The C-Word And Why Content Isn’t King

You know what I’m tired of hearing?

The oft-repeated mantra “content is king.”

“But wait Heather,” you may say. “You train people how to write content. You consult on SEO content development. Heck, your entire career was built on content.”

True. But I think the mantra “content is king” has done more harm than good.

Why?

Even in today’s brave new Google world, some people still believe that it’s the quantity of the content – not the quality – that’s important. The primary goal of content is to help a site be seen in the SERPs.

But being seen only works when there’s something else in play.

That “something else” is the C-word.

Read more

5 Ways to Spice Up Your B2B Content

SpicesNews flash: B2B content doesn’t have to be boring.

I know, I know. Writing for B2B sites isn’t easy. Products like lanyards and construction helmets aren’t necessarily sexy. Your competitors’ sites are probably just as boring. And the powers-that-be may feel more comfortable with “just the facts” feature-filled content.

Yet, for many (most) B2B sites, there’s room for so much improvement. By adding just a little bit of spice, you can connect with your readers and boost your conversion rates.

Here’s how to do it:

Use the word “you” in your copy

You are not selling to robots. Nor are you selling to a “company.” You are selling to people. And people (otherwise known as your target readers) respond to the word “you.”  Using the word personalizes your message and makes your content more compelling. For a great example, check out Basecamp’s homepage. Their line, “Our job is to help you do your job better” is a fantastic mission statement. It’s punchy, personal and implies a pretty big benefit. Plus, it makes you want to look more closely at their services – so the content is definitely doing it’s job.

Shorten your sentences

Many B2B companies are guilty of zombie run-on sentences. You read one endless sentence and BOOM you see another one. They’re everywhere. And they suck the life out of the content.  Guess what? Nobody wants to read your 35+ word sentences.  If you find yourself writing long, paragraph-like sentences, mix up your sentence structure, stat! Write one longer sentence and then follow it up with a shorter one. Experiment. Your copy will be much punchier as a result.

Get inside your readers’ heads

What is your reader really thinking? It’s not, “Hey, I’m going to purchase these firefighting helmets for our team.” It’s probably something like, “I need to find the safest, most comfortable helmets for the best possible cost.” You shouldn’t start writing until you have fleshed out what your unique sales proposition is, what’s driving your reader to make a purchase and what motivates them. If companies in your industry are known for poor customer service, play up the fact that you have staff on call 24/7. If your solution is high value (and more expensive,) overcome any price objections within your copy and show how paying more is a great investment. The more you know what your reader is thinking when he or she reaches your landing page, the more persuasive your content.

Boost your benefit statements

Have you ever wanted to scream “HOW DOES THIS PRODUCT HELP ME?!” Yeah. Me too. Features are nice but they don’t tell the whole story. It’s one thing to sell a hard hat. It’s another to discuss how your hard hat won’t slip off, is ultra comfortable and won’t cause headaches. Statements like that will cause your target reader to sit up and take notice.

Dare to be different

I am so tired of people saying that their content has to be boring. Why? It’s “industry standard.” If they write it any differently, their target market may respond negatively. Look at companies like AppSumo. Their content for their Piktochart product not only tells a story, it tells a funny story – plus weaves in some impressive benefit statements. They even use the words “you” and “your.”  Their sales copy shows being different works and can truly differentiate your product line. Sure, I’m sure they’ve tested their results to confirm that the tone and feel is spot on. But at least they took a chance rather than following the herd.

Instead of making excuses, why not go out on a limb? Try one (or more) of these spicy techniques and see what sticks. Rewrite a landing page. Test new approaches via social media.

You may be surprised at the results. And you may make more money, too.

Photo thanks to Clyde Robinson. 

Want more B2B SEO writing tips? Sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’ll learn proven methods to improve your writing and boost your conversion rates.

 

 

 

 

 

You inherited crap legacy content. Now what?

Does your company's site content make you cry?

Does your company’s site content make you cry?

Good news: You were just hired as the content manager for a well-established site.

Bad news: The content is horrible, it hasn’t been optimized for SEO and every page makes you want to cry.

This scenario is extremely common. Maybe it’s because the company has had various people overseeing the site’s content. Or, no-one “owned” the content before – so there’s no strategy, no cohesion and everything is a big, fat mess.

If this sounds like your company, take a deep breath and relax. The key is to tackle your site in baby steps. Here are some places to start:

Review the site’s analytics.

Even crappy pages can convert – maybe not to their full potential, but they can do it. Determine the pages that contribute the most to the conversion process. These top pages will probably be the ones you “touch” first. You’ll also want to review bounce rates and time on site. If people are clicking into your site and not taking action, you know you have a problem.

(As a side note, if your company doesn’t have analytics and goals in place, get those set up first. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.)

Review the existing customer persona.

Is it still relevant? Do you need to create a new one? If your company is serving a new vertical market, is there content just for them?

Check out your existing keyphrase document (assuming there is one.)

Do the keyphrases represent all phases of the buy cycle? Or are they mostly brand-specific terms that are only relevant when someone wants to make a purchase? Just to be safe, I’d re-run the data. You may find opportunities the previous person didn’t see.

Determine the overarching primary and secondary issues.

For many sites, the core issue is that the pages haven’t been optimized. This means poor Titles, and inconsistent (or no) keyphrase usage. Other sites may suffer from a variety of different writing styles that don’t fit the customer persona. Once you determine what the main problems are, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and get more done.

Are the pages written to sell? Or do you have a “meh” response?

A huge problem many companies (especially B2B companies) face is their sales copy is boring, benefit-free and basic. Tightening up the top sales pages and rewriting them can often result in an almost immediate “win” (that is, you’ll make money.) Consider testing pages with services like Optimizely. That way, you’ll KNOW what works rather than making an educated guess.

Can you find any easy wins?

Rewriting sales pages can certainly be an easy win. So can optimizing existing blog posts that lead to conversions. If you know a page is important to the sales cycle and it’s keyphrase-free, making it more SEO friendly can often have a huge impact. You’ll be able to drive more qualified traffic that should result in increased leads or sales.

Get organized – not overwhelmed.

Remember those top pages that drive conversion rates? Tighten those up and make those shine first. After that, have a plan for going through the site in organized, sequential chunks. That may mean focusing on your “easy win” pages next. Or focusing your efforts around a particular site section. Tie your efforts back to what you know makes your site money rather than doing a little bit of everything. You’ll see better results, faster, if you do.

Reviewing your site is something you can easily do yourself. Or, if you need an outside opinion, it sometimes pays to bring in a content expert who can develop an action plan. That way, someone with a fresh perspective (and perhaps a better understanding of the latest SEO content techniques) can help you along your path.

The good news is – even crappy legacy content can be transformed into a top-converting asset. It may take some time and you’ll be working in baby steps. But the end result will be a site that you’re proud to be associated with (and won’t make you cry when you look at it.)

Looking for insider information? Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive access to discounts, content and information. Sign up today!

Thank you, migasun, for the great photo!

 

 

 

 

The Veg-O-Matic approach to SEO copy development

Earlier this month, I was honored to speak at SMX West. I was originally going to chat about how content strategies have changed over the last year. Then, Chris Sherman (one of the conference organizers) said, “I really like your Tweets and how your firm repurposes content. Can you talk about that?”

Sure thing!

My slides were based on this 2011 blog post. When I originally wrote this, Google+ wasn’t even on the radar. Now, it’s yet another platform that marketers have to use and measure.

Feeling overwhelmed? Relax. Take a peek at my slides, and then read how the Veg-O-Matic approach to SEO copywriting can make your life easier than before.  Really!

 

One of the areas where many site owners get “stuck” is content creation. There are more SEO copy opportunities than ever before, including:

  • Tweets
  • Facebook posts
  • Product/service pages – new pages, as well as updates to existing pages
  • Case studies
  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • Videos
  • Webinars

(I’m sure you could add more to the list.)

The challenge with “content overload” is that nothing gets done. Planning an editorial calendar seems impossible. There’s too much to write in too little time.

That’s when you bring in the SEO content Veg-O-Matic to slice and dice your content into little bits.

For those not familiar with Ron Popeil’s Veg-O-Matic, it was a hand held appliance that made slicing and dicing vegetables easy. You could cut a carrot into small pieces. You could shred it. You could even create thin julienne slices. Cutting it up was effortless – and one carrot could take many different final forms.

You can do the same thing when you plan your SEO content. Rather than thinking, “Oh, man. I have a month’s worth of tweets to plan,” think of how you can “slice and dice” existing content many different ways. Here’s what I mean:

Say that your company creates one white paper a month. Once the white paper is complete, you could:

  • Pull out tasty 140 character tidbits and use them as tweets
  • Transform some of the main topics into 500 word blog posts. Each week, send out an email newsletter featuring the posts.
  • Create a video based on a white paper topic (I’ve been creating YouTube SEO copywriting video tips, and they’re pulling in great traffic.)

You see? You’re taking existing content and working backwards. You’re doing what you can with what you already have. Granted, you’ll still want to plan bigger projects (like another white paper or a product page revamp.) But, finding time for big projects is much easier when you’re not reinventing the content wheel every time.

Instead of looking at your editorial calendar and thinking, “It’s mid-March, what do I write/tweet/blog about for the next 30 days,”it shifts to, “We just completed a blog post/case study/video. In what ways can we slice and dice it into tasty content tidbits?”

Once you’ve figured out how to leverage what you have, the content creation process seems much more effortless.

You can accomplish the same goal even if you don’t have one “big” content piece a month. For instance, say that your company blogs five times a week. You could probably pull a couple – maybe more – good tweets out of every post. You could track popular blog topics and develop a Webinar (which could even be an additional profit center.) Heck you could even produce a monthly “Twitter tips” list that you could offer as a downloadable .pdf. The possibilities are endless.

You don’t need to solely focus on existing Web content, either. Do you have an old how-to guide that you could dust off and transform into blog posts or tweets? Did you write an article years ago that you could repurpose? Have you written a book? As long as the content is updated and valid, looking to “old” content sources is a smart idea. Recycling is good for the environment, and it’s great for your content, too!

Consider taking a cue from Ron Pompeil and see how you can Veg-O-Matic your content. You may find that you’re releasing more quality content than ever before – and creating your monthly editorial calendar is easier than ever before.

Write a (Good) Blog Post in 1 Hour — Here’s How!

How to write fast when the clock is tickingAre you short on time and need to write a quality blog post – fast?

Sounds like it’s time for a quickie (blog post, that is!)

A quickie blog post is still high quality, informative and fun to read. The difference is, you’re writing your blog post fast and furious (and in one hour or less.).

Is it the ideal way to write? No. In a perfect world, you have hours to write, revise, and tweak. However, there are those times when carving out 60 minutes is the best you can do – and you need to write something engaging, intelligent and useful.

Here are some blog writing tips to consider:

– Write about something you enjoy. If you love your topic, it’s easier to write better blog posts – faster. I write motivational posts when time gets tight. They are fun to write, they come straight from the heart – and my fingers tend to fly over the computer keys.

– Narrow down your topic. This is not the time to write a highly-detailed 1,500 word post. Figure that you have between 300-500 words to work with – so choose your topic accordingly. Mini how-to articles or blog posts listing helpful tips are typically good for a blog post quickie.

– Gather everything you need in one place. Searching your desk for paperwork, surfing for source material and checking email wastes time you don’t have. Gather everything you’ll need to write your blog post before you start writing. This step alone will save you tons of time.

– Turn off distractions. There is nothing that will will break your flow faster than an email notification, a text coming through, or the phone ringing. Turn everything off while you write. If you have to, close down email and any browser tabs you don’t need. (I forgot to close my browser tabs, and Facebook is now notifying me that I have two messages. It’s taking me every ounce of willpower I have not to check them!)

– Spend 25 minutes (or so) writing your first draft. Get everything you can out on paper (or on the screen.) Don’t worry about editing. Don’t worry about tweaking that one sentence that’s not quite right. Just write. You can edit later.

(As a side note, I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique, and working in 25-minute chunks. It’s made me a more efficient writer, and it’s nice to know that I get a built-in break every half hour.)

– Get away from the computer. You wrote your blog post in less than 25 minutes? Awesome. Now put it down and take a break. You’ll be able to see your mistakes (and see writing opportunities) faster if you come back fresh.

– Edit your blog post multiple times. This is the time to quickly flesh out what didn’t quite “click” the first time and fix any typos. I will edit a document at least three times, with a break between each edit. When I think it’s almost there, I’ll print out the post one more time, make any final edits, and then schedule the post.

– Ask someone to proof the post before it goes live. Writing fast often means you’ll make some inadvertent boo-boos. A quick proof by another person can free your post from typos and save your bacon. That no-big-deal typo you didn’t see may be a big deal to your readers – and can possibly even lose you business.

What about you? What tips would you add to this list?

OMG! How NOT to Write Business Web Content

In today’s text, Twitter, social media world, people are getting more and more lazy about their grammar and spelling, according to This Embarrasses You and I*, an article in the Wall Street Journal.

The article begins with:

When Caren Berg told colleagues at a recent staff meeting, “There’s new people you should meet,” her boss Don Silver broke in. “I cringe every time I hear” people misuse “is” for “are,” Mr. Silver says. He also hammers interns to stop peppering sentences with “like.” For years, he imposed a 25-cent fine on new hires for each offense. “I am losing the battle,” he says.

And it’s not just Mr. Silver who is losing the battle. Companies across the country are fighting the same and it’s becoming an epidemic.

Schools have stopped teaching cursive handwriting. That makes sense, of course, as many of us no longer write longhand. But, along with it comes shorthand acronyms – LOL, WTH*$, 2nite, <3, AISI, IMO, OMG – and they’re all reaching corporate world communications.

Heck, they had to create an entire dictionary on the lingo so those of us who didn’t grow up in the text world know how to understand what’s being said.

But it’s not just affecting the business world. According to BBC News, students are turning in homework completely written in text.

My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :- kids FTF. ILNY, it’s a gr8 plc.

It’s fairly easy to figure out this person went to NY to see her brother and his family during summer break, but it certainly takes more energy and thought to figure out what message is being delivered.

If this is how your customers and prospects are being communicated to/with, do you think they’re going to want to do business with you?

But it’s not just text speak that is bringing down the corporate world of writing and communications. Most don’t know the difference between their, they’re, and there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following are six tips for better business writing. And, if you’re so inclined, for better Facebook status updates, too.

  1. Always use spell check. Internet browsers, content management systems, Pages, Word, and most software have spell check built in. Use it!
  2. Cut down on text slang. We all use LOL or OMG or WTH with the best of them, but when writing, spell out your acronyms. You don’t say LOL when you speak. Don’t write it, either.
  3. Know the difference between your and you’re. Your is possessive, as in “your car” or “your business.” You’re is short for you are. Know which you’re trying to say.
  4. Same for its and it’s. It’s is short for it is. Read your sentence out loud. If you can say “it is” without it sounding goofy, it’s is the proper use. If it sounds ridiculous, you can use its.
  5. The word “that” is rarely necessary. If you can write the sentence without the word “that,” remove it. It’s very rare it’s a necessity.
  6. Stop using the word “like.” Just like Don Silver in the example like above, like too many people like use the word like.

If you want to get serious about your writing, check out the Associated Press Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style, or Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

 

About the Author ~ Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of the PR and marketing blog Spin Sucks and co-author (with Geoff Livingston) of the book, Marketing in the Round. You can find her on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook.

 

photo thanks to proudcanadianeh

 

 

Is Your Brand Burning Bridges?

Be careful how you treat your customers….

Quick: Name a company that you will never, ever work with again.

When I asked my husband this question, he immediately responded with “24 Hour Fitness.” Once upon a time, they continued to charge his credit card after he cancelled his membership. It took him months to straighten it out.

Oh, and did I mention that this happened 20 years ago?

Having a bad brand experience is like eating bad seafood at a restaurant. Whenever you think of the brand, your brain immediately goes back to how horrible you felt the last time you were there (or the last time you worked with the company.) Sure, you know that your experience could be “unique.” You know that the company may have even cleaned up their act. That doesn’t make any difference – you still remember the pain you endured.

I thought about this when I was trying to cancel my Vonage service. I used Vonage for over seven years with (virtually) no complaints. Then, the service got so horrible that people couldn’t hear me, the call would drop – you name it, it happened. After 20 minutes with their customer service rep (with me repeating the phrase, “No, I want to cancel my service” at least 20 times,) I was assured that my service was, in fact, cancelled – effective immediately.

Then, I received an email with the subject line, “Confirmation to continue Vonage services.” The email read, in part:

“We’re delighted that you’ve chosen to stay with Vonage.

We’re writing to confirm the terms you discussed with our Account Management representative on 7/3/2012 to continue your service…”

W. T. F.?

At the very bottom of the email, I read this line:

If you have any questions or believe this information does not accurately reflect what you agreed to, please let us know that within seven (7) days. You may do so by accessing this link…

When I clicked the link, it took me to a page that gave me two radio button choices: Cancel my service, or continue it. So, even though I called to cancel my service – and was assured that it was cancelled – Vonage used this sneaky tactic. Had I not paid attention, my service would have continued.

The result? I will never, ever use Vonage again. And I will tell everyone I can about their sneaky bait-and-switch tactics.

In today’s social media world, burning customer bridges is just plain stupid. If you piss off the wrong person with a huge Twitter following, their opinion of your company will go viral in moments.  Case in point:

(This is a true story. A representative from PayPal’s “escalation department” disputed the anti-SEO stance the first rep mentioned, and said that they could help if I was classified as a “training company.” Having said that, the “escalation rep” is no longer returning my calls – and no-one else from PayPal has offered to help.)

So, what happened here? The post got retweeted, and people wrote blog posts about my experience. I’m sure PayPal’s profits aren’t in danger – but I will tell everyone I know about how I was treated.

What are the lessons that businesses can learn from this?

– Treat your customers fairly. I feel that the Vonage “Confirmation to continue Vonage services” email was completely unethical. Same with how 24 Hour Fitness back in the day kept charging some people’s credit cards long after they cancelled. If people want out of your program – and they are within their contractual rights to do so – let them out. Make it easy for them. The customer may come back if they were treated well. They won’t come back if you made their life a temporary hell.

– Follow through if there is a problem. Mistakes happen. People give out incorrect information. What’s not OK is to tell a cranky customer “I’m on it” and then drop the ball. Because you know what that customer is going to remember? How you said that you’d call them back – and then you didn’t. That’s what they will tell their friends and family (and social networks, too.)  Comcast has certainly won some points with their @comcastcares Twitter handle – prior to that, talking to Comcast was a painful experience. They may not be perfect, but they’re trying. It’s something.

– Reputation management won’t help you if you suck. If you continue to ignore customer issues, do sneaky things and don’t value your customers, it will come back and bite you in the butt. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday. And that can cost your company a significant amount of cash. Here’s more information about reputation management from guest author @seobelle.

That’s my rant…how about yours? What companies have left you feeling less than happy about how they treated you?

 

How to Protect Your Brand Online

Your content strategy should be a great representation of your brand, and this is easy to control when you are writing and editing it for yourself. But what do you do when other people start to write about you?

SEO copywriting on your own site can help get you recognised, get traffic and get noticed, but with that level of exposure you do sometimes end up in the firing line.

  • Your Brand

Your brand could be your business, your website, or your personal brand, and as such you need to represent your brand effectively and protect it. By having a blog or any kind of social media presence you open yourself and your brand up to conversations and sometimes criticism.

It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you are an international blue chip organisation or an individual with a blog, you have a reputation to protect – and if there is a chance that someone else is writing about you, then you need to know about it.

  • Monitoring Your Brand

You can easily use social network tools such as Sprout Social and even Google Alerts to keep an eye on your brand and website mentions. You can also use more advanced packages that include sentiment tracking, but for most people the free or cheaper options are enough.

Although you may be in a competitive vertical, particular keywords such as ‘brand name’ scam can be very easy to rank well for and ‘Google bomb’ your own site. Keeping an eye on your mentions is just as important as focusing on your own SEO and content writing.

No publicity is bad publicity….”

The old saying of ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ no longer applies: it used to be that nobody cared what people were writing about them, as long as they were getting enough column inches.

Now we do care about what people are saying…why?

Traditional media was disposable. An article would be written, read and discarded, while your other brilliant work some would be archived in some library to collect dust. So it was no wonder people didn’t care as much about reputation management.

If you read a bad piece in a newspaper, you may remember the brand but the details are a bit fuzzy, therefore the brand became more recognisable:  the next time you come across them, be sure to note the operative writer that you remember them, and this time may be a more favourable situation.

Information turns into discussion

The other aspect of digital media compared to traditional media is the social element: we now read something, share it, tweet, discuss through comments, and even blog about it. Therefore one bad comment may turn into pages and pages of search engine results about the subject with various opinions.

If something is shared in a newspaper or another form of print, then you can guarantee it will be recorded with pictures, digital copies and social media.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

You can categorise blogs or articles about your brand in 3 different ways:

1.   The Good

These are the best types of blogs about your brand: some lovely person speaking favourably about your brand. These are just as important to keep an eye on as negative brand discussion, as these are a great opportunity to share.

You can also reach out to the writer and get a link back to your site from the blog, or even get valuable content from them to quote in your own copywriting strategy.

2.   The Bad

Bad reviews and blogs about your brand are very damaging to your brand, but they may also provide you with some legitimate feedback on your product or services. Don’t shy away from bad articles – instead, embrace them and see if you can resolve the issue and turn it around.

The quicker this is dealt with the better, so make sure you are monitoring your brand closely in the search engines and on social media.

3.   The Ugly

Ugly content is content that is often badly written – typically an emotional response, or defamatory in nature. These are more difficult to handle and can often be very hurtful to you. It is very important not to take this content to heart and remain detached when dealing with it.

Unfortunately this ugly kind of content style is often shared quickly. This is because it appeals to people on a more emotional level, is often sensationalist, and can cut very close to the bone.

This needs to be handled sensitively. If you can reason with the original author then do – and try to offer assistance to change their opinion. If they are the type of writer that does this for fun they may not be easy to reason with. In this case you may need to try other methods to protect your brand.

At SEO Creative, we have produced a simple flow chart to help you deal with content discussing your brand:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author ~ Sadie Sherran

Sadie Sherran is the owner of Media Pro UK Ltd, holding company of SEO Creative, a digital agency in the UK. Sadie is head of online marketing and specialises in SEO, SEM, CRO and Reputation Management.  Sadie is a big fan of pie and chips, spends a lot of time on Twitter(@seobelle) and is often found getting tips from the SEO Copywriting blog.

 

Hurry! There’s just a few days left to apply for the Copywriting Business Bootcamp that starts on July 16th. Sure, it’s an investment – but if you follow the program, you’ll be able to make your investment back in three months or less. Here’s how to get started…

 

photo thanks to Picture Taker 2

Yes, You Should Blog. Here’s How to Make Blogging Easier

Greetings! Today we’re featuring Heather’s highly popular “how-to” business blogging video posts, as well as a third written post that asks “are you too busy to blog?” Good question, no?

No matter the size of your business, from enterprise to soloprenuer, a business blog is a fundamental part of any smart content marketing strategy in this highly competitive world of savvy, informed and content-hungry consumers.

Starting a business blog is much like having a baby. Since many of us are not familiar with business blogging, Heather offers tips for beginners as well as for those of us who may be a bit <ahem> rusty. Then, going beyond the launch of your blog, Heather addresses the less romantic, daily realities facing the business blogger.

And finally, we’re asked to consider if we are too busy to blog? What are the options? Enjoy this 3-part pocketbook guide of biz blogging tips!

3 Business Blogging Tips For Beginners

Were you among the many business owners who resolved to either start blogging or do more of it this year?  Given the overwhelming stat’s showing how blogging can increase leads, boost conversions, and drive more traffic to your site – of course you want a piece of that!

And while that’s a wonderful goal, it can be a challenging one for beginners. Tune in as Heather shows you the ropes and shares tips to help reduce the “frustration factor” of getting started…

3 (More) Business Blogging Tips For Beginners

In this follow-up business blogging video post, Heather goes beyond the launch of your blog and focuses on the nitty-gritty realities of business blogging: Do you have the time, resources, support, and practical wherewithall to keep your blog on track, consistently?

And do you know the critical distinction between sales writing and blog writing?

Are you too busy to blog?

It could be said that “no time to blog” isn’t a reasonable excuse. That’s because blogging drives traffic and helps establish you as an expert. It could be that you’ve found alternative content marketing strategies that work for you.

That said, if you’ve tried blogging and it worked for your company – even as a short-term experiment – you owe it to your bottom line to better manage your time or seek outside help to create the content that your readers crave.

 

 

photo credit to SweetGirl©

 

 

 

 

Does Your Site Suffer from “Content Mullet” Syndrome?

Remember the mullet? That late 70’s – 80’ish hairstyle that all allegedly cool dudes (and hot chicks) once sported? You know,`a la those hair-tossing rock ‘n roll bands and tough leathered chicks of the time (circa Styx, Journey, Pat Benatar, etc.)?

Well, in this week’s Web-writing video, Heather takes the notorious mullet into another dimension altogether, asking: does your site suffer from “content mullet” syndrome?

Beginning with what a “content mullet” is, Heather walks us through recognizing the signs and symptoms of content mullet syndrome, easy and organic remedies for the malady, and a preventative prescription to guard against relapse…

The content may have looked great…once upon a time…

So what is a “content mullet”?

It’s much like the mullet hairstyle: it might have looked great once upon a time, in its time – meaning it was in, it was fashionable, it was hip – but when you look at it now, it looks a little dated (in the kindest words).

Translating that to your website, your content mullet might have worked very well for you once upon a time, but now it’s marked by:

  • Outdated articles
  • Outdated sales pages
  • Conference/event pages that haven’t been updated
  • Press pages and links that haven’t been updated

These all represent great opportunities for content marketing, and they are all very important to the conversions process.

It may not seem like a big deal…but it sends a message…

You may be inclined to shrug off this out-dated content warning, thinking yeah, yeah, I’ll do something about such-and-so page eventually…but keep in mind that:

  • People notice and wonder what’s going on.
  • This is especially true if your competition is kicking out new, fresh content.

If your website appears to be out-of-touch and its content neglected, your prospect is liable to click back to one of your competitors’ sites – you know, the one with the newest and most relevant information beckoning her and thereby underscoring its relative credibility. (Not to mention that your competitors’ sites are most likely out-ranking yours’ on the SERPs, with Google’s preference for sites with fresh content.)

The key is to take care of business – fast!

Again, this presents an opportunity for you to at once revitalize your site and market your content. And it is something that is relatively easy to evaluate and fix.

All you need to do is:

  • Comb through your site and make a list of outdated pages.

This is going to take a little bit of time if you have a larger site. But check things like your blog posts, press release and conference pages, and any articles to see what the opportunities are. Go through that list and then:

Tip: If one of the outdated pages on your list is a sales page, you probably will want to prioritize it because it will help you make money! Then you can work on the other pages as you go along.

  • Consider if you need to develop a new process.

For example, it is so common for companies to send out press releases and then forget to upload them to their site. If that sounds like something that’s afflicting your business, then make it a point of the process that once the press release is sent out, it goes online as well.

Tip: Just inserting such key points into your content marketing process is a simple way to keep everyone involved informed of when to automatically update any given web page.

  • Moving forward, review your content once a quarter.

Now you’ve ditched the mullet for a far more trendy and attractive  look, make it a policy to review your content at least once a quarter.

An ongoing, quarterly inventory of your content is a smart way to keep on top of the newest content creation and marketing opportunities that will keep your website competitive.

Besides that, it ensures that you regularly discover new ways to tweak your content, update pages, and do anything else that will keep your website fresh and new, and give your readers the best possible content you can deliver!

Thanks for tuning in! Do you have a question for Heather? Great! Zip it on over to her [at] heather@seocopywriting.com or tweet it to her @heatherlloyd. And be sure to check back next week, as your question may well be answered. See you then!

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photo credit to IndiePics!/Valarie Apperson/Talamantes