Take a step back. No, I mean way back… like out to the sidewalk.
To really understand how your users see your site, you may need to let down your defenses and be willing to take some constructive criticism.
I know – you spent like forever on those product descriptions. And nobody’s asking you to rewrite them. But it may be helpful to look up from what you’re doing and ask why you’re doing it.
Content strategy builds a dialogue about the values we hold close. Several notches down the ladder, you may find someone who bought a Volvo because they value safety. And they’re not alone; many people do. But if you sell Volvos, it’s important to realize that you’re going to reach a lot more customers by teaching them about safety than if you simply talk about cars. In the digital age, where knowledge is instant, customers are no longer satisfied with a sales pitch; you must demonstrate the advantages of your product or service and let them make their own informed decisions.
Gorin Mirkovic, a marketing professional with AltusHost, puts it like this: “The general idea of content marketing is to produce additional value for your products and services.” Describing how a house was built, he says, won’t get you any new leads or paying customers. But sharing stories about how customers found happiness and new value in their home because of your building expertise most certainly will.
In my work as a communications strategist, I’ll ask business owners to draw a line between their products and the values or image they evoke. I like to do this because it opens a door and generally fuels great dialogue. In turn, by seeing these commodities through the eyes of their customers, entrepreneurs can usually identify places where these values intersect, yielding new touchpoints with the customer that generally make their websites much more interesting. It also lifts the lid on how they go about reaching their customers. Suddenly, they’ve got lots of subject matter experts – a customer base that speaks from experience to their spheres of influence – which will always be a farther reach than the business owner could have gained through paid channels. Then I begin to plot the best spokesmen and women to tell these stories and the trending topics that will maximize the company’s exposure. Finding those synergies is foundational to any marketing campaign.
So the next time you find yourself up late, crossing off all the words you’ve already used to describe outerwear, try portraying style and comfort and man vs nature instead.