Choosing the Best Blog Marketing Evidence is Crucial

In the Complete Middle School Study Guide, students are asked to read a story by Joshua Slocum called “Sailing Along Around the World”, and then to choose ONE piece of evidence, from the story which makes Samblich seem most generous:

Samblich was greatly interested in my voyage, and after giving me the
tacks he put on board bags of biscuits and a large quantity of smoked
venison. He declared that my bread, which was ordinary sea-biscuits and
easily broken, was not nutritious as his, which was so hard that I could
break it only with a stout blog from a maul. Then he gave me, from his own
sloop, a compass which was certainly better than mind, and offered to
unbend her mainsail for me if I would accept it. Last of all, this large-hearted
man brought out a bottle of Fuegian gold-dust from a placed where it had
been cashed and begged me to help myself from it, for use farther along
on the voyage.

The point of the lesson was for students to learn the difference between explicit evidence (things explicitly stated in the text) and implicit or implied evidence. “Most nonfiction texts are full of evidence, the author explains, but choosing the BEST evidence is crucial, selecting the details “that will get the point across quickly and convincingly.”

At Say it For You, we realize that’s precisely the rule blog content writers ought to follow. Having a focused topic is important in any blog post, but have a specific audience in mind and choosing the best evidence for that target audience is crucial. As I tell newbie blog content writers, 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.

And since we are ghostwriters hired by clients to tell their story online to their target audiences, we need to do intensive research, as well as taking guidance from the client’s experience and expertise. But with millions of other blogs out there for searchers to find, it’s specific evidence that will resonate with the right audience. What kinds of evidence can transform your blog into a powerhouse?  Fellow blogger Michel Fortin believes that mamy blogs miss the mark due to lack of proof.

Fortin lists several kinds of proof that may be used in blog marketing:

  • Factual proof:  statistics about the problem your product or service helps solve
  • Reverse proof: comparing your product or service with others that are on the market
  • Credentializing proof: years of experience, degrees, newspaper articles written by or about the business owner or practitioner
  • Evidential proof: clinical trial results, testimonials

Choosing the best blog marketing evidence is crucial!


Using Psychology in Blog Marketing

At Say it For You, we’re keenly aware that positioning a client in the market is all about using words and images to carve out a spot for them, over time, in the competitive landscape.  Does continually providing fresh, new content in a company’s or a practice’s marketing blog accomplish differentiation in the mind of readers?  You bet. Blog content is ideal for further explanation, more details, updates, stories, and sharing owners’ core beliefs.

“One of the most important things marketers must do today is to move away from USP – unique selling propositions – to ESPs – emotional selling propositions,” Jeanette McMurtry cautions in Marketing for Dummies. Four emotions that drive the choice to buy your product or service include:

  1. feelings of glamour or beauty
  2. feelings of confidence and personal respect
  3. feelings of superiority to others
  4. anticipation of the ability to survive over others (this feeling is subconscious)

Marketing lessons from Freud:
Freud’s personality theory suggests that people each have three “voices” in their heads that compete with each other when making decisions:

  • the id: has to have what it wants when it wants it
  • the ego wants to have a plan to get what it wants in an appropriate manner
  • the superego or voice of reason decides appropriate actions to take based on social
    norms and past life experiences

“Think about which personality is most involved in make the decision to purchase your category,” advises McMurtry.

Marketing lessons from Jung:
People cycle through 4 archetypes, Jung suggested:

  • the shelf: the unbridled, carnal self
  • the self: the conscious and unconscious minds connect here
  • the animus: the true values a person has
  • the persona: the person people project to others

In blog content writing, ask yourself: Which psychological fulfillment does your brand support most?

Social Influencers
People we consider to be authorities powerfully influence our choices, McMurtry learned from Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram. In terms of marketing, determine which authorities have the most influence in your product category and how you can align with them. McMurtry advises.

When it comes to content, unlike video games or movies, a business blog should not be rated “E”, intended for everyone. While there is a growing demand for high authority, high quality content, the most important criterion is the need to know your customers, focusing on creating experiences that align with their values.


In Holding Blog Readers’ Attention, Contrast is Critical

contrast in blogs
Contrast is critical to holding an audience’s attention, Nancy Duarte advises professional speakers in her book Resonate. To demonstrate that point, Duarte points to California Institute of Technology physics professor Richard Feynman. In teaching, Duarte explains, Feynman moves back and forth between fact (mathematics) and context (history).

In blog content writing, with the goal being engaging online visitors’ interest, we can learn from Professor Feyman’s ability to create contrast between analytical content and emotional content.

Analytical content can include:

  • diagrams
  • case studies
  • facts
  • supporting documentation
  • statistics

Emotional content can include:

  • biographical stories
  • shocking or scary statements
  • evocative images
  • humor
  • surprises
  • props and dramatizations

Another way speakers can create contrast, Duarte notes, is varying the delivery method between traditional and less traditional methods. Speakers might vary among:

  • speaking from behind a podium to free ranging among the audience
  • alternating between a business tone and humor and enthusiasm
  • minimizing disruptions and planning disruptions
  • using a one-way delivery of information with discussions

I agree. One thing I’ve learned over the years of Say It For You blog content writing is that most business owners and even most professional practitioners have more than one target audience for their products and services. Different blog posts, therefore, might slant in different directions in terms of style and tone. Analytical content can be interspersed with emotional content; a “one-way” instructional tone can be interspersed with biographical stores, humor and “surprises”. In fact, in business blog posts, I teach, it’s a good idea to toggle back and forth among varieties over time, keeping repeat visitors engaged (and content writers from getting bored!).

One blog styling “menu” suggested by includes:

  • reviews
  • lists of resources
  • interviews
  • stats
  • personal stories
  • tutorials

It’s true – in holding blog visitors’ attention over time, contrast is critical.


Unleash the Combined Power of Statistics and Stories in Your Blog

“Every 55 seconds someone in the US develops the disease,” Jason Abady, community engagement manager for the Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association, let our audience know. In fact, I thought later, Abady had used this one simple but startling statistic to engage his audience.

Abady’s presentation confirmed a long-held belief of mine: nothing speaks quite as loud as numbers. In teaching business owners and professional practitioners how to create content for blog posts, I stress the power of using statistics in blogs.

  • Statistics can serve as myth-busters, dispelling false impressions people may have regarding your industry.
  • Statistics grab visitors’ attention.
  • Statistics can be used demonstrate the extent of a problem (just as Jason Abady did in his talk), opening the door for your to show how you help solve that very type of problem.

Statistics relate to the theory of social proof, meaning that, as humans, we are more willing to do something if we see other people doing it. (That, I suspect, is what is in play with the Alzheimer’s Walk, which brings numbers of people together in an activity, rather than merely soliciting individual donations.)

There’s another side to this story, based on my own experience at Say It For You, training blog content writers and working with business owners and professional practitioners: Statistics alone, although powerful, are not enough to create positive results in a marketing blog. True, what blogging does best is “deliver” to blog sites customers who are already interested in the product or service provided by that practice, business, or organization. The blog content assures readers they are not alone in their need for solutions to their medical, financial, or personal challenges.

As John Pullinger observes in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, “Statistics provides a special kind of understanding that enables well-informed decisions. As citizens and consumers we are faced with an array of choices. Statistics can help us to choose well.” However, as blog marketers, it’s important for us to remember that the first choice that people make when presented with a statistic, is whether to take action at all.

Numbers give us quantifiable information, but when it comes to communicating how things can actually impact readers’ real lives, some form of humanizing or grounding the data is often effective, Barnard Marr explains in Forbes.

One way to boost the power of a statistic is to turn it into a story. The story then becomes a call to action for readers. In fact, one big, big part of providing business blogging assistance is helping business owners formulate stories. Online visitors to your blog want to feel you understand them and their needs, and the story enhances the potential value (to them) of your product or service. In his presentation, Jason Abady did exactly that, sharing the story of his own grandfather as an Alzheimer’s patient.

Unleash the combined power of startling statistics and inspiring stories in your blog!


Trivia Scores Points in Blogging for Business


With all this staying at home dictated by the COVID-19 situation, I’m particularly grateful for the TV game show Master Minds. Of course, at Say It For You, I’ve long touted the advantages of using trivia in blogging for business. Trivia can help spark curiosity and interest in readers, at the same time helping business owners and professionals explain what they do and how they believe it should best be done.

I know I’m not alone in enjoying trivia. In fact, I have a theory about quizzes in general, which is that our curiosity is most intense when we’re testing our own knowledge. That’s why tests, games, and quizzes are hard to resist, including those incorporated into blog marketing.

I’m going to use some actual questions from the show to suggest different types of businesses or professional practices which might use those questions as a jumping-off point for their blog post message, but challenge you to find your own connections (you’re invited to share your best ideas in the comments)…

Housed in the Smithsonian, what color is the Hope Diamond?
A natural for a jeweler’s blog, this material might be used for a post about the importance of estate planning or to promote company that installs burglar alarms.

The inhabitants of which U.S. territory drive on the left side of the road? (Virgin Islands)
Just for starters, this piece of trivia could be used to promote driving lessons or auto sales.

When putting on your shoes, where are you most likely to see an aglet? (laces)
This one’s a natural for a shoe merchant or designer, but could be used for a sports equipment company as well.

If you pour a handful of salt into a glass of water, what happens to the water level? (stays the same)
This tidbit might be used to promote cookbooks or cooking equipment.

What national park contains the tallest peak in North America? (Denali in Alaska)
A car company or travel agency could definitely use that one for a blog Q&A.

Which poisonous plant was, in the Middle Ages, thought to utter a shriek when pulled from the ground? (mandrake)
This would be perfect for a garden shop blog, but could be used by a landscaper or grounds maintenance company.

For me, watching those episodes of Master Mind has reinforced the importance of trivia in blog content writing. Trivia allows readers to have the fun testing their own knowledge, while showcasing the expertise of the business owner or practitioner.

When it comes to using trivia to spice up blog content, as Ben Bailey (host of another of my favorite trivia quiz shows) might ask – “You in?”