Writing content is not easy, particularly if it’s demanded daily. There’s only so many good topics, ideas, and time to find necessary information. The important thing to remember is, if you’re not writing for Cracked.com, the list is a cheap way to create filler. Sure, Buzzfeed does them. Sure, Upworthy does them. Sure, every other website that feels the need to pad their daily output of bland, insipid, and uninspiring content does them. You shouldn’t, because quality matters and we don’t need more Upworthys and Buzzfeeds. The dull content market is flooded.
The list often functions as barely better than a collage of vaguely related subtopics and rarely does it seek to get into any quality detail. The list is poor organization, poor transition, and poor thinking. Furthermore, any item in these list articles would likely, if properly embellished and expanded, make a fine piece of content in its own right and be more interesting to the reader.
The first question that should really be asked is, “what are my content needs?” Far too often, when I visit the website of a restaurant or store, the pieces of information I’m looking for are completely absent: their hours or their menu. Think like your customers, or better yet, talk to your customers. Quality writing depends upon being aware of the audience. Why spend money and time maintaining a blog when the vast majority of customers interested in your product or services have no interest in reading such content, but instead have similar questions that need answering?
Without asking questions about your audience, you are playing into a host of unqualified “advice” about what you need to do to grow your business. Content is not a one size fits all solution. Considering your audience will save you time, money, and help you develop the quality content that is right for your business.
Next time, we will delve deeper into the particulars of considering audience.