Recognising Value in Written Content
“Um, can you repeat the part of the stuff where you said all about the... things?“ *
Double checking an article for filler content is, thankfully, often an easier task than locating those tricky typos. Here are a few pointers for refining your filler-content detectors. Always ask yourself:
Is this redundant information?
Has this point already been made? Are you stating the obvious or does the context make any further definition totally unnecessary? Especially if you've got a limited word count to work with, it is always a good idea to double check for empty words.
Is this useful for the target audience?
Much related to the point above, it's sometimes important to assume your readers have a certain level of subject-specific knowledge. If you're writing a blog post for equestrian experts, for example, it's a waste of time and words telling your audience you're talking about horses.
Is this clearly structured?
Just as with the human skeleton, the structure of an article forms its backbone. It ensures that point A leads to point B before heading onto point C. A clear structure will inevitably offer protection from unecessary repetition. Usually, structuring an article becomes much easier if you take a quick break after researching the topic.
Is it specific?
This one is really tricky. Especially if you're working on content which is meant to target a broad audience or which is meant to cover a whole heap of topics, it's all too easy to fall into that “stuff and things“ trap. Whenever articles generalise too much, the information becomes too diffuse. It loses its resonance.
Recognising Real Value
To avoid falling into that dreaded “stuff and things“ trap, we're going to show you a few content-specific tips for adding real value to an article. Today, we're looking at product descriptions.
Product Descriptions: Making them Valuable
Product descriptions have a clear, yet complex purpose. Their main goal is to ensure they sell the product. At the same time, though, they have to represent the company selling them. Making sure your product descriptions add real value, they should;
- Speak to the people who need or want this product. Why is this item so useful? What's its purpose, what problem does it offer a solution to? Answer these questions for added value!
- Replace the salesperson. Think about what the salesperson would ask and what factors they'd bring to the conversation. Unlike a real person, a product description can't rely on its winning smile to bring in the customers, so make sure your product descriptions know how to attract!
- Give tips and advice on how the product can be used. If it's an item of clothing, give outfit advice, for example. If readers have a clear idea of how to use the product, they're far more likely to buy it.
- Delay the passing of time. Product descriptions can date really quickly, and no one wants to buy expired products. Where possible, make product descriptions evergreen. This ensures your readers get timeless advice on how to use their items.
Avoiding filler content is often challenging. Recognising it it, however, the first step to take in eliminating it – which is the safest way to ensure your articles contain only the most valuable information.
Everyone is reading about it. Everyone wants it. And almost everyone is writing about it. Content Writing is the Holy Grail of Online Marketing – today, we're talking about writing with real value.
As difficult as it might be to define exactly what counts as real value in content, it's significantly easier to define its opposite. Filler content is the hidden evil, the dark saboteur which lies in wait, ready to take any content down into the forgotten realm of unread blibber-blubber. Recognising what filler content is will inevitably help you fine tune your instincts for identifying that much sought-after value.