The Marketing Sudoku – Whom do you Write For?

Until just a few decades ago, marketing was very personal. You distributed well-written and beautifully designed product catalogs to anyone you met and hoped that someone would actually bother to go through them and give you a call. Sometimes, an intermediary or a common friend helped you connect with your prospective client.

Not anymore! Or at least the human connect happens a bit later, if not lesser, in the marketing lifecycle. Nowadays, most of your connections in the digital world are driven by virtual intermediaries – search engines… bots. So, even before your product catalog / website manages to pique the interest of the human customer, it needs to catch the attention of the bot that helps your customer discover relevant content.

Using keywords wisely is a good starting point – the title is the best place to make it relevant to search engines. The headers and meta-description must be apt and to the point. You can use alt text with images, and we’re just scratching the surface here… However, your work doesn’t end there! Once you have managed to successfully reach your human customer, your content has to be creative and captivating enough to engage.

Research says only about 16% of the total users who come to a website actually read every page they visit word-by-word. Most of them merely skim through and read the header, what’s bold, or is highlighted. Only if you’ve managed to get them interested, will they go on to read more. So, there is no denying the absolute necessity of well-researched, relevant, and useful content. 

And frankly, none of us buy something because the web page is replete with well-chosen keywords. Keywords are for the bots. Get the bots interested, let them know how and for whom your content is relevant, and the bot will do its job of serving up your content to the right people at the right time. Google too has moved beyond keywords to something more measurable and authoritative like ‘authorship,’ ‘average time on page,’ ‘social share’.

So, writing for the web is a complex function today. Your audience is almost always two-pronged – the human and the bot. And managing the “Hummingbird” is as tricky, if not more, as managing the human, what with algorithms constantly changing and newer ones coming up at regular intervals. Achieving this balance in your content creation is an art of its own.

What’s your take on this tricky issue? We would love to hear your ideas on solving this conundrum.

 

Category: Content Development, Content Marketing, Web, Writing

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