Blogging to Make the Reward Worth It

“Make the reward worth it,” Nancy Duarte advises business speakers in her book Resonate. “No matter how stimulating you make your plea, an audience will not act unless you describe a reward that makes it worthwhile.” The ultimate gain must be clear.”

Duarte lists 7 basic types of reward:

  1. Basic needs – include food, water, shelter, and rest. (Concern for others’ basic needs prompts generosity.)
  2. Security – includes physical, financial, technological, and psychological.
  3. Savings – includes savings in time, labor, and money.
  4. Prize – includes personal financial reward, privilege, market share.
  5. Recognition – People relish being honored for both individual and collective efforts.
  6. Relationship – a sense of community with a group of people who support each other and make a difference
  7. Destiny – includes fulfilling lifelong dreams and reaching one’s potential.

Since one important function of any marketing blog is converting lookers to buyers, and since I train Indianapolis blog content writers, this concept of perceived rewards really piqued my interest. The things that motivate people to buy are product or service features they want, of course, and, as I explain to new clients, when readers arrive at your business blog, it’s because they already have an interest in your topic and are ready to receive the information, the services, and the products you have to offer.

However, I caution the content writers, whether the blog leads to success in converting lookers to buyers will in large part depend on the rewards those readers perceive are in store for them. Remember, there’s so much information out there for searchers to use, so many bloggers telling what they have to offer, how it works, and how they can help. What needs to come across loud and clear is that the business owners or practitioners understand the readers and those readers’ specific needs and problems.

But more than that is required for success. The focus of each blog post must be on the end result from the recipients’ point of view. Help readers know how good they’ll feel (whether in terms of security, savings, recognition, or basic need fulfillment – after using your (or your business owner or professional practitioner client’s) product or service.

Blog to make the reward worth it!


Don’t-Bother-With….Blogging for Business

blog formats


At Say It For You, I’m always on the lookout for different “templates”, not in the sense of platform graphics, but in terms of formats for presenting information about any business or pro practice.  Possibilities include:

  • how-to posts
  • list posts
  • review posts
  • op ed opinion posts
  • interview posts

By varying the format or template, you can revisit topics related to your field over long periods of time without being repetitive.

The “nucleus” around which business blog posts are formed is their topic, showing the expertise and products that business offers. The key words and phrases around that topic are what brings readers to the blog posts. But, even though the overall topic is the same, there is endless variety that can be used to make each blog post special, and one way to differentiate blog posts is by using different templates.

Just the other day, for example, I ran across two new uses of a template, both in the February issue of Oprah Magazine:

  1. In “Finish Strong”, the author presents four rules for getting the most out of a workout.  Following each recommendation, there are two subsections: Do and Don’t Bother With. For example, under the rule “Heal Thyself”, the Do is to keep moving, which is “the only proven antidote” to delayed onset muscle soreness following a workout.  Under Don’t Bother With, the author lists products promising to flush out lactic acid, ice baths, and potions to reduce inflammation. Similarly, content writers, while advising blog readers on solutions, can add “what not to bother with”, in order to give the information a new twist.

2.  In “Fill Your Cup”, author Aleisha Fetters is giving advice about get-well teas, using the template “If    You Have…” If you have a tickle in your throat, use Echinacea tea.  Fetters than lists some of her recommended product choices. There are if-you-have recommendations for nausea, congestion, cough, and fever.

From a strategic standpoint, there are two different and compelling reasons for varying the template or format of your blog posts:

To create interest:
“You may find the information interesting, but unless you make it interesting to your readers, you won’t have any readers,” cautions Zhi Yuan in

To use long tail keywords:
Long tail keywords tend to be more detailed, with a more narrow focus on one aspect of your product or service. Over long periods of time, your business blog content can become ever more focused and detailed, as you present the information using new and different “templates”.

Definitely DO bother with new templates in blogging for business!


What’s in a Name When Blogging For Business


Richard Lederer, author of the book the Joy of Names, has a vested interest in his subject: his own name, he reveals means “powerful estate ruler leather worker”. But, “Must a name mean something?” (as Alice asks Humpty Dumpty).”Of course it must!” is Dumpty’s reply.

In writing to promote a business or practice, using stories about names and nicknames makes for engaging content. In fact, it’s an excellent idea to share anecdotes about people on the team who have earned a complimentary sobriquet.

Just this week, paging through a special edition of People Magazine devoted to The stars of Food Network, I noticed several examples:

  • Bobby Flay is “the elder statsman of Food Network”.
  • Ina Garten is “the ultimate hostess”.
  • Valerie Bernelli is “hot in the kitchen”.
  • Duff Goldman is “the designated baker”.
  • Guy Fiere is “mayor of Flavortown”
  • Alton Brown is “the geek of gastronomy”

As fellow blogger Michael Fortin reminds content writers, getting personal is a huge element in the success of business blogs. Sharing this type of fond moniker, along with an anecdote, adds interest to blog posts. Did you know that Alton Brown once invented a turkey derrick with ropes, pulleys, and a ladder, to facilitate safe and accurate fryer of a Thanksgiving bird?

Storytelling has the power to move from lifeless to life-filled copy, Luana Spinetti writes in

The following poem by Charles Delint (included on page 11 of the Lederer book) sums up the astounding power of names and the stories behind those names:

A name can’t begin to encompass the sum of all of her parts,
But that’s the magic of names, isn’t it?
That the complex, contradictory individuals we are
can be called up complete and whole
In another mind through the simple sorcery of a name.

As the People Magazine Food Network issue demonstrates, blending 6 cups of the power of names with 6 cups of intriguing anecdotes and – you’ve got some very delicious business blog content!


In Blogging and in the Air, a Bit of Explanation Goes a Long Way

explanations in blogging“Although many frequent fliers think they know what to do in an emergency, in fact most probably haven’t listened to the safety videos in years and if you quizzed them about the content, they’d flunk,” writes George Hobica in USA Today.

The basic content of safety videos, Hobica explains, is established by the International Civil Aviation Organization, with room for additional advice at each airline’s discretion. It’s all super-important content, he says, because whenever there’s been an emergency on a plane, we see footage of passengers doing the wrong things – escaping a crash landing carrying luggage and not wearing shoes, or not knowing how to put on an oxygen masks, for example.

So what can be done to get passengers to watch the videos? (As a blog content writer and trainer who’s occupied with getting people to read the content we prepare, I was really interested in what Hobica would have to say on the subject.)

“I truly believe that if the videos explained the reasons behind the instructions they give, then people would listen more,” he says. “For instance, the exhortation to ‘place the mask over your mouth and nose’ could be changed to ‘place the mask over both your nose and mouth, because otherwise you won’t get enough oxygen and you’ll pass out'”.

Blogger Michel Fortin says he’s a big fan of reasons-why advertising. “Good, successful copy,” Fortin adds, “tells the reader why right up front.” (If you don’t, he warns, they’re left wondering why you left that information out.) Why are you highlighting a certain topic now? Why is the solution you’re proposing particularly relevant for this reader?


Build the Thesis Ahead of the Blog

thesis building in blogs

“Before you begin writing an essay or writing a research paper,” the Research & Education Association’s QuickAccess laminated writing guide advises, “draft a working thesis statement.”

That’s great advice for students, even better advice for business blog content writers, I believe.  It’s advice too often neglected, I find, with the operative work being “before”.

The thesis statement should contain two parts, REA explains:

  1. the subject of the essay
  2. your opinion on the subject

As an example of a weak thesis, REA offers this: “High school dropout rates are increasing.”

What’s wrong with it?  Lacks an opinion and is too general.  A stronger version, the guide suggests, would read:  “Because higher education is needed more than ever before in order for members of today’s workforce to be successful, the rising high school dropout rate is harmful to society.”

For business blog writing, though, that second version is far from ideal – too wordy, for one, and lacks “pow”. Two shorter, related sentences might create more impact: Here’s my version:

“Our kids are dropping out of high school; to staff our workplaces, we need to give our education system two major tweaks.”

Writing with impact, as REA is correctly telling students, requires thinking. And not just any thinking – it takes pre-thinking and planning. Composing an effective college essay is serious business; composing an effective marketing blog post IS business. Sure, our blogs may state a business owner’s or practitioner’s case in less formal, more conversational style than essays, but preparing a working thesis statement forces writers to focus, which translates into impact.

Just as REA teaches, the thesis statement should contain two parts:

  1. the subject (ONE main idea, ONE aspect of the business or practice)
  2. the opinion (a slant or unique value proposition, the answer to the online searcher’s questions – Why should I do this now? Why should I choose you?)

Build the thesis ahead of the blog!