Web Content – It’s Emotional Man
The title sounds like a joke but actually its not. I could have called it Boringville vs Stickytown or The Cure for Insomnia via Terrible Web Content….either way, this is a trade-off point where lots of digital marketing disciplines begin to merge and mix. Is there really anything worse than reading content on a website that is there for the sake of it? Compare that to reading a page on a website that not only meets your expectations and answers your ‘search intent’ but actually touches on an emotion in such a way that makes you want to share the content with your professional peers or friends and family.
Getting something to go viral is the digital marketing man’s holy grail. Done well, on top of ‘free’ traffic, you’re gaining natural backlinks, attracting social media shares, creating digital citations, allowing people to warm and interact with your brand, reducing bounce and exit rates and having fun doing it. Hang on a cotton-picking minute? Aren’t these some of the main SEO ranking factors in autumn 2014?
Working in the digital marketing sector, I spend an unhealthy amount of time online and often encounter functional, drab websites and try to ascertain the answer to one question….a question that is solely user focused, a question I try to answer without any digital marketing bias and a question that always helps map out a website’s customer journey: what is this page trying to do?
The answers can vary but EVERY page needs a purpose and the site owners need to know it. Otherwise, its a case of publishing content for the sake of it, which often leads to boiler plate style copy with hardly any semantic or factual essence and its so, so, so incredibly difficult to read. If a user hits the site through ‘asking Uncle Google a question’ (this is one of my favourite phrases) and they’re not in ‘buying mode’ then you have a short window of time (2.6 seconds to be precise) to make an impression on those new eyeballs scanning your site. Will they read the content and leave? Will you serve a ‘Join our Newsletter’ pop up? Will you ask them to join your Facebook page? Will you ensure that they see your enticing Call to Action button with excellent reasons to convert?
Brainstorming and creating genuinely excellent digital content for your website and social media channels must tap into the best practices of SEO, user experience and conversion rate optimisation. The old school SEO manipulation techniques have long gone, in fact they’ve been eaten by a hungry Penguin. Nowadays, any business person who is serious about driving relevant, engaged and converting traffic to their site must try to cater to human emotion.
This is why I’m recommending the research backed work carried out by Jonah Berger in his book Contagious. He analyses lots of case studies around the real reasons marketing campaigns ‘go viral’ and it’s a cracking read. However, as we’re all about about varied content types at Wagtail Digital, here’s a video of Jonah giving a speech at a Google Talk conference. So, I guess in answer to the question: “What’s the difference between boring web content and digital sticky linkbaity loveliness?” I would have to say “emotion and clear intent”.
Decide what the page is trying to do and create purposeful, enticing content that you’d be happy to share yourself.
The purpose of this page is to educate readers on the best practices of creating and publishing brilliant web content for their sites. Through a bit of creative ‘je ne sais quoi’ and ensuring we’re producing Google friendly content that exists for a particular purpose, we can probably help, regardless of whether you sell safety goggles, legal services or luxury cruises.