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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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Odds-of Comparison Blogging for Business

Odds of opioid death higher than car crash,” a recent Indianapolis Star headline read. Since, at Say It For You, I’m always alert for ways to approach creating original content for business owners’ and professional practitioners’ blogs, that headline caught my attention.

One way to make business blog content impactful, I teach at Say It For You, is to put information in perspective by using statistical comparisons. “Even when news stories, ads, or public service announcements do a good job of providing risk statistics, you still need more information to make the numbers meaningful,” explain the authors of Know Your Chances.

Whether a business owner is composing his/her own blog posts or collaborating with a professional ghost blogger, it’s simply not enough to provide even very valuable information to online searchers who’ve landed on a company’s page The facts need to be “translated” into relational, emotional terms to put things into perspective for readers and therefore compel reaction – and action. Statistical comparisons help do just that.

Online searchers may know what they want or even what they need.  They may not know what to call that need. They almost certainly lack expert knowledge in your field. Think about it. It’s difficult for potential customers to know if:

  • your prices are fair
  • how experienced you are relative to your peers
  • how large or small your business is compared to others
  • whether “small” better for this particular service or product
  • whether and how your approach to your field different from most others

Online searchers may have heard about a particular product or service that you offer, but not know what the odds are that they will have need of that product or service!  “Odds-of” comparison blogging for business provides that very sort of guidance.

Opening your post with a startling statistic can be a way to grab visitors’ attention. Statistics can actually serve as myth-busters in themselves.  If there’s some false impression people seem to have relating to your industry, or to a product or service you provide, you can bring in statistics to show how things really are. Statistics can also serve to demonstrate the extent of a problem.  Once readers realize the problem, the door is open for you to show how you help solve that very type of problem for your customers!

“Odds-of” blogging for business can increase the odds of online readers deciding to DO business – with you!

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Let Me Count the Ways to Use Numbers in a Business Blog

numbers in blogs

“Use numerals to express numbers 10 and above, and use words to express numbers below 10,” Paige Jackson of the American Psychological Association reminds writers.
Another writing guidance source, the Purdue OWL, has this to say: “Although usage varies, most people spell out numbers than can be expressed in one of two words and use figures for other numbers.” The OWL offers several examples of each choice:

Words:

  • over two pounds
  • six million dollars
  • after thirty-one years
  • eighty-three people

Numbers:

  • after 126 days
  • only $31.50
  • 6,381 bushels
  • 4.78 liters

When Pamela Vaughan and her colleagues at HubSpot analyzed all there own blog posts to see which titles had performed the best in terms of search results, the top eight each included a number, starting with::

  • “12 Quick Tips to Search Google Like an Expert”
  • “12 Mind-Blogwing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know”
  • “How to Monitor Your Social Media Presence in 10 Minutes a Day”
  • “The 9 Worst Ways to Use Twitter for Business”

Ryan McCready of Vennage.com is even more specific, suggesting, after looking at 121,333 unique articles, tthat 10 is the best number to use in blog titles. The number 5, McCready points out, is second. Avoid using the teens, he adds, and never, ever use the number 2.

Career coaches suggest that using numbers may be one of the most underutilized strategies in cover letter writing. Numbers are a great way to be specific about your accomplishments.  They also show that you pay attention to benchmarks and concentrate on setting and meeting goals.

As a blog content writer and trainer, I stress that numbers can be used in business blogs to “build belief”. For example, statistics can demonstrate the extent of a problem your product or service helps solve.

Whether you follow the APA formatting or the Purdue OWL, using numbers in your business blog is a way to quantify, or to qualify – and get the business!

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In-Command Business Blogging

COMMAND -   3D stock image of Red text on white background
Messages have two aspects, explains Elizabeth J. Natalle in Teaching Interpersonal Communication, the report aspect and the command aspect. Since we blog content writers are always looking to find the right tone to translate corporate message into people-to-people terms, I found Natalle’s explanation of the two categories very useful.

I put the well-written article “50 Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life” (in the March issue of the AARP Magazine) to the control/command test. Author Nick Farrai offers lots of information and statistics from credible sources, including:

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel review
  • 15 studies published in the European Heart Journal
  • New York University’s Langone Medical Center
  • Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health
  • JAMA Internal Medicine
  • American Heart Association
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Concordia University
  • U.S. Department of Transportation

So how did this long article fare when it came to the command aspect? (Remember that the command aspect related to the relationship between the communicants – the people offering the advice and those for whom the advice is intended). I gave Farrai high marks for knowing his audience, and for showing how the information he was serving up would help you (he uses the word “you” a lot, which is great for creating a relationship). He’s “giving away” highly useful tips with no hint of salesmanship. “With this collection of some of the most important longevity findings, you’ll have the road map you need to get to 80, 90, 100 or beyond.”

The 50 healthful hints following each set of statistics and findings come in the form of definitive “commands”.

  • “Go nuts”.
  • “Keep watching LOL cat videos”
  • “Get social”
  • “Watch your grandkids”
  • “Read more”
  • Practice home fire drills”
  • “Take the stairs every day.”

You might say the art of blog marketing consists of supplying facts, and then putting those facts in context, which is precisely what this AARP article does. As bloggers, we’re giving readers the raw materials to think about, but we need to go one step further, demonstrating why those facts matter, and suggesting ways readers can use the information for their own benefit. That’s exactly what in-command business blogging does!

 

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Basically, We Bought Their Car For Them

Buying a new car

 

At a recent study session for financial planners, Waypoint Residential’s Todd Patterson made it really easy for us in the audience to understand exactly how excellent a return Waypoint had managed to generate for its investors over the last two years. After comparing dollars invested and dollars realized, Patterson summed up the situation in these simple terms:  “Basically, we bought their car for them.”

Let’s face it – most business blog posts make claims, either outright or implied.  The claims may be understated, exaggerated, or exactly on the money, but still – a claim is a claim is a claim. And when you make a claim, the problem is, blog visitors probably don’t know how to “digest” those claims you’ve “served up”.  They simply don’t have any basis for comparison, not being as expert as you are in your field. What I’m getting at is that every claim needs to be put into context, so that it not only is true, but so that it feels true to your online visitors. That’s precisely what Todd Patterson did so well in talking to us financial planners.

One core function of blogs for business is explaining yourself, your business philosophy, your products, and your processes.  An effective blog clarifies what sales trainers like to call your “unique value proposition” in terms readers can understand. And one excellent way to do just that is by making comparisons with things with which readers are already comfortable and familiar! Even those financial planner “numbers people” assiduously taking notes on their laptops, intending to share those stats with investors, needed something more.  That “more” was the “sound bite” about investors making enough money in two years to fund a car.

There are tens of millions of blog posts out there making claims of one sort or another, even as you’re reading this Say It For You post. Based on my own experience as an online reader, I’d venture to say fewer than 10% of them attempt to put their claims in context; and only the very top few manage to convey to their blog visitors what those claims can mean for them!

Basically, blog content writers, ask yourself what benefit your product or service “buys” for your customers and clients!

 

 

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