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How many times have you heard “Content is King”?
With one Google update after the other, there’s no denying that providing quality content is more important now than ever before. In my opinion, these algorithm updates have hyped up content marketing. But what is it, really?
According to SEJ’s Content Marketing Guide, “The term ‘content marketing’ means different things to different people.” You can think of it in two different ways:
- The use of content to promote your brand or products or services
- The strategies you use to promote your content (e.g. a blog post)
Regardless of how you define content marketing, one question remains: How can you promote something if you don’t have anything?
In his book Killer Web Content (affiliate link), Gerry McGovern writes:
A small percentage of web content really makes a difference. It makes the sale, delivers the service, and builds the brand. This is the killer Web content.
Whether you own a startup or work for an enterprise-level brand, leveraging the power of the internet to promote your brand is more than just having a website and a Facebook page. You need to create content that makes the sale, delivers the service, and builds the brand.
Why do you need to create a killer web content? Because without it, you have nothing to promote. And if you have nothing to promote, your brand is as good as dead.
If you’re not sure how to produce content that really makes a difference, here are my three takeaways from Gerry McGovern’s Killer Web Content:
Focus on Your Customers
The reason why many websites fail is because the people behind it try to outsmart the search engines. Newsflash: You cannot game the system.
As Glen Dimaandal of GlenDemands Inc. puts it:
For every unnatural link scheme that you come up with, there’s a room full of smart people in the Googleplex thinking of ways to counter it.
Instead of trying to trick the search engines, why not focus on your customers? People come to your website because they have a need they believe you can fulfill.
Imagine Linda, a 35-year-old working mom, who’s scouting for a nearby elementary school for her 6-year-old daughter. You, on the other hand, happened to have a list of schools within the 5 mile radius from Linda’s home. And it’s not just a laundry list of schools, you’ve also indicated why those institutions would be suitable for her daughter.
When you focus on your customers, you will be able to identify their needs and provide content that can help solve their pain points. Instead of writing for search engines, consider your customers’ language (do they use “elementary school” or “primary school” as a search query?) and optimize your content based on their intent. When you write your content naturally, just they way you would speak to a friend, it will work like magic and optimize on its own.
As McGovern said on his book, “The most successful websites focus on the customer because this is where commerce depends.”
Help Your Customers Complete Their Tasks
Your content’s job is not just to tell your customers you have what they need. It should also allow them to take action. Find out what their core task is, and how your content can help complete it.
In Linda’s case, her task is to look for a nearby school where she can enroll her 6-year-old daughter. As a result, she landed on your website and got a list of schools within the 5 mile radius. Eventually, she was able to pick a good elementary school because (1) the tuition is very affordable, (2) the reviews are positive, and (3) it’s on her way to work.
The next step is to enroll her daughter. And because you considered your readers’ needs, you thought it would be very convenient for them if they can enroll their kids online, right? Linda thinks so, too.
Good thing, your content has the proper call-to-actions. She can either “Contact the school registrar” in case she has more inquiries or “Enroll now”. These CTAs will help her complete her tasks, which means your content was able to deliver the service Linda needed.
You have to keep in mind that you’re charging your readers their time and attention, so you have to use it wisely. A good web content is always task-focused. As Jeff Goins advises, don’t let your audience wonder why they bothered reading your content in the first place.
Content is Just a Means to an End
Your business’ revenue is not generated by the number of pages your website has. Your customers are the reason your brand is alive. What your content does is to drive action.
How? By making sure that whatever you post online can help solve their issues, the same way your list allowed Linda to find the right school for her daughter. On the other hand, because you’re able to bring in a new enrollee, you get to earn your share (a referral fee, perhaps?).
Creating killer web content allows you to make a difference in your customers’ lives and to your brand.
On to You
McGovern wrote “quality content is the essence of what makes a website successful.” If you want to create something that makes the sale, delivers the service, and builds the brand, your content must be useful, get to the point, and answer the most important questions your customer has.
Have you read Gerry McGovern’s ‘Killer Web Content’ or have thoughts about the points I mentioned above? Please share in the comment section below! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Next month, SEJ Copyeditor Danielle Antosz will review Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation (affiliate link) by Sally Hogshead. Feel free to pick a copy from Amazon or your local library and read along with us!
Want to see what the SEJ Book Club has read or is planning on reading next? Check out our GoodReads profile and add us as a friend!
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
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