Your Internet presence is defined by your website and the content you put on it. After all, that content is the last stop on the digital journey of prospective customers. Social media users share it, ads point toward it, and readers who visit your website and want to know
more about you are likely to judge it by what you’ve posted online.
So, how do you make that content appealing enough to generate leads, drive sales, or keep bringing readers back to see what’s new — especially if you occupy a niche industry that doesn’t automatically generate a lot of general-interest traffic?
Start by making quality a priority. It might be tempting to go for quick, low-budget content so you can buy a lot of it and then spend the rest of your money on other things, but your readers will know the difference — and if you allow substandard content on your website, it doesn’t inspire confidence about the products or services you’re offering. A good writer, on the other hand, can make watching wallpaper peel sound interesting.
Here are five things to keep in mind as you choose writers, build your content strategy (you do have one, right?) and vet the final product to see whether it meets the mark:
1. Know Your Industry (Then Tell Your Writer)
This really boils down to you staying involved, at some level, with content production. After all, you’re the one who knows what people in your industry are most interested in. You shouldn’t micro-manage your writers — remember, you’re hiring professionals for a reason, so give them the room to be professionals — but you should have a hand in mapping out key concepts, controversies, events and industry developments that need to be covered in your web content. Your writers don’t necessarily have to be industry insiders, but they do need the right amount of engagement from someone who is — you! — to inform their coverage.
Note what all of those examples are not: generic. You can use a smattering of more generic content (say, “11 things you didn’t know about an electrical lineman’s job” or “the things your doctor is thinking but won’t tell you”) to generate wider appeal, but only if you’ve already engaged your core readership — and lead base — with the savvy, relevant content that’ll keep them there.
2. Get There First
Another way to bring readers in is by being the first to report industry news. If you’re consistently on top of what’s happening, readers will learn to come to you before any other sources. Producing timely content doesn’t mean having a writer on call 24 hours a day — instead, focus on cultivating industry contacts who can tip you off when something interesting is happening.
3. Be Worthy of Readers’ Trust
Getting readers to your content is one thing, but keeping them there is another. A little old-fashioned journalistic objectivity does the job: If there’s a debate going on in your community, make sure to air both sides. You might not be able to keep your own views about it — after all, you’re engaged in the industry and probably have a pretty strong opinion — but make sure you’re clear about what’s fact versus your opinion, and leave room to show the other side’s opinion, too. If you’re consistently accurate and objective in your coverage, industry readers will come to trust you as a source and recommend that their friends do the same.
4. Look at Old Topics in New Ways
Some issues loom so large in a given industry, there’s no way to avoid covering them. Instead of retreading tired old ground, try changing your focus. Let’s say you have a company that produces protective gear for medical professionals. Instead of just repeating the same guidelines for health worker safety, consider doing an article on the history of protective gear, how a specific piece of gear was developed, or an analysis of cases in which gear failed or was used improperly. This sort of content has the added bonus of broadening your appeal to non-industry-insiders.
5. Watch the Jargon
Yes, most of your readers will be industry insiders — but limiting the jargon in your content does two things. First, it makes your posts or articles an easier read for industry professionals. It also makes things more accessible to general-interest readers or those at the entry level of the industry.
Most of the best practices that apply to any web content also apply to you, of course: Those include updating your content frequently, using relevant key terms in a natural way (but not keyword stuffing), and above all, a creating a high-quality end product — which means hiring a quality writer. But the secret ingredient that’ll bring readers of all stripes back to your niche content, time and again, is you. When you share your industry expertise with your writers, leave them the room to create, then use your industry experience to vet the finished product, you’ll magnify the reach of your voice and your appeal to all readers.
5 Star Writer Lisa M has worked as a writer, reporter and editor since 2005. She specializes in outdoor, travel, fitness/wellness and profile writing, plus manuscript editing.