Your Content Is Pathetic [At least 90% of you]
In this article:
Somewhere around 90% of articles don’t rank well on Google because they are just plain pathetic.
Here’s how to create exciting content that your readers will love.
It could be that your content isn’t ranking or you’re seeing traffic but very few conversions. This might be because you’re targeting the wrong topics, you aren’t interlinking enough, you haven’t submitted your sitemap, or you are too new to rank…
There’s a reason your content isn’t ranking: it’s pathetic. Most websites fall into this category. It seems that so many “writers” are creating plain, safe content that avoids offending anyone. It is so unappealing that no one is attracted to it.
Congratulations if this describes you! It’s all your fault.
Here’s how to elevate your writing if you think it’s pathetic and uninspiring.
1. Invest time to understand your audience
Often, business owners build businesses for which they’d be perfect customers. That’s awesome if it’s you! Know your audience; know what they want.
Don’t hesitate to give it to them!
It’s always a good idea to do some audience research before you write anything if you’re uncertain about your target audience. Create personas, for example.
Creating personas that accurately reflect your audience involves the following steps:
1. Take a look at some stats about your customers. Are there more men or women? What is their relationship status? Which political views do they hold? How much does their income look like? Ethnicity? Age? Etc. It’s easy to find most of this information online if you don’t have your own analytics or a large enough sample size.
2. Build an average reader persona based on your stats. You might have a reader like:
Rebekah is 48 years old, a democrat, lives in Chicago with her husband, earns $110k as a family, works as a nurse, and has two children.
3. Check out your customers’ profiles on the online communities where they hang out. You may find this intrusive, but your competitors already have all this information, and they create content accordingly. Wouldn’t it be great if you did? In a gunfight, bringing a knife isn’t noble. Select a few profiles that match your persona and go through them.
4. Take note of all the deeper psychological traits they have, like:
Do they see themselves as mothers or nurses first? How would you describe their identity? Is there a certain terminology they use based on their industry? What are their views of themselves? In what ways are they satisfied or dissatisfied with their life, income, marriage, etc.? Does the topic you talk about generally frustrate them (if so, even the slightest hint of patheticness in your content will turn them away)?
You can add a lot more steps and methods of research to this, but you get the point.
You need to know your audience before you write!
2. You are being fluffy
There are three types of fluffy writing: those that lack depth, fresh perspectives, or originality, and those that deliver information without context or views/opinions on it.
If your content looks like this:
“Well, GCU is a great option for students who are looking to further their education. And I must say, it’s not just about the academics there. It has a fun, christian, and lively atmosphere, making it a great place to be. Plus, there’s so much to do in the city, which only adds to the overall experience. And if you’re someone who enjoys the social aspects of college life, then you’ll love GCU’s reputation for its social life and sports programs. These add another level of excitement to the student experience.”
R.I.P to your traffic and conversion rate.
You need to create content that resonates with your readers. Rather than repeating junk information that leaves them no better off than when they started researching your topic, they are looking for your opinion.
Instead of the content above, a better bet would be:
“If you’re an international student and want the American christian college experience, GCU is where you want to be.
Clubs, The Grand Canyon, frisbees in the quad, football, outrageously styled dorm rooms – this is GCU campus life!
This is where God lives in the heart of the American college experience.”
In this style of writing, you connect well with your readers’ deeper emotions and keep them engaged.
Feelings are evoked!
Rather than merely supplying information, speak to your readers’ emotions to engage them.
It’s also possible to write fluffy content if you’re not really knowledgeable about what you’re writing about. It is amazing how many writers fill their content with fluffy, cutesy nonsense to compensate for their lack of knowledge.
Knowing your industry in depth is just as important as knowing your audience.
There are many of you reading this who work for clients across different industries. But before you start writing, you need to spend a substantial amount of time learning about their industry.
Lastly, here are some tips, borrowed from Ginny Reddish, for avoiding fluffy writing:
- Keep your sentences short. 10-20 words a pop.
- Use “you” for your readers. Speak directly to them.
- Write in active voice as much as you can.
- Keep your paragraphs short
- Keep each sentence to a single thought – or two tightly connected thoughts
3. You are not polarizing
This is another concept we’ve blogged about before. Building trust with your readers starts with polarizing your content.
You’re championing their cause when you do this.
CNN and FOX: what do they have in common? It’s like both of them polarize their content to side with a certain party and its supporters. Their loyal viewers are the reason they’re so popular.
You will offend some people if you polarize your content by definition. The next time you meet uncle Kevin, it might offend him. But that’s okay, he’s NOT your target audience.
While I’m not advocating offending others to write winning content, I believe polarizing gives you a voice. The voice of a strong individual. It keeps you from being pathetic.
Sincerity keeps you authentic most of the time, to be honest.
The following are some ways to polarize:
1. Don’t ride the fence: Your writing should have a clear stance. For example, speak without sounding jittery.
For example, instead of “GCU might be a decent option if you’re likely to explore health science”. Write “GCU is a great option for health science.”
Stand firm in your beliefs. Communicate directly. It is important to guide and instruct your readers.
2. Play up emotions: This was covered in the second point, but you should try to evoke strong emotions in your readers with your writing.
3. Challenge conventional wisdom: Present an unconventional perspective on a popular topic in your industry. This will generate interest and spark discussion.
4. Be unapologetic: Don’t apologize for creating content that alienates others but is familiar to your audience. Don’t make your audience feel bad for liking your content. Shooting yourself in the foot like that is just stupid.
In addition, many of these points contribute to establishing a strong brand identity.
4. Tell a story
The art of storytelling has disappeared.
Your readers will stay on your page and website longer if you tell a story. Your readers become paying customers and fans when you provide them with quality content.
In most blog articles, points are scattered randomly throughout listicles or other templates.
There is no logical sequence, structure, or organization. Suspense and anticipation are not captured and maintained. The content isn’t memorable either.
Make sure this doesn’t happen to you. This is not how you should tell your stories.
Make sure your content tells a story by following these tips:
1. Start with an engaging hook
Introduce your story in a way that hooks the reader and draws him or her in. It doesn’t have to be scroll-bait-y, but it should be intriguing enough to entice the reader to read on.
2. Develop a clear structure
Your content should be laid out in a clear sequence. Your post should be organized into logical sections.
3. Connect each sentence to the next
There should be a logical flow from one sentence to the next within each section. It is not a good idea to introduce a topic out of nowhere. You disrupt your reader’s ability to track the information in your post when you do that.
Your message is confused by the disruption. As a result, they feel bad about not understanding what you are writing, and they become frustrated with you.
Invest time in understanding your niche and audience, avoid being fluffy, polarize, and tell a story. This is how you get rid of patheticness in your content, start ranking, and convert readers into paying customers.
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