Today’s church service was chock full of content. We had content from lay readers and the priest. The choir kicked in a few pieces of musical content.
In other words, we sang hymns, read scripture, prayed, and took communion. The priest gave a sermon. We passed the plate, in hopes it would come back full of content — er, money.
I’m all for hymns, sermons, bread, wine and money. Those are real things. So are stories, opinions, user guides, press releases, updates, contact pages, music, pictures, movies and bow ties.
Imagine getting a suggested dress code for an upcoming event. If it followed the usual web advice we’re seeing, it would say, “Wear clothes.” Good advice, as far as it goes. And the person who sends it won’t be able to complain if one guest shows up in tails and another in flip flops.
Don’t settle for content. That can be anything, but it may accomplish nothing. You want people to visit your site because it has stuff they want to read, watch, listen to or learn. So give them the real stuff. Tell stories. Show pictures. List important information.
If you just think, “I need more content,” you’ll be tempted to crank out vanilla, generic … well, content. Your customers, prospects and web visitors want more than that. They want a reason to be there. So get down to specifics. If you’re giving a schedule, make it clear and detailed. Illustrate it if you can.
And when you write, always reach for the most precise word you can find. So don’t say “content” when you mean “advice.” If you’re not sure about a word, ask yourself it it would make sense in a different sentence. Good words are too specific to be interchangeable. If you put them in the wrong place, they look funny.
Lousy, general words like “content” fit almost anywhere, and that’s why you don’t want to use them.