Hunting the TL;DR with Big Red SEO

February 26, 2014
by Kimberly Treacy

    HUNTINGWith the rise of long form articles that deliver high-quality information and ideas to readers, we here at Big Red SEO in Omaha have noticed one phrase that appears often enough to warrant some explanation.

    TL;DR. Teal deer. Over the years this expression has become common parlance on the Internet, but to the uninitiated, what does it mean? Is it a simple reference to an unconventionally-hued and enigmatic forest creature? Unfortunately no; TL;DR’s real significance is far less whimsical.

    Long form articles are proven to be essential tools for inbound marketing in a number of ways. They’re helpful in building authority, trust, and goodwill between your company and your customers. Giving thoughtful, well-prepared, and actionable information to your visitors is hands-down the most effective way of turning them into customers that keep coming back. As great as long form articles can be, though, they often fall prey to TL;DR.

    Too Long; Didn’t Read

    Internet trolls use TL;DR a lot to comment on the long-windedness of posts they want to discredit for varying reasons. Either the post is boring, or it espouses an opinion the troll disagrees with, or the troll is just in a bad mood on this particular day. Two of these situations we can’t do much about, but we can eliminate the boring content that breeds many teal deer.

    The best way to avoid boring content is changing your mindset when it comes to content writing. It isn’t a task, just another hoop inbound marketers have to jump through in order to get ahead. Instead, you should consider your content creation strategy an essential pillar of your business, because after all, your content is one of the main communication channels between you and your customers.

    Audience, Engagement, and Dialogue

    So how do we go about avoiding the TL;DR phenomenon? Some might say that the answer lies in creating shorter pieces—if you write things that aren’t “too long,” people are more likely to read them. There’s some truth to that sentiment, and we’ve seen it in action all over the Internet: short sentences, short paragraphs, and bullet points meant to appeal to skimmers, not readers. This can be an effective strategy in some cases, but it’s not a strategy to rely on entirely, especially for those kinds of businesses which tackle complex issues that don’t lend themselves to short discussions.

    Our real question, then, is how to create those long-form articles that give more complex issues their due while keeping readers’ attention. We at Big Red SEO believe that effective long-form articles stem from 3 important principles that are often overlooked:

    • Knowing your audience: Simply put, you have to know who you’re writing content for, not only so you can anticipate the kinds of things that will interest your ideal reader, but to make a real, honest connection with them. If through your writing you show that you care about the things they’re thinking about on a daily basis, you’ll have no trouble maintaining a captive audience no matter the form your writing takes.
    • Actively engaging your audience: We all know what it means to engage with someone, but how does it actually happen? Let’s break it down a bit with an example. Say you’re sitting down to dinner with someone you’ve just met; what sorts of behaviors on your part lead to the best conversation?

    Being interested in what interests them? Yep, that works.

    Talking to them in their own everyday language? Of course.

    These things alone are big pieces of the puzzle, but we’re still missing something. In order to have a great conversation, you also have to bring something unexpected to the table. You have to take what the other person says and react to it in logical but unexpected ways, simultaneously reaffirming and challenging their modes of thinking. That’s how new ideas are born, and new ideas are the key to great conversation.

    • Content writing is a dialogue: This principle is an extension of engagement with your audience. You not only have to give your audience the information and ideas they’re looking for, but also be open to learning from what they have to say, too. If you design your content to be open-ended, encouraging ongoing interaction between authors and readers (in the form of comments, shares, or even response articles), you’ll know that you’ve crafted compelling content that’s highly resistant to TL;DR.

    Contact Big Red SEO Today at (402) 522-6468!

    As an SEO and web design company in Omaha, Nebraska, Big Red SEO specializes in developing exceptional design and content strategies that help our clients get noticed by more potential customers on leading search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. If your business could use more online exposure, contact us a today at (402) 522-6468 and let us get started working for you!

    Start the Conversation

    As we’ve mentioned, dialogue is one of the most important aspects of the SEO field. If you have any questions or ideas to add to this article, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

    Kimberly Treacy

    About

    Kimberly Treacy (Talbot) is an SEO Guru with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude. As the owner of Big Red SEO, she provides companies of all sizes what they need to know to get their business in front of those looking for their services and products. Big Red SEO is one of the few search engine optimization companies that offers ‘industry exclusivity’ meaning we only work with one company within an industry and their market at a time.