In Blog Content Writing, Be a Mensch With Mentions

Since a “mensch” is the type of person we’d all like to think we are, how does that play out in blogging for business? Guy and Peg Fitzpatrick weigh in on that very subject in The Art of Social Media, first explaining the difference between a “mention” and a “hashtag”.

Hashtags help people share a topic, the authors explain. If you wanted to discuss blog marketing with a group of other blog marketers, you’d use #blogmarketing. On the other hand, if you’re blogging about a certain topic, mentioning the name of a person or company (hoping they will see that mention), you’d refer to them as @name on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, if you want to attribute ideas you’re discussing in a blog post to their original authors, you’d link your text to the source, just as I did after naming the Fitzpatrick book above.

The Fitzpatricks remind us of a super-important fact: While with email, the recipient’s response is the only one that matters, in social media, the audience is everyone who reads your comment or your post and who might react to it either positively or critically. Inevitably, some people are going to disagree with you. The authors’ advice to us is to take the high road and maintain a positive attitude throughout.
“Blogging and social media not only amicably coexist; they complement each other,” the authors aver. The trick? Use your blog to enrich your social media with longer form content; use social media to promote your blog.

Being – and staying – a mensch is the key to successful “re-gifting” of others’ content to your own marketing blog readers, I teach at Say It For You.  In fact, quoting someone else’s remarks on a topic you’re covering in a blog post can be a very good thing, because, you’re:

  • reinforcing your point
  • showing you’re in touch with trends in your field
  • adding value for readers by adding variety in the way an idea is phrased

On the other side of the coin, content writers need to remember that we’re trying to make our own cash register (or the cash register of the business owner or practitioner who hired us) ring. In the final analysis, therefore, the voice that has to be strongest through the post is the one represented by the url on the blog site.

In blog content writing, be a mensch with mentions, taking care of business while “taking care” to give credit where credit is due.

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Connecting the Dots in Your Blog


A persuasive bio has to ”connect the dots” between your employment history and the reason you’ve chosen to do what you do, Diane Wingerter, the Career Strategist™, explains in her book, Hunting2Hired. Most professional bios don’t do anything of the sort, she points out, instead offering a long bullet-pointed list of employers followed by a “loves-tennis-and-walking-her-dog” shallow glimpse of the person behind the bio. Answer the question, Diane advises, “If you were no longer in this career, what would you miss about it?”

At Say it For You, there’s a similar question we ask business or practice owners whom we are helping start a blog: “If you had only ten words to explain why you have chosen to do what you do, what would those ten words be?” When you blog, you verbalize the positive aspects of your business in a way that people can understand. But, just as when you’re creating a bio, you’re explaining “who you are” and what kind of mark you’re trying to make in your industry or profession.

Prospective employers are “buyers”, Diane wants job candidates to understand, and connecting the dots for employers means using the narrative of your bio to connect your experience with the value you have to bring to the new company. A Persuasive Bio is based on the understanding that people are driven by desire first, and only later by knowledge. Similarly, blog content writers must never forget that buyers care about benefits, not features. Each “claim” a content writer puts into a corporate blog needs to be followed with a “which means that…” narrative.

The Career Strategist™ offers another tip to job seekers that is something blog content writers need to keep in mind: Don’t use tentative language, she advises, such as “could”, “might”, or “perhaps”. (If you’re not sure, why would you expect a prospective employer – or prospective customer – to be?) For us as content writers, one big goal of the writing we do for our business owner and professional practitioner clients is positioning them as experts in the eyes of their clients and of online searchers. As Renee Quinn advises in IPwatchdog.com, “Be confident in your knowledge”.

Whether composing a bio or blogging for business, it’s important to connect the dots. For each point you make, imagine the employer – or the blog visitor – asking “So what? What’s in it for me?”

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The Importance of Communication During a Business Crisis

 

This guest post was contributed by New Hampshire business advisor Kimberly Gilbert. With years of experience in health and safety consulting and a degree in Business Management, Kim Gilbert hopes to help small businesses thrive in the pandemic economy. You may visit Kim’s website at https://www.gilbertbusinessconsulting.com . 

 

 

As the leader of your business, effective and consistent communication between you and your customers is the critical factor in maintaining solid business operations. This applies not only to communications with customers during the pandemic, but also going forward in the new, unknown normal.

Here are three key points to consider when you are ensuring that your business lines of communication are open during a crisis:

Add useful content to your website
It goes without saying that, for those business owners who maintain a website, it is important to keep all contact information and hours of operation prominently displayed, as well as the business’ COVID plan if the business has direct contact with customers.

But consider going a step further and add something MORE to your site, such as a blog with helpful hints or information pertinent to your business or industry that is beneficial to your customers. This will demonstrate your full engagement and concern for your customer’s welfare, and allow real-time feedback from your target audience. A reader may comment on your suggestions, or suggest an issue that you may be able to address that you hadn’t thought of beforehand.
(If you are not able to create this type of content with the resources you have in-house, there are a host of good writers such as those at Say It For You who are ready and able to assist!)

Coordinate the use of your social media sites
Many businesses use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media sites in lieu of a website. If your company already has one or more established social media sites, be sure to keep them up to date as much as possible. Consider posting on a regular schedule, or when there are updates that should be broadcasted—change in hours, new products, new services, etc.

You do not need to overload yourself on this, but be positive and provide good content. Again, if your business lacks the resources or personnel to do this type of work, a ghost writer will be your next best friend!

As mentioned above, consistency in your message is very important. To maintain uniformity of your message across multiple platforms, consider using a Customer Relation Management (CRM) service, such as Hootsuite. Your content for multiple social media sites can be updated in one centralized spot. This will save you time!

Use your best marketing tool
According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media campaigns. This opportunity can’t be passed up, especially if you already have an established customer database. Use it to the max!

Topics to include in regular emails can range from updating your customers on your company status, offering new products or services, or just checking on your customers to see how they are faring during the pandemic. You will be amazed at the response!

An email campaign is especially useful if you have moved some (or all) of your business online, and would like to notify all of your previous and current customers.

If you haven’t already, consider using a service such as MailChimp or MailerLite to compile and grow your list. If you can’t find the time to write, again, consider hiring a ghost writer, like Say It For You, to craft a message in your voice, specific to your customer’s needs. Even better, consider sending a series of themed emails as part of an outreach campaign.

Whichever methods you chose to communicate with your customers, ensure that your message is positive, consistent, and empathetic. And always remember that there are resources to assist with the content of those messages!

 

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Increasing Blog Effectiveness Through Content “Vocals”

 

“Vocals aren’t the actual words you use, but what you do with your voice to clothe words with meaning,” the authors of Close the Deal explain. Vocals include:

  • tone
  • pitch
  • emphasis
  • accent
  • inflection
  • pronunciation
  • volume
  • rate
  • tempo

The important lesson here: Vocals give you a tool to increase buyers’ comfort with you.

Of course, in video clips included in blog content, all these vocal elements would come into play. But can all these valuable tips about increasing buyers’ comfort come into play in non-vocal blog content writing? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Language has the power to establish personal connections. “Tone in writing refers to the writer’s attitude toward the reader and the subject of the message. The overall tone of a written message affects the reader just as one’s tone of voice affects the listener in everyday exchanges,” the OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab explains.

As a blog content writing trainer, I found three of the tips from Close the Deal are especially apropos to our work:

Vary your vocals.
You’ll bore buyers if you drone on, and get caught using a “singsong” delivery, the authors caution. Liven your speech patterns with variety, they advise.
As a businessperson or practitioner, I teach, you have many different kinds of stories to tell through your blog, including the benefits of your products and services, the history of your business and your own journey, successful case studies, and your perspective on trends in your industry.

Show friendliness through a relaxed tone.
Speaking louder than your buyers can make you come across as pushy and overbearing.
“The business writer should strive for an overall tone that is confident, courteous, and sincere,” OWL advises, “and should be written at an appropriate level of difficulty”.

Temper your accent.
Water down your regional accent in settings where the majority of people don’t share it. Reflect the buyer’s tempo, tone, and volume.
Having a focused topic in a blog post is important, but focusing on a specific audience is equally as important. Before writing, research your target audience. “Once you have your data you can start to put together personas and plan your online marketing activities around them,” Sleeping Giant Media teaches.

Just as vocals do, the language you use in your blog content has the power to increase buyers’ comfort with you.

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Blog Posts Don’t Seal – They Enable


Will blog marketing “close” deals in the same way as face-to-face encounters between prospects and sales professionals? The answer is obviously “no”. This week’s Say It For You posts are devoted to the topic of blog marketing and its place in the overall sales process.

In the book Close the Deal, authors Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman suggest that a salesperson faced with a demanding prospect ask “What concession do you need from me to close the deal right now?” In blogging for business, of course, such a “bargaining” exchange would not be taking place between the business owner/practitioner and the reader/customer. On the other hand, one purpose of blog content is to persuade readers to act.

A very non-technical way I have of explaining the concept of blog marketing is this: Rather than running traditional ads for your brand of hats, vitamins, travel, or paint, you provide lots of information on the history of hats, on why vitamins are good for you, about exciting places to go on safari, and on the psychology of color. Consumers interested in your subject, but who never even knew your name, come to see you as a resource.

When blog readers follow your “calls to action” by phoning your business or practice, faxing in a request or an order, signing up for your newsletter, subscribing to your blog through an RSS feed, or proceeding to your shopping cart to buy your product or service, you know your blog marketing strategy is working Understand, though – it’s entirely possible that none of those things will happen at the first “meeting”.

Just as in traditional selling, you need to use blog content writing to “prove your case” by:

  • offering statistics about the problem your product or service helps solve
  • comparing your product or service with others on the market
  • providing testimonials from past and present customers and clients

Generally speaking, as I often stress when I offer Say It For You corporate blogging training, blog posts are not ads, and there should never be a hard-sell or boastful tone to the content. Blog posts are closer in nature to informative “advertorials”, positioning the company or practitioner as helpful, well-experienced, and knowledgeable.

Primarily, the blog post has to add value. Not just a promise of value if the reader converts to a buyer, but value right then and there in terms of information, skill enhancement, or a new way of looking at the topic. The best blog posts are never about yourself, your company, your services, or your products, but about why you see things the way you do.

Typically, a blog post doesn’t “seal” the deal, so much as it “enables” the deal.

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