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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Create Engaging Website Content

Last week, FEI marketing guru Marka went over how to design an attractive website that drives business. This week, Marka teaches the tribe how to create content that will keep people reading and returning to the company’s website. Remember, fire = print.

Shortly before FEI’s marketing meeting was scheduled to begin, Marka sat at the conference room table reviewing her presentation materials. Lucy, Zoot and Org had already gathered around the table. Marka listened as young Lucy talked about a bad date she’d been on the night before.

“He seemed nice enough,” Lucy lamented, “but he had nothing to say.”

“Was he handsome?” Marka asked.

“Sure,” Lucy said. “But it didn’t matter. He had no substance.”

“Lucy,” Marka began, “you’ve inadvertently touched on today’s O-site marketing topic. Last week, we learned that appearance matters. Today, we learn that content matters, too.”

“What do you mean?” Lucy asked.

“People visit our O-site to learn how our fire products and services can help them, and for fire-related information that will help make their lives easier. If we can deliver this content in a succinct, interesting way, we will keep O-site visitors coming back. Repeat visitors tend to become customers.”

That got everyone’s attention. Marka approached the whiteboard, and began writing on it:

Tip #1 - For Compelling O-site Content, Educate Your Visitors

“Thanks to the O-web, information is everywhere,” Marka noted.

“So is misinformation,” Zoot objected.

“True,” Marka agreed. “Our customers don’t have time to separate the informational wheat from the chaff. If we supply them with the relevant, timely and accurate content they crave, they’ll trust us more. This will lead to stronger relationships and more sales.”

“How do we do that?” Org asked.

“Let’s start by putting up a blog on our O-site,” Marka said. “‘FEI’s Weekly Fire Tips.’ Each week, we’ll tackle another fire-focused topic our readers care about.”

“What are some topics we can write about?” Numo asked.

Marka scribbled on the whiteboard:
  • Tips for torch storage, maintenance and upkeep.
  • Ways to make your (name of FEI product) more efficient.
  • Common fire-handling mistakes to avoid.
  • Creative uses for matches.
  • New products, ideas and other developments in the fire industry.
  • Tips for using fire in (specific FEI market).

“Our company’s collective knowledge of fire and fire technology is improving every day. We can easily update this blog at least once a week,” Marka asserted, then she scribbled more on the whiteboard:

Tip #2 - For Compelling O-site Content, Create Content for the “Web Attention Span”

“O-web readers are usually looking for any reason to click out of our O-page and go to another, more engaging site,” Marka said. “Let’s not give them a reason. We must grab their attention with each O-page’s headline and image and not let go until they’ve placed an order.”

“We’ve discussed good headline writing tips before,” Marka continued. “Essentially, our O-page’s headline should promise something unique and relevant to the reader that will encourage them to read the rest.

“Images should be placed prominently on the O-page, ‘above the fold,’” she added. “They should be relevant to the body copy, and hint at what readers will learn if they read on.

“We can use many techniques to help our O-page’s body text hold reader attention. Let’s think of our body copy as an inverted pyramid. The most important information—the main benefit, call-to-action, etc.—goes at the top. It’s been established that readers view O-web content in a F-shaped pattern and rarely scroll below the fold. This further supports the idea that we should include our most important content at the top.

“Here are more ways our body copy can hold reader attention,” Marka said as she began scribbling on the whiteboard again:
  • Write in the second person, so the reader feels he is being talked to directly.
  • Address specific fire-buyer concerns.
  • Use simple words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  • Format content for easy reading.
    • Break content out into lists or graphs.
    • Separate distinct sections with subheaders.

“What’s your next tip?” Zoot asked.

“I’m going to heed the advice of my last tip, and keep this lesson short,” Marka said. “Let’s take a short grog break. Then, I’ll give you two more tips for creating content that sticks with our O-site readers.” 

FIRE! Point
People visit your website to learn how your products and services can benefit them. They also visit your website for printing-related information that will help make their jobs easier. If you can deliver this content in a succinct, interesting way, you will gain and keep website visitors. This will lead to more sales and stronger customer relationships. Two tips for excellent content: educate your readers, and create content for the “Web attention span.”

FIRE! in Action: Compelling Web Copy Helps Exposure Travel’s Website Succeed
The Canadian adventure tour operator hired an outside marketing resource to rewrite its website using content marketing and SEO best practices. The results? A 300 percent increase in site traffic, and more qualified visitors.

Next week: More tips on creating compelling Web content.

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