Even More About Words to Use in Blogging for Business


Word Of Mouth Represents Social Media Marketing And Connect
“Having something to contribute to a conversation makes us feel good,” schoolwebmasters.com points out, advising schools on communication strategy. “Everyone likes to feel knowledgeable, included, and validated. It’s even typical in group conversations for someone to be thinking more of what they can add to the conversation than actively listening to what other people are saying”.

Rule #4 schoolwebmasters offers school personnel is this: “Keep your mission and message short and memorable.  Think about what you want people to say when they start talking, and work that message into your communication strategy.” As blog content writers, we can truly appreciate this next piece of advice: “A long, complicated message isn’t going to be repeated in word-of-mouth instances….Keep things positive and simple.”

Since the words we use in business blog content are our most important power tools, how can we use words to enhance word of mouth marketing results for our business owner and professional practitioner clients?

Marketers used to focus on the 4 Ps, Kimberly Whitler writes in Forbes. Now, Whitler claims, we need to focus on the three Es: Engage, Equip, Empower. In blog marketing, I teach, one of the goals is to “put words into readers’ mouths”, equipping them to make meaningful contributions to conversations – about you and about your products and services.

Often what really makes up a consumer’s mind is a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source.  “As consumers overwhelmed by product choices tune out the ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing, word of mouth cuts through the noise quickly and effectively,“ observes the McKinsey Quarterly.

In blogging for business, we need to “put words into consumers’ mouths”!





Why and Why-Not Blogging for Business

book Aliens


Aliens would probably come to Earth in peace, quantum physicist Jim Al-Khalili assures readers in his book Aliens, proceeding to bust no fewer than five commonly held myths-from-the-movies about encounters with visitors from other planets.

The author uses scientific knowledge to debunk each myth:

Aliens will eat us. No, because, in order for them to process our molecules of amino acids and sugars, they’d need to have a biochemistry similar to ours, “a long shot for a species that hails from a different world”.

Aliens will breed with us.  No, we can’t even reproduce with our nearest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee.

Aliens will look like us.  No, because their evolution would not have been parallel to human evolution and it’s “near impossible that they would have human-like features.”

Aliens will be living creatures. No, should aliens contact us, “we will hear not from fellow organic creatures, but from the robots they produced.”

Aliens will come to steal our water and metal.  No, most of our metal is in the Earth’s core, not its crust; asteroids would be better for mining, and icy moons would be easier places to stock up on water.

The Time article about Aliens is a good example of mythbusting, which is used in many fields to counteract counterproductive thinking. For that very reason, I’m a firm believer that myth debunking is a great use for corporate blogs.

In the normal course of doing business or operating a professional practice, misunderstandings about your product or surface are bound to surface.  (It’s even worse when those myths and misunderstandings don’t surface, but still have the power to interrupt the selling process!)

That’s why the de-bunking function of business blog writing is so important. It’s our way of taking up arms against a sea of customers’ unfounded fears and biases.  Blog content writing can “clear the air”, replacing factoids with facts, so that buyers can see their way to making decisions. The technique is not without risk, because customers don’t like to be proven wrong or feel stupid.  The trick is to engage interest, but not in “Gotcha!” fashion.

In other words, business owners and professional practitioners can use their blogs to showcase their own expertise without “showing up” their readers’ lack of it, assuring prospects and clients that they, like movie aliens, are coming in peace!.



Effective Blog Titles Emphasize Effects


Pointed List Five blank business diagram illustration


Mental Floss Magazine chose a good title, I believe, for its financial planning article:

“How These 7 Money Moves Can Affect You Down the Road”

What’s good about that title, and what can we blog content writers learn about creating effective titles for our clients’ posts?

It contains a numbered list.
Lists spatially organize information, helping to create an easy reading experience. The point of using numbered lists, I explain to blog content writers, is to demonstrate ways in which your product or service is different, and to help them organize the valuable information you’re giving them to help solve their problem or fill their need. “If your service or product is highly complex,” says Whale Hunters’ sales trainer Barbara Weaver-Smith, “it may turn off buyers, who might seek simpler solutions elsewhere to avoid having to deal with a many-step, high-commitment process.” Numbered lists are a good way to keep things simple for blog readers.

The advice is offered in terms of how decisions today will affect you “down the road”.
Discussing “down the road” is less threatening to readers than being told that what they are doing right now is wrong. While debunking misunderstandings is a good function for blogs, people generally don’t like to have their assertions and assumptions challenged. Putting things in terms of “down the road” softens the effect of the implied critique.

It’s not promoting a product or service, merely promising to offer helpful tips.
One point I’ve consistently stressed in these Say It For You blog content writing tutorials is how important it is to provide valuable information to readers, while avoiding any hint of “hard sell”.  Providing tips and hints may very well be the perfect tactic for accomplishing that goal. “While blogs can be used as a tool for selling, they are at their best when they are relational, conversational, and offer readers something useful that will enhance their lives in some way,” Damon Rouse of problogger.net advises.

The title mentions how the information can affect YOU.
The implication is that readers are in control of their own outcomes; there’s no “listen-to-me-and- my- wisdom” approach.  There’s no hint of “scare marketing” in the title, either.

Effective blog titles emphasize effects!



Blog About How You See Wildlife or Whatever, Not About What You Sell

Two penguins Gentoo.

A Canon commercial on the back cover of an old issue of National Geographic reminded me of a piece of blogging advice that will never grow old: The best blog posts are never about yourself, your company, your services, or your products, but about why you see things the way that you do.

There are many newer examples of this Canon campaign, but the one I came across was from the December 2012 issue. The photo featured a penguin couple, and the opening line of text consisted of two words: “Teamwork works”.  By dividing responsibilities, male and female royal penguins give their young the best start in life, I learned.

  1. The parents alternate two week shifts in incubating the egg.
  2. Once the egg hatches, the mail does guard duty while the female forages for food.
  3. After about 20 days, the chick joins a crèche, free both parents to bring meals home.

The problem: The food sources on which the penguins depend are becoming uncertain due to the effects of climate change.

Anticipating readers’ question “Why is a camera company telling me all this?” the authors go on to explain: “Raising awareness of endangered species is just one of the ways we at Canon are taking action for the good of the planet we call home.”

The “advertorial” ends with a Call to Action: Visit canon.com/environment to learn more.

This Canon campaign is a wonderful example for blog content writers. When I offer corporate blogging training sessions, I try to make sure, especially when it comes to corporate blog writing  “newbies”, that they understand the importance of conveying business owners’ core beliefs through their blogs.

Why is that such an important element in creating effective content? In general, blogging can help achieve quite a number of goals:

  • Building good will
  • Staying in touch with existing customers and clients
  • Defining
  • Announcing changes in products and services
  • Controlling damage when it comes to negative PR or complaints
  • Recruiting employeesOf all these goals served by writing for business, though, the most important might be ”humanizing”.  Existing customers need their trust reinforced. Online searchers need to come away with the impression they will be dealing with real, likeable people, not just with ”a company”.

    Blog about how you see wildlife – or whatever – not about what you sell!


Blog What Should Have Been in the Box


Talk about an “I-wish-I-had-thought-of-that” concept! I absolutely love the name O’Reilly Media® gave its series of manuals by David Pogue: “The Missing Manual® – the Book that Should Have Been in the Box”. The now-120 book series covers tech for amateurs topics such as iPhone use, Quickbooks, Windows10, Photos for Mac – an almost exhaustive list of how –to guides.

Precisely such a “how to” concept can be invaluable for us blog content writers.  Why? Our biggest challenge is providing valuable information to readers while avoiding any hint of “hard sell”. Offering tips and helpful hints to consumers (stuff that may not have occurred to them but which helps them get the most out of the products and services they own or might purchase) may well strike the perfect note.

So what if you’re trying to promote a business or practice but don’t consider yourself an “expert” on all aspects of your field? In a recent issue of AARP magazine, I found an article that uses a “kill-two-birds-with-one-stone” approach to offering helpful hints.  I think that approach could work really well in blogging to promote a business or professional practice.

The AARP article is titled “Great ways to save: tips from 20 experts that can save you thousands of dollars.”  Wow! That gets readers’ attention – useful information coming to them not from any sponsor or vendor, but from twenty experts.  What’s more, the authors have done all the work, collecting all this wisdom and serving it up for readers’ convenience. How would you as a business owner or practitioner use this strategy? Aggregate!

Aggregate? How? Find complementary businesses or practices and ask the owners for tips they can offer your readers (or simply cite their blogs, giving them credit for the ideas). Carpet cleaners can share information from allergists, pet care professionals and realtors. Restaurant owners can offer information gathered from etiquette advisors or food stores. Whatever the products and services, readers will be interested in information that helps them gain maximum advantage from buying and using them.

Blog what should have been in the box!