Tuesday, January 30, 2024

A Professional's Tips for a Better Professional Bio

Who are you? That may seem like a simple question, but think about it. Most of us present different personae in different situations or to different people. So if you're posting a professional bio to your website, a professional directory, or a popular social media platform such as LinkedIn, you'd better customize the way you present yourself for optimal results. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Imagine your audience. Would you use the same approach to ask for a date that you would to ask for a job? (I'm assuming that asking for dates isn't your job, of course.) Business owners or representatives need to introduce themselves, not to the general public, but to their public, the specific target audience they aim to cultivate. Think hard about the ideal reader of your bio blurb. What do you want that reader to do? Offer you a job? Check out your products or services? Recommend you to an associate? Focus on telling that person exactly what they'll want to hear so you can get the desired response.

Match the bio to its surroundings. I've been called in to rewrite employee bios that stuck out like broken teeth on the client's website because they simply didn't match the style and tone of other bios on the same page (or of the site in general). There's always one guy who insists on providing 500 words when everyone else has made do with 100 or less (or vice versa), or whose bio uses first-person address in a sea of surrounding third-person entries. Some bios may seem overly friendly in contrast to the rest of the page, while others may seem relatively dry and stiff. If your bio will be added to a general bio page, read the existing entries carefully and try to match their characteristics. The exception to this rule occurs when your bio will sit alongside those of your competitors on a directory page. On those occasions you definitely want to stand out as much as possible, as long as you stand out in a good way!)

Keep things clear and readable. A bio isn't a resume. Your goal is not to include every single detail of your professional/academic/personal life; it's to get the reader interested in who you are and what you offer, period. Ever looked at the author bio on a book jacket? In most cases, you get the least you need to know to make you think, "Wow, this author has some impressive credentials. I think I'll give this book a shot." Feel free to write a long draft, but be willing to go back and cut (and cut, and cut). As for word choices, go for clarity above all else. Impress the reader, not with the size of your vocabulary, but with the high points of your skills and experience.

Good luck telling your story -- and if you need any professional help, just let me know!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Is It Time to Change How You Market Yourself?

We can all relate to the old saying, "Times change." Of course, anyone who's ever heard of Einstein can tell you that time itself is a relative thing that runs faster or slower for us depending how fast we're moving through space, et cetera. But what really matters in the marketing world is how we change. Our businesses, our brands. and our audiences evolve and remodel themselves constantly in response to other changes, from economic pressures to new technologies. And as these changes come about, you have to adjust your marketing approach accordingly. Let's look at some of the reasons you may need to change how you market yourself and what forms those changes might take.

New Offerings

Did your business pivot in a different direction at some point in 2023, or is it poised to make that pivot now? Did you retire some products and services while introducing others? Did your industry undergo a major shift that compelled you to shift along with it? I know that many of us professional writers had to figure out our relationship with AI, for instance. In my case, I actually added an "AI-generated content repair" service because so many clients were sending me bland, generic, awkward content and asking if I could energize and personalize it for them -- and of course that meant creating a new page on my website to promote the new service. Make sure your current marketing content still relates to what you actually do before you wade any farther into 2024.

New Channels

I recently asked a guy I know in the home services field about any changes to his marketing strategy for the new year. He mentioned that his company was taking a break from terrestrial radio. After many years of running radio spots on the same station, they felt that they'd kind of hit a wall, so he's now shifting his company's strategies more toward digital marketing. He'll find no shortage of fresh fields there, and as long as he chooses online channels and pursues them diligently, I'm sure his business will get a welcome boost. What social media platforms and other media channels do you currently use -- and how are they working out for you? Maybe you need to review the ROI of each channel you maintain, with an eye toward switching channels as needed. Or maybe you need to fill those channels with different content more likely to attract each channel's key demographics. New topics or a new tone could mean new profits.

New Audiences

Your brand identity and messaging worked great on your established target audience for X number of years, so why does it seem so ineffective now? Like I said, times change -- and so do people's needs, roles, challenges, and expectations. Sure, you can keep marketing to the same folks as always -- but those folks are getting older. So you may need to alter your brand to appeal to that older demographic, or you may want to freshen your brand so it can appeal to a whole new generation of buyers. You've seen countless brands reinvent themselves over the years by adopting flashy new slogans, aiming their ads at a different crowd, or redesigning their facilities to bring them up to date with the latest trends. Maybe you need to start putting out new, different marketing content to capture a contemporary audience or seize new sales opportunities.

Successful organizations separate themselves from the also-rans by adopting new strategies and tactics i. an ever-changing world. As we move forward through this new year, ask yourself whether your marketing content still serves your image, your solutions, and your audience. A freelance marketing copywriter can help you re-craft your content to accommodate the changing times. Contact me today so you can get a head start on creating a brighter tomorrow for your business!

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Want Better Results From Your Marketing Content? Personalize It!

Okay, folks, here we are in a brand-new year! You may have all kinds of dreams and goals for your business in 2024, while your customers probably have their own to-do lists to take care of, both at home and in the workplace. So how do you and your audience connect more powerfully (and profitably) than ever? A lot of your success will depend on what sorts of marketing content you create, what techniques you use to make it as relevant as possible, and how you target that message to your ideal demographic. Take the following tips to heart as you start churning out those blog posts, email articles, direct mail pieces, and other critical marketing messages.

Drop the Shotgun

I got an email just this morning from a marketing company I'd never heard of or communicated with. Normally, I'm more than happy to hear from marketing agencies, web developers and so on because we can share insights and collaborate on projects. In this case, however, I ended up unsubscribing and dumping the email in the trash almost immediately. What did this marketer do wrong? They sent me a general message that basically said, "Since it's a new year, I'm going to start sending you a series of emails on how to make the most of your social media in 2024." Um, thanks, but who asked you to? When did I ever indicate that I wanted or needed this "free" help? Do you even know who I am? Come to think of it, who are you?

You can see why this approach flopped with me. The marketer was obviously shooting out cold email blasts at anyone and everyone associated with the keyword "marketing." If you take this kind of shotgun approach, don't be too surprised when your emails wind up in the circular file as well. We've all got too much junk mail in our everyday lives as it is. Instead, target your previous contacts and current clients, sending them personalized messages that ask for their input, include an exciting offer, or request a fresh meeting to get up to date on their needs. When writing emails aimed at future prospects, keep it short and sweet, focusing on a basic introduction to what you do and inviting them to inquire further. 

Communicate Like Your Target Audience

Once you've found your target audience, either on your own or with the help of a skilled marketing strategist, you're ready to start aiming specific messages at them. But where do they hang out? Which social media channels do your customers prefer to frequent? Do they shop local, or are they more likely  to place orders online? Do they belong to a demographic that prefers snail mail to email? These and other pointed questions can help you figure out where you should place that marketing content and how often your audience might need to see it.

How does your target audience communicate? If your content adopts the wrong style or speaks on a different educational level than your target market, you'll just turn off those prospective buyers. You must also ask yourself what tone your audience most wants to hear in relation to your products or services. Do they want something from you that makes them feel warm and fuzzy, or do they want to feel impressed by the power of your professionalism? Whatever tone they're expecting, don't disappoint them.

Show That You Understand

As you may already know, I'm a big fan of the empathy statement as an effective way to open a marketing message. Your readers/viewers want to know that you feel their pain and can provide the remedy for it. But don't fall into the trap of making big blanket statements like, "We understand your frustration when it comes to bugs (or house cleaning, or lost sales, or whatever)." Instead, throw out specific examples that will hit various targets dead center: "You can't invite your loved ones over for the holidays with cockroaches running rampant." "You work hard all day, only to come home to a messy house. Don't you wish that mess could just disappear?" "You sell the world's greatest (whatever their industry sells), so why is your competition beating you?"

Empathy works on both emotional and practical levels. Your customers want to seek answers from someone who cares and understands. At the same time, they want to know that you've anticipated their challenges well enough to come up with the ideal solutions. This is your chance to be a hero -- so make sure your marketing content sends that message loud and clear.

Send the Right Message at the Right Time

One of the most useful aspects of email campaigns is their ability to address recipients' reactions (or lack thereof). I once got hired to redo an email campaign for a business broker who was getting lackluster results after the initial message. That first email did a great job of exciting people about the idea of buying a business, with positive requests for more information pouring in. But then the broker sent a second email with a mountain of business documentation attached -- which promptly turned the interaction cold as a carp. I helped to resolve this breakdown, and others, by writing a series of emails that swatted away each and every possible rebuttal a buyer might have. For instance, I started with a piece that basically said, "Don't be intimidated by that paperwork we sent you last time -- it's just part of the process, and we're happy to guide you through it every step of the way."

Another tip: Take care not to put the cart in front of the horse when writing a series of marketing emails. Start as I mentioned above, with a brief introduction and an offer to discuss the matter further. As you send additional cold emails, acknowledge that the prospect is a busy person and you don't mean to bother them. Save the detailed sales pitches, product descriptions, and case studies for your pile of warm emails. Once your prospects respond to a cold email, move them to the warm pile and start feeding them the information they now clearly welcome.

Do you need help creating more personalized marketing content that individuals will respond to with, "Wow, how did these guys know exactly what I need?" Well, that's what an experienced freelance marketing copywriter is for -- so contact me today, and let's start hitting your customers where they live!