Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Staring at a Blank Screen? Remember These Content Creation Tips

Few sights can strike terror into the hearts of marketing content creators more quickly and brutally than a blank screen. You've probably been there; I certainly have. You sit there, mentally sweating bullets, wondering how you're supposed to turn all that nothing into something that sells. I've written about ideation before, and I doubtless will again, because it presents an ongoing challenge even for experienced writers. Then once you have the idea -- where do you allow that idea to take your content? When you're struggling to get your creative gears turning, keep the following helpful tips in mind.

Your Potential Buyer Has a Real-World Problem to Solve

Sometimes the sheer number of a business's available products and services can muddy the waters when it comes to marketing content creation. Where do you start? Well, you take a lot of the confusion out of the ideation stage by focusing on specific, individual challenges of pain points that you know your prospective buyers have. Let's say you're a roofer, for example. What worries keep your target audience members awake at night? Do they know that their roof is nearing the end of its projected lifespan? Do they see spots that might indicate damaging leaks? Do they have loose shingles littering the lawn after a storm?Do they need to spruce up their home's asking price by refurbishing the roof? These pain points give you a handle on which to hang your creative hat.

The Buyer's Problem Prompts Your Solution

Once you've described your prospective customer's needs in vivid detail, you've got that person saying, "Yes, you understand exactly what I'm dealing with! So, how can you help me?" This is your cue to segue directly into the solutions you offer. Describe in clear, simple, powerful terms exactly how you can relieve that person's pain through your products and services. Don't drown the reader in details; you can always provide details on individual web pages or (better yet) in a conversation that closes the sale. For now, focus on conveying a sense of emotional reassurance and excitement about the solution to a nagging problem.

The Bottom-Line Benefit Sells the Product or Service

When in doubt, rally your creative message around the bottom-line benefit of your product or service. Remember, your customers don't care how they get to the goal line -- they just want to make that big score. What bottom-line benefit do you provide? Well, at the end of the road, you make your customers happy. Maybe you achieve that goal by making them more physically comfortable or emotionally secure. Maybe you help them enjoy greater business efficiency or productivity, with an even deeper bottom line of helping them earn more money, which raises their quality of life and (guess what?) increases their happiness.

As you might imagine, hurdling these creative obstacles takes a certain amount of time, effort, and patience no matter how many mental triggers you employ. The more urgently you need to come up with that marketing content, and the more time your many other business activities demand, the more stress and pressure you may feel when you sit down to confront that blank screen (which, of course, doesn't exactly help you set your imagination free). If that's the problem you face, here's another helpful tip -- ask a professional marketing content writer to do the creative work for you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Writing and Organizing Your Website Content: What Goes Where?

You see some funny things when you're enlisted to write or rewrite content for various companies' websites. I've encountered Home pages that launched right into a lengthy account of the company's services or a bio of the company owner, without so much as an introduction to the company itself. I've also seen About pages that weren't about the company or its team players, Services pages that would more properly serve as Contact pages, and the list goes on and on. 

It's important to remember that even the most highly-polished and compelling website content may make zero impact if it doesn't belong on the site, or if it sits on the wrong page. So whether you need to put a new website together from scratch or redo an old, ineffective website, you may create the right kind of content for each of your most critical web pages. Let's take a look at some standard examples.

Home - Many organizations don't seem to know exactly what to do with this page. Some of them simply use it to welcome the visitor, others drop the wrong content into it in an effort to fill it out, and still others don't put any written content in it at all (which gives Google's bots a lot less content to evaluate when ranking your site among its competitors). Ideally, this page starts with a really compelling question, pain point, or other marketing hook. It then shifts smoothly into a brief introduction of your company as the answer to the visitor's needs, directing the visitor to other pages to send them through the conversion journey.

Solutions - Okay, so you've stated that you can solve your visitor's particular problem. But what solutions do you offer that can make that happen? Many sites skip this page altogether, but you may feel it important to describe the processes and strategies that go into your solutions to customer's concerns and challenges. This isn't usually the place to break down your services or products; instead, you'll want to give those services or products their due on a separate page.

Services or Products - Your services or products are the actual tools that solve your visitors' problems and restore happiness to their home or business lives. If you provide professional services, write a clear, simple blurb for each service. If you can group multiple services into categories, give it a whirl and see whether it improves the reading experience for site visitors. If you sell products, make sure that each product gets its own tightly-written blurb. Preface your Services or Products page with an exciting, keyword-rich introduction that whets the visitor's appetite for the goodies to come.

About - An effective About page will always include a bio of the organization itself, from its origins to its present status after X number of years serving its clientele. Think of your organization as an individual in its own right, worthy of the same "ink" you'd devote to your senior team members. You should also include a paragraph about each of your senior players, from the owner and CEO to your various department heads. That's "paragraph," not "book." If you solicit biographies from your various employees, cut them down to a more-or-less equal length so that they'll look good together on the page. (It's also your opportunity to chop out a lot of deadwood that might matter to the employee, but not to your target audience.)

FAQ - A Frequently Asked Questions page often makes good sense as a means of tackling potential objections, possibly even before they pop into the visitor's head. Just remember the proper format for this page: a series of questions, each addressed with a short, clear answer. I've seen FAQ pages that just sort of rambled in an effort to shove multiple rebuttals into a single answer (or too few answers). Keep each point short and sweet. If you don't have an easy answer to a question, explain why and invite visitors to contact you for clarification.

If you're still uncertain about what web content goes where on your site, or if you just don't feel like wading through all this mess yourself, it's time to contact a professional marketing copywriter. We love making bad content good and good content better!