My June Hunt’s Headlines e-newsletter made a point worth repeating to all blog content writers: Don’t let your titles mislead your audiences.
“Customers who bought tickets to the Broadway show ‘Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo’”, starring Robin Williams, “were understandably disappointed,” Hunt observes. The play was a drama about the war in Baghdad, not the comedy they’d expected, he explains. And, while “Bengal” received critical acclaim, communications expert Hunt thinks that’s no excuse for giving the play its “misleading” title.
I’m not sure I’d pay the price of a Broadway ticket without reading reviews, but as a professional blogger and corporate blogging trainer, I agree 100% that a title constitutes a promise of sorts, and that the content needs to deliver on that promise.
“A good title makes all the difference in the world,” says Nolan Wilson of benchmarkemail.com. Included in Wilson’s list of tips for writing engaging blog post titles, along with including keywords, being short and to the point, and using power words, is the warning to “Deliver on your promise in the body of the post.”
A concept that’s important for business owners and freelance blog content writers to keep in mind is keeping the title and the actual blog post content congruent. I like to share a funny anecdote from a Jerry Seinfeld CD I own. Jerry thinks having the airline captain come on the PA system to detail the flight plan is ridiculous. “Just end up where it says on the ticket!” says Jerry. Come to think of it, that’s a very good rule for business blog writing.
Remember - online readers haven’t read “reviews” of your “play”. The title of our blog post, Wilson reminds us Indianapolis freelance content writers, is the first thing that readers see, and, as the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression!”
My June Hunt’s Headlines e-newsletter made a point worth repeating to all blog content writers: Don’t let your titles mislead your audiences.
“If you want to convince someone about something,” says Rolf Dobelli in The Art of Thinking Clearly, don’t focus on the advantages; instead, highlight how it helps them dodge the disadvantages. That’s because, he explains, research shows that, emotionally, a loss “weighs” about twice that of a similar gain.
Of the six techniques a second author, Steven James, suggests writers use to create suspense, the one that appealed to me most as a corporate blogging trainer was this: “Put characters that readers care about in jeopardy.”
In business blogging, I think the lesson here for content writers is to identify ways in which something potential customers value could be in jeopardy. We then assure searchers they’re not the only ones to find themselves in this predicament and show them we’ve solved these precise problems for customers and clients many times before.
On the other hand, I’ve found, in too many SEO marketing blogs, the content is meant to scare consumers, with the message geared towards creating enough fear about a particular problem that readers will be moved to do something about that fear - now!
The middle ground, I teach Indiana freelance blog content writers is to identify ways in which something customers value could be in jeopardy. (Do that without making dire threats or predictions.) Go on to demonstrate that your business owner or professional practitioner blogging client has solved these precise problems many times before.
The word “highlight” in Rolf Dobelli’s statement is key. On the one hand, when people go online to search for information and click on different blogs or on different websites, they’re aware of the fact that the providers of the information are out to do business. That means it’s OK to highlight how your product or service can help them dodge losses and disadvantages. Highlighting, though, is hardly the same as “hitting them over the head” with a hard-sell.
In SEO marketing blogs, “convincing” (as measured in clicks to the shopping cart or obeying Calls to Action) may mean allowing online visitors to do their own “weighing” of the plusses and minuses of taking action now.
Most often, I’m so anxious to get into a book that I skip over the introduction. I’m awfully glad I took the time to read Rolf Dobelli’s introduction to “The Art of Thinking Clearly”. Not only did that intro section help me put into perspective all the information I was going to be reading, it helped me realize how important our opening blog posts are when it comes to content writing for business blogs.
In fact, I thought Dobelli’s introduction section accomplished many of the things we need to include in opening blog posts.
The author shares reasons he felt compelled to write the book.
When we Indianapolis freelance blog content writers are beginning to create content for a marketing blog, we need to share with readers why we’re doing that. WHY a blog about (accounting, sinus conditions, long term care insurance, mattresses, divorce counseling, furniture…whatever the industry or profession or product or service)?
The author shares his own struggle to accept his findings and the process by which he arrived at his unique perspective.
“This is not a how-to book,” cautions Dobelli. “I think of myself as a translator whose job is to interpret and synthesize what I’ve learned.” Sharing the “why” helps personalize the blog, so that readers can feel a connection with a real person.(In Why a Blog About Juliana?, another author, Juliana Playwright reveals how seeking the answers to simple questions about the time periods she was writing about ended up becoming more complex than she might ever have imagined.)
The author clarifies his end goal for the book.
“Indeed, my wish is quite simple. If we could learn to recognize and evade the biggest errors in thinking – in our private lives, at work, or in government – we might experience a leap in prosperity. “When setting out to blog, it is important that you first set goals,” explains bonsaimediagroup.
“I'm hoping that I'll be able to get across some of my ideas about how clients who need debt help should expect to be treated, and how important I know it is to just listen to people when they need to talk about their business or their family or their health problems. So, I'm going to be here blogging, debunking, explaining, and helping. I hope you'll be here, too...”
(This is an example of the opening blog for a debt consolidation lawyer.)
Mack Collier sums it up nicely in “How to write your first blog post”: Tell them who you are, he advises, why you are blogging, what you will be blogging about, and how to leave feedback.
Whatever you do in blogging for business, don’t skip over the introduction. Over my years of reading blogs and providing corporate blogging training, I’ve learned one thing – there’s absolutely no substitute for figuring out and then translating into words – the Why-a-Blog-About……
This week, in my Say It For You blog posts, I’m making good use of The Book of Totally Useless Information. “Why do jets traveling at high altitudes leave those long cloudlike trails in the sky?” asks author Don Vorhees, explaining that the trails are called “contrails” because they’re formed from CONdensed water vapor.
The point I want to emphasize to Indianapolis blog content writers is that the high-flying jet aircraft are often hard to see, as Vorhees points out, “but the trails they leave behind can be readily spotted.”
The effects of corporate blogging are cumulative, not immediate. Like contrails, blogs are important in the “trails they leave behind”. Fellow blog writer Lee Odden of TopRank describes the effect as “the compounding equity that grows with long term blogging and SEO efforts”.
Every time you make a mortgage payment, part of that payment is building equity in the home. In an SEO marketing blog, with every use of a keyword phrase, you’re building “equity” in that category. Optimally, as Motherlandforum.com explains, keyword phrases are incorporated into several different aspects of a blog, not only in the text itself. It’s particularly important to use keyword phrases in two places:
- In the domain name.. Even if the name will be longer that way, using exact keywords is more beneficial than having a short, easy-to-remember name.
- In the meta tag description that appears in the browser tab (at the top of the page when you print it out). Next to the domain name, this is most important.
Two other ways to use keyword phrases, according to Motherland Forum, include:
- In images. Name the image file using keywords.
- In embedded links, referring to previous posts in new posts
Over time, your business blog writing builds up its own keyword “contrail” that helps your blogsite stay “visible” to online searcher long after the content itself was written!
After World War I, when Standard Oil wanted to unify all its marketing activities under one easily identifiable trademark, the name ESSO was chosen because it was short and memorable and suggested the initials of the company. But due to trademark disputes in different territories, (Standard Oil in the Midwest insisted the marketing symbol was their exclusive property), explains Don Voorhees in The Book of Totally Useless Information, the world famous company had to do something drastic.
“After exhaustive consumer and legal research studies, the name EXXON was decided upon (in 1972). It was essentially a new word, but close enough to ESSO to make consumer recognition a little easier.”
To me, as a corporate blogging trainer, I must say, I found this information about the origins of the name EXXON far from totally useless. (I’d found the information in the first place as part of the “reading around” process I think plays such a big part in successfully keeping up a corporate or professional practitioner blog.)
The tie-in with blog content writing stems from the fact that consumers turn to search engines for help finding specific kinds of information, services, products, and expertise. Using the mechanism of key words and phrases, the search engine "makes a match" and delivers results to the viewer.
Every once in a while, though, there's a "disconnect" between what the searcher wanted and what he or she actually finds. If this happens with your blog, even though it's not one of your target customers who clicks on the blog link, it's not necessarily bad news. That kind of "mistake" can even result in you converting a searcher-gone-astray into a buyer. I call this "accidental organic donating".
An example might be that a mom, in the process of helping her child with homework, goes on Google to find information about the state of Hawaii. The search engine uses the key word "Hawaii" and brings up a blog about Hawaii presented by a travel company. The blog so enticingly portrays Hawaii as a destination, the mom bookmarks the site, and later uses that travel agency to plan a surprise anniversary trip with her husband!
Just as EXXON was a new word, but close enough to the familiar ESSO name, including topics in the blog that are “trending” makes it makes it a little easier for business blog content writers to establish familiarity with customers.
When an "accident" turns out to bring a new reader to your blog, and if your content engages that reader's interest, the mistake can result in your converting a mistake into a customer!
“Being tarred with the same brush is to be part of a group regarded as all having the same faults and weaknesses, but, by inference, unfairly.” That quote comes from the wonderful little book, Red Herrings and White Elephants, by Albert Jack. This week, my Say It For You blog content is based on ideas from that book that I think will be useful for businessowners and for Indianapolis freelance blog content writers.
One purpose corporate blogging for business can serve, and admirably, is damage control. Through putting your own "spin" on reports about your company, I’ve often said, you as a business owner can exercise control over the way the public perceives any negative developments or mistakes, and you can use your blog to correct any inaccurate press statements. But what if the damage involves negative developments with some other, perhaps better-known, company in your industry? How can you use blogging to avoid being “tarred with the same brush” and having your business suffer from loss of customer confidence and trust?
When I’m helping business owners and professional practitioners craft their messages, damage control can become a very real issue. As a corporate blogging trainer, I know how crucial it is for them to convey to their customers, as well as to the online searchers who are their prospects, the kind of message that will alleviate mistrust and create confidence. At the same time, I explain, you ARE part of your own industry or profession. When aspersions are being cast, even if you and your employees are not responsible for any mistake or wrongdoing, you must “step up to plate” and speak directly to the issues.
There are two reasons, I believe, that business blog posts are such valuable tools when it comes to such a customer relations challenge:
Business blog content is current, talking about the “now”. The style of a business blog is conversational and – direct.
- By definition, in the blog, customers’ concerns and fears are being dealt with out in the open, “in front of other people”. That gives the remediation more weight with readers.
Here are some elements that can be of business blogging assistance in difficult damage-control situations (the content might be spread over several different posts):
- Summarize the situation – what is fact and what is myth?
- Who was and who wasn’t involved?
- What the general industry position is on the subject (reassuring readers that what has happened is a violation of, rather than an outcome of, the way the industry operates)
- What you as a company or practitioner are doing to avoid ever falling into that same “trap”
- Inviting and encouraging comments and questions
- What steps your customers can take to protect themselves and reassure themselves that they are being fairly served
Concerned about being tarred with the same brush when there’s a negative development in your industry or profession? Blog!
“When developing a business interest you have to assume a problem that you can promise to solve,” author D. Forbes Ley was advising sales professionals thirty years ago. This week my Say It For You blog posts are devoted to some of the gems in Ley’s book “The Best Seller”. While SEO blog marketing wasn’t even a gleam in the eye when that book came out, it’s amazing how relevant the ideas are for blog content writers today.
Once buyers have developed an emotional interest in your product, they will reveal that with “buying signals”, Ley explained. But, he continues, “when the prospects are still undecided because of lack of Want, you have to remind them of their hurt and rescue them.” Ley calls that the “Hurt and Rescue” selling tactic.
In corporate blog writing for business, a much softer approach is called for than the sort of face-to-face selling Forbes Ley was describing. Still, it occurs to me, reading that chapter of his book, that SEO marketing blogs will succeed only if two things are apparent to readers, and in the order presented here:
It’s clear you (the business owner or professional practitioner) understand online searchers’ concerns and needs. That means calling to readers’ minds the costs, the risks, and the problems that drove them to seek information about what you know and what you know how to do. In other words, the blog content puts the “hurt” front and center.
- You and your staff have the experience, the information, the products, and the services to solve exactly those problems and meet precisely those needs. That’s the “rescue”, the solutions your expertise and experience will bring to bear.
What D. Forbes Ley was advocating thirty years ago wasn’t the “hard-sell” or “scare tactic” approach (which wouldn’t have been welcomed by prospects then any more than they would today).
As a business blogging trainer, I think the lesson here to content writers is to identify ways in which something potential customers value could be in jeopardy. We then assure searchers they’re not the only ones to find themselves in this predicament and show them we’ve solved these precise problems for customers and clients many times before.
Call it the “Hurt and Rescue” technique for blogging for business!
“The salesperson can no longer ‘wing it’ in a sales interview; you will run out of time reciting boring facts while missing the golden opportunity to get involved with the Prospect and to get the Prospect emotionally involved with your product.”
Amazing. Author D. Forbes Ley was issuing that piece of sales advice exactly thirty years ago! Yet, can you think of anything more relevant to blog content marketing today??? As a corporate blogging trainer, I know I can’t.
“When interesting and informative are no longer assets, bloggers have to come up with something else: emotional triggers,” observes Mike Alton on socialmediatoday.com. Blog content writing might be high-quality and informative and still not “make it out of the pit of anonymity,” he adds, for the simple fact that it doesn’t engage with readers.” Ín the end it’s not only information that attracts readers, but also emotions,” Alton concludes.
Face-to-face with a prospect, Marty Martin explains in the Journal of Financial Planning, the seller must first be a listener, uncovering both facts and emotions. That step must precede guiding clients to decisions.
In blogging for business, where face-to-screen is the closest blog content writers come to their prospects, what can ignite the kind of personal connection that gets the Prospect emotionally involved?
“Customers don’t want to feel like they are being told a brand story. They want to tell themselves the story. They want to be a part of the story,” is Coopers’ and Gruntzner’s advice to business owners in Tips & Traps for Marketing Your Business. The authors recommend using blogs to tell a story. “Engage readers of your blog with fascinating story-like entries.”
One question bound to come up in any corporate blogging training session is this: Can emotional blog marketing be effective in B2 situations?
“Don’t be fooled by the misconception that B2B means presenting products and services to a company rather than to a real person,” says the k-ecommerce blogger. “A company is never faceless. Behind every decision there is always a person involved, and that person has feelings.”
Emotional marketing was “in” thirty years ago when the first edition of “D. Forbes Ley’s “The Best Seller” hit the shelves. Today, I remind Indianapolis freelance blog writers, emotions remain the most powerful tool for moving people to action.
Negative developments are sooner-or-later things, I’ve found in six years of blog content writing for business owners and professional practitioners. But by being proactive and doing what David Meerman Scott calls “getting in front of a media crisis”, I encourage those owners and professionals to keep in control. In fact, as I explain to new Say It For You clients one very important function of your blog is correcting readers’ false perceptions and inaccurate press statements about your company, your practice, or your industry in general.
“The world sees what the search engines say about you,” says removeyourname.com, a reputation management service. Ethical forms of reputation management, says Wikipedia, includes responding to customer complaints and asking sites to take down incorrect information”.
As a blogging trainer, I had reason to think about the power of negative press while reading this month’s issue of Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, which resurrects some very negative – and 40-year old – press about Indiana legislator Marilyn Schultz charging the then all-male member Columbia Club with gender discrimination.
That Indianapolis Monthly Magazine article is an extreme case, I think, because the news is so very old, and because Columbia Club has since come so far in welcoming and promoting women. But sooner or later, with such oceans of content being posted online every second, from every possible source, every practitioner, owner, and organization leader will face the challenge of responding to negative content.
It’s ironic, in a way. One goal of SEO marketing blogs is to move a company, a practice, or an organization UP, meaning in the direction of the top of Page One of Google. But, when there’s been some negative press, the goal becomes to “tamp DOWN” those negative search results with more positive content, in hopes searchers will come upon that newer content first.
How do you exercise journalistic control through business blogging? It’s a matter of timing. Even the best-designed websites are rarely flexible enough to allow day-to-day, even hour-by-hour updating.
Business blogging help can turn out to help with customer relations. When customers’ complaints and concerns are recognized and dealt with “in front of other people” (in blog posts), it gives the “apology” or the “remediation measure” more weight.
With blog posts, businesses have the ability to put out the news about themselves – now, and with their own “spin” on it!
Fashion designers think about it; blog content writers should, too. Varying lengths, that is.
One rule that is of business blogging help in particular is keeping sentences short. Short sentences have power, and, particularly in titles, can more easily be shared on social media sites.
While Brandon Royal, author of The Little Red Writing Book agrees, he reminds us that not every sentence needs to be kept short. Instead, Royal advises writers to weave in short sentences with longer ones. Every so often, he suggests, a “naked” (extremely short) sentence can add a dynamic touch.
Ever on the alert for examples of excellent business writing, I found a gem in a recent USA Today issue. In “Stocks soar, so do Treasury prices; what gives?” reporter Adam Shell hits the bulls-eye in length-varying.
In fact, in my next corporate blogging training session, I plan to use Shell’s first paragraph as a rather extreme demonstration of the power of varying sentence length in business blog posts. The entire paragraph consists of one 48-word sentence followed by a six-worder.
“Not that Wall Street price moves ever make total sense, but what was odd about Monday’s rally, which powered the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index to another record high, was the fact that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged to its lower level of the year. “That means bond prices rallied, too,”
That entire USA Today article, I couldn’t help noticing, happens to be 148 words long, only half the ideal length for the typical SEO marketing blog. Its three paragraphs are 54, 35, and 59 words long, respectively, effectively offsetting the long and short of it.
The third paragraph does even better, interspersing “naked sentences” with longer statements:
- What gives? (2 words)
- At one point Monday, the yield on the 10-year note fell to 1.65%, eclipsing Friday's prior low of 1.66%.(20 words)
- It closed at 1.67%. (4 words)
- At the start of 2013, the yield was 1.76%, and seven weeks ago, it hit a high for the year of 2.06%. (22 words)
- The lowest closing yield on record was 1.4% on July 24, 2012. (12 words)
In fashion design, and in writing blogs for business, varying lengths engage interest!
Blog readers tend to be curious creatures. What’s more, that curiosity factor is highest when readers are learning about themselves. As a longtime Indianapolis blog content writer, I’ve found that “self-tests” tend to engage readers and help them relate in a more personal way to the information presented in an SEO marketing blog. Popular magazine editors appear to agree as well, because current issues are full of tests, games, and quizzes.
Salvatore Didato’s book, “Who Are You? Test Your Personality” offers no fewer than forty quizzes to “reveal the real you”. It’s not just the variety of quizzes that I found so helpful about this book; it’s the way each is presented that can serve as a model for business blog writing.
“How Daring Are You?” is the header for Didato’s Quiz #1, but rather than diving directly into the series of questions, the author whets his readers’ appetites with an introduction, citing a study done at the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry showing that 1/2 to 2/3 of risk-taking propensity is probably inherited. Blog writers, too, can whet readers’ curiosity with a little-known statistic or fact at the beginning of a post.
Didato then continues with a ten-question true/false test containing statements such as “When shopping, I usually stick to known brands.” But, for business bloggers and business owners who are conveying information to online readers, what is most important is Didato’s commentary following that risk-propensity self-test.
“Studies of group dynamics confirm that a pattern called ‘risky shift’ occurs when members of a group bolster each other’s daring and shift to more risk taking than when they are alone.”
I once heard WIBC Radio”s Denny Smith make a comment that I considered very relevant for business blog content writing: People are looking to their advisors for more than just information, he said. They need perspective. In providing information to searchers, remember that they need some guidance as to what they can do about those facts, and ways in which the information can make a difference to them.
As a corporate blogging trainer, then, I’d remind bloggers to be “tour guides”. The quiz, test, or survey, engages their curiosity. The next step is “nudging” readers towards a point of view – or a course of action!
If ever you’re tempted to become cavalier about the quality of your blog writing, just remember – it’s up to us professional content writers to counterbalance stuff such as this:
“So here’s an contra-growing old additionally anti-itchiness do-it-yourself solution which causes your body robust and as well as minimizes our itchies in icy temperatures, waterless local weather, ensure that it is a component of an article rewrites Christian louboutin men shoes craigs list program for sprouting younger and you wont amount to an prepare such as calf.”
(Can that be for real? Unfortunately, yes. And a lot more like it is crowding our business blogging air space, too.)
As a corporate blogging trainer in Indianapolis, my favorite recommendation to business owners and to the freelance blog content writers they hire to help bring their message to their customers is something I learned from my sixth grade English teacher: “Autograph your work with excellence.”:
I confess that when I began to come across incomprehensible online content, my first “take” was that it must have been created by non-native speakers of the English language. Business owners or professional practitioners had needed content writing help, I concluded, and had chosen to outsource the work overseas to save on costs.
When I learned about “spinned content”, I realized that the “gibberish” effect in some of the incomprehensible text I was finding could well be the work of a computer program, not of some overseas content writer. (Spinned content is reproduced by replacing words with synonyms, for the purpose of re-using content and repeating keyword phrases many times with an eye to “winning search”.)
I can recall the time that, as a new member of the National Speakers Association, I was first introduced to the phrase, “the privilege of the platform”. Along with the privilege of addressing an audience, taking people’s time and attention, I was being taught, comes the duty to offer quality material and to present it in a quality manner.
Today, decades later, I realize that there’s a privilege to blogging, too. That privilege comes with a duty we freelance blog content writers have to offer usable, high-quality, well-researched content, presented in quality fashion. Our online readers have a right to expect no less.
“Everybody knows that Goodwill helps people, but what NOT everybody knows is how.” The Goodwill Guy then proceeds to tell TV watchers the Goodwill ABC’s:
- You give us the stuff you’re not using
- We sell it to someone who’ll use it.
- Then, we use the money to educate and employ people.
Now, as far as marketing content goes, that’s impressive! As an Indianapolis blog content writer and corporate blogging trainer, I think that Goodwill commercial model is exactly what every business owner or professional practitioner - and every freelance blog content writer - should aim for in blog content writing.
Step One consists of establsihing common ground. What is it about your business or practice that “everybody knows”? Blog opening lines need to be definitive rather than mysterious, making sure readers know they’ve come to the right site for the information, products, and services they’re seeking.
Step Two includes offering unique, less well-known information about your profession or industry. In blogging, whether you’re doing business-to-business writing or writing SEO marketing blogs for a professional practice, retail business, or not-for-profit organization, taking online searchers “behind the scenes” makes for content that is more compelling.
Step Three is the “why?”, the “what’s-your-purpose” question. What drives the passion?
When working with business owners to arrive at the right tone and the right emphasis for their SEO marketing blogs, I begin by challenging the owner of the business or professional practice with the following question: "If you had only eight to ten words to describe why you're passionate about what you sell, what you know, and what you do, what would those words be?"
Goodwill’s passion is educating and employing people. Give your online visitors the chance to get caught up in your passion.readers can get caughtknow exactly what your passion. I once wrote a reminder to eager-beaver business blogger newbies: In the dictionary, the word "belief" comes before "blog"!
From friends Julie and Kim, owners of Outside the Box Papers, I learned an interesting tidbit about a Victorian paper toy. The description of the thaumatrope reminded me of the way individual blog posts work together, over time, to convey content marketing “leitmotifs”, or themes, to online readers.
A thaumatrope consisted of a card with a picture on each side. The card was attached to two pieces of string. Twirling the string made the two pictures appear to combine into a single image.
One concept I emphasize in corporate blogging training sessions is that focus is what helps blog posts stay smaller and lighter in scale than the more permanent content on the typical corporate website. What helps the separate posts fit together into an ongoing business blog marketing strategy are the blog "leitmotifs".
In German, the word leitmotif means "leading theme". In music, the leitmotif is used when the composer wants listenes to recall a certain character, place, or concept, Chloe Rhodes explains in the book A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi.
At Say It for You, when our Indiana freelance blog content writers are sitting down with business owners or professional practitioners who are preparing to launch a blog, one important step in that launch is to select 1-5 recurring themes that will appear and reappear over time in their blog posts. The themes may be reflected in the keyword phrases they use to help with search engine optimization. But, more than that, themes are broader in scope than just key words.
Letimotifs reflect the core beliefs of the owners, the reason they got into their fields in the first place.
Leitmotifs reflect owners’ unique slant within their industry or profession.
Leitmotifs are “dominant colors” that tie together different product descriptions, different sets of statistics, and different processes used to deliver a service to clients.
- Leitmotifs unite different testimonials from customers and clients.
In content marketing, each blog post is like one side of a thaumatrope. Looked at in isolation, each side of the card presents one picture. As blog content writing continues over weeks, months, and years, there will be a cumulative effect. Those many separate blog posts, ”tied together” through letimotifs, will create a beautiful, “Who-We-Are” picture!
This past Easter alone, infoplease.com informs us, Americans managed to consume some 90,000,000 chocolate bunnies. If, by this point in time, you’re thinking “Who cares?, Just try this fact on for size: 76% of those chocoholic citizens expressed the opinion that the bunny’s ears should be eaten first.
As is more than evident from social media and referral sites, people are unfailingly interested in who-else-is-doing-whatever-it-is-your-company-is-recommending-I-do. Blog readers in particular look at what others are doing when making an online purchase of a product or service. To put it another way, consumers are influenced by references.
Of course, when I’m doing corporate blogging training, I advise business owners and professionals to use statistics for three other reasons as well:
2. Mythbusting (statistics help prove the reality versus the widely held misperceptions about your product or service)
3. Demonstrating the extent of a problem leads into showing readers ways you can help solve it
Online marketing executive Tom Pick agrees, saying that “the careful use of numbers is one valuable method for maximizing communication while conserving space. To my list of reasons why using numbers in SEO marketing blogs is a very good idea, Pick adds the following:
4.Numbers add precision. Words like “some,” “many,” “most” and “few” give us only a vague sense of quantity.
5. Numbers are shorthand. Numbers can convey a great deal of information with minimal verbiage.
6. Numbers are compelling. The precision of numbers adds weight to an argument or claim
So who’s counting in your content marketing blog? Are you??
Truth be told, I’m not crazy about slide presentations. But at the AWAH (Art With a Heart) fundraising breakfast a couple of weeks ago, there was one particular slide in Executive Director Andrew Lee’s Power Point that I liked. I liked it a lot, as a matter of fact. The slide was titled “What We Do”, and I found myself thinking what a great template it could be for business blog content writing.
The slide had four bullet sections, with an arrow pointing downward from each to the one below:
WHEN people give us money…..
WE send an experienced art teacher to a school
WHERE they give fun, high quality art classes to underserved kids
- THAT educate, inspire, provide hope
What did I find to like about that message?
First, as a corporate blogging trainer, I teach new Indianapolis blog content writers to help readers follow their logic to a conclusion. Online searchers rarely read. Instead, they scan. With a minimum of effort on their part, those searchers need to be able to discern what it is you do and that they've come to the right place.
Second, there are many personal pronouns: “People give US money…WE send teachers…THEY give classes... Blogs are more casual and conversational than other marketing pieces. Your readers want to meet the people behind the blog. The message is “WE will be taking care of YOU!"
That slide makes very clear what we can expect AWAH to do, and the “template” is one that freelance bloggers can easily use in marketing a business, a professional practice, or an organization:
WHEN YOU (the writer is telling readers)…hire a professional realtor/bankruptcy attorney/cleaning service/cosmetic surgeon/house painter/massage therapist….. like (name)
WE….take the following steps
WHERE….we....provide the following products and services
THAT….benefit you in the following ways……
It’s really quite a simple formula, that AWAH template. Translated into my own business, it means that when we offer business blogging help to Say It For You clients, we’re helping them tell their prospects, “Here are the results you can expect when you give us money!”
“Blogs are not ads” is a rule I reiterate at corporate blogging training sessions. Often.
Still, as we’re all aware, the ultimate aim of SEO marketing blogs is to make the cash register ring. Somewhere in the process of getting that to happen, blog content writers are going to need to deal with buyers’ misapprehensions and objections.
Just the other day, I noticed a six-word billboard advertisement for Indiana’s WGU online university: “Earn a degree. Yes, at your age!”
I really liked that “take-the-bull-by-the-horns” approach, going right for the anticipated objection and countering it.
“Consumers are skeptics,” explained Bob Chenoweth in a guest post on my blog two years ago. “They have objections, conscious or unconscious, stated or unstated. As a solution provider, your primary goal must be to convert the skeptical prospect into a customer by overcoming these objections and gaining trust.” Chenoweth adds that business blogging breaks down barriers, and minimizes and overcomes objections.
Debunking myths about your industry is a great place to begin when creating business blog content. Not only is addressing misinformation in your company blog interesting to readers, it highlights your own special expertise and knowledge. So, while blogs are definitely not ads, you can reassure readers’ doubts and make them more comfortable trying out your product or service.
Lasik eye surgery: Yes, even if you have astigmatism
Bankruptcy: Yes, even if you owe back taxes
Retail store return of product: Yes, even if you’ve taken the tag off
Clothing company: Yes, even after Labor Day
- Auto sales: Yes, even with less-than-perfect credit
What’s the “yes-at-your-age” for your business or practice?