I have been writing content and cleaning up content for clients’ websites for the last 7 years. The same issues arise all the time and unfortunately these issues often cause stress and friction between the business owner and the consultant. I know these common problems for people in my industry because I hear their complaints at conferences, social media and conversations.
I am going to review some of the common issues we see in the hope that some businesses can avoid some of the problems that arise with their SEO’s, marketing consultants and their SEO copywriters.
I see a lot of content written by the client, a relative of the client or someone that believes they are a great writer. The writer often believes that the content is outstanding. They fail to see typos, grammar issues and an inability to market their company properly. Some business owners don’t want to hurt the writer’s feelings and they know that the writer worked hard on their content. Hard work doesn’t always equal success. Some believe that they are the best and their content is the best and that is the end of it.
Losing the “ego” is critical to working successfully with any consultant. I know my industry and I know what works because I live it and breathe it day after day. When you hire a consultant, you do so because you need information or advice to improve some aspect of your business. You have to listen to experts in their fields, just like your customers need to listen to your knowledge and expertise.
Refusing to See the “Why” Due to Ego
There is always a reason for everything. There is nothing wrong with asking questions about the reasons, but there is something wrong when business owners refuse to really listen and understand “why” there needs to be a change or several changes.
If your marketing consultant/writer explains why they are making certain recommendations and you don’t agree that is one thing, but we can tell when businesses really listen and try to understand versus those that are just digging their heels in the ground. A list of changes needed is not an attack (keep this in mind); they are just suggestions with solid reasons why the changes need to be made.
HOWEVER, hiring the cheapest person around doesn’t mean you will get good advice. People that charge a lot can do so because they have the knowledge and experience you need.
Not Seeing the Big Picture
Content is not just text on your website. It serves multiple purposes and it has to influence multiple demographics if you are hoping for a conversion of any kind.
Here are just a few things web content must do:
- Help pages gain good placements in search engine results based on the service/product.
- Help pages gain good placements in search engine results based on the location the service/product is offered.
- It needs to be scannable first.
- It has to please the visual learner.
- It has to please the analytical thinker.
- It has to create trust in different kinds of people.
- It needs to subtly convince without over-selling.
- It needs to create a need in the reader and the reader could be many different demographics you are targeting. It must please them all.
Really good consultants have multiple goals for content and their creation of content takes a lot of time to try and meet each of these goals. Try to see the big picture and understand that creating content is not just writing up some paragraphs. There are reasons for everything. Listen with an open mind.
Friction Can Be Avoided
All friction between marketing companies/consultants and business owners can be avoided if both sides go into a project with an open mind. Both sides have a lot to learn from each other. There needs to be no ego issues on both sides.
Business owners, please, please, please give your consultant some respect and understand that they know what they are doing.
Consultants, you deserve respect, but you also owe the client respect. Many clients are instantly put off if they feel they are being spoken down to. Try really hard to avoid that; you might not even realize that people feel that way. There are a lot of sensitive folks out there. Clients that feel disrespected will be gone and the word will spread.