Most poker webmasters outsource the content generation on their sites, and that’s not always a bad thing. But my suggestion is that a poker website should have a personality behind it. And that personality should belong to the poker website owner.
If you can’t be bothered to write an occasional post on your own site, then how important could the content on your site possibly be to you? Finding someone who’ll write really top notch poker content is expensive. And even some of the expensive writers don’t write very well.
Learning how to write well isn’t that hard. Practice makes perfect. And there are plenty of books which can improve your writing skills. You can even find articles on the Internet which will help you become a better writer.
But the main reason you should write your own poker content is so that you’re a literate enough person to recognize whether the content that’s being written for you is crap or not. Most of the content I’ve bought from writers on the Internet has been crap. For the most part, I’d rather just write all my own content. (And even my content is crap, sometimes.)
So if you want to learn how to become a better poker writer, here are some resources worth checking out:
- The Day You Became a Better Writer – The author of the Dilbert Blog takes a one day business writing course. What does he learn? Write clear sentences.
- The Elements of Style – This book’s most important point? Omit needless words.
- Ernest Hemingway Writing Tips – Copyblogger is worth reading. You’ll find the same themes about writing here: Write short sentences. Write short paragraphs. Use vigorous English.
- Another Hemingway Writing Tips Post – Longer isn’t always better, but you’ll find 27 tips here. Ignore some of them.
- Write to Done – Read all their articles. Some are better than others.
What Not to Do – How to Write Bad Poker Content
I have a huge stylesheet I give people who are going to write for one of my sites. Most of these writers ignore the guidelines. Here are some of my guidelines:
- Be specific.
- Write short, clear sentences.
- Write short paragraphs. Three sentences are plenty.
- Avoid the passive voice.
- Avoid adverbs.
- Avoid exclamation points.
- Avoid meaningless words. (“Very” is the best example of a word that adds NO meaning to a sentence.)
Want an example of each of the above mistakes? I can create plenty:
- Online poker has been around for a long time. This could be a useful sentence if it included anything specific. “Online poker started with the site Planet Poker in 1997.” is an example of a specific sentence. (That’s not factual by the way–it’s just an example of the difference between a specific sentence and a vague sentence.) It’s obvious which sentence is more interesting, isn’t it?
- Party Poker is one of the leading poker sites in the industry, featuring dozens of games at dozens of stakes, and they also offer bingo games and casino games in addition to their many poker game offerings. As you can see, that sentence is long. It doesn’t say much either. How to rewrite it? “Party Poker is third largest online cardroom. They also offer bingo and casino games.” Not only is that more specific, it’s shorter, easier to read, and easier to understand.
- You don’t really need an example of a really long paragraph. Just trust me. Shorter paragraphs are usually better.
- It was announced that USA based players would no longer be accepted by Party Poker. Awkward, huh? Also vague. Here’s a better way to write it, “Party Poker announced they would no longer accept real money players from the USA.”
- Party Poker is an extremely user-friendly site. The word “extremely” ads nothing to the sentence’s meaning. Instead, write, “Party Poker is so easy to use that an eight year old could use the interface.”
- The games at Party Poker couldn’t be any softer! The only correct use of an exclamation point is when you’re relating dialogue, and someone has exclaimed something. For example, “Oh! I didn’t know you were coming to the party.” Using exclamation points is trying too hard to sound excited.
- Party Poker is a great online cardroom. The customer service team is excellent. “Great” and “excellent” are meaningless and vague. Be specific. “Party Poker offers the widest selection of poker games in the business.” “The customer service team at Party Poker responds within hours to every request.” Do you see the difference? Not only are the other versions less jarring as you read them, they carry more weight, because they’re offering specifics.
Anyway, you don’t have to write all of your own poker content, but you should write at least some of your own poker content. If nothing else, you’ll be able to tell whether the content you’ve bought from other people is worth publishing on your site or not.