Fewer things in life stress me out more than a prospective client obsessed with SEO. You might think that sounds strange since The Write Reflection specializes in SEO content. Let me explain why.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to include SEO in your content marketing strategy. Unfortunately, some folks are stuck in the past. They cling to SEO tactics that were designed to game the system, not create high-quality content.
Staying updated on SEO best practices is the only way to perform better in search results and drive organic traffic.
With that in mind, I’ve created a list of the 7 most outdated SEO strategies that can hurt your brand marketing efforts. If you’re still doing any of these things, step away from your electronic device and reach out to me ASAP. I’ll get your SEO strategy in tip-top condition in no time without any underhanded tricks.
1 – Writing for Search Engines, Not People
In case you missed it, The Write Reflection is not a fan of writing for search engines. I’ve made it my mission to write for people, not Google (or Bing, or Yahoo, or any other search engine). Heck, I so firmly believe in it that I’ve made it my business motto: People First. SEO Second. All other SEO strategies take a back seat.
Back in the day, when the locals still sported mullets and checked out their pagers for new messages every 3 minutes, some SEO practitioners were busy writing content that appeased the search engine gods.
As you can imagine, the content was hardly user-friendly or informative. Readers weren’t impressed. Google may have found your content, but it was doing nothing to build a loyal brand following.
Today, most SEO professionals worth their salt know how to create content that ranks well but also engages your target audience.
I rely on my journalism skills to craft stories that resonate with your ideal customer and focus on the user experience. Yes, I still use SEO keywords. However, they’re an afterthought, not a priority.
2 – Keyword Stuffing
When I first started providing SEO content for clients, I found myself stuck with a lot of people who subscribed to the theory that the more keywords you used in an article, the better. They bought into the recommendations of SEO plugins like Yoast and Frase that dictated how many keywords you had to use and the exact number of times you must use them to rank well.
If you followed that guidance, what you ended up with was unnatural-sounding text that quickly turned people off.
In their defense, some SEO providers followed these insane rules because they seemed to work with Google. They gamed the system because the search engine giant encouraged it.
Thankfully, Google has seen the error of its ways and no longer prioritizes content stuffed with keywords. With its Helpful Content Update, Google claims it now rewards relevant content focused on providing value to readers. Some days I have my doubts the search giant is following its new rules, as I occasionally see other SEO strategies – some of which are mentioned in this blog post – still performing well in search results on Google.
3 – Spinning Content
Have you ever plugged in a keyword and checked out the 5 top-ranked results? Chances are, you’ll feel like you’re reading the exact same article from 5 different organizations. That’s because back in the day, some SEO professionals (and I use that term loosely) took the best-performing content for a target keyword and basically rewrote it with their client’s name on it.
Called article spinning, the practice does very little to create content that adds value to your readers. Sure, it may get the attention of search engines. But it’s not going to engage your target audience or encourage them to become brand devotees.
Instead of falling for this cheap SEO trick, examine whatever piece of content Google or Bing currently favors. Find holes you can fill to breathe new life into the topic, then create a better version of it for your website.
4 – Over-Optimizing Anchor Text
Anchor text is important to SEO. It serves as a signal for search engines to understand the context and relevance of the linked content. Users who click on anchor text (ideally) are taken to another web page or piece of content associated with the text.
Here’s the problem: some SEO pros started over-optimizing anchor text, using the same keyword or keyword phrase repeatedly in anchor text.
Falling into this trap of manipulating search engines is detrimental to your SEO efforts. Do it often enough, and Google and Bing may penalize your web pages for keyword stuffing, loss of relevance, and negative user experience.
Instead, link an SEO keyword to a relevant internal document or page that adds value or offers further explanation of a topic. Never do it more than twice in the same piece of content for the best results.
5 – Focusing Only on Google
I realize this may come as a shock to some of you, but there are other search engines out there besides Google. Yes, Google gets roughly 90% of all web traffic each day. No one is arguing it’s not the dominant search engine.
However, focusing only on Google could leave you missing out on potential traffic from other search engines.
One of Google’s competitors – Bing – is ripe for the picking right now if you know how to create SEO content that it favors. Long before Google promised to reward helpful content, Bing was following that best practice. You rarely found keyword-stuffed drivel in the top search results generated by the search engine.
Bing even has a competitor to Google My Business called Bing Places for Business. I recommend to all my clients to create a Bing Places account. If you don’t want to maintain both GMB and Bing Places, Bing has made it easy for you with a feature that automatically imports anything you post to GMB to its platform.
You can use other SEO strategies with Bing to get your content noticed as well. Reach out to me today to learn how.
6 – Ignoring Mobile SEO
Nearly 93% of people access the internet from a mobile device. Failing to optimize your digital assets for mobile is a huge mistake. Gone are the days when you could assume everyone was sitting at a desktop or laptop using the internet.
Most web designers understand how to optimize for mobile. It’s crucial you work with a website pro who implements the key steps for mobile friendliness:
7 – Targeting Multiple Keywords and Their Variations
The only thing worse than stuffing the same keyword into a 500-word blog post is seeing 25 variations of the same keyword used repeatedly. Back in the day, some search engines (cough, cough, Google) rewarded content that used as many versions of the same keyword or keyword phrase as possible.
As with keyword stuffing, this practice made content unreadable for most humans. You’re better off choosing a high-value keyword and focusing on it throughout your content in a natural way. Mentioning your target keyword 3 to 4 times is sufficient.
SEO strategies that boost website performance
Relying on some of these outdated SEO strategies can spell disaster for your brand. Commit to abandoning these 7 tactics and embracing modern SEO best practices that focus on putting people first, not search engines.
Stop watching other websites outperform yours by following bad SEO advice. Give me a call today to schedule your hassle-free consultation to whip your SEO strategy into shape.
ARE THE LIFE INSURANCE PAMPHLETS IN the UPSTAIRS DRAWER
If you’re wondering what the heck you just read, you’re not alone. Posts like this litter the social media accounts of the fast-food chain Wendy’s.
The style of posting is eerily reminiscent of a 5-year-old who got hold of their mom’s iPhone and started posting random nonsense to her social accounts. It ranges between utter gibberish and juvenile jib-jabbing with other brands and customers.
Wendy’s isn’t the only brand embracing this style of engagement. Ryan Air, Duo Lingo, and Innocent Drinks have gotten in on the game as well.
Some organizations have gone all in on this unhinged trend of posting to their socials in their quest to become more relatable to their target audiences. At least that’s the theory behind this latest social media craze.
Social media managers have mixed feelings about the risky marketing strategy. Some embrace it while others caution their clients to think twice before going all-in.
Making the (social media) connection
Brands taking on a human persona isn’t a novel concept. Social media managers for brands like Denny’s and Wendy’s hit the social media scene in the early 2000s with some quirky posting designed to ditch corporate speak in favor of a more down-to-earth persona.
However, those posts didn’t rise to the level of derangement seen on some of those same accounts today.
So, why the shift?
In one word: engagement.
The goal is to make themselves more relatable to their core audience. Making a connection to build a strong relationship is the driving force that leads brands to shout in all caps and insult those who dare interact with them on their social feeds.
Ivory Bandoh, a social media manager and image consultant for B2B and SaaS brands, said the trend started picking up in 2020. “The pandemic hit, and (social media) became like the Wild, Wild, West,” she said. “People weren’t going into stores or using products physically, so the main place to get interaction with brands was online.”
Differences in the market forced brands to find new and innovative ways to connect with – and entertain – their audiences. Unhinged posts were more about staying top of mind than converting traffic to sales. The wilder, the better.
“At that point, all bets were off,” said Bandoh.
Targeting the right market
Kristina Sanderson, founder and principal strategist at Clique Marketing, said the unhinged trend opened the door to natural conversation between brands and their followers on social media. “There was never that sort of two-way communication between brands and consumers before,” she said.
Younger generations, particularly Gen Z and Gen Alpha, become loyal to organizations that embrace this style. The more disturbed, the better. A quick stop by the comment sections of Wendy’s, Duo Lingo’s, and Ryan Air’s social media accounts confirm it.
“Younger generations want to feel that connection,” she said. “They don’t trust and follow brands just because they’re legacy brands. It’s a question of buy-in and how do you get that from a generation that isn’t going to inherently give you that same respect that an older generation might.”
Unfortunately, some organizations insist on this style of social media marketing, even when it doesn’t fit their target audience, said Bandoh.
“The main issue I’m starting to see is this isn’t a trend anymore,” she said. “It’s now a baseline or norm for social media marketing, and that’s where I kind of red flag it. One trend or type of social media strategy is not a blanket. It cannot work for every single type of industry or brand.”
Kaiya Williams, a gravitational brand strategist with KAW Management Group, said there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. She suggests companies feel it out a bit more to decide what it means to speak this language and how to get it to convert. They must ask themselves if they’re talking to the people who are buying their products. Most of all, they must make sure they’re staying true to their brand voice.
“Companies like Ryan Air have done a phenomenal job with their content,” she said. “The way they’ve connected and inserted themselves into relevant cultural happenings is a great integration and all very much in line with their brand messaging and tone of voice.”
The rules of unhinged club
What happens in unhinged club doesn’t stay in unhinged club. It’s broadcast to the far reaches of the internet, where it lives on forever.
As anyone who has ever posted something they later regretted can attest, there’s no such thing as deleting content from the internet. Search engines index it. People take screenshots of it. Any blunder you make with your brand’s social media accounts lives in infamy.
That’s part of what makes this method of posting such a risk. The other issue is there’s not much agreement on how far is too far.
There’s little rhyme or reason to how social media managers exploit the unhinged social media method. Someone is always pushing the envelope. In the fall of 2022, Tampax’s official Twitter account went viral for an unhinged tweet that used a play on words about slipping into a woman’s DMs. The cheeky tweet resonated with some consumers while offending others.
Tampax doubled down on their right to post the tweet before finally deleting it after a barrage of unfavorable comments from consumers. However, the post in question was screen-grabbed by more than a few people who have reposted it relentlessly.
“I don’t know that the execution of this unhinged approach is solid across the board,” said Williams. “The approach of making your brand – especially multi-million-dollar organizations – more approachable and truly connecting with the target market is extremely valuable. As it evolves, they need to work out a few of the kinks.”
Crossing the line
There’s a fine line between relatable and offensive. It’s a distinction that’s becoming murkier the longer the unhinged trend continues.
Tampax learned that lesson the hard way. The brand hasn’t posted to its Facebook or Twitter accounts since the DMs debacle. Instead, their social team focuses on making content for Instagram and TikTok, which doesn’t embrace the unhinged style. Posts there are fun yet informative.
Does that mean Tampax learned its lesson? We’ll never know. They didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Brands that take the leap and cross a line must accept responsibility for their actions, said Williams. “It can be as simple as saying you missed the mark, and it wasn’t meant to be offensive. Then, move from there into solutions on how you’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Bandoh agreed, noting that brands make mistakes and deserve to be forgiven. “They deserve an opportunity to learn and grow from the mistake,” she said. “But let’s be real. The likelihood of them being able to do it depends on the nature of the offense. It depends on what you did, how long you let it go before you realized it was a bad move, and how long it takes people to overlook it and give you another chance.”
The internet has selective outrage when it comes to these kinds of missteps, Bandoh said. She recounted an instance with a well-known social media manager who used a brand’s account to jump into conversations on other social accounts using an unhinged style of posting. It wasn’t received well by others. The person apologized for their actions and seemed to recover quickly from the debacle.
Brands that find themselves the victims of unhinged posts from other brands have options for handling it. Bandoh said the best approach is to ignore it. “If it’s so unhinged it needs to be hidden or removed, then do it.”
Sanderson warned brands that go down the rabbit hole of unhinged posting and have it go badly can end up with a PR nightmare on their hands. “At that point, you’ll need someone to help with crisis management and rebuild what you’ve broken,” she said. “There’s no cheap way to do that.”
As a rule, Sanderson tells her clients if they’re not willing to 1000% stand behind the things they’re saying in social media spaces, then they should avoid doing it at all. “Run away, and run away fast,” she warned. “Find another way to communicate your vision to your community.”
Building a box and staying in it
Bandoh said she’s not afraid to speak up when clients want to try this trend and she knows it’s not a good fit for them. “I’m cool if those brands do it because it works for them or their audience,” she said. “But when it starts to become the blanket approach to doing social media marketing, that’s where I draw the line.”
Sanderson said she has similar conversations with her clients. She has represented brands that thought they were ready for the unhinged style, only to discover they weren’t ready when it got down to the brass tax. “In those cases, I tell clients that we’re going to build a box and then stay in it.”
An unhinged voice isn’t the only way to connect with your audience, said Williams. “Authenticity is the key to connecting with your target audience,” she said. “The cold, corporate approach doesn’t translate with most audiences today. Sometimes, brands just need to be a little less polished so they can resonate with people.”
Entertaining, connecting, and informing can be fun without going over the edge. Working with a social media strategist can help brands find the right tone of voice to resonate with their customers, said Williams.
When it comes right down to it, brands must decide if they want to use this tone of voice because it’s trendy, or because it has the potential of boosting engagement with their target audience.
“Don’t do it because it’s trendy,” said Sanderson. “Do it because it’s something that will resonate with your target customer base.”
Accessible content shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Yet, 90% of all websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on assistive technology to navigate the internet. Worse yet, 94% of the 33 top-grossing e-commerce sites fail to follow accessibility guidelines.
That’s a whole lot of websites excluding a whole lot of potential customers.
Forget the fact that businesses that don’t take accessibility more seriously lose sales (although that’s a valid concern). Failing to make your digital content more inclusive can unintentionally give the impression that you don’t care about a large segment of the community.
That’s never a good look for a brand.
If you want to do better, you’ve come to the right place.
Lia Stoll, the creative genius behind Disability Writer, provides some tips and tools that anyone can follow to make their content more inclusive.
With her guidance, this blog tackles the tough questions your brand has about accessibility, including:
What is digital content accessibility?
Digital content accessibility refers to the practice of designing and developing your digital assets using techniques that allow those with disabilities to navigate, interact with, and understand your content more effectively.
All users – regardless of their abilities or impairments – should get the same user experience when visiting your website or social media platforms.
Accessibility is crucial because it promotes inclusion and equal access to information. Some disabilities affect how people interact with your digital content, including:
By following digital content accessibility best practices, you make your websites, applications, and other digital resources usable for a broader audience.
Types of digital content
Digital content refers to any creative material, information, or media that exists in a digital or electronic format that’s accessed, distributed, or shared through digital platforms and devices.
Unlike analog content that’s physical and tangible, digital content is stored in binary code, allowing for easier transmission.
Some popular formats for digital content include:
Why does accessibility matter?
One in every six people in the world lives with a disability. Digital accessibility matters if you want to ensure they can interact with your digital content and services.
Promoting inclusivity breaks down barriers that might overwise prevent people with disabilities from fully engaging with your brand.
Another pressing reason to prioritize accessibility is you may be required by law. Legal requirements in some regions mandate digital accessibility for public and private organizations. Failure to comply with these laws can result in financial penalties and other legal consequences.
From the standpoint of SEO, search engines penalize inaccessible websites. So, if ranking well in search is important for your content marketing strategy, it’s one more reason to create inclusive content and designs.
Lia suggests organizations spend some time thinking about their “why” for accessible content. “Once they find their why – instead of it just being something they have to do – they’ll be more open to it.”
What are some common barriers to accessibility?
One of the biggest barriers to accessibility is the simple lack that it exists, said Lia. It’s not that most organizations don’t want to be inclusive. They simply don’t know how, she said. “It’s a learning journey for everyone.”
She encountered this recently with a friend who was creating a website for her new business. She’d hired someone to help her with it. “I asked her about accessibility and making sure the person she hired was making the site accessible,” said Lia. “She asked me what it meant to be accessible.”
Some other barriers to inclusive digital content include:
These are just a few of the barriers some users encounter when trying to access a website or other digital content. Addressing these obstacles improves inclusivity and usability for everyone.
What are screen readers and how do they work?
A screen reader is an assistive technology that people with blindness or other visual impairments use to interact with digital media on electronic devices. These devices convert on-screen text and other visual elements into synthesized speech or braille output, allowing users to navigate and understand the information.
Here’s how they work:
The sole purpose of screen readers is to improve digital accessibility. However, they need your help to function as intended. Following some of the best practices for creating digital content that works well with screen readers ensures you’re doing your part to make your content more inclusive.
How do you make text content accessible?
One of the biggest issues with inaccessible text is failing to use proper layout formatting, said Lia. All websites provide tools for formatting titles, headers, and body text on websites. Simply bolding text or using a larger font doesn’t make it a header.
Make sure the text layout is in order. Screen readers follow the cues for headers and body text. If you mislabel text on the page, it can cause the screen reader to jump around from one section to another in the wrong order.
“If you don’t know about it, it’s easy to overlook it,” said Lia.
Other things you can do to make text more accessible:
Conduct testing with various assistive technologies such as screen readers, voice recognition software, and keyboard-only navigation tools to ensure compatibility and usability.
How do you ensure multimedia accessibility?
Most websites and social media platforms today include multimedia components. Graphics, images, and videos help content marketers explain complex topics and make content more interesting.
Making sure multimedia doesn’t confuse assistive devices is paramount to making your content more inclusive. Consider using these techniques to help improve multimedia accessibility.
When in doubt, follow web accessibility guidelines to ensure all your multimedia content meets recognized accessibility standards.
How do you improve navigational accessibility?
Clear and concise headings and text formatting are two ways to improve navigational accessibility. However, there are some other often overlooked strategies you can use to further improve inclusivity.
Proper placement of hashtags is one of the most important things you can do to make your content – especially on social media platforms – more accessible.
“If you must use hashtags, put them at the end of a sentence,” said Lia. “If you put them in the beginning or middle of a sentence it confuses screen readers. They’ll read it out, but it often breaks the flow, making it harder for the person using the screen reader to understand what they’re hearing.”
Another tip for hashtags is to use camel-casing, she said. Capitalize the first letter of each new word in a hashtag so screen readers can distinguish it. Otherwise, they’ll read it as one jumbled word, which may not make sense to the person using the assistive device.
The worst thing you can do is string a bunch of hashtags together in the same sentence. “Until screen readers get better, it prevents equal access,” said Lia.
Emojis are another source of frustration for visually impaired people. “They’re difficult for screen readers,” said Lia. “They don’t see a smiley face and say, ‘smiley face’ to the person using the device. A screen reader will read out the alt text assigned to the emoji instead. If you use a bunch of them together, a screen reader jumbles all the alt text together.”
Lia said she likes using emojis herself but sticks to placing only one of them at the end of a sentence to be mindful of accessibility.
How do you educate your content team on accessibility?
Educating your content team on the importance of accessibility is crucial for fostering a culture of inclusivity. Every person working on content – social media posts, website content – must understand how to integrate accessibility into the content creation process.
You can start the process by raising awareness about the significance of accessibility. Hold team meetings and workshops to explain its importance and who it benefits. Share real examples of how inclusion impacts the people your organization serves so your team can see the tangible results of their efforts.
Most importantly, provide accessibility training. Knowing the importance of inclusion isn’t enough. You must give your team the tools and knowledge needed to achieve the task.
Don’t be afraid to call on the experts to help, said Lia. She did that very thing when redesigning her Disability Writer website. Lia turned to the expertise of Clive Loseby at Access By Design. His company audits and creates accessible websites for organizations.
More than his expertise, Lia said she values the fact that Loseby walks the talk. “The cool thing about them is they have disabled people who audit the websites and help you fix them,” she said. “It’s a way for him to truly change the world, one website at a time.”
Partnering with accessibility experts
Strategies for embracing inclusivity at your organization extend beyond improving accessibility to your digital content. Consider creating content that demonstrates your brand’s commitment to equal access for all. That’s where someone like Lia comes in.
She creates articles, blogs, e-books, and other guides that empower and promote disability and inclusion. “There are many businesses that have a blog, but they never touch on disability and inclusion or their commitment to accessibility,” Lia said.
The Write Reflection is pleased to announce our partnership with Lia to foster and encourage more brands to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has agreed to lend her expertise to our clients who are interested in improving access to their digital assets. Lia also can craft inclusive-focused content for your website and other digital platforms.
Ready to commit to making your digital assets more inclusive? Reach out to us today to schedule your free consultation with Lia to get started.
Yomi Gerard knows what it means to struggle to build a successful business in Africa. A conversion copywriter for SaaS and Tech companies, he attributes his achievements to learning how to fend for himself from a very young age.
Scraping to get by while working in restaurants, water factories, and phone repair shops, he finally turned his aspirations toward copywriting as a sustainable career that could help him thrive.
“I didn’t start writing until my last job – a pure water factory – where I was paid N13,000 (15USD per month) for working 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the week,” said Yomi. “I knew I could not fulfill my dreams at that rate, so I went into copywriting.”
That was in 2018. He took a brief break from his new career in 2019 before diving back into it in 2020. He niched down to serve SaaS and Tech companies within the last year, which is a specialization he’s enjoying.
Today, he writes for some of the most successful businesses in Africa and beyond. “It was pretty amazing to me that I could make money from writing,” he said. “The fact that someone would pay me to do what I love to do, it was cool.”
Yomi hasn’t let success go to his head. He’s never forgotten how hard he worked to reach his goals.
Fast forward to today, and Yomi is paying it forward by helping other young African entrepreneurs achieve their dreams through E-preneur Africa.
E-preneur Africa is Born
Imagine. Innovate. Inspire.
Those three words adequately capture the vision of his passion project. “Access to the internet provides us all with equal opportunities,” said Yomi. “But not everyone knows how to navigate these paths.”
That’s where E-preneur Africa comes into play.
Conceived in April 2022, E-preneur is a storytelling platform featuring the tales of Africa’s most inspiring e-preneurs. It serves as a place where Millennials and Gen-Zs can find community, funding, and visibility to grow their brands.
It’s modeled after Forbes, but specifically for young Africans who are leveraging the Internet to build businesses and grow their brands.
“I believe stories are the world’s greatest motivation,” said Yomi. “Nothing stirs you up more than knowing someone has walked a path you’re currently on and succeeded.”
His motivation to launch E-preneur stems from his early struggles to make ends meet. Yomi said he hopes to spare his fellow African entrepreneurs the same rough road by giving them a platform that showcases their value and expertise.
Leveraging the Internet’s Power
There’s more to E-preneur Africa than showcasing up-and-coming young talent. Yomi plans to use his years of experience leveraging the power of the Internet to help others do the same. “(The Internet) helped me get away from doing menial jobs,” he said. “It allowed me to do something more that I actually enjoyed.”
Knowing the Internet exists and understanding how to use it to start or grow a business idea are two different things, Yomi said. He hopes to spare other young Africans the struggles he endured by teaching them a better way.
“Having to go through the hustle and the struggle to make ends meet, not knowing that there were opportunities online, was hard,” he said. “I didn’t have anyone to guide me. It makes a big difference having someone to point you in the right direction so you’re not constantly making mistakes.”
Yomi said the average African is very ambitious, with a lot of aspirations. “I see a lot of opportunities presented online, but if you don’t have access to them, you can’t take advantage of them,” he said.
Growing with Family
Once E-preneur Africa gets past its initial launch stage, Yomi said he plans to add coaching and mentoring services to the platform. He wants to provide access to experienced African entrepreneurs and instructors across multiple industries to provide insight to those just starting out.
His growth hub joins budding creatives and entrepreneurs on the same journey to making a global impact. To help facilitate exposure, E-preneur Africa has a digital magazine, email newsletter, and social media accounts that feature young African talent. Yomi also recently started a podcast that hosts young African success stories to inspire others.
The Man Behind the Mission
Going all-in as an entrepreneur is challenging. No one knows this better than Yomi.
When he first launched his copywriting business, Yomi was juggling it with finishing school. He found himself writing 3,000 words every day to make a reasonable income as he gained experience.
“I had to churn out a lot of words every single day,” he said. “Because I was new and I was trying to make ends meet, I really didn’t have the opportunity to say no to some kind of jobs and predatory payment behaviors.”
He felt constrained and unable to say no to unreasonable tasks and low pay because he felt pressured to pay the bills.
Some other challenges included the inconsistent power supply and connection issues that plague Africa. “Customers would tell me that we couldn’t work together if we couldn’t communicate,” he said.
Limited resources also kept him from working effectively when he first was getting started. “For a year, I did everything on my phone because I lacked the resources to buy all the equipment I needed.”
Toward the end of 2020, he had a client in the United Arab Emirates that helped him turn things around. It was his first retainer job, replacing the low-wage content mills he previously worked with while trying to gain experience and support himself.
“It gave me much more confidence,” he said. “I knew if I poured my heart into it, I could make it work.”
A Guiding Light for African Entrepreneurs
His future vision for E-preneur Africa is to make it the gold standard for Internet entrepreneurship. He hopes to reach people who are less privileged throughout Nigeria and all of Africa.
“We want to impact people and see their lives changed, the same way my life was impacted by leveraging the Internet,” he said. “I want to see the same kind of transformations happening in the lives of young people.”
E-preneur Africa seeks more influencers and collaborators to help create fresh content that aligns with its mission and vision. Already established entrepreneurs and content creators interested in helping grow the platform are encouraged to reach out to Yomi to learn more.
Content is King.
How many times have you heard that trope?
It bears repeating because it’s a long-standing truth. If you’re not creating high-quality content that adds value to your readers, you’re failing in your marketing strategy. It’s just that simple.
However, there’s an internet full of content out there begging for someone to check it out. It’s challenging to break through all the noise, especially if SEO is your goal.
It’s tempting to cut corners and produce copy for search engines, not people. Don’t do it! Content written for search engines is B-O-R-I-N-G.
Instead, focus on using these 3 techniques to draw the reader in and achieve your content marketing goals.
1 - Tell a Story
One of the most effective ways to keep your audience engaged is by telling a story. Whether it's a personal anecdote or a fictional tale, storytelling is a powerful tool that captures your reader's attention and keeps them invested in your content.
When you weave a narrative into your writing, it adds an emotional element that can connect with your reader and make your content more memorable.
Emotions = connections. It’s just that simple.
Not sure how to craft a compelling story? Let’s discuss strategy.
Show, Don't Tell
You've probably heard this one a million times but it bears repeating. Combining vivid descriptions and dynamic characters in situations that evoke strong emotions is the key to strong storytelling.
Copywriters often fail at this task when they tick off the reasons why a product or service solves a problem instead of providing actions that serve the same purpose.
For instance, instead of, "These headphones block 99% of external sounds," say something like, "Wrap yourself in a protective cocoon that shields you from the chaos outside."
The cocoon imagery helps me picture the benefits more clearly. If your target audience can imagine themselves in that scenario, they are more likely to emotionally connect with your product or service.
Remember, emotional connection leads to conversion.
Create Conflict and Tension
Conflict and tension create urgency. No one is going to call the fire company unless the house is burning down around them. The same is true for copy that converts.
Say you're writing a social media snippet for a housecleaning company that wants to attract new clients. A common pain point for consumers who need these services is a lack of time to do the job themselves.
A lot of copy addresses this common problem by suggesting something like, "Are the dust bunnies taking over the house again? Give us a call to send them packing." While cute, it hardly creates the kind of conflict that might prompt the person reading it to immediately pick up the phone and call to schedule cleaning services.
Instead, you could try something like this, which creates more urgency:
"Does the sound of your doorbell strike terror into your very soul? Fewer things cause the old heart to thump harder than unexpected guests when your place is drowning in a sea of clutter and dust bunnies. Stop turning out the lights and pretending you're not home. Give us a call instead. Just remember to answer the door when we stop by to tidy up."
This copy is relatable. I mean, who hasn't flipped off the lights and nose-dived out of sight to avoid inviting guests into your untidy home? If you're tired of ducking for cover every time the doorbell rings, then you're going to call this company sooner rather than later.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Yep, another trope that's used to illustrate a point (pun intended).
Images, infographics, and videos break up text-heavy pieces and keep your readers engaged. Sometimes they’re helpful for driving home complex ideas or adding an extra layer of appeal to your content.
Don’t just toss any graphic into the mix. To get the best results:
2 - Keep it Conversational
Most people dislike content that sounds like a textbook (unless, of course, you're reading a textbook, then it's OK).
Writing overly-analytical content can bore your audience to tears. The last thing you want is for someone to use your content to help them cure a bout with insomnia.
Keep your writing conversational to improve engagement. Your readers want to feel like you’re talking to them, not at them. After all, if they wanted to read content that sounded robotic, they'd plug a prompt into ChatGPT and wait for it to spit out an answer.
Some effective tips for creating conversation include:
3 - Experiment with Formats
Don't be afraid to experiment with different formats. After all, variety is the spice of life. Your readers are less likely to get bored if they experience your content in a variety of ways.
Some types of content to consider include:
By mixing up your formats, you can keep your content fresh and exciting for your readers. Experimenting with formats can also help you determine what resonates best with your audience and adjust your content strategy accordingly.
Bore-Proof Your Content with The Write Reflection
Creating engaging content isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s certainly not for people in a hurry. A strong content marketing strategy requires effort and creativity (and a lot of patience).
Storytelling, creating conflict and urgency, and experimenting with content types bore-proofs your content and keeps readers coming back for more.
If you’re struggling to provide content of value to your target audience, reach out to The Write Reflection today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.
Is it possible to write a book in one weekend? Sure, it is. Just ask children’s author Ammaar Reshi (although he probably wishes you wouldn’t).
Reshi, a design manager at Brex, used popular artificial intelligence (AI) tools ChatGPT and Midjourney to create and publish a story called “Alice and Sparkle,” over a weekend. Reshi claims the book is the first of its kind because it was co-created with AI. He gives his writing and illustration partner full credit in the book synopsis.
But wait…it gets weirder.
The book is about a young girl named Alice who creates her own AI named Sparkle. In the book, they go on fun adventures, combining their knowledge to change the world for the better (or so the synopsis promises). Customer reviews give it a 3.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Some reviewers took pot-shots at the fact Reshi relied too heavily on AI to write the book. However, a few others said they were less bothered by the AI involvement and more concerned with the complete lack of storytelling throughout the book.
“I’ve seen some amazing stuff that was made using A.I. tools such as Midjourney and ChatGPT,” said a reviewer with the handle Hamsteroid. “This is not that.” Hamsteroid goes on to say the book lacks an arc in the storytelling and just abruptly ends.
Fellow reviewer Langue Master said, “This is what happens when AI is used to write a story with no human writer behind to guide things. This story is quite empty in terms of its story arc and content and the illustrations are poorly made/generated.”
Besides the possibility of garnering blistering reviews for AI-generated content, there are other reasons why you probably shouldn’t rely on it to write that dystopian novel you’ve had brewing in your brain for the last decade.
Before you make nice with ChatGPT or another AI tool, take some time to discover:
What the heck is an AI content generator?
Technophobes (and those living under rocks) may have zero clue what AI content generators are all about. For the uninitiated, AI content generators are technology programmed to use Natural Language Generation (NLG) to turn thoughts into words on a page.
Since AI can’t think like humans, engineers train them to learn how to engage in human-like conversations. They rely on vast amounts of information gleaned from the internet – articles, blogs, news stories, Reddit threads – to respond to prompts.
One of the most talked about technologies in this space is ChatGPT. It’s dominated the news cycle since the beginning of the year.
However, AI content generators existed long before ChatGPT hit the scene. Some of the most popular technologies for creating written content include Jasper AI and AI Writer. DALL-E and Midjourney currently covet the top spots for AI image creation.
How is AI disrupting the publishing industry?
While most organizations are figuring out how to use AI to replace their marketing teams full of humans, there is another group of people coveting its so-called power to generate words quickly. Wannabe authors have turned to generative AI to make their dreams come true. As we discussed earlier in this blog post, using AI to write a novel can backfire.
Some publishers have publicly admonished writers who used AI to generate bland content. Science fiction publisher Clarkeworld Magazine took to its Twitter account in mid-February to proclaim it was closing submissions because of the sheer volume of AI-generate content it had received.
Of the 1,200 submissions it received in February, Clarkesworld founder Neil Clarke claimed more than 500 were AI-produced.
Another publication, Science, has outright banned content generated by AI in any of its journals. Its policy states, “text generated from AI, machine learning, or similar algorithm tools” is considered scientific misconduct.
On the image side of things, Getty Images has banned the upload and sale of AI-generated illustrations because of fears over future copyright claims. We’ll talk more later about whether you can copyright AI-produced content.