Tell Awesome Stories

Matthew Brennan Marketing Writer Blog

How to Be Your Own Marketing Copywriter

A marketing copywriter can be hugely important for the success of your online content. Design helps dictate the customer experience when it comes to your website and marketing. However, it’s the content that determines whether your reader is actually going to buy. Your content plays a heavy load. Hiring a marketing copywriter can help. When that’s not an option, many small businesses make the determination to keep the content in-house. The good news is you don’t have to be an extremely prolific writer to sell a lot of copy. With a little bit of effort, you can act as your own marketing copywriter. It’s not overly complicated, but it will take some discipline and effort. There are times when businesses need to DIY, and reduce the number of vendors and tasks they are hiring out. Here’s how to make sure that decision isn’t going to cost you down the road… 9 Steps to Becoming Your Own Marketing Copywriter Study the Competition – The best way to develop inspiration for what you are writing is to understand what your competition is doing. Look for the ways that they are handling product, services and about pages. Determine what you like from the examples you’ve seen, and determine what could be done differently, or better. Plan your content, and make adjustments accordingly.  Differentiate your Business – As you study the competition and prepare to write your own marketing content, make sure that you do what you can to differentiate your business from the competition. There’s no point in clustering yourself in with businesses and people committed to doing things the same way...

The Importance of Testimonials

As a business owner you can do everything else right, but if you don’t have some form of third party social proof, it might just cost you the sale – that is the importance of testimonials. Testimonials are significant. They shouldn’t be underestimated as you construct the content and layout of your business website or brochure. They are a powerful marketing influence that can draw people in, and cause them to convert. Think about it this way. You can talk until you are blue in the face about how great your company and your product or service is. You can write at length about how you solve a business’s problems. It will never have the same level of influence as a previous customer or client saying it. The Power of Social Proof Your customers want to know, like and trust you. They may like your message, but want to know that you’ve helped people in a similar situation before. A testimonial can help put them at ease. You can handle testimonials on your website in one of two ways. You can either create a testimonial page within your website, and load that up with your best and most current testimonials, or you can sprinkle them across the bottom of each page. Both ways allow potential customers to see who you have already helped. Who Can Write a Testimonial For You?  Any satisfied customer or client. Anyone who has heard you speak about your industry. Anyone with a positive story about interacting with you and your business. These are all potential sources for testimonials. After you wrap up a project,...

5 Blogging Mistakes That Can Cost You business

Are these blogging mistakes dooming your efforts from the start? Most businesses have heard the buzz generated about the benefits of blogging. While blogging can be an immense help to finding new customers and generating new business, there needs to be a strategy in place. It’s imperative to understand what success looks like. This may seem funny, but there are a lot of gray areas. For instance, how quickly are you expecting to see a traffic bump? With blogging, it can take awhile to grow a steady stream of traffic to your website. Avoiding these blogging mistakes can help you maximize your writing efforts, and connect with your audience. No one wants to be leaving money on the table. 5 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid: Your writing is too stiff – The purpose of your blog is to inform and to entertain. You want your reader to find value and take action. You want your reader to like you and trust you. Stale writing void of any personality will fall short of that goal. It won’t do much to set you apart from the competition online, and it’ll be tougher to build your community that way. The alternative is to liven it up. Throw some personal detail in every once in awhile. This will serve as an icebreaker with new clients and customers down the road. Write how you talk. Your writing can be informal and conversational, while still being professional. Picture yourself at coffee with your ideal customer, and write how you’d talk to him. There’s not enough value – Businesses still err on the side of not...

11 Steps for Writing Copy That Sells

Writing copy is an investment in time. But when you learn how to produce the type of content that sells, you can truly improve your business. You have to learn how to value your content, and understand its significance when it comes to engaging your readers, and creating new business. This is What Writing Copy That Sells Looks Like… Know Your Benefits – Writing copy that sells means understanding its value. What are the ways you are making your customers’ lives better? What does your product or service do that your competition does not? Your website copy is kind of like those persuasive essays you used to have to write in school. You’re convincing someone that they need to take action. The best way to do that is hit them with the strongest benefit (also your strongest argument) right away. Understanding the difference between features and benefits is crucial. Listing features is what you do when you talk shop with other industry geeks. It’s the computer processor components, or the makings of a car engine. You want to focus your energy not on the V8 engine, but instead on how your buyer will feel cruising down the highway at 70 miles per hour with the top down. Write Conversationally – Your reader has options. Your content is not the only thing that popped up in the search results. In order to convince them to pull the trigger, they have to like you. It always helps to make them feel like they are doing business with a friend. How do you accomplish this? Write how you talk. Picture your customer...

46 Tips to Create Killer Web Content

Killer web content involves considering your customers’ experience at every turn. After all, your readers sought you out, and not the other way around. They found you in an attempt to have key questions answered. They found you in an attempt to alleviate their pain point. Their questions and concerns should be addressed high within your copy. Your website is not the place to sound like a used car salesman. It’s not the place for unprofessional and half-baked content. It’s not the place to make your customers fill out expansive questionnaires, or follow a convoluted trail of clicks to simply do business with you. It’s the place to distinguish yourself from the competition and develop your business’s voice. It’s the place to establish trust with your customers and build relationships. Creating killer web content is a big part of making your web presence a success. Here’s How to Create Killer Web Content Every Time STRATEGY  Understand Your Audience – The people who land on your website are going to have specific characteristics. The more you know about the people shopping for your products and services, the easier it is to market to them.  Make a Promise – What will people get from reading your page? What will they get from your product or service? Make a promise in your headline and lead sentence, and then deliver in the body copy. This concept is key to creating killer web content.  Put Benefits on Display – Make sure you understand the difference between features and benefits. Features are product specifications. Benefits outline just what somebody is going to get from using...

How to Write a Blog Post that Engages Your Audience

How to write a blog post may not be immediately obvious, especially if you are fairly new at it. If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you’ve probably been told that you need to blog. It seems like a significant added task, and how do you know that you’re doing what you need to be doing? When it comes to how to write a blog post, there are a few strategies to keep in mind for continued success. It’s not like any other form of marketing or sales. The goal is to push value and create something your audience will want to read, since they are arriving voluntarily at your station on the Internet. How to Write a Blog Post: 5 Tips for Creating Content Your Audience Will Want to Read  Come at it from their perspective – Writing a good blog post isn’t about you. It isn’t about what you want them to know. It’s about your audience, and their pain point. What do they want to know when they are conducting research within your field? If you can answer their common questions, you’ll have a much better chance at gaining traction. There are some steps you can take to make sure your blog will serve your audience in the best possible manner. Consider the questions your customers frequently ask in person. People online are probably going to have some of the same questions, giving you a built in audience. You can also ask your readers or customers directly what they want to know. You can use Google Keyword Planner to conduct some basic level...

5 Writing Mistakes for Business Owners to Avoid

Don’t let writing mistakes drag down your business’s marketing efforts. Many small business owners are being thrust into a new role, writing content for their business’s marketing campaign. This is inherently a good thing, setting your business apart from the competition. However, if you are new to writing, there are some fairly common writing mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Don’t Commit These Writing Mistakes The Temptation to Simply Sell – People don’t sit down at their computer to consume hours of commercial content every day. They have questions. They want answers. They are curious about your industry, and are possibly doing some research before they buy. Forge that connection. Be helpful. The rest will come. Wanting to Sound Smart – Your business or industry may be somewhat complicated. Maybe you went to school or underwent some sort of professional training to get where you’re at. When it comes to your marketing, none of that matters. If you can’t explain your point in a way that your customers understand, they will search for the answers to their questions elsewhere. Avoid advanced industry terms if you can. Spell out acronyms. Explain things in a way your readers will understand. Not Connecting With Your Audience – Your audience came to your blog for a reason. They picked up your marketing materials for a reason. They have a question. They have a pain point. Do you know what that is? Are you creating the right kind of content to meet your readers where they are at? It’s important that you are creating the type of content that will get read. An Unwillingness to...

How to Make Blogging Easier

Let’s face it. You probably have other things on your mind. Maybe you have a big client project in the works, or some bookkeeping that needs to be finished. There may be a crisis or emergency that needs to be addressed first thing. Whatever the case may be it is totally conceivable that your blog may not be your top priority for the morning. That’s understandable. So how do you make blogging easier? Schedule it in – If blogging is not scheduled into your day, it is easy to overlook. It’s like that networking group you’ve always wanted to attend, or working out in the mornings. You know you need to do it, because you know you’ll see the benefits. But it requires digging deep for the extra push to actually do it. Wake up earlier if needed. Push off checking your emails. Delegate. But by all means, find a way to produce a little extra content. If you want your online marketing to succeed, the reality is that blogging needs to be a priority. Simply understanding where writing fits into your schedule can make blogging easier. Creating an editorial calendar can keep you organized and give you the extra push. Generate ideas ahead of time – We all know the feeling. We sit down and start up the computer. A blank screen appears in front of you and you have no idea what to write about. It can be a real buzz kill. You’re not alone. The way around this is to create a running list of blog ideas. Think about all those questions your customers routinely ask....

Imagination and Focus

(Note: This is the second chapter of my book Write Right-Sell Now, available on Amazon.) Bring a Little Imagination to What You Do There are probably many people out there who do what you do, no matter what industry you are in. With digital marketing, they are communicating their message to new audiences in similar ways. When the crowd veers right at the fork in the road, it may be time for you to hang a left. It’s more important now than ever to remember that there are multiple ways of doing things, and you don’t have to stay stuck in the patterns you witness other places. It’s time to use some imagination. I am always looking for outside inspiration. Luckily, I rarely have to look further than my everyday life. I spend the majority of my days surrounded by three-year-olds. My son and my dog are within a month of age, and both teach compelling lessons when it comes to life and business. Watching the imagination of a toddler at work can be a great reminder on the importance of creativity. I try to spend my evenings playing with my son. He recently invited me to sail out with him on his pirate ship, which coincidentally doubles as a fantastic cedar chest. For a moment we were father-and-son pirates, sailing the open sea without leaving the living room. We sang that old pirate favorite, “Jingle Bells,” at my son’s persistent request. No matter how ingrained you are in your industry, you can be the fresh set of eyes willing to do things a little differently. Sure, I can...

Why Blogging and Content Creation are a Must

(Note: This post is the first chapter of my upcoming book Write Right-Sell Now, which is available for purchase on Amazon and local bookstores tomorrow, Oct. 4.)   Why Blogging and Content Creation Are a Must Take a moment to think about your home. Close your eyes and get a good mental picture. Got it? I’m guessing you don’t live in a bunker. There are doors and windows that serve as portals to the outside world. Now, think of your website in the same context. The more portals you have to the outside world, the better. These are what keep us from feeling isolated. Think about how drab life would be without contact beyond our four walls. With your website, the more portals to the outside world you have, the easier it is for your customers to find you. Each separate page or blog serves as an access point to your website. Your home page is like the front door, to continue the metaphor. It’s important to dress up that front door and make it look as appealing as possible. Functional design and strong marketing in that location are crucial. But why limit people to one entry point for your website, when they can come in from anywhere? A blog offers you the chance to expand your audience by giving people multiple entry points into your house. Each post serves as a window into your website and your business. Anything you write about on the web has the potential to become the first impression a new customer has of you and your company. That makes maintaining a professional appearance...

5 Tips for Better Business Writing

  Your business writing skills will help determine whether your audience sticks with you or not. Are people finding your content? Are people reading and buying? The quality of your content plays a big part in the success of your online marketing efforts. 5 Business Writing Tips That Will Improve Your Bottom Line Understand Your Audience – Are you aiming your blogs and content at your customer base, or professional colleagues? Or is it another audience? In most industries there is a knowledge gap between businesses and their customer base. If you are not writing at your customers’ level, you are likely losing readers (and dollars) in the process. What does this mean? Watch your $10 words. If your industry geek speak does not need to be used, don’t use it. If it needs to be used, define it. Your business writing is not the place to prove how smart you are. If readers don’t know what you’re talking about they will likely move on to the next search result. Solve Customer Problems – Your reader found you while searching for the solution to a problem. They see you as a potential solution, and it is up to you to live up to that. Show how your product or service benefits them. Show that you can reliably answer their questions, and are worthy of their trust. Are there frequent questions you receive in person? You can blog about those, and provide answers. Err on the side of giving information away. Your readers and customers will reward you for it. Be Kind to Your Readers – You’ll want to understand...

7 Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Your readers have questions about your industry – and learning how to avoid key content marketing mistakes can help you engage them. Your readers may be in various stages of the buying cycle, but they have one thing in common. They are looking for a trusted resource that can provide answers to their questions. That is where content marketing comes into play. It allows you to differentiate yourself from the pack, and compete with some businesses that have traditionally had a larger budget for customer acquisition. As you compete for eyeballs and attention online, you have to make sure you are doing everything within your power to appeal to your audience. Here are a few content marketing mistakes, and some actionable advice for how to avoid them. 7 Content Marketing Mistakes You failed to connect with your readers – Chances are your reader doesn’t know as much as you about your industry. It’s easy to start throwing around fancy acronyms and $10 words that may just pass right over their heads. In a best-case scenario they leave to look up the industry lingo that you’re failing to define. In a worse case scenario, they are on to the next search result. Either way, there’s a better than average chance they aren’t coming back. Here’s what you can do: If you don’t absolutely have to use the industry term, don’t. If you do need to use it for context, then define it. If it’s an acronym, spell the whole thing out the first time. Make sure that your readers know what you’re talking about. Don’t talk down to them, but...

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

The answer to the question “How long should a blog post be?” can vary depending on your business, and the topics that you choose to write about. A lot can depend on individual styles from author to author, or business to business. Generally speaking, a blog post should be something that a reader can manage within one sitting. I’ve seen excellent blog posts come in anywhere between 100 words and 2,500 words. That is quite a range, so let’s unpack what each might look like. A short post (100 – 300 words) A quality post in this range is generally trying to get an idea out. It is concise, and recapping something of value for the audience. This can be extremely effective if the thought or idea conveyed within the post is of high value. One word of caution on writing a post of this length is to not leave out any needed context. If the reader gets through a post this length, and has more questions about your topic than answers, your post is probably too short. When I worked in the journalism industry, I had an editor who used to love to tell reporters to let the story dictate the length. That’s good advice for a blog post, too. Make sure you’re including everything. Medium length (300 – 600 words)  This is probably the most common length for a blog post. One advantage to a post this length, is that it is the minimum length requirement for Google to index the content. Google typically doesn’t index content shorter than 300 words for its search engine rankings. So...

A Few Questions to Improve Your Blog

You have to be in the right mindset to improve your blog. Real improvement requires looking at the big picture goals of your business and your blog, as well as zooming in on the detail work to be able to meet your goals. These questions can help you zero in on your blogging and content marketing strategy, and integrate your blog into your larger business goals. Answer These Questions to Improve Your Blog Can you identify your target audience? Who are your ideal readers and/or customers? What kind of topics are they going to be interested in? What type of posts are you going to write? Examples: Industry news, interviews, case studies, how-to’s, etc. (There should be a variety.) How many posts per week/month can you commit to writing? Can you come up with between 5-10 blog post ideas off the top of your head? Do you have a set writing time? Are you doing what you can to write to your audience’s needs and not your own? (Make sure your posts are providing value, and not self promotional!) Are you doing everything you can to promote your post? (Sharing on all social media channels, republishing on LinkedIn, Medium, promoting it in applicable groups, republishing your posts on appropriate sites?) Is your blog serving your larger marketing and business goals? Your blog is an important part of reaching a new audience online. It’s crucial for building your platform and engaging your readers in a meaningful way. Make sure that you are doing everything you can to provide value to readers, and make it easy on them to take action. Simply knowing the answers...

Why Writing a Blog Will Help You Sell More

The way your customers seek out information is changing, and writing a blog can help keep you on their radar. It’s natural for a business to want to sell more, and it’s a natural reaction to want to get your product in front of people in the process. This entire process now needs to be done with your customers’ perspective in mind. They have choices and options, and they are not held captive by your marketing – so it needs to be enticing. No More Blogging Excuses  You’re busy, and running your business is time consuming. I get it, and you are not alone. You don’t need to be running around chasing marketing fads. Here’s the thing – this one is here to stay. People have access to more information than ever before. They want answers before committing to a purchase. A blog can help answer those questions. It establishes trust. It conveys you as a leading expert in your industry. When your potential customers have options, these factors put them at ease. They make readers feel comfortable, a necessary step before they’ll be convinced to buy from you. I won’t lie, writing a blog can be time consuming. It might require carving time out of your busy schedule, or starting an hour earlier, here and there. But similar to exercise, you’ll notice significant results over time, and discover new business where none previously existed. The Real Reason for Writing a Blog Yes, you become that trusted industry resource by blogging. That’s a significant benefit to your customers. But there’s real benefits to you, too. B2b marketers who blog...

How an Editorial Calendar Can Grow Your Blog and Your Business

An editorial calendar is a tool borrowed from the journalism world, to organize content published on a given day. As a business blogger, you need to routinely be generating ideas that will resonate with your audience. An editorial calendar will help keep those ideas straight, and keep them matched with the day they need to run. Maybe you are trying some guest blogging for other sites in addition to your own site. Or, maybe you are accepting guest posts on your own. An editorial calendar can help you keep that straight as well. A quick piece of advice… Consider the Time Element Think about the seasonality of your business. Do your sales go up and down by what month it is? For instance, a gym membership in January, or an electronics product around Christmas would both be hot commodities, with large, receptive audiences. Maybe your efforts are better laid out by what day of the week it is. A regular feature appearing on a certain day of the week can give your blog consistency. Each business is unique, but if there is a time element, you’ll want to take advantage. An editorial calendar can help you accomplish this, and gives you a visual idea on the type of blog posts you should be writing depending on the season, or day of the week. Even if there is little time element to your business, an editorial calendar can help you keep a wide array of ideas organized. Talk to Different Segments of Your Audience Do you have various segments of your audience that you wish to talk with? Maybe some of your...

The Importance of Benefits

“This is fun!!!” my 3-year-old, Jamie shouted, as he looked at me from the passenger seat of a go kart. I couldn’t have agreed with him more, as we swerved and sped our way around a tight track, with the wind blowing through our hair on a late summer weekend morning. Of course, the part of the story that I’m not leading with is how much trouble it was getting Jamie to leave the house. As any parent of a toddler knows, if you want to leave, they want to stay. If you want to stay, they want to leave. You’re also not dealing with someone who’s totally stable. Their behavior is capable of turning on a dime. How do you navigate these troublesome times? Some call it bribery. Some call it leading with the benefits. Maybe it’s a combination of both. “If you’re good, we can do the go karts,” I told him in the moments preceding our trip to the park. “We can go really fast and feel the wind blowing through our hair.” Eventually, he reluctantly agrees to leave the house. He looks at me, unsure he can trust the person who made him finish his green beans the night before. Then he climbs in his car seat, ready to go. That first sentence…”If you’re good…” There’s a note of bribery in there. That’s not the important part for marketers. The second sentence is all about stressing the benefits of the trip. Whether you are a parent or a marketer or both, the importance of benefits is that they sway the argument in your direction. The Importance...

10 Tips for Writing Blog Content Even When You Don’t Want To

Let’s face it, blogging and content marketing are not a fast track to getting rich – and consistently writing blog content can be a struggle. Blogging and content marketing require putting in vast amounts of work, and writing when you may not want to. It’s tough to stay inspired when you feel bored or in a rut. It’s tough to make others interested in your business when you’re not finding the subject matter interesting yourself. You’re not alone. Blogging on a regular basis can require a heavy attention to detail that can be tough to muster. Writing Blog Content When You Don’t Want To Consume Anything. Consume Everything – I’m the type of person who reads the back of the cereal box while eating breakfast if there’s nothing else around. It’s important to stay interested in the surrounding world. Keep your head in a book. It can be industry related, or not. If reading isn’t really your thing, try listening to some podcasts or audio books. Find ways to explore new ideas. Challenge yourself and find new ideas. Apply them to your business. Listen to Music – I am extremely easily distracted by my surroundings. This can be anything from the stuff that needs to be done around the house while I’m working from home, to the footsteps over my office. Music helps me focus on what’s directly in front of me. But writing time is not a good time to go exploring new music. Keep to something familiar, and it can help tune you into the work at hand. Everything from Dave Brubeck to the Thievery Corporation has...

Email Me

2 + 5 =

Would you like a 5-Day Crash Course on Blogging?

Your blog is one of the best online tools for reader engagement. Get some actionable takeaways delivered to your inbox on how to sell more with your writing. 



Available on Amazon!

Published on: