Business Blog Readers are Looking for a Fix

“Can you email me the information?” is never a request any sales professional wants to hear, admits Paul Cherry, author of Questions That Sell.  What should the salesperson do? Agree, then clarify, is  his suggestion. Ask the prospect: “ What kind of information will be most useful to you? What are you looking to accomplish?”

Salespeople should look for certain key words in their prospects’ answers, Cherry says. Those words reveal if the “targets” have any real interest in the product or service.

“We are looking to:

  • achieve…
  • solve…
  • eliminate…
  • avoid…
  • secure…
  • improve…
  • fix…

For most business owners, when asked why they want to use social media, their answers come down to one thing – selling more stuff.  In fact, as internet marketing consultant Chris Garrett remarks, “The blogosphere is coming around to the idea that commerce is not necessarily evil, that in fact businesses need to make money and they do that by selling stuff.”

Effective blog content drip-drip-drips the necessary benefit-led, fact-filled, objection-busting content to your targeted audience, in such a way that they don’t feel they are being sold to, Garrett explains. His own way of describing the blogging sales cycle is as a series of small agreements, where the prospect clicks to the blog, reads content, subscribes to the blog, signs up for an e-newsletter, and finally decides to call or write.

Jeff Thrull, author of another sales training book, Exceptional Selling, advises sales professionals to act against type:, “When in doubt, so the opposite of what a salesperson would do.” The good news in blog marketing is the same as the good news Thrull describes as operative in direct selling. At Say It For You, I advise using blog posts to demonstrate the business owner’s or professional practitioner’s expertise, and to offer valuable tips to readers.

At Stage #1 of their search, what the majority of consumers are likely to have typed into the search bar are words describing:

  • Their need
  • Their problem
  • Their idea of the solution to their problem
  • A question

    In short, those searchers’ first encounter with your business or practice is based on their need for help to do the very things Paul Cherry named in his keyword list:  they want to achieve, eliminate, avoid, secure, improve, and FIX.

No, you’re not in their living room or on the phone with them, but, in order convert those “strangers” to friends and customers, then, address your blog posts to them, and write about how you can  help them do exactly those things.

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Will Facebook Advertising Survive After the Cambridge Analytica Scandal?

Behavioral marketing will be a key player now.

Link to Open New Windows for Blog Readers

blogging

 

“Links – you need ‘em,” writes Amy Lupold Bair in Blogging for Dummies. On a blog, the author explains, links are part of the resource you are providing for readers.  Collecting links around a topic or theme helps to inform or entertain your blog’s readers. If you’re not only providing good content yourself, but also expanding on that content by using links, she adds, “you’re doing your readers a service they won’t forget.”

As I teach at Say It For You, one way to expand on your own blog content is collating.  That entails collecting information from different sources and then organizing that information in a different way. We then summarize those ideas and concepts we think our own readers would find useful.

Curation goes even further than collating. In fact, at Say It For You, we teach that effective blog posts must go from information-dispensing to offering the business owner’s (or the professional’s, or the organizational executive’s) unique perspective on issues related to the search topic. Pieces of information might have been taken from various sources, and might even represent different views. The information needs to be put into perspective so that two things occur:

  1. Readers relate to the “curator” – you, the author of the blog post – as an involved person who is personally engaged with the subject.
  2. Readers realize there’s something here that’s important and useful for them.

Now, with links, the piece of material you are curating does not itself appear in your blog, at least not in its entirety. Instead, you’re adding a hyperlink in your text, allowing the reader to click on that underlines text to go to the article, video, text, or webpage.to which you’re referring.

But here’s where Blogging for Dummies offers an important caution to blog writers: You don’t want to be sending your readers away from your site “into the Black Hole of the Internet”. Those readers might click and then forget where they originally found the link! Therefore, Lupold Bair cautions, change the setting to “open in a new window”.  That keeps your blog post open on the screen while they pull up the other site.

“Links are the currency of the blogosphere,” the author explains.  Adding links to your posts is a good thing, she adds, provided you take your responsibility as a publisher seriously and link only to credible resources. As blog content writers at Say It For You, we certainly agree.

Opening links in new windows literally opens new windows of learning for your blog readers!

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Ask a Marketing Expert: Can Social Media Professionals Deactivate Their Personal Accounts?

The constant mindless scrolling can leave us all feeling burnt out and like we want to deactivate all personal social media accounts. But, is this doable when you work in marketing—or do you need an active presence there? Here's a social media experts advice on how to find balance.

Blog to Position Yourself as an Expert

Although the article in Steve & Jack’s Home News (from my friend Steve Rupp, the Keller-Williams real positioning through blogsestate consultant) wasn’t about blogging, it might have been. “Position Yourself As An Expert Source”, the title read; the content consisted of tips on establishing one’s credentials.

People respond to authority.  You’ll be able to persuade them more
if you can position yourself as an expert in your field or industry.

Those four tips, I couldn’t help thinking, is good advice for blog content writers. (After all, isn’t that the very point of business blogging – to position the business owner or professional practitioner as an expert source?)

1. Cite the experts yourself (quote authoritative sources of information that they already trust). Curating in business blog posts is based on the same concept.  Using content from other people’s blogs, articles, and books, we bring value to our own readers, summarizing the main ideas we believe they will find useful.  But effective blog posts go beyond that, offering the business owner’s unique perspective on the subject.

2. Highlight your qualifications. Don’t beat people over the head with your degrees and accomplishments, but remind them of your expertise and knowledge. When I offer corporate blogging help to business owners and employees, I caution against crossing the fine line between exercising “bragging rights” and bragging. One beautiful aspect of frequent blogging is that you don’t need to “shout” – you can “whisper” your sharply defined differentiated message over time.

3. Get testimonials. Ask others to share their experience working with you. Stories about customer satisfaction and problems solved wield tremendously greater power than statistics in converting lookers to buyers.
4.   Dress appropriately. That’s exactly the point I try to make when it comes to creating marketing blog content. I know the online crowd likes to be informal, and yes, blogs are supposed to be less formal and more personal in tone than traditional websites. But when a sample of corporate blog writing is posted in the name of your business  the business brand is being “put out there” for all to see. Dress your blog in its ”best”. Prevent blog content writing “wardrobe malfunctions” such as grammar errors, run-on sentences, and spelling errors. Avoid redundancy. Tighten up those paragraphs.

Blog to position yourself as an expert!

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Good Luck/ Bad Luck Blog Comments

handling blog comments

Often, when we’re setting up a new blog for a business owner or professional practitioner, the topic of comments comes up.  Should readers be invited to post comments?  Initially at least, most Say It For You clients are afraid to allow for comments on their blog.  Why? They fear those comments might be negative or critical.

When, just the other day, I received my copy of Steve & Jack’s Home News (from my friend Steve Rupp, the Keller-Williams real estate consultant), I thought about this dilemma of whether it’s good to allow readers to comment on your business blog.  The newsletter started out with a story called “Good Luck, Bad Luck.” This farmer’s stallion runs off, and neighbors comment on what bad luck that was.  Farmer says, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” A series of bad/good events follows: The stallion returns with a herd of wild mare; the farmer’s son, while training one of the mares, is thrown off the horse and breaks his leg.  Because of the broken leg, soldiers do not seize this son for military service. The moral of the story is that all luck, both good and bad is fleeting.

Same thing with blog comments:  Blogs need to be available not only for reading, but for acting and interacting. Just the way that even bad reviews help ticket sales for plays, even when a posts a negative or critical comment about your product or service, you’re still getting “bang for your blog” from the search engines.

The “bad luck” side of the coin, of course, is that spam comment attacks tend to plague newly created blog pages.  That spam typically shows itself in three forms:

  1. Total nonsense, with links to sites the writer is promoting
  2. Totally unrelated to the topic of the blog
  3. Blatant advertising for web services

There is no definitive way to stop SPAM comments as Jeremy Politt of the ITeam admits. There are a few steps business owners and practitioners can take when setting up the blog platform, including:

  • Don’t automatically accept comments – reserve the right to review them and decide whether to publish them. (This is how I handle comments on this Say It For You blog.)
  • Include a “Captcha” so that readers must prove they’re human, not a digital SPAM machine gun.

Like the stallion running off and the farmer’s son’s broken leg, negative comments on a business blog are “good luck, bad luck – who knows?

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Good Luck/ Bad Luck Blog Comments

handling blog comments

Often, when we’re setting up a new blog for a business owner or professional practitioner, the topic of comments comes up.  Should readers be invited to post comments?  Initially at least, most Say It For You clients are afraid to allow for comments on their blog.  Why? They fear those comments might be negative or critical.

When, just the other day, I received my copy of Steve & Jack’s Home News (from my friend Steve Rupp, the Keller-Williams real estate consultant), I thought about this dilemma of whether it’s good to allow readers to comment on your business blog.  The newsletter started out with a story called “Good Luck, Bad Luck.” This farmer’s stallion runs off, and neighbors comment on what bad luck that was.  Farmer says, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” A series of bad/good events follows: The stallion returns with a herd of wild mare; the farmer’s son, while training one of the mares, is thrown off the horse and breaks his leg.  Because of the broken leg, soldiers do not seize this son for military service. The moral of the story is that all luck, both good and bad is fleeting.

Same thing with blog comments:  Blogs need to be available not only for reading, but for acting and interacting. Just the way that even bad reviews help ticket sales for plays, even when a posts a negative or critical comment about your product or service, you’re still getting “bang for your blog” from the search engines.

The “bad luck” side of the coin, of course, is that spam comment attacks tend to plague newly created blog pages.  That spam typically shows itself in three forms:

  1. Total nonsense, with links to sites the writer is promoting
  2. Totally unrelated to the topic of the blog
  3. Blatant advertising for web services

There is no definitive way to stop SPAM comments as Jeremy Politt of the ITeam admits. There are a few steps business owners and practitioners can take when setting up the blog platform, including:

  • Don’t automatically accept comments – reserve the right to review them and decide whether to publish them. (This is how I handle comments on this Say It For You blog.)
  • Include a “Captcha” so that readers must prove they’re human, not a digital SPAM machine gun.

Like the stallion running off and the farmer’s son’s broken leg, negative comments on a business blog are “good luck, bad luck – who knows?

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Template Your Blog for Variety and Timesaving

 

There are many different ways the same information can be presented in different business blog posts, and thank goodness for that, I say.

In fact, at Say It For You, I’m always on the lookout for different “templates”, not in the sense of platform graphics, but in terms of formats for presenting information about any business or professional practice. Here are just a few possible “templates”:

How-to Post
This type of post aims to teach the reader something, Ali Luke explains taking them through a step-by-step process. Variations include “How I _____and How You Can, Too.” And “Why ____ Matters and How To Do it”.

List Post
The list post offers readers a selection of ideas, tips, suggestions, or resources.

Review Post
Review posts offer an informed opinion about a particular product or service.

OpEd Opinion Post
This post states a point of view about a particular topic (the blog author can then add his or her own commentary.)

Interview Post

The author interviews a client, an employee, or an outside source.

In addition to varying the format or template, I teach, you can offer different kinds of information in different blog posts. In a way, each time you post you’re pulling out just one of those attachments on your “Swiss army knife” and offering some valuable information or advice relating to just one aspect of your business. Another day, your blog post can do the same with a different “attachment”.

According to The Book of Totally Useless Information, a rough estimate of the numbers of snowflakes that have fallen on earth is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0000, yet each one is different from all the others.

What does this have to do with blog content writing? A snowflake needs a nucleus around which to form, usually a speck of dust, sea salt, or other particle. No two specks of dust are truly identical, and the conditions of temperature and moisture are different each time; those minor changes are enough to make all snowflakes different.

The “nucleus” around which business blog posts are formed is their topic, the expertise and products that business offers. The key words and phrases around that topic are what bring readers to the blog posts. But, even though the overall topic is the same, there is endless variety that can be used to make each blog post special, and one way to differentiate blog posts is by using different templates.

Template your blog for variety and timesaving!

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Geoffrey Owens Never Deserved What He Got. Job-Shaming Is Just Plain Tacky.

When your family is counting on you in down times, you do what you gotta do.

Business Blog Repurposing With a Purpose

re-purposing blog content

 

Finding ways to recycle existing content has a number of benefits, Megan Marris writes in Wordstream.com, including:

  • reaching a new audience
  • “dusting off forgotten tales”
  • making the most of your efforts

Your top notch content deserves repurposing, Marris states, but only the best will do.

  • Wordstream offers a rather impressive list of suggestions on alternative ways for using content from existing blog posts, turning them into:
  • webinars
  • podcasts
  • case studies
  • Power Point slide decks
  • Ebooks
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Twitter posts
  • online courses

Cornelia Cosmiuc of cognitiveseo.com adds to the list, suggesting that posts be turned into hands-on guidebooks, and that interview blogs be turned into expert advice e-handbooks.

I agree. At Say It For You I stress that it’s absolutely essential for blog marketers to learn to reuse content. Maintaining consistently high rankings on search engines depends on longevity. That means writers must maintain the discipline of regularly posting relevant, value-laden content over long periods of time.

But as a business blog writing trainer, I see repurposing as having a broader meaning than simply turning content from blogs into video scripts, social media posts, or email blasts. My idea of repurposing involves turning existing blog posts into new ones. The content in the new posts reinforces the content from the former posts. But the new version progresses to new information and perhaps a new slant on the subject.

“There are two things that make writing difficult to read. One is not giving enough detail and giving only a spotty coverage of an idea. The other is to try to give too much detail for the space allowed. Short articles should only provide a high-level discussion of your topic or in-depth coverage of one aspect of it,” advises quicksprout.com. One way to repurpose short blog content is to choose one small point and expand on it in a new post.

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers says it all: “You don’t have to create content day in and day out. You just have to work on getting the content you already have in the hands of more people.”  And that’s the main idea behind repurposing content, according to Hubspot.com: Take something you’ve created, put a new spin on it, and give it new life.

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