Making Your Content Count
Three Tips to Stand Out in a Crowd
You know you need to create “content” for your site to rank well. You’ve considered your business and your target audience, you’ve defined a problem they have, and you set out to solve it for them.. in blog form.
So far so good! But chances are – if you think your customers need to know something – someone, somewhere has thought the same thing as you. The internet is full of articles on how to do and what to know about, well, everything! When your customers turn to Google they can just as easily find their answer from a competitor. In this age of information, how do you stand out and create unique content and not just reiterate what many other people in your industry are saying? If you’re staring at your laptop, not knowing where to start, here are few key tips.
You know your business better than anyone, so speak about what you know, be the expert. When was a time you solved that problem for one of your customers? What were some of the things you learned? Chances are you have more than a few examples and stories that you could share to show your readers that you have the knowledge and experience necessary to answer their questions.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, if there’s a resource out there that’s already said it perfectly, link your content to that web page, (especially if you are associated or affiliated with the source) but still give them a something fresh to consider. In fact, linking to other reputable sources that you are affiliated with can be a great way to validate your authority.
Does that mean you should go on to tell long, drawn-out stories? Absolutely not. A recent study by Microsoft Corp revealed that the average human attention span went from 12 to 8 seconds from 2000 to today (source). That’s less than a goldfish, people! You want to keep it short and get to the point quickly, users are searching for answers and you have to capture their attention before they move on. How? I thought you’d never ask.
Talk to them. Do you know who your customer is and are you speaking their language? You may say, but we aren’t speaking here, we’re writing, right? Well, sort of. You want to write as if you were talking to a friend, keeping your words authentic and conversational. This will not only make your article much easier and more enjoyable to read, it also has a higher comprehension and retention rate (source).
Empathize with your reader. “Have you ever had this problem? We know how hard it can be.” You want your writing to have a voice. Customers can see right through marketing speech so don’t be afraid to be who you are! People do business with people they like and, let’s be honest, you also enjoy working with people that you like. So let your personality out and let your customers find you.
Does everyone have to find you? Ideally, to gain higher ranking in the search engines, yes. But let’s say you’re a landscaping company in Wisconsin, does it matter if someone in Texas finds your article? Sure, it may be useful to them, but they aren’t your target and aren’t likely to become your customer. Unless you’re trying to reach a national audience – focus your content on your target geography.
Think: What does local mean to you? Is it the state of Wisconsin, is it Green Bay, or Northeast Wisconsin? What is relevant to your audience? Lakefront landscaping solutions, plants appropriate for zones 4 and 5, preparing your plants for the winter season, snow removal anybody? Okay, so those are obvious, let’s try less obvious… How about “What you need to create the perfect outdoor grilling space for your next Packer party!”?
Finally, taking all of this into consideration; solving a problem, giving your customers the information they seek, keeping it local, and being genuinely you, there’s one message that should be loud and clear – YOUR PASSION. Your customers will easily be able to see that your business is driven by what you love (which is what they’re looking for)!