It can never hurt, but with some texts, it is vital to be able to get to the point. If you lose yourself on the side with ads, product descriptions, etc., you have often actually lost – namely your potential customer. The following four steps should prevent you from doing so.
Objective: What do we want to achieve with content marketing?
In most cases, the goals are probably to win new customers or to strengthen customer loyalty, i.e. to increase follow-up purchases. At least one of the purposes of content marketing for webshops can also be to gain newsletter subscribers or raise awareness, for example, among shop founders. The objectives should contain two aspects in particular: the target groups and the content to be worked out to achieve the core objective.
Target groups: Who do we want to reach and address?
This is about deciding which target group a shop wants to reach with its content marketing. In most cases, these will be the core target groups of the shop. Here, subdivisions into different segments are possible, for example, professional or private users, buyer groups according to sales volume or other target groups such as experts or opinion leaders.
In the case of a shop with fitness articles and equipment, a target group definition could be: “Our core target groups for our content marketing are health-conscious and fitness-active women and men with above-average purchasing power”.
Proven means in storytelling on fitness topics: Pants that are too big suggest a small waist circumference.
Content needs: what’s most impressive?
If you now know the target group, the next important step is to determine or define their information needs, which does not necessarily have to be related to the products and the shop. In practice, however, it is often the most sensible, especially when it comes to acquiring new customers, to find out the key benefits or problem pressure of its main target groups, which is directly related to the shop and its products.
Information needs can be determined, for example, through surveys, comments from followers on Twitter or analysis of blog and forum posts. The study of keywords, via which web visitors access or search your shop, the topics of the leading products and the Google trend search at www.google.com/trends can provide interesting information. It can be helpful to consider different needs, such as security, success, comfort, reputation, career, entertainment and more.
Which contents are of most significant benefit?
In this way, our fitness shop learns that the optimal use of fitness equipment, the scheduling of fitness activities, nutrition, fitness-appropriate behaviour in everyday life and weight control for women are the most significant information needs. This can cover simple additional pages in the shop, e-booklets for downloading, video information on a current topic, a blog with expert tips or a forum for the exchange of experiences by customers. Depending on the storytelling with emotional content is a promising way. To reduce the effort and at the same time, increase the competence and quality of the content, experts can also be consulted and, for example, won over for interviews.
The critical question is: Which topics do we convey, how in which media and in which locations? Cooperations with content providers, industry-related service providers and experts are recommended.
Content production: How do we develop the content?
This is primarily about the writing of the content and its production or transmission in the most suitable data formats. The essential questions are brought down to a simple denominator, what (usage tips) how (instructions, solution tips, checklists) and what (videos, e-booklets, blog ) are worked out ( where and how often ). For the search engine ranking, keywords and keyword density must always be taken into account for finding and visibility of valuable content.
Publication and distribution: Where do we distribute the content?
This is where the target group comes into play again, i.e. the choice of locations and media forms, where the core target groups are and which media forms they prefer. Then it is essential to distribute the content in such a way that you can reach as many of them as possible at the best frequency – and get excited about the content. This can now take place in the shop itself, be contained in a newsletter or take place in areas where the shop products are deliberately not found or available.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, forums, blogs or Youtube should also be included here in order to increase awareness and reach. Likes and dialogues also give you the chance to share, discuss and recommend content. In addition, it seems rational to use modified content in various forms or shorten it several times and to align it with the respective media forms and use it appropriately.
Success monitoring should ensure which content is given the most excellent attention by which target groups and where. This forms the basis for content or editorial plans and a targeted approach in order not to lose sight of the information needs of the target groups. Google Analytics, monitoring tools, participation in social media dialogues and customer feedback are possible tools for this.
Get texts to the point
With online books, blogs and Co., you shouldn’t. With product descriptions, advertisements and other books with which you want to “sell” something, you must not: Talk about the matter at length.
On the contrary, you have to tell your reader as clearly and precisely as possible the benefit of reading your text, reacting to your ad or buying your product. You just have to get to the point.
Because only with a bright, goal-oriented and straightforward structure will your reader follow you at all – and give you the chance to draw him into your texts or to interest you in your ads. Everything else makes him flee beforehand.
Step 1: think about what it is supposed to be about
Logically, if you want, say, to write a text for your online fishing shop, you won’t be coming to the desert on your last camel trip.
But far too rarely do authors make clear what they want to say with their text and what it is actually about. Don’t make the same mistake. Sit down and collect:
- Who am I writing for? (For example hobby angler.)
- What am I writing about? (For example new bait models in the shop.)
- What do I want to achieve with it? (For example: animate the reader to buy.)
- What do I have to write about this? (For example: introduce products, name benefits.)
- And more like that.
Step 2: try to recognize the essentials
Go through your notes – or, if necessary, an already finished text. Can you see what’s essential for the book? What must be in your ad, or what should not be missing in your writing?
For example, My product is super affordable. This could arouse interest and has to go in. Or: The new bait has already proven itself successfully x times in tests. That has to go in.
But also delete everything that could lead away from the actual statement or intention to write.
Example: The production of the bait in factory x. (If this is not a separate advertising argument.) Or: Different colour models of the bait. (If these are of little use.)
Step 3: put everything in a logical order
Well, you know what you want to write, and you have your essential content. But just because something is necessary, it is far from being in a nutshell. The order can be chaotic; the reasoning difficult, complex issues can confuse your readers or sentence monsters can overwhelm them.
The portioning technique helps here. This is as simple as it is useful. All you have to do is break up your collected content into individual thoughts. Express each idea in a short, simple sentence or half-sentence.
We offer fishing trips. We provide the equipment. We organize arrival and departure. We take care of the accommodation. We offer everything from one source. We work with service providers and companies for this. The customer has only us as a contact. The customer saves additional effort in the form of voting and running.
And so on.
Then arrange these thoughts logically and brace them to formulate a text. Inevitably in this context means: Depending on what you are saying and how you want to argue.
Example A) We offer fishing trips. “We take care of the whole process and organization.” You don’t have to worry about a thing. (The focus is on: We do, and our customers don’t have to worry about anything.)
Example B) We offer fishing trips. “With us, you get everything from a single source.” For this, we work with various service providers and companies. (Here the focus could be on: We know what we are doing. Our customers can rely on us.)
Or formulated into a paragraph that first serves statement B (customers can depend on us) and then statement A (customers do not have to worry about anything):
“We are a full-service provider of fishing solutions and work with well-known manufacturers, tour operators and bus companies. Therefore, you can leave the organization of your fishing trip to us without any worries. You don’t need to worry about anything from the equipment to the hotel accommodation. You give us the order, and we make your trip a success. ”
Step 4: shorten and file your text
Essential statements and a sensible sequence or bracketing – this is the framework to get to the point. But one thing is still missing: to cut everything else. Delete everything that is not part of the business and only distracts: ballast, phrases, redundant parts of sentences or information – everything has to get out.
This is especially true, of course, the shorter your texts – for example, in advertisements – are and the more critical it is to write as concisely and precisely as possible. Pay special attention to:
- Nesting sentences with (too) many subordinate clauses and subdivisions
- sprawling information (example: the twentieth customer feedback on a product, if it doesn’t say something new and vital)
- unnecessary repetitions (some repetitions make sense)
- useless, securing filler words (example: at all, in general, in general)
- superfluous, exaggerating, clichéd or descriptive adjectives (case: indestructible bait, unforgettable adventure, etc.)
Tip: show, don’t describe
Heed the old writer’s rule: show, not describe. Don’t tell the reader that something is permanent. Show it, for example, through appropriate content. (For example, bait made of double-hardened plastic. This also contains information as added value.)
Extra tip: put pressure on to get to the point
Sometimes we only make endless, long-winded rounds because nothing and nobody is stopping us. We are in love with the game of language and write and write. Put a stop to that.
Put yourself under pressure, for example, due to time constraints or available space. Force yourself to get to the point. While this is not always useful, it can help.
And before you get a fright: No, you don’t always have to be so small. This is usually only necessary at the beginning to get used to the process. Or also for difficult passages or essential texts, such as tightly written advertisements, which have to get to the point in the tightest of spaces.
But no matter what you want to write, the procedure is always the same: think about what you want to say. Pick out the essential thoughts. Put them in a logical order. Shorten and file the text.
Easy, isn’t it?