Writing Killer Content That Sells To People And Robots
By Garrett Moon on January 30, 2012 in News.
Words on a page captivate us. Words have the power to transform, instruct, and shape our thinking like nothing else. Yet, with all of their power, we often forget to use them to our advantage.
When it comes to social media, the written word is the very foundation that we are building on. Our audience relies upon the things we write. They use our words to know what we are all about and if we are worth paying attention to. The web is, essentially, a castle made of content. We must embrace and master our ability to write like kings.
Keeping Our Two Audiences Content
There is no shortage of content on the web. With millions of blogs and websites in the wild, we can be sure to find content ranging from great to mediocre. What separates the great from the not-so-great, and why does it even matter? It matters, because our two audiences depend upon our content.
Identifying the first audience is easy enough. It is the visitor that comes to our blog. We can think of these visitors as potential customers. The tone we use for them should be friendly and approachable; we should be concerned about providing them with valuable information.
The second audience is much more mysterious. In fact, that second audience isn’t a person at all – it is the friendly giant that we all know as Google. Unfortunately, marketers and business owners often fail to consider how Google sees their website. In a world where 400 million Google searches take place every day, such a consideration is an essential ingredient to creating a great website. Great online content should not only resonate with a human audience, but also with a robot that regularly scans our content and recommends those who need our help.
In the late 1990’s, Google introduced us to a completely new concept in search technology called PageRank. This ranking is a number ranging from 0 to 10 that determines the quality of a website. For example, a brand new website would start with a PageRank of 0, while a well-established site might have a rank of 7. With this number, search results are prioritized based on the PageRank score of the corresponding websites.
So, how do they calculate this ranking? Google is obviously very tight-lipped about their specific formula, but we do know that it is directly based on the quality of a website’s content and Google’s assumptions on how useful that content will be for its users. PageRank can quickly develop into a messy and confusing business – most of us only need to be aware of Google’s presence. We mainly need to remember that Google is evaluating our website content on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Brands that aren’t giving their website content the proper care and feeding it deserves will find themselves getting the short end of the Google-search stick.
Putting Pen To Paper
Are we convinced that powerful content is an essential element for social media? Great content helps us connect with our customers online. As we go forward and begin writing content for our new blog or social media page, there are few key points that we need to keep in mind.
1. We don’t have to be perfect.
For many of us, writing is hard – especially when we know that someone will be reading it. We easily fall into the habit of trying to over-perfect our content or, even worse, avoid writing it at all because we are afraid we won’t get it exactly right. We are worried about what people might say. The reality is that blogs and websites do not require perfection. They require content. The key to success is taking it easy on ourselves and moving forward anyway.
2. It all else fails, write like we talk.
Remember in Lesson Three where we dissected the divide between ‘marketing speak’ and human language? The web will reward content that is delivered in a conversational tone. This means that we all can become respectable online writers and communicators. When all else fails, remember to simply write like we talk. Have a conversation with our reader.
3. Practice makes perfect.
In the beginning, the going can be tough. Ask experienced bloggers; we’d likely hear about their start as a blogger with a laugh. Looking back at our early work can be painful, but it also helps us see how far we’ve come. That is the beauty of social media — we get better over time. A regular content schedule executed on a blog or Facebook page will provide the practice we need to make great copy. This is especially true when we get into the habit of monitoring and tracking our results.
4. We have to feed the Google Robot.
The Google PageRank robot is out there every day, scanning the web for new content. The question is, how often is it stopping by our website? How often it is peeking at our Facebook page? Google will pay attention to how often we update our website, and that frequency will affect how we are listed in search results. If we only update our website every few months, Google won’t have much incentive to come back any more often than that. When we finally do update something, it could be months before Google even takes notice. Google matters, and we must give it what it needs.
5. It is probably easier than we think.
In reality, writing great content is probably easier than we think. We should be writing about what we know best. Defining our topic and approach beforehand removes the roadblock of not knowing what to say. Good writing quickly develops when we choose the right topics. Stick to what we know, and we might be surprised at how easily the words flow.
Making Content Connections
At the end of the day, our goal as social media marketers is to make personal connections with our online friends and followers. The most powerful tool we have for communicating with them is through our written words. Creating content can be intimidating, but it is the backbone of the web and a necessity for any social media program.