2.4: How To Get Content
1. Offer to pay guest authors for their work. A guest author could be someone you found on your bulletin board who happens to write well.
2. Exchange articles with the guest author’s site. Your site visitors benefit by providing them with another point of view. And you might just gain some new regular visitors from your guest author's site!
3. Make sure you get exclusivity. When someone writes for you, make sure they won’t submit that same article to dozens of other Websites and newsletters. When your site publishes exclusive content, you have opportunities for syndication in other publications, online and off, and you gain a lot of reader loyalty. The key phrase in a contract with a writer is that you’re buying all rights, including electronic.
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Can you use reprints? Reprint articles written by others, but you must always obtain permission. All work, from the moment it is written, is copyright and owned by the author, whether it is marked with a copyright symbol or not. Content is not free. You can, however, make reprints interesting and personalized by putting your own 'spin' on the content. Write an introduction to the subject, or comment on the author's opinions or conclusions. Take care to avoid 'editing' the original article without the author's permission. Avoid articles that have been reprinted many times before on other Websites and electronic publications.
Political Opinion Using political opinion on your site can be tricky. People are deeply divided these days and have strong opinions. If you do run a political site, you’ll probably want to carve out your own niche. Even then, be prepared for flamers from very different view points.
On the other hand, if you can manage to run a site that actually features a somewhat well-mannered debate, you’ll have a huge hit on your hands. Be prepared to moderate this type of site.
News Stories Your site can become a news source for the latest developments and happenings in certain niche area by providing timely news on topics of interest to your readers. I’m not saying you can be the next CNN or MS-NBC, because that takes building a huge operation. But what you can be is, for example, the CNN of the karate world, or the ABS-News of the bonsai tree hobbyists.
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What you’ll want to do is create a separate section of your site to deal with industry news. Or, devote an entire site to news updates. There are many ways of presenting news:
• As a feature article
• As short news clips, with a link to the full story
• As news stories, where each item is explained at length
However you decide to present the news, make sure you give it your own personal style. Check out salon.com. Has its own style, doesn’t it? Now look at drudgereport.com. That’s another style. Make yours interesting, personal, chatty, fun, unique, or all of these – just make it yours.
Make sure your news is relevant, useful to your reader, and timely. Old news ain’t no news at all, it’s history! So how do you get news? By:
• Subscribe to eZines on your subject or topic
• Sign up for e-mail news delivery services
• Register to get regular press releases on your topic
• Surf the web for new news items
• Get news from newspapers, magazines and books
• Go to conferences, workshops or seminars and write about what you see and who you talk to
Conglomerating the best content If you can make your site into the ultimate content resource on issues related to your topic, I guarantee you you’ll attract and retain a loyal audience. Your site will become known as a The Place for anyone who wants information on your subject. For example, Harry Knowles has made aintitcoolnews.com into The Site for movie reviews and advance spoilers.
Since you’re the expert on your topic, you can evaluate sites and other resources (eZines, directories, books, offline publications) and sniff out the best ones to list along with your rating and opinions.
This sort of content is like the old book reports you used to have to write for school. Read up thoroughly on your subjects, then hit the high points of a topic. Or, consider writing a summary of three separate articles that have the same theme.
Reviews of movies, books, music This is perhaps the easiest category to get content for. If you have friends who are movie, book, or music fans, they’ll probably write reviews for free just for the thrill of seeing their stuff on a site.
Also, this is a never-ending source of content, since there are always new movies, books and music coming out. Contrast that with dog breeds—once you’ve written everything there is to say about every known breed, you have to wait for them to come up with a new breed!
If you want to have some fun, you can review movies yourself. And actually, if you’re running your Google adsense site as a business, you may even be able to deduct the cost of movie tickets from your taxes. Check with a tax consultant to make sure, though.
Music is easy, too, especially if you live in a town that has lots of live music or festivals. If not, you can buy used cd’s online, listen, and review. In fact, you could even hire a high-school kid to do this, but check their writing skills first.
Books are a little harder, since they take more time to review and cost more than cd’s and movie tickets. However, you can paraphrase what others have said if you’re clever and don’t violate copyright.
Interviews This is a category you might want to get a freelance writer for. Go to elance.com and browse the profiles of Service Providers to see who does interviews, then talk to them. Many freelancers specialize in celebrity interviews, and that’s what you want.
Interactive features - polls, feedback, discussion groups, forums, chat This is one of the most popular types of sites for kids, teens, and young adults because they get to give their opinions (which many kids don’t get to do enough of at home, according to them) and they get to talk to others.
So, if you want to run this kind of site, bear your target market in mind. It’s worth paying a few bucks to a freelance writer or graphic artist to come up with fun games that are constantly changing, or new polls, since people will come back time and again to give their opinions. And don’t forget surveys—people love to take surveys.
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