I started writing for the Internet in 2006, somewhere during the time when the rule of thumb was to include the same phrase within an article as many times and in as many different ways as you could. Although frowned upon now, keyword stuffing was common. An article titled How to Make Spaghetti Sauce included this phrase several times throughout, as well as in headings and subheadings. Along with pasta, noodles, sauce, and anything else related to making spaghetti sauce, often resulting in a bowl of limp, overcooked noodle of an article.

I tried it a couple times but couldn’t stop asking myself, “What kind of writing is this?”

Keyword stuffing will sour any good writer on the process.

Angering Readers Works for a Second

Then, I wrote a blog post about the things I didn’t like about Mommy bloggers, titled something as careless as, “5 Types of Mommy Bloggers I Hate and Probably Hate Me Too.” Looking back, it was harmless. After thousands of views and hundreds of blog and Facebook comments, I thought I had figured out the formula for web writing.

It wasn’t at all about keyword stuffing. The key to writing for the web was pissing people off.

This web writing success carried forward to another article about stopping kids from picking their noses, which involved tips like smacking their parents for allowing a disgusting habit. I thought it was funny, and 400 comments later, accepted the fact that successfully writing for the Internet meant making people angry, even if you’re only joking.

I didn’t really enjoy this method either. It involved a lot of angry people.

Keeping Your Voice on the Web

And so I became truthful. I wrote about things that bothered me. Honest articles that weren’t funny to just me that were often helpful to someone else in a similar situation became just as popular. I learned that writing for the web means not just making people angry, but entertaining, informing, or actually making the reader laugh or cry without also wanting to hunt down the writer and stab them.

Writing for the web requires your voice and tone much like writing anywhere else. Trying to follow stringent or weird guidelines, writing in someone else’s voice, or not considering your audience, might allow us to experience a few successes but aren’t sustainable.

Great writers, no matter the venue, use their voices wisely.

Content Writing Doesn’t Have to be Painful

When it comes to content marketing, writers often find themselves stuck between the early days of keyword stuffing and writing content that no one on earth wants to read. Much like every other type of writing, it’s important to relay the message but it doesn’t mean creating content that makes readers want to bang their heads into walls to stay awake.

While it might seem like content marketing requires placing your heart and soul inside a box in order to meet the client’s needs, you find ways to make each piece yours. Sometimes by creating the best headlines and subheadings ever to hit the Internet; sometimes by sharing information in a way that has never been shared. No matter the content or the guidelines, when they read it, they should know exactly who wrote it.

You find success in content writing when the reader trusts you, laughs with you, or feels like he or she has learned from you, even when your name isn’t on it. And, of course, actually reads what you write, without wanting to hurt anyone.
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Media Shower writer Christina Majaski is well known for her work in business, finance, and law. You can follow her on Google Plus or Twitter.