The internet has become an expansion pack of reality, a leveled-up network of living information, directing the way we engage with each other and the wider world. The word content is bandied about by online marketers and advertising companies, classifying anything from the articles we read (and write), to social media interfaces and Youtube videos. Without a colourful confluence of text, audio and video, the internet would become an irreverent slate of sarcastic memes and grammatically incorrect cats.
I have to be honest with you, I’m still recovering from the overnight content 180. Suddenly, everybody wants a piece of content marketing, without knowing what content marketing entails. It’s the fibresphere’s answer to Gotye – nobody really gave two clicks until the fan train departed the station and some Google guy claimed, “Hey guys, content is important. No, really, it is.”
Has the content carriage left the station for good? Are you too late?
Not a chance. While there are no quick-fixes in content land, here are three things you can do right now to start the words rolling.
Meeting Your Ideal Reader
Imagine a website just for you. The wording changes, brief and thought-provoking; original captures and photographic snippets reflect hidden desires; you are seduced by the easy navigation and compelled to stay a little longer. Get to know it better. Bookmark it. You have to find it again.
Every landing page should be considered a first date, an opportunity to highlight the best of your business without bragging or alienating a cautious audience; flirt a little, validate their fears and needs, position them as the lynch-pin of your online presence. Writing for this person is simple enough, as they don’t exist; you have complete control over defining characteristics. Feeling a bit intimidated? Revisit your nine year old self and reconnect with an imaginary friend.
Speaking to this person directly will open a gateway of appeal, tantalising similar personalities – people who will pick up the phone, open an email server and share your site across social media streams, providing you deliver.
Don’t: Write for a wide audience. Being completely inclusive excludes everybody.
Ask Yourself: Is Your Content Bloated?
Whip open a browser tab, enter your website address and review your blog library. Is it interesting? Informative? Has your on-site blog content tripped into repetition because you don’t have time, you don’t like writing and who really cares, anyway?
Bloated content, or content packed with hot air, is damaging your online ranking and offline reputation. Cramming marketing gimmicks, useless posts and plagiarised ideas into a little box and crying, “Hey, I do content,” worked really well in 2003. In 2013, your readers are unforgivably cynical. Most visitors will click away within ten seconds; good content drags them in by the eyeballs and refuses to let go until the end.
But I DON’T have time, I hear you say. I understand, time is a slippery commodity, disappearing at the flick of an iPhone – one minute, you have all day; the next, it’s like you’ve been moving in slow motion and achieved nothing beyond morning meetings and piles of paperwork. Take the pressure of yourself. A part-time copywriter will create compelling, attractive and enjoyable content reflective of your brand without sacrificing company legacy.
Mind Your Grammar
Many internet denizens, business owners and (gasp!) content writers regard grammar as an optional idiosyncrasy of the English language.
There is nothing more frustrating than reviewing a website and spotting obvious grammatical faux pas littering semi-professional content. While spoken English lacks the nuanced rules (notice I didn’t say guidelines) of its written child, there is really no excuse to carry this casualness into you online communication. Luckily, there are some very basic changes you can make to your website or blog right now to increase image credibility and content persuasion. WHY is grammar so important? Because the fibreverse is judging you.
Sort out their, they’re and there; seal up your than and then; get a handle on its and it’s, and wrap your head around you’re and your. The Algorithm Gods – and your readers – will love you.
Are you overwhelmed yet? We don’t blame you. Between link building, guest blogging, white hat SEO, SEM and now content marketing, your position as the head and shoulders of a competitive business is increasingly difficult, sucking any reserves of free time dry. What if Search Factory had the answer?
The SF Content Team are dedicated to alleviating the crawling tightness, winding around your stomach. Why tackle a juggernaut alone and hope for the best when a talented army of word warriors are waiting to challenge your demons, vanquish your competitors and write your legend into the histories of the internet? Word.