Monday, August 29, 2022

Writing Your Own Marketing Content? Avoid These Common Pitfalls

I know many entrepreneurs and other businesspeople who, for whatever reason, have taken it on themselves to write their own marketing content. Some of these individuals have brilliant communication skills, can give an eloquent speech on a moment’s notice, and genuinely enjoy writing. But if you feel the need to compose that web page, blog article, or video script on your own, watch out for common little lapses in judgment that can render your writing less effective than it should be. 

As my writing teacher used to say, “There’s no such thing as good or bad writing, only stronger or weaker choices.” So let’s look at some of those weaker choices with an eye toward avoiding them.

"In order to" -- Only one of the words in this phrase matters. Can you find it? I knew you could. After all, if you're going to say “to,” what’s the point of also saying “in order” except to pad out the text meaninglessly?

"You should," "Be sure to," "Make sure you," “You may want to consider” etc. -- This is the imperative that isn't. I see these phrases pop up a lot, and I suspect Grammarly has something to do with it. Grammarly apparently hates it when the writer actually orders the reader to do something and will suggest these weak-kneed phrases to soften the statement. Well, some of us are trying to market here, yeah? If you want to tell the reader to do something, just tell them to do it. They won’t burst into tears.

"Very" -- This word is like a volume knob with no indicator markings. How much is "very?" Let's say you want to communicate that a film conveys a powerful message. Does "very powerful" really make the point more clearly than "powerful?"

"Great," "Terrific," "Fabulous," etc. -- More garbage words in the grand tradition of "Very." Let's go back to our film review example: "This movie is great!" What the heck does that mean? Why is it great? How is it great? Is it deeply mournful, crackling with dramatic tension, sweet-natured and amiable, refreshingly silly? "Great" means whatever the reader wants it to mean, thus introducing unwelcome ambiguity into your marketing message. State what you mean in no uncertain terms.

As the old song tells us, little things mean a lot. A few smart tweaks and second thoughts can make the difference between strong marketing content and not-so-strong marketing content. If you eventually decide that you’d  rather let a professional copywriter or editor worry about all these details, contact me. In the meantime, let’s be careful out there!

Monday, August 15, 2022

How to Write the Perfect "About Us" Page

When you're shopping for products and services, you probably want to know at least a little about the provider of those products and services, right? Even if whatever you need is a basic commodity that you can get anywhere, you'd rather obtain it from a reputable enterprise, one that hopefully offers better support and higher customer satisfaction than the competition. In a world where we can buy anything from anybody at the click of a link or button, it's often the unique virtues of the seller that sway our final choice.

Well, the same holds true for anyone looking to buy services or products that you happen to sell. When these folks visit your website, you'd better have an "About Us" page that makes a strong positive impression and addresses any potential concerns about your priorities, skills, or experience in the field. So let's look at some key steps in creating that "About Us" page content.

Give Your Company Its Own Bio

"About Us" doesn't just refer to you and other leaders at your company; it also refers to the company itself. I've mentioned previously that a brand can be considered a business's persona, the public face it shows to the world. It stands to reason, then, that your company deserves its own bio blurb. Consider introducing your "About Us" page with an introductory paragraph or two that lays out your organization's status and reputation in the industry, what it sells or does, and why site visitors should care.

State Your Mission, Vision, and Values

This section of the "About Us" page can have its own separate section, or you can simply append it to the company bio section. Either way, it will make a major impact on many prospective buyers who care about the motivations behind the businesses they patronize. The mission statement simply clarifies why your company exists and explains why you do what you do. The vision statement expresses your dreams, hopes, and plans for your organization's future. The values statement lets the world know what you stand for, the rules you play by, the ethical standards you uphold, and your attitude toward your customers.

Spotlight the Team

Now it's time to throw the spotlight onto your key players, ideally starting with the founder or owner. If this individual's educational, work history, special skills, and industry experience have the potential to dazzle your visitors -- then dazzle away! You can repeat this process with a few of your C-level leaders, but you probably don't need to compose elaborate biographies for everyone. Other team members may not need more than a satisfying paragraph that shows them to best advantage. (Keeping these supporting bios short as a general rule will also help hide discrepancies in skills and experiences from one team member to the next.)

Don't Change the Subject

I've seen "About Us" pages that threatened to become "About Everything" pages. It's all too easy to veer off into descriptions of your products and services, sales pitches, and other stuff that more properly belongs elsewhere on the site. Try to keep on message throughout the "About Us" page -- and by the same token, try not to let bits and pieces of your "About Us" page content drift onto other pages.

Writing the ultimate "About Us" page becomes a lot easier once you know what points to make, how and where to make them, and how to maintain the content's focus. Want to know another helpful tip for writing this page? Here you go: Don't write it yourself at all. Instead, hire a professional copywriter to do it for you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

4 Great Things Your Blog Content Can Communicate

Why do people and companies blog? The answer to that question may depend on whom you ask. Some may blog mainly to increase their online authority with the major search engines, and that's a perfectly fine (and potentially very effective) strategy. Others may blog because they feel an intense personal need to express their opinions and insights. Still others may blog simply to keep up with their competitors' marketing efforts and stay top of mind with their target market. Blogging can help accomplish all of these goals, but it can also communicate certain key points about your brand identity, your business practices, and even your competence as a solution provider.  Take a look at four great things your blog content can communicate about you and your business.

Great Thing #1: You Understand and Empathize

You may have heard marketers employ the term "pain point." A pain point states a common problem, challenge, or frustration that your audience probably suffers from. Pain points serve as useful conversation starters, not just for blogs but other forms of marketing content as well, because they give readers something they can instantly relate to -- something that hits them where they live. These pain points often drive people to seek answers by performing online searches. If you've just written a blog post on that very pain point, your post may pop up near the top of those search results. If you address that pain point in a manner that shows your empathy for your reader's troubles, you position yourself as a friend who wants to help. Who wouldn't want to read on and find out what form that help may take?

Great Thing #2: You've Got the Answers

Once you show that you understand your audience's pain, you have a golden opportunity to present your products or services as the solution. Think about it: When you need to learn how to fix a problem, you want to uncover informative articles that actually offer answers, whether they include DIY solutions or point you toward the right professional solution provider. If you happen to be that professional solution provider, you just gained a customer. Meanwhile, as you continue to build a blog archive rich in solutions and recommendations, you demonstrate that you don't just have an answer; you have tons of answers. Readers may then come to rely on you as their go-to guru on your particular industry or profession.

Great Thing #3: You Follow the Latest Information

Some blog posts feature "evergreen" information that will prove helpful, correct, and meaningful for years to come, while others focus on more transient topics. Ideally, you want to bounce back and forth between both types of posts. In addition to those essential unchanging pillars of truth, you also want to show that you're up to speed on the latest trends, breaking news, and current events that affect your target audience, especially when it intersects with how you can help that target audience. Topical posts can make a big splash during that initial spike of interest in the subject at hand. Deliver your own take on the hot headline of the day, and you may just attract a whole new crowd!

Great Thing #4: You've Got Your Act Together

Blogging on a regular, consistent schedule communicates some important points about how you run your business. For one thing, it shows that you care enough about your readers to keep providing them with helpful, interesting content. It also says something about your team's organizational, management, and implementation skills. Last but certainly not least, it reminds and reassures your customers that you're still open for business, bubbling with fresh insights and ideas, and ready to deliver the goods. In other words, you're a business that your target audience would actually want to do business with.

Yes, blogging can do your image (and your bottom line) a lot of good, but only if you pursue it diligently and competently. So contact me today for the professional copywriting you need to take full advantage of this powerful business booster!