For a while now I’ve been frustrated by my inability to articulate a specific point related to SEO. The idea I’m having trouble with is figuring out how to get my clients to stop talking about themselves! Instead of talking about their products based on features and benefits I want them to tell stories about what their product did or can do for their clients. Why are stories so important? Because people share stories not features or benefits.
Search Engine Optimization can be broken down in to three rudimentary blocks: site design, site content and back links. I don’t seem to have any trouble getting my clients to redo their design or even getting them to add relevant content to their site. Where I get challenged with my clients is finding a compelling reason why someone should link to my client’s web site. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of simple things I do for my clients to get them quality back links. Once we get passed the low hanging fruit I know we need compelling content but I’ve had trouble in the past articulating exactly what content we need. That changed recently when I realized that my clients needed something worth sharing and what better to share than a story.
We have all read business related stories in the guise of a testimonial. Intuitively we know these are powerful because at one time or another we have been swayed by a testimonial. I’m never more gratified when my client tells me they have “signed up 3 new clients this week as a result of our website”. That testimonial then becomes a story I share with current and potential clients. So now we know we can use testimonials to craft stories but how do we craft a story around a term that we know people are searching for? Stories can take forms other than testimonials. A “how to” page can be a powerful story about a particular feature or benefit.
Here are five story ideas that might lead to stories worth sharing:
- Reviews – books, conference, competitor, software, hardware, etc.
- How to guides
- Lists – top 10, thematic, clients, etc.
- Case Studies
- New Hires, everyone loves a success story. Linking to stories about how great it is to work for company can be quite helpful.
I’d like to hear if you have other ideas. I’ll post additional ideas on my blog. Of course I’ll also link to the companies that provide the ideas.
I received this from one of the recipients of my newsletter.
“We met on a flight from Ottawa to Toronto over a year ago and our conversation that day lead us to focus our business plans on what we do best, exposing a long tail market for job opportunities. A rather timely topic it seems.” Dave Forster, Careeraim
I suppose the stories I told him on the plane were enough to get him thinking about his business.