And There’s Probably More Than 3 Reasons For Lame Content
Actually, I was going to originally title this post “Your Content Sucks. Here’s Why.” But that seemed a bit harsh and unwarranted. I mean, no one’s perfect and even some of my stuff sucks.
Hopefully less than more…
The point is that, for business owners-as-marketers (my “target market”, by the way), content often plays back seat to the exalted place of SEO. And understandably. As a business owner operating primarily from a virtual website instead of a brick-and-mortar office or shop, I want my site and my content to be highly optimized for the errant search engine seeker.
It’s what makes practical business sense. S-E-O, dude!
Except that we tend to forget that PEOPLE show up and try to read our stuff looking for help and looking for value. And what do we give them?
Self-promotional sales copy?
Dense, wordy text that is intimidating as well as boring?
Shallow and poorly written fluff bought from a $5-a-post content mill?
They deserve better than that. YOU deserve better than that. All the SEO tricks in the world will only bring that many more people vacating your site that much quicker and in larger numbers. Which will begin to erode your own brilliant SEO efforts, by the way.
“And What, Exactly, Is So Wrong With My Content?”
So let’s cut to the chase and talk about the three reasons your content is probably
lame less than stellar:
1. It’s Boring
There. I said it.
The sad reality is that much of what gets posted and published is, well, just not interesting. Even to the people who might subscribe to that particular blog or website. I’m not saying that every post, every article, or every webpage should be Pulitzer Prize-winning stuff, but at least it should hold your reader’s attention and compel them to want to finish the thing!
Boring is deadly for a business. And when the average website visitor lingers less than 15 seconds before moving on to SOMEPLACE ELSE you cannot afford to bore them.
2. It’s All About You (or Your Business)
Wait! Don’t confuse this with Number One. Although you easily could because always talking about yourself, or your company, is also BORING! But it is also counter-productive to the purpose of your content: to address the questions or concerns of your audience. Remember the corny but oh-so-fitting maxim that your customer’s favorite radio station is WII-FM (What’s In It For Me?)
This is not a slam on consumers, clients or customers – it is just as true for you and I as it is for anyone else. We all want to resolve our own pain points, our issues, our unmet desires. And your content should address that directly or indirectly.
If you want a general rule-of-thumb for how much content should be about you/your company versus them (your audience), I have always tried to err on the side of the 90/10 Rule: ninety percent customer-focused, ten percent self-promotional.
3. It Has No Real Value
This is far more subjective – and, therefore, more insidious – that the first two. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure can certainly apply here. However, if we assume that someone finding your website through a search engine actually has found a good fit then your content should be a treasure.
We have all experienced the frustration of typing some search terms into, say, Google, and almost instantly getting 2.3 million results. And only to find that what we really want is tucked away somewhere between 137 other webpages that mention our search terms, but don’t really have anything to do with them.
Don’t be that webpage. Use your SEO judiciously, strategically, and with integrity. If I click on your site after searching for “email marketing software solutions for small businesses” I should not only find information about this there, but it should be information that is substantial, accurate, and actionable.
No fluff. No sales copy. No high-level, teaser copy designed to make me sign up for your program in order to get the real deal. Give me something I can learn, something I can use, or something that I can implement.
“I Don’t Have (Time, Money, Staff, fill in the blank) To Write Good Content!”
But, as I tell my kids, that’s why God invented content writers. (Okay – maybe I don’t tell them that exactly…)
There are many things that, as a business owner and especially one who is his or her own marketer, should not be doing. Being the receptionist or taking out the trash come to mind. And being a content creator is another.
Outsourcing, like delegation, is a beautiful thing. Remember the mantra of the Wise Owner: “Delegate, automate, or eliminate.” And, while this might be sounding like a shameless drift into self-promoting sales copy, the truth is – whether you hired me or someone else – outsourcing is a perfectly good alternative.
So bite the bullet: get someone to review your content. Be brave and be vulnerable, and find out what you can do, or have done for you, to improve your lame content and begin publishing great content. Your SEO guy will thank you for it!
(NOW for the “self-promoting sales copy”) If you are looking to improve your content marketing, or even outsource your content writing, please feel free to give me a call at 707.837.5796 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and thank you for stopping by Real Fresh Content and staying longer than 15 seconds!