Monday, September 28, 2020

You, Only Better: Capturing the Right Voice in Your Written Marketing Content

"I want this marketing content to really communicate who I am and how I feel -- only in better words."

I get that all the time, and it's a very smart request. Many a crestfallen business owner has to come to grief trying to reconcile colloquial-sounding speech with written text. That's because written English simply doesn't work the same way spoken English does, which is also why some of the wittiest, most entertaining speakers I know couldn't write their way out the proverbial paper bag. Me, I'm the opposite. I'd much rather write than talk. I'm not the worst speaker in the world, but every time I stand in front of an audience and give a presentation I keep wishing I could just email it in. Writing is my comfort zone. I'm weird that way. Fortunately for my career as a copywriter, I'm not in the majority.

If we were to write the way we express ourselves in everyday speech, the resulting content would stink up the joint. Go ahead, give it a try and see what happens. Expect uncoordinated, stream-of-consciousness banter peppered with pauses, unfinished sentences, "Ums," "Uhs," and other literary gems. Trust me, you probably don't really want to sound like yourself in your writing. You just want to read like yourself.

What does that mean? It means that you have to use words and phrases that read as if you were speaking to us, when in fact the text is much more tightly organized, effectively worded, and compellingly presented than something that just flew out of your mouth on the spur of the moment. You have to conjure the illusion of your voice without actually replicating it. The result? The voice that resounds through the page or monitor evokes your personality, humor, concern, humanity et cetera, but through language that works on the page instead of the stage.

Consider, too, that your brand may have a distinct voice of its own, one that may or may not sound much like yours. Even if your own values, vision, and personality make up a large part of your branding, the brand itself may need to project a somewhat different image than the one you might present when speaking to an in-person audience. You may need to pull off a bit of a ventriloquist act by couching your message in the words and tone of that "character."

Not sure what form this aural illusion would take? Try reverse-engineering it by putting yourself in the place of your ideal buyer. Now picture that finished web page, article, sales letter, or brochure in your mind as clearly as you can. Imagine how you would like your words to read. Is the tone professional or homespun? Is the message concise? Does every word contribute to the cumulative impact of the whole? Ask yourself, "How would I say this if I were the world's greatest marketing writer?" That's you -- only better.

Of course, it's equally possible to err in the other direction. Many business owners focus on making their marketing content sound as slick, sophisticated, or technically savvy as possible because they think their audience expects it. Unfortunately, the final result may convey a great deal of information at the cost of a naturally persuasive tone. You have marketing content that's all content and no marketing.

What's the easiest way to manage this delicate tonal balancing act? Engage a professional marketing content writer who can understand both what you want to say and what your audience wants to hear. Then let that professional bridge the gap with writing that really gets your message across!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Running Low on Blogging Ideas? Turn to These 3 Tried-and-True Categories

It happens to every marketer sooner or later. You sit down to create your latest piece of social media content, only to realize that the well has run completely dry. One of the (many) issues that make small business owners dread blogging is the need to continuously feed the bottomless pit known as the Internet. Better not to start something you can't maintain, right? The thing is, you have to maintain that ongoing marketing push if you want your target audience (and Google) to notice you instead of your competitors.

Fortunately, ideas aren't as hard to find as you might think once you know where to look for them. Sometimes it's just a matter of focusing on a particular type of article. Working within the constraints of a particular form or category can focus your thoughts and allow relevant, compelling topics to jump out at you. Let's look at three examples.

1. Evergreen Anchor Posts

Anchor posts, also known as pillar posts, cover those critical major topics that your target audience is always looking for. These pieces feature overviews of, or introductions to, essential basic areas of what you do and how it relates to what your readers are searching for online. If you repair cars, for instance, you'll want to write several anchor posts about specific automotive components and symptoms, from troubleshooting danger signs to preventative maintenance tips. 

These articles are evergreen, meaning that they'll never lose their relevance to your audience. (You can always update certain details as needed in the future.) Pay attention to the hottest search queries related to your industry or profession, and write anchor posts that seem to answer those pressing questions and concerns.

2. New Developments

The one constant in life -- and in the business world -- is change. Your target market, brand image, products, services, or economic environment may all shift beneath your feet due to all kinds of circumstances. Some of these surprises may prove cause for celebration, while others may require reassurances and explanations. Either way, you can turn that breaking news into relevant blog content.

Has some headline news made an enormous impact on your industry? Have technological breakthroughs or hot new trends left your customers both excited and confused? Do you have some particular expertise to offer on the subject? This is your chance to create a topical blog article that showcases your knowledge, insights, and individual spin on the situation. You have the answers -- and that's exactly what your target market wants.

3. Case Studies

Nothing sells success quite like a "before and after" story. You've probably seen pictures or read reports of a broken-down home, mud-caked pet, chaotic business department, or wrecked car that appeared utterly hopeless until an expert stepped in -- producing amazing improvements that you never would have dreamed possible. If your business can tell similar success stories, why not tell them on your blog?

Think about a time when your products or services rescued a grateful client from a disastrous situation. If you can tell that story within several hundreds words, you've got yourself a case study. Present the problem, describe how you handled it, and trumpet the positive results. Who wouldn't want to align themselves with a company with a real-life track record of success? 

Need more ways to jog your creative mind -- or need another creative mind to take up the slack? Contact me for writing services that can keep yourself stocked up on blog articles indefinitely!