As a small business owner it can be very difficult to get found, never-mind be heard, on the internet. The competition is extreme and we are just one of many. Without something to set us apart, we just blend into the background. Is there a way to get an edge?
Our written content can be what saves us from mediocrity, IF we know where to start.
First, what do I mean by ‘content’?
Basically content includes written posts, pictures or images, and video, but it can also include anything that’s particular to your business, such as product descriptions.
Sales copy, or just “copy”, can also be considered, but it is much more finely tuned content than what I am discussing here. (Sales copy is written advertising).
In general, making your content top notch is the very best marketing tool you have, because nothing attracts potential customers like useful, educational, and shareable content.
But how? How do people get the ideas that cause their posts or videos to go viral? Are they just better marketers than you? Better at business? More creative? Nicer people?
The answer is, no. They aren’t any of those. But I guarantee that they have spent lots of time learning how to write good posts, create interesting video, and use interesting images.
The following tips will help you to think about and see your writing in a different light:
- Bring your personality and voice to the paper. Show your audience your enthusiasm and passion for the product or services you offer. When your audience detects that you really are passionate about what you do or have to offer, they will be more interested as well.
Ensure that your voice is coming through the written word. Use your tone, your voice and your style. Eventually your audience will become accustomed to “you” and come to expect nothing less. When they return to your site, this is what they will be looking for. Personalize each written piece so that it is your own, and can be easily identified as such.
- Always give. I don’t know about you, but I love it when I am in the cosmetics department and am given a sample of something and told what it is and how it works. I walk away feeling just that much more informed, not to mention impressed at their generosity.
It’s even more important online because you can’t be there to hand out the sample. Your writing has to be that sample. Make it educational and informative. Help that person so they can make an informed decision about hiring your or buying your products. If they leave your site not knowing anything more about you and your product/service than they had before they visited, they probably won’t be back.
- Stay relevant. Are visitors going to get the information they came for about your business, or will they find something unrelated?
For example, if you are a Virtual Assistant and you are writing posts about your cute little pets, it’s not relevant to your business. People are busy and are looking for answers. Only include interesting, cutting edge, helpful, and/or newsworthy content that is relevant to the type of business you are in. If your content is all that, you can be sure they’ll be back for more.
- Is there an element of surprise? Or something unexpected? I’m not sure what that would be in your business, but I’m sure there is something you could do that would leave your viewers thinking great things about you and your business, products or services. Give them something to talk about.
- This next step is especially important for sales. Whenever possible, show your visitors what you want to say rather than tell them. Your content will be more powerful to your audience when you can show them testimonials or customer feedback rather than just you telling them how much your market loves your stuff. Anyone can say that, but the ones who can back it up will come out on top.
The internet can be a scary place for many people. They have no idea who you are or if you are honest. Let them know that others have tried your product or service and that they recommend them (social proof).
- Edit your content to ensure it is clear and simple to follow. The easiest way to do this is to write the way you speak (conversational tone). You will come across as more approachable, friendly, and trustworthy if your audience feels like they are having a conversation with you.
- Avoid using technical language or jargon that most people would not understand. If you have to use a word that your audience probably won’t understand, then it is completely OK to define it for them.
- Get your content looking the best it can be. Spell-check and proof-read before publishing. Don’t present your website with a bunch of grammatical errors and misspelled words. Take a little extra time to check it before publishing it. Leave lots of white space so they can take a breather between paragraphs. Highlight words that are especially important (this is also awesome for SEO if that word is one of your business’s keywords). You’ll look more professional and capable of running a successful business.
What did I miss? What is your writing ritual?