July 10, 2018
Are your branding efforts a few blueberries short of a punnet? Are your advertorials a few bananas short of a bunch? Is your landing page a few mangoes short of…a big box of mangoes?
There is no specific, collective noun for the mango fruit. How disappointing is that? To live in a world where there is no collective noun for a group of mangoes. Perhaps if Shakespeare had spent less time writing plays and more time working on a collective noun for mangoes, then we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are in today. A mango-noun-less world with no way of describing more than one mango!
What’s that I hear you say? Mangoes weren’t introduced to England until after Shakespeare’s death? Okay, well I guess we can let him off, this time. But what about pineapples? Let’s just change the sub-heading to something simpler…like…
Ah, that’s better. Everything about this article so far serves to represent some of the important aspects of good content writing and how it can help to successfully promote your business, product or service. Indeed, one of the key facets of good content is to attempt to initially engage the reader from the get-go and up to the point where it is time to convey some more information, which is now.
‘Is Your Marketing Plan Missing a Pineapple?’ is purposefully designed to raise the curiosity of the reader. The use of the word ‘pineapple’ in the title is used to anchor the reader’s interest, but ‘pineapple’ could be any word or phrase that elicits a reader’s attention.
What this intends to demonstrate on a wider level, and in relation to a well written article as a whole, is the importance of selective word choice. How can a writer’s choice of words help to elevate an article from being regurgitated, boring and bland to creative, engaging and as fresh as a box of mangoes? Keep reading these particular words to find out!
Literally. Amazing. Awesome. These are all disgraceful words. They are literally not awesome or amazing. They have all been overused to the point where they have become redundant and lost their actual meaning. Try watching someone being interviewed on television without them describing an experience as ‘amazing.’
Try watching Strictly Come Dancing without the word ‘amazing’ being used at least ten times over the course of two hours. How was that for you, Dave? It was amazing, Tess!
The size of the universe is amazing. The advancements of technology and science are amazing. A toe-curling, toe-tapping, washed-up, West-End wannabe fox-trotting across a dance floor for two minutes dressed as a sweaty flamingo is not amazing and should not be comparable as such!
Whilst such vulgarities of language and best evidenced on national television and on a social scale of industrial strength usage, similar crimes against language are equally obvious in the written word. If not even more so…
By outsourcing your 360-degree thinking laterally, your brand will become on point thanks to the revolutionary technique of locally sourced thinking outside the box marketing that is part of our DNA.
These phases when put together in the above sentence are nonsensical and they don’t really make much more sense when used individually in online copy either. What is the box? And why are people so obsessed with thinking outside of it? People have become so fixated upon thinking outside the box that it’s actually a cliché to think outside the box. Ergo, thinking inside the box is the new thinking outside the box! Ridiculous!
The point is, word choice is the best means with which to convey the type of company you are to an online audience. If you want to deal in clichés, then deal in clichés. Stock phrases have become popular for a reason. But it’s important to consider that when a lot of people see these old-boot phrases, they can quickly become turned off at the prospect of dealing with a business that exhibits little in the way of originality.
Clichéd language bespeaks more of depersonalised, wholesale targeting and can actually put a lot of potential customers off. These individuals will be looking for a more individualistic and personal service.
If you want your company, product or service to have a sense of independence and identity then clear and original writing (avoiding clichés) should be incorporated into your marketing plan. I personally detest clichés and I try to avoid them like the plague…but obviously I have failed with this sentence!
Along with engaging titles and sub-headings, and original word choice, research should form the backbone of any content writer’s skillset. In fact, research skills should be in a content writer’s DNA…oops, I’ve failed to avoid clichés like the plague…again!
In many instances a content writer will have to research your business, product or service with little or no prior knowledge of what you are offering to your customers. This research should primarily involve understanding your company’s ethos, understanding your product/service and understanding what particular sector of the market you are trying to reach.
When it comes to actually creating online content, creativity must be anchored by stalwart fact checking. Take the beginning of this article, for example, I didn’t know that mangoes weren’t introduced into England until after Shakespeare’s death. It’s a simple thing to check but it goes a long way to underline the importance of proper research to serve consistency.
Similarly, a content writer’s research of the product/service that a business is offering must be consistent with a rounded understanding of that product and its place within the wider market.
All of these questions must first be researched properly and then understood, long before pen is put to paper, or fingers are put to keys. A professional content writer won’t just copy information from the web, like the majority of copywriters out there. Instead, a content writer’s research will form the foundation of an original article with an original spin, in order to best represent your business.
Why, is this article called ‘is your marketing plan missing a pineapple’!? We want answers now – is what I can hear you all screaming! Right let’s think about the numbers…
Online users visit a web page for an average of twenty seconds. This is largely the result of the first few paragraphs of the article not being engaging or interesting enough for the reader to continue. Therefore, it is important to attempt to engage the reader from a creative angle within the first few paragraphs of a site. Then quickly position a sub-heading in the text that moves the article on to the next point.
A lot of web users tend to skim read information about products and services to try and glean the information that they need as quickly as possible. This is why it is similarly important to break an article up into sections using sub-headings.
Yes, let’s. Sub-headings not only enable a user who is skimming articles to find the information that they need more quickly, but they also help to structure and pace an article so that it is more engaging for users. This is especially true for those users who intend to read all of the text and gather as much information about a product or service as possible.
Sub-headings, then, serve as a marker in the text for those skimming for information as well as a text break for those users who intend to read the text for as long as it is engaging to them. Thus, it is hoped that, by using the first sub-heading in the beginning of this article the audience is curious to read further into text.
I don’t know what the meaning of life is, this is just another sub-heading designed to keep you reading a little bit further. The meaning of good online content, however, should have three masters – creative writing, word choice and research. By utilising the skills of a web content writer you will be able to best represent your business online and solicit the necessary consumer engagement for your organisation going forward.
Sorry, it all went a bit 360-degree, lateral-DNA thinking for a moment there!