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While many people are good communicators and leaders, not everyone is necessarily a gifted writer, so it’s important to ask for feedback and recognise if your articles are sounding stilted or formal.

1.       Don’t talk down to your audience

Getting the tone wrong, talking down to your audience or talking over their heads are very common mistakes that people make, says Weave Strategic Content founder Susan Cowan.

“A lot of people see other blogs or newsletters and copy their style, but you have to be yourself because the audience is not going to be the same as theirs.”

Automatically using the jargon of your industry doesn’t simply mean you’re audience is going to relate, and a lot of the time it may go over their heads. These problems tend to stem from a lack of understanding your typical customers, says Cowan.

Luckily customer insight is one area where SMEs can have a serious edge over larger corporate businesses that spend big on analysing data. As a small business you’re going to have a reduced pool of people to figure out, so you should take advantage of the small numbers now.

Think about the kinds of questions and issues customers frequently raise across your business website, your social media platforms, as well as in your physical stores, says Cowan. Talk to your front of house staff on a regular basis to figure out what problems people require solutions for, and the questions they normally ask.

2.       Improve your writing skills

While many people are good communicators and leaders, not everyone is necessarily a gifted writer, so it’s important to ask for feedback and recognise if your articles are sounding stilted or formal, says Cowan.

Try speaking into a recording device first and then type it out if you’re more comfortable with talking out your ideas, says Cowan. Most people are excited about what they do, so the natural passion and individual personality that you had a hard time capturing on paper will have a higher chance of being translated into the copy.

Then check for unnecessarily complicated terminology that doesn’t add value, an abundance of long sentences, and that your article is ‘scannable’ for online readers with correct formatting.

Otherwise, consider employing a professional copywriter with knowledge of SEO to increase the quality of your website, says Cowan. This might improve dwell time and likelihood of conversion.

3.       What value is there in your content?

The key word here is “value”. You shouldn’t be using your website content or blog purely as a marketing tool to shamelessly sell your products, says Cowan. You should be combining marketing and editorial sensibilities so that there is real value in reading it.

Do customers want a DIY video for one of your products, a How-To guide on healthy living or an opinion piece on a trending news story in your industry?

Good businesses are about solving customer problems, and the same goes for the content. Understand what your customer is seeking and provide the solution.

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