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

↑  click heading for my brief customer focus presentation  ↑

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

Inspiration Fills the Inkwell; Finding Blog Post Topics


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Choosing a Business Blog Subject

 

As a businessperson today with a website where you present and promote your products, services or a cause such as a charity, one of the most important elements on your website menu is your ‘blog’ page. How many times have you opened up a new document file to start writing and you hit a wall? Sound familiar? You are not alone. Let us take a closer look.

Your business blog is an instrumental vehicle for demonstrating your authority level on subject matter that is highly relevant to your business and will be of the greatest possible interest to your targeted audience. You want to demonstrate your expertise, show off your chops and legitimize your business. Your blog is the perfect place to engage your audience by sharing highly informative, current information that will help them solve a problem they need to address quickly.

When deciding what subject you would like to address in each new blog post, consider what you offer through your business and what customer problems you resolve through your products or services. That question alone should raise a host of potential subjects to write about in your blog. Scan through your website for ideas to write informative content about. From that browsing, you may think of additional post ideas. Before you begin to write a new piece, do sufficient research and see how other industry professionals have covered the same or similar subject matter. Keep your approach fresh.

Content Management System (CMS): Still stuck on a subject to write about? Here is where organizational tools like content management systems (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal come into play. You may already have your own favorite CMS tool to work with so you are off to a great start. A CMS in simple terms and format is a file where you create an itemized series of data that will be used for the creation and scheduling of blog content.

On the surface that sounds complicated but you can keep it as simple as necessary for your own purposes. Even the use of an Excel file may suffice. The whole idea of CMS is to generate content in advance of posting dates in an organized system that gives you the foundation for your blog article content. At a more advanced level of CMS development, you can even populate a completed blog post directly into that CMS system integration or retrieval on the designated date(s) for posting.

The starting point for your CMS data fields will be your blog title draft. That drafted title will serve as a cue for the desired subject and posting date and you can always revise that title as desired for the final post. Once you have that title in place, you can begin to develop the blog content. To make the process more streamlined and less stressful as the posting date nears, add condensed content data or concepts to your additional CMS fields. When you are ready to write the blog, you have already established the main premise of the article and all the integral elements of information that will fill out the piece in an organized and highly informative way. Beyond the blog title, your organizational fields for each post may look something like this:

  • Blog Title
  • Paragraph subject matter
  • Resources for blog information
  • Secondary, relevant information
  • Closing paragraph content

The foregoing is a generalized overview but it gives you an idea of how to plan for your blog post development without the stress of starting from scratch as your post date draws near. Let us face it, whether you are a full-time businessperson or have an employer and running your business part-time until things get rolling, the less last minute panic you have to face the better.

Life is demanding and when you set firm deadlines for your blog posts (and newsletters), that organization goes a long way to helping ensure that you have clear, concise and well-presented content that your audience will thoroughly engage in.

 Where to Draw Your Blog Inspiration From

Now that you have your content management system in place, you need to populate it with an ongoing, calendarized succession of blog topic ideas. Set aside ample time to sit down without distraction and brainstorm blog subjects with special attention to the relevance of the subject to your business product, services or cause and the level of interest your targeted audience will have.

Initially, your brainstorming activity may bring up a lengthy list of potential subjects to share with your subscribers and new site visitors. That is a great start. You should plan for content at least two months ahead and ideally be looking even further ahead. As mentioned previously, you can always revise a subject as new ideas avail themselves.

Resources for Blog Post Ideas

When you have reached that proverbial block wall or writer’s block that is the time that you will likely need to look to outside resources to get ideas to spring forth a new flow of potential blog subjects. Those subject ideas may come in the form of generalized suggestions but that will most often influence and inspire the right blog content matter for your future posts.

When I need to find help to determine my next and future blog post subject matter I look to finding those ideas through search engine queries.

Semantic Search

Be aware that the search terms you use to find answers through search engines and what method you apply to finding those results are changing frequently depending on Google search algorithms and related updates.

The growing trend in 2017 is to apply “semantic search” terms in your queries. Google is now leaning very much toward looking for search results that are related meanings to semantic search terms. Keywords continue to have importance and relevance to search queries but plan to create semantic search terms to closer align with Google’s current priority and emphasis on search results geared towards increasing use of the semantic long form search terms.

I most often determine my own blog post ideas independently drawing from business-related experiences with clients and observing their interests based on issues they may be having. For the purpose of this article, I have drawn from two sources, Entrepreneur and Molly Green, both which list a host of blog ideas and are well worth a look.

Definition – What does Semantic Search mean?

“Semantic search is a data searching technique in a which a search query aims to not only find keywords but to determine the intent and contextual meaning of the words a person is using for search.

Semantic search provides more meaningful search results by evaluating and understanding the search phrase and finding the most relevant results in a website, database or any other data repository.

Techopedia explains Semantic Search

Semantic search works on the principles of language semantics. Unlike typical search algorithms, semantic search is based on the context, substance, intent, and concept of the searched phrase. Semantic search also incorporates location, synonyms of a term, current trends, word variations and other natural language elements as part of the search. Semantic search concepts are derived from various search algorithms and methodologies, including keyword-to-concept mapping, graph patterns, and fuzzy logic.”

Techopedia.com

Some of My Business Blog Topic Favorites:

From Entrepreneur.com:

  • Popular Blog Post Linking & Contribution: Seek out popular and relevant blog posts by other bloggers and industry professionals, share their perspective, add your perspective and link to the original blog post. This not only pays their efforts forward but also helps strengthen your own expertise or authority level. Notifying the blog post writer of the favorable mention and link back also helps to develop strong alliances between you and the blog host.
  • Link Roundups: Similarly, to the first topic shared above is to collect a multiple of external professional perspectives and include the links back to each source in your piece.
  • Current Trends: Sharing industry news that is trending or an otherwise hot topic not only helps to keep your subscribers informed but it also elevates your authority level. When I run my searches for my latest blog posts, I always include the current year in my search terms. That way, almost without fail you find new information that is fully current that your subscribers likely have not become aware of yet.
  • Discussing Plans: This feature blog is always a good one because ardent followers are anxious to know what is coming up in future blogs; your company events, awards you have received, changes in your company structure or perspective and much more.
  • Posting Industry Relevant Videos: Video has become such a powerful medium for website content. The better the quality of the video content, the better the chances of having that video (and your site in turn) shared to subscribers’ social media platforms and more.
  • Create Podcasts: Here is a terrific and powerfully engaging way to really attract new web traffic and enhance visitor engagement while reducing your site’s bounce rate (visitors clicking out after only viewing the linked landing page on your site.) You do not have to be a broadcasting expert to share valuable and helpful information with your site visitors.
  • Create Infographics: Yet another powerful way to engage your audience. Create graphics that illustrator statistical information and data. Your blog sharing will increase measurably!
  • Highlight Your Business Failures: Talk about your business endeavors that simply did not work, why, and how you turned that failure into a positive. You will be a hero to business entrepreneurs if you steer them clear of making the same mistakes themselves.
  • Regular Feature or Series Articles: Share relevant industry articles that you know will be a hit with your audience. Another great approach is to create a series; subscribers will love the progressive sharing of related information.
  • Personal Ambitions Features: Share your early beginnings with your business. Detail how the whole idea developed, what inspired you and what dreams you have for the business moving forward. People love to read inspiring content.

From Molly Greene, Author, and Writer:

  • Features; Writers & Industry Professionals: Share with your audience links to articles by people that inspire you greatly. Your subscribers will love to get to know something of what you love to engage in.
  • Who To Follow in Social Media: Another popular share of information. Share page links of prominent industry professions, especially as relevant to your business and audience’ interests. The ever-increasing daily use of social media platforms by people around the globe makes for a great opportunity for you to refer your audience to people you feel your audience will find valuable new connections and benefit from new perspectives.
  • General Interest Posts: This is a category with virtually limitless subject potential and people will engage readily to any number of current topics. Including subjects of relevance to your business and industry are important.
  • How-To Posts: This type of article or blog post continues to be a powerful draw for readers. People love to learn how to do things of interest, especially when that information is free! There is great article sharing potential with these posts as well.
  • Feature; Guest Interview Posts: This is also another extremely popular method of capturing audience attention. This type of post is often in textual or podcast formats. People love to listen to an expert perspective on podcasts and it is a great change of pace from the standard blog post or article.
  • List Posts: Again, here is yet another type of blog post or article that grabs people’s attention. These posts are often highlighted with bullet points, subtitles and the like which make it easy for the reader to scan for their preferred information or topics.
  • Opinions, Rebuttals, Trends, Debates, and Predictions: Again, a nice touch of spicing things up by sharing information from hot or trending topics that you know will be well-received by your readers. Who doesn’t like a little heated but constructive debate? This kind of posting affords you all kinds of variations on topical themes. Use discretion when it comes to controversial or sensitive subject nature. You may take a few hits of negative response.
  • Repurposed Articles: This is an effective way to periodically save yourself a great deal of research and writing time on a blog by revising an older post of yours with new updates to make that story even better than the original. Where a subject resurfaces as a trending topic what better way to participate and gain exposure than to repurpose some of your articles in this way!
  • Resources & Reviews: There is any number of ways to draw ideas from the latest resources and reviews that will help your readers gain perspective for their own endeavors. I often share news hot off the press with information on important aspects of self-publishing, related software, book reviews and more for my author clients. When I see highly informative research articles relevant to my business and clients, I am more than happy to share that information with links to the source files.
  • Social Media Posts:  
    • Mp3 files, podcasts – example: Blog Talk Radio interviews.
      Talks and/or roundtable discussions on Skype.
      Narrative videos (you need to be comfortable with the camera).
      PowerPoint presentation video + commentary as you talk viewers through the presentation.
      Videotaped interviews.

Google Hangout recordings – check out Fraser Cain’s Perfectionist’s Guide to Marketing Your Hangout on Air.

As you can see, there are so many different and interesting ways to add relevant and fascinating blog material, presented in fresh and different ways, to keep your audience tuned in! If you are still struggling at times with creating new and highly engaging content, run searches for trending topics and even topics that were covered some time ago. See how those subjects have been presented by industry professionals and develop your own version and perspective to each story that reinforces and promotes your brand and voice recognition.

Be sure to click through on the links provided above to see the full range of blog post ideas and bookmark them for future reference. By simply browsing through these lists, you will surely be inspired with other ideas at the same time!

 

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© Don MacIver 2017; All Rights Reserved

8 Copywriting Essentials to Master in 2017


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1st Rule of Engagement; Stop Selling Yourself & Focus on Customer Benefits!

What essential copywriting elements drive response?  Copywriting has been around for a long, long time and although the focus and perspective evolves to an extent over time as marketing and advertising professionals rethink and reshape, the core principle of copywriting today centers on how your prospective customer or client will benefit; what’s in it for them? Read on to find ways to zero in on best copy strategies for your market.

Lose sight of that focus on how you can help your customer acquire a less complicated, more enjoyable and problem-free life experience and conveying that very story at all times is key to capturing your targeted market’s attention and desire to keep reading what you have to say…and clicking through as directed to find out more and make that critical buy decision.

For as long as memory serves, the sole focus in marketing and advertising copy was centric to ‘Buy me, buy me, and yes, buy me.” Not anymore!

Regardless of ongoing innovations in digital marketing and PPC (pay per click) advertising, writing effective ad copy continues to be the essential factor in driving audience engagement and compelling them to want to find out more and ultimately may offer a prospective purchaser whether what you offer is a product line, services or causes and more.

Be aware that the platforms that we are using as marketing vehicles are in a constant state of flux. We must always stay current on the many changes those vehicles are undergoing. As equally important, the reasons for those changes and how we as marketers and business proponents need to adjust and take advantage of the new and improved version of those vehicles drives new potential in a fiercely competitive marketing arena.

Industry Tools

As demanding as research is in terms of our dedication of time and energy, we need to always be aware and intimately understanding of the many relevant tools and technologies that are developed to enhance our targeted audience reach and engagement. You cannot afford to allow your own strategy and techniques to fall short in terms of ad copy that is not on-point or all of your efforts will lose ground rapidly in terms of relevance and effect.

Master the Craft of Skilled Copywriting 

Take your craft of copywriting skills to the next level through ongoing research and development or your return on your efforts will fall well short of expectations. Be sure that you implement current standards as time passes to that end.

Keywords remain an important part of your copy strategy. Use your core keywords in your ads in accordance with current Google policy guidelines at all times. Never underestimate the critical importance of algorithmic and content ranking that comes with Google updates as they occur, at times twice or more within the same twelve-month period.

Lag behind in your awareness of what the major search engines expect to see in your content at any given time, especially Google, will prove harmful to your website and can result in critical loss of visibility to the extent that all your hard work to develop your hub presence online becomes virtually ineffective and your site ‘invisible’ to those searching for what you have to offer.

8 Copywriting Essentials

1) Write Your Copy to Meet User Needs & Objectives

›  Make sure that you anticipate what your targeted market/audience needs and/or wants to make their lives or businesses better. That takes research so take full advantage of all relevant articles and innovative new data analytics tools which help define who your audience reach includes (demographics) in terms of relevance, interests, geographical location, age, gender, education, vocation and more.

›  Phrase your ad copy very carefully to make sure you are capturing their attention and appealing directly to what those needs and desires are.

2) Use of Numbers or Statistics in Headlines

› Market prospects will often share what their purchase budget is in advance. By including pricing in your ad copy you will help with the consumer’s decision process when they are considering your ad vs the ads of your competitors and what they have to offer.

3) Appeal to Your Market’s Sense of Entitlement

› This area of marketing may be less familiar to you. People today have an acute sense of entitlement. They have strong and deeply personal perspective on what they should be able and are entitled to have in their life not only in terms of lifestyle but also personal belongings/possessions and more. Appeal to that sense of entitlement in terms of emotional response to your ads by your prospective customers.

4) Emotional Triggers

› When writing your brand story and ad copy draw on responsive emotions that will drive reaction and potential decision making motivation i.e. excitement, anger, disgust, fear, urgency. Statements of affirmation and humor also invoke response. Use careful and respectful wording when drawing on these type of emotions so as never to come across in an offensive way.

5) Write Unique, Keyword Rich Display URL’s

› Be aware that diplay URL’s are often of greater interest and relevance for ad copy. Design your ad copy to contain your top or core keywords. Remember that search engines pick up on keyword elements which help to identify what a particular article, blog or website is all about. That is essential to your placement and positioning in search results!

› Remember to always incorporate your core keywords into your website and blog/article headings and body text in addition to the ad copy you write. There should be a direct correlation between your various online presences accordingly.

6) Use of Punctuation to End the First Description Line

› End your first description line after your headline with a punctuation mark i.e. an exclamation mark (!). By doing so your ad may receive an ‘elongated headline‘ if that ad places in the top three search results. An ‘elongated’ or ‘extended’ headline means that the text from your first description line is moved up to the headline. The extended ad headline has the effect of increasing the CTR (click-through rate) of ads. 

7) Anticipate Common Objections with Well-Crafted Copy

› Read back your headline and ad copy repeatedly to make sure that it will have the desired affect on its intended audience. Before even writing that copy, make sure you have fully considered who your intended/targeted audience is and how they will react to your copy wording. Always remember that by staying focused on your ad copy wording you are creating a positive influence when it comes to the reader’s decision process between you and your competitors. When it comes to ad copy, first impressions are critical. There are rarely second chances in the marketing and advertising copy realm of thinking.

8) Focus Your Ad Copy on Benefits

› Last but certainly by no means least is this ad copy essential; regardless of past convention, do not sell yourself or your company by telling people how great you are! This is critical. Understand that they only care about how you can make their life easier or better for them. The consumer today is sick and tired of the age-old marketing and sales approach that is “Buy me, buy me.” They just don’t want to see, hear or otherwise embrace that tactic anymore. They know what advertising is purposed for. Still, their focus is strictly on how they alone will benefit from what you have to offer…so maintain the ad copy focus strictly on them!

Make absolutely sure that your ad copy is clear on what the reading consumer will gain for themselves by purchasing your product, service or cause. Lose sight of this critical convention and you have just wasted a lot of time, effort and advertising dollars (for yourself or your client) only to see your ad campaign fall flat on its face with lackluster results. After all, the ad IS all about the consumer!

For more information on copywriting take a look at this HubSpot.com list of Fantastic Copywriting.

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!


START A CONVERSATION; FIND OUT MORE TODAY

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

5498550a7fca10fe79bcc8171fd8dea7-linkedin-logo

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.

Search Engine & Social Media Optimization Strategies


SEO-OPTIMIZATION-3DStacked

photo c/o Bing Search, source unknown

Wouldn’t it be nice to see your website or blog show up in the Top 10 positioning on search engine results pages?

Top 10 is the ultimate gold when it comes to where our web pages are going to show up when people are searching for our products or services and if we want to see meaningful results for all of our tireless efforts to get our websites or blogs seen we need to make sure that the content we create for our sites will be highly visible to search engines.

That all seems pretty daunting and for many a frustrating part of online website marketing. The thing is that we simply cannot aimlessly practice online website content writing without including keywords and keyword phrases that will be recognized by search engines AND commonly used words and phrases that are most often used by people when they do online searches.

Online document and website content strategy is a critical part of increased reader engagement and web traffic. We may have the best products or services available today but if we don’t understand search engine optimization and social media optimization our sites will never be seen by the majority of those searching online. As equally important is writing high quality, clean, concise, informative and compelling content that will thoroughly interest and engage our readers and leave them with an immediate desire to find out more.

Search engine visibility and website or blog site ranking by the search engines is extremely important for anyone marketing their products, services or non-commercial sites online today. Without being an expert in SEO practices there are tools available online to help find the best words and phrases to use in our web content. Google continues to be the largest search engines by far and our ultimate goal is reaching that Top 10, page 1 search results positioning on Google as well as the other major search engines.

Google.com Webmaster Tools:
Start off by registering for Google tools and resources. I signed up for a Gmail account and have access to Google’s powerhouse webmaster tools that help guide website owners through their various tools and resources for search engine optimization and more.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner:
Once you have access to Google’s treasure chest of resources go the the Google Keyword Planner tool site linked here. If you want to use Google Adwords there is cost involved but to simply research keywords and keyword phrases the keyword planner tool itself is free. The tool landing page shows a number of options to choose from and you want to go to the first option provided which is “search for new keyword and ad groups ideas.”

Next you will see a search campaign box where you need to enter what product or service (or type of site content) you are offering. Think carefully about the commonly known names or phrases that most people would use to search for your site…never use highly technical jargon/language…keep it simple. Then enter your full website address ie http:www…  followed by entering your product, service or website/blog content category. Again, think in terms of the most commonly known terms for the category that would best describe what you offer on your site.

What follows those first three primary fields is ‘Targeting’ and ‘Customize Your Search’. In these two sections you want to focus carefully on geographic regions you are targeting an audience in, their language, search engine options and keyword search filters. There is a small question mark icon located just above these two fields for brief helpful information on what you need to focus on here.

Once this form is completed click “Get Ideas”. What you will see on the results page that follows are a series of keyword or keyword phrases which are the most commonly used terms used by people searching on the internet, a count of the number of searches made for each keyword or phrase, a competition rating and more.

Important: From the results described above, you want to choose keywords and keyword phrases that will serve your own objectives best. If you are a new business startup (just getting started with a new/first business) choose the keywords and phrases that are medium competition and number of searches.  Choosing higher competition ranking and the highest number of searches produces search results to highly established and ranked websites that place them in the Top 10 or 20 (Page 1 and 2) search results positions and even if you have a small search engine visibility, because of the much higher ranked sites for the chosen keywords/keyword phrases your site will never get seen (because your site is listed a multiple of pages deep in the search results). Remember that most people only click on sites listed on Page 1 of search results and a very small percentage will ever go into Page 2 results.

Keyword Density:
How many times you include keywords and keyword phrases (collectively) within each paragraph or web page is somewhat subjective but very close attention needs to be taken here. Google is frequently changing its methods and tolerances for acceptable use and volume of keywords within our content. If overused, and when identical keywords or phrases are repeated, Google now looks upon that practice in a very negative way, commonly referred to as “keyword stuffing” and you can expect that in doing so Google will penalize your site ranking heavily or render your site essentially invisible through poor ranking and search visibility.

There was a period of time where volume of keywording on a website was acceptable but NOT anymore…do so at your own peril. Search engines establish ‘algorithms’ for search ranking and visibility criteria which are essentially the rules that must be followed if we want people to be able to find us in search queries. Ignoring such rules is very risky and will most likely eliminate any chance we have of getting noticed, gaining a following, achieving reader engagement and ultimately our targeted new clients, customers and sales.

Keyword Density Target:  
To ensure that your website stays in the ‘safe’ zone for search engine visibility and ranking you should target a keyword density of approximately 1% – 3% of your total article/web page content. In other words, for every 100 words of content, use a maximum of 3 keyword or keyword phrase applications. To easily calculate this density, while your MS Word document is open, look in the lower left area of your system tray at the bottom of your monitor screen. You will see a page count ie ‘Page 1 of…’ and then ‘Words‘ which tells you how many words there are in your open article.

To calculate the percentage of keywords and phrases that occur in the article, count those keywords/phrases in total and then divide that count number by the total number of words in the article. If you have more than the recommended 1% – 3% keyword density, remove some of those keywords (or other content reworded) until you are back to the density limit suggested.

There is more to website ranking and search engine optimization for increasing search visibility and website traffic results than can reasonably be covered in this article but the essentials outlined above will give you a good start at improving how visible your website or blog will be in search engine queries and help those sites begin to establish ranking by the search engines. The key to establishing best results is to make sure you stay current on the methods best applied for your site as time passes and search engines change their algorithms and rules of engagement.

Test Your Search Results and Ranking:
Remember to frequently monitor your website/blog search results by running your own organic searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. For myself, I would use search terms like “website editing, Peachland, BC” or “document proofreading in Peachland, BC” or “social media optimization in Peachland, BC”. When you see your own site search results placed on Page 3 or higher you know you’re on the right track. Always use ‘organic’ search terms like I have illustrated here for my own searches. Don’t use your site title as the vast majority of people searching don’t know you or your site title and they won’t get results that include your site. Keep tweaking your keywords and phrases and other relevant content wording until you succeed in Top 10, Page 1 search results position…and celebrate! Now you’re talking!!

Social Media Optimization:
Similar keyword and phrase practices apply to social media posts. It’s easy to forget keyword content in social media site posts (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Pinterest etc.) and professional networks like LinkedIn but optimizing our social media content is equally important for generating website and blog traffic. Also make sure that your profile on each of those networks has keywording because it helps users of those networks to find you (and your related website/other locations) in their searches online. When you connect or get followers make sure you interest with them individually through post comments, sharing, Tweeting and private messaging.

Resources:
As a website or blog owner or administrator/marketer, make sure you do research on all aspects of writing website and online document content by doing internet searches. Find the experts online that can help guide you through the processes. Emulate success…do what successful people do. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Find others who are successful on the internet, learn their methods and apply those successful methods for best results.

For years I have consistently referred to two highly successful websites to learn current best practices and I have seen very positive results with my own website, blog and social media presence. SiteProNews is an excellent resource for breaking technology, social media and search engine news. SocialMediaExaminer is an outstanding resource for social media marketing, newsletters, events, networking tips and resources and live podcasts hosting interviews with many of the social media and business marketing giants of today who share how they have achieved lofty heights and their methods. Practice what these successful folks have done and you will save yourself an awful lot of wasted time attempting to get it right.

Ultimately you need to decide whether to apply keyword and keyword phrase content on your website or blog yourself or hire an expert in that service discipline to do it for you. It will take some time to achieve best results on your own. Remain patient and focused! Monitor your website or blog data through analytics as you make changes to keywording to see what positive or negative affect new (or eliminated/updated) keywords have on your website’s visitor traffic and engagement and search visibility. 

Most important of all….always focus on reaching that treasured Top 10 page 1 of search results! That is when the most significant results begin to happen! – See more at: http://lastingimpressionsediting.weebly.com/key-word-blog/search-engine-social-media-optimization-strategies#sthash.0NwJVCMp.dpuf

 

By Don MacIver, Owner, Editor, Writer, Author
© Lasting Impressions 2016