Some — okay, most — web content is bad. We’re sure all of this copy was written with good intentions, but those are what the road to hell is paved with (or so we hear). The great majority of web content we see out there today suffers from one or more of the following copy fails: lack of clarity, bad grammar, too long-winded, not target audience-specific, dull or unintentionally hilarious, written to meet some strange quota, bad editing, etc.
And the reason bad web content is so common is that there are so many ways to get it wrong, and only one way to get it right — by giving readers the answer to the question to end all questions: “So what?” If you haven’t answered this question, you’ve gotten it wrong, no matter how snappy, well-edited and concise your content is.
The “so what?” test is something we talk about at Brandsplat a lot. We’re a bunch of writing nerds, you see, so it’s easy for us to fall in love with a bit of copy and fight like mama bears to keep it. But if it doesn’t pass the “so what?” test, it’s gone.
So how do you tell? You go back to college. You majored in journalism, didn’t you? No? Cue the crash course: Aspiring journalists are trained to write using the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when and why). These are the facts of the story or, in web content writing, the case for your business, service or offering. These can’t be obscured or made overly cute without sacrificing your mission: To communicate what happened.
Great journalism, just like great web content, goes further by reporting on these 5 Ws in a way which makes us feel connected to what’s happened and the people involved in or affected by the development. It passes the “so what?” test by using compelling copy to make us feel all the feelings we might if we were involved. It motivates us to care.
And that’s the key difference between most web content and great content: “So what?” really means “Why should I care?”
But how do we get there? Like most difficult things, the solution is simple: Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What is your audience concerned about? Proud of? Worried over? What unmet needs does your audience have? In short, what’s the pain point? Once you know what your audience needs, you can tailor your content to pitch your business, service or offering in a way that meets that need better than your competition.
And, like nearly all difficult things that have a simple solution, implementing that solution is the tricky part. Not to worry — we’ve got an experienced team of “so whaters” here at Brandsplat and we’re eager to unleash them on your audience. So when you want to make someone else feel all the feelings for once, just give us a call and watch your content go from bland to “gimme more!”