Results Driven Customer Services Focus


Picture of a deeply inspired person focused on a starlit sky.photo c/o Steve Halama, Unsplash.com

Taking Your Content to the Next Level

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When you have a special project that, first and foremost, absolutely must capture the attention of your targeted or intended audience, you want to make sure that your message does indeed reach that audience, right? How do you ensure that happens and once you have reached that audience, what next?

Marketing your content to reach the greatest potential number of your ideal audience online today is a complex and challenging prospect. On one hand, you feel that you have written exceptional content that millions will not only see but feel deeply compelled to click through to find out more. On the other hand, you feel that through your research on the subjects of ‘audience reach’ and ‘audience engagement’, you have mastered the technique of grabbing your readers’ attention. Still, you find that your results are minimal and perhaps even trailing behind your previous content publication.

So what on earth is going wrong? You’re frustrated that after endless hours of time and inspired effort you continue to struggle with reaching your audience, triggering their interactive responses to your content, clicking through to various pages on your website and advancing to the ‘shopping cart’ phase of purchasing what you have to offer.

Steps Toward Better Business Results

The process of marketing your business online today continues to be increasingly complex, challenging you every step of the way and you feel like you’re spinning your wheels. Spending valuable hours of your business day focused on content marketing for the promotion of your business seems like a prudent and necessary activity right? It most certainly is important. 

Whether you have staff that can attend to effective website development and updates in conjunction with current day standards that must incorporate Google’s algorithm updates and web content standards, social media marketing, website blog content development, search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertising copy (analytics data analysis, keyword research, ideal targeted audience demographics, and ongoing social media management),  or you are a one person operation and have to bring it all together on your own, be prepared for initial and ongoing research to make sure you stay abreast of best and preferred practices and schedule sufficient time to address those tasks.

This article is not intended to be exhaustive in terms of detail regarding each subject covered here. This will serve as an overview with touch points on key aspects of achieving greater audience reach, engagement and forward response to the purchase stages of your relationship.

Website Name, Registration & Development

Assuming that you have fully developed your ‘Brand Story’ and Business Plan in advance of your new business startup, determination of exactly who your targeted audience/customer/clients will be, and what financial resources you will have as startup capital to set up your business and get it launched, the next critical step is to set up your new website name and URL registration and plan for the physical development of the new website.

Website Name

  • Never decide on a website name in haste. Your business name must clearly define in a few well-placed words what you have to offer. The first instinct is often to come up with an artistic, catchy business name that may be unique and intriguing but does it immediately tell your potential audience/customers what product, services or cause you offer or represent? Don’t make people guess or you will lose them in a heartbeat; if in doubt, they click out! In advance, you need to determine what small group of core keywords represents your business.
  • While keeping your business name brief, make sure you incorporate a critical keyword or two which represent the primary service(s), product(s) or cause(s) of your focus. If you anticipate expanding your services, product line or cause focus, be sure to allow for that differential in your website name determination. 
  • Before formal registration of your business name and website, determine a second and third alternative business and website name as there is a possibility that your first choice may already be chosen and registered. Avoid potential legal challenges in future that may ensue because of a business or website name duplication with another legitimate business entity.
  • Research thoroughly in advance on best practices for the development of your business name. Draw from the experience of experts in this facet of your new business startup to ensure that your company name is effective in identifying what you have to offer and one that is unique to your competitors’ business names in a distinctive way. Your business name should also be easily remembered.

Website Registration

  • Once you have established your preferred website name, you need to secure that business name and website URL address as an exclusive business entity with sole rights to the chosen name/URL through official registration with the appropriate provincial, state or other local or regional authorities designated for legal website name and URL registration.
  • Do advance research to ensure that you understand critical issues and legalities surrounding the selection and registration of your new business website address/URL.
  • Website Domain:  Research the pros and cons of having an exclusive and primary website domain vs. a sub-domain. There is the argument that sub-domains will cause many to perceive your business as less professional/successful because you have not acquired your own domain. In the case of your own domain, you purchase the exclusive right to your own primary/proprietary domain. If you have a free hosted website platform where you have not purchased a domain, your website or blog URL will include the name of the site host in addition to your own chosen business/URL name. A sub-domain has a much longer/elongated URL address which is much more difficult for people to remember accurately.

Website Development

  • When looking at which website or blog hosting service you wish to acquire, pay particular attention to not only price (free/premium) but all conceivable aspects of functionality, what add-ons will be charged extra, domain stipulations, terms of use and so on. Also, check customer reviews in detail. Are there any highly negative comments that would cause you to raise a red flag? Be sure that in the event you wish to go to a different hosting service in future you are fully able to transfer your site content from the current to the new website.
  • Restrictive Functionality:  You will find that the level of site builder functionality varies between website hosting services. Are plugins included or are they a chargeable extra? What features are included (or not) i.e. shared or dedicated hosting, managed WordPress hosting, type of servers i.e. Windows/Linux, data storage and transfer limits, and more. Research hosting service reviews on sites like PCMag.com through searches i.e. “top website hosting services”.
  • Website Navigation: Plan for the website navigation menu and parent (primary) vs child (secondary/sub) pages in advance. Base your website pages and content on the purpose of your website and how it will best represent your company brand story development and core products, services or cause presentation and promotion. Assign easily recognizable web page names to avoid guessing or visitor navigational problems from occurring. If a visitor feels confused about where to go on a website and ends up struggling to find the desired page, they will click out in anger and never return.
  • Site Search Engine Optimization:  This aspect of website development remains an essential component and plays a critical role in how visible your website will be to search engines, how well-represented your core business focus is and the kind of content quality and user/informational value visitors will find when they arrive on your landing/home page. You should have determined your core set of keywords/keyword phrases in advance. 
  • Be sure to research in advance all current and relevant content requirements as defined by search engine algorithmic updates and related guidelines. Do NOT leave this to chance and attempt to determine on your own what is or is not critical in this regard. Google is by far the largest and most authoritative search engine on the internet today. Refer to Google Webmasters for support and tools/resources. Do NOT ignore the Google guidelines with respect to website content.
  • Take the critical time needed to research through industry experts like SiteProNews and Social Media Examiner to become aware and understanding of current SEO best practices. Google launches periodic and fairly frequent algorithmic updates and guidelines, therefore you cannot simply develop your new website or blog site based on guidelines at the time of your business website launch alone. Always stay up to date with frequency through research to avoid dismal website/page ranking and poor positioning in search engine results pages. If your site is placed beyond the first or second page of search results on the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask are currently the top 4) your site will be virtually invisible or ignored. Most people do not review sites listed beyond the second results page of their search.
  • Site Navigation:  Again, research expert articles regarding best practices for website development. Site navigation must be quick and easy for your site visitors. Statistically, new visitors to a website will spend no more than 7 or 8 seconds on the landing page to sum up in their mind whether they are on the right track for finding the information they want and need and if they cannot find that information fast they will click out and never return…another potential customer lost. Refrain from getting artistic about names you choose for your navigational (page title) tabs. If your visitors have to guess at which page tabs to click on and discover they have arrived at the wrong page, they will be frustrated and click out permanently.
  • ‘Responsive’ Website Design:  The number of internet browsers today are doing so via ‘mobile’ technology in addition to or instead of a desktop or laptop computer. The rising number of web browsers on mobile is staggering and increasing to eventually become the most common way to browse the internet while on the go. The portability of mobiles allows users to connect online wherever they are over the course of their day. As such, make doubly sure that your website is ‘mobile responsive’; critical to reaching a huge segment of the market who now opt for the portable online means to browse the internet.

Website Content

  • Once again, I cannot stress enough the importance of researching in advance to find best practices for your website content including your blog articles and your other primary pages where highly informative content tells your visitors/prospective customers exactly what services you provide or products you offer or what cause(s) you would like them to support.
  • Determine in advance how best to structure your page content, how much content is recommended, the type of visual elements that best represent what you offer and most relevant to the subject matter of each page, how to optimize images through “alt text”, best practices for search engine optimization in terms of content quality and practical usability, infusion of keywords and their density, the use of semantic wording, phrases and sentences vs keywords
  • Enhance user experience by linking from one of your website pages to another. Use ‘organic’ words and phrases that occur/read back naturally within the context of your content. This practice also helps to improve page/site ranking by the search engines. The more visitors click on such navigational linking, the longer they remain on your website, a key indicator of visitor engagement to the search engines.

Page Titles and Headline/Subheading Formatting/Tagging

  • As you can see from my article headlines and subheadings here, I have applied an alternative font color and font size in order that the headlines (or subheads when used) are readily visible. Stay as close to only two textual content colors only that tie in well with your website and logo theme colors. I have also formatted each of the primary article title (H1) and subheadings (H2) and by doing so, such formatting is a clear signal to search engines what the article entails as a whole and in part through the subheading and bulleted information throughout the article. This formatting of content supports the search engine bot scanning for page and site ranking and ultimate search engine results page (SERP) positioning. This type of formatting is a critical and powerful form of SEO that all website content writers need to implement to increase their overall site/page rank.

Website Content Quality & Informative Usefulness to Customers

As a business owner/administrator today who is reaching out to their potential/targeted audience for the purpose of attracting new customers, clients, or increased website traffic, engagement and purchase decisions, newsletter and blog subscribers, new leads generation, authority/expertise building and more, you MUST get away from pushing the sales element of your messaging to your reading/site visiting audience.

For years now, the consensus for web content best practices included heavy keyword and keyword phrase content (to the point of virtual keyword dumping or ‘spamming’). The major search engines no longer accept that type of black hat approach to website content development. Website browsers/users/searches are sick and tired of being constantly bombarded with nothing but heavy-handed sales pitches; “buy me, buy me, buy me”. 

Current expert consensus reveals that content marketers need to focus on what is best for their potential customers and develop their content accordingly. High-quality content that includes website content that is highly informative and immediately usable by our site visitors. Focus on your audience’ wants and needs through your content vs. that undesirable sales pitch.

Speak to your audience in a clear and concise content presentation that is easy to understand and identifies specific problems that your various customers experience, and identify how you and your products or services can solve those problems and make their life easier/better. Your readers should readily identify with the problems and solutions that you present as their own! Differentiate yourself from your competition by showing them why they should pick you or your products or services as the better choice, the better solution for them.

Specific Customer Problems & Solutions

To illustrate the foregoing, I will share with you who my typical and potential clients would be based on the services I provide and what solutions I offer that will help my clients realize best possible results with their textual content or copy. This is a general overview rather than an exhaustive itemization but the following will give you a sense of where your focus needs to be in terms of customer/client services or product development and sales and how you should represent them in your website content and online and offline marketing efforts accordingly.

Authors:

Whether a first-time publishing author or a seasoned pro in the publishing sphere, my author clients will approach me on several different fronts:

  • they want a solid start to their publishing endeavors right out of the gate with a clean, error-free, fluid, consistent, highly engaging and polished publication product that provides a first-rate reading experience for their potential customer market.
  • they want their readers to build in numbers through solid reviews, extensive sharing of their marketing copy and consistently growing readership through their product excellence, marketing and advertising efforts and consumer referrals.
  • they are experiencing difficulty producing unique and highly engaging content that differentiates them from competitor authors (of which the numbers of new authors has grown exponentially).
  • they have a general difficulty with the writing essentials of the English language including typos, spelling and syntax errors, incorrect grammatical applications, errors or oversights in capitalization, flagrant misuse of punctuation, poor structural/developmental or substantive content presentation that results in inconsistent, choppy, confusing storylines, inconsistent character development and more.
  • they have the drive and prolific writing dynamics which result in exceptional reader experiences and they have an unquenchable desire to reach the bestselling author distinction but need guidance in terms of how to achieve that desired and lofty level of publishing supremacy.

As a textual editor, proofreader, formatting and writing analyst, I provide the essential services which resolve the types of issues described above and/or help the author move ever closer to the bestseller circles through superior publications quality and reader experience. Be clear on this point: an editor or proofreading professional does NOT rewrite the author’s manuscript in part or whole. Our role is one of defining technical issues and suggested revisions to address those issues.

Editorial Services

Through a three to four-round content analysis process, it is my function to identify errors and omissions that are intermittently evident through my client’s book or novel manuscript and suggest correct applications and/or wording alternatives that would otherwise enhance the reader experience. The level of my participation in the overall editorial process depends on what my client is seeking as necessary from their perspective and/or my own perspective once I have had an opportunity to peruse the submitted manuscript copy.

In addition to the editorial aspects of publishing services I also provide manuscript formatting consultation and services to ensure that each manuscript submission is fully compliant with publisher guidelines. Where manuscripts are submitted with conflicting format issues that result in a poor reading experience, the publisher will reject the submission until such formatting issues have been fully resolved.

Copywriting Services

One of the critical elements of book or novel publishing is the ‘book description’ which is otherwise known in the publishing industry as a marketing tool known as a ‘sales pitch blurb’. This descriptive element on the author’s retail page is one of the first things a visiting consumer will review when determining whether to make a purchase. There is also opportunity within the ‘front matter’ and back cover for similar marketing copy which is designed to enhance and further the purchasing decision process. Where an author client does not feel they have sufficient skill in the marketing content writing side of publication, I provide copywriting services accordingly.

Business Professionals

Business professionals, whether a company owner or senior/marketing executive, will approach me to seek my advice and editorial/copywriting services for their communications and marketing content, advertising copy, website content, brand development, recognition, increased website traffic and engagement, enhanced marketing strategy for increased sales volume, optimized internal and external communications and more.

The challenges that business professionals faced can be multifaceted and not necessarily skills-related. Time restrictions for a company executive may ultimately be the biggest roadblock for them to effectively and efficiently produce the right type of copy presentation that drives business decisions, employee adherence to company models or guidelines, sensitive communications.

A business professional also needs to ensure that whether in-house or outsourced, the company’s marketing and advertising copy is exceptional in its delivery and revenues are enhanced as a result.

As a content/copy editor and writer/copywriter, I employ similar services as described above for author clients but more heavily focused on the textual content or copywriting disciplines to achieve mandated results for business professionals.

In closing, there are parallels to be drawn with my editorial and writing/content development services on behalf of clients. Each in their own way aspires to arrive at a superior product or service level which in turn helps them to achieve their own respective objectives in terms of product development and sales. 

Irrespective of overall project objectives, you will want to deliver the best possible product or services experience to your own clientele or customers. Maintain a clear focus on what the client wants and needs to resolve their problems whether specific to the individual or company you service or more industry centric as a whole. Develop your content, marketing and advertising copy and communications to the highest standard and presented to the client from their own perspective.

Effective Problem Solutions & Customer Trust

Offer highly relatable solutions to the problems specific to each client and you will see positive change in your overall customer experience and revenues. People respond to those product and service providers that they establish trust in and know will have their best interests at heart. Results driven customer services focus wins the day.

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© Don MacIver, Lasting Impressions Editing 2017; All Rights Reserved

What Constitutes a Great Sales Pitch Blurb for Author Publications?


ebook-e-book-ipad-tabletSo you’re an author with a newly written book manuscript, ready for submission to the publisher for release and public retail distribution and you’re asking yourself what’s next? Well first of all, congratulations on achieving what so many only dream of doing!

Now that you’ve created the product to be the best that it can possibly be, proofread and edited to bring on the polish, painstakingly poured over every word and every line to ensure that your content is structurally and substantively sound and error free, the next step is submission of the cover design and manuscript to your chosen publisher/distributor for their final run through their conversion software in readiness for releasing the book for retail marketing and distribution.

Full stop! Once ready for submission, the author still has another essential element of the publication process yet to complete; the ‘Book Description’ or in industry terms the ‘Sales Pitch Blurb’ which are most often one and the same. If you take a look on the author retail pages of new publications on the publisher’s website you will see a cover design image of each title illustrating the front cover of each book being sold.

Right next to those cover images you will typically see the ‘Book Description’, often known from a marketing perspective as the ‘Sales Pitch Blurb’. For many of you who purchase or publish books on Amazon.com you will be quite familiar with the general format of ‘The Blurb’. The blurb is also frequently found on the back cover of print format publications and this variation will depend on publisher platform and in some instances author preference where afforded.

Purpose of the Blurb

Next to the cover design visual itself, the book description or sales pitch blurb is the most critical marketing element of your book presentation on the publishing platform. The browsing consumer has read promotional copy that you have posted to social media or a paid advertisement which links back to the author publishing page. They land on the new publication retail page and hopefully, after a number of passing seconds of close scrutiny of your book cover design, they are most suitably impressed and wanting to find out more.

The next step for the browsing consumer is to check out your book description whether on the back cover of the book they hold in their hand within the book store itself or as an accompaniment to the cover image on your online publisher retail page. After having engaged enthusiastically in the cover image let’s assume that the consumer is anxious to see more. They begin to read the book description which for all intent and purpose is the sales pitch blurb that will compel the consumer to buy your book!

The blurb is the quintessential tool for capturing the potential buyer’s attention and interest. This is the critical marketing copy that will either make or break the sale assuming that the consumer has not received a very strong recommendation about the book by someone with whom they implicitly trust.

What You Should Include in Your Blurb

You want to make sure that your book description or sales pitch blurb, whether associated directly with your author retail page as described above or incorporated into sales copy for a paid advertisement, is a carefully and skillfully executed enticement that provides an overview/glimpse of the storyline in a well-crafted blend of the primary characters to snippets of intriguing glimpses of geographical locations, powerful scenes and internal/external situational influences, tantalizing measures of fragrance, feel and anticipation without giving too much of the story away. Remember, you want to develop a sense of great anticipation and the desire to purchase the book to get the whole story! Give away too much and what is the sense of the consumer buying the book?

If you have not yet written a sales pitch blurb or book description nor engaged in any formalized copywriting, my strongest suggest to you is to either hire a copywriter to prepare the blurb for you or at the very least do extensive research in advance of essentially copywriting the blurb. This is not something you can sail through on a wing and a prayer. There is a skill level to copywriting that is essential to understanding the development of this critical piece and you cannot afford to leave this to chance.

Unless you quickly capture and retain the consumer’s attention, at least sufficiently to want to read the sample content preview that comes with the cover design or immediately add your book to their purchase cart, you will lose them fast. There is no room for mundane, generic content in the blurb’s development.

Copywriting is defined as written content which is intended to increase brand awareness and to persuade the consumer to decide to act i.e. to hire, to read, to purchase. This specialized form of content writing is the strategic delivery of words that will get people to take action and is one of the most essential components of online marketing. Effective copywritng takes time to research, study and analyse its essential cause and effect; to understand which approach to writing copy will have the greatest effect on the consumer/reader.

Need to Know:  The copywriter must understand what their targeted audience’ perspective on things is; your message must align with how your prospective customer sees things. Consider carefully what readers love most of all about your genre. What motivates them to keep coming back for more and for the first time buyer who does not know your work, what is this particular author all about and why are people reading his or her publications?

Know and understand what the reader’s motivations and desires are and ultimately, the copywriter must meet the basic expectations and go beyond to exceed their expectations! The author’s story must also meet and exceed the consumer’s expectations but that is a subject for later discussion outside of this topic.

Power Points for Emotional Triggers

Now that you have the basis of an understanding of the psychology behind the words that go into your sales pitch blurb, now let’s take a look at the essential elements of the blurb that you need to adhere to that will help to ensure that your book description/blurb do as intended effectively from a marketing perspective.

Develop Immediate Curiosity

  • Throughout the blurb, give the browsing consumer a hint of the plot. Use short, descriptive sentences that give away a little of the storyline, just enough to stimulate or entice curiosity and the desire to purchase.

Paint a Vivid Picture

  • This visual in the reader’s mind is so critical. They must easily relate to what they are reading. Use touch points that highlight locations, landscape and building structures central to the story. Liken elements of the book to the styling of similar popular publications/authors of the same genre and draw on the reader’s growing sense of anticipation with references to essential situational plot.

Effective Character Identification & Development

  • Identify your primary characters , their occupations or notoriety and the essence of their purpose or role in the story.

Set The Scene

  •  Identify the primary geographic location(s) featured in the book. Use engaging, descriptive wording to enhance the reader’s sense of fascination and excitement and its potential significance to the story.

Pose a Relevant and Stimulating Question

  • Draw the reader into the story with reference to a question that must be answered. Compel the browsing consumer to read on, to buy the book with this technique!

Use of Exaggerated or Sensational, Overstated Language

  • Use ‘Hyperbole’ in your descriptive language by using expressions which excite the imagination characterized by obvious and intentional exaggeration when describing critical situations that present themselves. Avoid bland descriptions that do not stimulate interest, curiosity or excitement and the desire to find out what happens in the story!

Book Reviews, Quotes, Reference to Your Previous Books

  • Use references where your book has been compared to that of another notable/popular author’s style.
  • When you have sought out advance book reviews for your new publication, highlight particularly vivid and expressive quotes by readers who have raved about your new release.

Length of the Blurb

  • Authors vary the length of their sales pitch blurb/book descriptions to a degree, at times designed to accommodate space allocation and location of the blurb whether as the book description on the author retail page of the publisher, front matter of the book or back cover copy. The blurb length, again depending on space allocation and placement of the copy, will range from approximately 150 words to 325 words. Usually the book description field will identify the maximum word count permitted. Take advantage of the specified allowable word count to effectively market your publication. Wherever possible my copy tends to be just over the 300 word mark. 150 words does not give you much space to cover the essentials to best advantage.
  • Keep clearly in mind the significant importance of the ‘sales pitch blurb’; it is the most essential and immediate marketing tool associated with the book publication and typically what browsing consumers review right after they initially scan and engage in the front cover design and its textual elements. Make every word palpable and compelling to motive the sale!

Sample Sales Pitch Blurb for a Published Book

Following is an example of a sales pitch blurb/book description that I wrote for my own most recent publication, a collection of my fifth volume of original works of poetry and prose titled ‘HEARTLANDS’, an Amazon.com publication. The actual copy and its tone selected for your particular publication and its genre will predicate how your blurb reads out but the principles of its composition, as relayed here previously, are incorporated in the piece and will give you a sense the framework needed to build an effective sales pitch blurb.

HEARTLANDS; TAKE THE JOURNEY

Sample ‘Sales Pitch Blurb’

Poet, writer Don MacIver has once again drawn upon his innermost emotional connection to contemporary prose and poetic verse, greatly influenced by all things that continuously inspire and foster visual perceptions through his written word and the desire to follow our own dreams.

Heartlands, a diverse range of highly responsive poetic works, takes the reader through a deeply personal engagement of life experiences and our natural surroundings that impact our living experience in a profound and enriching way that makes Heartlands a personal library favorite. Finding the ultimate connection whether through inspiration, romance and relationships, the powerful and deeply personal impact of our homeland, loss of a loved one, the tragedy of global military conflicts or just plain whimsical fancy; it’s all here on the pages of this exceptional fourth volume of this writer’s original works of poetry.

Imagine your own connection to candlelit dreams, our richly inspiring history of human hardship and accomplishment, a meeting of minds, finding your way in life, deeply emotional moments charmed by a romance, the heartache of misunderstandings and estrangement. Walk a pathway into the depths of an enchanting forest filled with the fragrant essence of wilderness, its solitude and restorative energy. Embrace your homeland, your ‘Heartland’, the very place of your upbringing, explore and discover the many possibilities that life affords our decision as they would shape our present and future.

Forever inspired and indebted to the brilliance of master poets through the ages, this poet writes in a contemporary style through a fusion of traditional composition elements that stimulate the reader’s sensory perceptions while affording each reader the luxury of their own interpretation and responses.

This writer’s deeply heartfelt and emotional connection to highly relatable poetic verse continues to engage him as a lifelong passion. ‘Heartlands’ is a nurturing, healing and uplifting reader experience.

You are cordially invited to dim the lights, cozy up in your favorite place of refuge and solitary, sip on something soothing and just let the words take you away. Feel the light and its earthly origins through ‘Heartlands’.

© Don MacIver, Lasting Impressions Editing 2016; Heartlands, sales pitch blurb

~

© Don MacIver, Lasting Impressions Editing 2017

Copywriting for Strategic Delivery


copywritingOne of the most critical aspects about advertising and marketing in its various forms is where the focus lies. In this article I will share critical perspective in the sales and marketing process through effective copywriting. 

For three years now I have incorporated copywriting in my core group of services as an essential part of helping my clients capture an ever-increasing audience. Whether you are an author, writer, poet, business professional, advertising specialist or indeed a copywriter you need to understand and embrace the core principles of copywriting and how this critical discipline is ever more important today and moving forward.

What Is Copywriting?

Let’s start with the basics. Copywriting is the writing of textual content for advertisingcopywritingdefinition and various other forms of marketing. ‘Copy’ is defined as ‘written content which is intended to increase brand awareness and to persuade readers to decide to act; to read, to hire, to purchase.

Copywriting is the strategic delivery of words that will get people to take a desired action and is one of the most essential components of online marketing. Effective copywriting skills takes time to develop through research, study and analysis of its essential cause and effect; what approach to writing copy will have the greatest effect on the targeted reader or audience?

Need To Know

The copywriter must understand their targeted audience’ perspective on things; your message must align with how your prospective customer sees things. Know and understand what their motivations and desires are. Ultimately, the copywriter must meet their basic expectations and go beyond to exceed their expectations!

SEO Copywriting

SEO Copywriting is a specialized form of writing that:

  • contains ‘keyphrases’, word phrases which your targeted audience/reader uses in their search terms to find what you have to offer.
  • helps to increase web content ranking in search results through Google, Bing, Ask and other search engines.
  • drives qualified traffic to online content i.e. websites, blogs, published articles etc.

Online Content Must Fulfill Two Essential Purposes

»  Content must appeal and/or be relevant to your audience/readers.

»  Google, Bing, Ask and other search engines must perceive your content as actionable/valuable/usable immediately by your readers. Your content must be quality and reflect you as a knowledgeable/authoritative resource. 


While my initial clients were primarily authors I soon became increasingly aware of the need for advanced writing skills and related services that would help each client not only bring a clarity and correctness to their work but also capture the attention of an ever-widening audience for them through copy centric business practices.

Business clients needed to engage in meaningful content analysis and discussion to establish a new way of highlighting the product or service that they offered. Most critical of all was how they said what they did through their website and communications; how they appealed to the prospective audience’ emotional responses based on their needs and desires.

One of the most critical aspects of content marketing, whether through book publishing or professional business or marketing and communications endeavors, individuals with important document submissions or business websites and beyond…is the essential need to connect with the right people, using the right words in the right place and time. As stated earlier, we need to connect with our targeted audience or readers in a way that embraces the perspective of those individuals, what they need and expect from us.

My author clients pour their heart and soul into their storylines. Many of them are employed and have a host of responsibilities and hours of work which pose limitations on the time they have to dedicate to not only writing but marketing their publications. Marketing of any product takes ongoing research and applied methods that are current; search algorithms, like Google, change frequently and must be part of the process of marketing as critical best practices change.

Business professionals, already bogged down in daily regimens of fulfilling their own respective responsibilities have little to no time for extensive research, effective writing that engages and sells nor the resources to invest extensively in paid advertising; that’s where experienced marketing and copywriting professionals come into play with a company whether an internal hire or a contracted service.

I have begun to work with advertising professionals to bring essential copywriting skills to the table in tandem with their superlative illustrative and graphic design elements for a superior, well-rounded advertising presentation that fully engages people in a powerful way and compels them to response, to immediate action, to hire or purchase.

Transitional Approach from Selling to Copy-Centric Engagement

Marketing takes a finely developed strategy. Our content must be quality-driven and provide the consumer with highly informative, interesting, entertaining and/or usable content that the consumer can use NOW, that they can take away meaningful and practical information that they can apply to make their lives better or resolve a problem TODAY!

Critical Rule of Selling

Always remember to write from the perspective of your targeted audience

  • Have absolute and focused empathy for the customer
  • Write to serve that customer (not to serve yourself)
  • Write to recognize and solve their problem or in some other way make their life better

Appeal to Emotions

Aspirations ~ Shame ~ Fear ~ Suspicion ~ Belonging

Always appeal to your reader/audience’ sense of motivational triggers with care and respect:

  • Their desire to dream or succeed
  • Their need to justify their failures; write to expose a failure and release it by wiping the slate clean. They should take the positive from the experience, to learn from it and move on.
  • People are naturally drawn to those who make them feel safe/secure.
  • People want to have a sense of belonging and have a sense of loyalty to a ‘tribe’

Historically, marketers have focused on selling their product to serve themselves, to meet their targeted sales objectives. Today, the marketing pendulum has swung away from the ‘Buy Me’ approach because people are quite simply sick and tired of being sold to.

People now want a sense of engagement, trust and the ability to make quick purchase or hire decisions based on reliable, quality and informative, customer-centric appeal.


Any author, writer, business professional or individual can increase their website traffic, reader engagement, communications audience reach and sales levels by using my editing, copywriting and publishing services to help compel their audience to  respond and take action for a more enjoyable, meaningful and gainful experience today!


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Audience Engagement & Social Media Profiling in 2017


add-social-media-buttonsAre your website, social and professional media platforms producing the kinds of traffic and conversion results that you have anticipated? You’ve spent countless hours adjusting your online presence to comply with previous search engine algorithm changes, primarily Google, to no apparent avail? This article will focus on those two elements to your online presence and how to get improved results for the new algorithm updates just released for 2017.

Once again search algorithm updates are changing the way we develop our web content on our websites and blogs and through social and professional media platforms.

Improving the Mobile Experience

First things first; you’ve heard of the buzz over the past year about the rapid escalation of mobile use for internet access. This story continues to move forward to the extent that you can expect that the same trends will continue for years to come. Previously we were focused on optimizing our website and social/professional media for greater visibility in search engine results pages (SERP’s) and advance preparations to ensure that our online locations are mobile friendly.

The mobile technology requires changes to web design well beyond what the average user is familiar with and experts handle that in their website builder designs. What you and I must get on board with right NOW is ensuring that your website or blog is indeed configured for mobile browsing. The background design work has been established and factored into web design and now the end users (ourselves) need to do a number of things to our websites, blogs and social media to further that mobile friendliness in order that when mobile users arrive at our site or page they have an optimum viewing experience, failing which they will quickly click out and move on with the search results elsewhere.

Responsive design is simply not enough. You need to be sure that all of your navigation and site elements are highly intuitive and convenient for your visitors.

Long form content now reigns supreme. Develop your content through lengthy articles that are comprehensive; that is, to fully and deeply cover your topic. Don’t glaze over with superfluous content that does not help readers solve their problem; give them lots of details that represent advice for your readers.

People are sick and tired of old news that has no depth and lacking usable information and meaning. You now need to do extensive research on your subject matter to enable you to produce information-rich long-form articles that provide value to your readers. I know what you’re thinking; now I have to spend hours researching from countless sources and writing even longer articles. I’m pressed for time more than ever.

Because there is such a high level of priority and focus now placed on long-form, information rich content, make that your focus and relax your post schedule to accommodate fewer posts. That way you trim the time factor while maximizing the quality of content you provide for your readers. Never lose site of the end objective; increased traffic, authority interest, followers/subscribers, engagement and conversion to sales or increased customers/clients.

Social Media in 2017

Your social and professional media platforms continue to be crucially important assets for reader engagement, pushing brand awareness, driving consumers to your landing pages, websites and blogs as well as other intended online destinations. That sequence of audience transitions furthers our SEO objectives.

Today, in terms of your social media accounts, the new order for audience engagement is to become much more actively social with your followers and non-followers alike and far less focus and posting on BUY ME, BUY ME, and BUY ME. Engage with your followers and other social media users on their own Tweets or Facebook updates and do so in a genuine, meaningful way that illustrates your interest and engagement in their interests. Stop the constant selling!

By interacting socially with fellow users you subtly support your own brand through the experiential authority of your comments, your voice online. Wherever possible, practice this user engagement with those whose own account platform has relevance to your own. Then and only then do you have something which is mutually interesting to each other to talk about. Demonstrate your brand expertise being sure that your comments are fully relevant to the other party’s interests as expressed in their Tweets/update posts.

Non-Business Engagement: Don’t lose perspective on the importance of social engagement. Drop your shoulders, remove your tie, kick off your shoes and relax with social engagements. Factor that essential time into your schedule.

Comment on others’ posts that you liked; tell them that you got a lot from their post and thank them by name. If there is no room to comment directly on their Tweet, reply to them or send them a private message with the same compliment. Share others’ Tweets or Facebook updates frequently. Shares are a critical way to expand your fellow users’ audience reach and you will find that they reciprocate accordingly.

Be sure to always use the other user’s name in your responsive comments; personalize your comment by saying: “Nancy, what you’ve shared here really resonates with me. Many thanks!” Then follow up with later interaction, perhaps by private message or chat, share more specific comments and develop two-way conversation in a meaningful way. Assure them that their article or post gave you useful, meaningful insights.

By following this approach you’re not just fluffing through your comments in an ingenuous attempt to grab their attention about you and your brand. People see through that façade immediately. Maintain your comments strictly about them and when they respond with meaningful dialogue, return the gesture with your own meaningful response and close the conversation by wishing them a great day/week.

Do you see the trend that is quickly emerging here? Switch gears and back off the sell, sell, sell accelerator pedal. Reduce the frequency of Tweeting/updates about your own brand and links back to your website or blog considerably. I know that sounds counter intuitive to what we have been practicing for so long yet the new world order online paints a very different picture than those of the past number of years where it was THE only game in town.

Place the sell factor on your website or blog and ads where it belongs. Those vehicles are the primary hub location online where your content marketing should rest, beyond which expand your targeted audience through advertising. Social media advertising continues to be a powerful medium. Transition quickly to being social in your social media platforms.

Social Media Platform Profiles

If you have designed your social media profile properly you have begun by inserting your name or business name at the top of your profile next to your profile photo which should be a nice, professional head and shoulders shot of yourself in business attire (smile, looking directly at the camera or slightly off center) or your business logo.  Follow with your hashtag keywords that have the highest relevance and potential search terms that people will use to find what you have to offer. Those hashtag keywords are critical not only for search results but also to tell visitors what you have to offer once they land on your page.

Make sure you have included your business website or blog URL – a must to navigate people back to your website where the marketing process takes place. If character limitations become an issue, use a TinyURL or similar for the website or blog link. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is also linked through your social media profile and if there is still room add a short URL link(s) to your Facebook page. Add your location by city and province or state. This is especially important for the many that search for such services or products in their own locale.

A Word on Personal vs. Professional Pages on Social Media Platforms:  I strongly advise that you keep your professional content on social media platforms separate from your personal pages. Why? Because the two do not mix for the majority of people. Keep the two separate and by having individual professional pages on each of your social media platforms and LinkedIn as well. On Facebook I opened with my personal page and when I launched my business I created a business page that focuses on the business end. I am also a published writer/poet and keep that aspect of my online presence separate as well. Many people hate users posting business content on their personal page; after all it is a social platform. Business has become a huge part of social media in recent years but keep it separate from your personal page, otherwise you may well suffer adverse effects of lower follower numbers and engagement accordingly.

Images & Video Media

Another critically important aspect of social media content is the use of high quality images and videos that will have relevance to your brand, or that of your targeted audience, and which add informational/beneficial value for your followers. While staying away from the BUY ME aspect of your content, link only to the relevant image/video source or related article.

LinkedIn Profiles

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I cannot stress enough the importance of having a LinkedIn profile; if you are a business person, a marketing expert, a social media enterprise, a professional of any description or a writer, author or poet who is marketing their product, services or cause, or if you are job hunting or want to have a professional presence for business networking purposes and potential employer exposure, having a LinkedIn account is essential. The power of this mammoth professional networking platform cannot be understated.

LinkedIn Profile Image

A serious note to all of you who have a LinkedIn account for business purposes. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform with emphasis on ‘professional’. Time and time again I see profile photos that are cheesy, idiotic, circus fare, face jammed right up into the camera, comedic and contorted facial expressions, freaky colored hair and the list goes on. STOP THE GOOFY PROFILE PHOTOS. LINKEDIN IS A SITE FOR PROFESSIONALS. There is a rapidly growing furor over those kinds of playhouse mentality profile images.

Your profile photo on LinkedIn must be professional; make sure your appearance is professional. The profile image should always be a head and shoulders photo, hair groomed, clean-shaven, direct gaze into the camera with a nice smile (or slight turn for a partial side profile but only slightly). Wear a crisp, clean outfit suitable for your vocation. Take the photo while you are fresh for the day and not after coming home from a grueling 18 hour day or a night out on town. Looking stoned or otherwise inebriated turns people off fast. People want to be comfortable that in seeing your profile photo they would be dealing with a professional.

I see profile photos that are actually on the diagonal, fully sideways and some that are truly upside down. You want professionals to connect with you? Use photos like just described and they will click out in seconds and ignore your existence. Such photos have no place on a professional networking or marketing platform.

Disclaimer: I only make the foregoing comments about suitable profile photos, not to make fun or belittle anyone, rather, to illustrate the type of professional photo critical for the LinkedIn profile. Save the goofy, cheesy stuff for your socials.

Follow conventional practices in professional circles and avoid experiencing high bounce rates (quick arrival and click outs) that will render your LinkedIn page virtually useless in terms of professional activity and brand marketing and also reduce your website traffic drastically.

You are using the site to foster interest and drive traffic to your website or blog (whichever is your primary business/marketing platform).

Developing Your LinkedIn Profile

The profile page on LinkedIn is your place to sell your experience, talents and potential as a new employee, associate or business partner to those business professionals. The same holds true if you are marketing a product, service or cause. Put your best foot forward and work painstakingly on a quality, error-free, professional presentation of who you are, what you have to offer, what you have achieved and how to contact you. Get a professional friend to help you or hire a professional content writer or editor to get your profile fine-tuned to where it needs to be that tells other professions: “Yes, I want to be associated with this individual and/or their business enterprise.”

Much of my preceding comments on social media will also apply on your LinkedIn profile. Remember that your LinkedIn account is a professional networking platform – ensure that all of your content is just that…professional from top to bottom including your Profile page. I’ve linked my own social media and LinkedIn profiles at the end of this article for you to take a look at if you wish to help you employ best practices in your profile development.

Following is a partial screenshot of my LinkedIn profile page. Click on the visual to expand it for better viewing.

Don MacIver; LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile Image

Use a high quality/resolution photo image of yourself (or your business logo) that is free of distortion. Image specifications are searchable if you are unsure of the most suitable image size to use for best quality image viewing. The image should be clear, sharp and as relevant as possible to your business or profession, services, product or cause. The importance of a professional appearance of the header image is as critical as the header image for your website or blog, often one and the same for brand recognition.

An incomplete, nearly blank profile page is virtually useless here. Even if your experience is minimal you should be able to draw on the experience, education and interests that you have acquired to date and as your experience and employment situation changes. Always remember to update your LinkedIn Profile accordingly.

The colors incorporated into the header image you select should mirror the colors that you have in your business logo. It all goes to brand association and recognition…an important aspect of on-page images. Remember that if you find this page unfamiliar or too difficult to develop on your own, seek the help of a professional associate or friend or even hire a professional writer or editor to set up your profile page. On-page optimization is also essential which many people are not fully conversant with. Your page must be searchable and place well in search results.

That very first field at the top of your profile must be carefully designed from your professional head and shoulder photo image (or logo) to your name and professional credentials and your business name. What follows is the most critical textual elements of your profile; your itemized list of products or services using highest level keywords (on-page optimization for SEO) which must clearly define what you do, what you have to offer and what key components of your business are.

If you are not a business or marketing professional but want a professional presence online, list your qualification/designation and key responsibilities

Contact Information

Be sure to provide your business contact-related content in the fields provided and make sure that this section is updated for any future changes so that the profile does not become outdated or containing dead links.

‘Posts’

Use this relatively new feature for creating and posting your articles which showcase your brand with content that is rich in useful information that readers can use today. Present the most up-to-date information available as readers are frustrated by old news and click out fast. Write high quality articles that benefit the reader the most. Your content should be clear, concise and free of superfluous fluff that has no actionable value for the reader. Provide information that is of strong interest and benefit to your targeted audience.

Summary

Highlight what your key services, products or cause entails or your occupational summarization. Remember who your targeted audience is to profile the most relevant expertise and experience. Do not rush this summary development and make sure that keyword inclusion is carefully designed to alert search engines and pull traffic for those searching for what you have to offer. Ensure that your profile is showing up in search engine results pages (SERP’s). You can test your search visibility by searching with your name and or business name and city location as your search terms. Note: With new online pages or sites it will take some time before it appears in search results provided the proper on-page search optimization and your page/site ranking has been executed.

Portfolio

Begin with a clear and concise summary of what you do and then build your portfolio/project profile with those project or client services most significant to this profile and relevance to your targeted audience and related achievements.

Word this section for optimum interest and action on the part of your professional readers. The Portfolio section is also of great importance to potential employers, clients and human resources/recruitment specialists seeking to find just the right fit for their client position candidate searches.

If you develop your profile effectively you will find that over time you will begin to receive contacts from business professionals who wish to express an interest in your experience and expertise. It is a powerful tool with a broad reach, not to be underestimated. A well written profile on LinkedIn will translate into exposure to any number of opportunity levels, funnel traffic to your website or blog and social media platforms as well.

Client Testimonials

I cannot stress enough how critical this section is. If you have had wonderful professional business, client or customer experiences and relationships, be sure to seek their personal testimonials. By obtaining those attestations about your quality services or products, your business objectives are legitimized and create a buzz of interest. Be sure to obtain permission before posting those testimonials publicly. Extend your thanks to that client or customer and support them in some way as well.

Testimonials are a powerful statement that will help sell your professionalism and brand authority. Flogging yourself can be an endless and sometimes futile effort so make sure you acquire testimonials from your best, most appreciative clients; they will pay it forward in spades.

Experience & Employment History

Use a chronological or hierarchal sequence to listing your career/professional history. As you would with your resume, only focus on the history that is most relevant to your targeted audience, employer or business/job role. Be clear, concise and brief in this section. You do not want to overload information beyond the primary position, company and brief, most relevant responsibilities.

Courses

Outline relevant course studies that advanced your education and skill sets as relevant to the type of position you are pursuing moving forward in your career or that serve to further your expertise and brand relevance.

Skills & Endorsements

This section is critical for highlighting your top level skill sets and expertise. Do not rush or under-populate this crucial field. This is where more defined details of your acquired skill sets or expertise come into play. I have seen countless profiles that limit their skills list to only five or six points. Consider carefully what your functions were with each respective employer during your career to date. Hone in on those critical responsibilities and the essential skills required to do the work effectively.

The Profile allows for 51 different skills to be identified. Use this area to full advantage; exposure for your expertise to all those seeking your experience level i.e. business managers, human resources personnel and recruitment experts all searching to find the one individual that is the best possible fit for their client’s position search. Do not sell yourself short.

In tandem with the skills listings, once you begin to connect with individuals in relevant industries to your own, you will begin to see skills ‘endorsements’ provided by your connections on your behalf. Make sure that you reciprocate those helpful and important gestures and acknowledge the same by initiating conversations through private messaging. Develop relationships and trust, never rushing the selling aspect of your own brand. Through that engagement process you will increase the potential for business, job or professional partnering prospects.

Engaging with your contacts and relevant group discussions develops powerful professional networking activity, perhaps the most effective means of attracting new business customers and clients today. When networking, focus on what you can do for your contacts based on their own needs and not your own. Forgo the personal selling of yourself; that will happen through genuine conversation and in turn establish your brand authority.

Education

Your educational history is fairly self-explanatory. Outline your key educational highlights and acquired qualifications, diplomas, professional designations, certificates or degrees. From this history you will want to emphasize those skills and qualifications that are most relevant to your career pursuits and at given time.

Certifications

Do not miss out or skip over this section when you have educational qualifications. Display your highest (hierarchal) designations, diplomas, certificates or degree(s) here.

Additional Info

Another important section of the profile, just as it is in your resume. Do not skimp on sharing your interests, hobbies, life passions outside the office. Show your human side and what you do with your non-working hours; it paints a complete picture for anyone considering engaging in your services in any way.

Honors & Awards

Again, this is very important information. If you have been bestowed a form of honorary recognition for something you have done over the years, professionally or otherwise, don’t leave anything out, especially an award(s) from your employer. Such awards points to your highest skill levels, achievements and the potential to reciprocate with a new employer or business partner.

Organizations

Getting involved with organizations that are relevant to your own employment or business is important. It can lead to important volunteer work and is certainly a powerful means to network with other business professionals in your community i.e. Chamber of Commerce.

Volunteer Organizations You Support

Volunteer work is an important aspect of your life and commitment to your community. Serving to help others in need is a powerful testament to character. It can also be a very rewarding experience for you personally and again paints a picture for anyone considering engaging with you on a professional level.

Recommendations

This is yet another critical element of the profile building process. When you have a solid experience with a client with whom you have had a good relationship, reach out to them to request a brief written attestation. As with a testimonial, that endorses your abilities in your industry or profession. Such statements are solid gold!

Emphasize a brief statement but if your experience with that individual has been very good, chances are that you will get a lengthier recommendation than you are anticipating! Always express sincere appreciation, publicly if suitable to do so, and pay it back in some way beneficial to the client or customer. Associates will also provide invaluable recommendations.

In summation, invest in the time and energy needed to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is all that it can possibly be. The fruits of your labor are potentially considerable. You will connect with the most amazing, influential individuals, converse in relevant professional groups, network with like minds that move mountains and establish a strong presence in the worldwide professional community.

 

LinkedIn Profile

Twitter Business Profile

Facebook Business Page

 

© Don MacIver 2017; All Rights Reserved

 

Social Media Marketing; Audience Reach for Business on Facebook


alheva_facebookHave you captured a presence on Facebook? The giant social media platform has garnered a huge audience reach as the leading social marketing platform on the internet today. Have you seen measurable results from that marketing reach or focused in another direction out of frustration?

Social media marketing efforts in today’s business environment face abundant challenges yet not insurmountable by any means. Social media platforms have undergone remarkable change over the years and will continue to evolve to address changes in the marketplace, search engine algorithms and how internet users ultimately utilize those platforms.

Seeking to establish and develop brand awareness and harness lead capture can indeed be frustrating for many businesses challenged with a juggle between available marketing capital , time and human resources to pursue marketing objectives to best advantage. An effective strategy is essential to your successes and without that strategy effectively implemented your efforts could well produce only marginal results.

Facebook has proven to be a very successful marketing channel and their statistical data bears that out. The mammoth social media platform will continue to play a strong role in the marketing focus of business enterprise as their momentum continues to gain and produce even greater results as anticipated in the foreseeable future.

Facebook Stats to Consider Carefully

  • Nearly 80% of all internet users, globally, use Facebook and fully 68% of those users are adults in the U.S. alone. Facebook user numbers are projected to swell to nearly 170 million in the U.S. by 2018.
  • Facebook continues to be the top social network globally in terms of membership with an 84% share. That’s staggering!
  • Nearly 1.8 billion users each month, globally, actively use the mammoth social platform with close to 1.2 billion people logging on to the site. Consider the potential of capturing the attention and engagement of even a fraction of that enormous audience potential.
  • Statistics reveal user habits which indicate that half of those users aged 18-24 log in to Facebook when they rise each morning. Being aware of such analytics for your targeted market is critically telling in terms of the best time of day to post for optimum targeted user reach.
  • Close to 30% of Facebook users are in the 25-35 age bracket which represents the most common user demographic. This is a prime target audience to reach out to for your expanded reach and potential new lead capture and sales conversion potential.
  • Work toward creating and sharing your quality content to that broad audience in a relatively economical cost range that won’t put a tremendous strain on your marketing budget.
  • Stats reflect an average user presence of 20 minutes or more with many browsing considerably longer means ample opportunity to gain valuable exposure through that audience in terms of website traffic, engagement and conversion activity.
  • Quality videos that provide informational and entertainment value for viewers has become a huge element of user engagement and establishing relationships, both elements crucial in social media platform marketing today. Consider this: daily Facebook user video views now exceeds 8 billion views every day. Including this powerful tool in your social media strategy has the potential to pay off in numerous ways. Be sure to share videos that bear strong relevance to your targeted audience’ interests to ensure their engagement and desired response.
  • Plan for consistent implementation of your social media advertising on Facebook, as with other social media platforms. Maintaining a presence in front of your targeted audience is essential. Facebook’s live video is quickly adding a new dynamic to the social media marketing strategy as well.
  • Persistence is the key. Establish your marketing strategy, stay the course with a balanced plan that works within your business marketing budget allocation and modify audience targeting parameters set in your Facebook ads to ensure optimum engagement and increased traffic and following.
  • Remember that in 2017 and beyond, the focus is transitioning to more and more direct interaction with your targeted audience; that is conversing in a meaningful way with individuals. Develop meaningful relationships through genuine dialogue that is beneficial to both parties. Quality content will continue to be important but increase time devoted to quality, meaningful online conversations with the audience you connect with. Mutual and genuine interests shared is the new focus to be sure to incorporate on a regular basis as a means to build an audience for a better bottom line. Outright selling on every single post on social media platforms is no longer effective. Personal connection is key.

Taking Critical Steps to Solidify Relationships & Marketing Results

  1. Determine clearly in advance who your ideal market is. Then develop post content that will be most appealing to that targeted audience. Monitor closely how your audience is responding; are they engaging through likes, comments and shares? If not, revisit your content strategy and test new content to find out what works well for your own audience.
  2. Plan an organized and scheduled marketing strategy. Increase the value of your blog content by eliminating superfluous fluff and getting right to the valuable core elements that your audience will benefit from. Be aware of upcoming changes that are anticipated with respect to the importance of blogging moving forward. Trends are always in transition mode. Take advantage of social media scheduling platforms like Hootsuite.com for greater efficiencies in your time allocation for the promotion of your brand.
  3. Continue to ensure that you are posting increasingly meaningful, beneficial, quality content with the infusion of value driven textual, video and image content that your audience will become more engaged in. That content must be relevant to their interests.
  4. Be sure to optimize your Facebook business page to ensure high quality content that includes critical keywords that will enhance your page’s visibility on the search engines. Make sure that in doing so sentences read back organically; that is, in a natural sequence of wording and sentence progression as opposed to intermittently inserting those keywords. Also ensure that your business page has an effective description that fully identifies the product or services you are offering.
  5. Incorporate a solid ‘call to action’ on your business page that will prompt followers to respond in a compelling way with the desire to seek further information about what you have to offer. You always want your audience to desire and be able to take the next step…to find out more through URL links to your website.
  6. Hire a social media professional who is fully conversant with the dynamics of effective Facebook advertising setup and strategy, audience targeting, analytics and more. Attempting to implement your Facebook ads on your own may result in frustration when the results may be less than you had anticipated.
  7. Become actively engaged (yourself) on and through your personal and business pages by following, likes, comments, and sharing of other users’ posts and pages and also connecting meaningfully on relevant Facebook groups as they continue to be of increasing importance to your social media marketing strategies.

How to Increase Your Blog Subscribers & Article Sharing


Frustrated that after spending hours of research and fine-tuning your blog articles, you are seeing very little, if any, reader engagement? The follower numbers just aren’t there and yet even as you reread your blog posts repeatedly you still have the impression that your content is exceptional and should be attracting new subscribers?

My focus here today will be on a number of ways you can draw attention to ‘subscribing’ by using specific techniques to keep subscribing fresh in your readers’ minds. The more visible and readily available your subscribe forms are, the greater the frequency that readers should be inclined to subscribe.

You’re certainly not alone with that frustration. Keep in mind that there are countless numbers of content bloggers out there doing the same thing and many of them sharing the same experience of a seemingly static reader response. The competition online today is staggering and we must consistently develop new and unique ways to not only attract new readers to our blog or website but also find effective ways to capture our readers’ attention with every single new post and compel them to ‘opt-in’ by subscribing to receive our new blog posts right to their email inbox!

Content Quality

First and foremost, your blog or article content has to be exceptional, high quality, fresh (current), engaging and sufficiently value-added with information that is easily actionable immediately, not to mention truly beneficial to your readers, to compel them to click that subscribe button and sign up! That does not happen by chance or with mediocre content.

A whole article can be dedicated to the subject of quality content alone. Once we have established that quality content we now need to transition our focus to providing ample opportunity on our website or blog for our visitors to clearly see the path to future engagement of our blogs; through clicking the featured opt-in subscribe button and provide their email address in order to receive all future posts directly to their email inbox.

Opt-in Blog Subscribe Forms

Make sure that you have several locations on your website or blog to strategically position your blog subscribe forms/widgets, plainly visible to your site visitors with adequate reference to remind your readers/visitors to follow your blog by subscribing. In most cases your visitors will have two options for direct transmission of each new blog or article by either an email subscription signup or through your site’s RSS Feed and their preferred reader.

Opt-in Form Locations

a) Home Page Opt-in Form:

Place your opt-in form as conspicuously as possible on your home page. Depending on your site theme allowances for content, if possible situate your subscribe form above the fold line on your home page. In doing so your conversion rates should begin to occur in the order of a 5%-8% increase in subscribers for a given period.

The textual content typically found in opt-in (subscribe) forms is fairly generic in nature and does not lend itself to compelling your visitors to subscribe. Revise the wording of the headline on the opt-in form with a powerful call to action. Use strong, persuasive words that prompt the sign-up and what new subscribers will receive in return i.e. “Sign up for Free Tips…” You could also offer any other value added free gift for subscribing like a free ebook or exclusive tips relevant to the article or blog post.

By offering that killer free gift in exchange for subscribing this approach can convert at a rage of over 30%! Keep in mind that the conversion rates (new opt-in subscribers) is only an approximation and much depends on the value and quality of your blog posts to begin with.

b) Blog Page Opt-in Form:

Again, place your blog opt-in (subscribe) form in a conspicuous location on the blog page, ideally as close to, if not the first level location at the top of the sidebar. Link to your blog page with call to action buttons, prominently visible with solid, bright color contrast, on other pages of your site so that visitors will readily see the link button and be prompted to go to the blog page to read your content and subscribe. This practice is important for page navigation as well.

c) Footer Opt-in Form:

Another effective location to position opt-in (subscribe) form is at the bottom of each website page so that for any visitor who scrolls right to the bottom of the page while reading, they will again see the convenient presence of the opt-in form and they will often feel compelled to enter their email address and click Subscribe right then and there! It’s a great reminder location to secure the new opt-in.

d) About Page Opt-In Form:

The ‘About’ page statistically experiences among the highest levels of on-site viewing as most visitors who decide they have an interest in reviewing more content on the site want to have a sense of trust and comfort level that you have the type and quality of service or product that they want to acquire and that you are, in fact, genuine or real.

As such, you don’t want to omit an opportunity to include an opt-in (subscribe) form on the ‘About’ page of your site. Typically, because blogs are most often continuous scroll, you will not have a page footer to position your opt-in form so in this case place the subscribe form as close to the top of the sidebar as possible so that it has the potential to be seen as soon as possible upon landing on that blog page. Failing to do so will mean considerable lost opportunity to secure new subscribers.

Remember the critical importance of a blog on your website (or blog site) from a marketing perspective. The blog is your most powerful tool on the site from which to foster strong awareness of who you are as a business proprietor and/or product/service provider. The blog is also the perfect place to expand on value added information about what it is you offer that you don’t have room to share on the other site pages. The blog is THE place to showcase, in a clear and concise way, what you have to offer and WHY the visitor should buy from YOU!

Be aware that by having a check box in your opt-in form that states “Subscribe to (blog name)” statistically increases new subscriber frequency substantially. It is a means to compel the visitor to affirm/reaffirm their desire/intention to subscribe and follow your new blog posts to come!

Opt-in Confirmation Page

Typically, most opt-in (subscribe) forms follow with an emailed confirmation page which is sent to the new subscriber’s email address (used for the opt-in) as a means to have the new subscriber confirm that they did in fact just subscribe to the blog. This is a way to ensure subscriber security is assured and that there is no fraudulent activity at play such as automated capture of subscriber information for illegal purposes.

Your subscriber confirmation page should be effectively worded to capture the new subscriber’s attention and prompt them to provide that confirmation that they in fact did opt-in through the double opt-in final step. If they skip over that last step they will not receive future blog posts from your site as intended.

Eye-Catching Opt-In Forms

There are a multiple of opt-in form styles to choose for the blog subscription ranging from a standard fixed-in-place form to an eye-catching popup or slider form and more. Run A/B headline testing to determine what style of form and headlines resonate best with your visiting guests to the blog and following readership as well. It is critical to understand what is working best with your various website or blog site elements. When you observe sluggish response change it up…have fun with it but stay focused on powerful, compelling nudges that prompt your site visitors to action. Get their mojo going with the blog content and zero in on the new opt-in presentation to see what lights their fire!

Website, Blog & Newsletter Marketing

As critical as each of these elements are in their own right individually and collectively, make sure that you are shouting to the rooftops to pitch/promote them on your social media, advertising spots, professional group forums; essentially anywhere that you can expand your exposure. Turn your website or blog site into the ‘hub’ location for marketing your online presence by channeling your targeted audience’ focus through the marketing funnel back to the hub location to engage, interact, share and ultimately convert to purchasing customers. That focused effort WILL pay off. THAT is the essence of blogging!

To explore and discover more content marketing essentials refer to Backlinko for much more on this and similar topics where their focus is not only on web traffic tips but critical information regarding the ever-changing dynamics of search engine optimization.

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Did you find this article informative and value added? If so please SHARE this post through the share buttons provided. Thank you for your continued presence here and the opportunity for me to inform and inspire!

© Don MacIver, Editor 2016; All Rights Reserved

Welcome to Key Word Blog!


Thank you for following Lasting Impressions Editing’s Key Word Blog!

For the past 2 1/2 years Lasting Impressions Editing has been located on two different website hosting platforms and I am pleased to make WordPress.com it’s current and permanent host site. Thank you for being a special part of this website blogging experience at Key Word Blog!

Here I will explore all the various aspects of my client services which focus primarily on innovative content analysis, revision, strategy and development. More specifically, I will share with you a host of information relating to the services I currently offer and any changes which may occur at a future date. Services mature and become redefined to a degree over time as newfound demand and client needs would predicate such change.

CURRENT CLIENT SERVICES FOCUS

My current client services center around website and document editing and proofreading, writing and re-writing of content, publishing services for authors, website search engine optimization, social media optimization for profile and post content and client content marketing/promotional services through social media platforms.

SERVICES OVERVIEW

My clients include business professionals, authors, writers and individuals who require new or revised content for their websites, important documents and internal/external communications, book manuscripts that require editing/proofreading/writing/revision as well as formatting for print and electronic formats and final submission for publication.

In addition, I provide clients with essential elements of search engine and social media optimization to help ensure that their content is visible to search engines and in turn gets their content positioned well in search engine results pages (SERP’s).

Why consider these services? Because there are so many complexities surrounding best practices in current day to make sure your content is polished, quality information that compels audience response, search optimized for search visibility and has targeted audience reach for optimum reader response and engagement. Your bottom line is achieving best possible return on your investment.

Give your important content the attention it needs and deserves for the best possible results. I work to help ensure that your textual content leaves your readers with immediate and lasting impressions.

Through the Key Word Blog I invite you to explore and discover tips and best practices to help you achieve those critical project objectives. This value added blog will share powerful insights that produce results, saving you time, cost and frustration with editing and content development strategies that are proven effective. I share a host of free information of my own plus expert advise through external article linking and resource links to help keep you stay informed on current trends and related changes as they occur.

Thank you for subscribing to the Key Word Blog. If you find this blog content informative and useful information please SHARE the blogs with others through the share buttons provided. Your comments are also invited and greatly appreciated.

Business Networking; A Matter of Perspective


networking_med
Professional Networking; photo c/o Bing Search

In a world of shifting business marketing metrics, discover the one thing that has become increasingly clear; business networking has become one of the most cost-effective and productive means to foster new business relationships and potential new opportunities within the context of product or services marketing today.

Here in this article I will explore the potential for inherent value discovered through networking and expert tips on best practices for optimum results.

Whether your company’s marketing focus is near or far, professional networking with those identified as clearly possessing similar business interests and objectives has become one of the most powerfully responsive approaches to acquiring new people to partner with in terms of association and/or as newfound customers or clients. Networking today is essential; it opens doors to new friendships, opportunities, expands personal knowledge and helps to establish one’s level of expertise and authority.

The enormous audience reach through the global internet community has expanded our opportunities tremendously and let’s not forget the critical importance of finding new relationships and business opportunities right in our own communities through personal networking.

Many individuals today loathe the process of direct business marketing, especially when it comes to personal appearances at local networking venues. There is a multitude of highly negative personal perspectives associated with networking that holds business professionals back from embracing the many opportunities that networking affords. Even those in executive positions with exceptional experience and achievements harbor such negative perspective; they feel awkward, nervous, anxious, stressed, and even dirty as though they are being intrusive by networking.

Often, business professionals have a very uncomfortable networking experience because of their own perceptions of the legitimacy of networking today. Maintaining positive and realistic expectations about what can be accomplished through networking and its vital role in today’s product or services marketing environment is essential to successful networking.

Networking affords us far-reaching opportunities in addition to establishing new friendships, business associations and opportunities through online professional networking through social media and professional networking websites/networks as well as personal appearances at venues tailored specifically for networking purposes.

In her July, 2016 article on social networking sites for business professionals, Amber Leigh Turner writes on the topic and shares twenty social networking sites that fit the bill for effective professional networking practices and finding new opportunities.

What it all comes down to is a concerted, self-assured, confident and friendly perspective about networking activity and just how much opportunity can be realized through effective approaches to those in the business community with common interest and objectives. Quite simply, networking meetings are a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people who have something to offer and share, taking the time to get to know them, to establish and nurture friendships and trust and to experience discovery of opportunity through comfortable conversation.

Find out what contributing writer Glenn Llopis shared on the subject in his article ‘7 Reasons Networking Can Be A Professional Development Boot Camp’ on Forbes.com .

Advance Research

Find out through referral and advance online research where within your own community or city you will find organized business networking events/venues. Determine ahead of attending such events which ones will be the most relevant to you in terms of what you offer and seek to gain by your personal appearances.

Look to venues where attendees will most likely share common interests and business objectives as your own. The local Chamber of Commerce is the perfect place to start for networking as their organizations hold regular weekly/bi-weekly/monthly meetings and special events including those dedicated strictly to professional business marketing. At the networking events you will find a large group of business professionals there with the very same objective; to meet new industry professionals who offer their company products or services and want to share proudly through common goals. What better, more comfortable meeting environment could there be when attendees are there specifically to network with others like yourself who seek to develop new professional relationships, associations, networking and referral channels!

Dan Klamm, Outreach & Marketing Coordinator at Syracuse University’s Career Services co-wrote ‘5 Rules for Professional Social Networking Success‘ with Alana Edmunds, an IT Project Manager and Social Strategist for Recruiting & Staffing at GE Energy.

Other Organizations

There are often numerous local organizations for business professionals to attend with the objective of meeting new contacts including men’s and women’s organizations, local networking groups, associations to join, special interest groups and more.

The Right Expectations

Networking may sometimes bring almost immediate results but generally speaking you should anticipate that it will take time to find those who share the same mutual interests. It is a process of building a comfortable, friendly relationship, establishing mutual interests and eventual trust before any attempts should be made for gainful business relationships. Do NOT come out of the gate attempting to sell!

Dress for Success

An age-old marketing technique is to come to the occasion ‘dressed for success’. That is not to say arriving looking like a high-priced fashion statement. Arrive in comfortable yet businesslike attire rather than jeans, tie dies and cutoff shorts casuals. You are there to talk and attract business! You want to ensure that first and ongoing impressions are favorable.

Advance Preparation

Arrive fresh, alert and with forethought on those ideas you wish to share during the networking session; don’t improvise! Bring along business cards but use them sparingly; hand them out to those who, in your estimation, show genuine interest and have potential as newfound associations or customers/clients.

Arrive prepared with a brief one or two sentence introductory greeting which clearly identifies what you do or have to offer; don’t be ambiguous or evasive. Share that information in a timely manner following an introduction and handshake.

Success through Networking

Your success with networking will rely on and vary significantly depending on how effective you are with one-on-one networking. If your perception of networking activity is highly negative you will most assuredly be less effective in the process.

Overcome an Aversion to Networking

Be sure to maintain a ‘promotion’ mindset with a focus on company growth, personal advancement and key achievements to share while networking. Get excited about potential new opportunities and outcomes with genuine curiosity and an open mind about those potential outcomes of newfound connections and associations. Go into networking venues with anticipation that it will be an interesting, informative and even fun experience…and make it so!

Research individuals you want to meet; understand what they do, discover mutual areas of interest and similar business goals and objectives. Advance knowledge will build upon a sense of genuine interest.

Be Keenly Aware of What You Can Offer

Consider carefully what it is that you offer relative to how it will benefit new contacts or associations the most; new information, shared tasks, technical support, appreciation, recognition and exposure through networking referrals. Show appreciation to those who share beneficial information with you. Public expressions of gratitude can advance a professional’s reputation in the business community.

How to Connect

People appreciate those who share similar interests, business objectives and values. Make new contacts feel welcome and encourage their participation in conversations. Show leadership by offering to organize an event. Be acutely aware of your knowledge, insights and perspectives that others respond to and value.

Define Your Purpose

Determine in advance what your primary purpose is for the networking event individually as you attend. Reinforce those objectives in your own mind. Where possible, present your purpose in ways that will define how others can help support ‘your company’ and/or ‘your clients’ rather than a more personal focus like only helping ‘you’ to benefit directly.

Avoid Only Self-Promotion

Refrain from coming straight out of the gate with a sales pitch. Networking events are NOT intended for overt sales or marketing activities. Show mutual interest in others, ask genuine questions and be attentive to their responses from which you can formulate touch point areas of mutual interest you can talk about further.

Meet New People

Each time you attend the same venue again, be sure to meet new people, especially anyone you see standing alone. It’s fine to mingle initially with those you have met previously to exchange pleasantries but as opportunity affords, respectfully excuse yourself by indicating that you wish to meet someone nearby that you have not yet become acquainted.

Some individuals are quite reserved, even shy about approaching others. Put their mind at ease by making the first move to say hello and start up a friendly conversation. By the same token, don’t be shy to introduce yourself to an individual or group. Remember that they are ALL there for the very same reason; to meet new business professionals to share with and expand through potential new business opportunities or referrals.

Referrals

Listen for ideal opportunities to share referrals to the benefit of those you are speaking with. This is critical to establishing credibility and genuine interest that you have in the benefit of others and not just for yourself and/or your company.

Reciprocate Through Mutual Benefit

As with the referral process, be sure to reciprocate with those you speak to by giving what you get out of conversations in return.

Follow-up

Exchange business cards and follow-up after the meeting i.e. the same or next day via telephone call or email expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to meet, converse and especially for any referrals or other beneficial exchange that arose from that meeting; share information of benefit to the other individual promptly i.e. articles, website URL’s, contact information and more.

Arrange to Meet Again

Where conversations go well and your new acquaintance appears to be a potential source of new business or referrals, follow-up by further contact with the individual. An invitation to meet at a public coffee house is a great way to get together again in a comfortable, non-threatening and non-pressured environment with the intent of getting to know each other better.

In conclusion, focus on the following for best results with your business networking activities:

  • Overcome feeling that networking is self-centered, tacky or abhorrent. Overcome those negative feelings or perceptions about networking by always shifting your thinking to a ‘promotion’ mindset.
  • Focus on how beneficial networking will be for your business through personal visibility in the business/professional community and its higher purpose.
  • As a result of newfound, positive personal perspective about networking your attitude will become much more positive and you will even get excited about forging new relationships and business associations that will bear fruit for years to come!

 

Don MacIver on LinkedIn

© Lasting Impressions Editing 2016; All Rights Reserved

Reader Engagement Strategy


Team of business people working together on a laptop
Writing for Optimum Reader Engagement

Are you having difficulty achieving reader responsiveness? Your audience connection seems at risk or doubtful because of a lack of commenting and sharing of your content with others?

You’re not alone in the frustration of attracting and building on a readership or subscribing audience. The huge volume of internet users today has increased exponentially in recent years whether for personal, social or business purposes. The technologies and applications of our online presence has changed dramatically as well over time demanding our awareness and application of such new innovations and how we can utilize them to our best advantage.

Our website and blog content needs to be highly informative and useful to our targeted audience. When our readers find our content engaging they are most likely to return for more. In terms of business and marketing conversion to sales or new clients that reader engagement is critical. Another powerful tool in the engagement arsenal is the sharing of relevant content from external sources as I often do here with my own posts. What better way to support our own content than to share the resources, experience and successes of others!

Email Newsletters

One of the most successful ways to build a following today, whether to promote business products or services, published works of authors, poets, writers and journalists is through distribution of subscriber email newsletters like ConstantContactMailChimpVerticalResponse to name just a few mailing hosts. Having subscribing (opt-in) readers for a newsletter is a powerful way to establish a more personal connection given the very nature of direct mailing to individuals or businesses who have made the choice to connect to our content. Statistically there is a greater response in terms of new business and sales.

Social & Professional Networking

These networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, to name but a few, continue to grow steadily in user base numbers, a substantial addition to our marketing and audience connection arsenal. If used in a well-designed social and marketing strategy such sites can attract a substantial following through which traffic generation back to your main website or blog hub is critically important.

Essential to that audience connection is in being interactive on a one-on-one basis. Don’t just concentrate all your efforts on the socials with getting ‘follows’ and ‘likes’…that is only the starting point to establishing relationships, making essential connections. We need to be responsive in today’s social and professional networks whether our purpose for being there is personal, business and/or product/service centric. When someone takes the time to comment or compliment on your social pages you must respond! Failing to respond tells people you don’t care, that you have ulterior motives for your ‘connections’ and that turns people off fast. After all, it IS a social or professional networking site! 

Keyword Usage

Keywords have become a critical factor in capturing an audience through search engine visibility. The dynamics of how the various search engines evaluate the relevance, ranking and search results positioning is varied between today’s search engines as is their algorithmic configuration but the bottom line is that careful and strategic application of keywords within our online content is essential to the mapping framework for our online presence…or lack thereof.

When using the various social and professional networks make sure that you are adding keywords within the context of your profile content and bios as well as in your content body AND in your site headings and titles. Best keywords are also essential in the context of site meta tags and title descriptions. Google continues to be THE granddaddy of internet search engines today and I utilize their various applications found at GoogleWebmastersTools to help ensure that my online visibility is optimized. 

The Google Adwords Keyword Planner is an excellent resource tool to determine the best possible keywords that apply for your particular service or product niche. Google provides plenty of reference and resource material to help users familiarize themselves with this indispensable resource base. I can attest first hand that applying these tools does indeed make a difference. Most search engines today provide the how-to’s for implementing their various resources.

It takes time and following the learning curve to get positive end results but this is a key step in developing audience engagement and site traffic…without which you have no customer base to speak of. Understanding and accepting such applications as essential to the process will lead you through the discovery phase. 

Keyword implementation is not an exact science yet by using such tools as the keyword planner and testing different keywords to find which ones are most effective for site traffic generation and your business or sales needs and objectives you should see positive results. My web traffic has increased considerably through keyword application and adjustment to the extent that my site traffic is now doubling every month consistently…that’s powerful!

Mobile Responsive Websites & Blogs 

Internet users in today’s busy lifestyle are carrying their mobile devices in ever-increasing numbers today and a large segment of the population now use their mobiles for internet browsing on the run. That means that a critical segment of our potential business or reading audience is locked in through their various mobile devices during key portions of the business day. That means in a nutshell that we MUST use websites and blogs that are formatted as mobile responsive. Refer to your own services provider to verify whether you do have your online websites or blogs configured for mobile devices.

Engage!  The bottom line is that once you engage, once you make those essential connections with your following or subscribing audience, then you will start to see results. Engaging in organic, genuine conversation and support builds confidence and trust in what you have to offer. The results will follow.

I’ll share with you an article posted by Debbie Hemley on reader engagement strategy in which the writer shares great tips for targeted audience connection at Social Media Examiner. I have been following this site for several years now, an excellent resource and information site on current trends in online presence, marketing strategy through social media and much more. Host Michael Stelzner also broadcasts regular podcasts through the site which are outstanding with powerhouse guest speakers. The site’s following is huge.

Remember friends….CONNECTION = ENGAGEMENT = CUSTOMER CONVERSION