Verbifying For Blog Marketing

‘It’s an interesting question and there are opposing sides in the business world about whether ‘verbifying’ a brand or product is a good thing or not,” observes Mike Hovan of Fast Company. Lawyers hate it (verbifying might risk the legal power of a trademark); marketers believe it represents the ultimate compliment, showing a personal connection between consumer and brand. Whatever your take, verbifying is certainly being done. “We ballpark, we partner, we eyeball, fast track leverage, and we green-light,” Hovan points out. Even outside of business, we water the flower bed and box up clothes.
Verbifying nouns is hardly new news, the author of one of my favorite blogs,   explains.
In fact, the practice dates back as far as 1871!  Common examples (yes, each of these was born as a noun!) include:
  • dress
  • fool
  • host
  • drink
  • mail
  • sleep
  • style
No one knows why some nouns mutate into verbs while others do not, says Helen Sword in Opinionator. “We horse around, outfox our enemies, parrot a phrase, and mouse over a hyperlink. However, we do not penguin or giraffe,” she adds.
As a blog content writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to use words. My conclusion is that verbification can serve a positive role – more verbs make for more dynamic blog content.  Why?
  1. Verbs connote activity and excitement more than nouns.
  2. If a verbified noun catches on, readers will repeat it to others.
  3. Blog writing is best when informal and conversational, and verbifying helps accomplish a humorous, light tone.
Especially when it comes to boosting smaller companies. I believe verbification of the business brand can be an actual goal of the marketing strategy
Try this blog writing verbification challenge: Find a noun that applies to your product or service, one you can turn into a verb.  Then, introduce it in a blog post and then repeat frequently in posts, tweets, and promotions.  Stir and serve….

Design Thinking for Blog Content Writers

Design thinking is a process that helps companies and organizations solve problems, address challenges, and develop products,” a fascinating article in a recent issue of the Indianapolis Business Journal begins. Eureka!  At Say It For You, our blog marketing efforts are designed to demonstrate that our client companies and organizations can do those very same three things, I thought…

There are several different steps in design thinking, IBJ authors explain, and it’s best to move among the steps as needed. Meanwhile, I asked myself, how can we as content writers, use the first design-thinking step (Empathize) as a guide?

“See the problem you’re trying to solve through the eyes of the people facing it,” the authors suggest, exploring what the potential users of your product or service are saying, thinking, and feeling about the problem. 
I’ve written before about the concept of framing, meaning positioning a story in such a way that readers will focus on it and respect our blogging client’s expertise. In the course of delivering information (facts, statistics, features, and benefits, instruction and advice), we must create a perspective or “frame”.

Framing, a term that comes from behavioral science, is all about the Empathize step in design thinking. It’s about understanding in as much detail as possible what the target audience of readers is thinking, doing, and feeling about the problem our client is proposing to help solve.

While design thinking involves understanding what prospects are saying, thinking, and feeling about a problem, as content writers we need follow the advice client communications consultant Victor Ricciardi offers to financial planners: “Link your discussion to what clients will be able to DO or BUY with that (investment) income.”

When you’re composing business blog content, I teach at Say It For You, imagine readers asking themselves – “How will I use the product (or service)?” “How will it work?” “How will I feel?”  In other words, besides empathizing with prospects (where they are now), our job as content writers is to move them forward by helping them envision a good result. Readers found your blog in the first place, I remind writers, not because they were in search of your brand, but because of their own need. Needless to say, the blog must convey the fact that you can fulfill that need and that they have come to the right place. You must give online searchers a “feel” for the desired outcomes of using your products and services.
Blog by design – design thinking!

Blog Content Writing Hopefuls Look for an Edge

The Indianapolis Star headline read: “GOP hopefuls look for edge in crowded 5th”, alluding to the long slate of candidates in Indiana’s 5th congressional district. As a corporate blog writing coach, I couldn’t help seeing a parallel.  As blog marketers, we’re seeking that “edge” in the competitive world of online marketing.  I paid close attention to the list of informational items listed under “Candidate Information”, and those included:
  • Age
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Previous work experience
  • Residence
  • Family
  • Website
“No matter what kind of a business you have, or how small or large your business might be, a blog will draw your prospects closer because they can learn about your business and what you sell.” explains.

In terms of family information, “having a business blog doesn’t mean you need to be stiff,” the Quicksprout authors continue. “It’s okay to connect with potential customers on a personal level.  Just be sensible about sharing, maintain a good balance of business information and personality.”

So, which categories of information about the 5th District political candidates should find their way into online marketing pieces?

Age and previous work experience: How long you’ve been in business – or in practice- is definitely something prospects want to know. If the number is a small one, it helps to explain what motivated you to start the business or practice, and how your prior business or professional experience led you to start this enterprise.

The importance of “residence”, meaning the location of the business or practice cannot be overstated, writes Jason Luthor of azcentral. “A business’s location also helps it create a brand and image,” Luthor adds. Even for online businesses, Kirby Pricket points out in,
Factors such as where we live, our friends, the local weather, and local brands still influence what we prefer and buy.

In the same way as Indianapolis Star readers may wish to learn more about particular Congressional candidates by visiting their websites, blogs (themselves a type of website with frequently updated content) can – and should –  lead readers to visit particular landing pages on the bigger website.
Like political candidates, business owners and professional practitioners are seeking an ‘edge” over their competitors. Blogging is one of the very best ways to establish that edge, Quicksprout asserts, since 70% of consumers learn about a company through its blog versus its ads.




Help Blog Readers See Themselves in Your “Home”

In “Stage a Home That Sells”, AARP’s Upfront/LIVE magazine is talking about appealing to young couples when selling real estate, but what I noticed is that three of the recommendations listed under “What Buyers Want” are made to order for blog content writers, no matter what the product or service we’re marketing:
“Buyers want a home they can see themselves in.”
Help online visitors to your business blog assimilate your message through visualizing, I advise at Say It For You. Painting word pictures is an important part of blog marketing. Sure, there is room for technical, precise language in discussing your product or service, but you want listeners to “put themselves in the picture” by becoming customers or clients.
“Buyers want a sense of wellness in the home.”
According to the Writing Center at The University of North Carolina, “In order to communicate effectively, we need to order our words and ideas on the page in ways that make sense to a reader”. Assume your readers are intelligent, the authors advise, but do not assume that they know the subject matter as well as you. Using familiar words and word combinations gives readers a sense of comfort and “wellness”.
“Buyers want a home with potential for connectivity.”
Does creating connection relate to blog marketing? In every way. “How would most people describe their relationship with your company?” asks Corey Wainwright of Is the relationship purely transactional, making you just a place they go to get something they need, or do you elicit more personal feelings
Each claim a content writer puts into a blog post needs to be put in context for the reader so that the claim not only is true, but feels true to online visitors.
Home buyers typically look at under a dozen  homes before making a decision, but, in that same timeframe, online readers can scan dozens upon dozens of posts before making a decision about a product or service.
My way of describing the process of blog marketing is this: painting the picture (“staging the home”) is only Step #1; What comes next is putting the reader into the picture!

What-It-Would-Do-For-You Blog Content Writing

“When asking ‘What do you want?’ you are seeking an answer that is very specific and positive. ‘I don’t want . . ‘” is not something for which you can coach,” explains Laura Poole, author of the book Perfect Phrases for Coaching Employee Performance.


How can that coaching insight apply to the content we create for business owners and professional practitioners to offer their online readers?
Some of the areas in which employees often crave coaching, Poole notes, include:
  • Applying new skills
  • Dealing with task management
  • Balancing work and life
  • Improving communication skills
  • Launching a pet project

And, while blog content can address each one of those things, offering valuable information and advice to readers, it’s important to remember what coaching is not, as Poole cautions.  “Coaching assumes individuals know what they want and need. The process helps them uncover it, take ownership of it, and move forward in a productive, sustainable way.” The ‘coachee’s desire should be specific and measurable, so that the result becomes obvious when it’s been achieved, the author asserts.

Three questions Poole suggests coaches ask their clients demonstrate clearly why blog content can often achieve what static web page content cannot:

  1. What would it do for you?  (It’s the employee/client who must find the answer for him or herself)
  2. Who else would be affected?
  3. What is it costing you not to have this?
Like coaching, our Say It For You content writers have come to understanding, blogs are not there to admonish, or warn, or even inspire online readers, who have arrived at a particular blog post on a fact-finding mission, looking specifically for information about what that business or that practitioner does and knows about. The tone of the blog content should assume that with complete information, readers will translate that information into action.
The coach/practitioner/business owner is posing the three questions (what would our product/service do for you, who else would be affected by your action or inaction, and what is the cost of your failing to act), allowing the reader to own that choice.