How can you make the words in your content marketing more meaningful, more effective, and ultimately more valuable?
One of the most important things I learnt when starting out as a copywriter in content marketing, is that people generally hate long pages filled with words. They require too much time and concentration to read and take in. When there’s too many words to sift through, they can stop people from finding exactly what they’re looking for, and that’s definitely not what your business wants. In this modern world we live in, people want information quickly, and without having to wade through a wall of filler just to find it.
Now that doesn’t mean you should instantly cut down every last sentence on your website. If you’ve read almost any article surrounding the importance of language and writing for the digital realm, you’ll know exactly why the words on your website matter, regardless of the content length. Without words, how would people find your site? And once they’ve found you (somehow), how would they know what you do or what you can offer? How would people even know your name?!
We could list thousands of examples as to why words should never be an afterthought online (and offline for that matter). But this blog discusses how you can make those words more meaningful, more effective, and ultimately more valuable.
Those three little words
You know the ones. They give you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It’s that beautiful phrase that when whispered in your ear can turn any dark, gloomy day into one full of happiness and rainbows…
OK, so maybe it’s not quite as effective as “I love you” for wiping away the tears and frustration of daily living, but that phrase is a crucial consideration for all aspects of life.
To look at it in a slightly more obscure fashion, would you rather spend ten years without excitement, knowing that things could have always been better?… Or would you prefer to experience something absolutely out-of-this-world for just one day?
Chances are, that single day of pure, unadulterated enjoyment will stay with you for the rest of your life in a much more positive way than ten years of drudgery would.
Writing is no different. You want your work to be memorable. Because memorable work has a long-lasting effect on your readers, and it’s going to have a significant impact on any future interactions.
That’s exactly why striving for quality over quantity should always be a priority for your copy and content. Filling a page with keywords in the hope of achieving a good organic SERP ranking won’t always cut it anymore (although keywords are still extremely important). You need to make sure that whatever you do have written on a page is actually good, as well as ticking off those all-important SEO requirements. Particularly in the case of building your brand, the more memorable the better…
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Make memories, not enemies
Memorable writing has been the key to brand awareness for a very, very long time. From McDonalds to Nike, specific words and phrases have become almost permanently embedded into the minds of millions all over the world…so ‘Just do it’. However, that memorability isn’t just reserved for slogans and life lessons. You can inject that same impact and passionate flair into even the longest of blog posts. In fact, you should do just that. But how?
Never underestimate a well-thought-out flow
Get creative with your sentences. Long sentences have their place, and sometimes they’re unavoidable. But sometimes less is more. Short, snappy sentences can make things feel more conversational. Mix them in with longer sentences, and don’t forget to experiment with punctuation and formatting to enhance your tone of voice. Plus, those short sentences can be great for grabbing attention at key points in your piece. They make great openers for product pages too.
‘And’ is your friend
Sometimes there’s just no other way to start a sentence. If a pause is needed and a full stop helps with the flow, there’s no harm in experimenting with the dreaded ‘and’-bomb straight after it. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it won’t. But don’t be afraid to give it a whirl, it could be just what you need to help the readability of a particular section. Just be wary of the tone of voice you’re going for before deciding to keep it in the final draft.
Make your content feel relatable
People are much more likely to connect with your writing if they feel that it’s relatable to them, and that connection is exactly what you’re looking to achieve. One great way of doing that is by telling stories. If you can describe an experience or a storyline that people can relate to, they’ll feel much more connected with your content. Don’t be afraid to draw from your own personal experiences either, it’ll help to add a sense of realism to your writing.
Relatable stories are a great way to point out problems, and can be great for framing how those problems can be addressed. Oh, and don’t forget to ask questions within your copy. You’re ultimately trying to talk to your readers, and questions are a great way to spark an internal conversation and boost that connection.
Consider the language you use
Speaking of talking to your readers, the language you choose will have a huge effect on how people engage with your writing. Have you ever had to sit through a conversation where someone was just talking at you in an overly-complex and frankly boring manner? You’ll know how easy it is to switch off. The same goes for writing. It all comes down to creating that connection with your readers.
A well-known and highly-regarded bank recently made their tone of voice guidelines readily available for anyone to read. Now normally, you’d expect content within the finance industry to be extremely formal and filled with complicated language. These guys took a different route. They openly prefer to use ‘simpler, more natural language’. And it works!
A conversational tone that makes use of words you’d use when you’re actually talking to someone can often be much more effective than a 200-word sentence filled with jargon and fluff. Research has shown that simpler language is much more appealing and easier to connect with. So much so that even lawyers and solicitors have found success in simplifying their language in court proceedings.
Another way to use language to your advantage
Don’t forget the power of emotive words. They’re one of the most powerful ways to build and enhance that connection with your readers. Emotional responses from readers have been the bread and butter of effective copywriting for decades, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an excellent tool for utilising in conjunction with other tips too, especially when it comes to making your writing relatable to your readers.
Embrace humour (where relevant)
I’m not naturally funny. Like, at all. Making people laugh from a few words on a screen is no easy task, and I’ve developed an enormous amount of respect for comedy writers since trying to come up with things myself. But when you do come up with something that genuinely works, it can completely transform how effective certain copy is going to be. Again, remember to take the tone of voice and the actual situation into account before unleashing your latest jokes upon the world.
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Most of all, enjoy what you do
One of the biggest pieces of advice we can give you is to embrace and enjoy whatever you’re writing. If you take it in your stride, it’ll show in your work. So no matter what you’re writing about, be passionate! You’ll instantly see an improvement in the quality of your pieces from the get-go.
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