Honestly, we’re so good at writing for machines that when technology inevitably takes over, communication won’t be an issue. Seriously, when it comes to writing for a machine, we’ve got it down. We can hit you with a list of successful keywords in under 12 parsecs. We can get a page indexed by Google in less time than it takes to microwave a burrito. Google loves us and the content that we’ve learned to create for it. But Google isn’t human, and writing for machines results in lackluster copy. So how do you stop writing for the SEO machine and start writing for actual, real-life human beings?
Ditch the Lists
Seventeen tips to make your cat go viral, 23 ways you can upgrade your flag folding skills, 37 tricks to get you to love coffee so you finally have something to talk to your boss about. Those articles — excuse me, listicles — have all been written. Not only that, they’ve been written over and over again, and readers are bored. They don’t want an article that’s going to teach them eight different ways to fix their VCR; they want to hear a story. Whether it’s about the product that changed your life, the marketing tip that took your company from flab to fab, or just a personal story about who you are, readers are hooked on personability. The more personal a brand feels, whether it’s in their social or on their site, the more positively consumers will respond to it. So stop writing lists and start telling stories. Readers will pay more attention, and start engaging with your content.
Start Telling Stories
Keywords are drilled into our brains, and writing for them can be a hard habit to break. The next time you’re stuck, sit back and ask yourself “why?” Why are you writing this article? Why did you choose this topic? How can you make it personal? For every listicle on mouse control, there’s a story about the time you woke up with a mouse on your pillow.* How you dealt with the pitter-patter of tiny white feet at six in the morning makes for a more engaging piece of content than a list of Amazon-affiliated mouse traps.
*This is a real experience I had, and honestly, what is the point of living with two cats if they can’t operate under the basic laws of Tom and Jerry?
Humanizing your content can elevate your brand. By becoming more conversational, your content — and your brand — become that much more relatable. So take your content marketing to the next level. Stop writing corporate gobbledygook, stop writing lists, and start telling meaningful stories.