Freelance writers, particularly those who specialize in web content, are in for some big changes. In the beginning, all we needed to do was incorporate keywords into our work. The quantity of work we produced was more important than the quality.
Then, quality content became more important. As it stands, the search engines are looking for content that is user friendly, easy to read and, most importantly, valuable to the reader. Stringing words together is no longer going to cut it. If you can’t keep a reader on your page, you can’t impress Google.
Now, web content is changing again. In addition to engaging readers with the written word, the search engines are beginning to look at other forms of content. Streaming video, audio and static visual components are more important than ever.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m old school. I’m hanging on to my written words for as long as I can. Shaping words is my passion, and I’m probably going to be one of the last to make the switch to a more visual content strategy.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead. Here are a few ways you can begin to incorporate those visuals into your personal or business site. By starting now, you’ll be miles ahead of old-school writers like myself.
Start a podcast
It’s fair to say that if you write, you have “a lot of words.” You may not be the most eloquent person when it comes to the spoken word, but that doesn’t matter. A great way to build a following is to create a podcast.
Your podcast should directly relate to your specific niche. If could be a course that you teach others (at no cost) or your podcast could take on a Q&A format. For example, you’ve received an email asking you, “what do you struggle with most as a freelancer?” Answer those queries in the form of a podcast.
Launch a video blog
You’ve heard of those YouTubers who make thousands of dollars per video. That may or not be your lot in life but starting a video blog is another great way to bring traffic to your blog.
You may choose to embed your videos directly into your personal site. That’s a good idea. But I’d also recommend creating a channel on YouTube or another platform. You’ll draw more traffic to the videos themselves, which in turn will bring more visitors to your site.
Be sure you’re using quality equipment. No one wants to squint to see you through a grainy video. BinBuzz has put together a nice list of good equipment to check out before you start your vlog. You can see that list here.
Use visuals on your site
If you’re not ready to let the world hear your voice or see your face, you can begin by incorporating visuals into your posts. A great resource is Canva – I swear by the service. Create an account there, then go to town creating Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook visuals as well as fliers and other documents.
Create images which will compel visitors to click your link, then incorporate other visuals within the post itself. We humans have developed a short attention span. So breaking up long texts is a good way to create scannable, easy to read content.
Do What Feels Comfortable to You
Sometimes it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone. But there’s little worse than an awkward, stuttering podcast or a crappy and uncomfortable video blog.
Stepping outside your comfort zone doesn’t mean doing something you hate. Not at all – in fact, you can always outsource. Do you really want to start a vlog, but you’re shy in front of the camera? Team up with a colleague who can help. Trade services – you write a few posts for her and she can show her sunny face to the world on your behalf.
However you approach it, approach it now. Begin to formulate a plan for your new content and stay ahead of the search engines. When Google comes crawling for media content, your site will already be at the forefront.