In his famous test, British scientist and mathematician Alan Turing devised a method to determine whether a person was communicating with a machine or a human. For decades, the “Turing Test” has been used in the areas of artificial intelligence and elsewhere. On your way to this article across the Internet you may have even taken a reverse form of the test: the CAPTCHA form is intended to ascertain whether the user is a human or a machine.
But no such test is needed in content marketing. We should assume that the consumers of our content are humans. In fact, we must in order for our campaigns to be successful. We should never be creating content and marketing it for robots.
What Does It Mean To Create Content For Robots?
Marketing to robots is when we as content marketers are more concerned with the content making a search engine happy. It’s when we write articles that are stuffed with keywords and are difficult to read. It’s when we create content that’s crafted to be read by Google’s robots rather than human eyes.
The problem with that strategy is that it backfires. If we build content that’s intended to make the search engine happy it may rank better in the short-term and theoretically more people will see it. But if it’s written for robots it won’t be well received by a human audience and they won’t stay on the page very long. That means your content won’t get shared and you won’t convert readers into followers and customers. As a result you lose because you’ve chosen to appease the robots instead of the human beings.
Use Personas To Give Your Audience a Face
Award-winning author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., one of the most popular writers in the post-modern literary movement, advised that authors should “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”
How do we avoid creating content that has “pneumonia”?
We write our content for a human audience and to do that we have to know that audience.
One way to achieve this is by creating personas, or profiles of our readers. It’s a critical exercise that helps us craft our content for real people. Our personas have wants and needs, problems and goals, they are seeking answers. Once we define our personas (you may need to build many personas) we create the content for those personas, not a faceless, nameless, inhuman machine. Robots may be able to crawl websites but they can’t even come close to making the complicated decisions that humans can when presented with a matrix of challenges and options.
How To Create Content For Humans
- Write content that is conversational, engaging, and informative.
- Make the content scannable for the human eye.
- Pose questions and answer them.
- Forget about trying to “trick” the robots by packing keywords or links into the copy. Let them come out naturally.
- When you approach a piece of content don’t ask “What will Google think of this?” instead ask “What will a reader think of this?”
Every time you are creating content ask yourself how you can make it better for people to read, digest, and share. If you are not doing that, you’re content marketing won’t work.