Blogging the Specialness

“What makes No. 2 pencils so darn special?” ask the editors of Mental Floss: the Book, noting that “The No.2 is definitely No. 1 in the pencil market."

Answering the question of what makes ANY one product or service, ANY one business or professional practice special – well, that’s the job description for any freelance content writer of business blogs! In the case of the No. 2 pencil, the Mental Floss editors patiently explain, the medium weight graphite makes No. 2’s ideal for general writing.  (Harder pencils are used for drafting, softer for bowling scores).

As writers and researchers, we business bloggers are using own strengths to play to – and play up – the unique strengths of the business owner and professional clients who’ve hired us to give voice to their story. Make no mistake – it’s a challenge to stress “specialness” without engaging in two practices Indianapolis Business Journal’s Tim Altom calls PowerPoint “sins’: Too much, and Too Self Conscious.

As fizzle.co so aptly puts it, nothing is a bigger turn-off than a blatant sales pitch. Yet, if you have a business, as Corbett Barr points out, you have to sell products or services to earn revenue. But the best sales pitch, he says, is no pitch at all.  In fact, Barr explains, that’s what permission marketing (and blog content writing is a big component of permission marketing, along with search marketing and social media) is all about.

When you’re blogging, you’re talking to a friendly and interested audience about things that might help them (as opposed to forcing your message in front of people who are trying to avoid it), Barr continues. Let the useful and interesting information you offer to readers of your blog bring out the specialness of the product or service.

Did you know, Nicolas-Jacques Conte created the number system for pencils back in the eighteenth century?

 

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Blogging the Right Stuff to the Right Audience

“If your marketing is not getting enough people into the pool, you’ll find the problem is in one of three places.  You’ve either got the wrong STORY, the wrong STUFF, or the wrong AUDIENCE,” says my Rockstar friend and fellow blogger Thaddeus Rex.

Since blogging for business is all about telling and selling stuff, I found Rex’ list of “Four Ways STUFF has of Differentiating Itself” worth sharing with Indianapolis blog content writers:

  1. Features – your product or service can do something your competitors can’t (or yours does it better).
  2. Location – your product/service is available someplace your competitors’ is not (or it’s more easily available)
  3. Service – the buying experience you provide sets you apart
  4. Cost – you’re the cheapest or the most expensive (exclusivity).

(As a corporate blogging trainer, I need to repeat here that what you don’t want to do in any business blog post is “litanize”, meaning offer an extensive "boast session" of all the ways your stuff is better than their stuff.  In fact, this stuff-characteristic list is for your own use, your tool kit from which you’ll select just one item to emphasize out of all the things your have, do, and know how to do.)

The real secret, as Thaddeus Rex so rightly points out, is to know, really know, your audience. That way, you’ll know which “tools” out of your STUFF list will be most likely to appeal to that audience.
To achieve that outcome, advises blog consultant Mark White, “your knowledge (of your target audience) needs to influence every aspect of your blog, including:

  • What your blog looks like
  • The content of the blog
  • The style of writing
  • The length and frequency of posts
  • How you elicit comments and feedback

Your “water slide” (which is how Thaddeus Rex refers to the sales process) must take people where they want to go. “Otherwise you just generate work vetting leads that will never convert,” he cautions.

When you blog the right stuff to the right audience in the right way – magic happens!

 

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The "Really" Factor in Business Blog Content Writing

There must’ve been eighty of them – which magazine did I want to buy? Even after I’d ruled out knitting, motorsports, men’s health, motorsports and bridal fashion as topics, the choices were overwhelming.  And then I saw it - the one I had to have: TIME, its cover sporting the following absolutely irresistible question:    Who REALLY decides which flights get cancelled?

In training blog content writers, I like to compare searchers browsing the internet to people visiting a trade show.  People are walking around the exhibit hall on the lookout for a product or service that meets their needs. When they pass your "blog booth", you want them to find something that draws their interest.  That "something" is the title, promising fresh, engaging content in your post. Once you’ve caught their interest, you hope, you’ll have the opportunity to invite those customer to “come inside” to your website or to follow one of your Calls to Action.

Speaking of Calls to Action, it was essentially the word “really” on the TIME cover that “called” me to buy that very magazine as opposed to any of its 79+ neighbors on the display. Made me think about how we marketing blog writers could accomplish the same sort of results using the Really Factor.

The implied promise in the word “really” is that readers can expect to be given some “inside scoop”, stuff not everybody else is privy to. And if that information can be related to a recent news story, all the better. As a professional ghost blogger for business, I know that one way to ensure blog content is fresh is tying that content to current events. I also know that Indianapolis residents are not the only blog readers who've been enduring flight and travel delays due to "weather events" - the topic of flight delays is timely.

Like garlic or hot pepper in food, the Really Factor should be added to SEO marketing blogs  with a really light hand.  After all, we wouldn’t want to be accused of “crying ‘wolf’” in our every post. On the other hand, entering conversations that are “trending” at the time , tying our blog content to current events, now that’s a good habit to develop.  Really! 

 

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Leveraging Your Community in Blogging for Business

With this week’s Say It For You blog posts centered around marketing advice, I found a lot of value in Constant Contact’s Susan Solovic’s post “10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget”.

Even though advertising can be expensive, Solovic cautions, it’s even more important, when times are tough, to keep your business brand front and center.  Customers have less money to spend, so when they do get ready to buy, you want to be at the top of their list.

Solovic goes on to offer a laundry list of ways to make that happen, including such tried-and-trues as networking, giving a speech, asking for referrals, and offering coupons. For me as a business blog marketer, though, the one piece of advice that stood out was “Leverage your community”.

“You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts.  Think locally,” says Solovic. “What’s going on in your community?” Whether it’s sponsoring a local team or charitable event, she advises, “search for opportunities to get in front of local customers.

Getting personal is a huge element in the success of any SEO marketing blog. Indianapolis blog content writers must focus on personal anecdotes and on the personal values of the business owners and of the people delivering professional services. But, taking it further than that, the content should actually reflect and even allude to current community happenings and concerns.

When we bloggers enter conversations that are trending at the time and tie our blog content to current events, that serves the dual purpose of “playing off” already existing popular interest while possibly earning search engine “Brownie points” as well. Did we attend a performance or rally? How does what we heard and saw tie in with our own work in the community?

Marketing is all about leveraging your community, and blog marketing is really nothing more than “meeting” strangers and helping to turn those strangers into friends.  Blogging really is all about community!
 

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To Be An Olympian Business Blog Writer, You Gotta Have Sole

“Your chances of joining the Winter Games are about 1 in 35 million,” Mental Floss Magazine wants you to know.  What’s more, “training, genetics, and technique will only get you so far. To win a medal, you need the right kicks.”

Since “reading around” is one of the commandments I teach newbie Indianapolis blog content writers, and since Mental Floss is such an absolute embarrassment of riches in the trivia department, I can’t resist sharing two tips from the article “So You Want to Be an Olympian”:

1.  While you’ve but a smidgen of a chance of joining the Olympics, “you can swing the odds by picking a slightly more obscure sport.”

“In the strictest sense of the word, your competitors are striving towards the same goal as you. However, that doesn’t mean they’re targeting the exact same buyer persona as you are,” explains Tatiana Liubarets of writtent.com. Knowing our target market and focusing on our readers' specific needs helps us content writers swing the odds.

2.   You need the right “kicks, meaning the right tools. “The blades on speed skating boots are hinged at the toe and swing freely at the heel, generating the extra push skaters need. For short-track speed skating, the blades curve in the direction of the turn, making it easier to corner at high speeds, Luge competitors wear aerodynamic booties to keep their legs up and feet straight, while bobsledders were shoes studded with metal spikes for grip on the starting sprint.”

 ”Those that post blogs more frequently rank higher on Google or other search engines than those businesses that post only occasionally. Recent blogs rank higher than old content. But what's so important to understand is that the system values cumulative content. A business that has blogged for a year will rank higher than a competitor who's just begun to blog.”

When I posted those words a couple of years ago, it was two Google algorithm changes ago. “Today Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or clues that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank,” explains copyblogger.com.

To be an Olympian business blogger, you’ve gotta have skill AND “sole”!
 

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Putting the Pow Into Your 2014 Business Blog Writing

For most business owners with blogs, “putting the pow back” into their writing isn’t their biggest problem.  It’s “putting the pow back” into the blogs themselves.  Their used-to-be blogs, that is. In fact, according to passle.net, only one in eight businesses can maintain an updated blog. In a survey of 525 small and medium sized businesses, most admitted to not having at least three new posts in the entire year 2013!

OK, so you’ve lapsed – no “pow” left, and you’re trying to stage a comeback. The worst thing you can do, says Karen Skidmore of candocanbe.com is apologize.  “Never highlight the fact,” she says, that you, quite frankly, haven’t been able to prioritize this all important, value added part of your business.”

Where’s the value-add? “In today’s internet-based society, your business has to have a powerful online presence in order to stand out among your competitors,” asserts Nicole Beachum in social mediatoday. Business blog content writing is the centerpiece for that online marketing initiative.

So what’s the problem in finding “pow”? In the Passle survey, 32% said they didn’t see the point, 27% said they didn’t have enough time, 24% said they couldn’t write very well, and 20% said they ran out of topics to write about.

Believe me, as a corporate blogging trainer, I’ve heard all those alibis. One obvious answer (one that, on the surface, might appear self-serving) is for businesses and professional practitioners to hire freelance blog content writers. But how in the world, you might reasonably ask, can we contract writers who are obviously not as knowledgeable in that particular field as the owner or practitioner, possibly do an effective job in conveying their message?

One client put it this way:  “My blogger helped me, a numbers guy, put into words what I know in my heart but couldn’t verbalize.”

A big part of successful blog content writing involves getting the “pow opening line” right. In SEO-conscious marketing blogs, of course, it may be the keyword phrases in the title that start the job of getting the blog found. To sustain the “pow” effect, present a question, a problem, a startling statistic, or a gutsy, challenging statement. “Pow” endings tie back to the openers, bringing the post full-circle.

Whether you as a business owner are doing the writing or collaborating with an Indianapolis blog content writer like me, make sure to put the “pow” back into your 2014 business blog writing!
 

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Business BlogHeadlines to Turn Heads

Possibly, there is one area in which your content is letting you down, suggests fellow blogger Chris Garrett of socialmediaexaminer.com, referring to the need to make business blog headlines more compelling.

The standard headline, Garrett explains, tends to fall into one of five categories:

  • News
  • Goals
  • Problems
  • How-to’s
  • Pure entertainment


But, to really get readers to stick around and read the blog post itself, he says, we need to hit readers’ emotional hot buttons.

That’s good advice, I believe, for both business owners and for us Indianapolis blog content writers. It’s passion, I’ve found, that cements the connection between our Say It For You clients and their potential clients and customers.

What techniques can be used for tugging at heartstrings?  Truth be told, some of copyblogger.com’s Brian Clark’s headline templates are a tad too “sales-ey” for my taste:

  • The “Give Me (short time period) and I’ll Give You (blank)” promises a strong benefit to be had by readers within a very short period.

  • The “If You Don’t (blank) Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later” plays on the fact that readers don’t like feeling excluded..:


Two others on Clark’s list of headline suggestions are more to my liking:   

  • Do You Recognize the (number) Early Warning Signs of (blank)?

  • Do You Make These Mistakes?


Putting things readers care about in jeopardy in an SEO marketing blog gives you the chance to demonstrate that you have the solution. By assuring searchers they’re not the only ones to find themselves in this predicament, you can show them you've solved these precise problems for customers and clients many times before.


Are headlines one area in which your content is letting you down?

 

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For Blog Content Writers, Pernickitiness Pays

“If you think proper punctuation is persnicketiness personified,” business humorist Todd Hunt is here to tell you why it’s not.

And, whether we Indianapolis blog content writers look back on our junior high English classes fondly or with horror, Hunt’s example of the power of punctuation packs a powerful punch. Hunt presents two versions of a “Dear John” letter. Both versions contain precisely the same word and in the same order. Only the punctuation has been changed to protect bloggers from making the mistake of becoming careless about our P’s and Q’s.

Letter version #1:

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.  You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart.  I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?

Gloria



Letter version #2:

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.  You have ruined me. For other men I yearn. For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be? Yours.

Gloria



In today’s competitive business world, corporate blogging for business represents an ideal tool for “getting personal” and earning trust. As writers, we need to help our business owners express who and what they are, so that they come across as “real”. Being real, though, doesn’t mean being sloppy.  Most important, readers need to understand our message.

Hunt’s Dear John letters are a great reminder that, when it comes to punctuation, it’s worth being persnickety!

 

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The Ultimate Business Blogger's Crime is Often Committed by Accident

Speakers and blog content writers have an awful lot in common, I‘m constantly reminded as I read through my monthly copy of Speaker magazine. And talk about a grabber title! “How to Stay Out of Speaker Theft Jail”, this one read.

After a 30-year business career in sales and marketing, Kordell Norton, Certified Speaking Professional, was shocked when another veteran speaker implied that Kordell had stolen some of that other speaker’s material. (To his relief, Norton discovered he had not, but the scare inspired him to compile a list of practices to avoid in creating content.) As a corporate blogging trainer, I realized that list might very well apply to us blog writers.

Off limits:

  • Other people’s stories.
  • Other people’s taglines and phrases (Norton gives Zig Ziglar’s famous “See you at the top” as an example.)


“Build speaking around your own life experiences,” advises Norton. That’s perfect advice when writing blogs for a business or a professional practice. One very positive “side effect” is that the very process of formulating stories to tell your “public” helps you clarify the meaning of those stories for yourself and your employees.   

True stories about mistakes, ironically, are very humanizing. I teach freelance blog writers in Indianapolis to include stories of their clients’ past mistakes and failures. Such stories actually have the potential to create feelings of empathy and admiration for the business owners or who overcame not only adversity, but the effects of their own mistakes!

In what appears at first to be a stunning about-face, Kordell Norton goes on to recommend CASE, standing for “copy and steal everything.” You can, and should, he reminds us, steal great ideas from your environment." That’s on the line of the advice I always give about “reading around for your blog” and “curating” material. 

But the sort of “stealing” Norton’s talking about includes attribution, meaning giving credit where credit is due.  Check origins of work on the Internet, he cautions, and when in doubt, leave it out.

Quoting others in your blog adds value in and of itself – you’re aggregating resources for the benefit of your readers. Still, that’s hardly enough; as business blogging service providers, we need to add our own “spin” to the material based on our own business wisdom and expertise.

 

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Secrets Reality TV Show Producers Won't Tell You and Business Bloggers Will

“Reality TV is actually not, well…real,” observes Michelle Crouch in Reader’s Digest. While reality shows have no script in the traditional sense of the word, Crouch reveals, "We have writers who craft plot lines.” Interesting, I thought, reading Crouch’s “revelation” - while we professional blog content writers certainly think of our work as a craft, our goal is to convey reality, to communicate what a business or professional practice actually has to offer, not to wax inventive or inflate the facts.  

Inflating is a definite no-no when it comes to content creation for blogs, in terms of both quantity and quality:

  • Don’t overload any one blog post with words.  300-400 is a good portion-control rule of thumb, I teach newbie Indianapolis blog writers.
     
  • Don’t overload any one blog post with information. Select a central idea, one aspect of the business or practice, one product or service and focus on that, leaving other ideas for other posts.
     
  • Above all (and here’s where the article about unreality in “reality TV” comes into play), don’t use a business blog to inflate the description of what you (or your blogging client) have to offer.  Under-promise, then let client testimonials tell the story of how you (or the clients) over-deliver.


“We often take different clips and edit them together to sound like one conversation, sometimes drastically changing the meaning. It’s so common, we have a name for it: frankenbiting,” says Michelle Crouch.  As a corporate blogging trainer, all I have to say about that is “Don’t!

If we can’t win trust through blogging, well…that would be “unreal” (meant in the worst way)!
 

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Drop-Dead Blogging for Business

"Use 'hopefully' the way you use a gun.  If you don’t know how to handle it, leave it alone,” advises James W. Smith, Jr. of Writer’s Digest.  You wouldn’t say “Hopefully, you will die,”, he adds, even when you mean “It is hoped you will die”.  

Better to say “I hope you die,” says Smith. As I teach new blog content writers, using first person and second person pronouns adds power and personality to your blog. 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.

But even “I hope you die” pales next to “Drop dead”, adds Smith. One rule that is of particular business blogging help is keeping sentences short. Short sentences have what I call “pow!” Not only can short sentences, particularly in titles, be more easily shared on social media sites, but focused content keeps readers’ attention on the message.

Brandon Royal, author of the Little Red Writing Book, calls really short sentences “naked”.  It’s not that he recommends making every sentence short (which would create a choppy style, he admits), but that short sentences add a dynamic touch to your writing.

Another way to achieve greater “pow”, according to James Smith, is to cut down on the adverbs. “Use stronger verbs,” he explains, “and you’ll find you don’t need the help of adverbs. That’s a great tip for bloggers. While it may be the keyword phrases in the title that start the job of getting your blog found, once the online visitor has actually landed, it takes a great opener to fan the flicker of interest into a flame. The shorter, more direct, and more personal that opener is, the more “flaming” is likely to happen.

Drop-dead sentences stand out in blog content writing!
 

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Star Business Bloggers Test Themselves Before They Study

Highlighting key information and writing notes in textbook margins aren’t as much help to students as once thought, explains Scientific American Mind. As a corporate blogging trainer, I was very interested in the magazine’s list of effective study tools.  After all, we want our readers to remember the information we’ve provided, and we hope they’ll take action on the advice we offered in our blog content.

Get visual. Graphics help students understand and retain the material in the text.
For blog content writers, a single visual that captures the essence of the post’s point enhancese “curb appeal”.  At the same time, it’s important to avoid distractions on the blog page itself that might take readers’ attention “off the road”, away from the message and the Call to Action.

Share your progress. Composing updates about what you’re learning, and teaching others really help in retention of the material.
Sharing on social media is the modern day equivalent of those updates. Joining conversations on Facebook and Twitter and encouraging opinion-sharing by readers help keep your blog content engaging.

Test yourself before you study. Psychologists have known for decades that taking a test helps people retain what they’ve learned.  Newer research shows that retention is even better if you take the test before you know anything about a subject (so you are all but guaranteed to get the answers wrong.) The concept is to guess; then, when you find out the real answer, you’ll never forget it.
Blog readers tend to be curious creatures, with 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.

Star students test themselves before they study.  Star business bloggers get visual, and help readers share the insights they gain and test themselves before studying!
 

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Don't Promulgate the Histogens in Blogging for Business

My friend and fellow blogger Karl Ahlrichs, as usual, is offering excellent advice to employee benefits professionals, and, as usual, I’m finding that his advice works for blog content writers.

“People want the answer in a few, short, well-thought-out words, with a long answer to follow if requested.”

Karl complains that he’d sat in a workshop on voluntary benefits trends that went on for the first five minutes without speaking plain English. “We need to promulgate the histogens and project profitability based on actuarial calculation….yadda, yadda” sort of thing is what he heard.

I’ll tell you – after six years writing blogs and web page content for businesses and professional practitioners of every type, I’ve come to conclusions very similar to Karl’s.  Simply put, our challenge as content writers lies in finding the sweet spot between the informative and the yadda yadda.

“We need to get good at the power of summary,” says Karl. He used to think the average adult attention span was three minutes, but then learned from a presentation coach that he had a mere six seconds to make his point with a modern business professional before they mental shut him off. “Yikes!” was Karl’s reaction, shortening the phone message he leaves for prospects to the following: “Hi, I can explain all of Obamacare in 30 seconds.  Call me, and I’ll do it for you.”

Given that Karl was making an outgoing “cold call”, while our blog marketing draws inbound traffic based on an already existing interest in our topic, we Indianapolis content writers don’t need to keep our posts to 30 seconds’ worth of reading..

Still, let’s keep reality in mind: people want their answers in a few, short, well-thought-out paragraphs, with longer answers to follow if requested (that’s why we have CTA’s or Calls to Action as part of business blog writing).

Thanks, Karl!  We promise not to promulgate the histogens in blogging for business!
 

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Blog Content Writing Can Promote a Purse or a Person

“We see potential everywhere, whether it’s a purse or a person,” declares the Goodwill Guy in the TV ad, referring to the fact that donations of goods are turned into cash that goes to help train workers.  

With my ear always to the ground, alert for interesting word tidbits, I thought about that phrase “purse or person”.  As a professional blogger and corporate blogging trainer, I help business owners market tangible products (the “purses”).  In addition, I offer business blogging help to professionals such as attorneys, insurance agents, and physicians (the “persons”). Like the Goodwill Guy, I’ve helped realize the potential in both those marketing situations.

“Tangible products are goods that a buyer can see, touch and feel. Intangible products, or services, are solutions that offer benefits such as convenience, efficiency or expertise but no hard goods,” explains Neil Kulkemuller of Demand Media. “Selling tangible and intangible benefits requires distinct strategies and different persuasive tools,” he adds. A high-quality tangible product can often be witnessed directly by the buyer,Kulkemuller goes on to say, while an intangible solution relies more on the levels of trust and confidence.

At Say It for You, we’ve come to realize, it’s the job of us Indianapolis business blog writers to  “flesh out” the intangibles of both purses and persons. For every fact about the company or about one of its products or services, a blog post addresses unspoken questions such as “So, is that different?”, “So, is that good for me?” 

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 information to online searchers who’ve landed on a company’s SEO corporate blog. The facts. which are the raw ingredients, need to be “translated” into emotional terms that compel reaction – and action – in readers. That’s true, I find, for both tangible products and professional services.

“Blogging,” says Practical eCommerce’s Paul Chaney, “consists of one person – or one company – communicating directly with consumers in an unfettered, unfiltered manner.” That “one person”, I explain to newbie freelance blog content writers, might be a giant corporation or a  mom-and-pop operation, and might be selling either a tangible good or a service. With blog writing for business, we see potential everywhere!
 


 

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White-boarding Through Blogs

Not only does he regularly use a whiteboard, admits business coach Jack Kleymeyer, he’s used one for more than twenty years.

As a “coach” in my own right (I offer training in business blog writing), I thought Kleymeyer’s list of white-boarding “plusses” apply to us as Indiana blog copy writers and to the business owners and professional services people we write for.

Friend Jack K. had learned the art of white-boarding from consultant Tim Honsey, he explains.  Like all good ideas, the technique deserves touting, so here goes:

Through using a white board, you can see the bigger picture.
At first glance it might appear that employing a professional writer might take away from the special authenticity blogs have. Mikal Belicove, blog strategist, dismisses that idea.  A professional ghost blogger, he explains, adds a lot more to the mix than just labor, providing insight and clarity.  Often, we freelance blog content writers function as the “white board” for business owners and professional practitioners who use us for business blogging help, helping them see the bigger picture.

You can see connections you might not otherwise see.
Sometimes Indianapolis blog content writers fall into the trap of thinking that every word they write has to be directly about their business' products and services. If we keep a very narrow focus in our blog, it won't be long before we run out of new things to say. But, by relating what we do to other things, especially when that connection is an unexpected one, we engage readers' curiosity. Meanwhile, we’re providing valuable and interesting information that can offer readers a broader perspective on our own topic.

The only advantage on Kleymeyers’s why-whiteboard list that I believe might NOT apply to writing business blog content is #5: “You are able to remove emotion from the equation.”
When I'm offering business blogging assistance, I emphasize that the best website content – and the best corporate blogs – give online readers a feel for the corporate culture and some of the owners’ core beliefs about their industry and the way they want to serve their customers. The most powerful and effective Calls to Action are laden with emotion.  "Today everyone - whether they know it or not - is in the emotional transportation business," says Peter Guber, author of the new book Tell to Win.
 

Are you white-boarding in your blog?
 

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Blog Content Caution: You Can't Sell French Wine to the Tune of German Music

More French wines get sold when French music is played in the liquor store, and more German wine sales happen when German music is playing in the background, we learn in Marketing News.

No one has a greater need to stay aware of the role of the non-rational in consumer decision-making than business blog content writers, I would say. Books like Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow offer many such examples of non-rational consumer behavior.  From my point of view as a corporate blogging trainer, I think the take-away for us is to go beyond calls to action and harness the power of suggestion.

“Consumers will prefer whatever beverage they taste after seeing a Coke image.” Just think about that statement from the business blog writer’s point of view: When online visitors read your blog, it’s because they’re already “thirsty” (seeking information, product, or services that relate to your topic)! Not only does that offer you the chance to reinforce those readers’ sense of urgency, but the content writing itself can create “atmosphere” and “background music”.

Once the basic connection has been established through the blog post title and some attention-getting statement or statistic, we blog content writers have our real work cut out for us – creating the emotional connection with readers using the right “background music”.

Communications consultant Milo Frank has a message every blog content writer needs to hear. Imagery helps make SEO marketing blogs more engaging. In business communications, the author admits, there’s room for technical, precise language, but the key factor is to get readers to “see” and “hear” as well as read your message.

Of course, actual images – video clips, photos, stock art – can add impact to Indianapolis bloggers’ work, but aside from those actual pictures and sounds, freelance blog writers can paint pictures through words.

Have you worked on the “background music” for your marketing blog?
 

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Buy-or-Not-Buy Business Blogging

“Why people buy is not the same as why people don’t buy,” asserts J. Walker Smith of thefuturescompany.com, adding that “This is a difference that matters more than ever.”

Since one important function of any SEO marketing blog is converting lookers to buyers, and since I train Indianapolis blog content writers, Smith’s statement really piqued my interest.

The things that motivate people to buy are product features they want, Smith says. But, it’s not so simple, he cautions, when people don’t buy. Somewhere in the process, a company’s ethics, reputation, and commitment to social responsibility all become “table stakes”.

So, how can we as blog content writers make use of these insights from J. Walker Smith?  How can we tip the scales for our business owner or professional practitioner clients towards the “buy” side of that buy-or-not-buy continuum?

Since the first stage of the typical customer’s screening process involves features and benefits, our Say It For You blog content writers must take care of that task first.  When readers arrive at your business blog, it’s because they already have an interest in your topic and are ready to receive the information, the services, and the products you have to offer. But, from the get-go, it’s up to you to assure them that they’ve come to precisely the right place to get what they’re after.

Taking on that second ethics-reputation-commitment piece within a brief, informal blog post can be challenging.  What I’ve found, though, over the years, is that blog writing is the ideal tool when it comes to establishing emotional connection to readers. Marketing blogs, I believe, are most effective when they are at their most conversational, most personal, most revealing of the corporate culture and history – and most passionate.

As blogger Steve Guise puts it, “Passion is contagious and humans are attracted to it.”

 

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So You Need More Data in Your Business Blog?

Talk about “pow” opening lines – the Maritz Research ad sure caught my eye with this pair of statements advertising their Capella system:

 “You don’t need more data.  You need a way to solve the    problems flowing deep inside the data.”

Citing statistics and other data is certainly one tactic I teach Indianapolis blog content writers to use as a way to capture readers’ attention. But my own experience as a business blogger has shown me that statistics, even the startling sort, aren’t enough to create positive results for any SEO marketing blog.

The fact that readers’ have a problem or need that is shared by many other people is not enough to make most readers take action (and of course the success of any blog marketing effort depends on readers doing just that.) Yes, it’s true, as I stress in corporate blogging training sessions, blogging has one enormous advantage over traditional “push marketing” tactics, because it delivers visitors who are already interested in a particular product, service, or area of information.

But, as the Maritz Research ad implies, a lot more needs to happen in the “so what?” department before visitors take the next step towards becoming buyers.

Once readers’ interest has been stimulated through the attention-commanding statistic, the blog content writing can focus on creating the emotional connection with the reader.

  • Context:  Most business blog posts make claims, but, often readers don't have any basis for comparison, not being as expert as you are in your field. The blog content needs to address what is “flowing deep within the data”, so that the facts not only are true, but so that the information feels true to your online visitors.
     
  • Connection:  Readers must be shown how the data connects to their own problem or need. But, even more important, they need to connect with the business owners or practitioners who will be providing the product or service to them.

Do you need more data in your business blog?  Only if your blog content uses that data to create more content and more connection!
 

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Can Blog Content Writing Get You Equal Business Stature?

“Equal business stature, Tim, that’s all I want, to be treated as an equal. I believe I have earned that right and yet to a gatekeeper or prospect, I am the lowest form of humanity,” is the lament one sales professional voiced to a favorite Indianapolis sales trainer, Tim Roberts.

Most of the time, the barrier salespeople face is the “gatekeeper” (the secretary or admin assistant who guards access to the VIP).  A gatekeeper can hear the difference between someone of equal business stature and someone who doesn’t have it from a mile away, explains Roberts, so the secret is to “act as though you’re the president and get referred in”.

With a 27-year long career in sales under my belt, I knew exactly why that salesperson was so frustrated. I understood what Tim Roberts was saying, too. I also realized that for all of us Indiana blog content writers (whether it’s the owner of a business, a professional practitioner, or a Say It For You freelance content writer who’s involved), the salesperson/gatekeeper conflict is very much in play. Except, when it comes to SEO marketing blogs, there’s no admin assistant blocking access to the target buyer. In fact, the “gatekeeper” is the short attention span of online readers today!

As a professional ghost blogger, I study statistics about today’s buyer.  If  you used Search Engine Optimization strategy, providing relevant, new, frequently posted information through business blogging, online readers are going to do one of two things - "bounce" away from your blog and keep looking for what they want, or (and this is the result you're aiming for) proceed to visit your website.. You just won't get readers to sit still very long reading your content.

Blog readers are scanners, by and large, not readers, and they came online to search for information. You’ll have a mere couple of seconds during which searchers will decide whether you deserve “equal business stature”.

 

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Are You Delivering on the Implied Promise of Your Business Blog Post Title?

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!”
 

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