Can I let you into a secret? I hate the word ‘content’. It’s a cop-out, frankly. And a misunderstanding of the power and complexity of the material you publish on the web.
Why? Because I see many website owners thinking all they need to do is fill their pages with a bit of content. Weekly. That should do it. Some words and perhaps some images, too.
But ‘Content’ is what we’ve been saddled with. And why David Rosam Digital Marketing does Content-Focused Search Engine Optimisation.
So, in this post, I’d like to show you how you can stop being content with just content. How, with a better understanding of how content works, you can seize the opportunities to boost website performance.
What sets good content apart from bad?
Successful content should work on many levels. It needs to:
1. Engage with your readers
If you’re going to get the clickthrough, you need to appeal. If you are going to make the sale (or other goals), your reader needs to stay right on your site. So take a cool look at your copy and images. Then unplug your emotional attachment to your work and put yourself in your target’s mind. And get outside your workplace and feel their pain. Understand their needs. Then write your headline. Then write it again. And again. Until it’s brilliant.
2. Perform better on Google than your competitors’ content
That, in a way, is an important chunk of what this post is about. This is just a paragraph, but it absolutely deserves an issue all of its own. Keep your content unique. Make your content better written than your competitors (get a professional to write or edit your content if you’re struggling). Understand how to use key phrases in 2022. Take care with your h1 and title tag content. And keep up with Google updates and announcements.
3. Reassure and convince your reader
Suppose you’re in the business of low-ticket items that people buy without consideration or emergency purchases. In that case, your customers may not need so much reassurance, but if you sell higher-ticket items or services (particularly to corporates), you could have to sustain the positive feelings over more than one visit or, at least, across a set of pages.
4. Reinforce your brand values
I have a client who writes fantastic branding content. But while it reinforces what her company is about and communicates its brand values wittily, I’ve been coaching her to write for her customers, not only her company. It’s a relatively minor tweak explaining the brand’s benefits but it will pay dividends. Tell your brand’s story, but make sure it makes sense from the outside. Corporate navel-gazing will get you nowhere.
5. Sell (or, at least, move your customer closer to making that purchase)
How are your sales copywriting skills? They’re different from the ones you’ll need for SEO copywriting, so there’s no shame in digging back into the classic works of the advertising and direct marketing ages. The rules of a powerful headline then are just as important and effective as it is now. Their importance is possibly higher, as your headlines have a lot more competition, all lined up across your prospects’ screens. And the same goes for carefully crafted Calls To Action.
6. Be aware of where content fits in your sales funnel
Broadly: blogs, probably at the top, product/service towards the middle or bottom, sales copy and calls to action for your trolley and through the sales process at the bottom. Or it may be a landing page for your Pay Per Click campaign, or your email newsletter, or your webinar… That’s where you’ll need to brush up on your sales copywriting skills.
Start leveraging your content for powerful digital marketing
David Rosam has been working online for more than 25 years, after a career in direct marketing copywriting for the tech and financial services industries.
Today, he specialises in Content-Focused Search Engine Optimisation—from audits, through research and strategy to implementation.
He was probably the UK’s first SEO Copywriter.