I like to think of quality web content as ‘front-loaded’: as in, most of the money spent on it goes into planning and prep before it ever gets online.
With a front-loaded content strategy, the web writer takes the time to learn who the audience is, what they care about, how they prefer to be approached and what aspects of the business will resonate with them.
The wonderful thing aboutfront-loaded content is that it tends tomarket itself. People read it eagerly (often nodding along), feel a sense of genuine connection to the business and pass it on to friends. But this isn’t about ‘going viral’ or ‘generating hype’. This is just what happens when people (like you and I) read something clear and thought-provoking on a subject we care about.
Crap content costs more than you think
In contrast, forgettable web content is what I call ‘back-loaded’: The business spends minimal time researching, designing or editing the content. Instead, they rush to publish, then pay a full-time staff member to scurry around on the Internet pushing the piece in people’s faces.
Over the long term, the amount of money and time spent on front- or back-loaded web content is probably about the same. The difference is that once good front-loaded content is live, it feels like it just rolls downhill, blazing a trail of warm fuzzies and goodwill through an appreciative audience.
Back-loaded content, on the other hand, feels almost Sisyphean. You post it somewhere (and then post it somewhere else, and then somewhere else, and then somewhere else again). Your PR rep exhausts himself trying to get people to talk about it. Awareness of your business may have marginally increased, but — predictably — loyalty levels haven’t budged one bit.
Which would you rather pay for?The only web content worth paying for is skillfully planned content — think ‘front-loaded’ — with money and effort invested mainly into strategy, creativity and style.
Poorly planned content goes nowhere, but in the end it can cost you just as much.