If your content is not ranking or you’re seeing traffic but very few conversions, it could be cause you’re targeting the wrong topics, not interlinking enough, haven’t submitted your sitemap, are too new to really rank, etc.
You’re not ranking because your content is LAME. Which is the majority of websites out there. So many “writers” are creating plain and safe content that avoids offending anyone. So much so, that it appeals to no one.
If this is you, congratulations! You just played yourself..
If you think your content is lame and un-engaging, here’s how you up your writing.
# 1. Invest time to understand your audience
A lot of business owners create businesses for which they would be the ideal customer. If this is you, great! You know your audience; you know what they want.
Give it to them!
However, if you’re unsure about your audience, first things first, do some audience research. I.e., create personas.
To create personas that reflect your audience in-depth:
**1. Check out some stats about your customers.** On average are there more men or women? Are they single? What are their political views? What is their income like? Ethnicity? Age? Etc. You can find most of this info online for almost every industry if you don’t have your own analytics or large enough sample size.
**2. Use the averages from the stats to build a persona of your average reader**. So, your reader could be someone like:
Mary, 50 years old, democrat, lives in New York, earns $110k in family income with her husband, works as a nurse, has two kids, etc.
**3. Now, go to the reddit communities where your customers hang out and go through their profiles.** This may seem intrusive, but your competitors already have all this information, and create content accordingly. Why don’t you? There’s no nobility in bringing a knife to a gunfight. Go through about 10 or so profiles that match your persona.
**4. Note down all the deeper more psychologically revealing traits about them** like:
Do they see themselves as a mother or nurse first? What majorly defines their identity? Is there a certain type of industry-based terminology they like to use? How do they view themselves? How content/dissatisfied are they with their life/income/marriage etc.? Are they generally likely to be frustrated around the topic you talk about (if so, even the slightest touch of lame-ness in your content will turn them away to avoid wasting time reading it)
There’s a lot more steps and methods of research you can add to this, but you get the point.
Know who you are writing for!
# 2. You are being fluffy
Fluffy writing is writing that lacks depth, fresh perspectives or originality of any kind, and delivers information without context or views/opinions on the information.
If your content looks like this:
“Well, USC is a great option for students who are looking to further their education. And I must say, it’s not just about the academics there. It has a fun and lively atmosphere, making it a great place to be. Plus, there’s so much to do in the city, which only adds to the overall experience. And if you’re someone who enjoys the social aspects of college life, then you’ll love USC’s reputation for its Greek life and sports programs. These add another level of excitement to the student experience.”
R.I.P to your traffic and conversion rate.
Your content needs to resonate with your reader. They are hungry for your opinion not repetitive bs information that leaves them no better than when they started researching your topic.
Instead of the content above, a better bet would be:
“If you’re an international student and want the American college experience, USC is where you want to be.
Frats, sororities, California, frisbees in the quad, football, outrageously styled dorm rooms – this is USC campus life!
This is the heart of the American college experience.”
This style of writing is not fluffy because it connects well with your readers’ deeper emotions and keeps them engaged with your content.
It makes them feel something!
The best way to truly engage your readers is to speak to their emotions, not just supply them information.
Now, your content could also be fluffy if you don’t really know what you’re writing about. I can’t tell you how many writers try and compensate for their lack of knowledge by “filling” the content with fluffy, cute-sy nonsense.
Along with your audience you need to know your industry through and through.
I know a lot of you reading this are working for clients across different industries, and that is completely fine. But you still need to allocate a considerable chunk of time learn about their industry first before you start writing.
Finally, here are some tips, borrowed from Ginny Reddish, to ensure your writing is not fluffy:
1. Keep your sentences short. 10-20 words a pop.
2. Use “you” for your readers. Speak directly to them.
3. Write in active voice as much you can.
4. Keep your paragraphs short
5. Keep each sentence to a single thought – or two tightly connected thoughts
# 3. You are not polarizing
This is another concept I’ve talked about before at length. Polarizing your content is integral part of building trust in your readers.
It lets your audience know that you are championing their cause.
What do CNN and FOX have in common? They both polarize their content to side with a specific party and the people who support that party. This is why they have a such a loyal viewership.
Polarizing your content by definition means that it is going to offend some people. It might offend uncle Bobby when you meet him next time. But that’s okay, HE’S NOT YOUR AUDIENCE.
That said, I’m not saying you *have* to offend others to write winning content, but polarizing gives you a voice. A strong voice. It keeps you from being lame.
And to be really honest, most times, it just keeps you genuine.
Here’s how you can polarize:
**1. Take a clear stance**: Don’t ride the fence with your writing. I.e. Don’t sound jittery with your words.
For example, instead of “USC might be a decent option if you’re likely to explore health science”. Write “USC is a great option for health science.”
Be firm in your thoughts and views. Be direct with what you’re saying. Your readers need guidance and instruction.
**2. Play up emotions**: I covered this in the second point, but basically make sure you’re evoking strong emotions in your readers through your words.
**3. Challenge conventional wisdom**: Present a different perspective or an unconventional take on a popular topic in your industry. You can use this to spark discussion and generate interest.
**4. Be unapologetic**: Make no apologies for creating content that alienates others but is a familiar perspective within your audience. Don’t make your audience feel like there’s something wrong with them for liking your content. That’s just shooting yourself in the foot.
As a side note, a lot of these points help build a solid brand identity too.
# 4. Tell a story
Storytelling is a lost art.
Storytelling keeps your readers stuck to your page and website. It’s what turns your readers into paying customers and fans of your work.
Most blog content is listicles or other templates that have points randomly scattered through the article.
No logical sequence, structure or organization. Nothing capturing and maintaining suspense and anticipation. And nothing memorable about the content.
Don’t let this be you. Don’t let *your* stories be told this way.
Here are some pointers to ensure your content tells a story:
**1. Start with an engaging hook**
Write your intro in a way that hooks your readers and draws them into your story. You don’t have to make it super scroll-bait-y, but you have to make it enticing enough to draw the reader in to the rest of the post.
**2. Develop a clear structure**
Plan a clear sequence for how you want to lay out your content. Outline the main sections of your post and list them in a logical sequence.
**3. Connect each sentence to the next**
Within each section, every sentence should logically lead to the next. No topic should come up out of the blue. When you do that, you disrupt the way your reader’s mind is tracking the information in your post.
The disruption confuses the reader about your message. The confusion then causes them to feel bad about not being able to understand what you were writing, which will lead to frustration with you.
Invest time to understand your niche and audience, don’t be fluffy, polarize, and tell a story. This is how you eradicate the lameness from your content, start ranking, convert readers to paying customers.
# Bonus: Let me roast your content
If you don’t think you’re getting it right, PM me, and I’ll get back to you with feedback on how you can improve your content.
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