content optimization – a business-development reality check
Summary: Before you start driving traffic to your website, get your message sharp – it’s thousand year old common sense.
Someone has stolen our tent
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip.
After a good camp fire meal and a bottle of wine, they retire to their tent for the night.
At about 3 AM, Holmes nudges Watson and says, “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?”
Watson replies, “I see millions of stars.”
Holmes asks, “And, what does that tell you?”
Watson replies, “Well now,… astronomically, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Theologically, it tells me that God is great and we are small and insignificant. Horologically, it tells me that it’s about 3 AM. Meteorologically, it tells me that tomorrow will be a scorcher. What does it tell you, Holmes?”
“My dear friend”, Holmes replies, “it tells me that …….
Someone has stolen our tent.”
Now the next time you get fired up by a blog on A/B testing your meta tags on your 200 monthly visitors or the place of H1 or H2 in the penguin, poodle or parrot algorithm or how to drive a million visitors to your site for just $300 dollars a month put down the chequebook, step away from the pay now button and look in the full length mirror.
Have you got lettuce stuck between your teeth? Is your flies undone? Are you wearing odd socks?
This is what’s going to make the first and lasting impression.
Tackle the blindingly obvious … first .. content optimization
Tackle that thing that will decide, (whether you like it or not), whether you sell something or not.
That thing? Your copy. The words you use.
Coming across as a credible business is massively dependent on the words you use to describe what you’re up to.
Weak words = Weak sales. Repeat. Weak words = Weak sales
We can’t help ourselves. We’re so overloaded with information today that we’re not looking for any more of it, we’re actually looking very carefully for anything that’ll let us off the hook
– let us get out of there, give our brains a rest.
This isn’t news, social scientists like Cialdini have seen this coming for years – we’ve arrived. This is the human condition now. Too much of everything calls for one sensible coping strategy – pare it down, reduce it, get rid of as much as possible with the least effort.
Shiny, fancy website but a rambly, confused message? Uh oh, doesn’t add up, ditch, one less to deal with. Telling the world about your ‘passion’? Uh oh, you’re sending everyone to sleep (apart from your mum), ditch, one less to deal with. Making me sort through a pile of words to find what I want? Can’t be…xxd.
And what the smart cookies count on are these rows of cannon fodder – the companies that don’t get it. The smart cookies benefit massively from the comparison. They love this sort of competition.
As consumers we find it hard to believe that we can come to good decisions quickly. So if we look at 3 sites – all selling the same thing – all with weak, unpersuasive copy and then hit number 4 and number 4 has words that are credible, consistent and persuasive then our search is over.
We convince ourselves that we’ve done some thorough market research, our job is done, we’ve arrived (pat ourselves on the back), we trust, we buy.
There are no runners up in this race and there’s only one question. Do you want to be providing the comparison fodder or do you want to be the final destination?
Can you honestly say you’ve got your premiere league words playing for you? Or, are they the second divisioners you’ve cobbled together with a few mates with the promise of a few transfers later in the season?
When you can go about your daily business 24/7 knowing that the premiere squad is hard at it for you, when you can say that you’d put your showcase before anyone in the world that’s the time to put your showcase before anyone in the world.
Then drive the traffic, then get techie.
Do it the wrong way round and you’re putting a pig on stage in the Albert Hall.
I can help if you ask me.
I’m head of the department of the bleedin’ obvious (right next door to Tents).