Sometimes inspiration is all around us, and sometimes let’s face it, it’s hard to find. I’m lucky that I get to sit by the window at work and my day is broken up by lovely rays of sun, or more likely, making some form of exclamation about the appalling Manchester weather. But in between these moments it does give me the chance to reflect and make considerations which can help to inspire my thought process and content creation.
Sometimes it’s not so hard – you’re given a website which has pre-existing ideas and a pre-existing style, you are working with clients who are dead set in their ways and who have a complete idea of exactly where they want their brand to be. In this case, once you’ve taken that all under your wing it’s not hard to embrace it and target your content in that way.
It gets harder, however, when you work on a website which doesn’t have any of these ideas and essentially you are responsible for not just creating articles and news stories, but also entire piles of content for the website, the homepage, the faq’s – essentially you are creating the brand and the way that you write is developing a voice for this company which can either make or break its popularity with new and existing clients.
“Think outside the box”
To be honest, when I initially started working thinking outside the box wasn’t really my thing. Firstly, I couldn’t get my head around what the box was or what I was supposed to be thinking outside of, and when I finally managed that I realised that my creativity was about as brilliant as the D grade I used to get in my Art and Craft class.
Luckily content creation doesn’t rely on an artistic skill as such – and if it did I would probably be in the wrong industry – rather it’s about taking in the needs of your clients, the usability of a website, and the way that you think you can pull in an audience and combining these into what can often be just a few short, succinct lines.
Although at the start this might be hard, once you get the swing of your client and you really get into the voice the lines just start to roll off your tongue and in no time you often realise that you have developed tens of pages for a website, all ready to roll.
Anyone who works with or around me knows that I am an organisational freak, and that I like to have my days planned, my work accounted for and my deadlines met. Although sometimes this is a little OTT, I think having the skill of organisation can go a long way when you are creating content for a website and there are definite points within it that you can drag into this arena.
Diagrams are a key part of construction and that also goes for websites – if you are looking to build a website you need somewhere to start. Draw a quick site map, outline your pages, know where your content is going, know where your content is linking and understand exactly what needs to go on which page. Your client will thank you for it.
Websites don’t just build themselves and creating content to meet what your client is looking for often requires refinement… so don’t write 800 pages and then send it over to your client, if they need to change it you will be spending hours fixing up existing text and as we all know this can often be harder than starting again.
Work closely with your clients every step of the way to ensure that they are happy with what you’re doing and that they receive your input. In time this will develop a rapport, and more than that it will make your clients feel valuable. It’s also a great deal easier to change three or four pages than three or four hundred – so you will end up saving both time and money!