As a small business owner you constantly need to find new ways to stand out against your competitors, in a way that is both affordable and reliable. The answer? Content marketing, but more importantly, authentic content marketing. Why? Because consumers can sniff out shady marketing faster than dogs can sniff treats. Younger consumers, specifically millennials and Gen Z, care more about a company’s values, and brand than they do the actual product according to PR Daily. Keeping authentic content such as unique blog posts, and creative videos, and setting new trends will be an important step in your business’s journey.
But why is this the case and what can you do for your business to stand out? Keep reading!
The Problem: Lack of Originality
Let’s begin with the big problem… lack of originality. Too often online marketing firms will suggest and even deploy copied and pasted information from across the web with slight rewordings. Have you ever noticed this when you search for something specific? The blogs and articles that appear on the first page of Google all look the same, they sound the same, and they act the same. Why? Because they ARE the same. This is one of the biggest controversies in the SEO industry.
Why Content Can Often Be Inauthentic
Short and simple, it’s to please Google on a budget.
Making original content isn’t easy. It’s incredibly time-consuming and cognitively demanding. Time and cognition are not cheap these days, so companies often don’t allocate enough of their budget to hire quality marketing teams for their business.
And to be completely fair, there are many instances where a small business doesn’t need a professional team. For instance, a local pizza shop in a small city will not need a marketing firm with years of experience and high-end writers to help them rank on Google, get some foot traffic, and keep their business steady. But a law firm competing for personal injury cases in a highly populated town where reputation is everything might benefit significantly from hiring a well-rated marketing firm over a small freelancer.
This article isn’t to bash the SEO industry or content marketers, especially when you consider that this article is written by a marketing company (the irony). But this article serves to shed light on a growing problem that is infuriating customers, and internet users. A lack of original content is a great way for you to lose trust with your audience, and hurt your reputation.
Before you continue reading, just know that inauthentic marketing is just that, inauthentic. Your brand won’t stand out and is more likely to be lost on another customer’s “shopping list” and never their “checkout” list.
Why Cookie-Cutter Content Solutions Don’t Work
So why exactly do cookie-cutter content solutions hurt your business?
- It loses trust with your audience
- It screams desperation
- It doesn’t show effort
- It ruins conversions and increase bounce rates (SEO)
When you use cookie-cutter marketing solutions, your audience will soon catch on. Remember the last time you looked at a business’s “pricing” page and all it said was along the lines of, “Every project is unique and will be billed accordingly.” And you thought, “Well that wasn’t helpful.” That’s because it WASN’T helpful. The same scripted uninformative descriptions on a company’s website are a great way for them to lose trust.
Secondly, when you see multiple websites repeating and spamming the same keywords, “Best Website Designers in New York” or “Best Graphic Designer Boston” all over their online platforms, that screams desperation. Nobody wants to do business with a company desperate for customers. We’re mostly calling out lead generation sites here.
Third, cookie-cutter sites with the same content copied and pasted with a few different headings don’t show much effort. If you’re looking to expand your company’s online presence and reinvest in your marketing, you want it to scream “I put effort into my company!” Using the same stock photos, the same 500-word article, and the same color palettes as everyone else isn’t the way to do it.
The last reason why these solutions don’t work is that they tarnish conversion rates. The converse is true too; Cookie-cutter content tarnishes conversion rates because they don’t work. Customers will leave your website, choose your competitors and take their business elsewhere as soon as they see your website is inauthentic and the same as everyone else’s. This is known in the SEO industry as a “bounce.”
How to Develop Authentic Content for Your Business
So how do you develop authentic content for your business? How do you stand out and dominate your industry?
- Use statistics and studies
- Create videos & audio summaries
- Have downloadable PDFs
- Display prices
Start by using statistics, and research, and list your sources
The next time you Google a question and a blog post appears, ask yourself “where are they getting their information from?” Who is the person who is writing this article? Are they well-recognized experts in their field and listing other credible sources? Or is the article written by a ghostwriter with no name, publishing date, etc? The internet makes it so easy for us to make up and spread lies/misinformation. Start listing your sources, and using other credible websites in your articles and you’ll do a much better job at standing out.
P.S., Google really likes it when you list other sources too so you’ll get SEO points as well!
Create videos and or audio summaries
An article is one thing, but a video is another. It doesn’t have to be a top-notch video either. You can simply use your webcam, or your phone camera, or make an audio recording rereading your article. The reason this works well is that sometimes consumers don’t want to read long lines of text. Sometimes listening to an article while they walk is a perfect fit. It gives your audience more options and helps them digest your information more easily.
Have downloadable content
PDFs, eBooks, infographics, etc. are a perfect way to show your audience you put effort into your marketing and are determined to stand out. Making a downloadable guide, price calculator, or a few infographics that really highlight key points will make information stick better and brighten up your website. We do this for all our customers and highly recommend it to any B2B business looking to capture the attention of new prospects online.
Display your prices
This is one that most people push back on, but if you want to really beat your competitors you will want to list your prices. As we mentioned before, it’s very common to see companies talk about prices, but very rare for them to actually list their prices.
Don’t have set prices? What about a price range? What about a starting fee? Do you have a company hourly rate? Be honest and transparent about it. If a customer only cares about pricing then, from our experience and what we’ve heard from our customers, they won’t be good customers anyway.
Sometimes your customer might need to consider your price into their budget before they speak to you. Consumers are becoming wearier of hopping on calls because of aggressive sales techniques. This means they want you to be transparent and upfront with them which in turn gives you a golden opportunity to stand out against your competition.
We’ve discussed a lot in this article and some of this might take time to digest. We don’t expect you to suddenly optimize your site with all the ideas we’ve given but we do hop you are more understanding of just how important it is for you to consider authenticity and originality in your online marketing campaign.
If you’d like to get expert advice from our consulting team, please call (917) 747-4234, or email email@example.com to speak to a professional TODAY.
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If you’re looking to hire a professional SEO agency, consider reaching out to our team at JCSURGE. We work with local and national business executives across the United States to increase their search visibility.
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