The three keys to high-performance online content: accuracy, focus, and discipline
Writing for a website is not easy. How do I come up with strong content? How do I make my website relevant to Google? How do I get good leads?
There are three key ingredients to creating great messages and high-performance content: accuracy, focus, and discipline.
People tend to think that marketing messages should be “aspirational” — i.e., if we say we are the world’s greatest widget makers, it might be true one day and it could very well be true in our own minds, so what’s the harm? But let’s be honest, the Internet age has fine-tuned our skepticism and honed our B.S. detectors.
Be honest about who you are in the marketplace in all of your writing and messages: potential clients are hiring the firm you are today, not the firm you might be in five years, so accuracy in our statements and claims is critical to winning people over and generating leads.
Accuracy also means accepting truths about your business that you may have been trying to avoid. If I sell services W,X,Y, and Z, I might LOVE Service Z because it’s sexy and high-end… But if nine out of every ten sales I make are Service X, I may have to embrace the reality that — no matter what I might want to think — I am in fact a Service X company and I might be holding myself back in the marketplace by failing to embrace that.
Even small businesses find that they have a lot of things they can talk about. But take a lesson from James Caravelle who, in 1992, successfully piloted a Presidential campaign to the finish line by constantly reminding staffers that the most important thing was “the economy, stupid.”
When you find something in your business to focus on, everything ultimately becomes easier. So what might your focus be? Take a minute and think about your business.
- Where does a majority of your business come from?
- What is your most valuable (or perhaps, most difficult to replicate) skill set?
- What is your primary revenue stream?
Don’t think in broad terms, but think specifics. Here are some examples:
- If you are an injury lawyer, your focus might be medical negligence, work injuries, or uninsured motorists.
- If you run an IT company, your focus may be security, cloud, or mobile device management.
- If you are a realtor, your focus might be first time home buyers, luxury homes, or fix n’ flips.
- If you sell a variety of product lines, there might be one that you are an expert in or one that you sell much more than anything else.
A specialist is better than a generalist. It is better to be known as the ultimate expert in one specific field than just average in everything, right? You’ve probably heard the term, “finding your niche” and that’s exactly what we want to do here: we want you to find the one thing that you are best at, capitalize on it, and expand upon it. Once you have done that, everything becomes easier, from creating high-value marketing messages to building online traffic, to developing offline sales strategies.
It’s not enough to do something good in your business but to only do it once. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.“
If you’re committed to speaking accurately about your business and you have found your focus, that’s terrific. But those messages need to be reinforced over time if they are going to be effective. Excellence is, indeed, a habit and not something to do once before moving on.