Is Your Writing Putting Customers to Sleep?

Copywriting, web writing, marketing writing, wordsmithing, grammar kung fu – whatever you affectionately refer to it as – the art of getting your point across eloquently via the written word has never been more important. But it’s not all about perfect grammar and sentence structure – if you don’t add an ounce of personality to the content within your blog, website, and marketing materials, your readers’ eyes will glaze over faster than a Christmas ham.

What is Content Marketing?

As I mentioned in my previous post, ‘Using Clever Content to Win Paying Customers’ content marketing is merely using content – whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, blog posts – to gain a commercial advantage. Essentially, it is providing content that engages and delights your audience. The idea is to consistently deliver valuable and compelling information to showcase thought-leadership on a specific topic or area of interest.

Shouldn’t I Write 20 Blog Posts a Day?

Content marketing is taking flack these days as hoards of marketers jump on the content-generation bandwagon in an attempt to stay relevant. Chris Penn wrote a post that pretty much sums up the current state of content marketing affairs: “If 2012 was about the power of content marketing, then 2013 has to be about making content that doesn’t suck….” Well said, Chris – well said.

Why Do I Need to Write Good?

The problem itself isn’t the lack of content; it’s the lack of good content. Exceedingly SEO-friendly, keyword-stuffed, unoriginal, regurgitated content is becoming a white noise of sorts that impedes the quality stuff from surfacing. You know what I mean by ‘good stuff’ – the content with personality, humour, wit—a backbone. Naturally, the rubble that touts unrealistic marketing claims like ‘look 20 years younger in 2 days!’ is circling the drain of your customers’ recycling bins – but have they shut their eyes and ears to quality content in the process? I don’t blame them; they’re just trying to filter out the information that won’t help them. It’s a problem that continually challenges Google to show the most relevant information, but we’re only scratching the surface, here.

What? I Can’t Hear You!

Would you like your potential customers to start tuning you out or do you want their ears to perk up when you have something to say? To be a good content marketer, you need to have a personality that lights up the room – on and off paper (and computer screen). Have you ever met that person who immediately grabs your attention but writes content that elicits encyclopedia-level excitement (insert sarcasm here)? You may have a winning personality in the flesh (I’m sure your mom thinks you’re fun), but now you need to transfer that onto paper. Easier said than done, right?

So, What’s the Answer?

Writing is hard for a lot of people. The people who enjoy writing are already making a living from it; they’re called copywriters, web writers, marketing writers, authors, word ninjas—whatever you want to call them. The rest of us need a bit of help. So, what’s any self-respecting business owner to do? Simple: hire someone who’s skilled with words and your content will cease to reek like a forgotten peach pit at the bottom of your garbage.

But I Aced Grade 12 English!

If you insist on writing your own content, pass it around – have a few people read it. Why not review it again yourself, while you’re at it? After you take a second look, ask yourself this: was that helpful and engaging, or would I have much rather been eating a big bowl of salad without the dressing or croutons? If you can’t read your own content without falling asleep, then how can you expect your readers to?

What are you really good at? Hey, it may be something other than writing (and that’s OK). As content marketing continues to grow in importance as a mean to tell the unique story of your business, let’s make a promise to each other to be good writers first (or hire good writers) and good content creators second. Do I have your word?