For many entrepreneurs, creating content for their website can be an intimidating prospect.
While many recognize the importance of having an online presence, knowing how to create an impressive one is another story. If you have limited experience in writing web content, it can be hard to know where and how to start.
So, here’s how you can overcome writer’s block and create some high-quality customer-centric content that will reap huge rewards for your business.
What is meant by customer-centric content?
When describing what customer-centric content is, it refers to content created solely for the benefit of customers and potential customers, rather than overtly selling a product or service.
In character, it needs to be useful and practicable, i.e. contains advice or provides solutions to issues your customers may face. It should be tailored fully to answer or satisfy their needs.
What is it not? Promotional, spammy, vague, or badly-written.
Why do you need customer-centric content?
Like anything that uses your valuable working hours, it’s worth considering why it’s so important to spend a decent amount of time creating high quality, customer-centric content for your site.
These are the reasons why:
- First of all, first class content will drive search engine traffic to your site. Search engines have honed their algorithms to find the best quality, most useful and frequently accessed content for their users. This is where you step in.
- Secondly, the most customer-focused content then keeps visitors on your site rather than bouncing straight back to the search engine for a better alternative to answer their query. You can keep potential customers on your site for longer by providing a clear, cohesive experience, which is then ultimately far more likely to convert them into paying customers.
- Thirdly, high-quality content allows you to establish yourself as an industry authority and raise your profile which, in turn, builds positive customer relationships and creates brand loyalty.
In essence, it’s absolutely essential for any competitive business to have useful, well-written, high-quality content on their site.
So, how do you go about accomplishing this?
Start by asking yourself this all-important question:
Who are you writing for?
The first step is to know your customers, really get to know them.
What interests and inspires them? And of equal importance, what are their gripes and frustrations?
Why? Because unless you know who exactly you are talking to, how can you know what to write about or what to say? Blindly producing content would be akin to grasping at straws in the dark.
So, what do you already know about your customers?
At this stage, it would be easy to make a few simple assumptions based on available customer data and their purchase history. You could easily imagine a basic, typical customer profile using gender, age range, and location.
Yet these hurried assumptions could prove dangerous if you misalign your content.
Misunderstand your customers and what they need, and they’ll bounce straight off your page and look elsewhere — perhaps they may even end up checking out what your competition has on its website. So it pays to take the time, before you create any content, to delve as deeply as you can into your customer mindset.
Here’s how to check out who your customers (and potential customers) are:
Take the time to complete a thorough core audience analysis.
Engaging with your customers on social media provides a straightforward way of conversing with your customer base, finding their likes and dislikes, and their pain points.
Incentivizing feedback surveys and customer reviews can prompt a flurry of customer information that can be a goldmine for creating content.
Utilizing keyword research also sheds an enormous amount of light on your customers’ journey — from a simple online research to purchasing your product.
The bottom line is that you need to reap as much customer information as you can. And once you have this information, don’t assume that your core audience will never change. Make revisiting your customer profile a regular task.
What should you write about?
Now that you’ve taken the time to understand your customers, you should find yourself with some clearer ideas for content material. What questions are your customers raising on social media? What are the hot topics for discussion? What problems are your products solving?
Your keyword research will also be invaluable for ideas.
At least 25% of searchers use long-tail keywords to find your product. These searchers are honing their search terms to find something much more specific.
For instance, many people will consult Google to find a ‘copywriter’, but there is also a significant proportion of people searching for ‘professional website content writer in Dubai’. This long-tail keyword should enable you to tailor more specific content than ‘copywriter,’ which is far too general when you want to direct traffic to your website in the UAE.
How do you structure your content?
Knowing what you want to write about is very different from knowing what you actually want to say on the topic. This stage can be problematic for many. If you’ve ever sat for hours, fingers poised above the keyboard with a blank page glaring menacingly back at you, you’ll understand what this means.
It’s incredibly frustrating. After all, you know your industry and your products better than anyone, so why is it so hard to write about them? This is the root of the problem: you have so much to say that it’s hard to know where to start.
The solution is to go back to the customer. What do they need to know? What problems of theirs do you need to solve?
Let’s say you own a pet shop. You could write content that outlines the types of dog beddings you have in store. But is it useful to the customer or worth your time? This is what your product pages are for. There’s no point duplicating this.
Instead, how about writing a piece such as ‘5 Steps to Make Sure Your Dog is Happy and Comfortable at Night.’ You provide sound advice for a pet owner, and your product gets a mention. This way, you solve a genuine customer problem, with the bonus that your content does not come across as irritatingly promotional.
In fact, providing solutions should be your mantra for creating customer-centric content.
Look at it this way, whenever somebody starts typing into the Google search box, they’re looking for an answer or want to solve a need. It might be that:
- They want to close a knowledge gap by researching something.
- They are looking for a product to fulfill a need.
- They are looking for advice to overcome a problem.
You step in with the answers. It’s as simple as that.
What’s the best way to structure customer-centric content?
Identify a typical customer problem, and show them how to solve it.
There are several tried and tested formats for high quality content, and the ones you choose should depend entirely on your customer.
For instance, if your customers are industry professionals, you might look to producing some in-depth content i.e. white paper-style. But if your customer is a pet owner looking for straightforward pet care advice, listicle-style content would generally be more appropriate, i.e. ‘5 Ways to…’ or ‘10 Things You Should Know About…’ types of topics.
There’s scope for variety, whatever your customer base.
Master the art of storytelling
However, a style of content that works well across all customer types is the case study where you give real-life examples and success stories.
Telling stories through online content has proven successful time and time again because it fulfills the basic need for human-to-human connection.
The history of human beings shows that storytelling has always been part of culture and society, from cave painting to Greek mythology, until today. Stories bind humans together. Good ones tap into people’s emotions and leave a lasting impression. Great ones inspire.
Beware of fluffy content, however.
If you are producing story-style content, remember that you are not aiming for a piece of literary fiction and the Nobel Prize for Literature. That’s what the novel is for; writing online content is very different.
Your customer wants a clear, concise read. Above all, they want the simple truth: a genuine story that passes on the wisdom that its hero or heroine gained.
How do you write with the right tone?
Advice is straightforward here: keep it simple.
When it comes to getting words onto the page, clear and concise is always best.
Remember, your customer is here to learn something, and the faster they can learn it and get on with the rest of their day, the better. Nobody wants to have to consult a dictionary to be able to understand your content. So there’s no need to aim for the most beautiful prose you’ve ever created; it just needs to be readable and to-the-point.
A second piece of advice: go for a warm, conversational tone and avoid formality. This is generally far more engaging to readers. So, aim for friendly advice.
Pepper your writing with the pronouns ‘you’ and ‘your.’ This will make each and every reader feel as if the piece were written particularly for them.
Thirdly, consistency is important for your brand.
In content creation, being yourself is the key to consistency. Anything else can come across as phony, and is hard to maintain across multiple pieces.
Start writing for your audience today
Now that you know how to go about writing customer-centric content, you’ll be aware that doing essential research is the key.
Creating customer-centric content is never going to be quick and easy.
However, put in the right groundwork before you write a single word, and it should be a whole lot more straightforward once you’re ready to start writing. It will also be infinitely more rewarding for your business.
Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade’s experience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analytical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you – so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.