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Blogging for business

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Every single word you write and release into the inter-webs is an opportunity to reach through a computer screen and make a connection. A connection that leads to a relationship, that leads to a ...

Every single word you write and release into the inter-webs is an opportunity to reach through a computer screen and make a connection. A connection that leads to a relationship, that leads to a client, that leads to a referral that leads to another client (or three).
The internet gives us access to so many more businesses – businesses that may look just like yours. Potential clients can compare and contrast (on their smart phones, possibly while hiding in your toilet). We need to connect with people, to inspire and provoke opinion, and to grow a tribe around our business so that we’re cultivating leads and relationships, not shouting into a crowd.
Particularly if what you do is so left-of-centre that your Nanna nods politely when you try to explain it, you need to educate your prospects, through your blog, on what you’re doing and why they need it.

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Blogging for business Blogging for business Presentation Transcript

  • “Everything  that  needs  to  be  said  has   already  been  said.  But,  since  no  one   was  listening,  everything     must  be  said  again”  (Andre  Gide)  
  • The  essen@al  star@ng  point     The  essen@al  star@ng  point  for  effec@ve   communica@on  is  to  see  the  situa@on  from  the   point  of  view  of  your  audience.         “How  will  my  audience  receive  this  message?   What  will  they  do  with  this  message?”  
  • Miss  Universally-­‐Popular  
  • Our  aims:   •  To  aJract  our  ideal  clients  to  our  blog   •  To  educate  blog  visitors  about  what  we  do,   and  why  we’re  wonderful  (our  value  and  point   of  difference)   •  To  convert  blog  readers  into  clients   •  To  beJer  retain  exis@ng  clients  and  keep  them   enthused  and  referring  new  business.  
  • What  makes  your  business  unique?     You  need  to  know  what  makes  your  business   unique  if  you  are  to  demonstrate  to  your   readers  why  they  should  pay  aJen@on.     What  do  you  do/think  differently?     What  do  you  want  to  be  known  for?     Where  do  you  want  to  go  next?  
  • Are  you  Oprah?  
  • Exercise:  choose  your  categories   (your  key  blog  topics)   1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  …   …   …   …   …   …   …   •  5-­‐7  categories   •  Don’t  box  yourself   in  by  being  too   specific   •  Make  them  easy  to   understand  
  • Different  types  of  blog  posts   o Directly  OR  indirectly  educa@onal  about  your   offerings   o Directly  OR  indirectly  addresses  barriers  to   purchase   o Case  study  by  client  OR  by  you          …  And  …   EPIC  CONTENT  
  • People  are  reading  your  blog  because   they  want  to  be:     Informed   Entertained     Inspired  
  • Every  single  blog  post  must  be  –     Relevant   Useful   Valuable       …  to  your  Ideal  Client  
  • Classic,  or  evergreen  content   (to  fall  back  on)   1.  What  are  the  ‘classic’  topics  of  your  niche?   2.  What  needs  to  change  about  those  topics?   3.  What  would  be  so  much  beJer  than  how   things  currently  stand?   4.  What  new  perspec@ve  from  a  different   sector  could  you  bring  to  the  topic?   5.  What  new  perspec@ve,  or  actude,  could  you   bring  to  the  topic?  
  • EPIC  CONTENT   •  A  hero   •  A  villain   •  An  emo@onal  story  arc   •  An  inspiring,  meaningful  message  
  • THE  RANT   Pay  close  a;en<on  to  repeated  rants!       If  you  find  yourself  repeatedly  ran@ng  on  the   same  topic,  that’s  a  sign  of:   a)  Passion   b)  A  possible  key  topic     c)  An  an@-­‐trend  (others  may  be  thinking  just  like   you)   d)  Gecng  crotchety.    
  • New  angles  on  old  topics   •  Of  the  classic  topics  covered  on  other  blogs,   what  elicits  the  strongest  emo@ons  (for  and   against)  in  the  comments?     •  Do  you  agree  or  disagree  with  what’s   currently  being  ‘put  out  there’?   •  What’s  being  overlooked  in  discussions  and   current  trends  and  why  is  it  important  to  be   addressed?  
  • Topical  –  be  quick  (or  well-­‐organised)  
  • ‘How  to’  headlines   How  to  [Blank]  and  [Blank]     How  to  [Blank]  Even  If  [Common  Obstacle]   How  to  [Blank]  Without  [Objec@onable  Ac@on]     How  to  [Do  Something]  While  You  [Do   Something  Else]     •  How  to  [Do  Something]  That  Your  [Target   Audience]  Will  Love   •  How  to  Use  [Blank]  to  [Blank]   •  How  to  [Blank]  –  The  Ul@mate  Guide   •  •  •  • 
  • Numbered  lists   •  Numerals  work  beJer  than  words  (ie:  10  not   ten).   •  In  Buffer’s  research,  higher  numbered  lists  (e.g.   “100  ways  to…”)  were  shared  more,  as  were   headlines  that  started  with  a  digit.  
  • Simplicity  &  Produc@vity  Hacks   •  The  Minimalist  Guide  to  [Aggrava@on]   •  11  Ways  to  Simplify  Your  [Blank]     •  10  Shortcuts  for  [Comple@ng  Tedious  Process]   in  Record  Time   •  Get  Rid  of  [Recurring  Problem]  Once  and  for   All     •  How  to  [Blank]  in  5  Minutes   •  A  Cheat  Sheet  for  [Blank]  
  • Fear  and  certainty   •  How  Safe  Is  Your  [Valuable  Person/Object]  from   [Threat]?     •  The  Shocking  Truth  about  [Blank]     •  How  [Blank]  Gamble  with  Your  [Blank]:  7  Ways   to  Protect  Yourself   •  13  Things  Your  [Trusted  Person]  Won't  Tell  You     •  5  LiJle-­‐Known  Factors  That  Could  Affect  Your   [Blank]  
  • Fear  and  certainty   “Online  Security:  A  step-­‐by-­‐step  guide  to   keeping  your  business  and  customers  safe”  
  • Make  it  relevant!  Address  your   ideal  client  in  your  @tle  
  • Create  a  curiousity  gap   “BOOM,  ROASTED:  Here's  Why  You   Don't  Ask  a  Feminist  to  Hawk  Your   Sexist  Product”     •  If  it’s  too  vague,  it’s  uninteres@ng   •  If  it’s  too  specific,  I  don’t  need  to  click   •  Instead,  tease  and  en@ce  your   audience  to  click    
  • Consider  power  words   Mother   Dying   Secret   Truth   You/Your   Surprising   Cri<cal   Huge/Big   Failure   Kill   Hurt   Pain   Smart      
  • Hooks:  lead  with  the  ac@on   “When  I  tell  people  that  I  eat  dessert  every   single  day,  most  are  surprised.  Many  don’t   believe  me.  Ea@ng  dessert  every  day  without   pucng  on  weight  and  without  feeling  guilty   about  it  is  such  a  foreign  concept  to  most   people.”    
  • “When  I  was  21,  I  arrived  in  Bangkok  at  midnight   for  the  first  @me,  with  no  hotel  booked  and   nobody  wai@ng  for  me.   Of  the  eight  million-­‐odd  souls  of  Bangkok,  I   knew  no-­‐one.  I  got  a  taxi  to  the  tourist  area,   found  a  @ny  hotel  down  a  narrow  alleyway,  and   secured  myself  a  dinky  liJle  room  with  a  shared   outside  bathroom.  Then  I  lay  on  that  narrow   bed  and  felt  unbelievably  proud  of  myself.”  
  • Hooks:  sta@s@cs  &  research   “Are  Poor  Nego<a<on  Skills  Damaging  Your   Earning  Ability?  Nego<a<on  Tips  for  Women.     According  to  a  study  conducted  by  The  Heat   Group,  over  half  of  Australia’s  women  (55.4%)   believe  they  aren’t  being  paid  the  wage  they   deserve  due  to  poor  nego@a@on  skills.”  
  • Headlines  (Write  crap  and  keep   wri@ng  crap,  un@l  you’re  no   longer  wri@ng  crap)   1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   10.  …   11.  …   12.  …   13.  …   14.  …   15.  …   16.  …   17.  …   18.  …  
  • In  summary   ‘How  to’  …   Numbered  lists   Simplicity  and  produc@vity  hacks   Fear  and  certainty   Address  your  ideal  client  in  your  headline   Create  a  curiousity  gap   Strike  the  perfect  balance  between  anger  and   happiness   •  Consider  your  power  words   •  •  •  •  •  •  • 
  • Use  one  big  idea   •  What  is  your  main  message?   •  Focus  on  just  one  thing  in  your  headline  and   hook.   •  Don’t  be  too  clever  in  your  headline  and  hook   as  you  risk  it  not  being  understood.  Save   complexity  for  your  conclusion.  
  • Drawing  connec@ons   •  ‘You’   •  ‘Because’   •  Don’t  use  ‘set  up’  sentences  that  are  statements   without  arguments,  unless  your  sentences  are  very   short.   (Eg:  “To  be  rooted  in,  move  and  express  from  soul  is   the  ul@mate  experience,  it  is  not  to  be  missed.  When   the  personality  self  surrenders  to  the  guidance  of   soul,  it  has  the  opportunity  to  go  beyond  it’s  self-­‐ imposed  limita@ons  and  truly  experience  being   alive.”)  
  • Be  relatable   •  Beware  “The  curse  of  knowledge”,  (Chip  &  Dan   Health,  Made  to  S;ck)  –  describe  the  symptom,   its  deeper  source,  and  your  solu@on  in  the   words  of  your  ideal  clients.   •  Can  you  use  examples  (your  own,  your   “friend’s”  or  “common  problems  I  see..”)?     •  How  can  you  inspire,  engage,  guide  or  lead   without  @pping  into  appearing  condescending,   domineering,  or  smug?   •  Some  personal  details  make  you  far  more   relatable.  
  • Pick  3  of  your  favourite  headlines   •  Flesh  out  the  opening  paragraph,  or  hook   •  Write  2-­‐5  subheads  for  each   •  Write  a  simple  conclusion  for  each.  
  • Building  credibility   •  Outside  of  headlines,  avoid  “always”,  “never”   and  hyperbole   •  Write  confidently     •  Use  sta@s@cs,  technical  details  or  quotes  from   other  people  to  increase  credibility.  Technical   details  enhance  trust  and  make  you  more   convincing.  Include  figures;  be  specific   •  (Don’t  break  your  ‘flow’  to  supplement  with   technical  details  if  you  can  help  it).  
  • Return  to  your  3  blog  ‘shells’   •  For  each  of  the  3,  write  down:     o   What,  if  any,  data,  research  or  technical  detail   would  improve  this?   o   Who  would  be  a  great  authority  to  interview  on   this  topic?  
  • Wri@ng:  web  readability   •  Keep  your  paragraphs  short  –  no  more  than   three  sentences  and  some@mes  only  one.   •  Use  lots  of  subheads.  These  should  be  able  to   be  scanned  and  will  help  give  your  wri@ng   structure.   •  Keep  your  blog  widths  shorter  rather  than   longer  –  about  12  words  per  line  is  op@mal.     •  Make  sure  your  mother  doesn’t  have  to  squint   to  read  your  blog  –  increase  font  size!  
  • In  summary  …   •  Your  headline  and  hook  (opening  sentences)   are  paramount.  Make  this  about  one  big  idea.   Don’t  give  away  too  much.   •  Write  it  TO  someone  (your  ideal  client),  use   ‘you’  and  be  relatable,  not  obnoxious.   •  Make  it  readable  and  able  to  be  scanned  –   short  paragraphs,  subheadings,  large(r)  font.   •  Use  data,  technical  detail,  or  quotes  for   credibility.  
  • Short-­‐cut!  Guest  blogging   •  Before  you  have  much  of  an  audience,  it   makes  far  more  sense  to  guest  blog  rather   than  publishing  on  your  own  blog.   •  Guest  blogging  allows  you  to  short-­‐cut  your   blog’s  growth  by  borrowing  another’s   audience.   •  Then  you  can  funnel  those  readers  onto  your   blog  and,  once  you  have  a  small  group  of   dedicated  followers,  you  can  ramp  up  the   content  on  your  blog.  
  • Why  guest  blog?   •  Wri@ng  &  editorial  guidance  (for  free)   from  the  blog  owner   •  New  traffic   •  New  readers   •  New  business   •  More  credibility   •  Improved     Google  ranking.    
  • How  much  naked   is  too  much  naked?  
  • Ques@ons  only  you  can  answer   •  How  will  this  par@cular  personal  story  likely  be   received  by  my  audience?   •  Is  this  personal  story  in  support  of  my  broader   business  story?   •  Will  this  story  likely  be  readily  understood  by  a   total  stranger  unfamiliar  with  my  business?   •  Who  am  I  likely  to  aJract  by  revealing  this   par@cular  story?   •  Am  I  ready  to  receive  responses  (or  deafening   silence)?  
  • What’s  your  ‘why’?   •  If  someone  doesn’t  know  you,  why  should  they   care  about  what  you  have  to  say?  What’s  in  it  for   your  readers?   •  You  have  to  con@nually  answer:  why  are  you   doing  what  you’re  doing  and  why  should  people   care?   •  Most  people  are  loyal  as  long  as  they  are  finding   the  inspira@on,  educa@on,  or  entertainment  that   originally  drew  them  to  you.  
  • Pull  out  5  deeper  issues  your  ideal   client  grapples  with.  Now  match   each  of  these  with  5  specific   outcomes  of  your  offerings   1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  …   …   …   …   …   1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  …   …   …   …   …  
  • Edi@ng  
  • Leave  a  gap  between     wri@ng  &  edi@ng   •  Write  blogs  in  batches.  When  you’re  finished,   walk  away.   •  Ideally,  leave  edi@ng  for  tomorrow.   •  Or,  move  onto  another  task,  take  a  shower,   have  a  cup  of  tea  or  take  a  walk  before   returning  to  edit.  
  • Print  out  your  work   •  Cri@quing  someone  else’s  work  is  far  easier   than  deconstruc@ng  your  own  because   outside  eyes  bring  a  fresh  perspec@ve.     •  Approach  your  own  work  cri@cally  by   simula@ng  this  ‘outsider’  perspec@ve  by   viewing  it  in  a  form  other  than  the  one  you   wrote  it  in.     •  Print  it.  
  • Words  &  phrases  to  avoid   Incen@vise   Diarise   Take-­‐away   Moving  forward   Simply  the  best   The  first   The  only   Try  and  find     (should  be  try  to  find)   Grounded  /  Grounding   Holding  the  space   Transforma@onal   Authen@c  /  Authen@city   Ah-­‐ha!  moment   Enriching   Empowering  
  • Look  for  the  hook   •  The  ‘meat’  of  your  blog  post  may  be  solid,  but   without  a  great  hook,  nobody  will  read  it.  Your   hook  –  your  headline  and  opening  sentences  –   is  your  most  important  part.   •  Within  a  sentence,  you  can  order  your  drama,   with  most  important  first.  Each  sentence   should  lead  into  the  next.  
  • Cull  and  @ghten   Some@mes  you  have  to  kill  your  babies   When  in  doubt,  leave  out   Cull  the  liJle  words   Cull  extraneous  adjec@ves   If  you  need  a  second  sentence  to  explain  the   first,  you  need  to  rewrite  your  sentence   •  Don’t  be  afraid  of  short  sentences.   •  •  •  •  • 
  • Listen  for  rhythm   •  Read  it  out  loud  (you  can  whisper)   •  Listen  for  smooth-­‐sounding  rhythm   •  Long  sentences  juxtaposed  with  short   sentences  create  drama   •  Listen  for  clunky  syntax.  
  • Read  as  your  audience   •  You  aren’t  wri@ng  for  you.     •  You  aren’t  wri@ng  to  impress  your  mother.     •  You  aren’t  wri@ng  to  gain  the  aJen@on  and   admira@on  of  your  colleagues.   •  Read  your  blog  post  as  your  Ideal  Client.  
  • In  summary  …   •  •  •  •  •  •  Leave  a  gap  between  wri@ng  and  edi@ng   Always  edit  printed  copies   Look  for  the  hook  –  highlight  the  drama   Tighten  your  language   Listen  for  rhythm     Read  as  your  audience.  
  • If  your  blog  reader  is  qualified,  why   don’t  they  buy?   Fear     Have  I  made  the  right   decision?   Am  I  was@ng  my   money?   Will  they  deliver  what   they  promise?   Trust     Do  I  respect  this   business?   Are  they  credible?     Do  they  have  my  best   interests  at  heart?      
  •   1%  will  buy     Warm  them  up  to  purchasing.  Use  your  blog  posts   to  tell  them  exactly  what  you’re  doing,  why  you’re   doing  it  and  when  the  op@on  to  buy  will  come.     Don't  surprise  people.  Spend  a  long  @me  warming   them  up  to  the  purchase.  Then  …    
  • Ask  for  the  sale   •  Keep  it  simple.  The  more  confusing  the  call  to  ac@on,   the  less  effec@ve.  Make  the  offer  clear.  Don't  have   any  condi@ons  or  special  rules.  Don't  force  people  to   click  through  to  too  many  pages  to  complete  the   ac@on.     •  Make  it  obvious.  Don’t  bury  your  call  to  ac@on  at  the   boJom  of  a  page.  Some  por@on  of  your  website   visitors  are  looking  for  a  call  to  ac@on.     •  Don’t  become  someone  else.  If  you’re  excited,  share   that.  If  it’s  par@cularly  useful  for  some  type  of  person   but  not  another,  express  that.  
  • Mistake  #1   Stopping     o Create  a  schedule  and  commit   o Have  content  in  reserve   o Keep  revisi@ng  your  ‘why’  to  ensure  it’s   relevant   o If  it’s  no  longer  relevant,  change  it  up.  It’s   your  business  a{er  all   o Time  is  a  luxury,  especially  in  marke@ng  
  • Mistake  #2   Overlooking  promo@ng     and  networking     o Set  up  a  process  for  promo@ng  each  and   every  post   o Be  generous  sharing,  credi@ng,  and  linking   to  others   o Invest  @me  every  week  into  mee@ng  people   online  (and  off).  
  • Mistake  #3   Being  conserva@ve   o All  progress  happen  through  short-­‐cuts  and   leaps   o Make  boldness  part  of  your  business  strategy.  
  • Mistake  #4   Listening  to  the  nay-­‐sayers   o  Forget  about  trying  to  please  everyone   o  When  we  “dare  greatly”,  when  we  are  personal   and  vulnerable  and  take  chances,  we’ll  be   inadvertently  holding  a  very  uncomfortable   mirror  up  to  some  people   o  Some  people  will  be  dying  to  watch  us  fail  to   confirm  that  it’s  best  to  maintain  the  status  quo.  
  • Links  are  currency  on  the  internet     Gecng  search  engine  traffic  isn’t  about   keywords.  It’s  not  even  about  blog  posts.  It’s   about  crea@ng  something  so  amazing  everyone   talks  about  it  and  links  to  it.     So  do  that.  
  • Write  every  day   •  •  •  •  •  •  Wri@ng  is  a  discipline.  It  needs  to  be  exercised   Edi@ng  is  where  the  magic  happens   Brevity  is  a  courtesy   Be  bold   Don’t  be  boring   Don’t  worry  about  upsecng  people.    
  • Fight  through  writer’s  block   •  How  can  you  let  a  blank  page  scare  you?  Fill  it.   •  Pay  aJen@on  to  your  rants.     Ask  yourself:   o   Why  do  I  care?   o In  an  ideal  world,  what  would  happen?   o   What  would  Tyler  Durden  do?  
  • Read   •  This  is  non-­‐nego@able   •  Be  discerning.  
  • Invest  in  thinking  @me   •  What  can  you  say  ‘no’  to  so  you  can  say  ‘yes’   to  thinking,  wri@ng  and  blogging?     •  Wri@ng  requires  considerable  thinking  @me.   Luckily,  you  can  combine  thinking  with  other   ac@vi@es!  (Par@cularly  exercise.)     •  You  need  @me  to  think  to  develop  your   insights  and  opinions  otherwise  you’ll  just  be   regurgita@ng  what  everyone  else  says.  
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