What do you think of when you hear the words "content writing"? Its definition has changed over...
How Content Services Have Evolved and Improved Over Time
Today's digital marketing methods only vaguely resemble how they looked over a decade ago. Going back to the early days of Amazon and e-commerce in the 1990s, you'll find that things look dramatically different. Today's emphasis on search and social media means more opportunities to reach consumers—but more competition.
Along the way, content services have developed to support companies with the creation of online marketing materials. A well-written website, an entertaining blog, and on-trend social posts—these are all things today's content experts provide in droves.
However, those services haven't stayed static, either—they've evolved substantially. As digital marketing has matured, content services have also transitioned into an established, professional industry. Was it always that way? Not at all—in fact, many brands might have stories about poor experiences and low-quality service during the industry's early days.
Working Through the Growing Pains
How have these services changed over time? Looking at some of the problems common to early content production helps reveal what to look for in today's providers. Modern problems demand modern solutions, after all.
Lack of understanding of web content preferences
Early content production wasn't always aligned with what real web users wanted to read. Writers often assumed they knew, based on their own experiences, what would drive clicks and generate leads—but the web is more complicated than that. Consider that even today, tastes continue to change quickly as users seek more authority—but they also want quick bites of data.
In recent years, short-form content made up as much as 83% of marketing content—yet long-form articles are also on the rise, spiking from 22 to 42 percent over the same period. In times past, there was much less thought given to the different types of content and their lengths—web content was more of a general category. Today, we know specialization is key.
Long delays and slow turnarounds
We're not far from the days when web content providers could be highly unreliable. Agencies could be anywhere in the world, but they often only worked on their own timetables. Someone outsourcing content halfway around the globe couldn't count on a reliable delivery time. Missed deadlines and slow production were important, too.
Such delays often caused problems. Remember, posting consistently is key to generating momentum for a campaign—sometimes, it can take up to four new weekly posts for a young blog. Today's agencies can more capably meet that demand, but it wasn't always a given in the past.
Generic "salesman" language
Rather than thinking about audience make-up or buyer personas, web content writers in the past could quickly default to "salesy" language—the kind you'd expect from a newspaper ad or a TV commercial. This isn't the way to engage readers on the web, not least because users recognize this approach as lazy, ineffective, and boring. Today, you can more easily count on vivid, innovative copy from your writers.
Poor communication and lacking availability
In line with slow turnaround times, agencies in the past didn't prioritize good customer service the way they do today. Communication could be poor and might even take place in broken English—if you got an answer at all. Agencies that "ghosted" clients weren't uncommon; sometimes, the business would simply not follow through on its obligations or fold suddenly. Today, you can expect prompt, clear communication and a keen attentiveness to your directives.
Duplicate, repetitive content
It takes hard work to develop new angles to approach common subjects. Not everyone always puts in that work, leading to often stale and repetitive content. Add in bad spelling and poor grammar to the mix, and websites might have no choice but to publish substandard content chasing clicks and SEO. Now you can more easily find teams that recognize the importance of delivering content from fluent writers with more knowledge of your niche.
Today's Services Are Radically Different
Over time, as the need for consistent content production became clear, more services appeared with an emphasis on a higher level of quality. Today, you can find an agency providing content services