Content Goals: Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
I’ve been pushing for greater transparency at Conversio since it was Receiptful. Honesty is one of our core values at Conversio. We are very transparent, honest and sarcastic internally but there was a lack of translation to our audience.
Honest brands with real humans are more relatable and promote customer loyalty. This is why I’ve been nudging (rather insistently) in this direction since my start. SaaS companies can be a multitude of things but relatable, is hard to achieve. Most of the time you won’t see me, I’m usually behind the scenes. I work with a lot of content…editing, publishing and whatever is needed in-between. To be perfectly honest, that’s the way I prefer it. But we all know you can’t always get what you want. And part of my push toward transparency has led me to share my thoughts and goals for Conversio’s content.
Content is a big part of Conversio. It’s how we connect with our customers, potential customers and generally provide resources to anyone looking for Ecommerce marketing information. We have worked steadily towards providing content more regularly while testing and determining what resonates. Through this I have been able to slowly define and start to implement our overall content ideals.
Value and perspective are at the core of everything
Providing value to our customers is at at the heart of everything that comes from Conversio. And how do you know if you’re providing value to anyone? You have to understand their perspective. What do they think when they read your words or listen to your podcast? Where are they coming from and why the f_ do they care?
I know this probably seems obvious… you’re thinking “Kim, say something new”. Cool cool I get it. But when you create something it’s so hard to separate what you want to relay from what people actually get from it. It may take an alternate pair of eyes to help you realize what you’re missing.
Headlines are the worst…but completely necessary to get right
Powerful headlines are required so that your content gets discovered…and then people discover you. Here’s what I look for:
- Say it simply and directly. Period.
- Let them know the big benefit. Why should they care?
- Announce exciting news. Because it’s brand new!
- Try a provocative question. I want to know and so will everyone else.
- Be bossy and commanding. People will follow you.
- Provide useful information. You’ll get rewarded if your audience learns.
- Testimonials are spot on. Use them only if they’re honest, succinct and gung-ho.
The first sentence is a make or break situation
How many times have you started reading an article and then simply stopped, got distracted or just saved to “read later”. Do you ever really go back and read it later?
I read 1 out of 6 things I save and then the article is simply out there waiting for me to circle back. It contends with every other article I should or thought may be interesting. With that in mind, the first sentence must speak directly to the needs and desires of your audience. Brevity and value go a long way.
The word “you” is a power word
Never take that for granted and never forget it. Your copy should always focus more on the reader than on yourself. This helps them feel that you are speaking to them directly and that the content is relevant to them. If it’s all about me then why would anyone else care? Basically cut the word “we” or “I” wherever you possibly can.
Use an active voice
Do the action instead of being acted upon. That makes it powerful. Sentences that follow this structure are easier to understand, convey movement, and are naturally more interesting.
“We wrote our new eBook to help you work smarter, not harder.”
“The new eBook written by our company can help you work smarter instead of harder.”
See how the first sentence is not only shorter, but easier to follow? I honestly can’t even finish reading the second sentence…
Active voice sentences can also begin with a command.
“Learn how to market your business smarter, not harder, with our new ebook.”
Which of these example sentences you use depends on whether you want to emphasize the new eBook or what your audience will learn with it. I always prefer to emphasize the value of what they will learn, but the choice is yours. Either option is exponentially better than long….drawn out passive sentences.
Simpler said than done. We all have filler phrases that clog sentences, however, they look perfectly natural to us. I’m sure I have a few hidden in this article because it’s harder for me to see in my own writing. Use short sentences, paragraphs etc…make it short and to the point. Let’s be honest…people have less of an attention span these days. I know I do.
Persuade with problems
If you understand a huge problem that your ideal audience may have, present it. By identifying a specific problem you make your audience know that you understand their struggle and identify with it. It makes them feel like you are speaking directly to them. The only trouble is…then you have to solve the problem.
Make it easy to understand
Here at Conversio we are advantaged, we know a lot about a lot. Sometimes it is hard to recognize exactly how much we know in any given field since it has become a part of our perspective and knowledge set. We are educated in technology, development, design, marketing, sales, customer success etc. It is important to understand our advantage, acknowledge it and account for it in our content. It may feel counterintuitive but we never want to make our audience feel stupid, no matter their skill level. Conversio is for ALL types of users so it is our mission to help them understand without talking down to them. I always think about how I’d explain an issue to one of my friends or family members. Ok, perhaps not my mom because she just zones out when it comes to technology.
Provide action items…always
We’ve a been a bit slow to this one, but it’s really important. Always help people understand how they can accomplish what you are suggesting. Don’t leave them hanging. By all means, tell a story…it’s inspiring, uplifting, motivating. Then provide an action plan, resources or something to help people come away feeling like they can put their inspiration into action. Help them bridge the gap from point A to point B and they will be grateful.
Who are you? Please share
A part of transparency is being yourself. Bring your personality into content wherever you can, without being distracting. I want to trust you, I want to learn from you, I want to read, watch, listen and devour all of your content. But the only way to get me hooked is to let me know who you are.
These items aren’t everything you need to succeed but are items that often get neglected. I’ll be the first to say that I have missed a few.
It all boils down to what is valuable to your key audience. Think about any piece of content from their perspective or let someone else take a look so they can point out what you are missing. Adii already pointed out many mistakes in this article, and hopefully it made it easier to understand and apply. Right now there is so much information out there to consume, so we all need to figure out how to stand out. Anyone can search for anything online and find it. I’m very excited by that point because this opens up the opportunity for businesses and content to be less self serving. In order for businesses to succeed we actually need to make a human connection, provide value, hold our hands out, introduce ourselves and say “This is who I am and This is what I stand for”.
Essentially this is my way of saying, “Hello! My name is Kim and I’m excited to help your business succeed.”