environment and should always be done in online content as well.
An easy way to check if your content focuses on the reader, is to count the number of times the words “you” and “your” are used and compare that to the number of times “I”, “we” and “our” are used.
You should aim for at least a 3 to 1 ratio in favour of “you/your”.
Introduce A Call To Action
If you don’t ask a reader to do something they are likely to just read the article and then go somewhere else.
A call to action doesn’t have to be a call to purchase something. And when it comes to your informational content, you have to be careful not to jump straight into a sales approach.
For information articles a call to action might be to get them to read some of your other articles.
Making it easy for readers to navigate to other related content is an excellent way of showcasing yourself as an expert in the field.
You can also start to gradually move people from purely informational content to areas of your website where you’re starting to introduce them to services they may need and you have to offer.
For sales related pages the call to action would likely be to get in contact or make a purchase.
You don’t want to be overly subtle about this, but rather come right out and tell the reader what they should do.
Tell the reader to pick up the phone, use a contact form or click on a purchase button.
You just want to make sure you have provided some valuable information first.
When it comes to placing your calls to action you want to sprinkle them throughout the article. But avoid them appearing everywhere as you will start coming across as too pushy.
It’s also very important to not forget to add one to the end of your article.
For those readers that have invested the time to read the entire article, you want to give them a final ask to avoid them heading somewhere else.
Using Bold Subheadings
Just like news and magazine articles are broken down into sections using headings, you have to break your online content down as well.
The main difference is that you have to do this a lot more frequently.
How many subheadings should you have?
Look at the articles on this website for a better understanding. If you can break down your content into sections that are about 200 words long, then you will make it so much easier to scan.
We already mentioned that people read online content very differently.
They will predominantly scan over the page, and the best way to help them do that is with bold and large font subheadings.
The wording of these should also be very clear and to the point.
You want to spend quite some time to get these right so that the reader knows exactly what that section of text is about.
From a technical perspective you also have to understand a little bit about how HTML (the Internet language used to display content) should be used.
There is a concept of H-tags, which are heading tags.
These are numbered H1, H2, H3, etc., with H1 generally being used for the Title. The result is headings in different sizes.
After H1 you should use H2 tags, and if a section needs to be broken down into further subsections, then those should be H3 tags.
This makes your content technically compliant, and search engines will have a much better way to understand what your article is about.
Keep Paragraphs Short And To The Point
One thing you can do in print media is present your content the same way as you would find in books.
Paragraphs are important, but you can have many long paragraphs with no interruption when you are writing content for print.
This is a big mistake to make with articles that you want to display online.
Large blocks of text are intimidating when you cannot see the entire layout in one go. Unlike magazines and newspapers where you can quickly get an idea of the layout by looking at double pages, on your website there are only a few inches of space visible at any time.
Yes, you can scroll up and down, but there is no way of taking a birds eye view of an entire page. And this is even worse when you view websites on mobile devices like smartphones.
For this reason you have to make sure that your paragraphs are comparatively short. Aim to keep these to 3 to 4 lines of text. But also make sure you add in regular one sentence, and one line paragraphs as well.
These will break up the content even more and make it easier to digest.
Why You Should Outsource Content Writing
At this stage you have a good understanding of how to plan, research and write you online content.
You will also understand that this is quite a time-consuming exercise and can take up a lot of your working week.
Keeping your website updated with regular and fresh content is important, but it’s not exactly Dollar productive work. At least not when it comes to informational content.
You could argue that sales pages are different, but at the same time they will take up a lot of time.
However, there is a very simple solution to this problem.
You can still have a comprehensive online content strategy, with regular new articles posted, without having to do much work yourself.
By hiring a content research and writing VA, you can reduce your amount of effort to basically reviewing content ideas and checking the delivered articles.
There are two options that you have for getting this kind of process working.
You can either hire your own VA, or work with Outsource Workers to simplify the entire process.
We can make sure that you are set up with a writer in less than two weeks who has all the necessary skills and experience.
Just talk to one of our advisers today for more details.
How To Hire A Content Writing VA
The process for hiring any kind of VA is outlined in detail on our home page. We will not repeat the entire process here but will focus more on the specific requirements you will need to focus on to hire a writer.
Here are 3 areas you should focus on to find someone with the right qualifications.
To find a VA with the necessary skills for researching different topics you must aim for experience in your industry.
For real estate you would want to add the required skills as knowledge of Australian property markets to ensure that they can efficiently and effectively research different content ideas.
One way to test this during the screening and interview process is to give the candidate a topic and to then come up with some high-level content ideas for an article.
In order to create effective content strategies, you want to set your job requirements to include experience with large content projects and not just once off articles.
To create a full content strategy a VA has to be able to take a much higher-level view of what you are trying to achieve.
During the screening and interview process you want the ideal candidate to tell you about large projects that they worked on and managed.
This should include coming up with content suggestions and a great test would be to give them a topic and ask for a series of 5 to 10 article ideas.
When it comes to writing, correct spelling and grammar are absolute must have requirements, and you won’t struggle to find a VA to satisfy those. But, as you can see from the tips sections above, your online content must be in a certain format and style. And the word phrasing and colloquial terms used also have to match your location and audience.
Some of this you can assess from a conversation during the interview. But you can also ask for a very short test article to be written during the interview. You then want to check that the terminology matches your industry.
Finding a great writer that can take care of the entire process of creating a content strategy and writing great articles is not an easy task.
If this process seems like too much work for you or you lack the experience in doing this, then contact Outsource Workers today.
Talk to one of our advisers and find out how soon you can be set up with a dedicated VA to take care of all your content needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much content do you need?
The more the better as long as it is valuable. Just creating lots of content for the sake of it will not help your business.
Carefully plan what you write about and focus on the things that people are searching for, and you will end up with the right amount.
Even with this in mind there will be no shortage of topics to write about.
- How regular should you post content?
At the very least you should look at 2 to 4 times a month. This keeps your website active and maintained and will help you to build up a regular reader audience.
You can certainly go as far as daily updates with news summaries and industry information, and this is a great basis for building out email and social media newsletters.
- Will a VA have the right level of English?
English in the Philippines is an official language and is extensively taught in schools and universities.
For a content writing VA you will want a more than just the ability to read and write. You want them to have perfect command of the English language which includes spelling grammar and colloquialism.
- Do they understand Australian markets?
Filipino society is very similar to Australian and Western societies overall.
Part of the hiring process will need to focus more on their understanding of a specific industry though, so that they use the correct terms. However, with such a large pool of people to choose from, you will be able to find the right skills and knowledge.
- How much input will you have to provide?
In the initial phases of on-boarding and training you will need to be involve a lot.
This is mainly to make sure that your VA fully understands your processes and what you want to achieve from your written content.
Once you have them fully trained though, you will be able to reduce your involvement to proof reading the articles.
- What other parts of your business should you consider for your content strategy?
Your online content should be built into your business strategies for social media, email newsletters and marketing overall.
Sharing your content in these different areas with different audiences will help you get the absolute most out of every article.
- How soon can you have a VA ready for me?
If you would prefer to have Outsource Workers take care of the hiring process and day to day management, then you can be all set up in less than 10 days usually.
Once you have talked to one of our advisers we’ll have a better understanding of the exact skills you require, and we can either provide someone from our pool of VAs or we will hire a new one for you.
Just pick up the phone and talk to us today.