Content is king.
How many times have you heard that phrase?
More than you’ve wanted to, I’m sure. Especially in the digital age where writing website content is less of a should-do and more of a must-do.
And there’s no question as to why that is. In fact, according to Demand Metric, content marketing is 62% cheaper than outbound marketing – and earns three times as many leads.
That’s a stat that’s pretty hard to ignore. Almost as hard as avoiding the phrase “content is king”.
Clearly, there are some real, compelling stats that emphasize the importance of writing content that’s both engaging and effective.
Which is great to know, but how do you get your website content to where it would be considered, well, “king” of your content marketing efforts?
You can research all day and night and find hundreds or thousands of articles and tips out there, explaining why this or that approach or link or technique is better than the other.
But who has time for that? And how do you know which tips are most effective and who’s offering the best advice?
Truth be told, it all boils down to three things. Master each of these, and rest assured your website content will have rightfully earned the crown.
Know your audience, well.
When you first sit down to write anything – a blog post, an e-mail, even a text – the first thing you take note of, even before deciding how you want to write something, is who you’re actually writing to.
Am I right? No one thinks, “I’ve got some really important things to say, now I’ve got to write out my message, edit it, and then decide who would understand it best.”
No way. Something comes to mind, then your immediate next thought is who you want to share it with. Then you start developing how you’re going to say it.
So it stands to reason that before you start writing website content, you’ve got to decide who you’re directing your message toward, i.e. your audience.
Ask yourself, “Who is my primary audience (those most inclined to purchase or be interested in my product or service)?” These are your main customers.
Then think about your secondary audience, those who may be part of the decision-making process for your primary audience, or those who may be interested in your products or services at a later time or lower frequency.
For example, if you’re selling grill equipment, your primary audience may be single or married men between the ages of 24 and 55 who own homes. Your secondary audience may be married women in a similar age range who own homes, as they may be the ones purchasing such equipment either to use themselves or as a gift for their husbands (primary audience).
Next, you’ll want to consider the obvious questions with your primary and secondary audience in mind.
What information about your product or service do they need to know in order to make a purchase? What kind of questions or concerns might they have?
This is where knowledge about your audience really influences what you include when writing website content.
For instance, as a grill equipment provider, you know that your primary audience’s first questions are usually whether a grill is gas-powered or electric. They want to know what size the grill is, both in length and height, for fit, as well as the size of the cooking grates, for food capacity.
On the other hand, your secondary audience may be interested not only in those details but also in safety features for use around children or perhaps aesthetics for how the grill will fit in with the rest of the outdoor furniture and equipment.
Details such as these are details you’ll want to make sure you cover while writing copy for your website, the “make-or-break a deal” kind of details.
Once you’ve covered the essentials, focus on writing website content that’s interesting, fun and engaging. That hits the right tone of voice. That’s organized appropriately. With CTAs that really pack a punch.
All of these things are guaranteed to miss the mark completely if you don’t know your audience.
So do your research and get to know them. Well.
Focus your website content around SEO keyword research.
First came the days of just owning a web domain and filling your pages with the right information and some pretty pictures to liven things up. Then came a focus on link building. Then keyword stuffing and “black hat” SEO. And now, here we are at the crossroads of accurate keyword research and writing website content that complements it.
Aside from knowing your audience, executing proper SEO keyword research is the first thing you should do, before you even start writing website content.
Why? Because the more effective your use of keywords, the higher rank your site will get via organic search. Meaning it’ll generate more click-throughs and web traffic than those listed further down in the search results.
It sounds complicated, but it’s really not that hard of a task. With the right tools.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a favorite option of many. It’s a paid tool if you want to run live ads, but it’s free to use for some keyword research. Plus you get some high-level insight into search volume.
Another easy way to come up with keywords is by running some searches on Google. You’ll need to run some searches and scroll down to the bottom of the search results to see common phrases used when searching for that topic. But you won’t be able to get an idea around possible search volume.
For instance, if you try searching “top rated outdoor grills” via Google,
and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find the below list of related searches:
After reviewing this information, you may want to consider writing website content that includes phrases like “best gas grills on the market” vs. “top rated gas grills on the market”.
One thinks to keep in mind though – don’t sacrifice quality copy by keyword stuffing.
Meaning, if you find a highly searched phrase like says, “outdoor gourmet grills”, don’t go around replacing “grill” for “outdoor gourmet grill” in every section of your website. You might end up overcomplicating content, confusing customers or just making your copy sound contrived and robotic.
Organize and break up your website content for readability
Do you get really excited to read industry white papers? Owner’s manuals? Scholarly articles?
Didn’t think so.
Obviously, the heavy content and blasé topics usually featured in these types of materials aren’t going to peak most people’s interest.
But there are two specific things that really erode their ability to engage from the get-go:
- Long-winded sections of content.
- No (or small, black and white) images.
People have short attention spans. And they’re getting shorter.
I mean, who can forget Microsoft’s 2015 study, which measured people’s attention spans at about eight seconds…the equivalent of that of a goldfish.
So when people pick up a paper or go to read a webpage that looks like a never-ending waterfall of words, scrolling down, down, down…they’ll not only be visually intimidated but if you haven’t caught their attention in eight seconds or less, you’re probably going to lose them entirely.
While writing website content, do what you can to turn one endless page of words into a well laid out collection of copy.
Break up long paragraphs with spaces. Use bulleted lists to note features. Build out a framework with shorter sections of content, strategically placed vs. big chunks of words that can be overwhelming for your audience.
And don’t forget the images.
One of the easiest and best ways to make your website content more interesting and engaging is by strategically adding images to break up the copy. And it will make sense to also take social media graphic design into consideration.
You don’t have to spend a lot to do this right.
Hire a freelance photographer to take some product and lifestyle shots. Invite customers to share their photos. Create original graphics for using free online tools like Canva.
And whatever you do, avoid the temptation to use stock photos…the same stock photos that have been used a million times over.
Not a good look.
By effectively organizing your copy and adding appropriate, original images to break up your website content, you’ll be creating a better overall user experience for your audience.
So, back to the (digital) age-old question…is content really king?
You can hire the best copywriters in the world, edit their work 20 times, including all the right details…but if you don’t:
- know your audience,
- use SEO quality keywords
- and organize and accent content effectively with white space and images,
your website is going to suffer. Conversion rates, traffic, lead generation, online sales…will all suffer. Big time.
You get the picture.
Content, specifically website content, without consideration of those three factors isn’t king. Of anything.
Is your web content crown-worthy?
If not, it’s about time to overtake the throne.