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.

Let’s Be Designerly in Our Blogging

DORIS Research, I learned in the Indianapolis Business Journal, uses design thinking to organize workplaces. As a blog content writer and trainer, I particularly liked two suggestions DORIS founder Samantha Julka offers for being “more designerly”

1.  “Spend time thinking about people. Think about how they would react or feel about the action you are making or the thing you are creating.”
This statement reminds me of a statement I found in a West Bend Insurance promotional piece: “Much like beauty, ‘value’ is in the eye of the beholder.” Because of that truth, success in blog marketing is knowing your particular audience and thinking about how they (not the average person, but specifically “they*) would probably react or feel about your approach to the subject.at hand.

For example, while you may point out that your product or service can do something your competitors can’t, that particular “advantage” may or may not be what your audience is likely to value. Are you the cheapest (is that likely to appeal to your audience?) or the most expensive (is your audience on that prizes exclusivity?)
2.  “Simple is smart.  Making something simple for other people is actually much harder than making something complex…When it feels effortless to them, you’ve done your job.”
There is actually a Simplicity Score for writers, based on the idea that average sentence length is a good indicator of text difficulty. In preparing blog content, simple can be the smarter choice.  There’s a caveat, though, we maintain at Say it For You. Given the limited attention spans of online readers, we may need to compromise between interesting and simple.
On the keeping-it-simple side, content writers can dump qualifiers (extraneous adverbs and adjectives), while at the same time, using repetition of key phrases to build “blog muscle”.

To be effective, let’s try to be more designerly in our blogging!


What’s Tops in HVAC Blogs is What’s Tops in Blog Content Writing – B

Marketing company Broadly.com looked for certain qualities in compiling their list of top HVAC Blogs in 2018. Earlier this week, I commented on six of those points, because they can work for  blog content writing in any industry or profession. Here are six more:

Advice on finding the right components
Employment consultants name four things workers need:  people who help them, tools, information, and an exchange of ideas. Blog readers need those same components.

Region-specific posts
Niche marketing means targeting the information you offer in the blog to a small portion of a market that is not being readily served by the mainstream product or service marketers.  Your blog helps you serve specific “regions” or “niches” through providing up-to-date, frequent, and relevant content that applies specifically to their needs.

Numerous posts (there’s a lot of content to pick from)
With frequency and recency playing such important roles in search engine rankings, what the consistent posting of content on behalf of a business or practice provides readers with “content to choose from”.

Lists of resources
On a blog, links represent resources  you’ve collected, or curated, for your readers. Adding links to other, credible, resources means you take your responsibility – to keep your readers fully informed – seriously.

Advice on respiratory health
Air conditioning/heating professionals don’t pretend to be healthcare mavens.  At the same time, they realize that indoor air quality affects residents’ or workers’ health. Content writing can be about not just your brand, but about related topics. 

Site updates regularly
The parallel lesson I stress to Indianapolis blog content writers is “yo-yo blogging”.  Spacing SEO marketing blog posts at regular intervals and maintaining consistency has a double advantage. The blogging becomes part of the business owner’s or blogger’s routine. Meanwhile regular readers and subscribers (and search engines as well!) come to expect a regular flow of information.

At Say it For You, we realize, all twelve qualities which Broadly.com pinpointed in “Top HVAC practitioners in any field!.


Look-Ahead Words of Wisdom for Blog Content Writers – Part B

This week, with an eye to the year to come, I’m sharing more words of wisdom from ”my bookshelves”, along with the links to the authors and book descriptions…

Sketch out an outline of events leading to a typical client needing you.
Choose a client from a typical demographic you serve, suggests Paul Smith in The Ten Stories Great Leaders Tell. Your sales story, Smith explains, relates what you did for one of your customers that is so impressive, other people will want to buy what you’re selling as well.

Build a blog post or two around a customer success story. Say you’re a realtor, and today you’re blogging about how important “curb appeal” can be when you’re marketing a client’s home to potential buyers. Rather than just offering advice, you can tell the story of how you guided Sam and Susie towards a successful sale by encouraging them to plant colorful flowers and painting their front door an attractive red. As a final touch for your blog, you can link back to the full version of Sam and Susie’s testimonial which is already part of your website. Customer success stories boost your credibility with new prospects, helping them decide to do business with you.

Our core values are… We pride ourselves on… We commit to… We encourage and reward…
The right phrases have the power to engage and develop employees, Laura Poole explains in Perfect Phrases for Coaching Employee Performance. Language has the power to establish personal connections, develop and reinforce strengths, provide constructive feedback, and encourage commitment to the company’s goals.

The best website content and the best blogs give readers insight into a company’s core beliefs in addition to information about products and services that company offers, I teach at Say it For You. Just as it’s important to tell readers what you have, what you know, and what you know how to do, it’s even more important to explain what you believe. Why have you chose to pursue this field or industry? Why do you choose to do business or conduct your practice in certain ways?

Customers want personalized solutions for their unique needs and preferences.
Driven by tighter budgets and dwindling natural resources, companies are now seeking new ways to appeal to their customers, Navi Radjou, author of Frugal Innovation posits. Products and services can be “co-created”, he says, with empowered consumers and external partners.

Try this highly useful exercise – make a list of ways your business individualizes and personalizes services to customers and clients. Drill down, I’d say to everyone offering blog writing services, to actual cases of clients’ personalized customer service, recalling times when unusual problems got solved, and when standard procedures were put aside to get the job done for that one customer..

By now you should have become a convert to the “reading around” habit. Over the past two weeks we’ve sampled a dozen precious gems that can motivate content writers and infuse blog posts with sparkle and meaning. But these represent just a sampling – blogging gems are all around, just waiting for each of us to add our own unique twist!


Look-Ahead Words of Wisdom for Blog Content Writers – Part A

imagery in blogs


Last week, by way of kicking off a new blogging year, I’ looked through my bookshelves at all the business writing-related books I’ve collected over the year 2019. What would I do without these “reading around” gems with their different sorts and shapes of advice and reflection? . This week, with an eye to the year to come, I’ll be sharing even more words of wisdom from ”my shelves”, along with the links to the wonderful authors…

Paint a verbal picture for your followers.
“The successful articulation of a leader’s vision may rest on his or her ability to paint followers a verbal picture of what can be accomplished with their help,” says presentation coach Carmine Gallo.

Imagery helps make marketing blogs more engaging.  True, in business communications there may be times when technical, precise language is in order. Still, you want readers to visualize themselves successfully using your products and services. In a way, you want visitors to “see” as well as hear what you’re saying.

Claiming credit is adding insult to injury.
“Claiming credit is adding insult to the injury that comes with overlooked recognition. We’re not only depriving people of the credit they deserve, but we are hogging it for ourselves. It’s two crimes in one.”
Marshall Goldstein, who coaches global leaders, is referring to corporate employees in his book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, but the principle is the same for blog writers when it comes to properly attributing content to its original authors.

Is quoting others in your blog a good thing? As I’m fond of saying in corporate blogging training sessions – it depends! On the positive side, when you link to someone else’s remarks on a subject you’re covering, that can reinforce your point and add value for readers by aggregating different sources of information (just as I am doing in this very Say It For You blog post). On the other hand, as is true of all tools and tactics, “re-gifting” content needs to be handled with some restraint and using proper protocol by attributing each piece of content to its author.

Every negotiation has two kinds of interests: the substance and the relationship.
“The ability to see the situation as the other side sees it is one of the most important skills a negotiator can possess,” Roger Fisher and William Ury explain in the book Getting to Yes.

By offering more than one point of view, we blog writers can actually showcase our knowledge of the latest thinking in our field, while at the same time clarifying our own special expertise and slant.

No question – I’m a convert to “reading around”. Gems like these are all around, just waiting for you to add your unique twist before sharing with your blog readers.