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10 Blog Posts for 10 Reasons

HR World’s John Edwards tells his small business owner readers no fewer than ten reasons to outsource their payroll. I must Enter the weekly time sheet concepts of work hours reportingsay, he presents a compelling lineup.

As a corporate blogging trainer, I couldn’t help but think Edwards’ article could actually be turned into ten separate blog posts, with each adding an anecdote or statistic to pack a punch with online readers.

For example, “productivity” is one of Edwards’ 10 reasons, and he elaborates as follows: “Payroll management is a time-consuming activity.  With this burden removed, your employees can focus on doing more productive thins, and you may even be able to trim your staff’ size.”

That statement is the perfect lead in for a story about how a small business owner was able to reduce the size of his workforce and still increase productivity and sales. Blog posts should include stories about how you solved client problems in the past, and lessons you’ve learned through your experience that you’ll be applying for the benefit of new customers and clients.  In other words, rather than listing all ten reasons at once, a blog post might be devoted to only this one aspect of outsourcing the payroll.

The HR World website then goes on to list “accuracy” as one of the 10 reasons to outsource the payroll. “Payroll mistakes can be painful, angering employees and – more ominously – the government.  A good payroll-services provider is far less likely to make a serious error than your in-house staff.  Furthermore, if a big mistake is made, you can seek financial restitution from the provider – something you can’t do with your own employees.”

This paragraph practically begs for a real-life example of a business owner who made a serious payroll mistake, “made the government angry” and paid a big price.

The lesson here is “Elaborate, elaborate, elaborate”.  Put “teeth” in your statements by making the scenario real for potential customers and clients. Those “10 Reasons”?  Turn ‘em into ten blog posts, and for each one, include story along with statistics.

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A Profoundly Moving “Final” Blog Post

“In October of 2014, I was told I was about to embark on a journey.  As I prepared In Memory Letterpressfor this journey, I learned many things about life and myself…I had been given a special gift – time to prepare for my final ‘destination’, what baggage to bring or not bring. As you read this, you know I have reached that destination.”

Just last week, in my monthly e-newsletter, I talked about “changing voices” in business blog content writing.  “I/you” writing, I explained, is very personal, with the business owner or practitioner talking directly with the reader. By contrast, when interviewing clients and reporting on their experience or when interviewing experts, that writing might be done in third person.

Never before, though, had I come across “I/you” writing in the form of a self-composed obituary. Donn K. Miles, who died June 17th, had prepared the obit which I read in the Indianapolis Star. “I was born…”  “I was adopted…”  “I graduated…”  “I served…” “I was married…” “My curious nature and the love of people led me to a lifelong employment in the world of sales….”

The late Mr. Miles was so right – he had indeed been given a special gift and he was able to give me and all the other readers a special gift by putting his story into words.

Naturally, as a content writer for so many years, I feel reverence for the power of words, of “voice”, of messaging.  And, while the marketing messages we offer online readers may not be as profound or as stirring  as Miles’ story about his final journey, the words we use in our blog are the best tools we have for letting others hear the story of what we do, what we’ve learned, what we offer, and, essentially, who we are.

Thank you, Donn K. Miles for your profoundly moving “final blog post” obituary, reminding us Indianapolis blog content creators of the power of I/you writing!

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The Phrase That Pays in Business Blog Writing

“Great storytellers don’t just hope to get lucky,” says former professional actor and now keynote speaker Doug Stevenson.  But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, he adds, because classical storytelling structure has been around for thousands of years.

As a corporate blogging trainer, I was thrilled to see that Stevenson teaches something I’ve always stressed to newbie blog content writers: Make one point. Just about every story you come up with can teach a variety of lessons.  Pick one, Stevenson says, only one, each time you tell the story.

Where to start? There are two approaches, Stevenson teaches.

a) Start with the story itself.  Something interesting happens to you and you tell about it. (This approKey to financial success. Concept. 3d illustrationach certainly applies to business blog posts about an interesting problem the business owner or practitioner was able to solve for a customer.)

b) The other approach is to be strategic and start with the point in mind.

  • Do you want to inspire people to believe in themselves?
  • Teach a better way to do something?
  • Communicate why a change is being made?
  • Caution people about a danger?
  • Make a complex idea easier to understand?
  • Introduce a new perspective on something?

Once you’ve set the scene, introduced the characters, encountered, then overcome the obstacle, it’s time to make the point.  That’s where the Call to Action comes in, Stevenson reminds writers.  He calls it the “phrase that pays.”

That phrase, he teaches, starts with a verb.  Billey McCaffrey of wordstream.com agrees.If you have an e-commerce site, start your CTA with words like “buy,” “shop,” or “order”. Promoting a newsletter or white paper? Start your CTA with words like “download” or “subscribe”. Want someone to request more information? Try “fill out a form for…” or “find out how…”

When it comes to CTAs, though I find myself issuing a caution during corporate blogging training sessions: Blogs are not ads. When people go online to search for information and click on different blogs or websites, they don’t want to “be sold.” The CTA may be the “phrase that pays”, but the great thing about stories is that they should be able to do most of the selling for you!

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