Creating quality content, or even for working on a simpler text, is a complex matter that can hardly be fully planed. Some claim that a text requires inspiration, others are betting on the technique. There is a general misunderstanding; there isn’t an one and only way for someone to create content or work on a text. There is no magic recipe that can be applied every time in order to ensure a perfect result.
You may have come across a number of articles explaining the so-called “secret techniques of success”, but think about how tedious the majority of these articles were, by just trying to read them. Probably something would not work properly in them.
The success of a text is based on two key factors: The author’s ability and the taste of the reader. As one can easily understand, by this we are talking about two absolutely unpredictable parameters. Every person has a different perception of aesthetics. Some people like feta cheese, for others it is just a necessary accompaniment to food that does not stand alone. There are also some people who have the talent or the ability to cook okra in such a way that they do not even need to accompany it with feta cheese in order to be at least edible.
[Note: If you like okra and you find this example inaccurate, then I am really happy that this confirms my original argument on taste.]
But let’s get back to the subject. The factors which make a text successful belong to a discussion that is difficult to close. In general, however, we can write done some commonly accepted parameters:
a. The text has a clear subject and the writer sticks with it
b. It is written without errors – spelling, syntax, expression and structure.
c. It has correct means of expression, with a corresponding technique and structure.
d. It is addressed to a specific audience.
e. Subject – audience – means of expression and development are perfectly aligned.
f. The writer includes correct examples of evidence.
g. The text meets the required standards on aesthetics.
h. It is inspiring and includes clear CTA (Call To Action).
… and so the list goes on.
But, are there some standard techniques that always give us the perfect result? Opinions differ. Probably the answer should be negative, since hardly anyone can agree, especially since there can never be a total of 100% happy readers.
Let’s check five common techniques that will not work, especially if you overdo it:
1. Plan each and every detail
One of the most favourite techniques is to gather all the material you want to use, from the beginning to the end of the text, and compose on it. And indeed, this is a very useful technique, but it will not work if you overdo it. Why? Because, there are two possible scenarios: Either gradually find yourself out of topic, drifting away by inspiration, or find out that you no longer have any space left to create your own material, since your notes do not leave you any room to develop your subject properly. So, we are talking about a technique that needs moderation.
2. Get inspiration from others
This issue is quite tricky. Where does the inspiration stop and where does plagiarism begin? Yes, it’s a great idea to react creatively to third-party creations. It is useful to seek inspiration when you have run out of it, but there is a problem. Every person is not an expert in all matters. No one can know everything. As much as I know, I cannot write an article on Quantum Mechanics. It’s not my specialty, and whatever research I may try to do, it will probably be in vain. So, in this case, if I insist to proceed and write my article, I could either take the risk of error, or – if I did not have the required integrity – I could modify the original text instead. But, this is quite an act of offense, since I use someone else’s intellectual property without permission or reference. Moreover, this act has a direct effect on my website, since Google hates copies. The algorithm identifies who has written the text first and ignores any other factor, by placing it first in its lists, ahead of any products of reproduction.
3. Work on someone else’s style
There are a number of professional content creators, who can adapt to someone else’s style, but they are really few, they do so only under specific circumstances and for a specific reason. As you do not try to talk seriously by mimicking someone else’s voice, it’s a good idea to avoid trying to copy a foreign style. You can work on your own, modify it to the needs and requirements of each article, but you must always insist on authenticity. No one loves imitations, no matter how good they seem to be.
4. Try to keep the content simple
“Whatever you are writing, keep it simple”, oh what a common advice it is. We should make it clear that “simple” does not mean “naïve”. Under no circumstances a reader can be interested in a text with a rudimentary structure and naïve expressive technique. The advice I could propose instead is “Whatever you write, keep it in familiar”. As you choose your subject, so you should do with your expressive technique; you should always keep in mind what the reader wants. You have to become one with your audience, without trying to imitate.
5. Give away all the information -Spoiler alert!
There is a widespread misunderstanding that an excellent text, an integrated content creation, should include all the possible information on its subject. This is one of the most common mistakes that prevent the reader from continuing to read a text. And there are at least two basic explanations for this: No reader’s chosen to read something that is totally unfamiliar. The reader is already familiar with the subject. That’s why someone does not want to read again something already known. The reader will try to bypass the known info, and by doing that, it is very easy to bypass the entire text. The second reason has to do more with the psychology of most readers. No one wants to be given the clue. Yes, you have read it correctly. A reader does not want to be given all the answers and an analysis of them on top. Obviously, when it comes to a tutorial, or instructions, there it takes a complete analysis, but we are talking about creative info-content. Allow the reader to feel pleasure of discovering something new. This is the ideal feeling. Give all the instructions to the end of the “journey”, but let the “traveler” discover the beauties of the destination.
These were 5 fairly popular techniques, which do not work, unless you pay close attention and moderate your approach. And since we have seen how they could perform positively, let’s mention the most basic rule to create quality content. This rule is straightforward and clear, there are no misunderstandings or mistakes in it application: “Throw the techniques away as soon as you learn them.”. A content creator should not necessarily follow the same rule in all of its texts. Obviously, aesthetics are non-negotiable; substance, meaning, correctness, expression… But these are the prerequisites to get to quality. Join the role of the reader after you complete your creation. Declare to yourself absolute ignorance about the subject and ask yourself if you would be satisfied with your text. If the answer is positive, then you are on the right track. Then it will by high time to apply the techniques of publishing and optimisation.