One reason I was originally hesitant to start designing websites is the nature of “content” on the web. It is the misconception of clients that technology and the flexibility of content management systems allow “content” to come at any time. Unlike print where the medium has physical restraints, the web is abstract with endless pages and the perceived flexibility to handle anything. By anything I mean that clients now believe the more the better, and with SEO professionals telling them it will benefit their search rankings little thought is given to effective writing. Technology has created a situation where people now ingest copy with the hopes of gaining more eyeballs, at the expense of actually saying anything important.
POSITIONING HAS BEEN COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN
Now focused on filling their websites with so called “content” clients are rapidly diluting their brands by posting everything and anything on their websites and blogs. Some endlessly post pointless press releases without editing, and others regurgitate the same information their competitors are. What happened to reinforcing strengths? Why are these organizations not sharing their benefits, and speaking about things that relate to their business models? What happened to not only writing for people, but what they actually care to read? Why do companies speak yet say nothing?
SAVING MONEY OR WASTING IT?
Another common misconception of clients is that they can save money by providing their own copywriting. This is however never the case, and normally means extra time spent reworking their copy making it fit the site’s structure, or in the worst case scenario creating something that is ultimately ineffective. Writing supplied by clients is normally lacking positioning, insanely general, and just plain boring. Or basically exactly the opposite of any brief I have ever read. Blogs are one thing, but that doesn’t mean the client should write everything.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE COPYWRITERS GONE?
What this all boils down to is that copywriters and editors should be in mass demand right now. Companies need to learn that there is more to having a web presence than just being there. Everyone is trying to generate buzz and find an online audience however they are all going about it in the wrong way. Finding an audience is so simple that it escapes people. Write for people and everything else will come.
Either way I am going to question so called “content development strategies” and client submitted copy. If you are going to spend the money to have materials done, the least I can do is make them work. Copy is integral to effective design no matter the medium, when did this get lost?
Rant completed, comments welcome…