Make every word count
With businesses, schools, events, travel plans and pretty much every aspect of our lives remaining in a state of suspension, we are all having to adapt and take every step possible to keep our financial, social, mental and physical well-being in check not only for us, but for our loved ones too.
This is far from easy for most of us, but as the days roll into weeks, the way we work, is settling into a new normal. We are gaining new skills, brushing up on old ones and thinking differently about how we can work effectively at home, whilst overcoming everyday distractions.
Restrictions have sadly left many people without jobs and businesses of all sizes and across most sectors, are feeling the impact. Planning more than a few days ahead has become challenging but there are things business owners can do to ensure they are in the best shape possible when we start to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s start with content marketing or to be more precise, the words we choose to ensure our message is received loud and clear by our audience. This is nothing new but what might be new, is the extra time we have to go through our marketing collateral – from your website, SEO, advertising campaigns and social media platforms, to your printed collateral and on-hold messaging, now is the ideal time to take a look at what you can do to improve it, particularly if this is an area which you have neglected for some time.
It takes good quality, regular, relevant posting to make a difference on your website or cut through on your social media channels and it isn’t easy. We’ve put together our top tips to ensure that every word you choose, counts.
1. Write a great headline, title or hook
Let’s assume you know your subject inside out and are ready to put it down on paper, online or as a video script. The first step to making an impact is to write a great headline – whether that’s for your website or an advertising campaign, this is what will engage people and make them want to read more, so work hard on coming up with something that gets people curious enough to stay with you.
Think about the challenges people are looking to solve and how you can convince them that you have the solution. Stick to punchy, emotive words that quickly, easily and accurately reflect your offer.
2. Make it SEO friendly
Do a little research using Google Trends or Google’s Keyword Planner to help you discover what your customers are searching for and help you identify areas for improvement. Whilst search engines have got wise to key word stuffing, you still need to include them in your page title, H1 Heading and body copy, just don’t be repetitive otherwise you’ll get penalised by the likes of Google.
3. Be original
Conversely, you will be rewarded for originality. Search engines are smart, and their algorithms can pick up on copy you may have ‘borrowed’ from elsewhere.
If you provide original, high quality content, not only will your audience place it in high value, but it will help you stand out from your competitors.
Not every industry, however, has something new to say, in which case research what content is already available and identify ways that you can make yours better. Maybe you will go into more detail or provide an updated take on traditional topics. Whatever you choose, ensure your content goes beyond your competitors’ so your customers are better informed.
Similarly, if you’re rehashing old articles or posts on social media over and over again, it won’t go unnoticed and it will achieve the exact opposite of what you are intending. That being said, search engines do favour websites that frequently update existing posts and content.
4. Avoid the ‘so what?!’ factor
The ‘so what?!’ factor is important and must be kept at the forefront of your mind when producing any content to allow you to clearly communicate the action you want your audience to take. If you are looking to drive more visits to your website, give your customers a reason to do so. If you are wanting to get people to sign up for your newsletter, tell them how doing so will benefit them. Without being able to clearly express why you want them to act and what’s in it for them, you’ll end up in ‘so what?!’ land.
5. Check your spelling and grammar
Even the professionals make mistakes so it’s important no matter who you are, to get your writing checked by someone else, particularly if you have been working on it for a long time and become ‘word blind’. You may know what you meant to say, so that’s what you read, even if those aren’t the words you put down. Does it make sense? Have you used the correct versions of their/they’re/there? Sounds simple but you’d be surprised how easy it is for them to slip through.
Finally, remember that there are always ways we can improve how we communicate, so if you have more time on your hands than normal and know your content needs work, use it to get your messaging as ship-shape as possible then when we are able to return to whatever normal looks like, you can put your best foot forward in content land.
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