Why You Need a Content Strategy – Part Two
So, in Part One on the topic of a content strategy for your website, we talked about how to attract visitors. Now, it’s time to woo them.
GOAL #2: ENGAGE
Think of your website as your store front. Incorporating good, or “white hat,” SEO techniques like those mentioned in Part One is how you get customers through the door. But it’s your site’s content that encourages them to actually stay a while, have a look around, maybe buy a thing or two.
You can “optimize” your site all you want, but without compelling, relevant and frequently updated content that engages your target audience, it’s not going to matter.
You have something to say. Here’s how to make sure it gets heard.
Keep it simple
Once you’ve narrowed your focus, keep your message clear and to the point. Especially when writing for the web, sentences should have no more than 30 words, and paragraphs should not exceed about four or five sentences. Less really is more.
Studies show only 79% of Internet users read content; the rest just skim over it, looking for relevant keywords. (You’re skimming this right now, aren’t you?)
They also don’t like to puzzle over where to find what they’re looking for. For the optimal user experience, your site’s content should be organized in an obvious and intuitive way. Don’t make them dig for answers or you’ll lose them.
Remember: due to the short attention span of a typical Internet user, you’ve generally got between one and five seconds to capture her interest before she clicks over to something else. Make those seconds count.
Keep it fresh
Not only do users appreciate frequently updated content, but search engines do too. A blog is the perfect platform for fresh, timely content, and it will also help with your search-engine rankings. If you’re wishy-washy about whether or not you need a blog for your website, here’s your number-one reason why you should go for it.
Keep it real
Have you ever read a legal contract in its entirety – like, word for word? No one has. We all just do a quick scan and then skip to the part where we simply agree to the terms, whatever they are. And for good reason: we have better things to do with our time.
Nobody wants to read dry, overly formal writing. When it comes to your site’s content, you’ll be better able to engage your users with language that’s conversational and real. Of course this doesn’t mean you should just throw the grammar book out the window. But it’s perfectly acceptable to break a few rules.
For example, beginning a sentence with a conjunction (and, but, or) can give your content greater impact and make it easier to scan. Your English teacher isn’t looking – it really is okay to do this.
Also, ending a sentence with a preposition (for, at, with) is another rule you can bend from time, for the sake of keeping your writing less formal and stuffy. (That said, every time I hear the phrase, “Where you at,” I die a little inside.)
If you should take away one little nugget of advice, it’s this: Just talk to your audience – plain and simple. Don’t get so caught up in trying to sound important that you strip your site of all humanness.
Coming up in Part three…
Okay, so you’ve got their attention – let’s take it up a notch and really get them talking. Continue onto Part Three to find out how.