If You Want Your Readers To Respond, Just Be You

If You Want Your Readers To Respond, Just Be You

The Internet’s a crowded place. There’s no shortage of tips, tricks, how-to’s, and lists. That’s not to say you need to avoid these types of posts. To the contrary. What you need to do however, is play to what the Internet is short on: you. Don’t simply regurgitate what’s already out there, and expect people to gravitate toward your blog instead of everybody else’s. Instead, it’s important to understand that your readers are looking for a way to connect. It’s important to tell stories, write conversationally, and in your own voice. Telling Stories That Connect You To Your Reader I took part in a Twitter chat recently that revolved around using your blog to tell stories. The conversation was on #blogchat, which takes place at 8 p.m. central. (To participate you simply search for the tweets using that hashtag, and chime in to the conversation when inspiration strikes.) There were a lot of great ideas shared. For instance, in a crowded, competitive marketplace, product differentiation is crucial. Stories help your business stick out. Stories help us identify with the human experience. They make us happy. They make us sad. They make us feel a whole range of emotion. So tell people the story of how you got in business. Tell people your customers’ story on how they solved their problem using your product (but make them the hero). Just make sure that you’re always telling stories. Don’t stop there. Write Conversationally  Picture yourself face-to-face with a customer or client who has some questions about your industry. What kind of language would you use as you answer their questions, and...
Drop What You’re Doing And Follow These Influencers — NOW!

Drop What You’re Doing And Follow These Influencers — NOW!

Whether you’re brand new to marketing your business, or you’ve been at it for awhile, it’s important to stay current on the industry. It’s an industry constantly in flux. There are new faces out there every day, and you should be doing what you can to stay on top of the mix in order to better get the word out about your business. First off, you should be constantly striving to put your own spin on things. Make sure you bring your own ideas to the table. That means incorporating your outside interests into your work. For instance, two of my statistically higher-trafficked blogs had to do with what one of my favorite sports teams and favorite television shows could teach you about marketing. I think they did well because they’re subjects that interested me, that my competitors were not likely writing about. So what do you add to the mix? What non business related books can be brought back to business? Keep the ideas fresh. It’s also important to keep up with the ideas involved in growing your business. That means content marketing and blogging. These are the ways to grow your audience online and develop influence. With that in mind, here are five marketing influencers that you need to be following right now: If you’ve studied online marketing in any way over the last few years you may have heard of some of these people. This list is in now way meant to be all inclusive. They’re just five industry leaders I follow rather closely. If you’re not following what they’re doing, you should be.   Chris Brogan — Chris’s company...
Using Your Blog To Provide Value

Using Your Blog To Provide Value

Face it. Pretty much whatever your industry, the competition is probably stiff. It’s especially true online. Every time someone searches in your industry, thousands of search results pop up. Even if you’re on page one of Google, there’s still other choices. The phenomenon compounds on social networks. Your Facebook friends and Twitter followers probably know more people than just you in your industry. You need front of mind recognition. You need to work to stand out. Online success is about establishing relationships, providing value, and differentiating your business from the competition. With a blog, you’re constantly creating new content. So what better way to set the stage for your online presence? You should be using your blog to provide value. Five Ways To Use Your Blog To Create Value And Differentiate Your Business Show Them How – If you provide a service, don’t hold anything back. Show your customers how to do what you do. A lot of people think they’re DIYers, then find out they’re wrong. If it’s your content they’re utilizing, then chances are you’ll be the one they call to finish the job. It can also pay to show customers how to use your product. When they begin doing whatever you’re showing them how to do, it’s a pretty safe bet who they’ll buy from. Either way, you’ve become a resource for your audience, which is never a bad thing. Answer Customer Questions – Chances are you’ve been asked every question under the sun by perspective customers. Some questions you’ve probably had to answer several times. Why not create one extensive resource? As people continue to inquire about your...
How To Connect With Your Readers

How To Connect With Your Readers

No one likes a smarty pants. No one likes the guy who knows he has all the answers.  The paradox is that your readers want knowledge. They want to know about your industry. They just don’t want to hear it from the guy who’s writing from high up on his perch. So what does this mean for you? First, you need to stay up on your industry knowledge. There’s no sin in being smart. You need to keep reading all those magazine articles, books and blogs that give you the knowledge you need to stay ahead. You need to keep talking shop with others in your industry. These are your sources to learn. Next, put your stamp on it. Go ahead and give readers the information they need to know, but do it with a little spunk and personality. I see a lot of aspiring bloggers giving the same tips and tricks as everybody else in the industry. The fact they’ve done their research is evident. However, there’s nothing there that is definitively them.  You can easily get around this by offering your opinion. Or connecting two ideas or subjects that aren’t obviously similar on the surface. Or working a little harder to find resourceful blog ideas that go into a bit of depth and explanation. Whatever you do, before you hit publish, think for a couple minutes about who you are talking to. You have to know your audience to understand how to relate.  If you fail at this one simple step, it looks bad. Check that. It can cause your message to tank. It can make you look like...
Don’t Let Sloppy Writing Cost You Business

Don’t Let Sloppy Writing Cost You Business

As content marketing continues to increase in importance for businesses, writing becomes just another skill set that’s absolutely necessary to do business. You need to publish content that’s awesome. It needs to provide value and distinguish you from the others in the search results, news feeds and Twitter streams of your readers. Part of this is knowing how to write well, and that means grammar and spelling. Are you wishing for a blog with more comments? Misspell something. Readers will notice you, and not in a good way. At best, these kinds of errors distract from your message. They also erode trust with your readership. Your audience may begin to wonder what you really know about your subject matter. Lots of businesses hire an accountant to keep their books. They may want to hire a marketing writer or content editor to help distinguish them from the competition. For the DIY business owners out there, you have a few options. Read before you publish. Do a quick cursory read in your head to ensure things make sense. Make sure all of your its, theirs, ours and yours are in the correct form. If you don’t know, that means learning the difference. Read your work out loud. You’d be surprised what your eyes miss and your ears catch. This is a great way to do a final copy edit for web content or blog posts. It can also help you set the tempo of your writing. Show your writing to someone else. The more you edit your own piece the more familiar you are with it. Someone else may immediately see the error that you’ve...
Guest Blogging To Build Your Platform

Guest Blogging To Build Your Platform

Ray Kinsella was nuts. OK, so he was also fictional, but my larger point remains. Kinsella was the Iowa farmer in Field of Dreams who heard voices. Anybody telling you “If you build it, they will come,” isn’t telling you the full story. If you build it you’re going to have to work your A#$ off to promote it. Then, with a little luck, they might come. Forget buying links. Forget spamming your way to the top. Google’s on to all that. Google wants what your audience wants, and that’s information. It may take awhile to get there. One thing you can do to build your audience is play in a few other sandboxes. Why Guest Blogging Is A Good Idea When all you do is write and publish, you’re only addressing half the problem. Your content can be pure awesomeness, but if you’re not working to expand your audience, you’ll stall. Guest posting allows you to show other audiences just how smart you are. It allows you to put some of your best information out there, and spark conversation where an audience already exists. It can lead to new business, increased traffic and the expansion of your platform. Since the new year I’ve been guest posting on a variety of blogs, and it’s landed me new business, allowed me to make more connections, and improved my SEO. If you’re looking to begin a guest posting campaign, I’d suggest taking a few easy steps: Search Google for your industry blogs and websites.  Use Alexa to determine the best performing sites (You’re looking for lowest possible number). Take a cursory...