Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Mark Middo – Enjoy!
“I’m writing blog posts almost on a daily basis, but I am getting zero traction from social media and my conversions are terrible,” said Adrian, the director of a large software company in Australia. “Looking at Google Analytics, it seems like people just get the information and go. No one is sharing – and worse yet, no one is converting. This content marketing thing just seems like a huge waste of time.”
When I got back to my computer a few hours later, I started reading through the content they had been posting on their website. I wanted an early night that night, but I didn’t think I would hitting the pillow that early. These blog posts nearly put me into a coma – they were that boring.
Here’s the problem: practical information isn’t typically the sort of content that can easily go viral (especially if you don’t have a large pre-existing social network). For content to even drive conversions, it needs to be interesting, have heaps of value and be truly unique for it to get even a few shares or influence people to connect further with the business. This is especially true if you are creating content with the goal of generating B2B leads.
One of the main reasons that most business content has minimal sharing potential is that it doesn’t create an emotional reaction for most people. You just read the information, then you take off and find another blog post to read. Content really only gets shared when people go ‘wow’ that was a really awesome article – I need to tell my friends about it.
So what was Adrian missing from his content marketing strategy? What was the vital missing ingredient?
Adrian’s website was delivering plenty of value; the content was high quality and it was getting traffic, but it was obviously boring people to death. There was no personality to engage readers or make them care about who was writing the content; it was just another faceless company blog, so the visitors took the information they needed and bounced. Nobody wanted to share it because it wouldn’t make them look cool if they did.
The posts were attributed to the company blog rather than to individual authors, and the language was just bone dry – even the most seasoned readers found it tough to get through.
I can imagine people reading it and thinking, “That’s nice, pretty dry but I got some good information,” and then skipping away into the abyss of the Internet – probably to go look at cat memes and never to return.
Seth Godin alludes to this fact in his book, The Icarus Deception, when he notes that connection is the key in this connected economy. And I believe a great way to create connection online is through personality.
So, what are some ways that you can add some personality to your content marketing strategy?
1. The author is the key
Make the blog post from a person, not a company. Bring the author to life. Create a profile for the author, write a good bio that gives the author a personality, use a good, friendly photo (not in a suit with a serious face on) and make sure people can connect with them on social media.
What makes them tick? Is there something quirky about them that you could share?
People emotionally connect with people who have a ‘real life,’ so don’t be scared to provide some information that isn’t just “Adrian is a stiff director from XYZ Company with 30 years of experience blah blah.”
“Adrian loves bungy jumping off 50 story buildings in his wife’s favourite bikini.”
(Maybe that’s not so real, but you get what I mean.)
2. Ease of reading is a must
Write the blog post in a conversational manner. Make it easy to read and don’t use technical jargon. You want people to be able to breeze through the post making it easy for the brain to absorb.
If they get through the blog, quick endorphins will be released in their brains and they’ll feel good about themselves because they have accomplished something.
3. Include personality in your writing
Don’t be scared to add some jokes and create some stories. Occasionally, I’ll even put words that people don’t expect to see in my writing.
Why would I do that? Well, did you know that William Shakespeare would use words in his writing that weren’t actually part of the English language at the time? An example is his use of the word “ungodded” in one of his writings. One theory suggests that he did this to get his readers attention – throw them off a bit.
When we read, our brains actually make predictions about which words are coming next. By using unexpected words or writing something the reader doesn’t expect to read it actually causes us to think, it unconsciously makes the content stick out in our minds because it increases brain activity.
If one of the greatest writers in history used this strategy successfully, there must be some merit to it. So why not give it a go? Just don’t overdo it, or you’ll negate efforts to achieve #2 – ease of reading.
4. Promote sharing and discussion
At the end of the blog post, content marketers will often include an offer, call to action or opt-in. And yes, you should use these tactics to enhance your conversions, but before that, you could weave something into your writing along the lines of: “Hey, if you liked this post, I would LOVE it if you let your friends know about it. If you agree or disagree with what I am saying, give me a yell in the comments box below.”
These are just a couple of little strategies that I like to employ to give my content marketing strategy a bit more personality. Hopefully, you can implement them and start seeing more sharing of your content, too.
And hey, if you liked this article and have some buddies who would benefit from it, I would love it if you could share it with them. If you have any other hot tips that make mine look like Willie Nelson at a Justin Bieber concert, let me know in the comments box below.
Mark Middo is the author of 5 Minute Business and founder of Social Empire, a brand dedicated to helping people brings ideas to life online. After fueling the growth of some of the worlds largest brands including Formula 1, Mizuno, Renault and McDonalds, Mark launched his own start up called Reminisce, an online voting system built for nightclubs. Amazed by its instant success, Mark formed Social Empire so he could help people do exactly what he did – turn an idea for a passion project into a lifestyle business in quick time, and for minimal cost.