The Sarky Type – content with more bite

You’re not at all surprised that I am my own ideal client.

To you it’s beyond obvious and yet it comes as quite a revelation to me. Yeah, seriously, I can hardly believe what an idiot I have been.

And what a time-saving hack!

Don’t you see it’s perfect? And for a lazy person (of which I am) it’s positively inspired.

All businesses need content and copy.

I could have chosen to target practically anyone in the entire world.

(So I did, I chose me.)

Some peeps aren’t so lucky. You might be selling a product that only a select need. 

But if you’re like me (lazy and self-centred) you might be your ideal client. 

I know all about me.

I need only ask myself this: what keeps me awake at night?

(I mean, so many things and not fun things, sexy things or things that I’d gladly give up sleep for, no, what keeps me awake at night is wondering if I should change the copy on my homepage for the fiftieth time – and don’t say yes you should!)

Like my ideal client, I want decent content.

The kind of stuff you read and think, yes, this is brilliant, I want to consume all the content this person and/or business has written. 

My perfect customer (get ready for another vomit-inducing marketing phrase), has the pain point of not having content that is scrummy to devour. 

Currently, what they have is the same as most other B2B brands. And that is dull, tired, clichéd verbiage that does naff all for their audience. 

Are you me?

Not completely me but are you like me in the ways of business?

I know what you’re thinking – what is this, some kind of fun game? Or is she touting for business?

Ok, I have a confession (I have many but no one has that kind of time): everything I do for The Sarky Type is me touting for business.

Fancy some role-play?

SURE YOU DO.

Imagine you’re sitting with me in a classy, beautifully lit hotel bar.

Somewhere a piano is playing (not by itself – it’s not a pianola – this isn’t an East End boozer).

We’re having a little chat, a sort of low-key interview – nothing for you to get nervous about, it’s a very casual work-related conversation.

We have snacks.

(Snacks I said.) 

Tea and coffee but alcohol is available (thank Christ for that).

And so we begin…

“I appreciate you meeting with me.” 

(You nod, looking very grateful for the opportunity.) 

“So, let’s see if you’re eligible to be my ideal client. I notice from your file that you love sarky humour and swearing, can you tell me more about that?”

You adjust your collar and respond: “For me, life without LOLs would be awful. I love laughing, especially at inappropriate things.”

I’m smiling in quiet agreement.

“And the swearing, Tony?”

(You may not be called Tony. I like to use a name though and I like to throw it in mid convo. Creeps some people out but I love it when my name is used during a chat.)

“I do love me some swears, Sarah” (see what I mean? Perfect client right there). “We don’t need to swear do we but we also don’t need art and chocolate. And in my view, the most interesting things in life are not necessities.”

Again, I agree with you and go on to ask: “It says here that you enjoy B2B marketing that is different, what do you mean by that?”

You take a sip of coffee (hoping the booze comes sooner rather than later) and continue…

“Businesses selling to other businesses have other things to consider than say a single consumer – I get that but I don’t understand why B2B marketing has to be so fucking terrible. And that’s where I feel you come in.”

“That’s very kind of you to say, Tony.” I glance at my list and as I do you ask: “Can we order cocktails? It’s five o’clock somewhere, right?”

I point to the drinks menu and take a furtive look at my watch: it’s ten in the morning here.

“You’ve answered yes to question three, can you expand on what you consider to be a ‘direct approach’?”

“Of course. I really don’t like faffing. If I want to hire someone, I have all the info at the ready before I make contact. I value your time as much as my own and if I don’t have a budget for the work, I wouldn’t dream of contacting you.”

It’s no surprise that I agree with that statement too because I am you and you are me. 

No, this isn’t a real conversation.

But as I’m having so much fun (and as you’re me, you are too) I will keep this up a little while longer.

Our cocktails arrive. 

You’ve gone for an old fashioned which is my subconscious wanting a date with Don Draper.

(Some clarity: there are those that feel Draper is a problematic character in these post-feminist times. And he is but Mad Men is a period piece and the mid-century styling is amazing also – the script is fabulous.)

I sip my desert-dry Martini and peek at what’s next.

“You accept the process. What does that mean?”

“I never question your methods, Sarah.” Again I’m nodding. “I do exactly what you ask. Otherwise, you can’t do your job. And I’m petrified you might cause me physical harm if I don’t.”

“You’re joking, of course.”

You laugh nervously “Yes, obviously” and quickly finish your cocktail.

But seriously…

We’re here for a good time, not a long time, yeah?

This is what it means to have fun with your content, right? RIGHT? 

I dunno, I think I’m having fun. 

I can’t actually remember the last time I experienced jollification but I’m sure it has happened.

You might kinda nearly be my ideal client but without the daytime drinking.

Look, I don’t want to be rude but you’ve been around the block – just like me – a forty-something business owner (still looking smokin’ hot, obvs) that shares the same cultural references (unlike younger millennials and gen z).

So my question to you is this: are you my ideal client? If you’re still not sure why not read this and find out.

I don’t get a lot of social media engagement.

Yes, I am a bitter, forty-something woman who yearns to boost her own fragile ego with comments and likes – especially as her physical currency declines.

And there’s nothing quite so terrifying as watching your collagen deplete and hairs grow evermore abundant from your nostrils.

But would all that ego-stroking engagement help to get better leads?

I dunno. You probably need to ask someone that gets a shit-ton of likes and comments. 

It does make mathematical sense.

I’m terrible at maths but it’s logical that hoards of humans opining on your posts will bring you new clients.

The burning question is: are they the right kind of clients?

From the hundreds of messages you could potentially receive, some, I guess, might happen to be your perfect business customer.

Filtering through the “Hi Dear” DMs, the sales pitches, and the pitiful dick pics seems like a total pain in the arse to me.

Sounds like most of these ‘potential’ clients should be avoided like you would Jeremy Clarkson’s stylist (or, Jeremy Clarkson). Lemme tell ya – summat ain’t right.

Content that brings the motherlode of engagement.

Generic social media content works well with the general population. 

Just like broad humour, more people are likely to appreciate it.

When a man dresses as a woman, most of us laugh (especially when Les Dawson does it). But when Stewart Lee performs stand up, a huge chunk of the public has no clue what others are finding funny.

So when you post a cute cat meme or some vague, inspirational quote, most people will lap that shit up.

They’re like, yeah, this is giving me my daily dose of dopamine.

If it’s a dog photo or video, I’m feeling that too but I don’t read the accompanying text, I’m certainly not paying attention to what the person does and whether or not I need what they’re selling.

It’s content for engagements’ sake.

When you spot a lovingly-crafted Canva graphic that says: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” It will nearly always outperform a clever, nuanced, targeted business post.

That makes perfect sense because most people don’t want your gear, not everyone needs it.

And what monster is going to argue with the sentiment of being kind?

Most of us are not rolling our eyes when we read a post like that.

The majority aren’t cringing at the vacuous, regurgitated message that’s wheeled out in a cynical attempt to get a “Great post!” or “THIS!” comment from thousands of strangers.

We’re not analysing what being kind truly means and how a show of kindness can be something different for each person and circumstance. 

Who knows just how kind the person posting that stuff is?

We don’t.

They might knock their partner about, maybe they’re a terrible parent, perhaps they don’t walk their dog, leaving the poor pooch to slowly descend into madness whilst it circles a small backyard.

We don’t give that depth of thought to social media posts. 

What most of us do is like the bloody thing and maybe leave a positive, affirmative comment.

(Except me, I’m that monster rolling their eyes and cringing.)

These posts are the fast food of social media content.

They have no nutritional value. They do not sustain us nor do they help us in our long term business thing. But that’s not the point of them. Short term adoration is their purpose. 

Posting for engagement is not a bad thing.

If you have dreams of becoming a celebrity or influencer off the back of your YouTube channel, Linkedin or IG profile, then that’s a business plan of sorts, and for the very few it can work. 

Hey, we liked to be adored.

We want to be wanted by the people we admire, covet, and desire.

That’s no different in a business sense. We’re getting off on the nice words and compliments. Maybe the head doctors might suggest it’s because our inner child seeks the validation we didn’t get from our parents.

(I have no idea if that’s true but it sounds like it might be. It’s probably true for me!)

I post music videos.

And videos of me talking nonsense. Some weirdos like it and they tell me so, so I do it some more.

It’s like mummy saying, “What a good girl you are, Sarah.” Aw, thanks mum.

All that back-slapping hasn’t once induced someone to buy my book or hire me to sort out their awful content.

(Or lead to a recording contract / TV series.)

So, how sustainable it is to chase engagement for business is not for me to question, again, I don’t get those kinds of views but I wouldn’t recommend it as a strategy (because it’s not my area of knowledge, yeah).

Back to business.

There’s no mystical method to getting leads on social media.

You don’t need to embark on a Middle-earth quest with a leprechaun, a half-woman half-elf being, and Sean Bean (he’ll only die anyway).

Organic marketing is not that exciting. And like Eamonn Holmes, it’s incredibly unsexy.

Stamina is one quality you will need.

Get comfortable posting sales content.

Yes, business posts that actively sell what you do, either way, they will bomb compared to a dog video.

Cultivate a thick skin.

You’ll need a strong stomach for being seen. Some people won’t like your sales content.

Just to add to the ‘fun’ of social media, a few might not like you very much. Learn to genuinely not care about that.

Humans will have an emotional response to your business and the posts you create on behalf of it. Ignore the negative reactions.

They are not from people who will buy from you so they don’t matter.

Once they decide you’re not for them, there’s not much you can do about it.

Nor should you try.

Even if a few are your ideal client – you can’t win them all.

(Now you can see why it’s easier to post cat memes.)

Being liked by most people is a smoother road to travel.

Some of us can’t help being a thorn in the side (and some of us quite enjoy it).

Conforming in life and in business always appears to be the easy, comfy option. I view it as a compromise and one I’m not willing to take, especially if it hurts my personal and professional success.

Yes, I bang on about this stuff all the damn time because it’s critical when you write your business content and copy. It’s also very relevant, as we seem to be inundated with bland generic business content across social media.

Hell, you probably won’t win many, if any friends.

Content for engagement is transitory. It’s like candy floss – tasty and over in seconds. (And candy floss is great but you wouldn’t want it every day for dinner).

Now I know what you’re thinking, you would LOVE to work with me. You’re in luck because I do allow that, why not click here to find out more.

So, are your customers stupid?

I reckon most aren’t but often marketing people suggest we treat prospects as if they were total dummies. In reality, they’re just really lazy. And once you appreciate that, you’ll unlock some knowledge about how to best serve them.

But before we talk about your stupid (lazy) clients, we need to talk about Google.

Content indexing.

Search engines rank your website content based on how relevant it is to those searching your targeted keywords.

The Google Core Update.

Google is rolling this arsewipe out in 2021.

There’s so much of it that it’s happening in phases. I’m sorry (ish) to say but your website will be affected. Oh lord who art in heaven, how are we meant to muddle on?

I’m sat here trying to concentrate on the business of writing this whilst the dog rims herself. It’s very distracting. She just loves to come to where I’m at and ‘clean’ her body parts. 

How will the Google update balls up my business?

It won’t.

Google has a lovely little analogy on how you should view it:

“One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015.

A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.”

Let’s all try to keep calm.

Your site won’t be penalised – it’s not getting a telling off but pages might not rank as well as before, and some might actually do better. But remember, whatever happens now to your site, will likely change again after the final update.

Jesus wept.

If you want to find out more about what Google has to say on the subject, click here.

If you want my take on the update, keep reading.

Lazy customers and the Google update.

Are your customers stupid?

Let’s av a look at how you can mitigate any changes. 

Our lazy potential clients are looking on the web. And they’re looking for us (when they can be arsed to lift their heads off the sofa). Because surfing the internet is so exhausting, they want an easy time when they land on your website.

Picture the scene…

When you meet someone new, you make a snap judgement.

First impressions are based on looks, manner, and overall persona. That doesn’t mean your initial judgement is right but unlike humans, websites don’t have time to slowly reveal who they are.

They have seconds to impress the visitor and get them to want to stick around.

Pleading and begging are unattractive traits in people, they’re also off-putting when websites do the same (yes, I’m talking about the 27 pop-ups you insist on installing).

Just like when you met Mike for the first time, you thought he was an utter cock. Maybe he was a bit difficult, and you struggled to understand him.

Over time you begin to like Mike, and if you listen carefully, you can understand what he says.

Websites don’t have that luxury.

If you’re not hitting the right tone with the people likely to buy from you, you’re pissing against the wind. 

Just thinking now of a man, having a wee, in a gale, and it gets blown back onto him. Gross.

User Experience (UX).

What the hell?

Do not be alarmed, this isn’t about to get boring/difficult.

You’re probably already bored.

UX means exactly what it says. Google will be placing more emphasis on how easy a website is to navigate. Your potentials are lazy, remember, they don’t want to spend their time having to root through pages of content to find what they need. 

If your site is like the home of a hoarder after 20 years, collecting tat, users won’t stay. They’re not going to make the effort to look through out-of-date bean cans, cat shit, and old newspapers to find the stuff they want.

And why would you make it that bloody difficult?

Stop keeping stuff on your site because you like it. If it doesn’t get you paying clients, it’s taking up valuable space

Make it easy to find stuff.

Make your copy clear and get to the point. Your site should have a logical structure that guides the user each step of the way. You decide what you want them to do and what you want them to make a decision on.

This should be obvious but many fuck this up.

Having a logical flow with clear destinations aren’t the only elements that impact user experience. If, for example, your website doesn’t adapt to mobile view, you’re losing customers. Nearly everyone is looking at websites on those handy devices. If you’re only concern is how it behaves on desktop, you’re a pilchard.

Slow loading times will also bugger things up. If you have high-resolution images – please compress those bastards down but there are plenty of back-end elements that could be affecting your sites’ overall performance.

Like what?

Well, things like unused CSS, Javascript issues, dodgy code, too many ads… is your head hurting? Hire a proper technical SEO to sort it out.

Content is still a big deal.

And it always will be.

That’s why I bang on about blogging. It’s the one, glorious place you can keep adding regular content to your website.

Helpful, high-quality, useful, unique-to-you information for your people. Some of you might continue to underestimate how valuable words on a page are, and those individuals ought to be placed in stocks and have badger shit thrown at them.

If you’re prioritising everything else, above your online content, you’re worse than those people who don’t change the loo roll when it’s done

I’m bored now, let’s finish up.

Things to keep in mind: prospects are lazy so make your website easy to use, and don’t neglect your content.

But.

Getting your site bang on means looking at all its components.

Content, site architecture, and technical elements all play a part. Find yourself a technical SEO and book an audit to identify some quick wins. Monitor your website’s performance with Google Console and track the content that performs well. Then you can figure out why certain pages rank better and apply those principles to all your site.

(If you’d like to read more about the Google update, click here.)

If your content is hard to find and hard to understand then your UX sucks. If you’d like me to sort that out, click here to see how I can help.