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To the Blog Writer, It’s One Thing; To the Reader, It Might Be Another

blog marketing
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it dozens of times in this Say It For You blog – blogs are not ads.  Still, always on the prowl for good ideas, I happened upon a full page ad (for sleep chairs, of all things!) that could actually serve as a model for us blog content writers. 
The headline consisted of a quote from a customer:
“To you, it’s the perfect lift chair. To me, it’s the best sleep chair I’ve ever had.”

Then, beneath a picture of the lift chair, there was a three paragraph article.  “You can’t always lie down in bed and sleep. Heartburn, cardiac problems, hip or back aches, dozens of other ailments and worries. Those nights you’d give anything for a comfortable chair to sleep in.”
It’s a good idea to build the occasional blog post around a customer success story. Good testimonials give prospective customers peace of mind, providing proof that people have tried your products and services and approve of them.

The second paragraph went on to highlight some special features of the product – heat and massage settings, battery backup, and a lift mechanism that tilts the chair forward.
In one of my favorite books about selling, Mitch Meyerson’s Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, the author points out that features tell us two things about a product or service:  what it does and what goes into it. In this ad, of course, the benefits (what the product does for the customer) are emphasized first, with the features described second.

The third paragraph highlighted “white glove delivery”, with professionals unpacking the chair in the customer’s home, inspecting and positioning it, even carrying the packaging away.
Since at Say It For You, our content writers serve the needs of both product vendors and professional practitioners, I was very interested in this paragraph about extra services associated with the product. Blog content writers should make lists of ways their business individualizes and personalizes services to customers and clients.

The bottom of the page had the phone number (with a special code), along with a color and fabric chart.
While blogs are not advertisements, I often explain to content writers that a Call to Action does not at all invalidate the good information provided in the piece. As long as the material is valuable and relevant for the searchers, they’re perfectly fine with knowing there’s someone who wants them for a client or customer. In fact, the Call to Action in the form of a phone number to call or a link to click makes it convenient for readers who are ready to buy.

To the blog writer, the product or service might represent one thing; to individual readers, it might represent another, all the more reason to vary the approach in different posts. 
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Blogging Helps FNU LNUs Get Found

 

FNU LNU (acronym for First Name Unknown, Last Name Unknown) is a term used by authorities to identify unknown suspects. When you’re selecting keyword phrases to use in your website and blog content, it’s useful to remember that the business owner or the professional practitioner is actually the FNU LNU in the equation. Nine out of ten, I explain to newbie blog content writers, at stage #1 of their search, online readers don’t know the name of the individual, the business, or the practice. What most consumers are likely to type into the search bar are words describing:
  • their need
  • their problem
  • their idea of the solution to their problem
  • a question

Blogging for business, I teach at Say It For You, essentially consists of introducing yourself to strangers.  Not that it isn’t a good idea to email links to your blog posts to existing customers and clients, but, for developing new relationships, your blog will be your central prospecting tool. In order to convert those “strangers” to friends and customers, address your blog posts to them, and write about them.  Fact is, they’re going to care about your name only if and when they know you care about their problems and needs, and when they are reassured that you have just the means to take care of them.

 

It’s reassuring to blog content writers to remember that the only people who are going to be reading the blog posts, are those searching for precisely the kinds oif information, products, and services that relate to what you do, what you have for sale, and what you know about and know how to do. It’s also reassuring to realize that consumers who feel fairly informed are more likely to make buying decisions.

 

Generally speaking, the information consumers seek in the process of online searching falls into three categories:
  1. How to do things
  2. How to find things
  3. How to keep things (and their bodies) in the best condition possible

Once having been “found”, the next step is to get “personal”, Practical eCommerces Paul Chaney emphasizes “Blogging,” he says, “consists of one person – or one company – communicating directly with consumers in an unfettered, unfiltered manner….blogs are a more personal form of communication.”

Marketing blogs may be written about business, but they had better be about people as well, and that includes both the online searchers and the blog content writers. You start out being a FLU LNU, and, ideally, end up being an ally! 

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Blog to Become the JND

 blog marketing

It’s a term from the field of psychology, but the concept is one to which we blog content writers can certainly relate. The JND (just noticeable difference) is the minimum level of stimulation that is needed for a person to detect it, at least 50 percent of the time. For example, if you were asked to hold two objects of different weights, the just noticeable difference would be the minimum weight difference between the two that you could sense half of the time. The just noticeable difference applies to a wide variety of senses including touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight, explains Kendra Cherry in verywellmind.com. If an experimenter were to slowly add tiny amounts of sand to one of your hands, asking you to say when you notice that one hand feels heavier than the other, that would reveal your JND.

“It’s best to think about who your prospective leads are online and what they might want to read, before sitting down to write a blog post,” Campaign Creators advise. The JND will be the precise point will online readers notice that their needs are being addressed and that the information you’re offering is relevant to their search. According to Internet Live Stats, there are around 5.5 billion Google searches per day or more than 63,000 search queries per second. With such an ocean of material available on the internet on every conceivable topic, at what point will your prospect undergo that minimum level of stimulation need to command her attention?

Always on the alert for ways to convey marketing messages through corporate blog content writing, I couldn’t help recalling Jeffrey Hayzlett’s advice in Success Magazine about grabbing the attention of would-be customers: “Aim for speed and immediate relevance”. There can be no “relevance”, blog content writers need to understand, until and unless the reader experiences JND.

To help that process, I teach Indianapolis blog writers to address five “why’s”:

  1. why YOU (the reader)
  2. why ME (the blogger)
  3. why THIS (the offer)
  4. why now (the urgency)
  5. why this price (the value).

Blog to help the Just Noticeable Different happen!

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Start By Being on Their Side

being on the side of the reader

In his 30-second “elevator speech” introducing himself at our InfoConnect2 networking meeting, fellow member Cody Lents shared something I think blog content writers need to hear.

Most sales processes, Cody said, go as follows:

  1. Here’s what we have to offer….
  2. Here’s how it works…..
  3. Here’s how it can help you……
  4. What do you think?…..

In contrast to that features/benefits model, Cody’s message to a prospect runs more like this: “I understand you have some problems with ……. Let’s figure it out together.”

Cody’s words reminded me of a post I published six years ago, called “Business Blog Readers Need Content Writers to Get One Thing Straight”. Recommending anything, I reminded blog content writers, before you’ve demonstrated you’ve done your homework and that you understand the readers’ needs, well that is not likely to have them following any of your calls to action.

There’s just 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.

Another aspect of putting ourselves in prospects’ shoes comes into play when our blog post is sharing industry and company or practice news and announcements. Readers must buy into the idea that this news is going to be important to them. In a way, the blog content writer is playing the role of an advisor, and people look to advisors for more than just information, even if the topic is highly relevant to their needs. Readers will be saying to themselves, “OK, I get it, but how does that news affect me?”

When it comes right down to it, the whole blog marketing thing is not really about search engine optimization, although that may be one motivating factor for starting a blog. What I believe it IS really about is providing those who find your site with a taste of what it would be like to have you working alongside them to help with their challenges and issues. (That’s true whether the business owner or practitioner is writing his or her own blog posts or working with professional content writers at Say It For You.)

You’ve gotta start on their side!

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Double Duty Business Blogging

 

“Provide valuable information to people who need it, and let word-of-mouth marketing do the rest.” No, this advice wasn’t being given to bloggers; practice management consultant Susan Kornegay, CFP® was telling financial planning practitioners (in the Journal of Financial Planning) about the benefits of using informational booklets as marketing tools for their professional practices. “When clients take home your booklet or checklist, it’s almost as though you’re going home with them. They’ll be reminded of how well you take care of them whenever they look at it or show it to someone else,” Kornegay adds.

When readers “take home” or access the content of our blog posts, even if they are not yet clients (and therefore do not yet have proof of how well we are going to take care of them), the hope is that they will, in fact, share that content with others. In surveys, it was discovered that the main reason people share online content is that they enjoy bringing value to others, potentially changing opinions and nourishing relationships. The key word here is “value” – pack your content with more information, more practical advice, and more thought-provoking statements, Garrett Moon of coschedule.com advises.

“Why your own?” asks Kornegay, acknowledging that broker-dealers, wholesalers, and organizations offer plenty of brochures, booklets and checklists financial planning practitioners could simply order and hand out to their clients. “But wouldn’t your clients appreciate having something that represents your thoughts, your experience, and your perspective as their trusted adviser?” she suggests. Kornegay’s steps on how to put resources together might serve as a tutorial for business blog content writers:

  •  Think about your ideal clients and what would help them
  •  Base the content on your own experience and process
  •  Use graphic design, incorporating your own branding and contact information
  •  Make copies available (Kornegay mentions placing brochures on your credenza, bookshelf, table, conference room and waiting area, but digital availability can be enhanced through email, social media promotions, and guest posting)

Creating materials of “your own” does not rule out aggregating resources for the benefit of your readers. Even Kornegay mentions that “online research can help you organize your thoughts and perhaps spark some additional ideas.”  But, I agree, aggregating resources is hardly enough; business blog content writers need to add their own “spin” to the material based on their own business wisdom and expertise.

Use your online content, first and foremost, to provide value.  When readers “take home” your content and share it with others, it’s almost as if you’re going home with them!

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