The Value of Auxiliary Content
Compelling web content often starts with well-researched, expertly written text; however, that text can be a starting point for something larger. It usually doesn’t fall on the content writer to add auxiliary content, so this job is usually done by an editor or site content manager. Much of the best online content that has the most value to the audience isn’t limited to just text or a specific media object, but rather the culmination of related media. Auxiliary content for a web article includes, but is not limited to: pictures, links to related content, infographics, maps, video, and social media feedback.
Grant writers for hire can make a great example for this practice because they may need to include graphs and image galleries to really drive the point home as to why they deserve to win the grant. For example, a university trying to get a facilities grant from the state to repair a decaying building could better illustrate the severity of the issue by writing documentation that explains how the state of the building makes it difficult to serve its purpose and couple that with pictures of the worst of the damage. The visuals and narratives work together to become something greater than the sum of the parts.
The trick to adding auxiliary content is to only do it when it makes sense or adds value, otherwise it can have detrimental effects. Search engines look for high-quality content, so low-quality features won’t improve SEO rankings. Additionally, unnecessary content will hurt page load times which can negatively impact search engine result rankings. For example, if your content is a write-up on a local business your audience may want to check out, including an interactive Google Maps widget could be very helpful as your audience may make a mental note of the location. However, if the content is about a new law or regulation related to your business, adding a map of the state capitol building is just wasting your audience’s time.
If you have several images related to the content, adding the best of them can help engage your audience. A well-designed image gallery can return a lot of clicks and keep visitors on your site for a long time. Even if you don’t have a lot of quality images to work with, adding at least one image to your content can go a long way. Using infographics in your content not only offers an alternative way to explain the information, but creates something that is easy for people to share on social media. Including high-quality video content can also do wonders for improving your overall quality; however it should be scrutinized heavily when used. Include it if the video is compelling and something people would want to watch, but if it doesn’t add anything to the content leave it out.
If your content is part of a series or related to other content you’ve published lately, then you have the opportunity to keep your audience on your site by providing links to that content. Visitors that read through your content have already expressed a high interest in the subject material so if you have more content that can satisfy that interest, now is your chance to plug it. You can also include information sidebars for series-style content that a new visitor may have a difficult time with if they aren’t familiar with the prior content information.
Writer Bio: Dan S is a former news journalist turned web developer and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things tech and believes the person using the machine is the most important element.