June 10, 2014
5 Ways to Write For Your Audience
Humans resonate with, respond to, and act based on the emotions they feel. When someone visits your website, you’ll want them to be able to answer the following questions in the affirmative:
- Do I feel a connection to this business?
- Do I see or hear another person there?
- Do I connect with the user experience?
- Do I know, at first glance, that my needs are being met?
Visitors make quick decisions as to whether to stay on the site, or to continue through their search results. Your website’s look and feel should offer them what they want in an easy-to-navigate and attractive package. Google knows this, and has evolved to the point where they can start to determine whether the content has been written for a person, or simply to rank high by an algorithm’s standards.
How do you make your website both Google AND user-friendly? Here are five tips to create content that your audience connects with, and that is optimized for search.
1. Use their language
If you look at keyword research, you’ll notice that the phrases people type in search engines often sound unnatural. Instead of attempting to use this exact language in your content in order to rank high for those searches, use them as guidelines. These are the topics people are searching for, and you should write your content as if you were sitting across a coffee table chatting with your customer face-to-face. In other words: don’t stuff or inject a keyword or phrase if it doesn’t seem natural.
2. Be conversational
In that same vein, make your website conversational and easy to read. People buy from other people, not from machines. Start the conversation naturally on your website to make people want to click further and learn more about what you do. As a bonus, when they click further, search engines will notice and will reward you for keeping the interest of your visitors. Just as there is a natural progression from one topic to another in your verbal conversations, so should there be from one blog post to another on your website.
3. Solve your customer’s problem
This is Sales 101. People don’t like to be sold to, but they love to find out how they can work with people like you to solve a problem. Again, starting a conversation will show how you can be helpful, and why you should be in their life. They’ll be more likely to buy from you when they can visualize how you’ll make their life better. Offer solutions by giving examples they can relate to, and by connecting with your customers.
4. Answer questions
As any skilled salesperson will tell you, questions are just objections to buying. On your website, you can’t be there to answer their objections in the same way you can be in person. In addition to an FAQ, you can use your content to answer questions you may anticipate your audience asking. Should industry changes arise, or important news occur, this is something you’ll want to address. An example might be if you were an internet security company, you would address the recent Heartbleed bug with a post that gives your users answers regarding what Heartbleed is, what they should do to protect their information, and how you can help them.
5. Show a little personality
When writing, let your personality shine through in your first draft, and then go back through and edit out any fluff. Stop worrying about whether that unnatural keyword is incorporated into your heading, sub-heading, and copy. Instead, write with spunk and give your audience something enjoyable to read. Think about what you would want to read if you were searching for information on the subject, and have someone else look at it to make sure that there aren’t any gaps in your information. Speak freely and naturally, and your readers will connect with you on a personal level.
The best way to write for both your audience and search engines is to ignore that algorithms and machines exist. Keep your content on point with a message your audience wants to hear, and search traffic will naturally follow.