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.”  Quicksprout.com 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 prospress.com,
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.

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

To the Blog Writer, It’s One Thing; To the Reader, It Might Be Another

blog marketing
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it dozens of times in this Say It For You blog – blogs are not ads.  Still, always on the prowl for good ideas, I happened upon a full page ad (for sleep chairs, of all things!) that could actually serve as a model for us blog content writers. 
The headline consisted of a quote from a customer:
“To you, it’s the perfect lift chair. To me, it’s the best sleep chair I’ve ever had.”

Then, beneath a picture of the lift chair, there was a three paragraph article.  “You can’t always lie down in bed and sleep. Heartburn, cardiac problems, hip or back aches, dozens of other ailments and worries. Those nights you’d give anything for a comfortable chair to sleep in.”
It’s a good idea to build the occasional blog post around a customer success story. Good testimonials give prospective customers peace of mind, providing proof that people have tried your products and services and approve of them.

The second paragraph went on to highlight some special features of the product – heat and massage settings, battery backup, and a lift mechanism that tilts the chair forward.
In one of my favorite books about selling, Mitch Meyerson’s Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, the author points out that features tell us two things about a product or service:  what it does and what goes into it. In this ad, of course, the benefits (what the product does for the customer) are emphasized first, with the features described second.

The third paragraph highlighted “white glove delivery”, with professionals unpacking the chair in the customer’s home, inspecting and positioning it, even carrying the packaging away.
Since at Say It For You, our content writers serve the needs of both product vendors and professional practitioners, I was very interested in this paragraph about extra services associated with the product. Blog content writers should make lists of ways their business individualizes and personalizes services to customers and clients.

The bottom of the page had the phone number (with a special code), along with a color and fabric chart.
While blogs are not advertisements, I often explain to content writers that a Call to Action does not at all invalidate the good information provided in the piece. As long as the material is valuable and relevant for the searchers, they’re perfectly fine with knowing there’s someone who wants them for a client or customer. In fact, the Call to Action in the form of a phone number to call or a link to click makes it convenient for readers who are ready to buy.

To the blog writer, the product or service might represent one thing; to individual readers, it might represent another, all the more reason to vary the approach in different posts. 
Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

Blogging About Your Five

Most businesses are good at 95% of what they do, says billionaire restaurateur and hotelier Tilman Fertitta in his newest book Shut Up and Listen. It’s the remaining 5%, he says, that determines whether the business excels or not. That 5% is the difference driver or tipping point, the author explains, offering examples from restaurant settings. 

On the negative side, that 5% difference can be made by a server bringing a drink without a napkin or a four-person table with one mismatched chair. A positive “fiver” could be knowing the names of repeat customers and where they prefer to be seated
Fertitta’s firm message for success: “Aim for a culture that puts the five percent at the forefront of your thoughts, decisions, and acts.” 

Blog titles and content, we emphasize at Say It For You, need to focus on the positive aspects of your business or practice, and primarily on the positive results customers can expect from selecting to work with you. Fellow blogger Michael Fortin agrees.  “Leave out the ‘buts”, he advises, and substitute ‘ands”.

 

And, while one approach in blogging is to compare what you have to offer with competitors, avoid devaluing other companies’ products and services. Focus on demonstrating what you value and the way you like to deliver services.

 

Behavioral science introduced a term that can be very useful for blog content creators: framing. Even a slight alteration to the way something is presented can result in a completely different response or decision, the authors of the digitalalchemy.global blog explain.

 

It’s interesting that when customers have a bad experience, they are four times more likely to dump your brand, as ZCNet reminds us. What’s so ironic is that the bad experience almost always relates to the 5%, not to the usually satisfactory performance that results in customer loyalty to providers whose overall performance is just OK. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as “negativity bias”, which explains our tendency to make judgments based on negative far more than positive information.

 

In your business or practice, you’re probably on top of your 95%. The 5% tipping point is what you need to clearly convey in your blog!
Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

Annoyance- Minimized Business Blog Writing

“Annoyance may well be the most widely experienced and least studied of all known human emotions,” writes Joe Palca in National Geographic. “Traffic. Mosquitoes. People who snap their gum. People who crack their knuckles. There are so many things in the world that are just downright annoying.” True, a vast literature exists on anger, aversion, and social anthropology, Palca and co-researcher Flora Lichtman admit, but few scientists have used those things to explain the mild anger we call annoyance.

Website content can be annoying, too, Patti Podnar points out. Don’t you hate it when you take the time to read a business’ home page, their about page, and a few blog posts, and you still have no idea what the heck they do, she asks? Sites that aren’t user-friendly are annoying as all get-out. Writing over your customers’ heads. Not addressing obvious questions and objections. Solving your own pain points rather than your customers’ pain points. Annoying. Annoying. Annoying, Podnar stresses.

You can blog about your business without annoying readers, Patrick Dodge advises.
In the awareness stage, a person has recognized he or she needs information for a specific challenge, and if your content is focused on helping them (not self-promotion), Dodge says, you might engage them on the next stage of the journey, which is the consideration stage..

“Inundating your audience with multiple messages at inconvenient times isn’t helpful,” cautions Neil Patel. People can easily recognize when your intentions aren’t authentic. It’s important to educate your customer, but don’t overload your audience with too much information at once. When people see lots of text, they wonder how long it’s going to take to read the post. And, Patel adds, visitors must know immediately how your product or service benefits them.

“”You’ve just clicked the ‘Publish’ button…Now what?” asks quicksprout.com. Publishing a blog post and quickly moving on to the next one is a waste of your efforts, minimizing the impact of your content and its true potential, the author explains. A number of to-dos can avoid that result:

  • Proofread, looking for spelling and grammar errors.
  • Insert a link to old posts.
  • Add a question to spark discussion.
  • Post on social media.
  • Send to email subscribers.
  • Comment on other blogs.

One thing that annoys readers is lack of readability, Neil Patel explains. Large chunks of text scare readers away, he says, while charts, images, and quotes from industry experts all help maintain interest. End with an actionable conclusion.

In blog content writing, aim for annoyance minimization!

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

Blog Stuff I Can Be Proud of In 2019

blogging principles

There are 5 things Darren Rowse of ProBlogger wishes he’d known earlier about writing content for a blog. My list (of things I wish I’d known) would be much, much longer than that, I realize. Still, looking back at 2019, I’m proud to say that in this 12th year of writing this Say It For You blog, I did remember to incorporate some of those five blogging “axioms”.

The Power of Titles

“The title has the ability make or break a blog post. It impacts how (and if) it’s found….and is vital in whether people actually read what you have to say.” Of the 101 blog posts I created during the calendar year, each had a unique and original title.

The viral nature of Lists
“I find that when writing the same content as a list that you write as an essay, the list will almost always get more attention.” While I wrote few pure “listicles”, I incorporated numbered or bullet-pointed lists in fully half of the 2019 posts.

The importance of being original
“People are drawn to others who speak their mind, who have something unique to say.” One important way in which Say It For You stresses originality is by taking on one client per type per market, avoiding conflicts of interest and creating original content focused exclusively on that client’s business or profession.

The Value of Well Formatted Content
“Online readers tend to scan content, and visual clues in your posts draw the eye to important points.” Dividing the content into sections headed by bold titles (as I’ve done here) helps readers follow the logic of the blog, even if they do not fully read every word in every section.

The Impact of a Good Image
“Images have the power to communicate in ways that words cannot.” Every Say It For You post was headed by, or incorporated, an image.

For every writer, there’s room for improvement, and, in 2020, that’s what we aim to do. The mission hasn’t changed – create content that is accurate, current, consistent and dependable, based on understanding each client’s business, or practice.

Meanwhile, allow me my brief moment to look back and be proud. Happy NewYear!.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail