Stop Writing that Craptastic Content Nobody is Reading and Try This…

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I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the content on your site is boring. I mean really boring. Just thinking about it puts me right back into my sleepy place.

And like most visitors, I try to be polite about this sort of thing by giving you the ole “it’s not you, it’s me” routine as I leave your website. Secretely wishing I could have the last two minutes of my life back. But this is not that kind of party. This time, it is you.

Don’t believe me? Let’s try a little experiment, shall we?

I want you to print out the text on your homepage in all its glory. Carry it with you wherever you go and the next time you are in front of an ideal client that you have never met, I want you to read it. As written.

Every craptastic word of it.

See how their eyes are darting around the room? That’s called “looking for an exit.” In other words, they are searching for the fastest way to get away from you. And unless you just bit into an onion, it has everything to do with that senseless drivel spewing from your mouth.

That same boring crap found on your website.

“So What? Google Doesn’t Care How Boring My Content Is”

Good point. But contrary to popular belief, search engine optimization does not end when the link to your website has made it to the top of the heap of a few Google searches. It ends when a visitor takes some form of action after clicking that link.

That action might be to call you. Or maybe subscribe to your blog. It could be to share something you said. Or click the “Buy Now” button and hand over their credit card number to you. There are dozens of positive actions your visitors could be taking.

Unfortunately, they are not. Instead, the action most take is to click the back button on their browser never to return to your website again. I’m guessing that’s not quite what you had in mind.

So, why did they leave? Was it your design? Your product or service? Your prices?

Or was it you? The personality (or lack thereof) that you’ve chosen to display on your website?

In the few minutes they spent on your site, you lulled them to sleep. The content on your homepage, internal page, blog post or even that free e-book you are peddling just didn’t cut it.

It was OK. Ordinary. Good enough.

And Therein Lies the Problem…

You see, visitors don’t read OK. They don’t share ordinary. And they don’t buy from good enough.

If you want Google to take notice of you and see you as an authority, you need your visitors to read, share and link to your website. And the only way to get them to do that is to give them what they are really looking for.

Extraordinary.

Visitors are searching for something extraordinary. And if you want that to be you, you’d better have something significant to say…and you’d better be damn good at saying it.

That’s how you inspire people to take action.

Each industry needs at least one. Someone extraordinary. They aren’t always the best writers. They don’t always employ the biggest teams. And they don’t always have the highest marketing budgets.

But they don’t have to. They are extraordinary.

They didn’t become extraordinary by accident. They weren’t born extraordinary. They didn’t hire someone to make them extraordinary.

They created extraordinary.

The good news is that there are a lot of ways you can be extraordinary. The even gooder news is that I’m going to give you a few…

Trust

There is plenty of talk out there about trust. Positioning yourself in such a way that your visitors, prospects and clients trust you. It’s great stuff. I highly recommend it. But that’s not the trust I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about you trusting them. Your visitors, prospects and clients.

Trust begins with you.

With you standing in front of the room naked. Letting down your guard. Being vulnerable. Showing your visitors who you really are. And connecting with them on a different level. As a human being rather than a corporate entity led by some cleverly polished sales guy.

It’s a risk to put yourself out there, I get that. Will some visitors break that trust? Probably. Does that mean you should not trust any of them? Absolutely not.

Trust is a gift that you should be freely giving away to anyone that stumbles upon your website. Unconditionally. With no strings attached.  And being at peace with the outcome, whether they buy from you or not.

Be Unpopular

Your mother was just being nice. Not everybody loves you. Nor will they. You are an acquired taste, and that’s a good thing. When you are busy trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.

In other words, stop sitting in the middle of the fence. Pick a side. You look rediculous. Besides, I can’t imagine it’s very comfortable.

It’s not easy. I know that first hand. My last post left me with a bloody lip thanks to a few folks on Reddit. People will disagree with you. They will argue with you. They will bad mouth you. And they will call you names.

But that’s OK.

You see, being unpopular with one group makes you very popular with another. And that is the group you want to connect with. That is the group that will appreciate what you have to say. That is the group that will share your message with other likeminded people.

And that is the group that will be instrumental in helping you grow your community.

Lead the Conversation

I think Vanilla Ice put it best when he so elequently said “stop, collaborate and listen” (before stealing the rest from Queen and David Bowie).

We tend to think of our website as our own personal space. Our soapbox. The one place on this planet where we get to stand up and do all of the talking and none of the listening.

Wrong.

This digital space should be shared. It should be a conversation, not a lecture. Stop trying to be the resident smarty pants by monopolizing it and being the only voice.

Lead it.

Share your knowledge. Pose the question. Make people think. And then get out of the way. Be clear that you are there to learn as well. You don’t know everything. And the fact that you can be a little vulnerable and put that out there is a great opportunity. One that your visitors will appreciate and respect.

By making this space a conversation where you are allowing them to agree, disagree and even teach you are giving your visitors ownership. And when you give them ownership, they will become your biggest advocates.

Give a Shit

You would think this one is pretty obvious but you’d be surprised at how many of you come across as if you just don’t care. And if you don’t appear to care about your visitors, how can they possibly care about you?

When all you do is sell on your website, what you are essentially saying is that it doesn’t matter what they need. You aren’t there to solve their problem (unless of course solving their problem requires buying your solution).

When you show your visitors that you care about their needs more than you care about your own, they will do more than buy your product or service. They will rave about it. They will share it. They will write about it.

They will get your message out.

What Is All of This Really About?

The fact is that you can’t do this alone. You need your visitors to not just read but share and spread your message. In fact, you need them more than they need you.

The actions your visitors take (or don’t take) are directly related to your authority online. And if you read Search Engine Humanization you know how important authority is!

Lose one visitor and you are losing much more than just a hit on your website. You are losing an opportunity.

And who knows what that opportunity might have brought.

So, now it’s your turn. It’s your turn to share what makes you extraordinary. Or perhaps what you need to change to be extraordinary. Maybe you want to agree with this post. Or even disagree. Or even teach me a thing or two.

I’m open. I trust you.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.devore Jonathan DeVore

    Have you ever taken a position, been hated for it, and then decided down the road that you probably were wrong in taking that position?

    If you have, how did you go about it? Did you just say that you were wrong? Or did you just figure that everybody has a short memory and move on without saying anything?

    I ask because I figure that down the road I’m going to be wrong at some point, and no matter how much I’ll try to deny that I ever took the wrong position, I’ll have 10 blog posts that prove otherwise. I noticed that Wistia just came out and said that they were wrong about something that they blogged about, and it was nice for a group to say, “Ooops!” (http://wistia.com/blog/getting-started-video-testimonials/ in the video toward the bottom “using analytics”).

    Just curious what you think.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Are you kidding? I’m wrong all the time. Just ask my wife! (boooo…bad joke). Seriously, when you take a chance and jump out into a crowd naked, someone is bound to give you a good smack. Welcome it. The only other option is to play it safe and there is no victory in playing it safe. I would rather be wrong 50% of the time while sticking my neck out than be safe 100% of the time and just regurgitate what everyone else is saying.

  • http://twitter.com/anitahovey Anita Hovey

    Wow….the redditors really didn’t like you did they? HE HE… I guess they don’t realize “You see, being unpopular with one group makes you very popular with another. And that is the group you want to connect with. ” It’s ok. We still love you Marc. I mean like you a lot…cause I don’t want Aimee flying out here to beat me up. Again.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I couldn’t stop her. Aimee is on her way. Lock your doors. She can be vicious sometimes!!!

  • yopalhal

    Mark, as

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Don’t keep me hangin’ brother!!!!

  • http://YoPalHal.com/ “Yo Pal” Hal Elrod

    Mark, as always – you challenge our thinking and raise our standards. Thank YOU.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Any time Hal, I learned from the best! And yes, you’re on that list!!

  • ryan naylor

    Always good motivation and inspiration. I wonder if there are times when I need to separate myself from my business. (advertising blogs) There are blogs I don’t agree with, but that’s a personal matter, not a business one. If I get caught up in how I feel, I may need to rework who my customers are.?

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      I think so. That’s the main reason I moved all of my blogs onto my personal blog here. So it could be my voice and my voice alone. It’s kind of that disclaimer that shows up before a DVD that says something to the effect of “the views of those being interviewed are not those of the producer, etc.” (I know I butchered that. I think it’s refreshing to be able to talk about whatever I want, however I want without the fear of keeping it politically correct. Readers can smell “politically correct” a mile away!

  • http://www.nburmandesign.com/ Media Designer

    Nicely said! Well, actually, you were kind of rude, but that’s ok too. To the point, more like it. More arses need kicking!

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks! Hey, wait a minute. Kind of rude? Are you…yeah…maybe you’re right. Never mind.

      • http://www.nburmandesign.com/ Media Designer

        Oh, it’s all warranted :)

  • http://wpblogexperts.com/ Ishan

    I completely agree with you Marc. In fact, I’ve had this strange feeling about how companies and people focus on Google a a traffic source and treat their visitors and customers as a number. No doubt, this whole thought process comes from Google itself.

    We are talking about a company which does not have any customer care. They see, test and believe algorithms. And since they are most popular, we have the SEO Guru crowd surrounding them which thinks similarly. A person is nothing but a dollar bundle to them.

    I’ve focused on search engines for long time. But some time back I just stopped and started thinking about readers. It’s a big change.

    Thanks for the awesome post. Tweeted.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks for your thoughts Ishan! It’s funny, I never really got such a strong feeling for Google going after the almighty dollar as you mentioned. It’s kind of like Apple. They seem so focused on user experience that it makes me as the consumer feel loved and thought about but behind all of that they are making crazy amounts of money. I suppose somewhere in there lies the truth!!!

  • andyclive

    Hey Marc i like the context of what you’re saying . But are you actually preaching what you teach? I cant find any “controversial” subjects on your site , you don’t specifically offer an opinion on any. In essence you seem to have fallen into the “trap” that you advise everyone not to fall in too.

  • Erin Harris

    *Ridiculous

  • andy

    But readers OFTEN read the OK, and share the ordinary. we see them do it all the time. “Extraordinary” is defined in hindsight – after the fact. You don’t know you’ve written something that’s good vs OK UNLESS it’s been randomly selected to get noticed.