A Ghost Blogger’s Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day

“There are many approaches to recognition,” explain Chip and Dan Heath, authors of The Power of Moments. Some are spontaneous and no-nonsense, some warm and caring, they note, but “what’s important is authenticity, being personal and not programmatic”. What’s more, expressing gratitude has a boomerang effect, elevating the spirits of the grateful person, the Heaths point out.

“99% of businesses undervalue the impact of thanking customers, and as a consequence spend far too little time doing it,” laments Oliver Bridge in a bonjoro.com blog post. Bridge cites a 2010 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showing that thanking people increases the likelihood of further actions by 100%. “In fact, you thanking your customer for their order can set off a chain reaction where they feel compelled to pass on your message, or thank others themselves,” Bridge adds.

On a personal note, with our traditional family celebration made impossible due to the pandemic, it would have been all too easy to allow myself to fall into the self-pity trap. Truth be told, on this Say It For You thirteenth thanksgiving, feelings of gratitude easily crowd out those negative thoughts:

I’m grateful, so grateful, for each and every one of our blogging clients. They’ve given to me and my team a sacred trust – the task of telling the world their about their businesses and professional practices – crafting tales of why they’ve chosen to do what they do in their own special way.

I’m grateful to each of the talented content writers with whom I’ve had the privilege of working, each bringing new insights to our virtual “workbench”. Each has embraced my long-held business vision of “the power of one”, with one writer per client, one client per type per market, and one-entity (the client) ownership of the copyright to the finished material.

Mostly I’m grateful for the opportunity, at this mature stage in my life, to continue doing such interesting work, work that demands continued learning about different industries, different professions, and different approaches to delivering products and services.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I feel fortunate!


Put Your Client’s Logo on the Front, Your Own on the Sleeve

Jeff Slain of Fully Promoted of Fishers IN was talking about apparel, but his advice is something we blog content writers need to keep in the forefront of our thoughts. Jeff’s common sense reminder to us Business Spotlight networkers the other day was that logo apparel buyers don’t want to tell the world about you – they want it to be all about them!

The “them”, we realize at Say It For You, can’t mean all possible visitors to your blog. Your blog can’t be all things to all people, any more than your business can be all things to everybody.   Yet everything about your blog should be tailor-made for your ideal customer – the words you use, how technical you get, how sophisticated your approach, the title of each blog entry – all of it out in front. The first impression has to be focused on things you know about your target market – their needs, their preferences, their questions – and only secondarily on how wonderful you and your staff are at satisfying those needs and preferences.

Successful content marketing addresses issues readers care about, with content that Josh Steimie, writing in Forbes, says must have three qualities -value, relevance, and consistency. The content is there to raise readers’ awareness of solutions, educating them about products or tactics they perhaps hadn’t considered before.

As a business owner or professional practitioner, you have not just one, but many stories to tell, including:

  • the benefits of your products and services
  • the history of your business and your own journey
  • successful case studies and testimonials
  • news of importance to your customers
  • your perspective on trends in your industry

A website with just a few pages cannot tell these stories completely, nor can it engage your potential and current customers with fresh content in real time. Truth is, no single blog post can tell all the stories, either. The key is for each blog post to get visitors engaged enough to hear today’s story.

The very fact that you have a blog and that the content on it is current says a lot about you and about the fact that you mean business! “You’re in the game”. You’ve got your new, fresh, logo apparel on.
The reality, though, (as Fully Promoted’s Jeff Slain knows all too well) is that they’re not going to read what’s on the sleeve until their interest has been fully engaged by what’s on the front!


It’s Not the Blog That Makes You Rich

“I’m not the guy that makes you rich; I’m the guy that helps keep you from being poor”. That unusual self-intro by financial advisor and insurance agent Jeffrey Eric Frank from Wayne, Pennsylvania really captured my attention at a recent virtual networking meeting, Of course, as a former financial advisor myself, I immediately understood the truth in Frank’s “motto” when it comes to wealth. Focused these days on marketing, though, I couldn’t help making a comparison with blogs…

Their very nature makes blogs ideal for marketing, Randy Duermyer explains in thebalancesmb.com, naming the following characteristics:

  • Blogs are inexpensive to start and run.
  • Blogs build website traffic.
  • Blogs are easy to use.
  • Blogs improve search engine rankings.
  • Blogs engage your market.

Blog marketing, though, is hardly a direct route to guaranteed marketing success; while starting a blog can be done quickly and easily, Duermyer cautions, it’s the ongoing management that will take time and patience. What’s more, blog marketing is not designed to “close” deals in the same way as a face-to-face encounter between a prospect and sales professional might do. Going back to our friend Jeffrey Eric Frank, the blog, however well-planned and executed, is “not the guy that makes you rich”.

What can and will happen, as Hubspot blogger Corey Wainwright explains, is that prospects who have been reading your blog posts enter the “sales funnel” more educated on your industry and what you have to offer. What business owners and professionals are doing with the blog is taking advantage of the main reason use the Web in the first place – to find answers and information.

Rather than running traditional ads for your brand of hats, vitamins, or travel, you provide lots of information on the history of hats, on why vitamins are good for you, and about exciting places to go on safari.  Consumers interested in your subject, but who never even knew your name come to see you as a trusted resource, possibly as a business to do business with!

No, New York Life’s JE Frank doesn’t for a moment pretend to be the guy who’ll make you rich. And, at Say It For You, we approach blog marketing with the same sort of practical wisdom in mind. Blogging is a very good “back door” approach to sales, helping you cultivate an audience of people who may well move on to become buyers.


Task Blogging – the Secret to Getting it Done

“The secret to cleaning your house more efficiently? Task cleaning,” writes Arianne Cohen in Woman’s Day. The biggest mistake people make is cleaning room by room (“zone cleaning”). she says. It’s much more efficient to complete one chore, such as dusting, throughout the entire house, before starting the next.

With blogging having become such an essential customer acquisition and retention tool in our increasingly web-based world, I found two of Cohen’s cleaning tips to be useful hints for us blog content writers:

Top-to-bottom, left-to- right
For each task, start at the highest point in the room, moving from left to right across the room. (You don’t miss anything, and won’t accidentally knock dust onto already-cleaned lower surfaces.)

Blog readers’ eyes typically scan content from the top left to top right,, following the shape of the letter Z. Searchers will select the most important words, the ones relating most directly to what they came online to find in the first place.  Make sure those keyword phrases are ”at the top”, meaning in the title and the first sentences of each blog post.

Spray cleaner on tubs, sinks, toilets, cabinet and appliance doors. Return and scrub.
Allowing the cleaning products to “do their job” means less scrubbing and rubbing will be needed on your part.

Focus is what helps blog posts stay smaller and lighter in scale than the typical content on corporate websites. Recurring themes will reappear over time in different posts, “doing their work” and adding to the cumulative impression on readers.

More helpful guidance for blog content writers comes from an F.C. Tucker Real Estate newsletter:

(Prepare a pail with spray cleaners, rags, brushes, etc.)

For blogging prep, line up facts and statistics you want to quote to your target readers to support the main idea on which you’ve chosen to focus. For us Indianapolis blog content writers, equipping ourselves happens in the form of an “idea folder”in which we “load up” with content for future posts, saying current by reading,  bookmarking, clipping – and even just noticing – new trends and information relating to each of our clients’ business fields. 

(Enlist the help of family members in the cleaning project for faster results – and a commitment to keep things clean.)

Involve all members of the marketing team, plus as many employees and stakeholders in your business blog. (Even if your professional blogger is doing the writing, employees themselves can provide anecdotes and information, plus post comments on the blog.)

For business owners and blog content writers, task blogging may be the secret to getting it done!


Are Your Blog Questions for Learning or Judging?

Questions open our minds, says executive coach Roz Savage, but we need to go from judging to learning. While old-style leaders ask questions to elicit facts, new-style leaders ask questions “to unlock the intelligence of the team”. In her book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, Marilee Adams compares judging questions with learning questions. When we leap to judgment, that prevents us from learning very much, she teaches.

At Say it For You, always on the hunt for ways to improve the way we go about business blog content writing, we wondered how questions can be used in blog content itself, in which the “conversation”, at least at the start of the encounter, is one-way! Neil Patel suggests asking questions on social media as a way of learning more about your target audience for the blog. The first and most important question you need to ask, Patel says, is What are my readers worried about? The answers will allow you to provide a better customer experience and blog reader experience.

A question in a blog post title is an invitation to participate in a conversation, Patrick Armitage of BlogMutt suggests in uplandKapost.com.  And, while in a blog post, Armitage says, you’re often providing answers to questions that your potential customer might ask, the very fact that it’s in the form of a question allows readers to feel you’re helping them form them form their own opinions.

Visitors are, without a doubt, judging your website. If it does not appear attractive, easy to navigate, or knowledgeable, you’ve lost your customer, cautions Webociti. Relevant information they should find includes questions and answers, Joe Mediate explains.

As Marilee Adams emphasizes, learner questions lead to discovery and understanding, while judger questions more often lead to blame and frustration. In keeping with that concept, blog content should focus on expansive and productive questions, such as “What’s possible?” “What are my choices?” “What’s useful here?” In the real blog marketing world, I’ve found, the content writers focus on appealing to consumers’ fear. My own thought has always been that, to appeal to a better kind of customer – the one who buys for the right reasons and remains loyal, the content must appeal to readers’ better nature – and to their ability to arrive at intelligent answers to “learning” questions.