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Today, I work almost exclusively with thriving corporate brands, content marketing companies, small business or commercial law firms on strategic content writing projects. These are successful enterprises that didn’t get to their level be happenstance. Great marketing helped.
The majority not only understand content marketing strategy, but they also have marketing teams or a manager that create and execute their full content marketing strategy. They hire consultants like me to write the content that fits into their current plan.
It was different when I owned a small digital marketing and branding agency when building entire websites was my focus and content writing was an essential service offering. Our primary clients were lawyers, real estate agents, and consultants.
Most of the businesses we worked with were solo or micro-entrepreneurs who had little content marketing experience. So, as you’ll see, I often had to educate them about why original content for brands was better than the alternatives.
In one case, I was working with a healthcare industry consultant about her new website. After discussing design and user experience, the conversation inevitably turned to content writing. I asked her what others in her industry were doing with content on their websites.
What she told me didn’t surprise us me, but it was a bit disheartening, given what I know about the critical importance of robust content marketing strategy and original written content to overall web marketing success.
She told me that most of the consultant sites in her industry used material copied—nearly verbatim—from other sites. She said there was little customization, little differentiation, given that many sites were boilerplate templates with corporate branding.
Consultants Can Be Content Copycats
Using duplicate content is a common practice with consultants and small firms in the FIRE sector. These financial services, insurance and real estate practitioners, especially franchisees, make it the core of the editorial content.
They either buy the same content packages from content providers or use the franchisor’s content rather than hire writers to provide original content for their brand.
But there is a significant difference in conversation rates between those who use duplicate content or those who invest in custom content.
Here are five reasons why.
Unoriginal content leads to lower search engine rankings
The myth of an official “duplicate content penalty” in Google got debunked several years ago. So, it’s unlikely your website will be removed from Google if it has content identical to another site’s unless it’s plagiarized. But, your search engine ranking could be significantly lower than even the site that originally posted the content.
You could suffer significant loss of traffic as a result, especially if yours is a newer site than the one that first posts your content. Less traffic means fewer visitors and few opportunities to convert those leads into buyers of your products and services.
Original brand content delights your site visitors
You want to differentiate yourself from your competitors with by customizing content to your brand voice as well as the products or services you offer. That’s true even if you’re providing almost the same offerings as another industry professional.
Moreover, you want your visitors to be happy they came to visit your site and stay long enough to decide your business could be one to solve their problem or satisfy a desire.
That’s why I’ve often wholly rewritten my website clients’ content. In many cases, their content was substantially the same as others in their industry, which made it boring. It was driving clients away from their sites.
So, I recreated their content to focus on what made them different from the other enterprises in their industry. I helped them make sure their editorial content spoke to the clients they were attempting to reach. I wrote the content in their voice but in the everyday language of their well-educated, wealth-oriented business clients.
Duplicate content is keyword optimized—but not for your brand
Your site should be keyword optimized with specific industry keywords incorporated into the content. But it also should be focused on who you are, not on branding your franchisor or others the template website developer whose content you and all their other clients are using.
Also, SEO is essential, but you’re not writing your content for the search engines. You’re writing for your audience, and your content needs to read naturally, not in a stilted language that makes your SEO strategy evident.
Google ranks audience-focused content higher because your audience does. Google loves what your audience loves. You must do what Google loves—create content your readers will enjoy.
As importantly, all content needs are distinct to your business. It also should convey your unique personality, the one that clients will see when you meet to talk about your services.
For example, a few years ago, I helped a buyers’ real estate agent, who is also a model and actress with an elegant personality, convey how she was uniquely qualified to serve affluent clients.
I wrote site content for her and arranged for a professional photographer to take pictures of her in action. I did similar writing work for a mortgage broker and had him get both new professional photos and make a video.
They got additional and more lucrative business from people who were attracted to who they were as people. That’s what original content should help you do.
Duplicate content isn’t as useful to clients as custom content
This point piggybacks off the last one. Your visitors want useful, unique information when they visit your site, not material they’ve seen elsewhere. They are trying to solve a problem or answer a question. They may have a pain point they want to be relieved.
They want to see if you can solve their problem or alleviate their pain and how you’d approach their situation. They may want to know if you can ease their mind about using your business to provide services or products. That’s where it’s important to show who you are and how you work with your audience.
I did exactly that for a very compassionate bankruptcy lawyer. Initially, this young lawyer just wanted me to make her content read like that of her competitors who were at the top of search engines. But, they had been in practice many more years, had old websites, had multiple community connections and had conducted other marketing over their years in business to get them to the top of Google.
I convinced her that she didn’t want her content to be duplicate or substantially the same as her competitors’ site content. Instead, she needed content that target prospective clients could use to distinguish between her and the bankruptcy attorney up the street.
I showed her that copycat content would drive potential clients away from her website. They would find one that gave them the unique, information-packed content that they wanted and showed how that lawyer resonates with their clients.
Or, the content being about the same, if given a choice between her and the more experienced attorney, they would choose them.
But, if she showed her personality—if she customized her content to show her unique way of serving clients—she would see more clients coming her way. Convinced, she allowed me to implement that content writing strategy.
Readers love stories and your prospects want to know your unique narrative
Your potential clients want to know your purpose for being in business—what the story is behind your brand. They’re asking questions like these: Why are you in this business? What have you done in the past that will make you the best consultant, insurance or mortgage broker or real estate agent for us to choose? Why should I buy from you? What’s in this for me? Will I regret choosing your business later?
Your content needs to answer your visitors’ burning questions about “why you” and duplicate content often does not. It doesn’t tell your story. It’s usually just words on a website that provide filler on the site’s pages but no beneficial information to your prospective clients.
Make sure to write your content so that your story stands out among those of your competitors. Either write in your voice or hire a writer who can write in the voice of your brand and understands your industry.
Customize Your Content to Get More Targeted Leads
As you create your content marketing strategy for your brand, make sure it reflects the user reality that unique is better and gets found in search more often. Pay attention to these four keys to content writing that turns visitors into leads that you can convert to clients.
There are more keys to content development that helps your business close more deals, so it’s best for you to invest in strategic content writing professionals who know how to write well.
They should be able to tell a great story and have content marketing expertise, including social media and SEO savvy. Don’t cheap out on this. You get what you pay for, and you may pay for what you get with lower search rankings—and lower profits.
(c) 2015-2019. Dahna M. Chandler for Get Money Moxie, Inc., a division of Thrive Media Inc. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission of the author.
I’m an award-winning finance journalist with marketing expertise and business acumen. I offer engagement-generating, personal finance and small business development content writing services to thriving—high growth or established—blogs and media outlets. My passion is to help your consumer readers make their dollars make sense and operate their business with growing wealth as their focus.
My business goal for Get Money Moxie is to produce targeted, shareable editorial content that fits seamlessly into your 360-degree content marketing strategy to help you build your desired audience relationships. Let me benefit your business with my strategic content writing expertise. Please contact me about your appropriate editorial content project or journalism assignment.
(If you’re representing an enterprise-level wealth industry or financial brand that has strategic corporate communications needs (including change management communications, CSR, internal communications for employee experience or equitable D&I messaging), please visit Thrive Wealth Communications to learn how I help your organization.)