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Review: Speak With One Voice

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Acrolinx are specialists in creating great content. The company works with major clients in creating more engaging, more findable, and more responsive content. With a client list that includes tech industry giants like Google, Dell, IBM, Cisco, and Intel, Acrolinx are established leaders in creating content that works or working with you to help optimise the content that you turn out in-house.

Recently Acrolinx released an eBook detailing their approach to content creation, optimisation, strategy, and management. In a tightly packed 26 pages Acrolinx offer a wealth of ideas and strategic directions to consider. It’s an ebook worth downloading and reading in full but, in case you are a little pressed for time, here are the biggest take aways.

“The Best Service is No Service”

Speak With One Voice starts with the claim that content is more important than ever. This by itself is not controversial or particularly new. But Acrolinx has provided some interesting reasoning why this fact should be top of mind: the best service is no service. Sound backwards? It’s not.

Acrolinx provides the example of Amazon. If the content at Amazon is good enough, customers don’t need to contact customer service. Not only does this mean that Amazon is meeting the needs of customers even before a purchase is made, it means that the less contact an Amazon representative has with customers, the better the service Amazon is offering. In short, if Amazon is offering no traditional service they are meeting the needs of their customers though their online content alone – and this is the best service for all concerned.

For one thing, it saves Amazon money as there is no call center to manage or consultants to employ. But it also helps the customer who, surveys show, prefer to find things out for themselves. Indeed, the eBook explains that more than 70% of consumers state they prefer to do their own research and answer their own questions than rely on a company’s customer service workforce. Great content, then, rewards both companies and consumers, and the production and publication of great content must be a priority for businesses striving for success.

The Content Era

Acrolinx continues by declaring that we now live in ‘the content era’: “a time when companies’ success or failure increasingly hinges on the quality of their content”. The numbers they have to back up this assertion are stunning. Consider the following:

  • 294 billion emails
  • 100,000 domain name registrations
  • 2 million blog posts
  • 5 million photos on Instagram

In a month? A week? No.

These figures – and others Acrolinx provide – are typical of a single day in the content era.

With this much content being pushed at users the only way to ensure your voice is heard is to have great content. Content that draws eyes – and dollars – your way. And it’s here that Acrolinx offers a template of the five things your content needs to qualify as great content.

The Five Keys to Great Content

It starts with readability. Your content has to be jargon-free, spelt correctly, be free of grammatical errors, and sentences should always be kept short for online content. Once you’ve got readable content, you should make sure it is engaging, too. Your content needs to speak to the reader, to their problems, and to their needs. If it engages with them personally there’s a far greater chance of conversion and true communication.

The next key is consistency. This is not consistency in publication – no, you don’t necessarily need to publish a blog post every single Tuesday afternoon – but rather consistency in communication. If you use a word in one place to mean X, don’t use it somewhere else to mean Y. Avoid synonyms where they’ll confuse readers and choose a house style that your content creation team should stick to – and make sure that they do. Findability is next because, as the eBook explains, “improving the findability of your content can increase your revenue by making it easier for consumers to get their hands on your product information”. Acrolinx advises avoiding ‘SEO tricks’ and instead focusing on useful content that will find its way to the top of search results by virtue of its quality.

Finally there’s translatability, or developing content that is easy to translate into other languages to serve global customers far from home. Paying attention to consistency will help here, as will careful word choices. Avoiding complex words where simple words suffice and making sure you keep phrasal verbs together are two simple ways you can help improve the translatability of your content for non-English speaking markets.

Get Your Hands on the Tools You Need

Speak With One Voice ends with a reminder that, to put all of this into practice, you’ll need the right tools. It’s no surprise that Acrolinx describes content optimization software that is in line with their own product, but their overall point is well made. Businesses need help to get their content creation on the right track and content strategies need to be supported by the best tools available. Acrolinx has a good product but there are others out there – including DOZ’s own platform of experts – that are aimed at optimizing the content that companies publish. Whether relying on software at Acrolinx, expert knowledge at DOZ, or something else altogether offered by another agency, investing in the content you create in the content era is a wise and profitable move.

Download a copy of the Acrolinx eBook here and let us know your thoughts below.

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