Efficiency Without Duplication
According to Social Media B2B, companies in a business-to-business framework are generating 67 percent more leads when they blog. In the business-to-customer realm, custom content creates trust. The Custom Content Council found that 61 percent of consumers are more likely to buy if they see unique content on your pages. All that unique content takes work, though. A content template can make it easier, however there are a few pitfalls to avoid.
Content Template Verses Boiler-Plating
Think of content like a house. A template is a basic blue print, or even a frame. It tells you things like how many rooms and bathrooms you need, how much square footage the house will cover, and possibly where the load-bearing walls and plumbing will be. Using that information, you can create any number of unique homes. In this metaphor, boiler-plating might occur when you allow the blue print to also govern the window and door types, where windows are installed, the color of the walls, the type of flooring, and how lawn care is designed. Using this analogy for a content template, you want to create a basic structure not dictate each paragraph, sentences, or words.
Boiler-Plating & Plagiarism
Google — and other search engines — are on the lookout for duplicate content, especially plagiarizers. Copying content directly from anyone, including yourself, will get you penalized. Most content marketers understand this. Using a content template can lead you close to the waters of duplicate content. It’s all too easy to fall into boiler-plating – where the structure is so detailed the content is almost the same on each page except for a few specific details.
Here are two examples of product descriptions that might be found on a party supply site:
- Get the party started with this metallic gold banner, which measures 15 feet across. The bold letters proclaim “Happy Birthday,” so everyone will know it’s the guest of honor’s big day.
- Get the party started with this metallic silver banner, which measures 10 feet across. The bold letters proclaim “Happy Anniversary,” so everyone will know it’s the special couple’s big day.
It’s okay to have a template that requires a similar number of words or certain information in each section of a page. However simply replacing words in the copy to create new sentences doesn’t give you anything unique. Customers who browse your site may get bored with these repetitive descriptions. Google will also rank the pages lower, because there is so much similar content.
Content Template Best Practices
Create a content template for different types of web pages or content, including about us pages, informational blog post, promotional blog posts, product descriptions, and landing pages. Templates work out the kinks between copy and web design. It also provides something to show marketing teams, executives, or clients before the heavy-lifting content writing begins. Getting sign off on the content template reduces the chance you’ll have to rewrite or restructure content later.
A content template provides the copywriter with important information such as word count, header or bullet requirements. It also indicates how the content will interact with other items on the page. If you use multiple in-house writers or contracted freelancers, we recommend a content template as well as a style guide. This ensures your content is consistent across campaigns, blog articles, or site pages. Just make sure everyone involved understands the difference between starting with a basic structure and switching out words to create “not so new” content.
How do you avoid creating duplicate content on your website or blog?
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