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Blogging to the Smarter Buyer

”Smart buyers want to gain as much as possible while spending as little as possible,” Tom Sant teaches in his book Persuasive Business Proposals. “If you don’t show them how much they gain by choosing your recommendations, they will inevitably focus on the other half of the equation, spending very little.”

Several of the elements Sant stresses concerning proposals can be especially important in blog marketing:

1. Smart buyers want a business proposal to address their issues or problems right away, giving them assurance that the recommendations will be relevant.
At Say It For You, we emphatically agree. Corporate blog writing for business, will succeed only if two things are apparent to readers, the first or which is that the business owner or professional practitioner understands online searchers’ concerns and needs. That assurance need to find expression early in the blog post content.

2.  Smart buyers want clear, specific recommendations tied back to solving those problems.
Buyers need to understand that you and your staff have the experience, the information, the products, and the services to solve exactly those problems and meet precisely those needs. Since, other than the clues offered through the words searchers have chosen to type into the search bar, their individual needs are as yet unknown to you, include anecdotes as examples of common issues that have been solved using your products and expertise.

3.  Smart buyers want evidence that the vendor can deliver on time and on budget.
At Say it For You, we realize that having a specific audience in mind and choosing the best evidence for that target audience is crucial.. It’s specific evidence that will resonate with the right audience, including:

  • statistics about the problem your product or service helps solve
  • your years of experience, degrees, newspaper articles written by or about your business or practice
  • testimonials

Choosing the best blog marketing evidence is crucial!

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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:

EQUIP YOURSELF:
(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. 

MAKE IT A FAMILY AFFAIR:
(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!

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Valuable Blog Marketing Lesson in a Solo Cup

target market
You know those red plastic SOLO drinking cups? Maybe you’re heard that the lines wrapped around the outside are actually measuring guides, observes Todd Hunt in his latest Hunt’s Headlines email. The line closest to the bottom measures 1 ounce of liquor, the next one 5 ounces of wine, with the line close to the top measuring 12 ounces of beer. Forget that, says parent company Dart Container Corporation, stating in no uncertain terms that the lines are designed for function only and are not measurements.

“Advertising can….introduce emotions, images, and symbols that stimulate desire, and it can show how a product or brand compares favorably to competitors,” lumenlearning.com explains.
“Reminder advertising reminds people about the need for a product or service, or the features and benefits it will provide when purchased.”

According to the Cleveland State University Writing Center, “Critical readers seek knowledge; they do not “rewrite” a work to suit their own personalities”. But are blog readers “critical” in that sense? Not likely. Sure, as blogginexplorer.com stresses, “Simply put, your blog’s target audience is the group of readers who your blog can help the most.” And, when you target that very specific audience, you have a better idea about what they need and want.

Still, content writers need to be aware that readers bring their own biases to the page. Without even realizing it, blog visitors are going to be thinking about how they might use those lines on the red plastic cup to measure beer or wine (whether that was our intention or not!). And, we’ve come to realize at Say It For You, that’s OK. Blog posts are not meant to be ads, instead functioning like “advertorials”.

When you first begin blogging, Qeryz.com admits, “there is only ‘the middle’, entailing what you do, what you offer, and what problems you solve”. Surrounding this “middle” is your potential audience and what they care about. Identifying your audience is a process that never stops, cautions Queryz founder Sean Si.

As a blog marketer, salesbacker.com suggests, you have different ways to differentiate your product from competitors, including:

  • by size
  • by origin
  • by branding or decoration
  • by packaging
  • by adding a feature or ingredient
  • by offering a bonus

One way to engage blog readers is to share the history of your company. (The Solo Cup company, was founded in Chicago during the Great Depression, and is now 84 years old!) “How-we-did-it” stories make for very effective blog content for both business owners and professional practitioners, I’ve learned.

The lesson in the solo cup? To the blog writer, the product or service might represent one thing; to individual readers, it might represent another! It’s all good….

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Blog Posts Don’t Seal – They Enable


Will blog marketing “close” deals in the same way as face-to-face encounters between prospects and sales professionals? The answer is obviously “no”. This week’s Say It For You posts are devoted to the topic of blog marketing and its place in the overall sales process.

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 a “bargaining” exchange would not be taking place between the business owner/practitioner and the reader/customer. On the other hand, one purpose of blog content is to persuade readers to act.

A very non-technical way I have of explaining the concept of blog marketing is this: Rather than running traditional ads for your brand of hats, vitamins, travel, or paint, you provide lots of information on the history of hats, on why vitamins are good for you, about exciting places to go on safari, and on the psychology of color. Consumers interested in your subject, but who never even knew your name, come to see you as a resource.

When blog readers follow your “calls to action” by phoning your business or practice, faxing in a request or an order, signing up for your newsletter, subscribing to your blog through an RSS feed, or proceeding to your shopping cart to buy your product or service, you know your blog marketing strategy is working Understand, though – it’s entirely possible that none of those things will happen at the first “meeting”.

Just as in traditional selling, you need to use blog content writing to “prove your case” by:

  • offering statistics about the problem your product or service helps solve
  • comparing your product or service with others on the market
  • providing testimonials from past and present customers and clients

Generally speaking, as I often stress when I offer Say It For You corporate blogging training, blog posts are not ads, and there should never be a hard-sell or boastful tone to the content. Blog posts are closer in nature to informative “advertorials”, positioning the company or practitioner as helpful, well-experienced, and knowledgeable.

Primarily, the blog post has to add value. Not just a promise of value if the reader converts to a buyer, but value right then and there in terms of information, skill enhancement, or a new way of looking at the topic. The best blog posts are never about yourself, your company, your services, or your products, but about why you see things the way you do.

Typically, a blog post doesn’t “seal” the deal, so much as it “enables” the deal.

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Unleash the Combined Power of Statistics and Stories in Your Blog


“Every 55 seconds someone in the US develops the disease,” Jason Abady, community engagement manager for the Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association, let our audience know. In fact, I thought later, Abady had used this one simple but startling statistic to engage his audience.

Abady’s presentation confirmed a long-held belief of mine: nothing speaks quite as loud as numbers. In teaching business owners and professional practitioners how to create content for blog posts, I stress the power of using statistics in blogs.

  • Statistics can serve as myth-busters, dispelling false impressions people may have regarding your industry.
  • Statistics grab visitors’ attention.
  • Statistics can be used demonstrate the extent of a problem (just as Jason Abady did in his talk), opening the door for your to show how you help solve that very type of problem.

Statistics relate to the theory of social proof, meaning that, as humans, we are more willing to do something if we see other people doing it. (That, I suspect, is what is in play with the Alzheimer’s Walk, which brings numbers of people together in an activity, rather than merely soliciting individual donations.)

There’s another side to this story, based on my own experience at Say It For You, training blog content writers and working with business owners and professional practitioners: Statistics alone, although powerful, are not enough to create positive results in a marketing blog. True, what blogging does best is “deliver” to blog sites customers who are already interested in the product or service provided by that practice, business, or organization. The blog content assures readers they are not alone in their need for solutions to their medical, financial, or personal challenges.

As John Pullinger observes in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, “Statistics provides a special kind of understanding that enables well-informed decisions. As citizens and consumers we are faced with an array of choices. Statistics can help us to choose well.” However, as blog marketers, it’s important for us to remember that the first choice that people make when presented with a statistic, is whether to take action at all.

Numbers give us quantifiable information, but when it comes to communicating how things can actually impact readers’ real lives, some form of humanizing or grounding the data is often effective, Barnard Marr explains in Forbes.

One way to boost the power of a statistic is to turn it into a story. The story then becomes a call to action for readers. In fact, one big, big part of providing business blogging assistance is helping business owners formulate stories. Online visitors to your blog want to feel you understand them and their needs, and the story enhances the potential value (to them) of your product or service. In his presentation, Jason Abady did exactly that, sharing the story of his own grandfather as an Alzheimer’s patient.

Unleash the combined power of startling statistics and inspiring stories in your blog!

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