Here’s the thing, I read a ton of content on social media, content strategy, community development, SEO and digital marketing. Well, let me rephrase that. I read a ton of shitty content on social media, content strategy, community development, SEO and digital marketing. More often than not, the articles I read which are blasted all over Linkedin and Twitter are hastily written drubs of content that serve the sole purpose of clicks and organic traffic without ever giving anything back. It’s awesome that your company has figured out that Google rewards your brand for fresh content but please, stop providing me with shitty lists on basic concepts that an ape could figure out.
What’s worse is most content is written for the sake of writing. Have you ever been reading a piece of content and halfway through you think to yourself, “man, this guy is full of shit”? It happens to me all the time. Too often content strategy strangles under a hardened content calendar instead of flourishing with good ideas and a centered message. Due to this, I am going to use this space to talk about how to write for a targeted audience and not suck while doing it.
Have Something to Say
Before you even think about long tail keywords or which social networks to share your content on, have something to say. If you have nothing to say on a subject, you have no business writing about it. This is the major problems with rigid content calendars. Forcing content without a basis for actually writing it is an easy path to producing boring, terrible, uninteresting and shitty content. Sure, you posted something on your blog but if the reader comes away knowing less then he/she did before reading, your content has failed them and you. Remember, content marketing is about building trust and establishing credibility. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by putting your pen in your mouth.
Define Your Why
Too often content has no purpose other than to draw traffic. Once you know you have something valuable to say, define why you are putting it out there. Is your why to bring more clients into your sales channel? Is your why to provide potential clients with information they need to know about your service? Is your why to supply the market with killer information designed to educate? Everyone wants their content to be read by a massive audience but at the end of the day, that content is as much about your end goals as it is about a consumers end goals. Define your why or your content will suck.
Write For Readers
I can’t say this enough. Write for readers. Do not write for search engines. Write informed, well written, exciting and interesting content for readers. SEO, search and long tail keywords should come after. It should come after for two reasons:
- Hummingbird rewards fresh purpose driven content over keyword stuffed SEO content. With Hummingbird, Google put overwhelming emphasis on writing content to answer search queries as opposed to writing content for clicks and traffic.
- You don’t want to look, read or sound like a jackass. For example, as I am writing about content marketing, I could write a sentence about content marketing strategies which speaks to the pitfalls of content marketing and why a great content marketing plan is essential to digital marketing success yet, as you just noticed, I look, read and sound like a jackass. Look, you want traffic. Everyone gets that. But don’t get it by stuffing or sounding like a horses ass.
Write for readers. Write to be interesting. Write to be informative. Write to be exciting. Write to be welcoming. Don’t write for the sake of writing. Google doesn’t like it. Your readers won’t like it. You won’t like it. Write for readers. Don’t be a jackass.
Find Your Voice
Find your voice. This is true of any style of writing. Is your voice more fun and humor filled or is your voice more business and dry? For your content to make an impact – for your clients to feel like they know your brand – you need to define a voice and stick with it across every piece of content you publish regardless of channel. But here is the kicker, only you can decide what voice or tone your content should maintain. Maybe you work for a B2B company servicing enterprise level clients in need of elastic Cloud infrastructure services. In this case, you might want to take a business approach to content. On the other hand, if you work for a company like Grubhub who services clients all around the world, utilizing a fun voice to all of your content might be the best bet.
Again, tone and voice are something you have to determine however make sure you define your voice and stick with it across all channels.
- Have Something To Say
- Define Your Why
- Write For Readers
- Find Your Voice
Once you have those down, you should be fine. And if you’re wondering why Indy is the top image, it’s because he had defined missions and style. So should your content. But again, don’t suck.
Lastly, feel free to share this content via Twitter. Thanks.
— Brad Leibowitz (@bleibowi) April 15, 2014