Sustainably Yours, Tim King. Marketing Writer | Communications Specialist

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How to Create Great Content That People Will Love (and Share) | via Inc.com

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this “How To” article wasn’t full of fluff…but rather had some real, concrete ideas and real-world examples (written in plain English) that made it both fun and informative to read (and share). So I guess this guy knows what he’s talking about AND who he wants to talk to.

~TK

Jeff Haden is a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer, and contributing editor to Inc. 

He says that the actual content you create is important…but not nearly as important as the reason why. Read his latest post here:

Source: How to Create Great Content People Will Love (and Share) | Inc.com

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You’ll never guess why ‘The Best SEO Strategy’ can still fail | repost from Vital Design

Another informative post by the SEO content and design folks at Vital Design in Portsmouth, NH.

From where I sit, here are a few of the key takeaways from the post:

  • SEO is a fluid, not static practice.
  • Effective SEO writing must be treated as both art and science.
  • Meta descriptions matter – to search bots and people too.

Lastly, content creators must always keep their customers in mind and create content that people will actually want to read. As I wrote about in a blog post earlier this year, many time-tested marketing fundamentals still apply when it comes to communicating online with customers and potential prospects.

If you’re not speaking the ‘right’ language that people (and search engines) are able and willing to engage with, you can have the best-est, most innovative product/solution ever invented…that no one will ever want to learn about.

Content creators would do well to develop what Ted Levitt calls The Marketing Imagination , otherwise they risk wasting too much time writing words that will never be read – let alone Liked, Shared or Tweeted   – increasingly, the currency and most important standard of measure for anyone born after 1984.

So it seems that just like love and oxygen, when you try to stuff too many SEO keywords into a page, you’ll get too high (to the point where the Google gods will penalize you because you appear desperate for visitors), still, install too few and your web presence will surely wither and die on the vine.

As with all things, finding balance is the only winning approach.

~ TK

Source: Why the Best SEO Strategy Can Fail | Vital Design – Chuck McMahon, Director of Communications at Vital Design.

View more blog posts written by Chuck here.

Nature’s Concierge. Seeing Maine in a whole new way…through the eyes of a Guide.

For this article, I interviewed several Registered Maine Guides who described some of the many benefits of exploring the outdoors with the “eyes of someone who knows what both of you are looking at.”

Brought to you by The SunriseGuide, the Green & Healthy Maine Visitor’s Guide is unlike any other tourist guide on the shelves

This was a lot of fun to write and I hope it shines new light on the idea that Registered Guides are more than just a great resource for hunting and fishing trips.

Check out the story below and you’ll “see” what I mean.

TK

20160425_143644.jpg

“Eh, What’s up, Doc?”

Green & Healthy Maine. Visitor’s Guide.

Nature’s Concierge: Finding your way with a registered Maine Guide

Green & Healthy Maine is available for purchase at newsstands throughout Maine and New England. In addition, it can be found at major tourist hubs (including the state-run visitor’s centers in Kittery, Yarmouth, Fryeburg and Hampden, airport, train & bus stations, and the Ocean Gateway ferry terminal); cottage rental agencies; at select restaurants, hotels, and retail stores; and at Chamber visitor centers throughout Maine.

 

Duvet or Not Duvet? Eh? Just say Quilt.

I’ve always said that the ability to ‘do’ marketing well is both a skill and an art. It’s a delicate balance.

To be effective, marketers must communicate features and benefits in a way that is accurate and truthful but also emotional and exciting enough to attract attention and influence behavior.

When opposing (selling vs. telling) messages are communicated in precisely the right balance.

When opposing (selling vs. telling) messages are communicated in precisely the right balance.

When it’s done correctly, this is what I call marketing nirvana – the right message gets in front of the right person in the right way at the right time. A perfect match.

More often however, these contradictory communication goals will morph into materials and messages that actually accomplish neither one. We’ve all seen ad material too boring to read, too sensational to be believed, or worse too confusing to understand.

Recently, I spent the night in a well known, middle of the road type hotel chain and noticed this curious Post-It (R) note on my bed’s headboard. At first, I was intrigued/impressed to believe that the cleaning staff had left me a personal note welcoming me to rest in their comfy clean room.

Almost immediately though, that thought disappeared after peeling off the note and confirming that in fact the message had been pre-printed on the sheet of paper…and not hand written as I was lead to believe.

"Great! Ummm...What's a duvet? "

“Great! Ummm…What’s a duvet? “

Of course, I never really expected it to be a hand written note anyway. But, taking a closer look at the piece also brought up another intriguing question, “So what the heck IS a ‘doo-vet’ cover and  why were they so proud that theirs’ were clean anyway?”

Had I been unknowingly exposed to dangerously dirty duvets in the past at other hotel rooms? I honestly had no idea how to answer my own question.

Soon after this realization, flashes of Bill Cosby’s classic “Noah” sketch came to mind.

In the sketch, the booming voice of God calls out to Noah and instructs him (in feature-rich, important sounding, glorious language) that he wants Noah to go out and collect all the wood he can find and then build an “Ark”. God rattles on and on about what the Ark is for, how big it should be and who should be brought to it, etc. leaving no detail unmentioned.

Noah, patiently listens and when God finally pauses to hear Noah’s response to the mammoth task he has just put before him, Noah disbelievingly says “Riiiiiight…What’s an Ark?”

The same thing can be said about this piece of marketing. The hotel was SO concerned about appearing to be clever, personable and reassuring that they went the extra mile to make sure my duvet cover was clean…they probably never took the time to think “Does the average person actually know what a duvet is?”

For one, I sure didn’t.

But I have absolutely no doubt that everyone in the room at the time this was created definitely knew what one was. I’m also sure that hotel industry veterans know all about duvets and have conducted all sorts of research to find out that guests overwhelmingly like their duvets to be clean.

I wonder though if they were to gather 100 random people off the street and bring them into the hotel room and ask them to “go over and stand next to the duvet” if more than a few would likely walk over to a picture on the wall, the small table in the corner of the room…or maybe even one of those funny European style toilets that the water actually shoots up? 

In other words, does the specific feature / benefit that you are spending so much time, effort and money to create really mean anything at all to your customers ?

Effective marketing communicates what matters to customers – not what matters to the people creating the marketing or what companies think customers should think matters.

The only thing that matters to customers should be the only thing that matters to you…and don’t use a 25 cent word when a nickel word will do.

So, what do you think matters to your customers? Now THAT is the question.

For those who are still curious…. via Dictionary.com

du·vet [doo-vey]
noun
Def: a usually down-filled quilt, often with a removable cover; comforter.

SEO Keywords – Just Bark? That Bites.

Remember walking down the midway at the carnival and hearing a man shouting about “THE most amazing, fabulous, stupendous, unbelievable sights” just waiting for you inside?

“Yes Sir ! Step right up, folks! There’s plenty of room. C’mon inside and see … you simply won’t believe your eyes!”

They call this guy a “Barker” and his (or her) sole job is to get passers-by to stop, listen and become SO captivated and curious about the attraction that they immediately feel compelled to willingly and enthusiastically hand over their hard earned money JUST for the chance to take look inside.

Step Right Up Folks !! We got your keywords right here !!

Step Right Up Folks !! We got your SEO right here !!

The time tested staples of the Barker’s verbal repertoire generally emphasize some one-of-a-kind variety, novelty, beauty, or perhaps some unusual or grotesque feature.

“One day only!” “Don’t miss out.” “The only one known to man.” “Never seen before.” “From the depths of the black forest.” “Amaze your friends and neighbors.”

Two tickets please.

Unfortunately, chances are that the amazing spectacle vividly described outside the tent will generally have little in common with the mediocrity found within.  

And, the Barker could care less. He got you in the door – butts in seats – and that’s all he really cares about. “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Today, the same can be said about building your business website strictly around certain “keywords” only to enhance the sites Search Engine Optimization (SEO) status.

Sure, barking out the right buzz words and phrases out into the cyber-world will certainly attract visitors to your site. What’s even better, the more you repeat these words over and over, the more Google and Yahoo will think that you are really something important.

Yes, their complicated algorithms may be smart, but the human intellect is still the only thing able to sniff out BS – both online and on your shoe.

The reality is that it’s not enough that web searchers are able to find your website. In other words, it don’t mean a thing if they don’t spend some bling.

Last I checked, you can’t pay your rent with “clicks” or pay your employees with “likes”.

You can't buy Jack with "likes" - unless you're Fonzie.

You can’t buy Jack with “likes” – unless you’re Fonzie.

At the end of the day, your website needs to be able to convince its visitors to take action. Trouble is, turning a visitor into a paying customer takes much more than a few strategically placed keywords and some SEO-friendly text.

As always, convincing a customer to buy takes trust…and trust is a very complicated thing to establish online, especially if your website is focused primarily on only telling YOUR COMPANY’S story and not the story of your customers.

Trust me. Customers won't buy without it. (Via DM NEWS)

Trust me. Customers won’t buy without it. (Via DM NEWS)

Effective, customer-centric copywriting should answer the questions that customers are thinking about and proactively address their fears, objections and uncertainties. The ultimate goal is not only getting them to buy, but to also feel good about the transaction, and maybe tell their friends too.

So stop barking and start thinking about what problem you solve for customers – then tell THAT story (over and over) in all of your marketing materials.

Otherwise, all you’ll get is a website full of unhappy people wondering how they let themselves get swindled into believing there was really something special behind the curtain.

#MARKETING #FAIL

#MARKETING #FAIL

Social Media and Content Careers to watch in 2014 – The Next Web

12 “it” social and content careers to watch for in 2014 – The Next Web.

I’ve got my pencil sharpened and ready to go !

Compelling content keeps people (customers) coming back to your business and your brand.

However, businesses must avoid the common pitfall of trying to turn “social media” into “selling media” right off the bat.

You wouldn’t jump on a prospect to buy buy buy as soon as they walked into your store…so don’t be pushy with your prospects online either. That’s why it’s often better to work with an independent, nonpartisan content writer who can take a more sustainable approach to communicating with your customers instead of AT your customers.

Stop shouting. Even online customers hate pushy sales tactics.

Stop shouting. Even online customers hate pushy sales tactics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want more loyalty from your customers? Engage with them. Answer their questions. Trust them. When they are ready to buy, they’ll find their way back to you.

What brands are you seeing that are doing it right ? Tell me about it.

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