Blogging to the Smarter Buyer

”Smart buyers want to gain as much as possible while spending as little as possible,” Tom Sant teaches in his book Persuasive Business Proposals. “If you don’t show them how much they gain by choosing your recommendations, they will inevitably focus on the other half of the equation, spending very little.”

Several of the elements Sant stresses concerning proposals can be especially important in blog marketing:

1. Smart buyers want a business proposal to address their issues or problems right away, giving them assurance that the recommendations will be relevant.
At Say It For You, we emphatically agree. Corporate blog writing for business, will succeed only if two things are apparent to readers, the first or which is that the business owner or professional practitioner understands online searchers’ concerns and needs. That assurance need to find expression early in the blog post content.

2.  Smart buyers want clear, specific recommendations tied back to solving those problems.
Buyers need to understand that you and your staff have the experience, the information, the products, and the services to solve exactly those problems and meet precisely those needs. Since, other than the clues offered through the words searchers have chosen to type into the search bar, their individual needs are as yet unknown to you, include anecdotes as examples of common issues that have been solved using your products and expertise.

3.  Smart buyers want evidence that the vendor can deliver on time and on budget.
At Say it For You, we realize that having a specific audience in mind and choosing the best evidence for that target audience is crucial.. It’s specific evidence that will resonate with the right audience, including:

  • statistics about the problem your product or service helps solve
  • your years of experience, degrees, newspaper articles written by or about your business or practice
  • testimonials

Choosing the best blog marketing evidence is crucial!

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Blogging the What-Do-I-Do

In creating content – whether for blogs or newsletter, we’re sometimes so close to our own project that we forget to look at it from the reader’s point of view. Humor speaker Todd Hunt must have been reading a recent Say It For You blog post about the three questions prospects ask themselves: What is it? Is it for me? What do I do? No matter what, you can’t leave that third question unanswered. “Always remember where our customer is coming from,” Hunt cautions, showing a copy of an ad from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press touting the Doyle & Debbie Show.

The show is advertised in glowing terms: Brilliant! Drop dead funny! Fall-off-the-barstool fun!
Clever, Hilarious, Wacky & Brilliant! Extended Due to Overwhelming Demand! The only problem? Nowhere is the reader told either where the show is taking place or how to buy tickets! In other words, the what-do-I-do question goes frustratingly unanswered.

“If you find that your leads and prospects aren’t taking the next step in your sales process—whether that’s buying or simply requesting more information—the problem could be a faulty or non-existent call to action,” writes Mindy Lilyquist in thebalancesmb.com. It seems obvious to let people know the next step in doing business with you, but the truth is, many business owners don’t have calls to action in their marketing. Lilyquist thinks there are two possible reasons for this omission:

  1. a belief that the prospect already knows what to do if they’re interested in buying or learning more
  2. concerns that calls to action are obnoxious and will annoy the potential customer

Calls to action don’t need to be “calls to buy – now!”. In fact, the what-do-I-do question can be answered by suggesting the reader:

  • subscribe (to the blog via an RSS feed or to a newsletter)
  • share (via social media)
  • follow (on social media)
  • download (a white paper or book)
  • click to learn more (leading to more information-intensive landing page)

    The what-do-I-do can be in short form (a link or an icon to click on) or a sentence or two, AdEspresso.com explains. “Love learning about…… and want to learn more? Subscribe now for weekly updates….”):

While Todd Hunt reminds us to remember where our customer is coming from, “What-do-I-dos” and Calls to Action offer blog readers options for “Where do I go from here?”!

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Blogging for Business’ Sake

 

It’s a wonder more companies don’t do it,” Paul Gillin, B2b Content strategist, observes, referring to topical blogs. Topical blogs, Gillin says, connect with customers about topics that are mutually interesting. The purpose of a topical blog, he says is to “offer practical information that helps readers be more successful and productive, thereby associating the sponsor with that expertise.”

Serving as a “go-to” source for online readers can be a winning strategy for business owners, showcasing the blog content writer’s own expertise while offering useful, actionable, information to readers. This is in no way disingenuous, we firmly believe at Say It For You, because when people go online to search for information about a product or service, they’re aware of the fact that the providers of the information are out to capture business.

“An advertorial is ‘softly softly’ advertising,” cautions write.co.nz. The art of writing a good advertorial, write.co explains, is getting the right balance between story and sale. “An effective call to action will act as a logical extension of your blog posts, the authors of the Ivy Tech Study Power Leaders’ Guide add. “Your calls to action should never seem abrupt, or you’ll struggle to get the reaction you’d hoped.”

According to About.Com, “a Subject Matter Expert is an individual who understands a business process or area well enough to answer questions from people in other groups who are trying to help.” Individuals designated as subject matter experts (SMEs) are sought out by others interested in solving solve specific problems meeting challenges. Provide good useful information and establish trust and credibility – sales will follow,” Think eBiz Blog concludes.

The stance we’ve adopted at Say It For You in our blog content writing is this: If the information in a blog is “topical”, meaning it’s relevant to the search, helpful and useful, with no hint of a hard-sell, most readers are perfectly OK with the concept that the company providing the information would like to have them customers or clients.

Because readers understand that they are the ones in control, we believe, they have no trouble being “softly softly sold”.

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Task Blogging – the Secret to Getting it Done

“The secret to cleaning your house more efficiently? Task cleaning,” writes Arianne Cohen in Woman’s Day. The biggest mistake people make is cleaning room by room (“zone cleaning”). she says. It’s much more efficient to complete one chore, such as dusting, throughout the entire house, before starting the next.

With blogging having become such an essential customer acquisition and retention tool in our increasingly web-based world, I found two of Cohen’s cleaning tips to be useful hints for us blog content writers:

Top-to-bottom, left-to- right
For each task, start at the highest point in the room, moving from left to right across the room. (You don’t miss anything, and won’t accidentally knock dust onto already-cleaned lower surfaces.)

Blog readers’ eyes typically scan content from the top left to top right,, following the shape of the letter Z. Searchers will select the most important words, the ones relating most directly to what they came online to find in the first place.  Make sure those keyword phrases are ”at the top”, meaning in the title and the first sentences of each blog post.

Spray cleaner on tubs, sinks, toilets, cabinet and appliance doors. Return and scrub.
Allowing the cleaning products to “do their job” means less scrubbing and rubbing will be needed on your part.

Focus is what helps blog posts stay smaller and lighter in scale than the typical content on corporate websites. Recurring themes will reappear over time in different posts, “doing their work” and adding to the cumulative impression on readers.

More helpful guidance for blog content writers comes from an F.C. Tucker Real Estate newsletter:

EQUIP YOURSELF:
(Prepare a pail with spray cleaners, rags, brushes, etc.)

For blogging prep, line up facts and statistics you want to quote to your target readers to support the main idea on which you’ve chosen to focus. For us Indianapolis blog content writers, equipping ourselves happens in the form of an “idea folder”in which we “load up” with content for future posts, saying current by reading,  bookmarking, clipping – and even just noticing – new trends and information relating to each of our clients’ business fields. 

MAKE IT A FAMILY AFFAIR:
(Enlist the help of family members in the cleaning project for faster results – and a commitment to keep things clean.)

Involve all members of the marketing team, plus as many employees and stakeholders in your business blog. (Even if your professional blogger is doing the writing, employees themselves can provide anecdotes and information, plus post comments on the blog.)

For business owners and blog content writers, task blogging may be the secret to getting it done!

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In Blog Marketing, Is Timing Everything?

“You’ve probably already seen a lot of tricks and tips about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of success,” says Michael Breus, author of a book on Circadian science. “But there is another crucial question that must be addressed,” he posits. In fact, Breus claims, the question When? “ is the very foundation of success.”

Is timing, in fact, “everything”, when it comes to blogging for business? Dr. Breus writes about the best time to eat lunch, ask for a raise, write a novel, and take meds. Depending on the chronotype of the writer, there may well be a “best” time for creating  blog content. The question is, since there’s no way to know the chronotype of each blog visitor, is there a best time to publish blogs?

Over the years, blogtyrant.com relates, various studies have analyzed data to find out the best time to publish a blog post. Each study has a different slant, measuring social shares, comments, or clicks. Several studies found Monday to be the best day for maximum traffic (pageviews). On the other hand, Saturday appeared to be the best day for comments, keeping in mind that 80% of the U.S. population is found in the Eastern and Central time zones. For B2B marketing, the hours of 7-9 AM and then again from 4-6 PM seem to draw the greatest number of eyeballs. When promoting your posts on social media, the best time to get noticed appears to be around 5PM, bluleadz.com adds.

A sort of contrarian view on the subject is offered by trackmaven.com: “While planning your blogging strategy and schedule, you want to avoid busy times, when a lot of brands are posting to their blogs and there is increased competition for readers’ attention.”

At Say it For You, we tend to agree with this blogtyrant statement: “Creating consistently high-quality content is more important than the time you publish your blog post….Remember, once a blog post is published and indexed by the search engines, it can be found.”

The issue for many business owners and practitioners is often less that of choosing the optimal posting time and more about finding the time to create content to post! Because blog content writing takes considerable time and effort (two scarce commodities in business owners’ lives), writing for business too often is put on – and too often stays on – the back burner.

Research continues apace on the “when” of blog post publishing. Dan Zarrella of Hubspot comes to one important, albeit rueful, conclusion: “It is “increasing publishing frequency that leads to more traffic and incoming links.”

 

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