Blogging the What-Do-I-Do

In creating content – whether for blogs or newsletter, we’re sometimes so close to our own project that we forget to look at it from the reader’s point of view. Humor speaker Todd Hunt must have been reading a recent Say It For You blog post about the three questions prospects ask themselves: What is it? Is it for me? What do I do? No matter what, you can’t leave that third question unanswered. “Always remember where our customer is coming from,” Hunt cautions, showing a copy of an ad from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press touting the Doyle & Debbie Show.

The show is advertised in glowing terms: Brilliant! Drop dead funny! Fall-off-the-barstool fun!
Clever, Hilarious, Wacky & Brilliant! Extended Due to Overwhelming Demand! The only problem? Nowhere is the reader told either where the show is taking place or how to buy tickets! In other words, the what-do-I-do question goes frustratingly unanswered.

“If you find that your leads and prospects aren’t taking the next step in your sales process—whether that’s buying or simply requesting more information—the problem could be a faulty or non-existent call to action,” writes Mindy Lilyquist in It seems obvious to let people know the next step in doing business with you, but the truth is, many business owners don’t have calls to action in their marketing. Lilyquist thinks there are two possible reasons for this omission:

  1. a belief that the prospect already knows what to do if they’re interested in buying or learning more
  2. concerns that calls to action are obnoxious and will annoy the potential customer

Calls to action don’t need to be “calls to buy – now!”. In fact, the what-do-I-do question can be answered by suggesting the reader:

  • subscribe (to the blog via an RSS feed or to a newsletter)
  • share (via social media)
  • follow (on social media)
  • download (a white paper or book)
  • click to learn more (leading to more information-intensive landing page)

    The what-do-I-do can be in short form (a link or an icon to click on) or a sentence or two, explains. “Love learning about…… and want to learn more? Subscribe now for weekly updates….”):

While Todd Hunt reminds us to remember where our customer is coming from, “What-do-I-dos” and Calls to Action offer blog readers options for “Where do I go from here?”!


Blogging for Business’ Sake


It’s a wonder more companies don’t do it,” Paul Gillin, B2b Content strategist, observes, referring to topical blogs. Topical blogs, Gillin says, connect with customers about topics that are mutually interesting. The purpose of a topical blog, he says is to “offer practical information that helps readers be more successful and productive, thereby associating the sponsor with that expertise.”

Serving as a “go-to” source for online readers can be a winning strategy for business owners, showcasing the blog content writer’s own expertise while offering useful, actionable, information to readers. This is in no way disingenuous, we firmly believe at Say It For You, because when people go online to search for information about a product or service, they’re aware of the fact that the providers of the information are out to capture business.

“An advertorial is ‘softly softly’ advertising,” cautions The art of writing a good advertorial, explains, is getting the right balance between story and sale. “An effective call to action will act as a logical extension of your blog posts, the authors of the Ivy Tech Study Power Leaders’ Guide add. “Your calls to action should never seem abrupt, or you’ll struggle to get the reaction you’d hoped.”

According to About.Com, “a Subject Matter Expert is an individual who understands a business process or area well enough to answer questions from people in other groups who are trying to help.” Individuals designated as subject matter experts (SMEs) are sought out by others interested in solving solve specific problems meeting challenges. Provide good useful information and establish trust and credibility – sales will follow,” Think eBiz Blog concludes.

The stance we’ve adopted at Say It For You in our blog content writing is this: If the information in a blog is “topical”, meaning it’s relevant to the search, helpful and useful, with no hint of a hard-sell, most readers are perfectly OK with the concept that the company providing the information would like to have them customers or clients.

Because readers understand that they are the ones in control, we believe, they have no trouble being “softly softly sold”.


Give Blog Readers Something to Walk Away With – But Add Something to Act On

“Give your audience something to walk away with,” Lindsay Kolowich Cox advises in a HubSpot piece called “Blogging Tips for Beginners”. “Your goal in creating content should be to provide value to your readers,” Peg Fitzpatrick asserts in another blogging advice piece, suggesting printable checklists and the sharing of expertise. At Say It For You, we suggest adding value by aggregating materials from different sources, then adding the blog content writer’s own unique twist on the concepts presented.

Earlier this month, a networking friend of mine used her blog for the first week of September to recount the history of Labor Day, explaining that the special day had been planned by the Central Labor Union in New York City back in 1882. I enjoyed the material and felt the blogger had offered value – I had “walked away with something”, for sure. What was missing, though, was the Call to Action. In other words, there had been no attempt to tie the subject (the history of Labor Day) to the sender’s own business (investment planning).

In corporate blogging training sessions, I do often recommend including interesting information on topics related to your business (or, if you’re a freelance blog content writer, related to the client’s business). If you can provide information most readers wouldn’t be likely to know, so much the better. Tidbits and “startling statistics” are important in blogging for business, because that information helps engage online readers’ interest. Still, the connection between the material and the business relationship (or potential relationship) between the sender and the reader needs to be related to the information.

So, although the piece my friend had included in her blog post about Labor Day was interesting and appropriately timed, that information was not tied to the reader’s problem or need, nor was there any call to action. No sentence indicated why the writer herself cared about the information, nor was there anything explaining why that information should be of special help to readers.

Blog content writing has an enormous advantage over traditional “push marketing” tactics, because, what blogging does best is deliver to corporate blog sites customers who are already interested in the product or service they’re providing! However, there needs to be an “ask”, and in blogging for business, the “ask” comes in the form of calls to action.

Give blog readers something to walk away with, but add something they can act on!



In Blogging for Business, the Operative Word Isn’t “Anyone”!

“What do you notice when you visit a model home in a new development? Often you will find wonderfully furnished and decorated rooms that anyone could live in.” So begins an article I received the other day from my realtor friend Gadi Boukai, stressing that “the operative word is ‘anyone’”. Professionals who set up a model home make it anonymous for a reason, the article goes on to explain. They want buyers to view it as their potential home, not someone else’s. Those professionals know – based on decades of experience, that this strategy helps sell houses faster and at a better price.

Interesting, because, at Say It For You, we realize that with blog content writing, the exact opposite might be the case. Your blog can’t be all things to all people, any more than your business can be all things to everybody.  The blog must be targeted towards the specific type of customers you want and who are most likely to want to do business with you.  Everything about your blog should be tailor-made for that customer – the words you use, how technical you get, how sophisticated your approach, the title of each blog entry – all of it.

The home viewers my friend Gadi is describing are clearly already interested in buying a home; they know what overall indoor and outdoor space and amenity needs they have, and they are looking to “match” those needs with the home they’re viewing. The “blanker’ the canvas, the easier it will be for that “match” to take place. Similarly, the only prospects who are likely to visit your blog are those searching for information on precisely what you sell, what you know, and what you know how to do.

The difference is, the blog content needs to ‘hit the spot” with visitors in a very targeted and individual way, differentiating your products or services from those offered by your competitors. With millions of other blogs out there for searchers to find, it’s only highly specific evidence that will resonate with the right visitors. Not only is having a focused topic important in each blog post, writing content with a specific audience in mind (rather than appealing to anyone) will make the difference between success and failure.

Gadi’s customers need to “see themselves” living in the home they’re touring, making their own mental and emotional “match” with those surroundings. With blog visitors, it’s the same, yet different. Your website content and blog posts can demonstrate that you’re offering all the right products and services, the ones your online visitors need. Despite that, you might still be experiencing a very high “bounce rate”, meaning that visitors to your blog are thinking to themselves “No, that’s not what I meant!” As part of their visit to your site, you have to appropriately signal to your visitor that you understand, serve, and most important, understand the situations and challenges they have faced in prior situations of  using your type of product or service.

Home buyers (at least it was that way pre-COVID-19!) are typically are left to roam the home on their own, “seeing” if this is the place for them. In contrast, with blog marketing, the content needs to put out targeted ‘prompts”. The business owner or professional practitioner is in essence telling the visitor -“To me, you’re not just anyone – I see you. I really see you!”