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More Tips for Improving Your Business Content
by Startacus Admin
I’ve covered some of the basics of the slightly more technical side of content writing in the first part of this article. Some additional things like cross-linking, making content sharable, inserting calls to action, etc., should really go without saying, so they can remain unsaid and this time I’ll cover the content itself.
It’s a natural instinct to keep all your secrets to yourself. But don’t be afraid to share some little bits here and there. I said in the first article that showing your personality can be beneficial to the business as people like to see that there is a person behind your logo and your branding. This extends to letting people in a little more than might at first seem wise or comfortable.
In the Startacus article about Snapchat for business, I wrote about being interactive and more inclusive when it comes to engaging customers, clients, readers, etc. I’ve seen first-hand that this works, through my own website. My main reader base seems to visit my site when I babble and rant about Star Wars and Superman, and yet some of the most popular articles I’ve ever written are two book formatting guides, what to do about the US taxing non-American authors, and ‘How to Write a Book’. Do you detect a pattern? All of these articles provide free advice or step-by-step instructions. These are also the articles that most frequently result in clicks through to my books, to my proofreading site, and to related articles I’ve written.
So openness isn’t just about ‘this is what our office looks like, and that’s Dave over there’. By sharing things that you might feel like jealously guarding, you are not only giving people reason to return to your website, but giving them reason to trust you and like you. Having a straightforward, step-by-step guide on exactly how to make a book ready for Kindle hasn’t stopped anyone paying me to do it for them; Gordon Ramsay putting recipes on his website doesn’t stop people going to his restaurants; and you sharing valuable information, guides, or whatever makes sense for your business isn’t going to stop people giving you their custom.
You don’t have to become a master novelist and beat Stephen King to all the awards, but storytelling is a powerful form of communication. Readers remember important aspects of a story better than they do straightforward information. We all remember that little brat who cried wolf repeatedly until no one believed him and he got what he des— I mean, the poor soul got eaten. We remember that lesson because of the story, whereas we might not if someone just told us ‘don’t lie and stuff’.
Share interesting stories about how you set up, challenges you faced in doing so, or simple amusing anecdotes. The key is that they should actually be interesting or funny – no one wants to know that it took the phone company two weeks to install broadband in your office. Share customers’ stories (if they give permission) and detail their successes, or invite them to do so for themselves using your platform. Not only can this again be interesting, but it shows that previous customers have had enough success with your product or service that they’ll take the time to write about it for you, and that you take interest in keeping track of those people even after your business is concluded (i.e. that you care).
Leave advertising to adverts
Avoid making your content too advertorial and self-promotional. Yes, you want readers to become customers, but do that by presenting yourself and your company well – by coming across as knowledgeable, trustworthy, and personable. Leave the rest to actual advertising.
Most of us have read ‘articles’ that are really just moderately well-disguised adverts. They are misleading, we feel like someone is trying to trick us, and they’re a waste of our time. While most businesses don’t go that far, a degree of those negative thoughts still apply when a reader feels like the scales are tipped in favour of ‘aren’t we great, give us money’ vs balanced information sharing.
In short, your content should be there to increase traffic flow to your site and help get your name out there. Once it has done that job, the design of your website, your product/service pages, your sidebar adverts, etc., should be up to the job of grabbing the readers’ attention and interest.
Were I up there with JK Rowling or Lee Child, or my business rivalled that of Richard Branson, then I would delve into more detail about how to make amazing business content that is guaranteed to make you the next big name in…whatever you’re in. However I’m not, so I’ll leave you with this strong foundation and you, like all the greats, can carve your own path the rest of the way (and then come back and tell me how). If anyone can do it, YOU can!