Focusing on Your Reader

Focusing on Your Reader

(Note: This is a sample chapter from my recent book, Write Right-Sell Now. The Kindle version is now available! To celebrate, for a short time, the book is available for .99 cents.) As a business owner and an industry expert, you have a great amount of knowledge, which becomes a key asset as you focus on becoming a resource for your customers and clients. How you go about communicating your expertise will go a long way in determining your success. It’s easy to forget that your customers may not have the extensive background in your field that you do. It’s also easy to assume your readers know more than they do, which can lead to a knowledge gap. What does this look like as it’s practiced? Maybe you throw in phrases your reader won’t understand. You may communicate ideas that make more sense in an industry journal than a communication to your customers. All of this can lead to a disengaged reader. Keeping your readers’ engaged requires a simple adjustment to your mindset as you establish your marketing materials. Who are you trying to sell to? I know it’s tempting to answer, “Anyone who will buy.” But a general answer like that doesn’t help you in your endeavors. When you understand that you are trying to reach career-minded, college-graduate men between the ages of 30 and 45 with an average income of six figures, you can target your messages to the social media platforms the people in this demographic are most likely to use, the blogs they are likely to read, and the consumer goods they are most likely to...
28 Rules for Writing Copy for Websites

28 Rules for Writing Copy for Websites

Writing copy for websites requires establishing a bond with your reader. It requires connecting on a deep, emotional level that leaves the reader enthusiastic to take action. There is an art form and psychology to doing this successfully. You have to be able step out of your shoes and consider your audience. Below are some methods for making the necessary connection for a successful website. The Rules for Writing Copy for Websites Write a stellar headline – When your page comes up in a search result or on social media, your potential customer will spend fractions of a second determining whether they want to continue. The Internet is a crowded place. You have to make people curious, or let them in a benefit. Make them want to read on. Your headline is the first thing they see. Be a problem solver – When someone clicks on your page, it’s because they think you’re the solution to what’s been bugging them. Make sure you understand your customers’ pain point, and how you can present yourself as the solution. Keep it punchy – It’s pretty hard to bore people into becoming a customer. Keep your sentences punchy. Use short sentences and active verbs to enhance the quality of your marketing message. Keep it conversational – The days of being able to clobber a reader with your advertising message are over. Your reader can respond by closing the browser window or moving on to a competitive page. Instead of aggressive and spammy, go for conversational. Picture yourself out for coffee with your prospect. Write like you’re talking to them. Be Yourself – While...
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...
What I’ve Learned About Business In Six Months Of Being A Dad

What I’ve Learned About Business In Six Months Of Being A Dad

For the last six months, there’s been an all consuming force in my life. When I’m not working on client content, chances are I’ve been changing poopy diapers, wiping up spit up, or trying to exchange some of the most pure smiles I’ve ever seen. It’s an interesting ride. When you look hard enough, there’s a lesson just about every direction you turn. Here are three quick ones that relate back to my business. Smile bigger, and smile more – Some situations, projects, and even clients are less than ideal. Given the choice you’d rather be taking out the garbage, undergoing a root canal, or changing a poopy diaper than doing what you’re doing. I’ve never considered myself a photogenic person. There’ s probably not that many pictures of me out there where I’m showing my teeth in my smile – until Jamie was born. I’ve expended a lot of energy trying to return his wide smiles in full, and it’s been a lot of fun. You know what? I smile more even when he’s not around. I find satisfaction in aspects of my work day where there previously was none, which can really make things worth it. Keep a beginner’s mind – You’re the expert in your industry. You love what you do, and you’ve read volumes on it. You may even have advanced degrees on the wall that prove to your customers and clients just how much you know, and that they’re getting their money’s worth. You know what though? You don’t know everything. There are new ideas and advancements in your industry that are happening all the time....
16 Content Marketing Improvements We Can Learn From Journalists

16 Content Marketing Improvements We Can Learn From Journalists

Want people to read your post? Write a better headline. To become a better writer, you have to read what you hope to emulate. You need to give readers a reason to care if you want them to act. That means telling them better stories, and giving them more valuable information. Spelling and grammar count. Mistake-riddled posts erode trust. Always be on the lookout for what will make a great post. Ideas strike where you least expect. Want more sales? Write engaging content that your audience is looking for. If you don’t know what they’re looking for, ask them. You can also dig through your analytics and use the Google keyword tool to see what works. Your readers will give you 2-3 seconds at most, to see if you meet their needs. Include more detail. People want to feel part of the scene you’re setting. People can find industry news anywhere. Understand what makes your blog different. Want people to comment, share, or buy? Give them the necessary info, and ask. Your readers have a problem. You hold the solution. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. It’s how you find a better way. Don’t just spin numbers and tell half truths. Accuracy and honesty are the foundations of trust. Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy...
Nine Signs Your Content Marketing Could Be Boring

Nine Signs Your Content Marketing Could Be Boring

It’s no secret. Consumers are clamoring for content. But not just any content will do. It does need to be well thought out. The quality of the content has a lot to do with impact. Readers will base their decision to keep reading on their initial impression after about five seconds on your site. Once they’ve committed, there are several stopping points that could pose problems. Here are nine signs you may be unknowingly be boring your readers into leaving: You’ve failed to consider your audience. You may know a lot about your industry. If you’re not relaying that information in a way that your audience can use, it’s crickets for you. Before you publish ask yourself this: Will they find it valuable?  You’re not using visual elements. Every blog post should have a picture. People engage more, when there’s some type of visual element to your message. Think about all those infographics that are wildly popular on Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest. You’re not entertaining. You can be a walking encyclopedia when it comes to industry knowledge, but if you write like one, don’t expect your audience to respond. You’re not sharing worthwhile content. You have to curate in order to succeed in a content marketing world. That means sharing the content that matters to you. Dig deep, find something fresh that your audience may otherwise not have found. You’re living in the echo chamber. So you’ve read the industry heavyweight blogs. There’s no reward out there for what you should be doing. Don’t just rewrite some garbled version of what they’ve put into the conversation. Put your stamp on it. Make...