A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader asking me about content creation specific to all the different types of content for the web.  Since that is more of an involved question than replying with a simple e-mail, I told him that I would answer his question in an upcoming post.
This post will break down the differences between the following types of content:
  1. Website content
  2. Article content
  3. Press release content
  4. Blog content

Website Content

Preparing content for a website needs to be created similar to sales copy, as it is what potential customers/clients will be reading to understand more about your products/services and how you can deliver value.  If your website content is not compelling or is difficult to understand, your visitor will go elsewhere.
When preparing website content you need to have a balance in terms of length.  You don’t want to give them so much information that they don’t need to contact you because they have everything they need, but you don’t want to not give them enough where it doesn’t make them interested in learning more.
In terms of content formatting, it should be similar to the style of a blog post.  Use short and compelling headlines, make it easy to scan, use bullet points to highlight features/benefits, and utilize graphics and images to help tell a story about your products/services.
Probably the most important aspect of website copy is to drive visitors to take action.  The difference between a good site and a great site is the ability to turn a visitor into a lead or buyer.  In order to do this you need to have lead generation mechanisms like contact forms, live chat, phone numbers, and call to action buttons to convert users.

Article Content

Each article that you see on popular article submission sites like EzineArticles or GoArticles are usually specific to a particular topic within an industry.  Generally, an article can be anywhere from 350 – 1000 words.  The formatting of an article is more formal than a blog post and structured similar to a press release.  Some article submission sites allow links within the article text, however the majority of these sites allow you to place a link in the About the Author section.

The down fall to articles is that because so many SEOs use this as a way of building inbound links to their website, that they just rewrite and spin articles so that it seems to be unique content.  These type of articles don’t deliver much value to the end user and reduce the value of many of these article directory websites. Even though many people use this tactic, don’t fall into this trap.  You have a better chance of writing great content and having more people share it with their social networks, than just rewriting an article for a link.

Go to http://ezinearticles.com/ for lots of examples of articles.

Press Release Content

A press release is similar to an article, but it has a different format and additional elements that go with it.  The 4 main elements of a press release include:

  1. Title: This is similar to a title for a blog post, which tells the user what the press release is going to be about.
  2. Summary: A press release summary is just that.  It summarizes the press release in 2-4 sentences, giving the user a higher level overview about whats in the press release.
  3. Body: Your body is the meat of your content, usually about 400-800 words in length that talks about the details of whatever it is you are promoting.
  4. About: This goes at the end of the release to give a brief overview of the company and it’s products/services.

Press Releases are more formal by nature and typically highlight something newsworthy about a company.  Things like mergers, events, products/services launches, website makeovers, contests, and discounts/specials all are great ideas to submit a press release. Many times the press release will be submitted by a PR company and not the actual company.

Blog Content

Blogs tend to be have a more informal style of writing, compared to a press release or article.  Usually you will see more images, videos, graphs, charts, numbered lists, bullet points, and links in blog posts.  There really isn’t a specific format that you need to follow for a blog post, as long as it is easy to scan and digest.

Certain types of blog content gets shared more often than others.  This includes:

  • Top 10 Lists
  • Recaps, Roundups, Collections
  • Breaking News
  • Images and Videos (Rich Media)
  • Infographics
  • Studies (Data, Statistics)

With blog posts, having a Title that is intriguing to the reader is extremely important.  This is what will determine if they want to click into the post to read more.  Once they get into your post, you want to make sure you keep them reading by using the 1st few sentences to set the tone and what they can expect for the rest of the post.