July 19, 2012
This is an argument perhaps suggesting not that why SEO content can be beautiful, but more of why it simply must be beautiful. I myself have been to many conferences wherein people have asked the same question, ‘how do you make content interesting?’
Astonishingly, I find that the largest answer given is that, ‘if you can’t make content interesting, you should find another job.’ Not only do I find this a remarkably blunt answer, but it is also a useless one. Do we tell the average teenager that because he cannot drive, he should walk for the rest of his life? Absolutely not.
Of course, anyone (truthfully) in the world of marketing will tell you that once in a while, they will come across the occasional client that lacks a certain amount of stimulation. The aim of course, is making their topic interesting, and the overly simple solution to this is by slowly squeezing out the facts and the controversy via research, for everything – if examined in a certain light – is controversial. A far more eloquently minded person than myself once said that, ‘beautiful writing requires beautiful research.’ Who wouldn’t stand by that?
For instance, if your client is a banana merchant and you are struggling for excitement; search out the facts, look at the history of the fruit, read about it and delve into some books, for if you did you would already know about its human cultivation, the Banana Wars of the Caribbean and its astonishing nutritional value.
I remember once being flummoxed by something that came out of the mouth of Mr Mal Darwen where he stated at a conference, ‘the human mind is powerful, just like a computer; you can upgrade it by reading.’ I couldn’t have put it any simpler (or better) myself.
Besides of course the content itself, the meat, the hard matter, the purpose of words, it is of course the eloquence of a piece which will turn a topic from something quite spectacular, into just another badly written bit of marketing; read by no one (important).
This is where the test of a writer will really come into play. How does one make writing interesting to the reader once he already has the facts? There are many ways; captivating sentences, gently woven paragraphs and words worthy of thought are key.
The danger of being clever however (as every A-Level English student will know), is by simply being too clever. This next piece is written by George Orwell in his famous essay, Politics and the English Language (1946). I turn to the words of another man because again, I couldn’t have put it better myself.
“I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Here it is in modern English:
Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.”
Orwell’s point of course, is that what could have been a well written piece of literature, has instead become a banal heap of cockiness. This example is also furthered later on in the essay wherein he gives six rules for writing.
One of these rules vaguely addresses the topic of bombastic words within written pieces. Although I feel personally that the occasional grandiose word will work, (if supported naturally of course, by other grandiose words) the induction of such a word will likely break a sentence, and if you’re unlucky, the piece as a whole will fail giving the reader no choice but to click off.
Another topic which I feel needs addressing is the classification of content. Whereas some may class content as ‘standard’, ‘premium’ and the rest thereafter, I feel that all content must be treated the same. No piece too unimportant and no piece too little.
This next insert is an exquisite example of ‘no piece too little’. Encompassing the entirety of the essay, simply named ‘Music’; one’s mind twists backwards at the eloquence of something so small.
“When music affects us to tears, seemingly causeless, we weep not, as Gravina supposes, from ‘excess of pleasures’; but through excess of an impatient, petulant sorrow that, as mere mortals, we are as yet in no condition to banquet upon those supernal ecstasies of which the music affords us merely a suggestive and indefinite glimpse.”
That of course was written by Edgar Allen Poe, and I doubt that anyone I know, including myself, will ever create something so worthy; it is however, something that every content writer should aim for; whether they are to write one word or a thousand.