As communicators, we have spent our careers persuading, cajoling, nagging, and – occasionally – begging our clients and employers to use plain English in their marketing content. To shrug off a more formal and stuffy voice. To speak to people on the page in the same way they would if they were having a face-to-face conversation.
So imagine our horror this week when we left a lovely client slightly bamboozled by our own communication jargon. Words that are so familiar to us. Our own industry’s shorthand. What a useful, if painful, reminder.
In this week’s blog we explain 13 common marketing and content creation terms. If there are any other words or phrases you’ve come across that sound like a foreign language, pop them in the comments below or send them to us direct and we’ll do our best to translate.
Lucy and Emma | The Communication Coaches.
Your analytics tell you what your customers/audience are looking at on your website/blog. They also tell you what those people did next – did they click to another page of your site or did they leave (known as the bounce-rate)? This information is pure gold. You can use it to see what your most popular content is (so that you can do it again!) and what isn’t doing so well (so that you don’t waste your time repeating that content).
Your brand is the culmination of your logo, your content, your customer experience, what you sound like, and what you say. It is how other people would describe you or your product/service if you weren’t in the room.
Every piece of content you create should have a call-to-action. Examples include ‘share this’, ‘comment below’, ‘download this’, ‘subscribe now’, ‘read this’. They let your reader know what you would like them to do next. In the absence of a call-to-action people will simply move on.
Content is everything that you produce to help sell your products/services. It can be a blog, a social media post, a photograph or video, your ‘about me’ page of your website. Everything. It exists to explain something, to engage your customer and to be shared by other people. (You can download our monthly content planner here.)
This is your masterplan. It will set out what you are going to say or post and when. It will let you see, at a glance, the different topics that you are going to create content about, making it easy to see if there are any gaps.
Evergreen content is content that will be valuable to people whenever they find it. For example, this post will still be helpful this time next year, but a piece of content that is specific to a piece of current news will be less valuable in a year.
The marketing funnel has three stages – the top, the middle and the bottom. When you know where in the funnel your customers are, you can create content and engage with them to help them move to the next stage.
Someone at the top of the funnel has just identified a problem and is looking for more information. Note that their ‘problem’ could be anything from ‘I’ve got people coming for a party at the weekend and I don’t know what to cook’ through to ‘I know that I need to market my business but I don’t know where to start’.
You can help them by creating content that shows you understand their problem and shows them the next easy step they can take towards solving it.
When they get to the middle of the funnel, people are likely to be doing more research to find a solution to their problem. Help them here by publishing case studies, product information, and testimonials from other clients.
When they get to the bottom of the funnel people are very close to buying a solution. Make sure that your sales pages are clear and prove that your offer is just the thing that they need to solve their problem. Get them excited about the prospect.
Traditionally, marketing has been about looking for ways to take your message out to your audience. Inbound marketing puts the focus on creating great content that is helpful, interesting, engaging, or entertaining, that draws your customer to you. It is less about aggressive selling and more about adding value.
This is an imaginary character who represents your ideal customer – also known as an avatar. You can (and probably should) give them a name. Through building a customer persona you will get to know them, what they like, what they read, where they shop, what their lives are like. This rich picture will help you create content that speaks to them and their problems. (To help you build your customer persona, find out how to get to know your audience here).
If your website/blog is built with a responsive design it means that it will look beautiful whether someone is looking at it on a smart phone, a tablet or a computer. The design will recognise the device that your visitor is using and present your site in a way that works best for that device.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
This is a biggie. But, at a very high level, this is about creating content on your website and/or blog in such a way that you appear high up the list of Google results when people search for something related to your product/service.
Here’s an example. Imagine you make ceramics. If your website content only refers to your products as ceramics you might not do very well in Google searches if people are using the term ‘plate’ instead of ‘ceramic’.
The good news is that you can influence how well your website/blog performs in Google searches by thinking about the terms people would actually type into the search bar and then using those words in your own content.
The basic idea is that if other people are buying your products, using your services, sharing or commenting on your content, it must be good. Your products must be good. You must be good. You can create social proof by publishing things like customer feedback and testimonials. You can also generate it by creating and publishing content that people find valuable and therefore comment and share it with their friends.
Voice (or tone of voice)
This is your brand voice. The words you use and how you sound to your customer. If you want to sound authoritative and dependable you would choose very different words and tone to a business that wants to sound youthful and inspirational. Whichever route you chose, be authentic and consistent across all of your content and channels.