One more time: content is king (but only if it’s relevant)

February 4, 2011

in Business, He Says

he says y chromosome speak at bizchickblogs

is your content relevant

So you’ve got this killer product. You’re selling toilet air freshener. However, you’ve put a twist on the original idea. Instead of trying to make the air a little fresher, your air freshener has such a putrid, repugnant smell, that it makes the actual odour fade into the background. It’s a psychological thing. You know it works. Your mom told you it’s the best thing she’s bought since she married your dad. Your granny can’t smell anymore, so she loves it either way.

You’ve built a wicked website for the product, with contact details and online ordering system and doodads and what nots, but you just can’t seem to generate the interest your mom and granny think it deserves. The traffic’s not streaming in; sales aren’t climbing; you’re ready to flush your idea down the toilet.

What’s the problem?

There could be a myriad of problems with your web presence. The site could be loading too slow. There could be too many indexed pages leading visitors to your error page, discouraging them to make use of the site any further. The site could be overloaded with data. The text may be upside down. Colours may be messing up the display. Aliens could have a hyper-drive 3000 redirect implanted on the server your site’s hosted on, and your traffic’s being rerouted to a site on Mars.

The list goes on and on. However, one thing that many people seem to overlook is the relevancy of their content. Now, relevancy can be seen as the relation between your content and what people are searching for, but it goes further than that.

Let’s break up the whole scenario into little pieces.

You’ve got a site. On this site you have a product. You have some text and pictures about the product, and maybe a video or 200. The content structure itself is made up of meta data and actual (for lack of a better word) data. Meta data is for robots (search crawlers, Chuck Norris, Edward Cullen and the Jonas Brothers), while actual data is for both robots and humans (the latter of which
should always take precedence when building a site). The actual data consists of a title, headings and text.

First question:

Is your content worth a look? Is it interesting? Don’t bore people to death with your site, and don’t have some obscure mission statement on your home page to try and impress visitors with. Forget the corporate crap (if you really like that type of thing, get it for free at http://www.atrixnet.com/bs-generator.html).

“The best stinky air freshener for your toilet”

beats

“We aim to facilitate holistic methodologies to desensitise your senses, and in so doing create a healthier living environment for you and your family, enabling a morally defunct, odourless society, whereby we may implement user-centric supply-chains.”

Be original. One example comes to mind. John Garrett over at hypertransitory.com wrote an article about blogging lessons to be learnt from the Romans [http://hypertransitory.com/blog/2011/01/03/blogging-lessons-we-can-learn-from-the-romans/]. It’s a fantastic article. However, don’t go and copy his style, now. It’s relevant to his blog, because he specialises in comics and what not. It worked for him.

Don’t go and write an article called “Toiletry usage we can learn from the Romans”. That won’t necessarily work for your stinky air freshener.

image of a flyIf you struggle to come up with something original, look at your product from different perspectives, and see if you can’t create something in line with, but not necessarily directly related to, your product. For your stinky air freshener, why not create a fly that loves the smell so much that he blogs about it regularly? Just an idea.

The web’s boring enough as it is. It doesn’t need your help, too.

Editor’s Note: Holy cow the fly idea is awesome. I am going to steal it. Just kidding.

Second question:

Do the elements on your web pages relate to each other? Do they edify each other? Can Text visit Title and have a lovely discussion about putrid air freshener without stinking up the air? Can Heading come over for a cup of tea and enjoy the company? Or are there three totally different elements arguing over your content?

This is a very important point! These elements should all sing together in unison. They should come together and be able to chant “Kumbayah” around a camp-fire with great ease and a corporate love for stinky air fresheners.

Don’t have a title reading “bathroom accessories,” a heading that says “coffee cups,” and text that extols the beauty of a house full of non-smelling zombies. Make them speak the same language.

Ok, that’s almost quite enough. One more rant: forget about Twitter! Seriously, if you’re gonna use Twitter to stink up the Twitterverse with the same old 140 calls to action, forget it. You’re wasting your own time.

I’ve made up my mind to use Twitter simply to post about my latest blog posts. You may choose to use Twitter to communicate with others. Whatever you do, don’t abuse it. And forget about those automated Twitter follower creation majiggers. You’ll end up posting tweets no one wants to read, and having to deal with a timeline filled with info you’re not interested in.

I hope this article inspired you to once more look at your web presence, and make the necessary changes.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Sandy February 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm

The title grabbed my attention and you delivered, John!
I couldn’t agree with you more about your description, the web is filled with products and services described using goobledygook and this has to stop! Companies need to realize that when people are searching for their products they aren’t going to be using ‘turnkey solution’..once you write for your target audience, everything becomes simpler.
Great post!

johnflower February 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Turnkey solutions. One of my favourite! Can’t stand it! Also hate it when a company offers products and solutions. What the heck? I thought products were supposed to be the solution. I can’t make up my mind on a site where they offer both products and solutions. “OK, I have a problem. It needs to be solved. Hmmm, they have ‘solutions’ right there, but I’m sure it’s one of their products I was after. Oh wait, they have products too. Now what?”

Thanks for popping in Sandy!

DiTesco February 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Nicely done. Actually had a lot of fun reading it, and yeah, content is content, period. Checking out the BS generator, might come in handy. Never know when I will be needing a “BS Buzz”, lol

johnflower February 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hi Francisco,

Yeah that BS generator seems to have been responsible for many ‘about’ pages out there. Thanks for the Adsense warning post. Good stuff. I’m a stickler for Adsense, although income from it at this stage isn’t too much. However, I still see it as money for hardly any work.

Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing February 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm

You’re right along with the times. new CAN-SPAM laws are now taking a serious look at deceptive headliners.

johnflower February 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the comment. In a sense, we shouldn’t be worrying about Google. We should be concentrating on serving great content. Call me naive, but I like to think that Google is trying to serve great content, relevant to what users are seeking. Yes, Google’s gone through what seems to be a slump, but to be honest, it still serves the best results, in my opinion.
I stopped worrying too much about search spiders a long time ago. The reader is far more important.

Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing February 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm

On the nose my friend. As I tell everyone, write for the reader and Google will fall into place.

Google tells you to write for the reader, who ya gonna listen too? ;-) Wave away the nay-sayers…

johnflower February 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Great to see like-minded folks when it comes to these issues. It’s like you say: “who ya gonna listen to?” Have a great week man.

Julie Weishaar February 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm

You are hysterical. I love reading content worthy of the royal title delivered in such a refreshing manner. Too funny. I wonder if anyone is going to go out now and try to market “stinky air freshener”! Hey, you never know – look at the pet rock!

Thanks for the entertaining education :)

johnflower February 5, 2011 at 6:21 am

Hi Julie. Thanks for the compliment! You’d be surprised with Google’s results when you google ‘stinky air freshener’.

Julie Weishaar February 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Hey John,

I just checked and AM surprised. But I am afraid now I will have to take back my compliment as you didn’t coin the term LOL

johnflower February 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Aw shucks. :-( And here I thought we could be friends ;-)

Julie Weishaar February 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

:)

Donina Ifurung February 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Clever post! So true on all your points. Nothing irks me more than getting “grabbed” by the headline, only to be bored stiff by the content because the flow, continuity and all the pertinent elements leave me disappointed and wondering, “What was the purpose again?” Thanks!

johnflower February 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Thanks Donina. Irks. That’s such a cool word :-)

Yeah, continuity is key. I like to call it flow. If the thing flows, it’s OK with me.

John@Hypertransitory.com February 4, 2011 at 9:43 am

Ahh the BS Generator…more content for my site! Awesome :)

Thanks for including me in this one, you killed it with this post, man I was cracking up.

You’re right that people should really try to infuse some creativity into their copy -CopyBlogger is a great resource for this.

I suspect we’re going to see an influx of “fly” blogs, “pig” blogs and other assorted mascots now.

johnflower February 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

Haha! Hope I didn’t create a monster with the fly thing. Tia’s comment about stealing the idea has me worried ;-)

Marlee February 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

Hi John!
Thanks for this entertaining and insightful post.
You point out two very important points in creating a website that stands out from the crowd. I especially like your point about making elements relate to one another. I too think your website should speak as one voice as much as possible.

johnflower February 4, 2011 at 8:46 am

Hi Marlee,

Thanks for the comment! Yup, it’s all about relevance. But the more granular you look at it, the better, in my opinion.

Andreas@Blog Advertising February 4, 2011 at 8:39 am

Original content is always king but only as long as your message is interestingly written and easy to read for users so that they do not skip your content halfway through. Generous use of paragraphs and lists may help here

redkathy February 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

“Generous use of paragraphs and lists may help here” … Great tip that I’m just starting to apply. Does make a difference.

johnflower February 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Great point Andreas. Thanks for the comment. Reading a book differs greatly from reading a computer screen.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: