Do your blog posts speak the language that your audience speaks? What about your landing pages or top-tier pages?
Are you using words and phrases that they can relate to? Or are your posts and pages full of jargon and buzzwords like “value added” and “incentivize?”
If you’re not using the language that your audience is using, then you are hurting yourself in several ways:
- Same Old Brand – Using jargon and buzzwords doesn’t differentiate you from the competition. You need to use words that make you stand out.
- Pushing People Away – Potential readers and customers will sneer at your jargon and buzzwords because they are sick of hearing it.
- Too Much Search Competition – If you use jargon as a keyword to compete in search rankings, then you’ll not only be competing for a competitive term since lots of the same old brands do that, but you also won’t get any clicks since customers don’t use these keywords to search.
Fortunately, social media has made it really easy to find and study the language that your audience uses so you can write better, compelling blogs posts that lure readers in and keep them there until the very last word.
Let’s look at seven ways you can write better blog posts through social media.
Tip #1: Study Your Audience’s Words on Social Media
The quickest and cheapest way to pick up on the language that your audience uses is to see what they are writing on social media sites.
- Scan Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn – What words are people using when they tweet or post on Facebook? Is it the same words when they are commenting and replying?
- Follow Blogs – You can dive even deeper into the way your audience thinks by reading a few of their blogs.
- Visit Forums – Search for relevant forums in your industry on Google. See what sort of questions your audience is posting, the language they use to answer the questions, and what topics generate the most interest.
- Read Reviews – Hop onto relevant websites in your industry that have user-generated reviews. Study their language. Take notes on specific keywords and phrases.
- Avoid Industry Blogs – You’ll probably notice that people don’t use jargon. They don’t say things like “knowledge economy” or “social looping.” However, if you read industry blogs, that’s exactly what you’ll get—so stay away from them.
Once you get a handle on the words you should and shouldn’t use, then write blog posts around those topics, using those very words in the headlines, sub-headlines, and body copy.
Tip #2 – Find Trending Hashtags
During a conference or event, attendees will typically tweet about what is happening, and usually all these tweets will be organized around a hashtag.
Of course, you don’t need to be attending an event to find trending hashtags. Just search trending hashtags on Twitter, and you’ll uncover a lot of relevant topics in your industry:
When you’ve found those trending topics, then study the words and phrases used by those people.
Tip #3 – Do Interviews
Interviewing people from your target market will be the best way to learn about their needs, what they think of your product and brand, and, most importantly, the language they use. This should be the cornerstone of your research. Social media supplements it and never replaces it.
Interviews can be done in person or over the phone. If all else fails, you can even interview them by email. But when you are interviewing, be sure to:
- Target Your Interviewees Wisely – Choose two or three people from each of your market segments.
- Question Them in Detail – Don’t walk away from these interviews with a general or vague sense of what they said. Get them to be specific about their feelings and problems with your brand and products.
- Interview Enough People – You’ll want to interview enough people over a period of time to be able to pick up on patterns and themes. It’s these themes you want to use in your blog posts and on your website.
- Enter Findings in Spreadsheet – Open up Excel, create columns for each target market, and drop in these themes and common words and phrases.
Tip #4 – Avoid Stock Video and Images
Meaningless buzzwords can also find their ways into your videos. Make sure when you are creating a script for your how-to videos that you use the same words that your audience uses.
Since buzzwords are nothing but clichés, you can also think of stock photography as buzzwords and clichés. You should strive to avoid and eliminate these meaningless images, too.
Why don’t stock images work?
- Stock Images Won’t Go Viral – If everybody has seen the image, then the motivation to share the rest of the content will be low.
- Stock Images Are Insulting – Using a stock photograph of people instead of your actual employees will instantly insult your audience.
- Stock Images Are Great for Nature – If you are displaying a photograph of mountains on one of your pages, especially to emphasize a point, then that is okay.
Tip #5 – Use Facebook Insights to Get Inside Your Reader’s Head
You can also get into your reader’s head by using Facebook’s Insights. How might this help you?
It will help you dig down into the content that your audience is interacting with. For example, log into your business page, then into Insights, and then find the page you want to examine:
Your first view is at 40,000 feet. You get to see how many likes and visitors your Facebook page got. Then you can drill down into the products and stories that you are promoting.
Are these resources getting any attention or traction?
Next, you can examine the daily view and study the behavior of people with your posts:
You’ll want to export all this data to a spreadsheet to see who is responding to your content and how. You do this by analyzing the daily breakdown:
You can go even deeper into your reader’s brain by looking at the “Get Details” of each report:
From there, you can compare posts by unique views, comments, and referring sources, and then drill down even further into age, gender, and country:
The juicy insights are found in virality and community activity, which helps you see what is motivating people to share your content and why.
Tip #6 – Tap into Your Front Line People
Don’t forget to tap into all your employees who are on the front lines and dealing with customers every day. These people are invaluable in your research, and they will themselves have adopted the language of your audience.
- Customer Service Reps – Sit down with a handful of CS reps and record their conversation. Ask them what people are saying and how they are saying it.
- Sales Reps – What sort of feedback can they give you about the current words you are using online? Do they have suggestions for what resonates with the audience?
- Retail Reps – Ask the people who work the floors of your brick-and-mortar stores what people are saying. Can you pick up on popular phrases?
- Social Media Reps – Get the people who are running your social media to run scans of the most popular words and phrases used on your platforms.
Once you’ve gathered all of this feedback with your team, you now need to create a content marketing style guide, and you need to present it to all the people you just spoke with. This is important for all of the customer-facing reps. They need to adopt the changes you’ll be making to the website.
Tip #7 – Remove the Jargon from Your Website
After you’ve identified all the buzzwords that you need to remove, you and your team should sit down and do it immediately. Focus on these pages:
- Top-Tier Pages – These include your home and about pages, plus any other pages that are likely to get a high number of clicks.
- Landing Pages – Evaluate any page that you are sending traffic to. This could be a landing page for a guest post you wrote or for an ad sitting on another website.
- Outbound Marketing Material – This includes auto-responder email newsletters you’ve created.
- Social Media Content – Review your own language that you use when tweeting or posting. Is it free of meaningless buzzwords? Does it speak the language of your audience?
Depending on how much manpower and time you have, you may want to eventually perform a content marketing audit and remove buzzwords from older content. But one thing is certain: going forward, everything must be written in the language of your audience.
Using the language that your audience uses is one of the best secrets to writing compelling blog posts. Fortunately, finding out what they are saying—and how they are saying it—is pretty easy.
After a number of years of doing this, you’ll know your customers pretty well, but don’t let that stop you from spying on your customers. As with all things in life, what your audience is saying will change, so make sure you stay on top of it.
What other ways do you use to discover the language of your audience?