Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The randomness of content writing

Sometimes I kid myself into thinking that the "publishers" I write content-mill stories for actually care about what I write. Then I get an e-mail from one of them and I'm quickly proven wrong.

For instance, yesterday I turned in a package of three content stories of the longer side. Each was about 600 words. The stories took me longer to write than usual, but I turned them in on time.

The publisher was happy with the work. He had just one complaint: Two paragraphs in one of my columns were both about the same subject. In other words, the eighth paragraph in my story talked about creating a new blog. The ninth paragraph added just a bit more information to that thought.

The problem with this? My publisher spins the stories so that all the paragraphs except for the first and last are jumbled in random order every time a new version of the story is posted on one of his Web sites. If two paragraphs, such as my two on blogging, need to follow one another, this screws up his random jumbling. After all, it won't make much sense to have the second of my two blog paragraphs appearing before the first.

I've always known that I do content writing just to fill in the financial gaps from the writing I like better, the stuff I do for trade magazines and comic-book publishers. Sometimes, though, I get little reminders like this: It's not really the quality of my writing that matters when I'm turning in a content story, it's all about hitting the right keywords and turning in the right number of small paragraphs.

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