Using the Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs in Your Business Blogging

 

Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

 

“Your listeners are asking themselves ‘Why should I care?’ Carmine Gallo reminds marketers in his business skills and development book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Jobs, the author reminds readers, is the guy who transformed business presentations into an art form. Using those presentation secrets, a top Apple executive said, you can:

  • take charge of any room
  • sell products
  • build brands
  • engage teams
  • convey ideas persuasively
  • turn prospects into clients

That sounds almost too good to be true, but, hey, if using some of those presentation skills in business blog content writing can turn prospects into clients – count me in!

Gallo points out Jobs’ unrelenting focus on results – will using your product or service help prospects:

  • make money?
  • save money?
  • have an easier time of it?

“Remember, your widget doesn’t inspire,” Gallo reminds marketers. Whichever the primary benefit you have to offer, tell prospects about that, and tell it to them early, often, and clearly, Gallo says.

Gallo pinpoints 3 practical applications of Jobs’ style speakers can use (and, of course, we content writers are nothing if not presenters):

  1. Casual language is what the people want. (Make the numbers relevant to something with which readers are already familiar.)
  2. Minimal content is best suited for long term memory. (Create a memorable moment for the audience, revealing some new and unexpected information, or telling a story.)
  3. Create ways to use the villain/hero narrative. (Spend time describing the problem in detail. “Build the pain.”)

The goal of each business blog post should be to leave readers absolutely knowing why they need to care, not about your product or service, but about the way they are going to feel after using it!

Use the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs in your business blogging!

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Two “Ifs” to Making Interview Blogs Intriguing

Job applicant having an interview

 

Just one of “101 blog post ideas that will make your blog ‘hot’” offered by startbloggingonline.com is this:  Interview someone. But interviews, the author warns, are popular only in two cases:

  1. You deliver an interview with an important “someone” who rarely speaks in public

You rally useful and practical tips and content.

As a blog-content-writer-for-hire by business owners and professional practitioners, I’ve found, the interview format very useful in creating posts that are more compelling in many cases than the typical narrative text. I do the interview blog in two steps:

Step One: In a face-to-face (or Skype) interview with a business owner or executive (or professional practitioner), I am able to capture their ideas and some of their words.

Step Two: I then add “framing” to the post with my own questions and introductions.

Although this Say it For You blog has a non-monetized business model, unlike Mi Muba’s, I like what Muba has to say about the five most common objectives of publishing an interview blog post:

  • To help your readers learn from the expertise of interviewee
  • To inspire your readers with the success story of the interviewee
  • To practically guide your readers how to succeed in a given field
  • To provide your readers the chance to interact with interviewee through commenting
  • To add variety to your content after several simply descriptive posts

When you think about it, business blogs themselves are nothing more than extended interviews.  Just as in a face-to-face job interview, searchers who read your blog evaluate the content, judging whether you’re a good fit for them. Most modern job interviewers follow a behavioral interview style, meaning they focus less on facts (the employer already has read those facts on your resume) but on how you, the prospective employee, tend to function in various situations. In other words, the employer is trying to discover the person behind the resume.

We blog content writers need to conduct interviews the same way, and, for the benefit of the readers, reveal the business owner behind the blog!

 

 

 

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7th Century Dance Plague Could Be a Plus in a Business Blog

 

Fitness dancing

The first outbreak of “dancing mania” occurred in the seventh century, Mental Floss magazine relates, and cases sporadically struck every few decades after that. France, Holland, and Germany all suffered, we’re told.  Worst, though, was the July 14, 1518, when Frau Toffea of Strasbourg, France danced for three straight days.  By the time she was hauled away, more than thirty other dancers had joined in, and within a month, one hundred people were frantically jogging without being able to stop! Dancers hyperventilated and hallucinated, unable to stop for food or rest.  Heart attack, heat, and exhaustion claimed lives. After striking 400 people, the Strasbourg plague, which had lasted until September, suddenly ended.

Medical historians have ventured opinions as to the possible causes for the plague, attributing it factors ranging from ergot, a poisonous mold to Sydenham’s chorea (a disorder linked to rheumatic fever that causes twitching).One theory attributes the plague to stress-induced mass psychosis (smallpox, syphilis, and famine were everywhere at that time).

I love “reading around” and “learning around”, as I call it, and encourage all blog content writers to do the same. This piece about dancing mania, like any piece of trivia, can be used to spark curiosity and entertain readers. You may use trivia to:

  • put modern-day beliefs and practices into perspective
  • explain what problems can be solved using that business’ products and services
  • define basic terminology
  • offer statistics showing that many others have faced the same issue as the one concerning the current reader

It’s easy to imagine using the dance mania story in the business blog for a dance studio or a, disk jockey, but it might also be used by a nutritionist or exercise coach to stress the importance of regular meals and maintaining hydration during exercise.

Continually coming up with fresh content to inform, educate, and entertain readers is a pretty tall order for busy business owners and employees. Trivia can solve the problem! 

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Healthy Plate Business Blogging

 

Healthy-Plate

In honor of National Nutrition Month (last month), my friend Mary Ann Wietbrock published a blog post that exemplifies some of the key advice points I’ve been offering in my Say It For You business blogging tutorials:

  • “Grabber” opening line or focus sentence
    “What is on your plate?” Wietbrock asks.  Sure, in any SEO marketing blog, it’s the keyword phrases in the title that start the job of getting the blog found.  Burt, once the online visitor has actually landed, it takes a great opener to fan the flicker of interest into a flame.  In fact, a big part of blog content writing, I’ve found, involves getting the “pow opening line” right.
  • Visual
    The picture is colorful and illustrates the precise points the author is stressing in the text. In business blogging, every post needs a visual element in order to be truly effective.  While the words you use to tell the story are the most important part of blogging for business, what visuals do is add interest and evoke emotional responses.
  • Easy to understand chart
    “This plate of food has the following essential nutrients and takes less than 5 minutes to prepare,” the blogger assures readers. For each nutrient, she lists the amount and the reason that nutrient is important (the 112 grams of protein help build muscle, while the 292 mg. of potassium help keep the heart calm). Charts help organize the information in readers’ minds, aiding the learning process.
  • Offer of resources
    “Menus available at www.cardinalelements.com” takes readers to the relevant page on the website. One way to add value to a blog is aggregating resources for the benefit of your readers, in the form of outside content  – giving proper credit – along with your own. In fact, by “marinating” our own ideas in others’ material, we never run out of fresh content to satisfy both the search engines and the searchers.
  • Calls to action
    There are at least four calls to action in this one short post: Contact at… phone number and website. Request menus.  Sign up for Lunch & Learn. Comment. Does asking for a customer’s business invalidate the good information provided in the blog? Not in the least.  When people go online to search for information and click on different links, they’re aware of the fact that the providers of information are out to do business.  As long as the material is valuable and relevant for the searchers, they’re perfectly fine with knowing there’s someone who wants them for a client or a customer.

Does your business blog include all the elements of a “healthy plate”?

 

 

 

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For Business Blogging, Get in the Remote Mindset

 

Photographer Willie B. Thomas

 

“In the last decade, remote work has exploded in popularity,” says Skillcrush. “It’s totally feasible to land a lucrative, fulfilling career without selling your soul to the daily commute,” Browning assures readers, cautioning that interviews for remote jobs come with their own set of pitfalls.

Interviewees for remote jobs have to demonstrate they are pros at managing time, prioritizing tasks, and communicating with boss and coworkers. Business blog content writers, I reflected, reading this advice, have precisely the same challenges. Without being face to face with the prospect reading the blog, the business owner or professional practitioner (or the blog content writer they’ve hired) must demonstrate expertise, reliability, and empathy.

With all the different communications options, including not only blogging, but social media, mobile apps, forms, webinars, etc., “It’s easy to forget that Expertise is the #1 ingredient for  successful content marketing and blogging,” according to pushingsocial.com. “Without expertise, all these methods are reduced to fancy magic tricks that capture your reader’s attention for a moment.”

Readers come to your blog looking for the answer to two questions, pushing social.com explains:

  1. Can this person/company/practice help me?
  2. Do these people know what they’re talking about?

Without being face to face with readers, blog content writers use words to prove that the answer to each of those two questions is a resounding “Yes!”

But how do you demonstrate that you can help a prospect when you have no proof  – no case studies, testimonials, or clients yet? That question was actually asked of John Jantsch of ducttapemarketing. Jantch’s three-point response:  Publish, Partner, Podium. “Start sharing your expertise and point of view on your own blog,” Jantsch advises, and ”Offer to write guest blog posts.”

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran blog content writer, for business blogging, get in the remote mindset!

 

 

 

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In-Command Business Blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Does Your Blog Post Command or Report?

 

 

remote control
There are two aspects to any communication, explains Elizabeth J. Natalle in Teaching Interpersonal Communication. The report aspects conveys information, while the command aspect refers to the relationship between the communicants. The command aspect sets a tone, which might be focused on:

  • this is how I see myself…
  • this is how I see you…
  • this is how I see you seeing me…

Natalle contrasts two statements about driving a car to make her point:

  1. “It is important to release the clutch gradually and smoothly.”
  2. “Just let the clutch go, and it will ruin the transmission in no time.”

One interesting perspective on the work we do as professional bloggers is that we are interpreters, translating clients’ corporate message into people-to-people terms, trying to find exactly the right tone. That first statement about the clutch would be purely informational, for example, with no connection being formed between the reader and the business owner or practitioner. On the other hand the second statement takes a “how to” tone, a tone that can be very useful in blog marketing.

Crystal Gouldey of AWeber Communications names five different “tones” to consider when planning a blog:

  • The formal, professional tone
  • The casual tone
  • The professional-but-friendly tone
  • The sales pitch tone
  • The friendly sales pitch tone

    Consistency is important, Gouldey thinks. “It will be very confusing for subscribers if you talk to them one way and the next week you talk to them in a different way,” Gouldey says.

’T aint necessarily so, I teach. For one thing, a company blog can have different contributors, each of whom might have a different styles of presenting information. But even with a single author, the use of different tones can lend variety and interest.  The only exceptions would be the “sales pitch” tones, probably better left out of the blog mix.

Does your blog post command or report? Your business blog can do both!

 

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In Blogging, the More Things Change……

old newspaper ads

 

On a recent tour of interesting Indiana places, I picked up the most fascinating souvenir – The Daily Review newspaper published February 19, 1908 in Crawfordsville.

Since my work at Say It For You centers around business marketing, I was particularly fascinated with Page 3 of the paper, which sported a crazy patchwork  of advertisements. Needless to say, the prices of goods more than 110 years ago provided a source of entertainment: Men’s tailored suits were available for a cost ranging from $18 to $40, while two light brooms were advertised at 25 cents for the pair. Interested in real estate? 58 acres of good land, including a six-room house, a barn, a large orchard were going for $2,450.

Since a favorite topic of mine as a professional ghost blogger and business blogging trainer is commanding readers’ attention, even more interesting to me as I scanned the Daily Review were the different appeals advertisers used to grab readers’ attention:

Problem solving
“Is your heating apparatus working satisfactorily?  If there is anything wrong, just telephone me and I’ll fix it in a jiffy,” claimed Dan Pickett.  “If you have forgotten your laundry till Friday or Saturday, call on us.  We make a specialty of time work,” James P. Grimes & Sons assured prospects. “Kill the cough and cure the lungs!” is the way Dr. King promoted his cough medicine.

Price reductions
“Our entire stock of furniture and stoves to be closed out in the next 30 days at prices unheard of before,” said Joel Block, while jeweler and optician Otto announced he would be selling 101 Masonic Temple souvenir spoons, normally priced at $1.75 and $2.25, for only $1.00 each.

Special expertise
“I make a specialty of high grade enlargements consisting of all sizes and finish.  Remember this work is done by hand, which I make in my own studio,” claimed Bert Vancleave. “You get the benefit of our technical knowledge and of our persistently clear cut methods,” said corner jeweler J.A. Oswald.

Fear marketing
“How is your home?” asked O.W. Stafford & Co. “Is it fully insured? When the fire is started, it is too late to get it insured.  Better let us write that policy today.”

Appeal to customers’ desire to be part of a trend
“Smoke a clay pipe. They are the thing in pipes just now.”

 

Back in 1908, to be sure, no one was blogging. Still, today, although blogs should be more like advertorials than advertisements, every one of these advertising approaches might be used in business blog writing to appeal to consumers.

You know what they say:  The more things change, the more they remain the same!

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Put Words in Blog Readers’ Mouths

Word Toolbox Teaching Tools Resources Spelling Reading Lesson Ai“Learn the lingo to beat the scammers,” advises Sid Kirchheimer in this month’s AARP magazine. “Knowledge is power” the author explains, proceeding to “put words.in readers’ mouths” so that they can feel confident about protecting themselves from fraudsters.

A “catfish”, Kirscheimer explains, is someone who creates a fake online profile to intentionally deceive you, while “hash busters” are random words contained in spam emails that allow them to bypass your spam filters. “Pharming” refers to malicious programs that route you to their own websites, while “scareware” displays on-screen warnings of nonexistent infections.

“Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service”, a customer service training manual by Renee Evenson, is based on the same knowledge-is-power idea. “Using powerful phrases – the right words – when you communicate gives you the confidence that you’re communicating your best…What you say can make all the difference in how your customers view you and your company,” says Evenson.

We know. And, as blog content writers, we need to be conscious of the difference the right words can make in marketing our clients’ businesses or professional practices. But what the AARP article made clear to me was the importance of what they say (meaning the customers and prospects).

One very important use of the blog becomes arming readers with a sense of control. It’s that feeling of confidence tin knowing the lingo which allows readers to feel ease in making buying decisions.

Sid Kirschheimer spends an entire page teaching readers “scam-speak”.  An essential part of business blog marketing, I’m convinced, is “putting words in blog readers’ mouths!”

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Case Study Business Blogging

Case study
“To explore uncertainty reduction theory, I ask students to analyze a case study in groups of four to six people for about 15 to 20 minutes,” says Elizabeth Natalle in Teaching Interpersonal Communication. The case study, she adds, is a good teaching technique because students can participate actively and demonstrates choice making.

Stories of all kinds – customer testimonials, famous incidents from the news, Hollywood doings, folklore – you name it - help personalize a business blog. Even if a professional  writer is composing the content, true-story material increases engagement by readers with the business or practice. Case studies are particularly effective in creating interest, because they are relatable and “real”.

I think that’s why, back in Journalism 101 class, we were taught to “put a face on the issue” by beginning the article with a human example  A story about rising food prices, for example, might begin with “Susie Hellenbecker’s putting things back on the shelf. With the price of cereal and fruit so high, she’s decided there’s no longer room in the budget for those, or for her favorite salad dressing.”

A case study takes that personalization even further, chronicling a customer or client who had a problem or need, and taking readers through the various stages of using the product or service to solve that problem. What were some of the issues that arose along the way? What new insights were gained through that experience, on the part of both the business and the customer?

“Case studies are a great way to tell the world how valuable your products or services are. They go beyond simple testimonials by showing real-life examples of how you were able to satisfy your customer’s needs and help them accomplish their goals,” kissmetrics.com teaches. “With great case studies, you will be able to highlight your successes in a way that will make your ideal potential customer become your customer.”

 

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