Sticky Words Stay With Blog Readers

We business blog content writers, always on the prowl for novel ways to present information to online readers, often rely on memory hooks; I like to call them “sticky words”. About a year ago in my Say It For You blog, I had talked about weight loss company GOLO’s TV commercial (“GO LOse weight., GO Look great, GO Love life”), and about the financial planner who used catchy names for the spending habits of different age groups of retirees (Go-Go – ages 55-54, Slo-Go – ages 65-74, and No Go – ages 75 and up).

In just the past couple of weeks, I came across other examples of “sticky words, phrases that keep popping back into my mind again and again. Phrases don’t have to be slogan-like, I realized after the surgeon who’d performed surgery on my hip cautioned: “Motion is lotion”. (I think about that one every day, careful not to stay seated at my computer too long.) Then, at a recent networking meeting, the owner of a merchant services company used the phrase “Any pay. Any way. Anywhere”. (I like that one, because it made me curious to learn just what was meant.)

“Use simple and sticky phrases people can use to share your beyond-the horizon vision in their own way,” writes Will Mancini in the book God Dreams. “Like the postman,” Mancini continues, “you and your core team must deliver meaning daily in packages both big and small.”

But what, exactly, makes some phrases more “sticky” and memorable than others? Chip & Dan Heath authored an entire book addressing that question – Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. The Heaths named 6 attributes memorable phrases have:

  • simple
  • unexpected
  • concrete
  • credible
  • emotional
  • story

For me, of course, the phrase “Motion is lotion” directly related to my own story (the recent surgery and my need to get back to normal as quickly as possible). Also important was the power of similar sounds. Alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds) and assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) are both ways to add “stickiness” to a phrase, particularly in a blog post title.

At Say It For You, one of our core teachings is that blog posts are not slogans or ads. While a goal of blog marketing is to help readers think of us and remember us, to borrow a Brylcream phrase, a “little dab’ll do ya”!

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In Blogging for Business, Trivia is Hardly Trivial

 

 

When it comes to blogging for business, trivia is hardly a trivial matter. There are four basic ways in which trivia can be used as blog content writing tools:

  • defining basic terminology
  • sparking curiosity about the subject
  • putting modern-day practices and beliefs into perspective
  • explaining why the business owner or practitioner chooses to operate in a certain way

Albert Jack’s book, Red Herrings & White Elephants, traces the origins of phrases we use every day. (In this post, I’m going to suggest ways in which different types of businesses or practices might use pieces of trivia, but I challenge content writers to come up with their own ideas as well.) Needless to say, finding ideas for blog posts isn’t all about trivia – the trivia are just jumping-off points for the message.

If something “goes by the board”, it means it is cast aside and lost. On the old wooden ships, author Jack explains, the “board” was the side of the boat, and anything falling off the ship and lost forever had “gone by the board”.
This idiom is perfect for the blog content of any practice or business that wants to emphasize its attention to detail, showing how they make sure to clean up after the job and tie up all the “loose ends”.

To “have someone over a barrel” means that person is at the mercy of third parties and cannot change the circumstances surrounding them. The saying originated in medieval Britain, where it was standard practice to drape a drowning person face down over a barrel to try to clear their lungs of water. Since the victim was totally reliant on other people to determine their fate, when you are “over a barrel” you feel helpless to improve your situation.
This saying would be perfect for a personal injury attorney fighting for people who have been wronged by others, or perhaps for a financial advisor who helps people gain control over their debts.

A “dark horse” is something of unknown quantity or somebody whose abilities are not yet fully known but soon will be. The expression comes from the novel The Young Duke, published in 1831, in which the two favorites in a horse race are beaten by a a relatively unknown third horse.
One obvious application for this expression would be an investment company blog, but the concept could apply to the employee training and hiring field as well.

To “keep something at bay”, such as danger or illness, means to fend it off. In ancient times, Jack explains, the bay tree was thought to posses protective powers.
As a content writer, I can see this expression being used for a blog on healthy lifestyles (Vitamins? Cooking? Exercise?).

Fact is, when I’m offering business blogging assistance, I talk about the need to create as much fresh material as possible. In blogs, content needs to inform, educate, and entertain. While trivia may be just one of many tools content writers can use to introduce interest and variety, I’ve found that trivia are hardly “trivial” when it comes to blog marketing!.

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Guest Post: Security Basic for Bloggers

 

Today’s post was contributed by friend Cody Lents, partner and change manager at Covi, a professional services information technology agency in Indianapolis, IN.

SECURITY BASICS FOR BLOGGERS

  1. Start by securing your admin portal. Here are 14 tips for doing this with WordPress.
  2. Make sure your blog is being automatically backed up with alerts for successful and failed backups. Then, occasionally double-check to make sure the alerts are accurate. Here are some plugins to help.
  3. Some of us want others to share our content as much as possible. But, in some cases protecting our authorship is a priority. Try using something like 33 Across’ Site Ctrl to protect from cut & paste plagiarism, and no matter your philosophy on ‘borrowed’ content you should set up your Google Authorship to maximize SEO.
  4. Implement hotlinking protection. I recommend CloudFlare or a WordPress plugin for this.
  5. Only install ‘Trusted Plugins’
  6. Ensure security plugins are installed. Here are 8 recommendations from one of my favorite cybersecurity organizations. – Make sure you choose one with built-in firewall security or get a separate firewall plugin.
  7. If you’re uncomfortable managing your sites security, pay a professional to do it. Typically, a simple blog site can be maintained for $100 – $200 per month.

Bonus:  If you really want to deter content theft you could dabble in this plugin. – Prevent Content Theft

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Achieving Eudaimonia in Business Blog Writing

The Stoics realized that there are things we control, and things we don’t. To get to the good life, we should focus on things we control, accepting the rest as it happens. When it comes to the things we can control, Stoics believe it’s not an external situation that makes us happy or miserable, but our interpretation of that situation. The idea is to achieve a supremely happy life, which Stoics call eudaimonia.

That ancient philosophy can help business entrepreneurs today, theconversation.com comments. As I read this article, it occurred to me that three business concepts based on Stoicism can serve as great guidelines for those of us involved in blog marketing:

  1.  “Before we try to control events, we have to control ourselves.”

Twelve years ago, in the process of explaining the way my company Say It For You came about, I talked about the “drill sergeant discipline” needed by blog content writers. What I meant was that, while all my business owner clients knew that writing blogs in their area of expertise was going to be a great idea for them, not very many of them felt they could take the time to compose and post content on a regular basis.  I also knew that the main key to business blogging success was going to be simply keeping on task. Meanwhile, our business owner clients can’t throw in the towel before success has been given the chance to develop. We can’t control the market or our customers – first we have to control our own activities.

2. “Stoicism means leveraging your uniqueness.” (Don’t let emulation turn into imitation.)

To have any hope of moving higher in search rankings and engage readers’ interest, blogs must provide fresh, relevant content. But, with the sheer volume of information on the Web on every topic under the sun, how do we keep providing new material in our blog posts week after week, month after month, even year after year? Two strategies include bringing in less well-known facts about familiar things and processes, and suggesting new ways of thinking about things readers already know.
But, besides offering unique tidbits of information, we must incorporate one important ingredient – opinion. Taking a stance, using blog content writing to express a firm opinion on issues, is how companies and practices can leverage their uniqueness.

   3.  “Stoicism turns problems into opportunities.”

I teach freelance blog writers in Indianapolis to include stories of their clients’ past mistakes and failures. Such stories have a humanizing effect, engaging readers and creating feelings of empathy and admiration for the business owners or professional practitioners who overcame not only adversity, but the effects of their own mistakes! When customers’ complaints and concerns are recognized and dealt with “in front of other people” (in blog posts), it gives the “apology” or the “remediation measure” more weight. In fact, in corporate blogging training sessions, I remind Indianapolis blog writers to “hunt” for stories of struggle and mistakes made in the early years of a business or practice!

Studying the Stoics gives us a chance at achieving blogging eudaimonia!

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Words of Wisdom for Blog Content Writers – Part A

sharing tidbits of content writing
It’s the beginning of a new blogging year, and I’m looking through my bookshelves, thumbing through all the new business writing-related books I’ve collected during 2019.What would I do without these “reading around” gems, with their different sorts and shapes of advice and reflection?…

Moments are the thing.
“The goal is the thing,” admit Chip and Dan Heath, authors of The Power of Moments, “but for an individual human being, moments are the thing. Moments are what we remember and what we cherish.” The three situations that deserve to be punctuated, the Heaths advise, are transitions, milestones, and pits.

As a businessperson, you have many stories to tell, we explain to new Say It For You clients, including the benefits of your products and services, successful case studies, news of importance to your customers, and your own perspective on trends in your industry. But perhaps even more important to share in your blog, we add, are those “moments” in the history of your business or practice that helped shape the person you are today.

True stories about mistakes and struggles are very humanizing, adding to the trust readers place in the people behind the text of the blog. What tends to happen is that stories of failure create feelings of empathy and admiration for the entrepreneurs or professional practitioners who overcame the effects of their own errors.

Follow thought leaders.
In addition to surveying customers, you can identify opportunities for your business and analyze choices by following thought leaders in your general business area, advises Jeanette McMurtry in Marketing for Dummies.

Readers found your blog in the first place, we explain to clients, because what they needed corresponded with what you sell, what you know, and what you know how to do. Now that those searchers are “meeting” you through your content, you have the chance to establish credibility and reliability. One way to come across as an expert is to share some of the valuable information you’ve learned by staying abreast of the latest developments in your field.

When we care, we share.
Products and ideas that are practically valuable and wrapped in stories are contagious, explains Jonah Berger, author of the book Contagious. We need to craft content which saves time, improves health, and saves money, he says.

Using anecdotes in your blog, rather than just touting the advantages of your company, practice, or product, is what gives your words the greatest impact. One of the reasons I recommend writing in first and second person (I-you) is that caring and sharing are very personal emotions.

Blog content writers, one of the best pieces of advice is to “read around”, finding gems like these and then sharing them!

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