All too often content creation becomes focussed on getting certain keywords in certain places and making sure specific topics are included, to the point where businesses can forget that ultimately, a human being is supposed to read and respond to it. Here’s why you shouldn’t leave the conversation out of content marketing.
What is the Value of Conversational Content?
Let’s face it – almost every business is under stress right now. People are working overtime, trying to juggle multiple responsibilities in busy lives, and it’s tougher than ever to compete and grow in the current economy. We all know digital marketing content matters, but it’s difficult to see the value in changing your strategy when you think you’re hitting all the right notes already – you’re posting consistently, you’ve researched your keywords, and heck, you’re even targeting local search. Why bring conversational language into the mix?
- Human connection – Personalisation is one of the biggest digital marketing trends and it’s here to stay for one reason and one reason only – it treats the consumer like an individual, human person. Feeling seen by a brand, having your issue understood, and being treated like a person and not a number is critical if you want your consumers to care about your company.
- SEO – It has great SEO benefits too. Since the BERT update, Google’s algorithm is better than ever at detecting the context around search queries and online content. It doesn’t just match up keywords like a high-tech version of the memory game, it actually understands user intent – what you mean, not just what you say. This makes it not only easier to converse with your customer, but it also gets you points with the algorithm that ranks your content.
Here’s What to Do
#1 – Short and Sweet Sentences Go and read an academic paper. Sure, that research is impressive and meaningful and important, but one thing it isn’t is easy to digest. That’s why news articles on scientific breakthroughs are so much better than trawling through the research itself (and kudos for those journos who have the skills to do that hard work for us!). Short, sweet sentences are less complex, easier to understand and more appealing to read.
#2 – Engage with Questions Are you wondering why you should adapt your digital strategy to make your content more conversational? I bet that voice in your head just answered that question! Using questions helps people determine if the content is relevant to them AND it makes people engage with it immediately.
#3 – Be You We often talk about brand voice or brand image, which can sound like a whole load of marketing jargon. What we really mean is that you need to work out who you are, and then put that voice out there. Love puns? Make your readers groan and shake their heads while they smile to themselves. Colourful personality? Bring it on and be the brightest flower in the garden. If you love talking to them, your customers are going to love talking to you. As long as you are expressing values in line with what your business stands for and you’re not hurting anyone, bring plenty of personality into your content. After all, if it can work for a system as unloved as the TSA, then it can work for you.
#4 – Ditch Formalities Formalities aren’t actually necessary or very useful for many businesses, especially if you want to build relationships and connect with people. Get rid of the royal “we” and replace it with “I”, don’t rely too heavily on jargon, bring on the contractions (and finally learn how and when to use that apostrophe), start a sentence with a contraction. It’s a brave new world out there and even those of us who are stuck behind a screen all day want to feel as though there is a person on the other side of what we’re reading.