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“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”Henry Ford et al.
Writing content takes time, money and brainpower to get your audience in the mood to engage with your ideas. If your content marketing doesn’t maintain relevance, the reader’s interest takes a nosedive.
74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content, such as offers, ads, or promotions appear to have nothing to do with their interests. Online Personal Experience study (Janrain)
Luring readers with a headline and then being irrelevant is a quick way to anger them. An irritated audience bales out of your website pronto and most likely never comes back. If you are not content with your content or your content marketing, ask yourself questions to keep readers focused on your message. Here are some ideas to get you back on track.
Revisit what you know about your audience. Take a fresh look.
a) What are you asking your readers to engage with? Do they engage? Flip your perspective to ask your audience how they feel, what opinions they have, or stories that come to their mind. Weaving their responses back into your work creates more credibility because it is people just like themselves who are talking.
b) What do they like or keep asking for? What do they hate? Over time, you notice trends in your audience engagement, for example, as a digital firm, we are often asked: once we have our website, how do we nurture it after launch? This is a great opportunity to provide ideas and open up to feedback from the audience on their experience.
c) What are their biggest worries or hindrances to doing business with you? Talk to your best customers and find out why they chose you, for example, word of mouth, price/value for money, experience, or simply first page in Google. Knowing why you don’t get chosen is often hard to elicit from lost customers. It can help with your content marketing to address worries about budget, experience, or simply what it is you are going to do for your client. Usage of technical terms may show you know your business, but this could scare off customers unless you explain clearly for someone who doesn’t know, how you intend solving their problems.
To engage with your content, the reader wants to have something to take away from investing time in reading it. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes: after considering your message, ask yourself what the readers will think. What if they ask themselves the so what? question; so what is in it for me? Focus on drawing the reader close, so they make the connection between what you do and what they need to solve their problems.
As a digital company, we also work with website accessibility, implementing digital access for a sector of the public with disabilities or special needs that often get missed out. So what does that mean for a client? We make websites accessible: this is not only good news for the cause of social inclusion and the associated positive message, but there is also a commercial plus to opening up a market segment that marketing often overlooks.
Real life examples are always appealing to an audience wanting to relate to your message. Think about interviews you can do to interest your audience. You might have a great rapport with a client or you could draw on the best responses from satisfaction surveys and ask to interview the responders.
We have an excellent video studio as a client, so it was a perfect match for them to turn our request for a case study into a video interview.
Your audience will also be interested in your brand and culture. Whilst staying on message, is there something fun you can inject into your content marketing? Everyone likes some humour: A friendly tone, snippets of how your team interacts at events or celebrations, background on what’s been happening that brightens the day.
Once a year, our team go dragonboat racing, so we share a couple of highlights whether we try to win, sink, or swim.
Does your content date back a few years, need pruning, or a good clearout and rebuild? Being up-to-date and accurate reflects credibility. Steady streams of fresh and appealing content promote loyalty and interest from new clients. Google also scores relevant and fresh content to place higher in search results.
Gerry McGovern is a leading content expert and wrote a revealing book showing how to serve customers the content they want:
Gerry worked with Microsoft and mentions that several years ago it was estimated that the Microsoft.com website had about 10 million pages and that some 3 million of them had never been visited. That means that there were almost as many webpages that nobody had ever visited as there were people in Ireland. (Gerry McGovern http://gerrymcgovern.com )
Microsoft did some serious rethinking of content to get back on track. They removed clearly irrelevant pages, took out very minor ones and focused on the top tasks that users were trying to achieve.
An extension of being relevant is to educate your audience rather than push product at them. Content that is engaging is about what your audience wants, not your business: at its best, content marketing educates your audience to make a connection between their problem, the clear demonstration that you understand it, and then perceive you have the solution.
Explanation. Answering common questions or topical queries is a good way to explain, for example with interviews, quotes, or videos, how you work in a way that sets you apart from the competition. Sharing knowledge on general topics, positions you as a source to be trusted. Using examples, telling stories or offering analogies expands the feeling of trust by showing you are empathising with your audience and how they can relate to your content.
More detailed content addressing specific issues your audience experience can include references for further reading which further enhance trust, credibility, and the feeling that you are the go-to company to solve their problems.
Content keeps changing. Maintenance is an ongoing process to keep you synchronised with your audience. If you feel your content is currently static, needing to change direction, I hope this article has been helpful providing ideas to get you back on track. Now over to you to share and comment on what works for you with your content.
Need help with your content? Talk to us about your worries and needs. Internetrix combines digital consulting with winning website design, smart website development and strong digital analytics and digital marketing skills to drive revenue or cut costs for our clients. We deliver web-based consulting, development and performance projects to customers across the Asia Pacific ranging from small business sole traders to ASX listed businesses and all levels of Australian government.