What ‘The New York Times’ Can Teach You About Quality Content


Recently, The New York Times’ Op-Ed Editor, Trish Hall, wrote a piece about their process of accepting Op-Ed pieces and pointed out what makes a piece pass the NYT quality standard. Different standards work for different publications, but these tips are relevant across the board — no matter who you’re writing for. The key take away, which stays true to the mission at Scripted, is good-quality content is what they’re looking for. Here’s what you can learn from her article:

React to Recent News

In a day where news stories live and die within a few days, it’s important to stay on top of the latest discussions in your industry. Trish writes: “Submissions that are reacting to news of the world are of great value to us, especially if they arrive very quickly.” Google is continuing to rank newer content higher in search results, so writing quickly on your latest industry news is a great SEO strategy. Don’t know how to stay ahead of industry news? Create news feeds through Google Alerts, Feedly, or Scoopit.

Write In Your Own Voice

“If you’re funny, be funny,” the article states. People are human and want to read authentic pieces. Writing in a corporate tone may be safe for your brand, but it won’t create any conversations. As Semil Shah said at Scripted’s content marketing conference, “Do you want to be the Shutterstock or the Instagram?  Are you Coca Cola, or the local hardware store?” Leverage who you are and what you represent.

An engaged community connects with authentic content and appreciates stories from unique perspectives. Not all communication from your brand has to come from your marketing team. Provide different perspectives on issues, topics, and news. At Scripted, our most viewed blog post this year was written by one of our top engineers on how he used NLP in Python. It spoke to a specific audience and provided a unique perspective about what we do at Scripted.

Disclose Any Conflict of Interest

If I was writing a guest piece on why every company needs to use a content writing service, I should probably make it clear that I work for Scripted.  However, just because you’re writing an article in favor of your business doesn’t mean that the article isn’t valid. Letting your audience know who you are often improves the validity and quality of your post. Recently Scripted’s CEO, Sunil Rajaraman, wrote a rant on top ten lists on Medium and clearly stated his perspective on why he was writing the post.

Win Converts

“Strengthen your argument so that it’s as clear and orderly as possible.” Readers should walk away from reading two opposing arguments with a thorough understanding. Instead of contributing to the noise of hundreds of similar pieces, think of a different approach. Where can you start conversation in your industry? Write for the audience that doesn’t support your service or product and try to convert them. A recent article in  Forbes — titled “Content Marketing Study Suggests Most Content Marketing Doesn’t Work” — received a fair amount of press and lots of conversation surrounding the claims. The controversy about the validity and intent of the article is another story, but the point is that you don’t always need to preach what everyone’s always saying. Having a different point-of-view is more likely to generate conversation — not jumping on the bandwagon and repeating what’s already been said.

What do you consider the be valuable and original content? Share your thoughts with us below.