Millennials trust user-generated content more than they do professionally-written web content
I just read an interesting article about millennials and trust on the GetSpokal blog.
According to the blog post:
This is a fantastic discussion about how millennials perceive professional web content. They don’t trust it because they know marketers have something to gain from it. It makes sense. The author suggests several ways to build trust including: open communication, transparency, interaction via blog posts and social networks, creating quality web content, and even being environmentally conscious.
Here’s a key takeaway about quality content: it’s not about how wonderful your company, product, or service is; it’s about what’s in it for the reader. We’re all a bit selfish that way, millennials, gen-Xers, and baby boomers alike: we all want to know “What’s in it for me?”
Re-framing Features into Benefits
So, while you’re thinking about how wonderful your company, product, or service is (in other words, all of your great features), re-frame those thoughts into benefits to your customers. How can they benefit from your awesomeness?
For example, if you sell designer shoes, you could write web content that discusses the features of those shoes: brand name, pretty buckles, high tech materials, and so forth. But, what do all those features really mean to the customer? Does the brand reflect the customer’s values? Will they feel proud to be associated with that brand? How will they feel when wearing those shoes? How do the high tech materials make the shoes more comfortable or durable?
Incorporating User-Generated Content
From there, you could incorporate user-generated content such as online reviews, testimonials, or comments. Give your customers a voice and then be available to respond. Incorporating user-generated web content can contribute to your trust building efforts as well as serve as social proof that you’re delivering.
Millennials will likely approach your web content warily. They don’t trust you yet. How will you earn that trust? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Whether you’re doing your own website content writing or have hired a freelance web content writer to do it for you, it’s important to include benefits. Your website visitors are greedy in a way. They’re less concerned about how wonderful your company is and more concerned with their problems and needs. They want to know, “What’s in it for me?”
The Difference Between Features-Focused and Benefits-Focused Website Content Writing
First, let’s look at the difference between features and benefits. Many people confuse the two or use them interchangeably. A feature is something that your product or service has. For example, in a car, a moonroof is a feature as is a satellite radio, a well-placed cup holder, leather seats, or USB port. Features may or may not be desirable. They’re usually tangible, and they tend to get the most attention. You can imagine a car salesman pointing out the moonroof and all those cup holders, right? However, have you ever bought a new car because it has amazing cup holders? Think about it. You might have been impressed by the cup holders because they can accommodate your extra large coffee mug which will mean no more spilled coffee when you slam on the brakes. Satellite radio might interest you not because it has three rows of preset buttons, but because your kids will quit bickering on trips thanks to an endless stream of commercial-free Disney programming. What’s in it for you? Benefits.
Like the car salesman who points out features, website content writers tend to do the same. After all, if you’re selling a widget online, you need to let potential customers know what’s unique about that widget. Oftentimes, that means describing its features. Benefits-focused website content writing goes beyond features and explains the benefits.
So, What Exactly is a Benefit?
According to BusinessDictionary.com, a benefit is an actual or perceived factor that satisfies what a customer needs or wants. For example, actual factors might be cost effectiveness or performance whereas a perceived factor might be image or popularity. If your widget has a feature that automatically shuts the unit off if it overheats, that feature delivers a benefit: peace of mind that a malfunction won’t cause a fire.
Incorporating Benefits-Focused Website Content into Your Writing
Once you understand the difference between a feature and a benefit, benefits-focused website content writing becomes much easier. Go through your text and identify features and benefits. Ask yourself if you’ve answered the reader’s burning question: What’s in it for me?
BusinessDictionary.com,. (2014). What is product benefit? definition and meaning. Retrieved 28 September 2014, from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/product-benefit.html
Top Rank Blog has already published its digital marketing predictions for 2015.
August is barely over, yet it’s getting to be that time: prediction-making time. I just stumbled across this list of digital marketing predictions for 205 by Top Rank Blog. I’m all for the human-speak trend predicted by DJ Waldow… Which is your favorite prediction?
DJ Waldow @djwaldow – Digital Marketing Evangelist, Marketo
2015 will be the year of HUMAN for digital marketers. Gone are the days of corporate-speak messaging and dull, boring campaigns. Instead, we’ll begin to see more marketers incorporate human-speak into their messaging – videos, pictures, humor, and human!
An online marketing study published last year by Hinge Marketing recently caught my eye. While it’s loaded with interesting information about the most effective online marketing strategies, I absolutely loved this conclusion:
“Respondents reported that white papers, ebooks and articles, SEO and company newsletters were the most effective techniques.”
After all, I make my living writing white papers, ebooks, articles, SEO copy, and newsletter articles, so the validation feels great. But it’s not about me. It’s about you and your online marketing strategy. Are you using any of the above or are you taking a build-it-and-they-will-come approach?
Blogging was also listed as an effective online marketing strategy though the report had this to say: blogging is a long-term initiative that can take six months to a year before you see results.
Discouraging, isn’t it? However, if you think about it, why would anyone stick around a five page website or even return for that matter? It takes time to fill a website with the content that Google prizes so highly.While you build your website, think of ways that you can reuse some of the content strategically. For example, if you write about a particular dog breed, you’ll likely discuss heredity, health issues, breeding, training, and grooming – all of which would make sense as chapters of an ebook. How about an in-depth white paper on that breed’s genetics that draws on and expands upon some of the research you’ve previously presented in articles and blog posts? By slowly building your blog, you’ll also be laying the foundation for larger content pieces such as white papers and ebooks.Need help with your online marketing strategy?
to learn more about my content writing service.
The Value of Original Content
As the saying goes, “content is king.” While this saying is an Internet marketing cliche, it continues to be true. The Internet is a crowded place and your articles and blog posts can help you get noticed. When loaded with useful, relevant, and informative original content, your website or blog becomes as unique as your business.
Benefits of Original Content
Website content gives you a voice and it positions you as someone who knows what you’re doing. When you consistently deliver high quality, original content, you are also sending a subtle message that you are passionate about what you do and that you care. Not only can your website content do all of the above, it can also attract traffic to your website.
However, generating unique articles, blog posts, webpages, newsletters, social media posts, and special reports requires skill and commitment. It’s easy to lose focus or procrastinate. Use these tips to stay focused:
- Do a little every day – Adding content to your website or on article directories doesn’t need to be an all or nothing task. Schedule 30 to 60 minutes each day and do something. It could be writing an article or blog post, adding a couple of questions to your FAQs page, adding a bio section to your About Us page, and so on.
- Mix it up – If you dislike writing articles, sitting down to write one every day wouldn’t work for you in the long run. However, if you mix it up by posting tips one day, adding a photo or infographic the next, embedding a video the next, and writing just one article each week, you may find that adding content to your website is easier and more fun than you thought.
- Create a simple content plan – Figure out what type of content to work on each business day and identify several core categories. Add these tasks to your work calendar and cross them off as you go. By the end of your first month, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve accomplished.
- Get help – Who says you have to do it all yourself? Outsource some or all of the content writing.
Creating an online presence involves more than creating a small business website. While that’s certainly a good start, people need to be able to find your business online. Creating links to your site from high authority sites is a must. Here’s a great small business marketing service to start with: MerchantCircle.com.
What are MerchantCircle’s Small Business Marketing Services?
MerchantCircle is a local small business marketing service. It’s city specific, so you’ll be connecting with customers and other businesses in your community. It’s like a blend between a phone book and a social network.
MerchantCircle allows you to create a free business profile with a link to your website. MerchantCircle has an impressive PageRank of 8. It’s links are “do follow” links. While this is good, there’s much more including:
- A blogging platform
- Customer reviews
- The ability to connect with other businesses
- A newsletter platform
- A built-in audience
- A coupon & special offers tool
- Advertising opportunities
- A community forum
- And more…
Even if you have your own blog, it’s not a bad idea to post in your MerchantCircle blog thanks to the site’s authority and built-in audience. Plus, you can add more links back to your site with each entry. Is networking with other businesses in your area part of your small business marketing plan? If so, make sure to use its “connections” tool to invite other members to your network.
Like many free services, MerchantCircle also offers paid listings and other advertising opportunities. For now, I’m going to stick with the free service and see how that goes. After just one week, my business profile has received 85 views and 31 visits from Google. I’ll report back in a few months with an update. In the meantime, consider creating a free profile on MerchantCircle.