Main Menu

6 Tests for High-Quality Content

NewsCred Insights post says “marketers who produce high-quality, relevant content enjoy audiences who spend significant time on their sites.” The median time people spend on articles is 37 seconds. While many people simply skim content, there are consumers who actually read the articles marketers post.

So how do you produce high-quality, relevant content your audience enjoys?

I’m going to let you in on a well-guarded secret. There are 6 elements to high-quality content.

  1. Research, research, research

This is where many writers fall flat on their faces. Research is the crown jewel of any written piece. Without research, the words are just words slapped on the page. But with research, the words can sing and resonate with the reader because they speak to the audience.

What is the point of research?

It’s simple – to get to know the audience before writing a single word.

So how do you research that?

Well, you look for places your target audience hangs out. Visit the sites they visit. Enter the communities they belong to. Read comments they post. Why? Because this gives you valuable insight into the mind of your audience. You can find out what they are concerned about, what keeps them up at night, and what problems they have.

I could write volumes on this topic alone. But for sake of this article, the above should be sufficient.

  1. The Power of One

The best articles ever were written with only one topic of focus. This is called the Power of One. Any article that introduces too many topics in the same piece will confuse their audience.

Make the piece about one thing. Every word added should strengthen that one message, not subtract from it.

  1. The 4 U’s of Effective Headlines

This is one of my favorite tools in my writer’s toolkit. Once you know this, you’ll never write another dull headline again! The 4 U’s stands for four things to check in a headline or sub-headline. First look to see that the headline conveys “Urgency.” Next, look for if it conveys “Usefulness.” Move on to see if the headline is “Unique” or not. Lastly, make the headline “Ultra-Specific.”

This one tip is worth its weight in gold! If the headline doesn’t get the reader to read the rest, it’s not doing its job!

  1. The 4 P’s of Body Copy

The main body of writing occurs in what’s known as “the body.” Here we utilize four P’s to remember the following: Promise, Picture, Proof, Push.

First, ensure your piece conveys a promise to the reader. Then strengthen this by picturing the promise being fulfilled. Offer proof. And close with an effective call-to-action.

  1. The Four-Legged Stool

In addition to the 4 P’s, this next tool adds oomph to your body copy.  Here you focus on adding elements to strengthen and balance your copy. Ensure to show your track record to highlight proof. Add elements to demonstrate your credibility. Convey the Big Idea (The Power of One). Lastly, remind readers of the future benefit.

  1. Powerful P.S.

When closing a piece you want to end with a powerful 1-2 punch. You want to lead the reader to take action. Therefore, you want to remind them of the benefits. Make another promise and introduce a surprise benefit you haven’t mentioned before. Add more credibility. Communicate urgency. Finally, restate or expand your guarantee

 

So there you have it. I’ve spilled the beans. You know my secrets on how to test content to see if its High-Quality or not.

Now, it’s your turn. Are you going to take the next step with me?

Book a call with me now before my schedule fills up!

How to Build Your Network in LinkedIn

In today’s digitally connected world, it is critical you know how to reach out to others and build lasting relationships.  LinkedIn is, by far, the best platform for business people to find other business people.

Why should I grow my professional network?

You’ve heard that saying “It’s not what you know but who you know,” right? Well, I offer a small twist on that saying…”It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you that matters.” I’ve certainly found this to true. After all, marketing is about letting people know who you are and how you can help.

As I’ve experienced much success with LinkedIn in my own business, I thought it was about time to share what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you benefit from the 7-step process for growing your professional network.

Step 1: Identify Who You Want to Reach

 

Step 2: Research Profile

  • Click on the person’s picture to go to their profile
    1. Scan their profile looking for any common ground.
      1. Articles shared or liked
      2. Past experience
      3. Education
      4. Skill
      5. People they know
      6. Groups they are in
      7. Volunteer or causes
      8. Accomplishments

2. Find one thing you have in common.

Step 3: Personalize Invite

  • A sample message might look like…
    1. “Hi, Name, as we’re both women in marketing and belong to AMA-OC group, want to connect to grow both our professional networks?”
  • Almost 100% connect rate
  • LinkedIn Help tells you how to personalize your invitation at https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/topics/6096/6097/46662
  • Hint: If using a cellphone, don’t click Connect Button! This will send a generic request. Click the three dots in the upper right corner or the down arrow next to the Connect button to personalize the invite.

Step 4: Follow Up in LinkedIn

  • After they accept your connection request…
  • Send a message like the following:
    1. “Hi, Name, thanks for connecting I’d like to know more about you and your business. Let’s chat <link to calendar>”
    2. Note: Use app like https://calendly.com or https://acuityscheduling.com/
  • 5% – 10% meeting rate

Step 5: Share Content Relevant to Your Audience

  • Someone else’s connect
  • Meeting recap
  • Helpful tips
  • Anyone connected to you will see post in their news feed.
  • This helps keep you top of mind in your prospect.

Step 6: Follow Up after 1 on 1 call with an Email

  • Recap your conversation
  • Ask them to connect on social media with you
  • Send one or two days after you meet

Step 7: One week later, send a thank you email

  • Thank them again for the initial call
  • Remind them what you do and who you help
  • Ask for a face to face meeting <link to calendar>

If you’d like a professional review of your LinkedIn Profile with suggestions on how to improve, contact me at https://calendly.com/elizabeth-marks/quick-15-minute-call .

How to Craft An Irresistible Headline That People Want to Read

Of course, the importance of headlines can’t be underestimated.  If your headline doesn’t convince the person to read further, then your copywriting failing it’s purpose.

But before I get start explaining the secret of an irresistible headline, we need to talk about your audience.

Knowing your audience is the first key element of a great headline.

Why?

Because if you don’t have your audience in mind when you write the headline you could completely miss the mark with your choice of words.

Naturally, we tend to write to audiences who are similar to us. It just comes out that way.  But let’s say your audience is 35+ women who stay home to care for their children and you’re a 50+ man who works in a corporation.

Do you think the words the 50+ man writes will appeal to the 35+ woman?

If he writes words that come naturally to him, then the answer is “No.”

Keep a clear picture of who you want to write to in mind. Creating a Customer Avatar, based on Digital Marketer’s template can help you form that picture of your customer.

customer-avatar-graphic-male

Figure 1 Customer Avatar from Digital Marketer

Good, effective headlines will establish your unique promise to the visitors.

 

What is it you want to convey to the reader? What pain or problem are you offering to solve? What need does this piece try to fill? What goal is your reader trying to achieve?

The number 1 problem I see with a majority of websites, videos, or blog posts is the lack of an optimized, benefit-oriented headline. Good headlines will convey one big idea and evoke emotion, stir curiosity, and cause the reader to continue reading.

Let me share 41 classic examples of effective headlines as collected by AWAI:

  • The secret of getting [results]
  • A little mistake that cost a [target market] [cost] a year
  • Advice to… [target market]  who want [results]
  • Do you suffer from [problem] at [occasion]?
  • Who ever heard of [target market] having [results] without [objection]
  • How I improved… [problem] without [objection] in just [time]
  • Discover the [benefits] you get with [results]
  • Proven: The most effective way to get [results]
  • How a [something perceived as bad] resulted in [results] and [benefits]
  • Do you suffer from [problem]?
  • Do you have these symptoms of [problem]
  • Guaranteed to [results] without [objection]
  • How a new [product] solved my [problem] in just [time]
  • Which type of [target market] are you? Is it stopping you get [results]?
  • Does your [problem] ever embarrass you?
  • To people who want [results] but don’t know where to start
  • How much is [problem] really costing you?
  • The right way to solve  [problem]
  • [thousands/hundreds / etc]of [target market]  now have [results] will you join them?
  • For the [target market individual, not plural] who has less [results] than he/she wants
  • Suppose this happened to your [business / life / relationship etc]. Would you survive?
  • Are other [target market] secretly overtaking you?
  • [X] proven ways to get [results] and [benefits]
  • Are you ready to have [results] in just [time]?
  • Get your hands on this system that took one [target market] from [starting results] to [end results] in just [time]
  • How I got [results] by making this unusual mistake.
  • Why some [target market] always have / get [results]
  • You can laugh about [problem] if you follow this simple plan
  • Five common [problems] faced by [target market] which one do you want to solve?
  • What [industry experts] do when faced with [problem]
  • [industry] experts prove that you can have [results] and with this new [product]
  • Why it’s not your fault you have [problem]. And how to make it disappear in just [time]
  • Thousands of [target market] can have [results] but never realize it. Don’t let it be you.
  • Why [target market] are raving about this [product].  ([Results] is just one of the reasons)
  • For just [cost] a day you can have [results] and [benefits] in [time]
  • To [target market] who want [results] by [time]
  • This new [product] will get you [benefits] galore
  • It’s not right that you don’t have [results] when so many [target market] do
  • The secrets of [target markets] that always get [results]
  • What the [industry] experts don’t want you to know about solving [problem]
  • Why do some [target market] have more [benefits] than others? The answer might surprise you

 

An effective headline will incorporate four main elements:

  • Urgency – does it give your prospect a real reason to want this product or service today, now, right away.
  • Usefulness – does it communicate something of value to the prospect.
  • Uniqueness – does it suggest that what you are offering is in some way different from every other solution currently available.
  • UltraSpecificity – does it avoid being vague at all costs.

 

You can check your headlines yourself by creating a scorecard.  Give your headline a point for each of the 4 U’s mentioned above. The best headline has 4 points!

 

Let’s try scoring a few to get the hang of it!

 

Score Headline
2 §  The secret of getting [results]

(I don’t think it has urgency, and it doesn’t seem unique. )

3 §  A little mistake that cost a [target market] [cost] a year

(This one seems unique, useful and ultra-specific but not so urgent. )

2 §  Advice to… [target market]  who want [results]

(No urgency or uniqueness )

3 – 4 §  Do you suffer from [problem] at [occasion]?

(This may or may not be urgent depending on the problem described! )

 

After you score your headline based on the 4Us, you can take another pass at the headline and adjust it and make it more compelling.

Take for example the first headline we scored above and reword it to be more Urgent.

Before: The secret of getting [results]

After: The secret of getting [results] within 15 minutes!

See how that works?

Now it’s your turn to put these tips into practice with your own headlines.

Contact me today if you want help with your headlines.

A Continual Supply of Useful Information through a Blog

Problogger.com wrote a post on What’s a Blog. Read it here: https://problogger.com/what-is-a-blog/

Benefits of a Blog

Blogs have multiple benefits for you and your potential clients. Sharing useful information in your blog is one of the best ways to reach your potential clients. And build your credibility. Your reputation grows. You rank better in search engines because of the constant stream of new content published to your blog.

Your target audience has access to useful and helpful content. When the time comes to make a purchase your potential clients will think of all the useful content you’ve provided in the past.

Blogs have another purpose too. By studying the comments made on your blog, you can reap valuable insight as to what your clients are thinking, what bothers them, what they are really looking for, etc. You might say a blog is a built-in marketing focus group at your disposable.

Example of a Good Blog

Qlik.com blog provides a pleasing appeal with three column format, showing off the latest content and offering other helpful resources on the right. As an added bonus, they even tell the reader how long it will take to read the post.

That’s great news for those who like to skim through content or don’t have much time to read long-winded posts. In addition to the time it takes to read the blog post, they make the content easily shareable. The key is sharing useful information in your blog. This is to your advantage as well. If readers like your content they will want to share it, so make it easy for them to do just that!

FIGURE 9 QLIK’S BLOG

Do you have a blog setup but don’t know what to share on your blog?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to Social Media to engage with them.

Connect with Your Ideal Clients on Social Media Today

The internet has made it easy to connect with your potential customers.  Now connecting is just a click away. You can stay in direct contact with your customers through social media.  But you might be wondering which social media platform should you be on?

SmartInsights.com publishes a report each year to monitor social media platforms.  Maybe some of their charts may help you determine that.  Let’s look at a few.

Which social platform is the most popular?

I’ll give you one guess. Yes, it’s Facebook of course.

FIGURE 1  SOCIAL MEDIA RANKED

What’s the frequency of use on each social platform?

Looks like most users access their social networks daily.

FIGURE 2 FREQUENCY OF SOCIAL MEDIA

What is the average age of user on each social platform?

It looks like the 16 to 24 group and 35 to 44 group have the largest percentage across all social networks.

FIGURE 3 DEMOGRAPHICS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

 

So now you know which platform is the most popular. And how much time the average user spends on that platform. And the average age of the user by platform.

Does this help you figure out which platform may work for your business?

As you can see from the last chart above, there are many different Social Media platforms out there. And new social platforms are emerging every day.  Don’t let this discourage you!

This doesn’t mean you need to be present on all of them.  You just need to be on the one your clients are on most of the time!

When you’ve found the right social media platform for your business, prominently displaying your company’s social media networks will help your customers find you and engage with you.

Let’s look at three companies who prominently display their social network links on their websites in different ways.

Board.com appears to be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube as shown in the picture below.

FIGURE 4 BOARD SOCIAL MEDIA

Qlik prefers the social icons to represent their social network profiles as seen on the left in below picture.

FIGURE 5 QLIK SOCIAL MEDIA

GoodData displays its icons in the footer as well.

FIGURE 6 GOODDATA SOCIAL MEDIA

What Social Networks are you on? Are you sharing your Social Network links on your website?

Need help figuring out where to share your Social Network links?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to use User Groups to engage.

Build Repeat Customers through User Groups

User groups are primarily for existing customers. However, having a user group will help prospective customers feel they will have the necessary methods of support should they need it.

Benefits of User Groups

  • Creates a sense of belonging which enables loyalty.
  • Direct communication with actual users of your product helps with product development of new products.
  • An ongoing source of feedback for marketing purposes.
  • A resource to provide better customer service.

These are but a few of the benefits of having a user group community for your clients.

Successful Examples

Let’s look a few of the leaders in business intelligence industry to see how they use user groups.

Oracle provides a number of User Groups and Communities promising the user will be heard when they get involved.

FIGURE 1 ORACLE USER GROUPS

Alteryx allows users to locate user groups by area and posts upcoming Alteryx User Group meetings.

FIGURE 2 ALTERYX USER GROUP MEETINGS

Do you offer a user group community to your customers?

Need help sharing user group community updates on your website? Contact me at

Contact me to see how I can help you communicate to your target audience.

For another way to build thought leadership check out Special Reports.

3 Statistics That Prove Special Reports Are Needed Now

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics).

These two statistics prove it makes sense to use Special Reports in your marketing strategy.

Why Use Special Reports?

Special reports are a great way to get people to start the journey of getting know more about you. The first statistic says 96% of B2B buyers are looking for you, the industry thought leader!

The report itself is meant to educate the reader.  It highlights a particular problem your product or service can address although it’s not primarily a sales piece.

What is a Special Report?

A special report is written as an informative piece to provide insights on how to solve a particular problem. It’s written very specifically, although generic enough that it isn’t selling them on your solution.

It generally outlines the problem and steps on how to solve a particular problem. And only at the close of the report, do you even mention a product or service of yours that supports the story you just shared.

Who Uses Special Reports?

From the research I’ve done, all of the Business Intelligence companies in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant utilize Special Reports. That’s because it’s another tool to grow your connection with a prospective client.

Typically, your audience has to provide their email address in exchange for the Special Report. Once you have their email address, you can contact them again over time.

So let’s look an example from the company called Tibco.

Below you see Tibco’s special report on Selecting an Integration Technology. It’s a free report in exchange for a name, email, and phone number. This not only provides value in educating the customer, it also increases Tibco’s email list so further marketing can be done later.


FIGURE 1 TIBCO SPECIAL REPORT OPT-IN

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

So what about you and your business?

What problems does your audience have?

What problems do your products or service solve?

What Special Reports should you write to address those problems?

Need help writing a Special Report?

I’d be happy to help. Contact me to get started on your next Special Report.

For other ways to grow your thought leadership, check out industry conferences.

Grow Your Thought Leadership Through in Industry Conferences

To become a thought leader in your industry, you need to participate in industry conferences. Participating or even hosting and providing information about industry conferences helps prospective customers believe your company is a thought leader and strategic player.

This helps build trust and reputation.

Benefits of Attending Industry Conferences

As discussed above becoming a thought leader is helpful in building your brand. One way to do this is to attend industry conferences. There are several benefits of doing this:

  • Continued learning keeps you on top of your game.
  • Networking with industry professionals keeps you in the know.
  • Engaging with prospective clients attending can grow your business.

These are just a few of the benefits of attending industry conferences to grow your thought leadership.

Now let’s look at some examples.

SAS participants in various Industry conferences, such as these mentioned on their site:

FIGURE 1 SAS INDUSTRY CONFERENCES

InformationBuilders.com provides a convenient list of industry conferences.

FIGURE 2 INFORMATION BUILDERS EVENTS PAGE

 

Alteryx promotes industry conferences and events by showcasing them on the main home page.

FIGURE 3 ALTERYX CONFERENCES

 

What conferences occur in your industry? Do you speak at these conferences? Are you promoting these conferences on your website? How are you making your target audience aware of these valuable conferences?

Need help sharing conferences on your website? Contact me  to see how I can help you communicate to your target audience.

For another way to build thought leadership check out case studies.

Share Your Experience Today, Become a Thought Leader with Case Studies

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

One way companies are viewed as thought leaders is by solving customer problems and documenting them in a Cases Study.

What is a Case Study?

These special stories highlight how you and your products or services helped solve a problem a customer had. These stories are powerful testimonies which help prospective customers understand you’ve done this before and get great results.

How Do Share a Case Study?

Case studies should be shared freely on your site with no opt-in needed. These special stories are used as the top of the sales funnel marketing material.  The purpose of is build trust and demonstrate your know-how.

You can never have too many case studies.

Who Uses Case Studies?

Just about every business under the sun uses case studies.  Anytime you have solved a customer’s pain point and provided the solution, it should become a case study.

For example, a business intelligence company called Targit.com provides generous amounts of Customer Case Studies.  This is important for helping prospective customers feel comfortable with their decision to go with Targit.

FIGURE 1 TAGIT CASE STUDIES

Another company called Board.com has many Case Studies which demonstrates they’ve been in business for quite a while. They even group the case studies by industry, making it easier for prospective customers to get the information they’re looking for faster.

FIGURE 2 BOARD.COM CASE STUDIES

So what problems have you solved for your current customers? Have you crafted those success stories into Case Studies yet?

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

If you’re like the 61% of B2B marketers who lack resource, contact me to let me help you get started.

Read more on how Special Report can develop your Thought Leadership.

Older Posts »