Why it’s good to ignore your own content rules – sometimes
3rd February 2015 | Posted in Content creation
As a content manager for web sites and blogs I get to both make decisions about what gets published and write some of that content myself.
I’ve been in this writing business for a fair while now as a journalist and a copywriter. That means I have pretty strong views on how we should make our content work as a whole as well as its constituent parts. I want consistency of purpose, tone, structure – all those things that make a reader comfortable in our space and able to access our ideas really easily. Moreover, we have a brand voice to maintain.
So I have guidelines. And I share those guidelines with my teams who share them with our contributors. But having got everyone on board I sometimes perplex them by breaking the rules completely and publishing a blog or an article that just doesn’t fit.
Why do I do that?
1. I know a lot but I don’t know it all. There is still plenty of room to experiment and learn. Approaches to content are constantly shifting and we need to keep abreast of what’s working now.
2. Different styles resonate with different audiences. By offering a fresh approach to content we can attract new readers – and new writers. Some of it I may not like personally, but if it works it’s good.
3. People are attracted emotional storytelling and that comes best from the person who had the experience and tells it in their own words. I might give them guidelines before they write, but I’m loathe to red-pen their words afterwards. Except for tidying the language of course – some things have to be done.
4. We often don’t have a budget for writers. So there’s a balance between being prescriptive over what we will publish and being grateful for contributions.
We are aiming to create content that stands the test of time. Each new piece of content is an addition rather than a replacement. So the trick is to introduce evolution in the way we create content while offering continuity for our readers, our client and the brand.
Like an example? Well, throughout this article I’ve talked about me. Not what I would normally recommend. It’s the reader that’s important rather than the author. But let’s try it and see what happens.