What Content Marketers Can Learn from CAPTCHA


The following post was contributed by Sam Curcuruto, online marketing expert on DOZ.

Are you a robot?

The evolution of the CAPTCHA has been remarkable. What began as a garbled series of letters and numbers that you had to somehow decipher to submit a form or query has become more and more advanced, yet simpler at the same time. Now you can answer math problems. Or answer a question. Or correctly click a button.

As marketers, we’ve long desired the ability to market to people in simpler, smarter ways. But through all of the advances we’ve made in automation technology, we still seem like we’re marketing to robots.

When I’m shopping for a product or service, most content that I read and sort through is so incredibly generic, clearly search-engine jargon, or downright confusing. So next time you’re writing content or developing a campaign strategy, here are three things that will help you help me buy your product.

Natural, simple language wins hearts and minds

When I’m trying to learn about your product or service, the last thing I should have to do is keep a separate tab open to Google what a particular acronym means or the details of the process that you simplify. Clearly state the benefits that I’m going to receive from your product or service, and do it in language that a common person (read: fifth grader) can understand. Using natural language will also help with Google’s Instant Search, since more and more people are using phrases instead of boolean keywords. After all, Albert Einstein said it best: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Avoid industry buzz words

All too often I read website copy and case studies and tweets and blog posts that use words and phrases that I cannot imagine someone actually uttering in real life. There’s a time and place for bringing out the buzzwords (Weird Al Yankovic knows what I’m talking about), but remember, your content marketing should be about benefits and relevance to your potential user’s life, not how that copy will show up in analysts Google searches.

Tell it to grandma

This hearkens back to using natural language, but it bears repeating. When you’re trying to explain a feature, benefit, or fancy new widget via website, blog, or ad content, ask yourself this question:

How will I explain what I’m doing right now to my grandma when I go home for the holidays?

And then start from that answer as you build your campaign copy.

Remember that you’re speaking to a human being who hopefully is truly interested in what it is that you have to sell. The same idea that has advanced the CAPTCHA technology can help your marketing: make it easy for someone to see and understand. Don’t make them scratch their head, cross their fingers, and hope that they got it right.

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