Business Blogging – Staying Silent is the Wrong Choice

“The COVID19 pandemic has put much of the world on pause. Blogging shouldn’t be one of them, writes Manish Dudharejia in the Search Engine Journal. Staying slilent is the wrong choice. Dudharejia names several reasons why:

  • People are on their digital devices more than ever now.
  • You have an opportunity to produce messaging that is not about anxiety-inducing topics.
  • You have the chance to discuss what your brand is doing to keep people safe.
  • Continuous communication and support builds customer trust and loyalty.
  • You have the chance to gain followers, even if they are not yet buyers.

“Customers want to know that you are surviving this new normal with them, so taking your customers along for the ride through various outlets of online marketing will ensure you have the support to get to and through these difficult times,” explains Makenzie Walker of “Positivity and reassurance are a business’ best friends,” Walker adds.

As a business owner myself, I loved the viewpoint of Karen Lombardo of Put Another Way.
Sales mentality, she says, can be divided into two categories: farming and hunting. Hunters find opportunities to close business; farmers engage with clients and forge and strengthen relationships. “The hat to wear in today’s environment,” Lombardo advises, “is the farmer.” Consistent communication is key right now. You have valuable knowledge and expertise. Put it out there, she says.

Way back in 2009, Tony Fannin, president of BE Branded, commented on the fact that in the economic environment of that time, businesses were cutting back their marketing and advertising. In effect what those business owners were saying, Fannin quipped, is “Let’s put less gas in the car so we can drive further and save money!” Without consistent reminders, brands are easily forgotten, he warned.

At Say It For You, we’re acutely conscious of the fact that it’s never been more important for brands to show purpose, going from information-dispensing to offering perspective on issues related to both the search topic and the times in which we’re living.

“May you live in interesting times” is a translation of a traditional Chinese curse, and we are certainly living in interesting times now. One thing’s for certain when it comes to business blogging – staying silent is the wrong choice!


Blog Posts May Not Close the Deal, But They Deliver Sales Results

blog marketing
“Sales professionals are expected to generate the best possible win rates for their effort,” explains Adam Wiggins in a Hubspot blog post. Choosing the right phrases to seal a deal is crucial, because the close is “the final verdict determining whether or not your efforts will amount to anything at all.” Wiggins reviews seven close types:

  1. Now or never close (some special disappearing benefit prompts an immediate decision)
  2. Summary close (reviews value and benefits)
  3. Sharp angle close (prospect asks for price reduction or add-on, but you agree only if they close today)
  4. Question close (“Does what I’m offering solve your problem?”)
  5. Assumptive close (salesperson monitors prospect’s engagement throughout, assuming a close)
  6. Takeaway close (remove a feature or service if customer balks on price)
  7. Soft close (low impact question: “If I.….would you be interested in learning more?)

Will blog marketing “close: deals in the same way as a face-to-face encounter between a prospect and a sales professional? The answer is obviously “no”. Interestingly, a second Hubspot blogger, Corey Wainwright, explains the indirect selling benefits of blogs and their place in the sales process:

  • If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes.
  • Prospects that have been reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated on your place in the market, your industry, and what you have to offer.
  • Salespeople who encounter specific questions that require in-depth explanation or a documented answer can pull from an archive of blog posts.

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 an exchange would not be taking place between the business owner/practitioner and the reader/customer. On the other hand, one purpose of the content is to persuade the reader to act. For every fact about the company or about one of its products or services, a blog post addresses prospects’ unspoken questions such as “So, is that different?”, “So, is that good for me?”

The traditional selling sequence of appointment, probing, presenting, overcoming objections, and “closing” may be totally dead, as Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, asserts. What has replaced it, Gitomer says, is a step-by-step risk elimination, a process for which blogs are well-suited. Business blogs, I “preach” at Say It For You, are nothing more than extended interviews, and blog posts are an ideal vehicle for demonstrating support and concern while being persuasive in a low-key manner.


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”!


Trivia Scores Points in Blogging for Business


With all this staying at home dictated by the COVID-19 situation, I’m particularly grateful for the TV game show Master Minds. Of course, at Say It For You, I’ve long touted the advantages of using trivia in blogging for business. Trivia can help spark curiosity and interest in readers, at the same time helping business owners and professionals explain what they do and how they believe it should best be done.

I know I’m not alone in enjoying trivia. In fact, I have a theory about quizzes in general, which is that our curiosity is most intense when we’re testing our own knowledge. That’s why tests, games, and quizzes are hard to resist, including those incorporated into blog marketing.

I’m going to use some actual questions from the show to suggest different types of businesses or professional practices which might use those questions as a jumping-off point for their blog post message, but challenge you to find your own connections (you’re invited to share your best ideas in the comments)…

Housed in the Smithsonian, what color is the Hope Diamond?
A natural for a jeweler’s blog, this material might be used for a post about the importance of estate planning or to promote company that installs burglar alarms.

The inhabitants of which U.S. territory drive on the left side of the road? (Virgin Islands)
Just for starters, this piece of trivia could be used to promote driving lessons or auto sales.

When putting on your shoes, where are you most likely to see an aglet? (laces)
This one’s a natural for a shoe merchant or designer, but could be used for a sports equipment company as well.

If you pour a handful of salt into a glass of water, what happens to the water level? (stays the same)
This tidbit might be used to promote cookbooks or cooking equipment.

What national park contains the tallest peak in North America? (Denali in Alaska)
A car company or travel agency could definitely use that one for a blog Q&A.

Which poisonous plant was, in the Middle Ages, thought to utter a shriek when pulled from the ground? (mandrake)
This would be perfect for a garden shop blog, but could be used by a landscaper or grounds maintenance company.

For me, watching those episodes of Master Mind has reinforced the importance of trivia in blog content writing. Trivia allows readers to have the fun testing their own knowledge, while showcasing the expertise of the business owner or practitioner.

When it comes to using trivia to spice up blog content, as Ben Bailey (host of another of my favorite trivia quiz shows) might ask – “You in?”


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!.