By JD Biros
You have all the makings of a great campaign: Sound strategy. Unique offering. Tightly defined audience. Perfect market conditions.
Now it all comes down to content – and that’s make-or-break time.
Granted, that’s a copywriter’s perspective, but the phrase “Content is king” still reigns supreme no matter the communications vehicle or program.
This is actually more critical than ever considering how the buying process has evolved. Customers now spend more time researching online before engaging a vendor. So, in essence, your content is the first, second and even third contact with prospects.
What all that means is if the copy and visuals do not compel your audience to pay closer attention, the chase is over. Kaput. Makes sense, right?
So how does bad content happen?
Because good content is not easy, and in many cases, it’s uncomfortable for businesses. It’s easier to present product details and company rah-rah. There is a time and place for that information, but not when starting a conversation with a prospect.
Steer clear of these content pitfalls:
- We-we copy – prospects don’t want to hear how great you are. They want to know if your solution solves their problem.
- Saying a lot of nothing – get to the point, and make it about the customer.
- Losing focus – trying to be all things to everyone muddles the message. Determine a lead-in message and stay on it. You can’t reach everyone.
- Boring visuals – save product beauty shots for sales collateral.
- Speeds and feeds – be careful about tech talk early on; explain how the solution addresses a pain point instead.
- Overusing adjectives – you may think they add flare, but they can easily cloud the message and sound less than believable.
What’s the secret to good content?
- Start with the “So what?” – you need to immediately tell the prospect why they will want to pay attention.
- Use persuasive writing – after all, you’re getting them to take an action. Go ahead and ask them to call, visit your site, or fill out a form.
- People love lists – top 10, 5 things to know, 4 ways to avoid failure, etc. Did our headline pique your interest?
- Have an active voice – this applies even in case studies.
- Be genuine, not corporate – write as if you are speaking to one person. Your audience are smart people, but it’s doubtful they sound like a textbook.
- Write and design for “scanners” – write headlines, subheads and captions to do the heavy lifting. Sell through those elements. The copy in between will complete the story.
- Make the Call to Action obvious – put it high in emails, in letters and visually called out on websites.
- Have someone read it to you – if it sounds awkward, rewrite it.
- Sleep on it – whatever you’re working on, copy or design, be sure to set it aside for a day and look at it fresh. You’ll likely find ways to polish it and make it better.
If you follow these suggestions, you’ll see an improvement in your marketing content. And that can lead to better results. And don’t forget that if you do it in one place – say, an email – be sure to do it everywhere – such as the website you are directing a prospect to.