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...
The Art Of Getting Personal

The Art Of Getting Personal

Why It’s Sometimes Necessary To Talk About Ourselves On Our Business Blog, And How To Do It Without Making Your Audience Want To Stab Their Eyes Out Face it. You’re boring. No one wants to listen to you drone on. The things that interest you about your business or your personal life are not going to be the same things that interest those who are forced to listen to you. Speaking of those who are forced to listen to you…Don’t confuse them with the people who read your blog, or visit your website, or view any of your marketing materials. Those are people who are there voluntarily. They can (and do) leave at any moment. Awhile back, there was a move made about a world where no one could lie. They didn’t have the capability. So people greeted each other with things like “My you look fat today,” or “Those clothes look terrible on you.” We all look at lying as a bad thing, but there are subtle occasions where maybe the person we’re talking with doesn’t need the whole truth. Talking about yourself in your marketing materials is the same way. There’s a whole lot of gray area, and you don’t want to do it to the detriment of others. So when is it ok to talk about yourself? You’d think after the argument that I just laid out, the answer would be never. But like any good grammar or communications rule, there are exceptions. A small disclaimer: Copyblogger recently ran a blog post with similar exceptions on when to talk about yourself. These points are so universal,...
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 Write For The Web

How To Write For The Web

You’ve been told you need a website. You’ve been told this blogging thing is where 21st century business is at. The question becomes, do you know how to write for the web? It’s different than all those print brochures you may be used to, because with the web, readers’ attention spans are even shorter. You have to draw people in. You need to quickly give them the information they’re looking for. You need to keep them invested through the call to action. In order to get a better idea of what happens here, think about the way you browse the web for a second. If you’re in the market for something, you may devote a few minutes to search. Then you get hundreds, sometimes thousands of results back. You look for the first one that really means something. What is it that helps you through the content? It helps when the language is conversational and inviting. That way you get an insight into what it may be like to do business with this company.  It helps when the headlines and subheads draw you in with strong promise. Content needs to be broken down more with subheads, lists and shorter paragraphs in order to more quickly convey important information. It helps to know exactly what the business wants you to do, right? Sometimes they want you to give them a call, or maybe download their eBook. Well, you need contact numbers or links in easy to find places. You need to know what they intend for you to do. It’s that simple. A lot of businesses fall into the trap...
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...