“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.
“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.”
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!
“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"!
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!”
No, I didn’t say we Indianapolis blog content writers should be compared to a mooch, (you know, that parasite-like person who’s always asking you for favors and never reciprocating).
I was referring to MOOC’s, those Massive Open Online Courses) offered by universities and organizations. Always on the alert as I read my Indianapolis Star for interesting material that can be of business blogging help, I was fascinated to read about Ball State University instructor Christina Blanch, who’s teaching 5,000 students from around the world about, of all topics, Gender Through Comic Books.
I was also fascinated to learn that not every university has as positive an outlook on MOOC-ing as BSU. Purdue’s Chief Information Officer Gerry McCartney characterizes MOOC’s as marketing devices. “They are not an educational device,” says McCartney, “not in their current form.”
Maybe MOOC’s are all about marketing rather than about university-standard education. Since at Say It For You, we’re all about content marketing strategy, we’re more than OK with freelance blog writers being thought of as the MOOC-ers of the Internet. Still, I’d have to point out, business blogs are massive educational instruments in their own right. Anyone providing business blogging services should be able to state “Wow! I learned something today!” and those writing for business should aim for the target readers being able to make that same statement about the informative material they’ve been offered. In fact, information (as opposed to promotion), is what successful business blog content writing is all about.
In the world of academia, MOOC advocates consider those online courses a “disruptive innovation” that will transform higher education for the better. Critics compare MOOCs to trucks that deliver groceries but can’t influence changes in nutrition. It’s certainly true that blogging for business has its own advocates and critics (when blog content writing is compared with more traditional websites and even with alternative marketing strategies).
I found what Karen Head, Director of Georgia Tech’s Communication Center, had to say especially interesting:
“As instructors test the new pedagogical environment, college may not be able to meet the growing need for sophisticated support system. In our case, we cannot wait, so we continue to make adjustments day by day.”
Blogging is growing by leaps and bounds, both as an online marketing strategy and as an educational and opinion forum. The lesson for me as a freelance blog content writer serving my business and professional practitioner clients is both complex and simple:
We business bloggers will need to continue to make adjustments day by day!
I think Holly Becker might be onto something, especially when it comes to a few of the 15 blogging tips she offers readers of Where Women Create Business magazine.
Of course, as a freelance Indianapolis blog copywriter, her reminders to
- Know your audience
- Set a schedule
- Keep going
have become “old hat”, but as a corporate blogging trainer, I loved Becker’s observation that “perfection is not the goal. …Bloggers are relatable and that is our competitive edge.”
One excellent piece of advice Becker offered is simply “Sleep on it. If you write a post but are not sure whether you should post it, don’t water it down or delete it – save it as a draft. Read it the next day and see what you think.” In fact, with quite a number of my professional practitioner Say It For You ghost-blogging clients (doctors, lawyers, accountants in particular), all of the blog content we create needs to be preapproved by the client after checking for accuracy and compliance with the regulations in their field.
“Experiment more”, Becker advises bloggers, trying new layouts and formats.
“Inspire with imagery. On days when you cannot write, post a few photos and let the images speak for you. Form a few coherent, short-but-sweet sentences to accompany the photos.” Besides offering a text-writing ‘break” for the blogger, photos can have an extra purpose: in SEO marketing blogs, embedding keyword phrases in the tags of photos can help in the overall effort to “get found”.
My very favorite of the Becker tips is the very practical suggestion to “Read your post aloud. Hearing your words may help you to better structure your copy and to edit or even add to what you already have.”
“I’m not sure who started encouraging writers to ‘write about what you know’”, observes novelist and literature professor Elan Barnehama. At first glance it makes sense, he admits. The problem is, he says, the story is always better served by the narrative that could happen when you don’t have constraints. That doesn’t mean he can’t use what he knows, Barnehama hastens to assure his readers, but when he allows himself to discover new aspects of the world, his novels end up being about his readers, not about himself.
Blogging about what you don’t know? That seems to fly in the face of all the corporate blogging training I’ve ever received or given to others. After all, isn’t the whole idea in blogging for business to showcase the expertise you have and the problems you KNOW how to solve?
Fellow blogger Ivan Widjaya of Biz Penguin might have tapped into the Barnehama’s mentality. “Off-beat posts regarding your company can bring people closer to you. They can lower the fence, so prospects and customers can have a peek on what’s going on inside your company and brands.” Widjava advises being not only passionate, interesting, but unusual and even quirky. Sometimes, he thinks, being quirky can “help you establish a unique audience that will take whatever you offer them.”
There’s another aspect of this “what-you-don’t-know” aspect of blog content writing. To sustain our blog content writing over long periods of time without losing reader excitement and engagement, we’ve need to constantly add to our own body of knowledge – in our industry or professional field, and about what’s going on around us in our culture. Ironically, business blogging can serve as a form of market research in itself, as smallbiztrends.com points out.
Reading, bookmarking, clipping - and even just noticing - new trends and information relating to your business field goes a long way towards keeping the quiver stocked with content ideas.
At Butler College of Business (where I’m an Executive Career Mentor), “experiential learning” is a hallmark of the teaching method, with the idea being “learning by doing”. In creating content for SEO marketing blogs, it could be a case of “doing by learning”. As we “read around” and “curate” materials from other thought leaders, we’re becoming better ‘teachers” by becoming better learners. Now that Barnehama has got me thinking about it, I realize that, for Indianapolis bloggers, “what we don’t know can HELP us!”
"As a writer, you spend much of your writing time alone," says Mary McCauley Smith of Absolute Write. "You may have thought this peculiarity went hand-in-hand with the writer's life, but perhaps it runs deeper than that. Maybe you are an 'innie'," she suggests, referring to the Myers-Briggs preference for introversion.
Sorry, Ms. Smith, but no; actually, my Meyers-Briggs "errs" strongly on the extrovert side. You made me think, though: Are there more "introverted" and more "extroverted" styles in blog content writing?
Introverts and extroverts differ from each other in three ways, Smith explains, and each of these traits affects your writing life.
Energy usage - Introverts are energy conservers. Extroverts are energy users.
Response to stimulation - The noise and hustle of the world can overwhelm an introvert, while extroverts are thrilled by a variety of stimuli.
- Approach to knowledge - Introverts like a narrow, in-depth focus. Extroverts prefer to collect a wider base of data.
In my profession of corporate blogging trainer, I work with business owners and professionals, with their employees, and with Indianapolis freelance copywriters to create blog content, often for SEO marketing blogs. While I confess I hadn't been viewing any of these writers in terms of their Myers-Briggs preferences, now that I think about it, I agree with Byron Walsh, author of "The Upside of Being an Introvert". After studying introverted leaders such as Mohandas Gandhi, Hillary Clinton, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Mother teresa, and extroverts Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Marie Antoinette, and Winston Churchill, Walsh concluded "it takes both kinds to make history".
I think effective blog writing takes both kinds, too. Consider research, for example. You could make phone calls, talk to experts, visit different stores and facilities, interview customers for testimonials, or...you could rely on Internet research to glean most of the information you need.
With the practice of writing blog pposts for others becoming increasingly common in the corporate and professional worlds, whose Myers-Briggs preference is reflected in the content? It depends...on the target audience, and on the business owner or professional practitioner who's being "introduced" through the blog.
Five years ago, in crafting the mission statement for Say It For You, I wrote the following:
"A ghost must use her 'third ear', not only hearing what you want to say, but picking up on your unique style of saying it. That way, the ghost can speak your message in your 'voice', to your customers. A good ghost blogger should not, herself, be seen OR heard!"
The Book of Times includes facts on how long things take, how long they last, and how often they happen.
Always on the lookout for interesting insights about corporate blogging for business, I first learned of author Lesley Alderman’s fixation with counting stuff through my favorite magazine, Mental Floss, and of course couldn’t resist the temptation to parse time-related data on what I do as an Indianapolis freelance copy writer and professional ghost blogger. After all, I reasoned, if a day may be thought of as made up of 28,000 hugs (3 seconds apiece), how might I measure the activities I teach in blog marketing training sessions?
"Creativity is a process", explains Vicky Earley of Artichoke Design, "and you need to give it the time necessary." Creativity often "meanders, considers, ponders, and only then delivers". According to ProBlogger, “researching and composing an excellent blog post for a business "can use up the better part of a day".
Early calls it “meandering”, but I teach writers of SEO marketing blogs the importance of “reading around”, and then “curating” others’ material. Finding and reading what other writers are saying and what the latest thought trends are in your field is a big part of successfully keeping up a corporate or professional practitioner blog. Say you’re posting new blog content every three days. Say you’ve allotted two hours of your time for each blog post, or 40 minutes per day, with one fourth of that time devoted to finding, reading, and processing that content. Using Alderman’s method of measuring time, each day of a blogger’s life is worth 144 “reading around”s!
By the same token, finding just the right photo or clip art to capture the theme of a blog post might take 10 minutes, say 3.33 minutes per day. Since, in blogging for business, words and pictures are my only tools, I spend at least that much time “illustrating” posts. Measuring time the Alderman way, a day in a blog content writer’s life is made up of 432 “illustrations”.
Of course formatting the text to make it more readable, actually writing the copy, researching, editing, strategically employing keyword phrases, and just plain “thinking” about the topic - all these elements figure into the gestation of a blog post.
Blog content writers – start measuring your time!
With the “blogging by the numbers” concept fresh in my mind), I took a second look at Indianapolis’ daddy-of-all-lists, the Indianapolis Business Journal’s “2013 Book of Lists”.
“Take-away”s for business owners, professionals, and freelance blog content writers are all over the place in this IBJ Book of Lists:
Make the information in your corporate blog easy for readers to access, understand, and implement. "Book of Lists" is available in hard copy, HTML, PDF, and Excel formats, we’re informed. Customers can download the 2012 version, either as a whole or just for a specific industry.
Be sure the blog site is convenient to navigate. “Book of Lists” contains a table of contents alphabetized by category, from Commercial Real Estate to Travel and Hospitality. Most blog platforms can be set up to enable search by categories as well.
Organize the information. IBJ’s lists are in descending order by size - Largest Indianapolis-Area Manufacturers, for example. One way for business bloggers to re-purpose information is to create “best-of-breed” resource lists. In former blog posts, newsletters, or even emails, you may have “curated” material from other people’s blogs and articles, from magazine content, or from books. Now collate those references into categories, summarizing the main ideas you found useful and inviting readers to explore further. In this instance, the value you add as a business blog content writer lies in offering a hand-picked, ready-to-use list.
Vary the approach in different blog posts. Different advertising sponsors in the “IBJ 2013 Book of Lists”, for example, use different approaches:
Emotional appeal: Roche: “Because of us, Mary has another day with her grandson” or Shoopman Homes: “It’s your dream, we just help build it.
Understanding the customer’s desires: MainSource: “Running a small business is hard work. At MainSource, we understand." or Benesch Attorneys at Law: " I see the big picture in a thousand little close-ups. Photo of one person, pronouns, I and you. I bring order to chaos and drive for a settlement that doesn’t make you feel like you settled for anything less.”
- Play on words: “Central Library Indianapolis: Central to your event” – This is a slogan approach, using a clever play on words
The bottom line for any Book of Lists is the same for business blog posts – to package and serve information to consumers in convenient, usable form.
The teachers’ guidebook THINK LITERACY: Cross-Curricular Approaches suggests that 7th and 8th grader should be taught to look for “signal words” to get information about the meaning of the text. Signal words give valuable clues about:
Although the majority of readers of SEO marketing blogs don’t tend to be junior high students, as a corporate blogging trainer, I realized that online readers need “signposts” to help them get the most meaning out of our business blog content.
Based on my own experience as both a teacher and then with Say It For You blogging clients from many different industries and professions, I find it’s a challenge to find the precise style of communication that will best connect with target readers. (While this is especially true in business-to-consumer blogging, even with suppliers and distributors, you want to avoid anything that is a barrier to understanding.) “Huh?” is hardly the reaction blog content writers aim to elicit in readers,
“Signal graphics” such as bolding and bullet points in the text can be a big help, but signal words help readers following along with your message. Words such as
- in addition
help readers link ideas together and understand the flow of ideas.
If you think about it, business owners and professional practitioners are taking the role of teachers in their blogging, and the point I want to stress to content writers in Indianapolis is simply this: The clearer the words in the title are to the searcher, the easier it will be for them to engage, navigate, and transact.
How better to wind up the week of Say it For You blog posts devoted to crafting opening lines than by serving up some OPW (Other People’s Wisdom) on the subject?
“Don’t even waste your time. No matter how good your blog posts are, if the intro doesn’t grab attention, it’s no use,” Tara Horner pronounces. After all, she notes, the opening line is the first thing readers see other than your title, and what’s the point, she asks, of tweeting a post if no one gets past reading the first sentence or two?
Like Horner, both Darren Rowse of Problogger and Hector Cuevas (blog.2createawebsite.com) suggest starting with a question as one way to engage readers.
- Did you know….?
- How do you….?
- What’s one of the most common problems that…..?
- Do you want to learn how to…?
- Have you ever…?
- Do you ever wonder if…?
A twist on the question strategy whick Rowse mentions, a tactic I’ve made use of on behalf of professional practitioners who are Say It For You clients, is answering readers’ questions.
Jeanine asked Atlanta chiropractor about what high back pain meant versus pain in the lower part of the back…
What Cuevas calls the “shock and awe approach” to business blog content writing involves starting posts by ”disagreeing with what is commonly accepted as the norm”. This, he suggests, “builds an instant sense of curiosity and brings up questions that your readers need answered.” The caution, he adds, is that your content needs to clearly explain your point of view.
As a corporate blogging trainer, the caution I’d add is that, while In many SEO marketing blogs the blog content writers focus on appealing to consumers’ fears, if the goal is to appeal to the “right kind” of customer (who buys for the right reasons and remains loyal), blogging for business should be targeted towards readers’ logic, with an eye to fulfilling those readers’ legitimate needs.
Opening with a quote is a technique recommended by all three bloggers. Quotes, as I explain to Indianapolis bloggers, can be used to reinforce your points, show you’re in touch with trends in your field, and (precisely what I’m doing in this very post), add value for readers by aggregating different sources of information in one spot.
In writing for business, suggests Tara Hornor, the goal is to have your opening statement “leap off the page” and “turn heads”.
The challenge, as every busy business owner, professional practitioner knows, is that sustained “feeding of the blog beast” can be daunting. Hopefully, a shot of Other People’s Wisdom every so often can help rejuvenate that blog content writing drive!
I always enjoy the “how to” lists in the “Tucker Talks Real Estate” newsletters my friend Katrina Basile is kind enough to send along to me each month. Along with some great recipes, I almost always find ideas that can be of help to my Say It For You freelance blog writers Indianapolis. The focus in this latest issue was on making house guests feel comfortable...
1. “Less is more. When it comes to décor, this tried-and-true adage is a smart one to follow. Don’t clutter space with extra knick-knacks.”
Less is certainly more when it comes to content marketing strategy through writing for business, I stress to newbie freelance blog content writers. . Online readers, though, can absorb only so much in a sitting, so bloggers need to keep each blog post focused on one main idea, avoiding “cluttering” the space with extra “knick-knacks”.
2. “Clear the closet….try to leave some room for guests to hang up clothes.”
The lesson for blog content writers in Indiana? SEO marketing blogs are meant to draw visitors. Make room for those visitors’ views by soliciting – and providing opportunities for them to give you feedback.
3. “Offer the basics. An alarm clock, extra toiletries, magazines or books, additional towels or sheets, a box of tissues, and bottles of water can come in handy for guests.”
As blog content writers in Indianapolis, we at Say It For You are not directly involved in initially selecting the right keyword phrases, setting up the widgets on the blog platform and on the website software, choosing domain names and tags, and creating a clear navigation path from the blog to the website landing pages and shopping cart. But if these crucial mapping details have not been attended to, the results can be disappointing for all concerned. Online visitors need to be able to respond with minimum effort to calls to action presented in corporate blogs.
As Tucker Talks Real Estate advises, “Don’t hide the outlets.”
Interestinly, at the bottom of Page Two of the newsletter, there is a box with text calling me to action: “As your neighborhood real estate expert, much of my business comes from friends, neighbors, and satisfied past clients. If you know someone looking to buy, build, or sell a home, give me a call!”
(Talk about a what-not-to-do example…) NO PHONE NUMBER was provided! Had I been moved to immediately follow up on the Call to Action, I would have needed to return to Page One of the newsletter to find the number!
Readers find their way to your blog, remember, because the products and services they need or the kind of information they're seeking matches up with what you have, what you do, and what you know. Make those “guests” comfortable!
“Adventuress” Leslie Bailey finds “bucket lists” irksome. Rather than focus on things to do before you die, she recommends trying new things right now.
Whether I end up (or whether she does, for that matter!) going indoor skydiving or flying a helicopter during the coming year, I must say Bailey’s Indianapolis Star article “13 Adventures to Try in 2013” contains many of the elements that make for great blog content writing.
A number in the title
To freshen up blog post content, start with one idea about your product or service. Then try putting a number to it:
- 2 Best Ways To Eliminate……
- 3 Problem Fixes to Try ….
- 4 Home Remedies…
- 5 Tips…
- 6 Knottiest Issues in…
Convenient navigation path to follow calls to action
Each one of Bailey’s suggestions ends with a phone number and website address readers can use to get it done. In other words, if I’m moved to actually try scuba diving, Bailey’s told me where to go to actually sign up. Ease of navigation (as I stress when offering business blogging help) is absolutely crucial to the success of any SEO marketing blog.
Varied sentence structure
Each one of Leslie Bailey’s paragraphs begins a different way. “Try fencing” begins: “Admittedly, it’s a chance to shout ‘Engarde!” at someone… “”Go to the Kentucky Derby” begins: “I want the whole deal: big bets, bigger hats and lots of mint juleps.” “Ride a motorcycle” begins “Mostly to impress my Harley-Davidson-loving uncle.” Blog content writing, as I’m fond of saying during business blogging training sessions, is both science and art, with much of each relating to the words used in each blog post. And, the greater the variety in the parts of speech used and the sentence structure, the more interesting the writing will be.
“Pow” opening line to set the stage and grab attention
“At the risk of sounding too hipster about the whole thing, I have to tell you, the phrase ‘Bucket List’ irks me,” Bailey offers as her opener. A big part of content writing for blogs, I’ve found, involves getting the opening line” right. In fact, had Bailey been blogging rather than writing a feature article, an even shorter and more direct opener might be (in bold letters)t “I have to tell you, the phrase ’Bucket List’ irks me.”
Leslie Bailey’s article is a grabber because she’s describing activities she’s either already experienced or which she’s challenging herself to try soon. I teach Indianapolis blog writers they’ll be at their most effective when they are at their most personal. Even professional ghost bloggers, I explain, can write in “I” format when sharing a personal experience that brings out some important aspect of the client company’s products, services, or corporate culture.
Many thanks, Leslie Bailey. I must admit it’s highly unlikely I’ll either try escargot or drive a NASCAR car in 2013 - or ever. What I can do, however, is use this wonderful 13 Adventures list as an example of engaging content writing!
“Cat blogs are blogs for and by and about the person blogging. A cat blog is about your cat and your dating travails and your boss and whatever you feel like sharing in your public diary,” explains marketing guru Seth Godin.
When Say It For You was started five years ago, it was certainly not with cat blogs in mind. I and my blog writing services clients in Indianapolis were interested in what Godin had termed viral blogs. Why write viral blogs? “The blogger is investing time and energy in order to get her ideas out there. Why?” Godin answers: “ To get consulting work, to find new customers for a business or to make it easier for existing customers to feel good about staying.”
I think of business blog writing as a kind of matchmaking service, an efficient, pleasant way to help my business owner and professional practitioner clients “meet strangers”, hopefully converting at least some of those into friends and customers.
Through the search engine optimization process, potential customers searching online for your type of product or service get to your blog. Then, when they read the very relevant information you've provided there, these buyers go to your website, and decide to do business with your company. I explain at corporate blogging training sessions.
Well, just the other day, I happened upon a http://www.corporatebloggingtips.com/blog post composed by Doug Karr, founder of the Marketing Technology Blog and co-author of one of my corporate blogging training session “bibles”, Corporate Blogging for Dummies. Karr’s title is “We Should Stop Saying Influential When We Mean Popular”. Not only was this post based on a very interesting premise, it reminded me of the importance of including opinion in SEO marketing blogs.
“If you want people to see your stuff…, says Karr, “go for popularity. If you want a lot of people to buy your stuff…go for influence.” Influencers don’t have millions of social media followers and fans and they’re not famous. What influencers have done is gain trust and build relationships.
I agree, and I liked reading the way Karr made the distinction. But as someone involved full time with online content writing, I realized I was being reminded of a really important point, one all freelance blog writers and business owners need to keep in mind. Whether it’s business-to-business blog writing or business to consumer blog writing, the blog content itself needs to use opinion to clarify what differentiates that business, that professional practice, or that organization from its peers.
There’s a saying that comes to mind: There’s a big difference between having to say something and having something to say.”
When working with business owners to arrive at the right tone and the right emphasis for their business 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?
When online readers find a blog, one question they need answered is “Who lives here?” Providing information about products and services may be the popular way to write corporate blog posts,but in terms of achieving Influencer status – that takes opinion!