Making your content work: do your customers know what you’re talking about?

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04/06/2019

There are certain words that give any marketer the shivers. ‘Stunning’ is one of them. It’s like ‘nice’. Both are the domain of the lazy travel content writer. The problem is that they don’t mean anything. As marketers we need to be careful to make sure the words we choose to convey our messages really work for their space on the proverbial page.

There can be a lot of glitter and jazz hands when it comes to business and marketing. How often have you sat down with someone who has a great new idea, only to find that 45 minutes later they’re still explaining themselves.  And you’re still not really sure what they do?

 

Say it like you mean it

We once met an editor who had started taking pitches from journalists via Twitter (back when this was a new idea). His logic was that if you can’t convey your idea in 140 characters, you don’t know what you’re writing about. A little reductive perhaps, but he had an excellent point.

Of course, this is not a new thing. The elevator pitch. The headline. The soundbite. They all have their roots in this one concept – grabbing the audience’s attention. Crucially however, it’s about more than just making an impact, it’s about getting across the nub of who you are and what you do in the blink of an eye. That is the skill of the consummate marketer.

The other problem with words like ‘stunning’, ‘nice’ or even ‘good’ is that their overuse means that their impact is lost. A ‘stunning location’ doesn’t tell you whether it’s by the sea or in the middle of a city. However, most of us will appreciate that it should mean somewhere that’s so uniquely beautiful that you are literally stunned by it. Nonetheless, the overuse of the word means that its impact is entirely reduced. It’s almost prosaic. A stunning hotel? Big deal.

Long doesn’t mean lazy content

Content is a big part of marketing today. It’s not just the slogan on your billboard ad. It’s your blog. Your emails. The one liner your team has written on their own LinkedIn profile explaining who they work for. But the length of the content doesn’t give free licence to get lazy with our choice of words or delve into the nebulous without intent.

Of course, all of this is about user experience and brand identity. The use of the word ‘stunning’ in your blog isn’t going to lower your SEO ranking or get Google in a hot sweat. However, considering the words you use, could have a positive impact on your SEO.

Most of us know by now that Google likes content that informs the reader and adds value to the user experience. Words, phrases and formats that add to the user’s understanding of a website and make it a helpful page to visit. The details of that are something that can be discussed another time. The point is that really thinking about our words and making them work for your company isn’t just about being a clever clogs. It’s the difference between people knowing who you are and you becoming white noise, both on and offline.

 

Can you see yourself clearly?

The problem for many of us, is that when you know your business from the inside out it can be very hard to see when your content isn’t clear.

That’s where outsourced marketing support can really add value. It brings the understanding of experienced marketers, as well as the fresh eyes of those looking at your organisation from the outside.

So if you’re not sure whether your words are earning their keep for your business, ask for an outside perspective. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but the right word can say more than a million wrong ones.