Stop boring your readers

by / Thursday, 12 January 2017 / Published in Blog
stop boring your readers

If there’s one way to kill your company’s blogging strategy, it’s boring content. Worst of all, you may be boring your readers but doing so with the best of intentions: because you want to help your SEO by publishing (frequent) articles about your products and services. Here’s why that’s a bad idea.

It’s understandable that you want your business to be found by search engines. But please, avoid stuffing your blog with posts that do nothing but describe your products and services; remember that you can also write articles that help, delight or inform your target audience (and not just inform them about what you do).

Since we’ve come back to the office in 2017, we’ve seen roughly double the number of queries coming in from companies who want us to write “articles” for their marketing purposes. What’s fantastic is that these marketing directors aren’t asking for commercial posts that talk about their companies’ great offerings or track record or service levels. These marketing folks know that they want value-add, educational material they can offer their readers, with subtle branding of their own but no overt selling agenda.

What value-add content should you publish?

How do you brainstorm content like this for your organisation? It’s actually easy, if you think about your customer as a 360° individual.

Let’s say you’re selling technology services to health and beauty salons; well, then, a trends article about 2017 styles is perfectly valid. If you’re a tourism or arts and culture organisation, commission a writer to review a current exhibition in your city. If you’re an accountancy firm, why not ask one of your partners to write a book review of the latest bestseller about leadership?

Train yourself to think like the editor of a magazine, or a Saturday newspaper supplement. What is your customer’s entire sphere of interest, and how can you commission some editorial articles that fit somewhere inside that sphere?

Do this cleverly and your articles will feel like part of your own company’s offering, fitting in with your brand values and making you look good. That means the articles need to be reasonably allied with what you do: no writing about football (unless you run a sports stadium).

We’ve talked before about the need for a company’s management to create thought leadership articles that convey their insights about their industry. That’s important, too. But it’s also useful to put on your magazine editor’s hat and brainstorm ideas for these general editorial articles that your customers and target customers will appreciate.

Like, share and promote your articles

Of course, once you’ve published your articles on your company blog and on LinkedIn, it’s of paramount importance that your employees and team members share, like and comment on these on their social networks. Bit by bit, status update by status update, people will notice and appreciate the articles you publish and think better of you and your brand.

This all might seem counter intuitive, and a reversal of the traditional journalism model: where newspapers and magazines publish editorial and you purchase advertising space alongside those articles. There’s nothing wrong with that traditional model, but at a time when individual employees in an organisation may have more than 500 personal contacts in LinkedIn and even more on other social media networks, why not use that existing reach to create your own content, and ensure that your company’s brand is subtly attached?

That way, you can measure readership, shares and likes and get a true sense of the return on your investment in marketing and advertising.

How are you investing in marketing for your brand this year?

Sheila Averbuch is managing director of the content services agency ENNclick, with offices in Edinburgh and Cork. Contact Sheila at sheila@ennclick.com

 

Photo: Bored by Ben on Flickr

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