Here’s something people don’t say enough: there’s a lot of bad marketing content knocking about. A lot of tedious, regurgitated, badly written content. Too often, corporate web copy and blog posts are where people play safe and imagination goes to die. A couple of reasons for this stand out…
Number one: SEO (or: SEOhno). SEO is one of the main reasons for companies blogging, as regular new content and an opportunity to litter relevant keywords throughout posts help websites to climb Google and, therefore, more people to find them. We’ve done it here – can you spot them? (Hint: MARKETING CONTENT). Of course, there’s no point having people find your site if it’s so uninspiring they immediately leave.
Number two: Baseline business blandness. This doesn’t just exist on websites – you can find it in the way some shop assistants, waiting on staff and salespeople speak to you too. It’s that middle of the road, no-risk approach to comms (of any sort) that employees can use to hide behind their company instead of trying something original and exciting. Something that breathes a bit of life into company comms. Something that might make a company actually stand out.
One way to liven your content up is to inject a bit if humour into it. There’s a time and place for humour, of course – don’t start throwing wisecracks around on the homepage for a funeral service – but even a run-of-the-mill tips blog post with a few examples thrown in can be made bearable with a bit of irreverence. Take this run-of-the-mill tips blog post with a few examples thrown in, for example.
Let’s throw in a few examples.
Joe Coleman’s a freelance copywriter. Eschewing your conventional website, Joe has placed a pitch front and centre that visitors can make “less hard sell” and “more hard sell” using a slider. Not only is this a brilliantly original idea with a huge does of humour thrown in to hammer it home, it demonstrates Joe’s copywriting ability far better than a typical website could have done.
Dollar Shave Club is an online service that makes and delivers razors, shaving accessories and toiletries for men. To get its brand out there and bring potential customers onto the site, it runs a blog that is filled with offhand nonsense and is written in a fittingly offhand way. Recent posts have included, “Being Bald Could Save Your Life” and “Tips for When You’re the Sweaty, Smelly Guy at the Gym.” Rest assured, people are clicking on those links when they see them.
Our client Peak, meanwhile, is a data analytics company. Conscious that data analytics can be seen as dry and technical, Peak developed a tone-of-voice that is easy to understand and slightly irreverent, so that it could convey its messaging in a more engaging way that might otherwise be possible. You can see this pulled through into its blog posts, like ‘Oh God, what are they doing’ (Or understanding customer behaviour)’, and ‘What can Rick Astley tell us about customer retention and churn?’
The point of all this is not to say that you should go and rewrite all your marketing content to be hilarious, just that businesses can often afford to be a little less buttoned up. Make sure you have an idea of who your trying to speak to and then speak to them like a person would speak to them.
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