What the Ad Blocking Trend Means for Your Content Marketing

A couple weeks ago, I talked about why content marketing is so important for your business.  This week, I want to go into a bit of depth as to what ad blocking is telling you about your content marketing.

1. Your articles and posts should not even resemble ads!
The number one most important thing you should learn from the ad blocking trend is not to make your content marketing look like ads! Consumers are pretty savvy. They know clickbait when they see it and they can feel ads clothed in information on the information highway.  So, make sure to give your readers the valuable information or entertainment they crave without making them feel like they’re being sold!

The idea of content marketing is to give value such that the consumer trusts your company and wishes to reciprocate when it comes time to buy.  The task is to make them feel so indebted to you that they not only think of you first when they are ready to purchase but feel bad about looking anywhere else to fill their need.

2. So what do you put in there and how do you get leads?
What you write about will, of course, depend upon your audience. Do your potential customers need to know something about your industry that affects them?  Do they want to learn how to do something related to your industry? Are they looking to be entertained? See a need and fill it.  More specifically, see a “want” and fill it.   

I said this on a Facebook women’s business group and got some flack for it, but after years of being in sales and owning my own businesses, I can tell you that it’s true.  People buy what they want and not necessarily what they need.  There are those who will not buy something even though they need it and others that will buy what they want even if they can’t really afford it. 

The flack I took for that was the concept that this thinking is bad for people and takes advantage of them.  I disagree.  Taking advantage of people is almost forcing them to buy something they don’t need or can’t afford by means of trickery or deceit.  Recognizing that people will buy wants and not necessarily needs is smart business.  If you know that most people who need something won’t buy it, you probably shouldn’t sell it.  If you recognize that your customers want X with their Y, then you’d better make sure your Xs have Ys!

3. Give value!
I cannot emphasize this enough.  GIVE VALUE!  If your potential customers want to be entertained, entertain them!  If they’d appreciate knowing something, share it. If they want to be the first to have something, let them know.  Whatever it is they value that will help your company reach its goals, make sure you know about it and are actively giving it to them.  

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Don’t like blogging? I have an idea!

All this month, I’ve been sharing my best blogging tips with you. I shared how important it is to keep up your blog on a consistent basis, shared a post I wrote over the holidays to help you find ways to get more out of the posts you’ve already written, and shared some basic blogging tips to help you find topics and create your posts more efficiently. However, if you simply don’t have the time or don’t want to take the time to keep up your blog, you have on other option.

Hire me

Contact me either by phone or email, tell me what you’d like done, and I’ll give you a very reasonable quote!  Then, you can decide how you’d like to proceed: you can take the time and do it all yourself, or you can invest a small amount in your business and leave yourself enough time to actually build your business BIGGER!

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, Contact me today!

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Basic Blogging Tips

Last week, I shared how important it is to keep up your blog on a consistent basis.  This week, I’m going to share some tips that will help you do that.

Tip#1: Set Aside a Blogging Day
It’s so much easier to do something when you are fully immersed in the activity.  Once in the blogging mode, it’s much easier and faster to knock out four weekly posts.  Set aside a day or two as blogging days. Write and schedule them a month ahead so you don’t need to think about them anymore…til next month.

Tip#2: Keep Your Goal in Mind
What is it you want your blog to do? If your goal is to educate potential clients about your industry and lead them to hire you, keep that in mind as you write. There may be other things you could talk about, but that should be your blog’s main focus.  Don’t get sidetracked.  You can take a break for fun holiday posts, but your focus should be evident.

Tip#3: Plan Ahead for Holidays
While you’re writing and scheduling your posts a month ahead, don’t forget to take a look at the calendar.  You might want to include a sale or promotion for Christmas, but you might also want to recognize your business anniversary or milestone as well.  Looking at your calendar will help you get ideas for what to post.  When I was building my Art of Eloquence (speech communication) business, I put Ronald Reagan’s birthday and date of death on my calendar because he was known as The Great Communicator.  If I was in a rush, I could put up a short post about him and include an embedded YouTube video of him speaking.  Easy peasy!

Tip#4: Look at Those Silly Holidays
If you’re REALLY stuck for a blog post idea (or social media content for that matter), you can look at those websites that have silly holidays like Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.  Look for anything that has anything to do with your business blog topic and run with it.  People have so much stress in their lives that a little humor and silliness is usually a welcome relief!

Tip#5: Think Series
Break up larger topics into a three or four (or more) part series. Instead of a HUGE long post that many will not read due to the sheer length, break it up into smaller bite-sized pieces.  You’d be surprised how much mileage you can get out of an article!

Tip#6:  Google Your Topic
Search out other blogs or sites that discuss your topic. What are they talking about? Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts on that topic.  Please don’t plagiarize, but make it your own take on that or similar topic.

Tip#7:  Repurpose Your Content
As I said last week: “Keeping up with your blog writing schedule can be difficult for most business owners, but this post I wrote over the holidays will help you find ways to get more out of the posts you’ve already written.  The biggest tip I can give you about blogging is to try to set aside a day or two each month to write and schedule all of your blog posts for the month ahead.  It’s easier to blog when you’re in blogging mode.”

As always, if blogging isn’t something you want or have time to do, you can always hire me!

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Blog Post Tips for the Holidays

Have you ever needed to write a bunch of blog posts for the holidays, but you really didn’t have time to write them all? Well, here are some tips for making the most of your blog posts:

1. Best Of

This is a FABULOUS way of updating your blog during the holidays!  Just post a link to your best blog posts of the year, month, or quarter.  First of all, it creates value because it shares your best content.  Secondly, not all your readers will have taken the time to read all of your posts. They may not even have seen your best posts!  Just pick 4-10 of your best posts, link the title to the original blog posts, and give a short synopsis of what the post is about.  Then just put a short message on top and bottom of these links and voila!  Instant value!

2. Expand

Take a blog post you like, but didn’t have the time or forethought to expand upon and do so.  Link the original post in your new blog post for reference.  If you make a practice of using bullet points or a numbered list (and you SHOULD!) this is easy peasy.  just insert more info under each section and you have a whole new blog post with even more value.

3. Holiday Messages

If you’re really pressed for time and your blog post comes out very near the holiday date, I love this one! Simply post a pretty holiday picture or meme with your heartfelt holiday wishes for your readers.  The cool thing is that you’ll be seen as someone who cares about them because the entire post is just to wish them a Merry Christmas or Happy Easter.  PLUS nobody really does much too close to the actual holiday so they’ll appreciate that you didn’t take up too much of their time.

4. Memes

If you’re pressed for time and you have some lovely, funny, appropriate holiday memes or pictures you can share, throw about 4-5 of them up there and connect them all with a bit of text that explains why you’re sharing them.

5. Video

If it’s easier for you, record yourself with a holiday message for your readers. This needs only to be about a minute or so. You can upload it to your YouTube channel and embed it into your blog post for a quick, and more personal, holiday message.

Ok.  That should help a great deal this holiday season. If not, you can always hire me!

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Does your blog need a personality?

Blah blah blah…

That’s what your customers will think when they read a dry post every once in a while whenever you get around to writing it.

Your blog is an extension of your business!  It should function as a sales rep for your company, one who takes the time to bring prospective clients the information they need until they know they need your services.

Unfortunately, most blogs (or rather, blahgs) bore the reader to tears until he clicks off your site.  To be top of mind, you need to give your customers value, so they keep coming back to your site until they know they need YOUR products.

But it’s not only the value you bring to your reader; it’s the experience they have while reading your company’s blog.  Ideally, your blog article should inform in a way that brings a smile to your reader’s face.  For that to happen, you need to give your blog a little personality.

The words you use, images you share, and stories you tell should all reflect your business and your customer’s expectations.  Here are a few examples:

1. Humor
Life can be a solemn road filled with financial issues, health problems, and loss.  Tragedy can bring doom and gloom to your customer who is looking for a reason to feel good again.  If your product/service and ideal customer works for this approach, it can be such fun!

2. Integrity
Honesty and integrity may be something lacking in your industry. Taking on this characteristic may be a fresh perspective for your blog. It can draw in customers who are tired of being treated with sleazy sales pitches and tired slogans.

3. News
Some people are looking to be the first to know. If you can deliver your industry’s news items, they’ll come back again and again.  And they’ll be more likely to share your posts to inform their friends and be counted as the first in the know.

There are many others, but you get the idea.  Pick a personality for your blog and write from that perspective.  And if you don’t have time, call me!

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Three ways your business is probably sabotaging your company’s image!

Does your business rely upon emails as a way to correspond with customers or clients? If it does, here are three ways you may be sabotaging your relationship with your customers, and you don’t even know it.

Almost all businesses use email as one of the primary ways to interact with customers.  Here are three of the most important things companies do that can destroy your company’s image or relationship with your client/customer:

1. Not reading before you answer
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent an email off into the interwebs and was disappointed to find that the answer that came back didn’t address the issue I had raised. It was obvious that the company’s representative read only as far as the first sentence before pasting in the canned response.

Don’t be that company! Make sure to read the customer’s entire email before you answer to make sure you understand their exact problem.  It may take you more time now, but it will save your company time in the long run as well as your image and customer service reputation.

2. Not answering each question
Before you hit that send button, make sure you have answered each one of your customer’s questions.  It has become common practice to answer one or two questions and leave the customer wondering about the other two.

It takes more time in the long run for you to play email tag with your customer.  In addition to taking more time to answer two or three emails where there should have only been one, the emails will become longer and more hostile should the need arise.  Make sure you get all their questions answered the first time!

3. Not reading between the lines
Most of your customers won’t know enough to ask you the right questions.  Make sure you are reading between the lines and anticipating what your customer or client is REALLY asking.

It goes without saying that NOT ANSWERING a customer email for a long while is a huge no-no. Most customers will understand if they don’t get a reply for a day or so (or over the weekend), but please don’t make them wait a week or longer to hear from you…or you’ll be hearing from them!

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Social Media Political Rants: Should You Go There?

If you’re on social media to promote your business, you’ll need to make a decision about what types of information you will share there.  I recently came across an article that didn’t surprise me much, because I’ve reported on a similar topic over on Art of Eloquence before.

Article Overview:
In a nutshell, the article says that precious few are persuaded to either side of the political aisle by rants on social media.  I went a bit further in my commentary and said that almost nobody is persuaded by a debate.  That debate could be an argument or a formal public debate.  Most people polled after a number of political/religious debates said that they were not inclined to the other side.  It usually takes one on one communication with give and take discussion and an open heart to share issues such as these.

This article reported that only 14-20% (depending upon the wording of the poll) were persuaded by the other political side after a social media rant.  That brings me to a critical question you need to ask yourself about your politics on social media: Should I go there? The answer is, it depends.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you do go there:

1. Am I on social media for business or personal reasons?
2. If for business, will my customers/clients see value in political posts?
3. Is the subject of politics irrelevant or even counterproductive to my business purpose on social media?
3. Is my business intertwined with my political views such that it would actually benefit by sharing them on social media?
4. How can I word my political posts in a way that I will gain a willing ear even if my subscribers don’t agree with me?

Even if you are on social media purely for personal reasons, that last question is vital.  As someone with extensive training in effective communication, I’m here to tell you that no matter how right you are about something, you will need a willing ear if you hope to be heard.

My Thoughts:
Some businesses thrive on politics even if their product/service has nothing to do with politics.  Chick Fil A serves chicken.  However, their Christian stance has actually helped them.  Though they do have dissenters, their customer base has grown as they have responded to criticism.

Even if you don’t go looking for political or religious battles, your core values will play into how you conduct your business.  How you respond is equally as important as what you respond.  Take some time to ponder these questions before you set the tone for your business social media platforms.

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How to give your customers value so they come back and buy!

ABC: Always Be Closing!  Great sales advice?  Well, maybe.  If by closing you mean that you are always hocking your products and services, I’d say you’re wasting your time!  Ads are great tools, but studies show that at least 96% of customers/clients WON’T buy the first time they see your ad!

Why?  Let’s face it.  Technology bombards us with information daily.  Your customers/clients can’t open their email without seeing hundreds of emails that they didn’t ask for and social media isn’t much better.

Most people are so jaded these days that they almost hide all ads without even reading them.  So how does a business reach its customers?  By giving them value!

While modern customers will ignore or hide an ad, they are actively seeking information.  Give it to them! What information do you have about your industry that they would value?  What tips could you give them that might save them time or money?

This is what I call soft sales.  It gives your customers some value that leaves them thinking of your company as the expert in the field.  It keeps them coming back to your website or blog or social media platform in search of more.  And it gives them a reason to keep your company “top of mind” when they are in the market for what you provide.

How can you give your customers value?

1.  Write articles that inform and set your company up as a thought leader in your industry.

2. Keep your blog updated on a regular basis that gives your clients a reason to come back to your site when they are seeking information in your market.

3. Create social media posts that engage, inform, uplift, inspire, motivate, and bring humor.

If you don’t have the time or you don’t know how I’d be happy to help! Just contact me!

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