Whether it’s writing to promote a business, establish impressive expertise, or build up an audience that can be monetized somehow, producing website content for the online environment is a key tool in the modern entrepreneur’s toolkit. Unfortunately, this popularity means that there’s a lot of content out there — and though much of it is mediocre, the sheer volume makes it hard to get seen.
Your goal, then, must be to stand out. To make content that gets noticed through the noise inherent to rapid-fire scrolling. And while the initial keys to this involve eye-catching imagery, clickbait headlines, and careful post timing, those things won’t keep people coming back for your content specifically. So what will?
Quality, of course — insight and authoritative clarity. Entertainment, certainly. Keep people laughing and they’ll want more of the same. But something you might not have considered is how endearing your content is. Does it inspire the reader to care about your brand? Is it going to drive people to recommend you? If you’ve overlooked this matter, then it’s about time you took action to rectify that. Here are 5 ways to make your content more endearing:
Maintain a natural tone
No one (perhaps with the exception of shareholders) responds positively to dry corporate talk. If your content reads somewhat like a generic legal statement, then it’s a total waste of time: no one will want to read it, and anyone who does will only come to resent you for it. The best way to get people to like your brand is to take your website content more lightly from a tonal standpoint — relax and communicate in a natural way, and throw in some emojis where appropriate.
Bear in mind that this is about authenticity, not ticking some set informality boxes. It’s possible to make awkward use of emojis and slang terms and end up with content that’s less endearing because it’s clearly not a reflection of real personality or sentiment. It’s actually a common mistake — partially due to the thin line between sounding playful and sounding patronizing. Write in the style that fits you, regardless of expectation. It’s the best approach.
Try different things
There are plenty of expectations in the content marketing world: pieces can be expected to hit certain word counts, include certain media types, and suit certain formats. And when you go along with what everyone else is doing, it makes you seem less proactive and daring. You come across as just another cog in the wheel. Who wants to root for that type of company?
What you need to do is try new things — variety is the spice of life, as they say. Experiment with types of content and approaches to copy. People will appreciate that you’re trying to deliver content that’s original in some sense. Notice how this influences content around events that drive a lot of traffic, such as public holidays — when the pressure’s on, brands try harder. Consider a hyper-lucrative period like Black Friday through Cyber Monday: it’s the brands getting creative that profit, far more than their competitors who stick with regular sales and fail to succeed to comparable degrees.
Talk about your emotions
For the most part (outside of cutesy animations), people don’t find robots endearing — and it’s notably only when they’re anthropomorphized with emotional gestures that they start to pick up some sympathy. We’re drawn to displays emotion in a powerful way. They help us process our own emotions and see the humanity in others, making it easier to identify with them.
Additionally, when you talk about your own emotions in your website content, you show endearing vulnerability. It takes courage to admit your innermost feelings, particularly when they’re not entirely positive, and people respect that. Am I saying you should share the specifics of your last therapy session? No, certainly not — but you should let your guard down and let the reader in.
Poke fun at yourself
Plenty of companies (and individuals) take themselves far too seriously, and develop ludicrous self-images that are more likely to make people laugh than anything else. You definitely don’t want to present that kind of image: stuffy, inflexible, and self-important. That’s why it’s almost always a good idea to throw small pieces of self-deprecation into your content.
For a start, you should admit — and even call attention to — your most egregious mistakes. Businesses tend to shy away from their failures, but it just makes people think they’re trying to hide some terrible things. It takes real confidence to openly admit to mistakes, and even laugh about them: it shows that you know you’re not perfect but you’re working to get better. So whenever you make a minor mistake, don’t try to cover it up. Tell people about it!
Ask for comments
When you write content for the web, it may feel abstract, but you’re not casting it into a void. That content is going to real readers with interesting opinions about everything from the fundamentals of your business to the quality of your website content. That’s why it’s a huge missed opportunity whenever someone writes a piece that barely acknowledges the reader — avoiding second-person references and staying detached.
Throughout your content, why not pose questions? Not just to function as rhetorical devices, I mean, but also to serve as a genuine question where appropriate. For instance, suppose you were writing a piece about marketing tactics, and you touched upon budgeting. You could say “This depends on your budget, of course. What kind of budget do you have? (Seriously, leave a comment to give me some idea so I can make this piece better!).”
By inviting the reader to comment, you get them feeling involved in the general activity of your brand — then when you take their feedback to heart and take suitable action, they’ll feel enormously valued. And because we all tend to value the people who value us, you ultimately benefit from that feeling of significance. It’s a powerful tactic.
Using these five methods, you can make your content vastly more endearing, leading to people regularly returning to your articles and feeling very supportive of your operation. That ultimately leads to lucrative brand advocacy — so what are you waiting for?