You may not know Caryn Purdy by name, but you know her work. She’s a widely published writer who’s worked for an enormous range of websites, and her site says it best: She’s the Quality Content Writer. She spoke with us about how to make better content and successfully work with writers.

What are some common mistakes made about content and corporate blogs?

The biggest and most common mistake anyone can make with their blog is to think it’s all about getting on the front page of Google to drive search traffic to their site. This is so counterproductive because you end up with SEO-oriented blogs and content that’s more about a specific search phrase instead of a topic. You should be creating a personable identity for your brand and giving people a reason to come back and interact with you some more.

That strategy doesn’t work for everyone… but if you want to build lasting relationships with your customers, then the worst thing you can do with your blog is focus more on acquisition instead of retention.

Other common mistakes include ripping off competitors or related websites for content. Nobody likes a copycat and the original is always better. It is okay to respond to an article with your own new points, and link to the original source… it is never okay to try and clone what someone else has already said. To be honest, there are a lot of common mistakes that can be avoided if you just follow the most basic strategy for success – be original. Choose original topics that fit the core message of your brand and will attract your best customers who will ultimately choose you.

Also, stop thinking that your blogs or articles have to be a certain minimum word count!

How should a business approach a writer about their site? What should they have in front of them before they send the email?

They need all of the important details so they can clarify exactly what they want. There’s a big difference between web page copy writing, blog management, content marketing, and so on. Make sure you have:

  • A soft deadline and hard deadline.
  • A budget. You don’t have to tell a writer what it is.
  • Goals. What do you hope to accomplish, and how will you measure the return of your investment?
  • Information to support whatever you need written.

Then when you are ready to contact potential writers, you’ll want to include:

  • A short summary of your project – what you need, what you need it for (goals), and the soft deadline.
  • A request for a proposal or bid.
  • A request for samples that relate to what you need.
  • A random compliment. Writers love these!

What would you say to a business worried that their industry is too “boring” to carry a blog?

There is no such thing! No matter how technical or dull your industry may be, you have the choice and opportunity to create a brand that stands out.

What should be the goal of content marketing? Engagement? Sales? And why?

The goal depends on the business. Content marketing can be used to establish a personable identity for your brand as well as credibility in your niche. It can create an impact that people remember you for, and it can attract new visitors to your website. The strategy and execution should always focus on what your own end goal is, but content marketing offers many benefits so everything else will just be icing on the cake. My opinion – I can’t stress enough that this is an opinion – is that effective content marketing may lead to more sales, but that isn’t the right strategy to use if sales is your #1 priority.

What’s one industry you’d really like to write about that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to write and learn about new topics and niches that I would have never considered an interest in. For me, that is the most exciting part. What I look forward to are the “oddball” topics that I know nothing about… yet!

For more from Caryn, follow her on Facebook.