If you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory, you’ve probably laughed at the scenes involving ongoing dialogue between Sheldon and Penny. PhD Sheldon talking to Cheesecake Factory waitress Penny is just plain funny. It’s funny because they are in no way communicating on the same level and because there is a complete mismatch between education levels and comprehension. It’s funny because it’s TV and it is designed to entertain us.
The communication breakdown between Sheldon and Penny isn’t just comedy. It exists in our real world lives and we see it around us every day. I see it on corporate websites and when this happens, it is anything but humorous.
Writing Website Content is Difficult
Writing website content isn’t for everyone and it certainly isn’t something you throw as a to-do item for the summer intern. Sheldon and Penny are a great example of why this is the case.If you are a company that sells products and services to other companies, you’ve possibly fallen into the content trap of mismatch dialogue for your visitors.
I generally see one of three routes companies take when creating their website content
- PhD Written Content – Companies tend to hand the task of content creation over to the smartest person in the company. The idea here is that the smartest person will know the most about the product or service offering and thus will provide endless amounts of valuable information. The problem with this idea is that the smartest person in the company is horrible at writing web content. Particularly the company’s product or service pages. This is because he is the only one who can understand and digest what he writes. Overly smart people (yes I’m talking to you Dr Sheldon Cooper) cannot write for real people such as Penny or even in some cases Howard. If you request the resident PhD to write content, you need to “dumb it down” so average people can read and digest it.
- Intern Written Content – Another route I see is a firm assigning the task to an intern or administrative assistant. While these individuals can write content that average people can read and digest, they do not know the benefits and solutions provided by a company’s product or service offering. These individuals may and may not be smart, but this isn’t the issue. The issues lie in exposure. This type of person is not inside the company’s activity enough to clearly explain why a product or service is an ideal solution for a given type of customer. There simply isn’t enough substance to the content because this individual doesn’t have access to enough data to know how the product or service relates to real-world scenarios.
- Status Quo – The last, and albeit worse route, is leaving the content in its current state. Website content that was written five years ago doesn’t entice the search engines and it certainly doesn’t wow visitors.
If You Can, Create a Marriage Between Sheldon and Penny
If you have a PhD in the house, have him write content, but give it to someone else to proof and reword so the average person can read it. It’s good for your visitor and it’s good for SEO.
We literally did this at the ERP software company I worked for years ago. Our president was a PhD in astrophysics and he was wicked smart. He knew our product inside and out and no one could touch his knowledge of our customer base. He also wrote like a PhD and no one could read it. I would rewrite or “dumb down” his proposed website content so normal people could read it.
And guess what happened? Once we did this, visitor retention improved, website conversations went up, more leads came in, and sales revenue increased. Writing content for the visitor produces results.