Quality Content: Re-Writing Methods
One of the big – and positive – evolutions in Internet Marketing today is the all-important focus on quality content.
While the interwebs are still littered with an unfathomable quantity of ‘junk’ and lo-grade content, the combination of Google’s efforts and the general public’s increased impatience & intolerance of it has ‘raised the bar’ significantly. And that goes across the board: articles & blog posts, ‘free’ content, sales pages, and info-products.
The bottom line is this: you simply MUST be using high-quality, original content if you want to have any sort of sustainable success.
Whether it’s for your own website, to gain high-value backlinks via guest blogging (or the high-end relation, “Authority Posting”), or your own info-product, your sales pages, even your ‘free’ lead magnets – high quality content is essential.
Easier said than done? Doesn’t have to be…
Fortunately, that’s what this post is all about: reducing the time & effort required to produce great material.
While you could outsource your content, even then you must at least come up with the basic ideas – and for guest posting or “Authority Posting”, you must come up with the ideas AND titles.
And of course you could simply create lots of great articles, posts, reports, etc. But, at best it’s very time-consuming and mentally taxing; at worst, well, the fact is not everyone is a good writer.
Fortunately, there are ways to come up with as much great stuff as we might need without necessarily having to write it all or pay someone else to do it for us.
‘Spinning’ is so 2010…
(For those of us who have been around a while, it seems odd to even have to explain ‘spinning’, but such is the accelerated ‘dog years’ half-life of “time” on the internet…)
Once upon a time (had to say that lol), in the still-never-ending efforts to automate, leapfrog, short-cut, and ‘magic-button’ our way to success, someone came up with the brilliant idea of ‘content spinning’.
(Back when gaining tons of backlinks by syndicating tons of ‘unique’ articles could actually get you tons of free traffic from Google, someone realized they could automate the task of generating these tons of ‘unique’ articles by creating software to replace words & sentences with synonyms, creating zillions of marginally-different copies of the original article. The process was termed “content spinning” – and eventually just “spinning”. The results were universally awful, but it was really only intended to ‘fool’ the search engines, and it DID accomplish the task.)
As with so many things we marketers latch on to, it was very quickly ‘done to death’.
Thankfully, not many people still use this tactic, though it’s worth pointing out that Google can recognize spun content far better than you imagine.
Besides, the key to ranking, to gaining ‘Authority’ stature, and to getting your guest- and Authority posts accepted – not to mention the REAL goal of getting people to actually READ your stuff – is Quality with a capital “Q”. Which begs the question…
What Exactly Defines “Quality Content”?
While this is a very subjective question and has been debated ad nauseum, I believe Google nailed it when trying to answer that very question.
To paraphrase Google, “Quality Content” can be discerned with this ‘test’:
Would a qualified visitor, reading your content, be able to HONESTLY say, “yeah, that was a good article, worth my time to read”…?
This means your articles, posts, etc. MUST be useful, and have good, interesting, well-written information about things THAT MATTER to the reader.
And that leaves spinning out.
So why all this focus on spinning, and what does spinning have to do with creating NEW content – or answering our original question?
The answer, and the methods I refer to in the title of this post, is to use use a similar approach, manually.
I’ve coined the term “mental spinning”… pretty bad, I know – but pretty accurate.
The idea of “mental spinning” is to use you brain rather than software, to go through an article – or any existing, quality content – and quickly & easily re-write it. The results can be rapid development of quality content.
Start by finding some really good content covering the niche, idea, topic, etc., that you need.
From there, we’ll use some easy but powerful methods to make the process both easy and effective.
It’s far easier than you think. Here are some guidelines or methods to re-writing excellent articles so that they maintain their “yeah, that was really good” value.
1) Change the audience
If the original source article is written for job-seekers, for example, re-write it by turning it around and making if for employers. An article “Tips for Acing That Interview” can easily be re-written as “What to Look For When Interviewing Job Applicants”.
Another example: take an article written for seniors, change it around by re-writing it for single-moms, or students, etc.
2) Change the perspective
How might a sports team coach say the same things? Or a doctor? Or a teacher, a lazy guy, a ‘matter-of-fact’ guy, etc.?
3) “Localize” the topic
Re-write the article specifically for online, or specifically for offline, or for a particular location or locality.
4) Go ‘opposite’
If the article deals with minimal, short, small, etc., re-write it for large, expensive, big, etc.
As an example, a great article about planning a dream vacation or dream wedding can be re-written to be about planning a small get-away, or a budget wedding. Simplify the elaborate, or elaborate the simple.
5) Use sub-topics
An article about investing in the real estate market can be re-written to be about investing in co-ops, apartments, or rental properties in general.
6) Change the focus
Perhaps one of the easiest, and most open-ended ways to re-write articles is to change the focus.
Re-write a factual article as inspirational; make it a ‘before-and-after’ by dividing it into what it’s talking about, and the results that would come of it; couch it in the ‘reasons for’ by talking about the conditions, position, or need that has to exist in order to make the article something the reader needs in the first place.
For example, an article ‘How to be more assertive’ can be re-written by first talking about what type of person can benefit from being more assertive, or the social consequences of being socially passive, or what it might feel like to be socially anxious.
All of these methods will let you take an excellent article and quickly product an excellent ORIGINAL article with a fraction of the time & effort of doing it from scratch.
And if you start thinking about these, you’ll find you can come up with dozens of ways to ‘change up’ an article for re-writing!
Something else to consider – you can hire freelancers to re-write much cheaper than for original works – and it’s an easy thing to tell your freelancer “here’s an article; I need it re-written from ‘this’ perspective” or “re-write this so it’s appropriate for ‘this’ audience instead of the one it’s originally written for”.