Monday, January 29, 2018

3 Powerful Ways to Make Your Marketing Content "Pop"

Many years ago, I helped the owner of a local shipping service create a print marketing onesheet to boost his business. He had a fascinating personal story and a compelling value proposition, with plenty of written detail to back them up. Even so, he was frustrated that prospective customers didn't seem to respond to his marketing message. I explained to him that I could take this body of material and employ my copywriting skills to make his marketing content "pop." The next time I saw him after submitting the draft, he smiled ear to ear and yelled across the room, "I SAW THE POP!"

Does your own marketing content fly off the page and demand the attention of your target audience? Does it pop, or does just sort of lie there silently like soda gone flat? If you're not happy with the results you get from your website or print marketing, here are three things you can do to put some extra "wow factor" into your words.

1. Ask Questions

One of the easiest yet most powerful methods for grabbing readers' attention involves asking them questions. "Are you tired of floor cleaners that don't clean?" "Are you ready for a totally new taste sensation?" "If you could have twice the Internet speeds for half the price, would you go for it?" Questions simulate a conversation by forcing the reader to concoct answers, if only in their own minds. This degree of engagement can make all the difference between keeping and losing your audience within the first few seconds.

By the way, make sure the answer to each of your questions is "Yes." Eliciting this magic word from your audience doesn't just keep the emotional tone of the conversation more positive -- it also gets them agreeing with you, which makes life a lot easier when you finally ask them if they're ready to buy.

2. Use Your Reader's Imagination

Products and services usually aren't that exciting in and of themselves; it's what they can do for people that creates excitement. If you sell personal financial solutions, you could easily bore readers to tears by focusing on stuff like interest rates, stock diversification strategies, or retirement account contribution limits. These issues may be important, but they don't captivate the imagination.

But what about the outcomes of successful personal financial strategies? That dream vacation for your family, the summer home you've always wanted but never dreamed you could afford, a stress-free early retirement -- these and other images will get your audience listening to what you have to say. Dream building is a powerful content marketing tool, and it's as simple as painting the picture your ideal customer has always wanted (but perhaps never dared) to visualize.

Your reader's imagination can conjure negative images as well as positive ones -- and this is a good thing. Make them see in their mind's eye that dreary, painful, or frustrating scenario they currently live through on a daily basis, that problem that keeps them from being happy. Make it as sharp and vivid as possible. Then dispel those clouds by offering the path to a sunnier future.

3. Keep It Simple

"The more I say, and the fancier I get with it, the more convincing I'll be." This all-too-common strategy usually backfires when you're creating marketing content. First of all, most people can't be bothered to read a solid wall of text about anything, no matter what the end reward might be. Second, you can't assume that everyone in your target audience shares the same reading level. Last but not least, short, simple words pack more punch -- and they'll give your content more pop, especially when you include plenty of empty space around them. Less is more.

Taking your audience on a journey is another important technique for keeping your message simple, straightforward, and effective. Give your pitch a shape, starting with your leading questions, pain statement, or dream building imagery and then moving on to your proposed solutions. Once you've given the reader both the problem and the answer, hand them the key to happiness by ending with a strong call to action. Tell them what they need to do right now to make the dream come true.

Don't settle for marketing content that barely fizzes. Get your marketing team or freelance copywriter to put these techniques to good use. With any luck you, too, will "see the pop!"

Monday, January 15, 2018

4 Reasons You Should Let a Pro Write Your Profile

Have you ever been stuck with the job of writing your own bio profile for a social media page, professional directory listing, or your website's About Us section? Fun, isn't it? Although entering that text can be as simple as typing into a box, you may feel utterly boxed in when it comes to making that profile leap off the page as it should. Even so, many professionals think they have to go it alone and write up their own profiles, for better or for worse. Here are four good reasons to let a professional copywriter create that content for you instead.

1. The Wrong Impression Will Be the Last Impression

For the countless people who pull up LinkedIn Facebook, or professional directory bio pages in their search for a particular kind of professional, your profile may be their first impression of you -- and possibly the last, if you blow it. Clunky language, misspellings, grammatical errors, and other wrong notes can reduce a visitor's idea of you in a hurry, despite your impressive list of skills, clients, and  achievements. Not screwing up your profile is the first hurdle toward credibility, so don't disqualify yourself right out of the gate.

2. Your Profile Counts as Marketing Content

Some professionals are perfectly willing to invest time, money and effort into several types of marketing content -- from web pages and blog articles to print marketing copy -- without recognizing profile text as another important piece in the marketing puzzle. All your marketing content should integrate seamlessly to produce a single, congruent, compelling presentation of your brand. That can't happen if you just cobble together bits and pieces of your resume and throw them up on your social media profile page or directory listing.

3. Your Uniqueness Needs to Shine

If someone is searching for the products and services you provide, they're probably looking at more profiles than just yours. If you're in a crowded market or a super-competitive industry, it's especially easy to get lost in the shuffle -- unless your profile stops viewers in their tracks. To achieve this goal, you have to state, in no uncertain terms, exactly what sets you apart from the competition. Do you have more experience? Do you bring special skills or training to the table? Are your products or services better than the other guy's? If you're having trouble isolating or expressing that unique value proposition, a professional writer can offer some helpful outside perspective as well as the necessary eloquence.

4. You've Got Better Things to Do

Even if you have the golden combination of basic writing skills, marketing expertise, and the ability to put your unique spin on your profile -- why would you spend hours laboring away at this task when  you've got business to conduct? Some of my best clients are brilliant, articulate individuals who recognize the value of handing this work over to a trusted professional while they focus on more profitable and/or enjoyable activities. Ask yourself what your time is worth -- and then contact me. I can help you put the "pro" in your profile!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Your New Marketing Year Starts Now

You know that powerful new marketing campaign you've been wanting to unveil in 2018 -- the one that will help you turn your business's fortunes around, build upon current successes, or establish you as a new player in your industry? Well, here we are in 2018, so your magnificent marketing push starts today, in a flurry of activity to rival that New Year's Eve fireworks display that blossomed so excitingly over your community last evening. 


Or maybe, just maybe, you awoke with a kind of entrepreneurial hangover, that sinking feeling of having missed the boat. Too many other tasks ate up your schedule and demanded your attention, so that fresh start you'd intended to apply your business's marketing efforts isn't quite ready to leap out of bed, get dressed, and go attack the world.

Does this mean you've already blown it for 2018? Certainly not. If your dreams ran ahead and left your execution behind as we enter a new year, all is not lost, so don't panic. You can still assemble your creative team and produce some interim or "pilot" marketing pieces to keep your brand afloat while that bigger machine powers up. Remember, a professional copywriter or graphic designer can dream up brilliant content in a fraction of the time you'd spend at the drawing board yourself. For example, you could order a bunch of timely, topical blog articles to keep your online presence active and your audience paying attention. If you have major announcements for the coming year, what better way to get the word out than through some quick, compelling social media posts? A good copywriter can also refer you to plenty of other marketing pros to help you get moving. Ask me how I know this.

While you're buying yourself some time, however, make sure you put that time to good use by completing and implementing a real long-range plan. A strong, comprehensive 12-month marketing campaign typically involves some combination of several individual elements -- copywriting, graphic design, web development, social media, video, et cetera. Your marketing coordinator (or you, if you're in the hot seat) coordinates all of these tools to create a coherent, cohesive statement about who you are and what you do. As you're now all too aware, this stuff doesn't fall together overnight. You have research to do, strategies to implement, and several skilled professionals to corral. You can still make your marketing dreams for 2018 come true, but you'd better start right now, before January turns into February, and then March, and then April....

A new year should mean new opportunities, new dedication, and new growth for your business. Don't let this exciting moment go as flat on you as yesterday's half-consumed glass of champagne. Even if you didn't get your full-scale marketing blitz going by January 1st, you can still do something. So -- do something!