Give all of your content some love
Content takes many forms. Conversations about content marketing tend to focus on the stuff that’s exciting, that’s over-and-above: tutorials, blogs, reviews, social media campaigns and so on.
Yet a great deal of marketing is functional. This can include product pages on websites (whether it’s for physical items such as cameras or televisions, or for services such as training courses). It can include job advertisements. It can even be something as humble as a contact form and the subsequent e-mail auto-replies. Shopping cart pages and sales confirmation notes. Invoices. Delivery notes. Your stationery. Press release headings. The list is almost infinite.
This isn’t the content where you’re specifically trying to build a rapport with customers, or get them to engage with you over the long term. It’s often ‘just’ an everyday piece of communications.
This type of content tends to get overlooked. It’s frequently delegated to somebody junior.
But the reality is that to a marketing-savvy company, all content deserves some love – because they don’t want to just stand out in the sales and marketing process, they want to stand out at every opportunity. It all counts. It all matters.
Why? Having varying standards of execution leads to a fragmented message – and inconsistent language dilutes your brand. While you can’t afford to painstakingly labour over every piece of content – you should at least consider it. It all deserves a little love.
It’s the difference between creating something that is almost overlooked; just serving its function and nothing more – and something with the verve and creativity that can get you noticed, stick in memory and even raise a smile.
And what about the kind of content where you feel you don’t have a choice? Where you have to use what’s been provided, even if it’s the same as everyone else’s?
It may be that the content is created by a vendor – for example, a Microsoft training course, or Canon camera. This content may be ‘functional’ but it’s the heart of the information needed by your customers. (In other words, some of the most important content is deployed by cut-and-paste.)
It might be that contractually the vendor’s content has to be used. It could be that your lawyers want the sale of the item to be based around the manufacturer’s description. Or it might be that you’re just pushed for time.
The assumption that the content can’t be changed is often incorrect – or just that, an assumption. Frequently there’s tons of scope to create product listings that really stand out, are different from everyone else’s and communicate more clearly.
But even if such content can’t be changed, it can always be supplemented – with your own content added to it, wrapped around it and building on it.
A product page could include videos of the item being unwrapped, different features being used and accessories being connected. It could include answers to common questions.
There are lots of ways in which functional product/service pages can be given a whole new lease of life – and work far harder for you, attracting more people and making more sales.
Doing this also helps with search engine results – in a world where you and all of your competitors are using the same content, Google (which hates duplicate content) isn’t likely to pick you as the winner. Adding your own great content makes your pages unique, it gives a reason for them to be shared, liked and linked to. It can push you higher up search results.
Great content isn’t just about getting people to come to you – it’s also about finding the best ways to turn visitors into buyers.