Even More About Words to Use in Blogging for Business

 

Word Of Mouth Represents Social Media Marketing And Connect
“Having something to contribute to a conversation makes us feel good,” schoolwebmasters.com points out, advising schools on communication strategy. “Everyone likes to feel knowledgeable, included, and validated. It’s even typical in group conversations for someone to be thinking more of what they can add to the conversation than actively listening to what other people are saying”.

Rule #4 schoolwebmasters offers school personnel is this: “Keep your mission and message short and memorable.  Think about what you want people to say when they start talking, and work that message into your communication strategy.” As blog content writers, we can truly appreciate this next piece of advice: “A long, complicated message isn’t going to be repeated in word-of-mouth instances….Keep things positive and simple.”

Since the words we use in business blog content are our most important power tools, how can we use words to enhance word of mouth marketing results for our business owner and professional practitioner clients?

Marketers used to focus on the 4 Ps, Kimberly Whitler writes in Forbes. Now, Whitler claims, we need to focus on the three Es: Engage, Equip, Empower. In blog marketing, I teach, one of the goals is to “put words into readers’ mouths”, equipping them to make meaningful contributions to conversations – about you and about your products and services.

Often what really makes up a consumer’s mind is a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source.  “As consumers overwhelmed by product choices tune out the ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing, word of mouth cuts through the noise quickly and effectively,“ observes the McKinsey Quarterly.

In blogging for business, we need to “put words into consumers’ mouths”!

 

 

 

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Still More About Words to use in Blogging for Business

Words have power text on notepad
It’s the one lesson blog content writers can never afford to forget – the right words are our business blogging power tools. Sure, images (pictures, video clips, infographics) have power of their own.  But never forget that, in blogging, words matter, as Jennifer Olney of bealeader.com points out. Words are art, Olney emphasizes, and, as bloggers, we must “convey our message in words so that we can be understood without distraction”.

“Blogging has become the best possible way to leverage your online presence and gain traction with Internet searches performed by your potential clients.”(No surprise there, but what I did find surprising is the source of the remark – none other than the National Association of Realtors!)

 “Using powerful phrases – the right words – when you communicate gives you the confidence that you’re communicating your best…What you say can make all the difference in how your customers view you and your company,” says Renee Evenson in “Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service.”  As blog content writers, we need to be conscious of the difference the right words can make in marketing our clients’ businesses or professional practices.

Customers and clients talk to each other. “Research generally supports the claim that WOM (word of mouth marketing) can be more influential than print sources,”  An essential part of business blog marketing, I’m convinced, is “putting words in blog readers’ mouths”, helping them feel knowledgeable and in control in discussing the buying choices they’ve made with friends, neighbors and family.

“Building a successful word of mouth marketing machine is a dream for nearly every small business,” explains Chelsea Segal of Targetwise. “Word of mouth is about making your product and customer service so incredible that people can’t help but talk about it.”  Segal advises combing through what’s being said about you on various social media channels.  As blog content writers, we should look for congruence between the words customers use and the words we use to describe the product or service.

The words we use in our blog content, the words our clients use in talking to us and to others about us – it’s all about words.  The right ones are our business blog marketing power tools!

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Magic Marketing Words to Use in Blogging for Business

 

Hand drill
Certain words and phrases are time-tested to boost response and conversion rates, vertical response.com explains. Those “magic” words include “free”, “value”, “guaranteed”, “amazing”, “easy”, “discover”, “new”, “proven”, and “secret”.

Since your marketing message is often the very first contact between you and a potential customer, it’s important to nail that first impression, adds Brandon Redlinger of kissmetrics. Since people make buying decisions with emotion and then justify those decisions with logic, your message must use psychological triggers to elicit a feeling in the reader’s mind.

Every time someone in your target audience reads your primary marketing message, you want to create an implicit question that follows your statement – “How do you do that?”  Rather than describing your business or profession by its title or category (plumber, dentist, tutor, hardware merchant), think mission statement, describing how you help customers.  Instead of “XYZ is the largest recruiting firm in the Midwest”, try “At XYZ, we help customers find better paying jobs that they love.”

There are four simple rules to help blog marketers choose words for a persuasive post, explains Henneke of enchantingmarketing.com. Pick:

  • words your readers use
  • precise words
  • sensory words
  • relevant words

There are bland words, which should be avoided, Henneke adds:

  • Chewy and tasteless words (really, actually, very) that slow down the reader without adding meaning
  • Stale words (ultimate, amazing, awesome) that have lost meaning over time
  • Doughy words (them, there, is, was, are) no longer flavorsome
  • Low nutrition words (good, nice, bad, successful, effective) whose meaning is weak

Cut out unnecessary words, advises Kayla Izard of resoundcreative.com, listing examples that include:

  • essentially
  • really
  • due to the fact
  • past history
  • for all intents and purposes
  • in terms of

Remember, the right words are our business blogging power tools!

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The Right Words – Business Blogging Power Tools

Cordless power tools, isolated on a white background
It’s too bad that in the course of doing business, we get so tied up in making a good, marketable product and in serving our customers’ needs, we often forget how much help the right words can be. In fact, when it comes to web-based communication, words, along with images are our only tools. As a blog content writer, not only do I derive special pleasure in nicely turned phrases, I consider those “word tidbits” to be business blogging power tools.

Use “I did” phrases, not. “I am” phrases
Just as on a resume or in a job interview, employers want to see strong action words that highlight specific accomplishments rather than titles, a blog should focus on how the business or professional practice has been able to deliver value to customers and clients. In composing the blog content, think “we achieved”, “we improved”, “we created”.

Avoid zipping points
Zipping points, according to witty public radio host Michael Feldman, are over-used phrases he believes should be kept inside our heads and never allowed to escape our lips – or pens! Avoid once-popular expressions such as “going forward” and “low-hanging fruit”, or “game-changer”.

Use keyword phrases effectively
Proper use of keyword phrases to enhance Search Engine Optimization is the “science” part of the blogging equation. But avoid “stuffing” by keeping the percentage of keywords in the text below 5% of total content, incorporating the keywords in the text in an unobtrusive and natural way to that readers’ attention is focused only on the message.

Use words to put statistics into perspective
Using numbers in blog post titles is a great way to set expectations for a post. But where the words come in, I believe, is that one of the primary functions blogs serve is putting statistics into perspective, so that readers are given the answer to the “So what?” and “So, what’s in-it-for-me” questions.

Words you never use in blogging for business
There are three categories of potential trouble in choosing words, asserts Jay Baer, author of Hug Your Haters:  words that lack humility, words that diminish the customer, and words of argument and avoidance.  As business blog content writers, of course, we’re trying to create great online interactions with customers and prospects, so Baer’s advice is particularly apropos.

The right words are our business blogging power tools!

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Blogs and Lawyers’ Briefs

lawyers guide
Having spent years trying to write like a lawyer (I think the number of blog posts I’ve created for attorneys is now approaching 5,100), it was amusing to learn they might be trying to write like me! In fact, there’s a new book out called Thinking like a writer: a lawyer’s guide to effective writing and editing. 

Lawyerist.com teaches lawyers how to create powerful introductions when arguing a case in court. An effective introduction, the authors teach, does three main things to and for a judge:

  1. It rouses the judge.
  2. It gives the judge an overview.
  3. It tells the judge what to do.

Lawerist offers one example of an opening line that does all three things – grabs the judge’s attention, explains what the motion is about, and gives the judge a reason to keep reading:

“Plaintiffs’ complaint could not violate more fundamental pleading requirements….”

Rousing the judge
Unlike trial lawyers, we blog content writers can ill afford to bash our competition, much less in our opening line.  Our task is to assure readers they’ve come to the right place to find the information that satisfies the need that brought them online in the first place. Of course we need to arouse interest and curiosity, but it’s important for us to be quick to clarify where we’re going with the content of the post.

Giving an overview
As in a press release, in a blog post the most important information needs to be delivered up front, so the reader knows the overview of the story before you go into the details.

Telling the judge what to do
One core function of a blog marketing strategy is to engage audiences and drive action. What corporate blogging does best, I’ve often remarked, is deliver the kind of customers to a business website who are already interested in the product or services that website is touting. But then what?  In any marketing blog strategy, something needs to happen next.

“As a lawyer, you spend much of your time writing – so why not do it well?” asks ResearchGate. “You may think you’re an excellent lawyer, but you will not be a successful practitioner unless you can communicate the law effectively in writing to the person who must read and act on your letter or document.”

In blogging, as in lawyers’ briefs, we can be successful only by communicating our messages effectively in writing to readers.

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Good Business Writing Attracts Good Business

All Or Nothing Keys Meaning Entire Or Zero

 

Poor business writing can never be undone, the American Marketing Association cautions in Business Writing Tips for Professionals. “It can cause you to lose business to your competition and could even cost you your job.”

Good business writing, on the other hand, is marked by using a strong, active voice, avoiding company acronyms and buzzwords. “Be clear, concise, and get to the point,” guiding readers by including a clear call to action, The AMA advises.

One AMA tip I found particularly relevant for business blog content writers is this: “Replace hyperbole with solid facts and reputable testimonials. Phrases like ‘We’re #1’, ‘We’re the leader in our field’, or ‘We provide the best service’ aren’t going to get you anywhere.”

I couldn’t agree more – blogging is not boasting.  In fact, the whole idea behind blogging is that, rather than running traditional ads for your brand of hats, or vitamins, or travel, you provide lots of information on the history of hats, on why vitamins are good for you, and about exciting places to go on safari.  Consumers interested in your subject, but who never even knew your name, come to see you as a resource. When blog readers follow your “calls to action” by phoning your business, faxing in a request or an order, signing up for your newsletter, subscribing to your blog through an RSS feed, or by proceeding to your shopping cart to buy your product or service, you know your blog marketing strategy is working.

But there are millions of other blogs out there for searchers to find, so what is it that can transform yours into a powerhouse?  Fellow blogger Michel Fortin answers that question in one word: PROOF!  People are skeptical, he explains, today more so than ever before.  If there’s reasonable doubt, you’re going to lose the sale.

There are several kinds of proof you can use:

  • Factual proof:  Offer statistics about the problem your product or service helps solve
  • Reverse proof: Compare your product or service with others that are on the market.
  • Credentializing proof: Tell about your years of experience, degrees, newspaper articles you’ve written or that have been written about you.
  • Evidential proof: Clinical trial results, testimonials, company or professional awards.

“A well-written article or report can be like that Porsche 911 Turbo, “the AMA concludes. “It will generate a ton of new business in half the time with more fun.”

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How Will They Know They’ve Been Helped?

Composite image of hands showing expectations

 

Financial planners could start the meeting with new clients by asking a simple question: “What is it that brings you in today?” the Journal of Financial Planning suggests. Another question to ask to get a sense of expectations is: “At the end of our meeting today, how will you know that it has been successful?”

“Managing expectations, for me, is the single most important aspect to maintaining a healthy and rewarding relationship with my clients,” Annie Pace Scranton writes in Forbes. Scranton suggest five ways to manage client expectations:

  • Be honest from the get-go
  • Under-promise and over-deliver
  • Anticipate the client’s needs
  • Be accessible for communication
  • Use reports to track work done of the course of a week or month

In thinking about how all this might apply to blog content writing, the question I want to raise is this: Since our content is often being read by people who are not yet our clients or customers, how can we address their expectations?

Sure, it’s easy to fall back on analytics: If readers remain on the page for a certain number of seconds or even minutes, if they click through to our website landing pages, if those readers call or email us, if they sign up for our RSS our blog or newsletter, etc., etc., we’ll know our blog posts have been successful.

But I’m fascinated by that image of the financial planner, before the interview has even begun, asking the prospects how they plan to judge whether or not their time was well spent in sitting down with her. Are there ways for us, through the design and language of each of our corporate or professional practice blog posts, to challenge readers to define in their own minds what would make them feel their time on our blog site was well spent?  Here are a couple of thoughts from Darren Rowse of problogger.com:

  • Communicate your own expectations clearly (how often you’ll post, what topics you’ll be covering, etc.
  • Identify common unmet expectations and pre-empt them
  • Don’t hype yourself

For my part, I put a lot of stock in the opening sentences of blog posts, because that’s where I think readers get a cue as to whether they’ve landed in the right place to find the information, products and service, or advice they were searching for.

Sure, it’s the keyword phrases in the title that start the job of getting the blog found. But, once the online visitor has actually landed, it takes a great opener to fan the flicker of interest into a flame, is how I see it.  In fact, a big part of blog content writing, I’ve found, involves getting what I call the “POW opening line” right. That line might be a bold assertion, an in-your-face statement, a stage-setting phrase.

Whichever tactic you choose, you’re setting the stage for the reader to make a judgment about their own expectations, forcing them to answer that financial-planning-interview question, “At the end of the encounter, how will you know it’s been successful?”

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Him/Her Blogging for Business

You Can Get Your Ex Back

 

“If you want your ex back, but you lash out against them in hurt and anger, they will probably have trouble getting over that,” Gene Morris assures readers in the little book You Can Get Your Ex Back.”

Getting an ex back is not something I need help with just now. But as a business blog content writing trainer, I couldn’t help noticing something very interesting about this little paperback book: In just 56 short pages, the author managed to use the pronouns “they”, “them”, and “their” no fewer than 192 times when referring to ONE ex-spouse!  In addition to the opening line which I quoted above, examples include:

  • “Now, if the relationship ended because the other person cheated and left, you might be tempted to think that they left and you did not do anything wrong.”
  • “Do not slander, insult, or otherwise speak ill of your ex to anybody, because it will get back to them eventually, and that will kill your chances of getting back together with them.”
  • “”Let your ex have their new relationship, because you will still have a chance.”
  • “When it is time to contact your ex, they will notice the improvements.”
  • “Show them that you are serious by getting out of the depressed state and putting a smile back on your face.”
  • “You have been eagerly awaiting your moment where you can contact them and profess your love and your regret to them.”

The grammar question, of course is this: Is there a pronoun to use when referring back to a singular noun? Actually, as englishstackexchange.com explains, “singular “they” enjoys a long history of usage in English. For example, it’s OK to say “Each student should save their questions until the end.”  It’s standard to use the masculine: “Each student should save his questions until the end”; feminists might prefer “Each student should save her questions until the end”. One solution might be to use pronouns of both genders together, like “he or she” or “him/her”, but that quickly becomes awkward. You might, the website authors suggest, reword sentences to always use a plural:  “Students should save their questions until the end.”

In doing online marketing through blogs, the last thing we content writers want is awkwardness – the whole idea is to engage readers, not frustrate them! To me, using “they”, “them”, and “their”, referring to just one ex-spouse in every other line of that little paperback was awkward enough to derail the message that book was obviously designed to convey.

I think the answer in blog content writing is to be direct.  “Your ex will notice the improvements you’ve made.” “Show your ex that you’re serious”. “You’ve been eagerly awaiting the moment when you can convey your love and regret to your ex.”

Above all, in blog content writing, avoid the awkward!

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Book-Review Blogging for Business

Book review word cloudOnline visitors are “test-driving” your company or practice through reading your blog posts. They want to see whether you understand their problems and can quickly and effectively help solve those. Often, the way to be of most help to searchers is to offer “book reviews”, collections of material you have “curated” (gathered and presented) for them.

Remember, though, a review is more than a mere summary. Whether you’re blogging for a business, for a professional practice, or for a nonprofit organization, you’ve got to have an opinion, a slant, on the information you’re serving up for readers. In other words, blog posts, to be effective, can’t be just compilations; you can’t just “aggregate” other people’s stuff and make that be your entire blog presence. But, even while putting your own unique twist on the topic, give your readers links to websites from which you got some of your original information or news.

There’s another reason to curate and review other sources in your own business blog – you need to read what others are saying in blogs and in the press about your field. If there are bloggers whose writing you especially enjoy, create links between your websites.  Your own blog content will be all the richer for this back-and-forth sharing.  What’s more, you’re likely to win the wholehearted approval of the search engines; you’ll notice that “approval” in the form of upward movement of your blog in the rankings!

Omnivoracious, Amazon’s official book review blog, is focused on books, author interviews, and industry news. As  business blog content writers, we are aiming for an Omnivoracious-like effect – making our blog the “go-to” place for target readers interested, not only in the things we sell, the things we know and that we know how to do, but in what our colleagues and competitors know and what they know how to do.

Condensing information is a general term whereby the source message is reduced in length without impacting meaning or grammatical accuracy, says dailycues.com. “Writing for online readers is distinctly different than traditional writing; this means your online content must cater to these readers to grab and keep their attention,” write.com adds.

Try book-review blogging for business!

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Why and Why-Not Blogging for Business

book Aliens

 

Aliens would probably come to Earth in peace, quantum physicist Jim Al-Khalili assures readers in his book Aliens, proceeding to bust no fewer than five commonly held myths-from-the-movies about encounters with visitors from other planets.

The author uses scientific knowledge to debunk each myth:

Aliens will eat us. No, because, in order for them to process our molecules of amino acids and sugars, they’d need to have a biochemistry similar to ours, “a long shot for a species that hails from a different world”.

Aliens will breed with us.  No, we can’t even reproduce with our nearest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee.

Aliens will look like us.  No, because their evolution would not have been parallel to human evolution and it’s “near impossible that they would have human-like features.”

Aliens will be living creatures. No, should aliens contact us, “we will hear not from fellow organic creatures, but from the robots they produced.”

Aliens will come to steal our water and metal.  No, most of our metal is in the Earth’s core, not its crust; asteroids would be better for mining, and icy moons would be easier places to stock up on water.

The Time article about Aliens is a good example of mythbusting, which is used in many fields to counteract counterproductive thinking. For that very reason, I’m a firm believer that myth debunking is a great use for corporate blogs.

In the normal course of doing business or operating a professional practice, misunderstandings about your product or surface are bound to surface.  (It’s even worse when those myths and misunderstandings don’t surface, but still have the power to interrupt the selling process!)

That’s why the de-bunking function of business blog writing is so important. It’s our way of taking up arms against a sea of customers’ unfounded fears and biases.  Blog content writing can “clear the air”, replacing factoids with facts, so that buyers can see their way to making decisions. The technique is not without risk, because customers don’t like to be proven wrong or feel stupid.  The trick is to engage interest, but not in “Gotcha!” fashion.

In other words, business owners and professional practitioners can use their blogs to showcase their own expertise without “showing up” their readers’ lack of it, assuring prospects and clients that they, like movie aliens, are coming in peace!.

 

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Posing the Question in Business Blog Content Writing

people question markI tell new Indianapolis blog content writers that, in creating content for marketing blogs, we need to keep in mind that people are online searching for answers to questions they have and solutions for dilemmas they’re facing.  But, even if those searchers haven’t specifically formulated a question, I suggest we do that for them by presenting a question in the blog post title itself:

  • “Is the U.S. Ready for Future Disease Threats?”
  • “Can the Mind-Body Problem Be Solved?”
  • “How Many Lego Bricks Would It Take to Build A Bridge from London to New York?
  • “Do Baby Boomers Deserve Social Security?

Using a question in the title of your blog post can arouse readers’ curiosity about which side of the issue your opinion is going to represent, and about the answers you’re going to provide in the content of the post itself. The question-title also informs the reader that you’re going to be providing information specifically relating to their search:

Blog questions can be either confirmatory (closed-end, yes-or-no) or exploratory (open-ended). Remember, unlike marketing research firms, business owners or professional practitioners are not out to gather consumer data; they want to engage their blog readers and show that they understand the dilemmas those readers are facing.

  • Did you know….?
  • How do you….?
  • What’s one of the most common problems in…..?
  • Do you want to learn how to…?
  • Have you ever…?
  • you ever wonder if…?

Besides offering readers a promise of relevant content in the body of the blog post, the title question can include keyword phrases to help Google index the blog.

Question: Does your business blog deserve better titles?

 

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Your Business Blog Can Be Their User Manual

User guide book illustration design
“In the olden days – say the 1980s – if you bought a piece of technology, a paperback user guide came with it.  It was the manufacturer’s one big chance to explain its engineers’ thinking to you, to communicate what the designers and marketers had in mind,” David Pogue writes in Scientific American. Then, Google happened, Pogue says ruefully, and physical manuals began disappearing from our hardware and software boxes.

It’s not that users understand all the features of the devices they’ve purchased, although the kind of technologies we use has changed, Pogue explains. “People increasingly spend time in apps and social sites that have a fairly simple interface”. To this day, however, “it’s astonishing how little we know about our phones, computers, and software,” he observes.

Hardware and software makers still operate with their traditional business model: Every year or so they sell us a new version, whose appeal is supposed to be more features. Yet our access to documentation remains scattershot and incomplete, Pogue concludes. That is true, he asserts, despite the availability of answer sites, online communities, and YouTube mini-tutorials.

Enter business blogging.  In fact, according to Forbes, the #1 most important component of the perfect business blog post is answering this question: “What’s the unique angle of this post, and how will it help my audience?”  A blog post can be well-written, but it will be virtually worthless if it doesn’t speak to its audience’s interests, needs, preferences and pain points.

People are online searching for answers to their problems.  They might be there because they need answers to questions they have or solutions for dilemmas they’re facing – or because they don’t know how to use a product or service they’ve already paid for.! That’s when, if you’ve been consistently blogging, they find you, because your blog post gives them just the information they’re looking for in terms of “how-to” content.

Now, I’ve been touting “how-to” content in business blogs for years.  yet it often happens that new blogging clients have a fear that, if they “teach” in their blog, demonstrating the steps in their process, they’ll lose, rather than gain, customers and clients, because the customers will be able to “do it themselves”! In reality, the opposite is true: Consumers who feel fairly informed often prove more willing to make buying decisions.

Let your business blog be their user manual!

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The Power of Place in Business Blog Content Writing

The Power of Place
“Branding helps people identify and recognize your products and organization,” asserts thebrandingjournal.com. And just how does that happen? Branding:

  • makes your company different from the competition
  • helps you connect with customers emotionally
  • helps consumers know what to expect
  • allows you to be clear with your strategy and stay focused

So, in today’s world of online marketing, is physical location important?  Obviously it is  for businesses that sell goods or services directly at brick-and-mortar establishments, yourbusiness.azcentral.com states. Location influences operating expenses, taxes, and regulations. But, even for home-based businesses, I think it’s important for customers to envision you at work; a photo of you at your desk should be included on your website.

“In a world where the movement of people, capital and ideas is more fluid than ever, a strong place brand is more important than ever,” Resonance explains. Having done online marketing for the past decade, I couldn’t agree more.

The story of the O.K Corral bears out that idea of the power of place in consumers’ minds.  The OK was a livery and horse corral from 1879 to about 1888 in the mining boomtown of Tombstone, Arizona, near the Mexican border. It was there that the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West, portrayed in 1957 film Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, was supposed to have taken place.

Truth is, the gunfight did not take place either within or even next to the O.K. Corral, but in a narrow lot six doors west of there. Despite the historical inaccuracy, the corral is currently marketed as a tourist attraction where visitors pay to see a reenactment of the shootout between Wyatt Earp and his brother in a faceoff with the Clanton-McLaury gang.

“Today’s world of commerce is not kind to those who serve average products to ‘average Joes’,” remarks eograndrapids.org. “You’ll need to identify your niche, or your unique value proposition.” For blog content writers seeking to attract readership in their niche markets, I add the reminder, “Don’t forget the power of place in business blog content writing!”

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Mythbusting Blog Content is More Than OK

OK

 

“There may be more stories about the origin of ‘OK’ than there are uses for it,” a Mental Floss magazine article points out. Writers have attributed it to:

  • the Haitian port Aux Cayes
  • a Puerto Rican rum labeled “Aux Quais”
  • the German alles korrekt
  • shipbuilders marking wood for “outer keel”
  • Civil War soldiers carrying signs for “zero killed”

The truth, as Allan Metcalf explains in OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, is that the expression “OK” was born as a lame joke by the editor of the Boston Morning Post in 1839, meant to poke fun at poor spelling habits.

Today, Mental Floss points out, “OK” has become an all-purpose expression in dozens of languages, used as:

  1. an enthusiastic cheer
  2. an unenthusiastic rating of a movie or a meal
  3. a way to draw attention to a topic shift in conversation

What Metcalf has achieved is a myth debunk, and myth-debunking is one great use for business blogs. Many misunderstandings about a product or service present themselves in the natural order of business, in the form of questions and comments from readers and customers. Shining the light of day on that misinformation shines light on your own expertise.  If your blog post is well written, perhaps with a bit of tongue in cheek, it can offer enlightenment in a way that engages searchers and keeps them coming back.

In the process of debunking a myth, I tell business blog content writers, you can:

  • Offer little-known, interesting information related to your industry
  • Season that information with your own unique slant
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise as a business owner or  practitioner

An important caution is in order when it comes to myth busting in blogs, however. As a blog writer, you want to use myth busting in your corporate blog to showcase your knowledge (as opposed to “showing up” your readers’ lack of it).

So long as you keep that important caveat in mind, mythbusting blog content is more than OK!

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Deep Dive to Create More Blog Content

 

Diving suit equipment isolated over white
Deep dive, freshsparks.com advises blog content writers. “Take articles with more general information and create a separate article focusing on one specific area.”

All the way back in 2008, I wrote about target marketing in a Say It For You blog post titled “If the Parents Hate It, the Kids Will Love it”. I had based the post on an article in Speaker magazine about the Alice Cooper rock music group, whose stage show was considered “over the top” by anybody’s standards at the time, complete with guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, live chickens, and a boa constrictor, with a male in tattered women’s clothing holding a snake. The band, according to professional speaker Terri Langham, had made a brilliant career decision, focusing on one target audience – kids.  “If the parents hate it, the kids will love it” became the motto.

In that post about the Alice Cooper band’s marketing strategy, I advised blog content writers to emulate that kind of targeting, narrowing down their market focus. It doesn’t matter, I advised blog writers, if other segments of the market hate your blog, so long as your target customers love it.

In the years following, I’ve come back to that target marketing theme time and again to take a deeper dive:

  • In Blogs and Podiums – Choose Yours Wisely: “Who are your target customers or clients? What approach would have the most appeal to that segment of your market?  Will the emphasis be on your product or on special service and expertise?  Pick one primary area of focus – don’t try to do everything in one blog.”
  • In Befitting Bloggery:  “Everything about your blog should be tailor-made for that customer – the words you use, how technical you get, how sophisticated your approach, the title of each blog entry – all of it.”
  • In With Blogging, a Small Business Can Have a Long Tail: “Regular, high quality content, posted consistently on your blog, can have a huge effect in a small market.”
  • In Scoping Out Your Blogging Niche:  “Blogs, after all, use “pull marketing”.  The people who find your blog are those who are already online looking for information, products, or services that relate to what you know, what you have, and what you do! Your online marketing challenge is not to seek out the people, but to help them seek you out!”
  • In Smaller Targets, Better Hits: “Blogs are smaller, shorter and more centered around just one idea than e-zines or newsletters or even web page content. And blog posts will stick around forever. Blogs can link to other blogs and web sites, turning mini-power into maxi-power, and increasing exposure to the search engines.”

Deep dive into your own blog content, creating more content and more detailed information.

 

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Above All, Do No Puzzling in Blogging for Business

Confused Geeky Woman“Many claim that the word “forte”, coming from the French fort, should properly be pronounced with one syllable. Common usage, however, prefers the two-syllable pronunciation (for-tay), which has been influenced by the music term forte, borrowed from Italian. Speakers can continue using forte as one syllable knowing that the origin of the word supports this pronunciation, but they do so at increasing risk of puzzling their listeners.”

For us blog content writers, of course, the “listeners” are our readers and, needless to say, puzzling those readers is absolutely the last thing we should aspire to do. (For bloggers, that is equivalent to the “above-all-do-no-harm” warning in the Hippocratic Oath.)

One way we can inadvertently puzzle readers is by using allusions (figures of speech) where the reference is unfamiliar. If we allude to someone’s “Achilles’ heel”, for example, we need to be pretty sure our readers’ level of education will allow them to know what we mean. If we mis-calculate their ability to recognize the allusion, the danger is they’ll find our content frustrating rather than illuminating.

“Basic English” simply means using words that people will understand,” says business humorist Todd Hunt. Blogging for business means using understandable, clear language. My own observation, based on working with different industries doing corporate blogging training, is that lack of clarity between writer and reader is worse with business-to-consumer corporate blog writing.  But even among suppliers, consultants, and retailers within a single industry, there’s no question that the clearer the words are to all the parties, the easier it becomes for transactions to happen.

Clarity is the soul of business blog writing. Not only does making yourself clear keep online searchers from quickly “clicking away” to another website to find what they want, but clarity avoids misinterpretation of the message in each post.

Above all, do no puzzling in blogging for business!

 

 

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Use the First Minute to Make Blog Readers Feel Safe

27 Powers of Persuasion
“Use the first five minutes to make people feel safe,” advises Chris St. Hilaire in 27 Powers of Persuasion. (This week my Say It for You blog is devoted to business books that offer wonderful guidance on selling and presentation skills.)

  • Politicians know: You can change a conversation by touching the other person’s arm.
  • Lawyers know: You don’t ask a question unless you already have the answer.
  • Reporters know: People hate silence. They fill it with stuff you can use.

And the most relevant to online marketing through blogs: “Marketers know: It’s easiest to convince people of what they already believe.”

When your main goal is to persuade, the first five minutes are not so much about impressing other people as they are about putting them at ease, the author asserts. (According to blogbuffer.app.com, after seven minutes’ time on blogs, the average reader’s interest has peaked, so perhaps it makes sense to consider the first minute as the limit for putting your readers at ease.)

“If you already know the people you’re meeting with, use the first five minutes to make them feel valued,” St. Hillaire advises salespeople. Since a target market represents a set of individuals sharing similar needs or characteristics that your company hopes to serve, business blogging is the perfect tool for niche marketing.  After all, the people who are finding your blog are those  who are already online looking for information, products, or services that relate to what you know, what you have, and what you do!

Now they’ve found you, your two-part, first-minute challenge is to:

  1. put readers at ease by assuring them they’ve come to the right place
  2. make them feel valued

Searchers who’ve found your blog site won’t linger longer than a couple of seconds if what they see doesn’t reassure them they’ve come to the right place for the information they need. Each claim a content writer puts into a corporate blog needs to be put into context for the reader, so that the claim not only is true, but feels true to online visitors.

Use the first minute to make blog readers feel safe!

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Using the Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs in Your Business Blogging

 

Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

 

“Your listeners are asking themselves ‘Why should I care?’ Carmine Gallo reminds marketers in his business skills and development book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Jobs, the author reminds readers, is the guy who transformed business presentations into an art form. Using those presentation secrets, a top Apple executive said, you can:

  • take charge of any room
  • sell products
  • build brands
  • engage teams
  • convey ideas persuasively
  • turn prospects into clients

That sounds almost too good to be true, but, hey, if using some of those presentation skills in business blog content writing can turn prospects into clients – count me in!

Gallo points out Jobs’ unrelenting focus on results – will using your product or service help prospects:

  • make money?
  • save money?
  • have an easier time of it?

“Remember, your widget doesn’t inspire,” Gallo reminds marketers. Whichever the primary benefit you have to offer, tell prospects about that, and tell it to them early, often, and clearly, Gallo says.

Gallo pinpoints 3 practical applications of Jobs’ style speakers can use (and, of course, we content writers are nothing if not presenters):

  1. Casual language is what the people want. (Make the numbers relevant to something with which readers are already familiar.)
  2. Minimal content is best suited for long term memory. (Create a memorable moment for the audience, revealing some new and unexpected information, or telling a story.)
  3. Create ways to use the villain/hero narrative. (Spend time describing the problem in detail. “Build the pain.”)

The goal of each business blog post should be to leave readers absolutely knowing why they need to care, not about your product or service, but about the way they are going to feel after using it!

Use the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs in your business blogging!

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Two “Ifs” to Making Interview Blogs Intriguing

Job applicant having an interview

 

Just one of “101 blog post ideas that will make your blog ‘hot’” offered by startbloggingonline.com is this:  Interview someone. But interviews, the author warns, are popular only in two cases:

  1. You deliver an interview with an important “someone” who rarely speaks in public

You rally useful and practical tips and content.

As a blog-content-writer-for-hire by business owners and professional practitioners, I’ve found, the interview format very useful in creating posts that are more compelling in many cases than the typical narrative text. I do the interview blog in two steps:

Step One: In a face-to-face (or Skype) interview with a business owner or executive (or professional practitioner), I am able to capture their ideas and some of their words.

Step Two: I then add “framing” to the post with my own questions and introductions.

Although this Say it For You blog has a non-monetized business model, unlike Mi Muba’s, I like what Muba has to say about the five most common objectives of publishing an interview blog post:

  • To help your readers learn from the expertise of interviewee
  • To inspire your readers with the success story of the interviewee
  • To practically guide your readers how to succeed in a given field
  • To provide your readers the chance to interact with interviewee through commenting
  • To add variety to your content after several simply descriptive posts

When you think about it, business blogs themselves are nothing more than extended interviews.  Just as in a face-to-face job interview, searchers who read your blog evaluate the content, judging whether you’re a good fit for them. Most modern job interviewers follow a behavioral interview style, meaning they focus less on facts (the employer already has read those facts on your resume) but on how you, the prospective employee, tend to function in various situations. In other words, the employer is trying to discover the person behind the resume.

We blog content writers need to conduct interviews the same way, and, for the benefit of the readers, reveal the business owner behind the blog!

 

 

 

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7th Century Dance Plague Could Be a Plus in a Business Blog

 

Fitness dancing

The first outbreak of “dancing mania” occurred in the seventh century, Mental Floss magazine relates, and cases sporadically struck every few decades after that. France, Holland, and Germany all suffered, we’re told.  Worst, though, was the July 14, 1518, when Frau Toffea of Strasbourg, France danced for three straight days.  By the time she was hauled away, more than thirty other dancers had joined in, and within a month, one hundred people were frantically jogging without being able to stop! Dancers hyperventilated and hallucinated, unable to stop for food or rest.  Heart attack, heat, and exhaustion claimed lives. After striking 400 people, the Strasbourg plague, which had lasted until September, suddenly ended.

Medical historians have ventured opinions as to the possible causes for the plague, attributing it factors ranging from ergot, a poisonous mold to Sydenham’s chorea (a disorder linked to rheumatic fever that causes twitching).One theory attributes the plague to stress-induced mass psychosis (smallpox, syphilis, and famine were everywhere at that time).

I love “reading around” and “learning around”, as I call it, and encourage all blog content writers to do the same. This piece about dancing mania, like any piece of trivia, can be used to spark curiosity and entertain readers. You may use trivia to:

  • put modern-day beliefs and practices into perspective
  • explain what problems can be solved using that business’ products and services
  • define basic terminology
  • offer statistics showing that many others have faced the same issue as the one concerning the current reader

It’s easy to imagine using the dance mania story in the business blog for a dance studio or a, disk jockey, but it might also be used by a nutritionist or exercise coach to stress the importance of regular meals and maintaining hydration during exercise.

Continually coming up with fresh content to inform, educate, and entertain readers is a pretty tall order for busy business owners and employees. Trivia can solve the problem! 

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