Proofing Your Blog Posts

“When you’re writing to attract customers, what you’re really doing is persuading them to choose you over someone else,” writes Amy Pennza of the Content Factory. “People tend to take action when they’re presented with facts, not assertions,” she adds. 

At Say It For You, we know that, when searchers arrive at your blog, they already have an interest in (and probably some core knowledge about) your subject. Blog marketing reality is that, in order to move searchers to the next step, you need to “prove your case”. Some of the ways to do that include:


  • Statistics about the problem you’re proposing to help solve. (Implications: a. The searcher is not the only one confronting this issue. b. Your company/practice has helped many others solve this very problem.) 
  • Credentials highlighting the experience, training, and degrees earned by you and your staff members. 
  • Social proof emphasizes the fact that many others have benefited from the solution you’re proposing. Simply Psychology explains that people are more willing to commit to a course of action if other people are doing it. Blog content writers can use testimonials and success stories to create “normative influence”.
One particularly powerful form of proof is known as reverse proof, a term that comes from
coin collecting. Rather than featuring a fronted raised image on a mirrored field, reverse proof coins feature a frosted field with a raised, mirrored image.  According to APMEX®, reverse proof coins are considered more beautiful and valuable than standard coins. 

Translated into blog marketing, reverse proof involves comparing your proposal with alternatives that prospects might consider. But, rather than focusing on competitors’ shortcomings, focus on the customer’s solution, advises, allowing the customer to see solutions they didn’t think were possible. In fact, Sales Force advises, don’t use comparisons at all, never allowing the discussion to turn to competitors.


Kevin Phillips of iMPACT Learning Center strongly disagrees. “What is your biggest concern with telling website visitors that there are others out there that do the same thing you do?  Are you afraid that if you tell them there are more options, they’ll choose those other options every time?”  You should write about your competitors, Phillips says, and for the following reasons:
  • It shows consumers you’re honest.
  • It establishes you as an industry thought-leader.
  • It allows you to control the conversation.
If your goal in blog content writing is not only attracting customers, but persuading them to choose you over someone else – you need to be “proofing” your blog posts!

There’s More Than One Way to “Skin” a Blog Post

skinning a blog post
The proverb “There’s more than one way to skin a cat” certainly applies to blog content marketing.

Darren Rouse of, for example, lists no fewer than twenty types of posts, including instructional and informational posts, reviews, interviews, and case studies. Interestingly, Rouse mentions collation posts; the term describes many entries in this Say It For You blog, in which I gather content creation advice from others, presenting that helpful information to my readers.

Maurice of offers a combination of review and collation posts, in “The Essential List of 8 Productivity Blogs with Different Approaches to Efficiency”, compiling a list of experts in the time management field, explaining each author’s approach, and commenting on who might find that author a good source of advice.

I found two types of posts included on the Problogger list especially interesting and worth a try:

Prediction posts
The blog writer looks ahead, predicting what new developments in their niche might occur over the next year.

Hypothetical posts
These are ‘what-ifs”, about something that might happen in your field and what the implications would be if it did.

Some eight years ago, I examined the blogs of five companies that had been recognized on Forrester’s Top 15 Corporate Blogs list, noting the reasons reviewers had liked the way these companies presented their information. Favorable comments included these:

  • “rarely blogs about their products, instead devoting their blog content writing t sharing advice about business….”
  • “…blogs with a personal touch….”
  • “…employees share insights on technology,, hiring, and consulting…”
  • “…writes fun posts…”
  • “…posts advice on understanding the market…”

Rex London singles out the Awkward Situations for Girls blog, calling it a “masterpiece” because the author “catalogues disasters, embarrassments, and truly awkward situations that she finds herself in on a fairly regular basis”. London’s choice brings out a point I believe every business owner and content writer ought to keep in mind: writing about past failures is important. True stories about mistakes and struggles are very humanizing, adding to the trust readers place in the people behind the business.

There’s certainly more than one way to “skin” a blog post!


Business Blog Title Question Words

Ideas and Discoveries Magazine had a very good idea in terms of titles (which we blog content writers can make good use of) – using question words.

The tactic of question titles is one I’ve often suggested to new Indianapolis blog content writers. Keeping in mind that people are online searching for answers to questions they have and solutions for dilemmas they’re facing, sometimes we can help searchers who searchers haven’t specifically formulated a question by presenting a question in the blog post title itself.

The question serves to arouse readers’ curiosity about which side of the issue your opinion is going to represent, and about the answers you’re going to provide in the content of the post itself. And, of course, the title question can include keyword phrases to help Google index the blog.

ID Magazine, I found, used question titles that clearly indicated what kinds of information would be “served up” in the article to come:

  • Why Wolves Hunt Differently From Big Cats
  • What happens When an Avalanche Stops Moving?
  • How Reliable is the Rorschach Test?

But the majority of the ID titles, I found, contained an extra, curiosity-stimulating, element into their question word titles. You simply need to read the article to find out what the “clue” means:

  • How a Feeling of Empathy Led to 60 Million Deaths
  • How Seven Dollars Set the Middle East Aflame
  • How 156 Nails Defeated Napoleon
  • How a Lab Accident Decided the Second World War
  • How a Meteorite Made Christianity a Worldwide Religious Power
  • How a Sandwich Triggered World War
  • How a Refugee Made George W. Bush President

Curiosity is hard to get right, Amy Harrison points out in You have to deliver on the promise. Don’t’ assume readers’ will cause them to power on through your copy looking for the answer that was promised to them, she says. Your blog post must include compelling benefits, rich imagery, and strong storytelling if you are to keep readers’ attention and encourage them to take action.

ID also demonstrates another useful strategy blog content writers can use: covering one topic, but coming at it in different ways. On the topic of wolves, for example:

  1. “How Wolves Shape Our Forests” offers insights on how reintroducing wolves into German forests impacts ecosystems.
  2. “Who’s the Boss Here?” explores the “family dynamics” of a wolf pack.
  3. “How Do You Save a National Park?” chronicles the Yellowstone Wolf Study, in which reintroducing wolves into the environment reduced the deer population in turn allowing more trees to grow, which in turn attracted birds, beavers, and fish.

Just as these articles each explore a different aspect of a single subject, the blog for any company, professional practice, or organization can be planned around key themes.  Then, in each post, the blog content writer can fill in new details, examples, and illustrations.


Top Ten How-To Titles in Blogging for Business

There’s a reason “how-to” blog post titles work, marketing gurus Guy Kawaski and Peg Fitzpatrick show in their user guide on social media. How-to titles might start out with those very words, or take forms such as:

  • Quick Guide to…..
  • Complete Guide to….
  • Questions to Ask Before…
  • Rules for….
  • Essential Steps to….
  • Most Popular Ways to…..
  • Tips for Busy……..
  • Tactics to….
  • What No One Tells You About……..

There’s a “biology” to selecting effective business blog post titles, I wrote in a blog post some five years ago. (Since, as blog content writers, one big challenge we face is selecting the best title for each post, I had found an exercise in an Ivy Tech Community College textbook in which students were to select the best out of four possible titles for an article about humpback whales.)

In composing business blogs, I reminded my Say It For You readers, we need to keep several goals in mind:

  • write engaging titles
  • include keyword phrases to help with search
  • be short and to the point
  • use power words

The overriding goal, though, in composing a title, I pointed out, has to be making promises we are going to be able to keep in the body of the blog post itself.

The correct answer in that student textbook was #3: “The Digestive System of the Humpback Whale”. That’s the one, the writer explained, that includes the writer’s focus in the paragraph.  The other titles were either too broad, too specific, or limited to only a portion of the paragraph’s content.

The best “How-to”s are neither too broad nor too limited. They have a “news-you-can-use” feel. The response you’re after from readers is, “Aha! “I have found the right place to get the information I need.

There are lots more How-to titles where those Top Ten came from, Kawaski promises. In fact, he’s got a chart of no fewer than “74 Compelling Fill-in-the-Blank Blog Post Titles” on a Twitter infographic. Try these on for size:

  • Key benefits of….
  • Essential things for….
  • Examples of things to inspire you…
  • Key benefits of….

How-to titles are the perfect tool in blogging for business!


What’s-Really-in-Your Blogging For Business

fear blog titles

There’s a reason the cover of Consumer Reports has a picture of a cow on the cover of this month’s issue, along with this very compelling question: “What’s Really In Your Meat?”  Titles catch the eye (that one certainly did mine) and set up readers’ expectations for what kind of content they’ll find if they open the magazine and read the article. As a blog content writer, I’m interested in titles.  What elements in the titles listed on a magazine cover, for example, are most likely to induce a browser to buy that issue? Then, which titles tempt the magazine reader to read those articles first?

I categorize this particular title, “What’s Really in Your Meat?”, as a “truth-about”. This type of header is meant to instill fear, one of the two dominant buying motives (desire for gain and fear of loss). In fact, people are drawn to articles with negative titles, my friend and fellow blogger Lorraine Ball pointed out a year ago.

A few other salient titles in the October Consumer Reports issue fall into the “How-To” category:

  •  “Beating Back Surprise Bills”
  •  “Keeping Your Data Private”
  •  “Simple Ways to Add Convenience and Security”
  •  “Good Riddance, Robocalls!”

Less disturbing (some might argue less compelling) than “truth-abouts”, in blogs, “How-To” titles perform the very important function of confirming to searchers that they’ve arrived at the right place to find precisely the kinds of information they need. 

Using a consumer question in a title, then answering that question in the article or blog post is yet another approach.  Three such pieces in Consumer Reports were:

  • “My car is starting to smell musty, and an air freshener isn’t cutting it.  What else can I do?”
  • “Can I catch food poisoning from another person?”
  • “How can I keep my leftover paint fresh enough to reuse?”

Truth-abouts, how-tos, and question titles, I teach at Say It For You, can all be effective blog titling techniques, with the purpose being to tell readers why they should bother to read what you’ve written in the blog post.

Most important, when choosing a title, design it so that it conveys not only the nature of the content, but the value readers can expect to receive from that content! Ask yourself this question:

For my readers, what’s really in my blogging for business?