If you’ve read my stuff before you know all there is to know about content writing. Shit, I bet you could write a book about it. But I wonder if you really know, like REALLY bloody know how it helps your business—not some theoretical company but YOUR little concern.
Me, blathering on about the joys of content (in my obnoxious way) isn’t enough. It doesn’t help you ‘get it’ and like Oliver Twist you want more. I’ve reluctantly come to accept that not only are you greedy but incredibly selfish. “What’s in it for me” is all you care about.
The reason you’re told to write content.
It drives organic traffic to your website. (We’re talking about the folks that find you via an internet search.)
What an unimaginative and narrow minded reason. And it’s dull, soooo dull.
Forget about organic traffic. Yeah, you read that right—forget it. Do you even want organic traffic? If your clients aren’t looking for you on Google, SEO writers selling you content on that basis is a waste of time—the need for that thing has to be there for you to buy that thing.
Is content useless if you don’t want organic clicks?
Don’t be ruddy silly.
Content on your website is also about this: experience, expertise, authority and trust. Every business needs to be able to demonstrate how good they are. Content tells the people in your world that you perform your job with skill, integrity and panache. (Been looking to use the word panache in a blog for some time now.)
This is a huge turn-on for SEO precisely because it’s a big deal for your clients—organic traffic is one scoop of the SEO tub of tutti frutti.
Compartmentalising the advantages of content undermines how powerful it is. When your content strategy only concentrates on search, you ignore its far reaching value. (And you can read more about that in this post — Blogging is dead: the lie that won’t die.)
The one REAL reason to invest in content writing.
The one main reason to get fresh with content is so blindingly obvious that I often forget to mention it.
And here it is: content isn’t king, it’s EVERYTHING.
Woah! Jot that down in your notebook of new wanketing phrases—that’s a blinder. Maybe you prefer the term, content isn’t king, it’s the kingdom. (I can’t take credit for that one, some other marketing bastard coined that beauty.)
Content is your business.
Try to imagine building brand awareness / selling your services / nurturing existing clients / generating new leads, without words.
Take a moment to think about what that would look like…
Need a bit longer? Ok…
Let me help you out, it would look like this:
See my point?
Most business peeps won’t hire a writer.
They bumble through and do it all themselves.
Why is that, you’re wondering? (Or maybe you’re one of those businesses.) Content isn’t a priority because most of us can write. They don’t see the point of hiring someone to do a job they think they can do themselves. And would you spend significant cash on something you didn’t think you needed? After all, content writing is just writing, isn’t it? Words on a page that explain some stuff. Anyone can do it.
So that anyone is Liz (who currently does admin and accounts). I’ve no beef with Liz, btw. She’s doing wonders with her GCSE English, it’s not her fault that her boss (Colin) has the marketing savvy of a crab stick.
Colin says stuff like this:
“I just need words for the website, Liz.”
She complies and goes on to type some guff about being the market leader, something… something… excellent customer service.
Meanwhile, Liz drops a blog about an award they paid for and gets on with the rest of her day (that to-do list isn’t going to do itself).
Not all content is created equal.
And until freelancers and SMEs realise they are neglecting their most valuable marketing tool, they won’t invest in it. Even when they do hire someone, they can’t help but say shit like this:
“All I need is one article a month—why the hell is it so expensive?”
Let me count the ways…
Put simply, content takes planning and expertise (just like your job). Everything you write for your business should be scrutinised and it should support your offering. When you have a cracking thing to sell (but no proper content to do the job of selling it) what do you think will happen? Not much is the answer.
The Three Ws.
WHO is your content for? WHY are you creating it? And WHAT do you want it to do?
Every word on your website should be strategic. You should understand the purpose of all the content on each page. Your prospects are at different stages of the buying process. When you use your content to cater for each stage, you speak directly to those who are doing one of three things:
- Getting to know you
- Considering you
- About to buy from you
You always need quality content. So that’s content that understands who it is talking to and where they are in the customer journey.
I was working with a client on a one-off project.
Occasionally people want to hire me.
My client knew writing long-form was of value but they didn’t really understand who/why/what. They mentioned content that would create brand awareness. That’s a great starting point but “the getting to know you” blurb takes ages to give you any ROI. Those prospects reading that content aren’t going to buy from you for some time—they might never buy from you. So we also need to think about content that converts the people who are already aware.
I’m a nosy bugger so probed further and asked my client how they usually get work. Turns out it’s mostly by referral.
(So in this instance, traffic isn’t a priority… yet.)
I went on to ask if those clients were the kind of market they wanted. Guess what, they answered, no.
Their current customers were cheapskates. Money was the only thing that mattered so they didn’t care that my client was brilliant at what they did. (So unflattering.) The strategy of securing work via word of mouth only meant they were getting more of the same penny-pinching arsewipes. They weren’t using their content to attract those with cash. And just as important, repel those who demanded services at a “reasonable price”.
I noodled around with some strategy ideas and I told them what I would do. (And if you want to find out what I said, you’ll have to pay for it.)
Sometimes you know you want a thing.
But you’re not entirely sure why. I wanted a pea-green catsuit…
(Looks great on the model, amirite?)
As you can imagine, it came as a complete surprise that when I tried it on. I looked like I was going to do some special effects against a green screen. Gutted.
You’ve probably heard someone say you need content but the reason why fails you. If you were to understand how a blog article could be why someone hires you, on let’s say, a £6k retainer, the ‘why’ becomes pretty obvious.
My content is the ONLY reason people hire me.
My content is also (one of the many) reasons people don’t hire me. And that’s the way it should be. Do you still think Liz should be doing it?
If the answer to that is no, absolutely not, you really do need to take a look at my services.