How (good) SEO copywriting helps people like you online

Let me put it out there right now: I used to hate Crocs.

Actually, Crocs (and their ugly footwear twin, Vibram Five-Fingered Shoes) are one of the few things my husband and I used to argue about. Every time he’d put on his Crocs, or his Vibrams (which have been described by his co-workers as “creepy toe shoes”) I’d encourage other shoe choices. Or going barefoot. ANYTHING but the Crocs.

Confession time: I don’t think that the (cuter) Crocs are that bad. And I even have a pair of Vibrams (and there is photographic evidence of me wearing them, too.) Why did I have such a fashion-backwards change of heart? Turns out, by being “everywhere” Crocs and Vibrams actually seem more attractive.

Let’s talk about why that is.

In the book Buyology, Martin Lindstrom discusses how “mirror neurons” influence our buying decisions by making us mimic other people’s buying behavior (and yes, he used Crocs as an example.) If we see cool, sexy people wearing Crocs, our unconscious minds go into overdrive. We think, “Maybe if I wear Crocs, I’ll look cool and sexy too.” And suddenly, what seemed like an unthinkable purchase (Really…Crocs?  Really?) now because a must-buy. As Lindstrom says, “Just seeing a certain product over and over makes it more desirable.”

And this got me thinking about SEO copywriting and how good writing can make a company seem more “desirable.”

Today, companies have multiple online content marketing channels. You can create a video. You can send out snappy tweets. You can distribute a newsletter, write a white paper – or heck, even optimize your site content for better rankings. All of these channels allow you to be “found” a different way.

Now imagine, a prospect who is looking for a product or service like yours. Maybe they see one of your brilliant tweets, which causes them to investigate your company. Then, they see an article your CEO has written. Then, they find your company in the search results. Once they reach your site, they watch your video and sign up for your newsletter.

The cool thing is, in this scenario where your content is everywhere, your prospect is being encouraged to “like” you a little bit more. Your company seems more desirable.  The psychological concept of “familiarly fosters likability” states that we tend to like people (or companies), when we are continually exposed to them (this only applies if the information is useful and provides value.) So, to a prospect, your informative tweets, how-to white paper and newsletter would be highly valuable information – and every time they “see” your company again, the prospect is reminded, “Hey, I know these guys. I like these guys. I should read this.”

(At the same time, if your content is crap and your tweets are more sales-focused than sharp, you’ll actually turn off your readers.)

In terms of a SEO content development play, it means that the more places your (quality) content can “live” online, the better.  In a brilliant blog post by Dr. Rachna Jain, she explains,”this means you should syndicate your content widely and be out in front of your target audience every chance you get. As people see you “everywhere,”they start to pay more attention. And as they pay more attention, you become more familiar.”

What does this mean to your company? Two things:

  • Quality content is key. Although it’s tempting to kick out low-quality articles just to get search rankings in your virtual door, resist the urge.
  • Just because you’re everywhere doesn’t mean people will like you (hello, Jesse James.) They’ll only like you if you give good content.

NOW is the time for a SEO content development strategy. Not later. Not when you have time. But NOW. If you know that folks are clamoring for content that helps solve a problem – and they’ll “like” your company the more that they’re exposed to your content, isn’t it time to get moving? Like..now?

Good content is more than just “search engine fodder.” It’s about ensuring that your prospects see your brand when they are searching for a solution to their specific problem. The more your company is “out there” with compelling, problem-solving content, the more positively you’ll be perceived…

…Now, if you excuse me, I have some Vibrams to put on…

8 replies
  1. Alconcalcia
    Alconcalcia says:

    Not convinced about the crocs argument. To me, you either like the look of something or you don’t. Either that or you follow the herd and buy some because everyone’s getting them, but that route is not for me.

    They’re like ‘Uggs’ hyped to the max but look awful. Individuality and personal taste wins for me every time, no matter how anyone describes a fashion item like a shoe or boot.

    Reply
    • Heather
      Heather says:

      Hello!

      Well, that’s the thing – many people just “follow the herd.” And if the herd is wearing Crocs (or the properly-named Uggs,) well, those mirror neurons start firing. :)

      That’s why companies will hire trendy teens to wear their new (shirt, tennis shoe style, etc) – the more people see attractive folks wearing (whatever,) it makes folks within that social circle want to buy, too. On a B2B level, that’s what a smart PR/ SEO copywriting firm does. The more you see a company name in the news, the more you pay attention – especially when the company puts out quality content.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  2. Krista
    Krista says:

    Hi there! I do agree with you that Crocs are really ugly and bulky but besides these 2 issues, the thing is, Crocs are really expensive here in Penang, Malaysia. I don’t know how much a pair of rubber sandals cost in the USA but over here, we pay about RM90 per pair of Crocs while regular rubber sandals cost RM10 the most. So it’s about 9 times the price of a regular pair of rubber sandals. Of course this being Malaysia, other copycats start copying the idea and produce Croc-like sandals which sell for RM20 to RM30 (US$1 = RM3.2). And yes, people still wear them though they are ugly as hell. I am still trying to figure out what appeal Crocs (or Crocs lookalike sandals) hold for most people? But I agree that the herd appeal sometimes win (though I have yet to join the herd!). 😉

    Reply
    • Heather
      Heather says:

      Amazing, isn’t it? The herd mentality around fashion is fascinating to watch. Now that I think about it, it really helps to explain the hair and fashion during the 80s. There must have been some powerful mirror neuron action to make big hair and painter pants fashionable… :)

      Reply
  3. Matthew Newnham
    Matthew Newnham says:

    Hi Heather,

    Another great post – thanks!

    I love how you continue to fly the flag for quality, especially with so many plug-ins and other SEO ninja tricks of one sort or another being touted as the ultimate answer.

    As to how powerful these mirror neurons are, isn’t it great that we can also put this to use for inspiring companies and causes (like, say, Pike Place Fish or RoomToRead.org)?

    Best wishes from sunny-now-grey Scotland,

    Matthew

    Reply
  4. Tom Bishop
    Tom Bishop says:

    This absolutely happens – it reminds me of the ‘proof of concept’ phenomenon, where one pioneer company creates an industry, but can’t get as much cred as the companies that come in second and third. Or when an enterprising ‘little guy’ creates a product that is later spoofed by the big companies, proving the concept. If he’s lucky, the little guy’s business takes off too.

    In the case of the Vibrams, the barefoot or ‘minimal’ running craze has appeared, either driving the popularity of these VFFs or as a result of them. But every competitor from New Balance to Merrell now makes something meant for ‘minimal’ running (BTW I’ve switched style and now run in the NB Min Zeroes. The technique works).

    Reply
  5. Rob Bullock
    Rob Bullock says:

    Great post Heather! I wouldn’t have bought crocs for myself, but I was given a pair as a gift and discovered just how comfortable, practical, light-weight, waterproof, and long-lasting they are. For me, good copywriting will always be about digging deep, leaving no feature-benefit rock unturned, and exposing all the inherent “value gems” for all to see.

    Reply

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