These are tough times...I think we all know that!
But, it's in times like these that we see the true character of people.
There are those who will only think of themselves, and we've seen a lot of that so far, and there are those who will open their hearts and minds and lead the way to a better future.
Yes, the world is in turmoil and people are scared, but it's how we deal with all of the negative stuff, that will determine whether we succeed and continue to grow, or fail.
This morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said "This Corona-virus will break out hearts, but it will not break our spirit".
Are You a Leader or a Follower?
Will you stand up and fight?
Will you Advance your troops to Victory, or will you Retreat and Surrender?
Or, will you hide in foxhole, hoping against all hope that everything will be OK and wait it out until the battle is over?
You have choices. What will yours be?
It's Not All Bad.
Really? No it's Not!
But how can you say that with all that's going on?
Sure, many businesses have and will continue to be affected more than others. Some will be taken to the brink and some will fall off the cliff!
But, those businesses that "think outside of the box" for new ways to attract and new ways to serve their customers will have a much better chance of surviving this crisis.
For just one minute, let's take a deep breath (breathe in... and... breathe out). Now. let's steel ourselves for the task at hand and move forward in a much more positive manner.
Good Things are Happening.
Firstly, the Australian Federal Government is releasing Billions of Dollars in Stimulus Packages and that means extra money in the pockets of your customers.
You will already have heard (assuming you haven't been hiding under a rock) the first round of stimulus is aimed predominantly at people who will spend it, that is pensioners, including people on Newstart, Disability, Seniors, Veterans, Family Tax Recipients, and so on. These recipients are a large portion of the population, and that brings many opportunities for your business.
Secondly, there's Small Business, just like yours, who will receive various incentives to purchase assets, there is tax relief, there is funds for apprentices, etc. There's much more detail in this part of the stimulus, but I'll leave that to the experts.
And, there is still much more Stimulus to come.
As I write this blog over the weekend and today, another $66 Billion has been released for the most vulnerable who receive Centrelink Benefits. Today, the Prime Minister has also stated that there will be much more to come as the need arises.
So, do you want to get your piece of it, or are you going to let others take it away from you?
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to stand up and fight for your livelihood?
Do you have a plan already in action, or are you planning to "wait and see"?
Now is the time to TURBO CHARGE your content marketing efforts and to stand out from your competitors.
Do you have a content marketing strategy to get you through to the other side?
No? Why Not?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
I believe, that this is the worst time to stall marketing and promotion of your business. If you stop, you are virtually guaranteed to be one of the also rans, one of the used to be's.
And, that would be a huge waste, considering all he blood and sweat that you've put into achieving where your business is today.
What Message Are You Giving Your Customers?
What are you communicating to your customers and followers?
Are you being positive?
Are you communicating with them at all?
Do you send email promotions?
Do you offer them incentives to spend?
Are you telling them that you are ready and waiting for their business?
Or, are you portraying hopelessness and despair?
Yes, it may be difficult to be positive right now, I get that... I run a small business too.
But we must be a shining light in times of difficulty. It is our duty to spread positive vibes to all that we possibly can.
Positive behaviour spreads more positive behaviour, just like negative behaviour spreads more negative behaviour. You only need to watch the News, read the newspapers and watch social media.
Which behaviour will you choose?
What Kind of Leader are You?
Will you forge ahead and grasp victory from the jaws of defeat? Or, will you shy away from responsibility and concede defeat? You Have A Choice!
If you choose to Stand Up and Fight for your livelihood, for your staff and for your customers, and you need assistance with your Content Marketing, then you should contact me and let's create positive action and get positive results happening together.
When you write a blog post or article you want people to read it. But what if they don't?
When you write, you write with passion...you plan, you write, you amend, you critique and you finally publish.
You know in your heart it's a great article and it's targeted at the correct audience...and then no one reads it, no one comments on it and no one shares it!!!
How Devastating it feels!
You get down on yourself and perhaps you treat yourself a little harshly, blaming yourself for not being good enough. STOP RIGHT THERE!
It's not you, well not entirely...you simply need to chalk it up to experience and make a few adjustments, a few tweaks for next time.
Writing a little less, condensing your words and breaking the text into more easily readable chunks, will help keep the readers attention.
What does the reader want?
Actually, think about what you want when you read an article or you're searching the Internet for information.
What you want is what the reader wants, so let's look at how you can make some simple but highly effective changes to your article or blog post that will improve readability.
1. Instant Gratification.
The reader wants a solution as quickly and as hassle-free as possible without having to search through a multitude of websites. So, how do you keep them engaged and not look elsewhere?
2. Be Quick about it.
In our informative years we were taught to expand on our ideas and explain in more depth. Unfortunately, that doesn't work when someone wants an answer, RIGHT NOW.
The fact is, people will scan through a document to find the information they want. Don't fight the unwinnable fight...make it easy for them. Give the important stuff at the beginning and let them decide if it's worth digging deeper.
A great tip from Jakob Nielson, structure content in inverted pyramid style, which means start at the conclusion and work backwards from there to support your argument. This way the reader gets the important stuff at the start, and can decide if they'd like to delve deeper for a more comprehensive understanding.
3. Break It Down.
Like MC Hammer...someone's showing their age!
If your article is about a complicated or involved subject, think about breaking it down into separate blog posts.
This is also a great way to leave the reader hanging, and want to come back for more.
4. Embrace the (white) Space
I'll always remember at school, some kids while writing their English assignment, would use spacing to maximum advantage to make their assignment look longer than it actually was. While that may have been considered a bad thing by your teacher, it is in reality an essential concept.
White space is your friend and makes articles so much easier to read; even more complicated ones.
5. Use Subheadings to Break Up your Article
Strong headings, as they have been employed within this blog, helps to attract the readers initial interest, then helps to keep them engaged to want to read more.
Headings need to intrigue and inform, but must always be relevant, realistic and reflect the information within the article. NO B.S. headings or over the top promises that you can't live up to.
6. Use Bullet Points for Effect
Bullets points help to break up your text and draw attention:
7. Use Deep Image Captions (Infographics)
Studies by researchers show that images with captions are some of the most highly read content on a page. See Square2Marketings' 8 Benefits of Infographics
Using a strong image with a caption of 2-3 lines can help to clearly demonstrate a message and encourage your reader to look deeper into your article.
8. Use Links to Help with Understanding
Using both internal and external links can do two things:
9. Bold Text Helps to Highlight Important Details
Including bold text draws attention and assists the reader to scan through your article to find key details. Be frugal though, as over-use of bold text has the same effect as no bold text. Understand?
10. The Power of Numbers
Adding numbers next to headings and lists help engage and capture attention to assist your reader in keeping their bearings within your article, so they don't get lost.
How often when you search for a solution on the web do you see titles like this?
11. Check Your Formatting
One of the most important things, and often over-looked, is to check your formatting before you publish your article or blog.
Check headings, bullet points, numbers and highlighted text to ensure your message is clear, concise and flows naturally to allow ease of reading.
12. Just Walk Away
Lastly, be patient, take a break, give it a little time to review before you publish. You'll always find after a few reviews of your article that you could have written it better.
Follow these great tips and you'll have more people to read your content, stay longer, return for more, be more likely follow you and share your content.
Since Adam was still in shorts, this is a question that many have asked, pondered over and either nailed or failed to come up with a definitive answer.
So, what makes you different? What's unique about you or your business? Why am I going to put my trust in you, instead of the next guy or girl?
Why a customer decides to choose your business to buy products and services from, above a multitude of others takes some time and effort to understand. And, if you fail to grasp what it actually is, then you'll continue to experience hit and miss results until you figure it out.
If I said it was your USP, would you look at me with a knowing smile or would your face be like a blank piece of paper?
What's a USP?
A USP is quite simply, your Unique Selling Proposition and it could be absolutely anything. It's the winning difference that makes people want to do business with you over any other. Some examples:
In this great article from Copyblogger.com, who I often turn to when I'm looking for inspiration because they always seem to be able to look at things from a unique perspective: Take 15 Minutes to Find Your Winning Difference it explains and discusses your USP in more depth. The article provides 3 x 5 minute rather clever and quite brilliant thought provoking exercises to help work your way through to discovering your USP.
I'll leave you to delve deeper into that; it really is well worth the 15 minutes, but in the mean time continue reading and you'll see my USP.
What's your USP?
Whether your USP is you personally, your products, your service or something else entirely, you need to find it, understand it, act on it and live it. If you can do these things you'll have a very good chance of being successful.
OK, so like I said, here's my USP. I believe this is what makes me different, and I live by it.
My USP is based on my persona, since I'm a freelance copywriter and the business is me. Without me the business doesn't exist.
So the question goes:
Brett, what makes you different from any other copywriter, so I'd want you to do all my copywriting from now on?
My response might go something like this:
My sense of humour is a little quirky and sometimes mildly inappropriate, and that comes across in my writing style, which means that you can guarantee when I right for you it will be like no other. I write creative and engaging copy that will have customers falling over themselves to buy your products and services. I offer a reliable, affordable and friendly copywriting service and I can assure you that I'll meet your deadline every time without fail.
Ok, it's a bit long but it states quite clearly what a client will get when they work with me, and I can back it up with proof via my website portfolio. They'll either like it or they won't. You can't please everybody.
However, as long as you are confident and believe in your USP it will shine through in everything that you do, and most importantly your customers will believe it too.
Copybloggers' Sonia Simone says this: These days, your winning difference depends more on who you’re selling to more than the features of what you’re selling.
You need to stake out a favorable position in the minds of those you’re trying to attract, even while turning the wrong people away.
Let's wrap this up.
To understand your Winning Difference you'll need to put some time into it. Put your thinking cap on, read Copybloggers article Take 15 Minutes to Find Your Winning Difference, read books, do research, go meditate on top of the tallest mountain, or whatever it takes and you'll come up with a Great USP.
Happy hunting for your USP, I know you'll find it. Ooh, look...there it is!
Why would you want to hire a freelance copywriter?
Because Freelance Copywriters are AWESOME!
Ok, I jest a little here, but there are many great freelance copywriters in the web universe. You just need to know how to differentiate between the great and not so great ones, and which ones are a good fit for your business style.
So, what's the difference between a freelance copywriter and a copywriting agency?
Freelance copywriters are a nomadic bunch who travel to all parts of the world while they write to cover their travel costs. Well, that's what many of the marketing emails I receive say anyway. And, all you need is a laptop, and if you can string a few sentences together you are good to go. No Experience Necessary!
In reality, a freelance copywriter is more likely a one man/or woman band who works from a home office, is highly experienced, and has worked as a professional in one or more other industries prior to becoming a copywriter. They may also have run their own bricks and mortar or online businesses and they utilise all of those skills and experiences to create engaging and enticing copy for businesses just like yours. They've most likely walked a mile or two in your shoes.
Whereas, a copywriting agency is usually a large and clunky organisation with many employees, who will only work with big business who can afford them. A sweeping generalisation, I know, but there is a truth there.
A freelance copywriter will get to know you and your business.
A freelance copywriters' job is to know your business, how it works, what types of products and services you sell, what makes you different from others, how your business portrays itself and so on. They'll ask many questions to get into the "nitty gritty" details to understand all of the "ins and outs" of what makes everything tick, so they can write the absolute best copy that will set your business apart from all others.
A freelance copywriter only gets paid when the job's done.
A freelance copywriter only gets paid once they complete a copywriting project to the satisfaction of their client. However, most will require some portion of an upfront payment as a gesture of goodwill, trust and commitment of both parties and to ensure that you are serious about using their services.
A freelance copywriter has many adaptable skills.
A great freelance copywriter has spent many years honing their skills. An experienced copywriter is not only skilled in writing high quality and engaging copy but should also have great communication and interpersonal skills. Add to that, many copywriters may have previously worked in fields such as finance, legal, media, consultancy or similar which bring great life experiences and expertise.
A great freelance copywriter is not someone who has just decided "at the drop of a hat" to become a copywriter because someone told them, all they need is a laptop and to be able to string a sentence or two together.
How do you know you are dealing with a Quality freelance copywriter?
How do you know the difference between a great freelance copywriter and a bad one?
The simplest way is to ask for examples of their previous work. Actually, a quality copywriter will be upfront at the beginning and should make this easy for you, by showing examples on their own website. You can also take a look at the quality of their own blog and writing style to see if they are a suitable fit for your own business.
So, there it is. A great freelance copywriter should have these qualities:
I could go on, but that would be quantity over quality and great freelance copywriters don't do that!
I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to comment, as always.
In my last post, Smart Content Marketing Strategies for Promoting your Website - Part 1, I talked about creating content for your website that your followers will find useful, informative, helpful and powerful.
Next, let's take a look as the social sharing side of things.
Social Media is a powerful medium for sharing your content and is a great way to connect with people and promote your brand. Social sharing also gives your content maximum exposure.
Let's say you write a blog post on your website and it's a real beauty, you believe it's the absolute best piece of content that you've ever created. It's well written, it's informative, it's extremely powerful and it will make a difference to people's daily lives.
OK, It's a bloody fantastic work of art!!! Everyone needs to see it.
But you don't share it to social media! You've just missed a great and huge opportunity!
So, you've done all the things that you should; the content is optimised for search engines, it'll help to increase your website ranking, but unless it's shared socially, it's pretty much quarantined to your website blog and it's exposure will be minimal.
You can add social sharing buttons to your post and that will help if someone reads your post and likes it enough to share. This will help somewhat...it's a start, but not enough.
So, what happens if you share your post directly to Facebook and Twitter?
Firstly, you've just extended your contents' reach beyond people who find your post through search engines and your blog followers.
Secondly, you've further extended it's reach to people who like your Facebook page and Twitter account, and if you share your post on your FB feed it's just gone out to all your friends. Both of these groups will now potentially share it with their friends and so on...get the picture, yet?
And Thirdly, you have the option of paid promotion through FB and now can target people specially interested in your particular niche.
As you can now see, your "Work of Art blog" has extended its reach far beyond your website.
I'd call that a Big Win wouldn't you?
Imagine if you captured the attention of just one reader who has hundreds or even thousand of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, how great would that be?
By sharing this one little post through Social Media you've now created the potential for so many opportunities which may convert to more regular readers, more leads, more sales, more growth and more success.
So, if you aren't social sharing your content with others, why not?
Getting your website noticed takes time, effort and some amount of money. However, not everyone has a huge budget to promote their website, and even if you do, it takes more than simply throwing money at it to obtain long lasting results.
If you think that advertising is the best use of your $$$ then you'd be right to a certain extent, well at least until your website achieves a higher natural ranking by Google. The drawback however, is that as soon as you stop spending on advertising then your results quickly slip away.
So, what's the alternative, or more accurately what else can you do concurrently to get your website where it needs to be?
The answer is Content Marketing.
You need a smart content marketing strategy
What does a smart content marketing strategy involve? Let's take a look.
Understand your competitors
Identify who your competitors are, what they do and how you can be different to set yourself apart and to stand out among the crowd. A number of software tools exist which can help with this; some have free or low cost trials. Which ones you use in the long term will depend on your budget.Once you've checked out your competitors, base your web content strategy around how you can differentiate yourself from them, rather than copy what they do.
Ok, so does this blog post qualify as Smart Content Marketing?
Quality - Yes, well constructed and not too long
Helpful - Yes, provides some good tips about what to do
Useful - Yes, details may be used by others for their own content creation
Informative -Yes, helps to get the brainstorming happening and has links to good tools
Powerful - Yes, enough information without going too deeply and losing audience interest
As always, feel free to give your feedback. Without feedback from others how do we all know if we are meeting our customers needs and expectations?
In my next post I'll talk about the Social Sharing side of Content Marketing.
So, you have a great looking website...woohoo! You're off to really good start.
But wait, there's more! Isn't there always?
Having a beautiful and sexy looking website isn't enough...not by a long shot.
For one thing, you need to keep it fresh and exciting to keep the masses coming.
However, it doesn't stop there; you also need to think outside of your "website box" and include Social Media and Email as well.
I mean really, who wants beautiful and sexy with zero substance? Like any relationship, once the honeymoon is over and the gloss wears off, your tribe of loyal followers will soon get bored and look for gratification elsewhere, unless you put more effort in, i.e. Content Marketing.
Content Marketing is the perfect solution.
A great content marketing strategy may include such things as blogs, articles, how to guides, special offers, newsletters, Facebook or Instagram posts and so on.
OK, so let's look at the multitude of reasons for keeping things fresh and exciting through Content Marketing:
How is your Content Marketing Strategy?
Boring, Decidedly Average, Irregular at Best, or Completely Non-existent?
Would you prefer to cross your fingers and hope for the best?
Or, do you want to get real and do something about it?
If you answered the latter, you can reach me at my contact page and let's get this Content Marketing thing happening. Go You Good Thing!
Statistical Sources: Content Marketing Institute, Forbes.com