Last Updated on October 10, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
The last thing you want to offer a client is bland content. If the material is uninspiring, there’s a good chance the client will find a new writer. What can you do to avoid being seen as ordinary and allow your work to stand out?
Clients and Bland Content
Most clients on the Internet are looking for a specific tone and energy level when developing content. That’s because certain styles perform better in some situations. For instance, you may find yourself writing more clinical pieces as in operations manuals.
Steps to Avoid Being Mediocre
When I first started writing for Textbroker, some clients viewed my content as clinical. I was trying to demonstrate my use of a vocabulary while sticking to strict facts and data. Unfortunately, most clients didn’t like this approach.
I had to learn how to simplify the material while being more conversational. While I am still learning how to keep people engaged, shifting my practices have made a vast impact on retaining clients.
Here are the steps I use when it comes to giving a client something that isn’t entirely dull.
1. Examine Past Accepted Articles
One of the best tips I can give you is taking a look at the client’s past articles. This will give you an idea of the style and tone he or she wants. In fact, it’s often a requisite when you’re on various Textbroker teams.
You don’t have to spend an excessive amount of time going over previous content. However, you’ll need to take a look at a handful of pieces if you want to get a good idea about what the client wants. It’ll also give you an opportunity to consider what you can do better than past writers.
2. Get Yourself in the Mood
If you want to avoid creating bland content, you need to get in the mood. Your current level of energy is often visible in your writing techniques. This is why I refuse to write at night or if I’m sick. As I pride myself on quality, I want to make sure a client gets my best work without having a cloudy mind.
I understand that some days it’s difficult to get in the mood, especially if you’re suffering from an inner ear infection. It’s still advisable that you try your best to get yourself in a state of high-energy.
Here’s a few ways you can boost your energy level prior to writing:
- Get the blood flowing. Personally, I like to go for a quick 10 to 13 minute walk while listening to fast-paced music. It gets the blood flowing and helps build the spirit.
- Get a good night’s rest. Your mood and mental state are linked to how well you slept the night before. Sleep improves mood, concentration and the ability to think rationally.
- Eat a good breakfast. You’ve probably heard how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s because the nutrients you consume will set the tone for how the day unfolds.
3. Understand What Voice the Client Wants
Clients don’t always want the same voice and style across the board. Like I mentioned before, things like instruction manuals are general more clinical and in third-person. It’s important to understand what a client wants before working on a piece.
How does this effect avoiding bland content? Because it gives you insight into what is expected. Usually, content that is written in first-person is easy to create for engaging an audience. This is because it builds a kind of bridge between the author and the reader. It connects to people on a more personal and approachable level.
Unfortunately, not all clients want first-person content. In that case, you need to practice delivering a high-energy appearance in other ways. It’s all about verbiage and sentence structure.
4. Research the Industry
Researching your client’s industry is vastly important in any regard. It provides a sense of what is to be expected while helping you understand the content you’re supposed to create.
I’ll usually take a look at a client’s competition to see how popular pages are performing. If you don’t know the client, as in using brokerage sites, then you can still do a bit of research regarding the topic and get an idea of the industry.
Make sure that you’re taking a look at the client’s work as well as the competition. Not all website owners will follow industry standards, and some client’s may want those first-person instructional manuals. In some ways, it helps them stand out among the crowd.
5. Avoid Creating Filler
Adding filler is a good way to lose a client and possibly your own readers of a blog. This is when you try to stuff in as many words as possible to reach a word count without really putting thought into the content. It’s a big no-no.
I often avoid filler by adding additional facts to support the article. For instance, what if a client wants an article 1000 words long on how to use a specific plugin for WordPress and the instructions just can’t reach it? I’ll often include a brief Q&A regarding the plugin or it’s functions and/or include best practices for using the tool.
Situations will vary, but you get the point.
Filler can hurt the tone of the article. When you’re trying to force content, people notice. And it can change the temperament of the peace from high-energy to bland content. You need to keep a constant flow to engage the reader throughout the piece. Otherwise, you might lose the visitor’s attention. At which point, the client will find a new writer.
6. Be Creative, But Remain Factual
Depending on the client, you can only be so creative in any given piece. But, creativity doesn’t mean the content has to be fictional. One of my favorite articles completed for a web-safety client used lines from the song “Every Breath You Take” by The Police as headers for each point. The client absolutely loved it.
Another example is when I compared building office real estate to business website development for a web host provider.
Personally, I get more excited when I create pieces like this…and it shows in the finished project.
On the other hand, some clients don’t appreciate the creativity in pieces and want jobs done a certain way. Who knows, you may even come across a client who praises bland content. I know I’ve had a few. That’s why it’s important to ask the client questions and be open to discussion.
Give the Client Something Favorable
The more engaging the content is, the more likely a client will pay you for more work. In my experience, most clients don’t want writers who are tame. They want pieces that are full of life and energy. Of course this depends on the individual and the article, so you need to understand exactly what the client is looking for.
Do what you can to make your content exciting without forcing it.
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