Benchmark Blogging

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” legendary management consultant Peter Drucker was fond of saying. “How do we know if we’ve identified a result rather than an activity?” he asks. To achieve any goal, whether personal or business, explains local consultant Michael Hill, use the acronym SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Results-oriented
  • Time-phased

When blog content writers use SMART, that can greatly enhance the value of the information and advice they’re offering.

Start by asking yourself what you want the person to do as a result of reading this post.
Each business blog post should impart one new idea or call for a single action. Focused on one thing, your post has greater impact, since people are bombarded with many messages each day. Respecting readers’ time produces better results for your business.

Readers need to know how they will know that choosing a particular product or service has been a good idea. Offer tips on small, incremental positive changes they should begin to notice.

Describe realistic, achievable and easily identifiable signs that can signal that the client is on a trajectory leading towards the desired outcomes.

While time may have elapsed from the initial transaction, the content of the blog can serve as a reminder of the initial reason for beginning the regimen, purchasing the item, or continuing to take training.

Setting expectations based on time is a good idea for blog content writers. Imagine readers asking themselves “How will I use the product?  How much will I use? How often? Where? What will it look like?  How will I feel?”

Remember, if clients and customers can’t measure it, they will not even try to “manage it”.


Thanksgiving is a Good Time to Talk Turkey About Blog Posts

Despite the flair of those TV Chefs who seem to nonchalantly add “a dash” of this or that seasoning, as you’re preparing the Thanksgiving feast, it’s a good idea to measure the ingredients and the cooking time. Is it important to measure your time in blogging for business? Well…“It’s better to be roughly right than precisely wrong,” observed English economist John Maynard Keynes almost a hundred years ago.  I think that saying holds true when it comes to measuring the effects of SEO marketing blogs.

I realize that our Say It For You business owner and practitioner clients want to be able to measure the success of their blogging initiative. Still, I tell Indianapolis blog writers that Return on Investment is more than “analytics” and charts. Why is that so?

  1. Even using today’s analytics, it’s not always possible to associate a specific ROI measurement to blogging for business without regard to all the other initiatives the client is using to find and relate to customers.  All the parts have to mesh – social media, traditional advertising, events, word of mouth marketing, and sales.
  2. Blogging for business carries benefits in addition to helping increase sales, I’ve found. Continuously producing and making available quality content helps demonstrate that you care about quality in all dimensions of your business.

On the other hand, I teach content writers to measure, and the Thanksgiving turkey is a good metaphor to keep in mind. Just as in preparing the turkey, it is useful to measure where you business blogging time goes, I teach at Say It For You. Say you’ve allotted two-three hours of your time for each blog post. One fourth of that time might be devoted to finding, reading, and processing existing content published relating your topic. Then, the bulk of the blog creation time is taken up in thinking about the topic, and actually composing the post. Finding just the right photo or clip art to capture the theme of a blog post and inserting it into the post might take 10 minutes. Then, there’s formatting the text to make it more readable, editing, strategically employing keyword phrases – all that will take the reminder of the time involved in the gestation of a single blog post.

Measuring is important in blog marketing in another way. Blog posts should contain at least a third less content than a promotional brochure or a website page, and should focus on one idea having to do with the business – highlighting one product or service, debunking one myth, making one comparison, offering one testimonial from a customer or one true story. This is a case where increasing the amount or number of ingredients is going to take away from – not add to – the eating pleasure!

Thanksgiving is a good time to “talk turkey” about blog posts!


Can “Blog-folding” Increase Engagement?

Proteins designed by humans competing at solving “foldit” puzzles turned out better than those from a design algorithm, it was found in studies chronicled in AARP Bulletin.

What does “foldit” involve? Foldit is a citizen science puzzler game. Since proteins are part of so many diseases, they can also be part of the cure. Players can experience intellectual challenges and have fun, while helping predict which new proteins might help prevent or treat important diseases such as HIV / AIDS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The term “foldit” comes from the fact that proteins are born as long-chain molecules, but then bunch up, or “fold” into complicated shapes.

Should we blog content writers be taking a lesson from the fact that the involving the brain power of people resulted in better outcomes than those produced by computer algorithms? If there is, it’s about engagement.

The term “engagement” describes how involved and “tuned in” readers are. Marketer Jason Amunwa thinks so: “At the end of the day, engagement is thinking less about ‘increasing traffic and instead learning how to do more with the traffic you already have!” he writes.

Indicators that readers are “engaging” with the content (in addition to converting to buyers) include reading all the way to the bottom of the post, subscribing to the blog, sharing the content on social media, and commenting. puzzlers have a powerful stake in the outcomes of their “games” (Who wouldn’t want to help prevent cancer and Altzheimers?) When it comes to blogs designed to develop buyers of products and services, it pays to remember that blog readers tend to be curious creatures.  What’s more, that curiosity factor is highest when readers are learning about themselves.  I’ve found that “self-tests” tend to engage readers and help them relate in a more personal way to the information presented in a marketing blog.

Readers, whether they are new clients, repeat customers, other companies’ clients, or potential clients, are always thinking: “So what?  So what’s in it for me?” Posing qualitative survey questions (questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”) in a blog post can help engage the reader through interaction. Reader engagement also results from an “I never knew that!” response to content that compares the way things were and the way they are today. What’s more, “folding” can consist of photos, graphs, clip art, and videos, all of which tend to boost reader engagement and response.


Blog to Become the JND

 blog marketing

It’s a term from the field of psychology, but the concept is one to which we blog content writers can certainly relate. The JND (just noticeable difference) is the minimum level of stimulation that is needed for a person to detect it, at least 50 percent of the time. For example, if you were asked to hold two objects of different weights, the just noticeable difference would be the minimum weight difference between the two that you could sense half of the time. The just noticeable difference applies to a wide variety of senses including touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight, explains Kendra Cherry in If an experimenter were to slowly add tiny amounts of sand to one of your hands, asking you to say when you notice that one hand feels heavier than the other, that would reveal your JND.

“It’s best to think about who your prospective leads are online and what they might want to read, before sitting down to write a blog post,” Campaign Creators advise. The JND will be the precise point will online readers notice that their needs are being addressed and that the information you’re offering is relevant to their search. According to Internet Live Stats, there are around 5.5 billion Google searches per day or more than 63,000 search queries per second. With such an ocean of material available on the internet on every conceivable topic, at what point will your prospect undergo that minimum level of stimulation need to command her attention?

Always on the alert for ways to convey marketing messages through corporate blog content writing, I couldn’t help recalling Jeffrey Hayzlett’s advice in Success Magazine about grabbing the attention of would-be customers: “Aim for speed and immediate relevance”. There can be no “relevance”, blog content writers need to understand, until and unless the reader experiences JND.

To help that process, I teach Indianapolis blog writers to address five “why’s”:

  1. why YOU (the reader)
  2. why ME (the blogger)
  3. why THIS (the offer)
  4. why now (the urgency)
  5. why this price (the value).

Blog to help the Just Noticeable Different happen!


She-Did-It-To-Work-For-You Blog Content Writing

targeted readers


The full page ad in Employee Benefit News is a grabber, containing a photo of a young woman wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the dollar figure $67,928. “Why did she borrow that money for tuition?” the ad asks, offering the response “She did it to work for you”.

“Every person who visits your site wants an experience worth their time. They want to know you understand their needs,” cautions Adobe Audience Manager. At Say It For You, we know. For readers of marketing blog content, each blog post must be created with a clear and very specific picture of the target readers in mind.

“Single your thoughts down to ONE specific person who’s experiencing ONE specific problem and you stand a better chance of capturing their attention,” writes Mo the Blog Coach. I agree. On my own website, I express the view that blogging has proven itself to have a distinct advantage over more static website copy, so long as each post is designed to have a razor-sharp focus on just one idea, one aspect of the business or practice, targeting one reader, with one desired outcome per post.

Apparently insurance sales consultant Mel Schlesinger has the same idea about the Power of One. Rather than a generic opening pitch, he suggests agents use idea-specific ones. In place of the old “I’d like to get together to learn a little bit about what you do to see if I can help you”, Schlesinger suggests the more specific approach “I have an idea that can help you reduce employees’ pressure for you to increase their wages.”

In addition to directly addressing the employers who are their readers, those Employee Benefit News ad writers got things right in another sense. “One of the simplest, yet most effective pitches comes in the form of a question,” as author Daniel Pink teaches. but you can also phrase questions that allow readers to independently speak to that pain point in their lives, Pink explains, giving the example “Do you feel safe in your home?”

The EBN advertisers, of course, answer their own question – “She did it to work for you.”