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5 Tips for Writing Web Content



by Jannice Almansur -

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I came across this article on one of my favorite blogs, and wanted to share it with my clients and readers. The post addresses a topic that is something that I have had countless conversations about with you all.

In fact it was the topic of a recent speech that I gave at my Toastmasters' club. The introduction went something like this..."I find myself in constant battle with my clients trying to get them to commit, execute and follow-through on writing blog content for their sites. Some of the most common oppositions are that they do not have time, they are not writers, they sell widgets and widgets are not sexy or interesting enough to write about....and so on and so on. Oh yea, and my all time favorite objection "silence"! The phone line goes quiet and I can only imagine their glazed over expressions or the “deer in the headlights” look of utter fear. Needless to say no matter how I try, they are just are not getting it." ; Good evening fellow Toastmasters, friends and guest...  

The speech was one of my typical attempts to provide valuable information, so I know that everyone gets my point or I at least hope that  you all get that having a content rich blog and articles hosted on your own website domain is one of the most superior search engine optimization (SEO), Website Copywriting, Keyword Rich website content development strategies for small business owners...yada, yada, yada, and so on and so on...ok so enough already...

 Here is an article that so eloquently addresses this issue  and specifically the issue of "sell widgets and widgets are not sexy or interesting enough to write about". I would love to hear your feedback... Enjoy!

5 Content Strategies for Boring Brands

“If people aren’t talking about you, they’re not talking about you for a reason. And the reason isn’t that they dislike you. They’re not talking about you because you’re boring.” ~ Seth Godin

The formidable challenge for marketers of boring brands is that you have to present content that is remarkable and interesting even when your product—on the face of it—is not.

So, how should you get people to take interest in a boring brand?

The key is in distinctive presentation. Every brand has a unique story about its origin, its people and its experience. The solution is to find an authentic theme, apply creative imagination and tell your story in a way that will attract and retain people’s attention. What was widely perceived to be boring could become inspiring or at least interesting to a group of people.

Let’s face it. Boring products solve legitimate problems. QuickBooks, toilet paper and dentures fulfill a need just as much as, if not more than, smart phones, cool music and fashionable clothes. If your brand is one that solves a problem but doesn’t easily spark the imagination, here are five strategies you can use to attract attention.

Come to the rescue

Just like good brands, good content solves problems. Boring brands have the same opportunity as everyone to share information that improves customers’ lives or helps them to do their jobs better.

Roberts and Durkee knows this. In 2008, this run-of-the-mill law firm used content marketing to become the de facto consumer advocate for victims of the Chinese drywall problem that hit the US market toward the middle of the decade.

They created a website/blog called chinesedrywallproblem.com to help thousands of Florida homeowners whose homes were built with toxic drywall. The website provided pertinent information such as how to identify contaminated drywall, the toxins’ health implications, and the victims’ legal rights. This content strategy established Roberts and Durkee as the expert in Chinese drywall problems and resulted in tremendous business opportunities for the firm.

To create content that solves problems, ask yourself:

  • What kinds of emergencies are happening in my community?
  • Are there particular groups in need of someone to speak up for them?
  • How can I create content that helps them resolve these problems?

Reach out to your community

Redberry Website Designs CommunityIf your product does not generate excitement, create content that showcases your readers’ lifestyles, interests and passions instead. Focus your content on the consumer rather than the product and encourage conversations that resonate with your community.

Procter & Gamble – the makers of Gillette razors, Head & Shoulders shampoo and other everyday brands – createdManOfTheHouse.com as “the real man’s magazine,” packed with compelling advice on guy-to-guy topics such as money, careers, gadgets, parenting and, of course, sex.

The site specifically targets young dads and connects with them via Facebook and Twitter as well. By December 2010, manofthehouse.com attracted over half a million unique visitors per month.

To reach your community with your content, ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to attract?
  • What is their lifestyle?
  • What are their interests and preferences?
  • How can I provide a forum for them to discuss these issues in a conversational, entertaining fashion?

Do something completely unexpected

No matter what kind of product or service you offer, there’s no reason for a boring presentation. Any product can be showcased in a way that is interesting, appealing, even surprising!

Agilent Technologies produces measurement instruments that help scientists, researchers and engineers measure variables in chemical analysis, life sciences and electronics. Ho hum, right? On the contrary.

Going completely against type, Agilent resisted the typical dry technicalities in favor of the truly unexpected: a puppet show. The highly engaging Agilent Puppet Chemistry is so far removed from the company’s brand image, it immediately captures interest.

Want to go against the grain?

Brainstorm a list of adjectives that describe your company and then research their opposites. For example if your organization has a serious, demanding and dull environment, you could research ideas that are entertaining, relaxing and fresh. Then create a mix of content that matches those ideas and presents your company in a totally unexpected way.

Play to your strengths

A lot of people equate content with writing. But writing (blogs, e-books, white papers, books, etc.) is just one way to create content – and it’s not for everyone.

No one knows this better than Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of Wine Library TV. Gary, by his own admission, couldn’t write to save his life. So he doesn’t. He video blogs…and he does it extremely well.

His very informal yet highly energetic style, frequently described as an unpretentious, gonzo approach to wine appreciation, offers a stark contrast to everyone else’s dry, conservative approach to wine culture. Most wine bloggers simply publish a written article and then wait for visitors to subscribe. Gary, on the other hand, loves the camera, is passionate about wine and comes across like a familiar dinner guest, relaxing in your living room.


To play to your own strengths, ask yourself:

  • How do you prefer to express yourself? If you enjoy being in front of the camera, try video blogging and inject your own personality into the content.  If you prefer to look people in the eye and feed off of their energy, speaking engagements or training opportunities might be your vehicle.
  • Do people easily recognize your gifts or talents? Perhaps you’ve been told that you have a ‘golden voice’ or a ‘way with words.’  Maybe they’re onto something. Explore your talents and find a complementary outlet to express them.

Encourage people to talk…about anything

Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research Analyst and co-author of Groundswell, recommends that boring brands encourage people to talk–even if it isn’t about the brand itself. By borrowing a relevant topic and encouraging conversations about it, boring brands become part of the conversation.

Social media presents the perfect opportunity to apply this “borrowed relevance,” as Bernoff calls it, because conversations are already taking place there that are not product-centric, pushy or self-promotional.

A good example is Liberty Tax, a tax service franchise (yawn)…with a Facebook audience of over 6,000 people!  A quick look at their Wall reveals how they use a variety of tactics to engage their customers and create a lively atmosphere. They discuss Groupon deals, hold photo contests, show appreciation to different members of the community (teachers, policemen and firefighters, etc.), and so on. They also make taxes fun (no, really!) by giving away free tax apps, and offering advice and tips on little-known tax credits, refunds, etc.

Without a doubt, distinctive presentation is the key to a boring brand’s problems. But it is not without its stresses. Breaking away from the comfort zone is risky and may open you up to criticism.  I think Barry Gibbons, former CEO of Burger King, hit the nail on the head when he said: “Ho-hum. We swim in an ocean of ho-hum, and I’m going to fight it. I’m going to die fighting it.” If Burger King recognizes the importance of distinction, I think lesser-known brands ought to be taking notes.

Over to you: Are you fighting against being boring? What strategies have you employed?




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About the Author: Jannice Boyd Almansur (http://www.jannice.info/) is Managing Director of  Redberry Atlanta Website Designs. Redberry is an Agency that offers Branding, Website Development and Hosting Solutions and a full portfolio of business content marketing and brand identity solutions for small businesses. To learn more and to download FREE business tools and articles, as well as join their mailing list, visit the our BerryPatch Blog at http://www.redberrydesigns.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=419 and Redberry Atlanta Website Design website at http://www.redberryatlantawebsitedesign.com. You may print this article for personal use or republish it online only if it is left unaltered and in its entirety, including bylines, links and author information. Contact the author for all other permissions.





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