Does Your Content Deliver?

deliveryI was conducting research for some projects yesterday when I realized that most of the search results that I was getting were not helping me at all.

Either the headline itself was misleading, or article was actually on the topic — but the content was too broad and the article contained no new information.

The articles that I was finding through the search engine were just like this packing box — they looked like they might have something good inside, but when you opened the package all you found inside was foam.

After a while, I started to recognize which sites were not helpful and I started to avoid opening articles from those sites.

(Isn’t this the exact opposite of how we want people to react to our content?)

Now, I realize that some of the search results were probably from individuals or organizations who paid to have their sites listed at the top of the search engine results. Still, I believe that some of the results were organic to the search engine.

Why? Because, in the end, a search engine can’t really make the distinction between whether an article is useful or just appears to be useful. It takes a human to really make that distinction accurately.

The experience really hit home to me, because as a writer I know that it’s very possible to focus on creating just the right headline, just the right formatting, and just the right number of catchy phrases — and totally forget to focus on the topic at hand.

(I know that I’ve published posts on the importance of headlines and formatting myself. I still believe that they do have some importance, but they should never be the main focus of our efforts.)

My husband and I have a phrase for things that look nice, but have no real value – “All form and no function.”

I believe that, as writers, we have the responsibility to make sure that our content is as useful as it appears to be.

Today, I’m challenging myself (and you) to write content that has both form and function.

Will you take me up on the challenge?

Contents (c) Copyright 2008, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved


  1. says

    When I think of content, I think of row upon row of metal barrels filled with stuff. Some barrels might have some good stuff, but most are just junk. Filler. Garbage. I will definitely take you up on your challenge! I’m going to be writing extensively on this topic next month since it’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately.

  2. says

    On, Laura.

    When I was researching on a particular slogan for a project, I found lots and lots and lots of sites on slogans. Yet most contains nothing more than simple, single statements like ” Nike – Just do it”. Took me days just to find stuff like who wrote it, when it was written, why it was written etc, etc. Those frustrating days inspired me to start my slogan series. Hopefully, academics and creative folks will find them useful.

  3. Laura says

    Hi Melissa and Vivienne!

    Thanks for taking me up on the challenge. I enjoy both of your blogs.

    Melissa, I look forward to your series on this topic.

  4. says


    This is precisely why I don’t like PLR. I was doing some research last week, and I kept comind across the same (bad) article over and over on different sites. It seemed like someone jyst went through with a thesaurus and changed a few words (making it even worse). That’s content that has no form or useful function!

  5. says

    I completely feel your pain! I deal with the same frustration when I’m researching, as well. One of the things that I try to do with every article I write is to add some uncommon point or piece of information that is usually overlooked by most writers. Sometimes, though, the research that goes along with finding that unique idea can kill my productivity for the day.


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