Is Your Content Reaching Your Buyers?

You may be producing amazing content, it might be reaching and entertaining a wide audience, but are they your buyers?

Reach Your Audience

In previous posts I’ve talked about knowing your audience and talking directly with them through your content. You need to reach them on a deeper level and trigger an emotional response that inspires them to act. They need to believe in you, enough to choose you above all of the competition out there vying for their attention. So what’s the trick?

Know Your Customers

For small business owners, there is no marketing team dedicated to slicing through the treacle that is the internet and grabbing the attention of  potential customers, not like ‘the big boys’.  If you get your content marketing right, you too can have your share.  I am working on the assumption that you understand your brand and know your product(s).  From there, the place to start is honing down on exactly who your target demographic is. Where to start? Get a huge piece of paper, some felt-tip pens and invite every person in your team, supply biscuits. Now ask every question you can think of: What do you KNOW about your audience?  What do they do? When do they buy? What do they buy? Why do they buy? What device(s) do they use? Who do they buy for? What are their interests? How much time do they have? Who’s in their family? What do they like? The list is not exhaustive, at this stage, there are no stupid questions.

Speak to Your Audience

Once you have built up a clear and complete picture of your target customer, speak in their language. This is about written content, it always needs to be clear, accurate and relevant but the intonation and style need to bring out the personality of your product/service and speak on a subliminal level with your customers. When I produce scientific content I know that my audience, generally PhD and above, is comfortable with technical terms, I am safe to use scientific language. If your products are aimed at business people, use a more formal style, exhibiting your professionalism, invoking trust, bear in mind they are ‘time poor’. If your potential customers are thrill-seekers looking for adventure, use a style of ‘speaking’ with them that they will engage with.

Content Writing Isn’t For Everyone

Content writing is not a skill that everyone can acquire. If your skills lie elsewhere or literacy is not your strong-point, don’t spend your valuable time on it. Use your time and skills elsewhere and invest in an experienced content writer who can create content that works for you. Your aim is to reach and engage your target audience with relevant, well-written content that creates trust and inspires them to act: Buy now/Click/Call/Share/Like. Targeting Your Audience for Sales Content Marketing My Words Work For You

 

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How Important Is Nomenclature?

Today Clarks Shoes are the latest victim of a media frenzy, they have been accused of sexism, fairly or unfairly?

A Marketing Faux Pas

Clarks have released their latest range of school shoes; somebody in the Clarks ‘shoe naming department’ has deemed it appropriate to call the boys’ shoe ‘Leader’, while the equivalent girls’ shoe has been awarded the name, Dolly Babe’. It is an atrocious choice, I understand that. Who on earth has been paid money to think of that name? Why did nobody else in the organisation think to change it? Here are the shoes in question.

CLarks shoes Product Nomenclature Content Writer My Words Work For You

Are boys ‘Leaders’ while girls are ‘Dolly Babes’?

Image credit: bbc.co.uk

Product Naming Can be Effective

Perhaps a more effective marketing ploy would be to engage their audience in a shoe naming competition. Alternatively, strive for aspirational names that increase the desirability of the product. Clarks could have been very clever and ‘imagined up’ a range of names that appealed to parents and their children. Clearly when choosing shoes, the fit is the priority, but product names can influence the buyer.

Marketing – Make it Desirable

Many years ago I was content marketing for a toy retailer. I chose to name a range of nursery mobile animals with humorous and quirky names. The result was a dramatic increase in sales. Why? Well the names I chose were aimed at engaging the target market (adults), invoking an emotional response. It worked. Each toy transitioned from an inanimate object, to a character with a back story and the potential to bring joy into the lives of all who entered the nursery. Personification is a powerful marketing tool, we all like to identify with what we are buying. There are myriad intelligent ways to approach marketing, and many are yet to be thought of. 

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Clarks could have walked this path more wisely, of course ‘Dolly Babe’ is a ridiculous and demeaning name but ultimately, the important thing is the quality of the product. Is it fit for purpose? Clarks have a well-desrved good reputation in the shoe industry and sensible parents have trusted the welfare of their children’s feet to experienced fitters for many years. On a personal note, we have left Clarks with no new shoes on more than one occasion, the result of having a child with oddly shaped feet, ethically minded fitters have refused to sell us ill-fitting shoes.

I am sure lessons will be learned and Clarks will produce more sensitively named shoes in the future.

Would this ‘slip-up’ stop you from buying from Clarks? 

 

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The Elephant in the Room

Today is World Elephant Day, glorious creatures that man has managed to exploit and drive towards extinction. In the last decade alone, elephant numbers have decreased by 62%, yet man continues to buy ivory, and poachers continue to kill an estimated 100 elephants each day, monstrous. Words can raise awareness; I am very happy to do that. If one individual stops buying ivory as a result of reading about the price paid by the elephants, that’s positive.

Elephant Tusks Content Writer My Words Work For You

Man can live without ivory, elephants can’t

Image Credit: dailyrecord.co.uk

The Elephant in the Room

On a lighter note, I wanted to talk about… the elephant in the room. I love that phrase. It’s a metaphorical idiom (in case you hadn’t realised) which describes an obvious problem that everybody is choosing to ignore. If we all pretend it isn’t there, we can carry on as normal…or can we?

Have you ever been in a meeting that has skirted the issue? Or avoided the issue completely? It was just too challenging to deal with. How much progress was made? Did the ‘elephant’ leave as a result of being ignored? Therein lies the problem, the elephant is too large to leave, so there it stays. This phrase isn’t only relevant to work life, elephants that are ignored tend to increase in size until the room feels rather uncomfortable.

Elephant in the room Content Writer My Words Work For You

Elephants who are ignored tend to get larger

Image credit: New York cartoon print by J.B. Handelsman

Let’s Talk About Elephants

How difficult can it be? If you have an elephant in your room, at home or at work, try these steps:

  1. Write down a description of your elephant – What exactly is the issue?
  2. Write down why it is in the room – Why is nobody discussing it?
  3. Write down who else is in the room – Who else should be acknowledging the elephant?
  4. Write down some ways to introduce the elephant – An email, a letter, face-to-face discussion (preferred option)  that brings the elephant right into conversation.
  5. Write down some solutions – Possible strategies to remove the elephant, these don’t have to be the whole fix but at least steps to acknowledge the issue and ways that everybody involved could help to deal with it.
  6. Now turn those steps in to action, it is easier than you have imagined.

The aim is to make the elephant small enough that it can at least fit through the exit.

Elephant in the room Content Writer My Words Work For You

Talk About the Elephant; He Will Feel Better About Himself

Image credit: Cartoonist Dan Piraro

Enjoy World Elephant Day. What can you do to help? Find a petition to sign, donate a few pounds to a worthy cause, pledge never to buy ivory…acknowledge any elephants that are taking up space in your room.

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Content Writing To Preserve History

Do you know anyone with a story to tell?  In the words of Max Ehrmann, ‘listen to others…they too have their story’.  What happens if the story isn’t recorded? Is it lost forever?

Preserving History

Since childhood I have cared about preserving people’s stories. As we ‘shuffle off this mortal coil’, our stories go with us. Those left behind get on with living and creating memories of their own. The tragedy for me is when those who have  lead meaningful existences pass on, taking their lives and their memories with them. Pieces of history lost forever.

Story of an Evacuee

I have lived in this Cambridgeshire village for over 19 years, in that time we have developed friendships with people throughout the community. One of my dog walking buddies talks about his experiences as an evacuee in World War II. For years I have encouraged him to record it, he has desperately wanted to, but it just hadn’t happened, you know how it is. The time was right, and a local publication needed a new article, so my friend and I sat down and preserved his story.

Living History

Word got out. The local primary school were learning about the war, ‘crocodile lines’ of children had walked to the local train station carrying their ‘gas mask boxes’ to be evacuated. If only they could meet a real evacuee… So an amazing afternoon was spent seated under a tree, answering a multitude of questions from enthusiastic budding historians.

Primary School Copywriter My Words Work For You

Bringing History to Life

The Work Continues

The editor of the magazine has contacted me asking if I could write a regular feature. My next project is a ‘Village Elder’ who has lived here all his life. He knows stuff, I can’t wait to share it. Another lovely post about making people feel good here.

 

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Variety is the Spice of Working Life

How varied is your work? Is every day the same or do you get some variety in your working day? Maybe every day is different and you never know what to expect? The wonderful, and essential, thing about nature is variation of the species, humans are no exception. Thankfully, we are all different, we have different preferences, outlooks, needs. It is ‘horses for courses’, having every day the same will suit some people down to the ground, some will find unpredictability challenging. This post is not aimed at those people.

Content Writing

I am very fortunate. After four years of content writing I have learned to be selective about the clients I work with, This is not motivated by selfish gain. I have learned from experience that it is far more beneficial to the client if their content writer believes in what they are writing. I have been working in Chicago with a client carrying out Human Factors medical research. This has certainly added variety to my working life, and some extraordinary experiences!

Blue Man Show Chicago Business Support My Words Work For You

The Blue Man Show Chicago – Difficult to explain, you kind of need to be there

Annual Duck Race Chicago Business Support My Words Work For You

Annual Duck Race, we only popped out for lunch, and this was happening right outside. The winning duck owner receives a car, it’s a big deal!

The Importance of Being Happy

Considering the average adult will work a total of 92,120 hours in their lifetime, being satisfied with your working life is tremendously important. According to the Office of National Statistics’ Assessment of National Well-Being, 42% of the individuals surveyed across 18 different measures, felt that they experienced no overall change in their feeling of well-being in the last year. In case you are wondering, the figure of 92,120 was based on 39,2 hour X 47 weeks X 50 years.

A Working Week

After returning home tonight I will be meeting with two potential new clients and I will be trying my hand at something new. This will bring new challenges, a chance to upskill as well as benefiting existing clients, all positive. Every working day is different as I write content for a carefully selected range of clients. Chellenges for me come from scientific content writing. I provide scientific content for two clients that enable researchers to make discoveries across the globe, that gives me great job satisfaction as well as stretching my brain  and keeping me up-to-date. I support a client to carry out Human Factors research, again, positively impacting lives of people suffering from a range of diseases. Fun comes from contibuting articles for blogs on a range of topics and writing human interest articles for publications. Largely, I can manage my working week to bring something different every day and beat client deadlines. I am fortunate.

How is Your Working Week?

Do you have opportunities and challenges in your work? Do you have variety? What keeps you interested in your work? What makes you smile as you wake up and realise it’s a work day? I am really hoping for you that the answers are positive? If not, don’t worry, now is as good a time as any to assess and evaluate. Are you happy? What could change? There is always something.

Why is it so Important?

If you experienced variety and challenge in your work what benefits would it bring to you and your workplace? This list is by no means exhaustive, I imagine you could add many of your own, feel free to add your ideas in the comments.

  • Motivation
  • Aspiration
  • Productivity
  • Happiness
  • Physical and mental health
  • Improved quality
  • Added value and employability

How Could You Add Variety?

Again, everybody’s circumstances differ, many more may apply to you.

  • Additional training
  • Volunteering
  • Training others
  • Taking on new responsibilities
  • Applying for something new
  • Up-skilling
  • Speaking with and listening to people in roles you are interested in
  • Changing your routine
  • Speak with colleagues and employers about flexibility

Lots of articles on this topic and many more in my Blog, enjoy!

 

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Tough to stay Healthy

I have been working in Chicago for one week, one week to go, it’s been amazing. Each working day is spent in a viewing facility; we have to send out for food selected from a vast range of options. Each evening we are dining out, again from a vast choice of restaurants. The problem is, in spite of time spent at the gym, after just a week my clothes are feeling tighter than they did in the UK. We are trying, but…

Making Healthy Choices

It is very difficult to eat healthily over here. It is very easy to over-eat and it feels like almost every ingredient is somehow coated in sugar. We have ordered Waldorf salad with walnuts coated in honey; bacon covered in maple syrup, potatoes coated in cheese, oatmeal with strawberries coated in a sugar glaze, it tastes amazing but, really?! If this is the usual offering, tastebuds will quickly become accustomed to it and anything less will soon taste bland.

Chance to Cleanse The System

Last night we decided to have a night off, the client had flown back to  the UK so there was no need to eat out. We found a supermarket and bought the healthiest options we could find then settled in front of the TV for a movie night, this morning I feel so much better.Healthy Eating Copywriter My Words Work For You

Product Availability

In spite of the huge agricultural space available here, it seems that fresh fruit and veg are only available to buy at a premium, a corn dog, or  churro are cheap (and ubiquitous) by comparison. I can completely understand how I am encountering so many people with serious health issues; making healthy choices here is not easy. I love Chicago, but I am looking forwad to taking control of my eating again.

So if I can’t start a fruit and veg/pure food business in the United States, maybe I’ll become a fitness guru…it’s got legs (if you’ll excuse the pun)

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Get Fit to Fly

A New Dawn

Since My Words Work For You began in 2013, I have spent a lot of time supporting other people’s businesses. It has given me great pleasure. I have encouraged business owners to get/stay fit, physically and mentally, it can make the difference between failure and success. Here’s one I wrote earlier… Running a business is like running a marathon, it’s a test of fitness and stamina; and you need to be fit enough to stay the course.

Time Spent Productively

So, another eight hours and forty minutes on a plane to reach Chicago, what to do… Unusually for me, this flight began with an audio book. Ordinarily I avoid ‘get rich quick’ books, it has never been about the money for me, but the choice was fairly limited. For some reason, I chose one, I’m glad I did. The focus was on, doing the thing you are best at, then being the best you can be whilst doing it.

Two hours well spent.

Chicago Dawn Content Marketing My Words Work For You

Sunrise in Chicago. Let’s make each day glorious

Be the Best You Can Be

  • Step one – focus on what you are naturally good at.
  • Step two – aim for excellence.

Content Marketing is an ever-changing environment, staying still means being left behind. My clients deserve the best I can give, so, alongside focusing on developing their businesses, I need to continuously develop mine. I, like most of us, need to assign time to upskill, to stay ahead of the curve.  So research begins, I need to spend time wisely, achieve the maximum gain. The aim is to help my clients achieve their goals.

Physically Fit For Business

Listening to my audiobook reminded me that if I want to be the best at what I do, I also need to stay physically fit. I have focused on writing content, Google’s algorithms, Search Engine Optimisation, content marketing, copywriting etc. all from my office chair. I need to get myself back into the habit of working out. No time like the present so, taking advantage of being up at ridiculous o’clock, I headed for the hotel gym, incentivised by breathtaking views.

Mind and body Fitness My Words Work For You

A leisurely jog, enhanced by the view

Great way to start the day

Joining the early birds at the Hyatt gym

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Re You Doing? (As they say in the U.S.)

Are you doing what you are best at?

Are you doing everything you can to be excellent?

According to the audiobook, it’ll make you rich, I’m not making any promises about that, but it would surely make you feel more fulfilled.

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7 Steps to Writing Content That Works

Content writing has to perform, and perform well, if it is going to work for you. Words must cut through millions of pages, push past the competition and leap onto the podium, basking in glory for all to survey. It’s a tricky business. There’s a lot to consider and whilst writing well may come naturally, the ever-changing dark art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), must be learned, and practised continuously. The best words in the world are no good at all if they are sat at the back of the crowd.

1. What’s your purpose?

As with any writing, keep the purpose at the forefront of your mind, in fact, keep it on a post it note stuck to the top of your screen. If you aren’t clear, how will your reader be. Why are you writing? What is your point? Get to the point quickly, and stay there.

2.  Who are you writing for?

Know your audience, I mean, really know them. How old are they? What do they like? What do they not like? Where do they shop? What do they buy? How much time do they have? What are their interests? What do they need? As in any conversation, your tone and style will change according to whom you are speaking with.

3. What are you writing about?

Know your products/services ‘like the back of your hand’, your audience needs to trust you and trust that you know what you are talking about. Bring it to life, make it shine.

4. Speak with your audience

Make your writing about them, about the benefits they will gain by choosing what you are offering. Speak with them as individuals, make them feel you are talking only to them. Ask questions, attract them to your words and make them want to stay (I told you it was tricky). They need to feel engaged, entertained, informed, wanted and at least a little bit loved.

5. Address the need

Illustrate through words and beautiful images exactly how your offering addresses their need. How does it provide the solution they are looking for. This isn’t just a case of listing a pile of benefits, this is about using words to place a product firmly into the reader’s hands and letting them FEEL the reasons why they MUST have it.

6. Close the deal

Remembering the purpose, make it easy for your reader to take the next step, ‘walk with them’ to the ‘buy now’ button (which could be called so many other things) or give them every chance to pick up the phone, you are there for them. Their life would be improved if they do (assuming you are indeed, speaking to the right audience!).

7. Check it, re-check it, check it again

Poor spelling and grammar will make you look more than a bit silly. The trust you have built up with your audience will come crashing down with the furst silly speeling misteak. Rightly or wrongly, errors like this look unprofessional and give the impression you don’t know what you are doing. You might be brilliant at what you do, it’s a shame to lose customers for such a silly reason as looking amateur.

7 Steps to Content Writing That Works My Words Work For You

Running a business is tough; new challenges arise everyday and it is an increasingly competitive market place. Play to your strengths and spend your valuable time wisely. If writing content is ‘not your thing’, give that job to a specialist, it’s an investment in your future.

I am very content while writing about content: Words Need to Work For You, Content Writing to Attract an Audience, 9 Simple Steps to Content Writing, Content Writing, it’s Easier With a Clear Mind.

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A Relaxed Approach To Marketing

We are approaching the end of two weeks spent in deepest France. Wherever we have gone we have encountered French people who do not speak English, I love it. We have fumbled our way around shops, restaurants and places of interest with our school-book French, hilarious!

Open For Business?

Travelling with two ‘young adults’ has meant that early starts have been rare; we frequently find ourselves arriving in towns that are ‘closed’ for siesta time. Shutters are down, signs displayed in doorways.

Du lundi au vendredi – 09:00 à 12:00 – 14:30 à 22:00

Businesses Surviving With No Effort?

Ambling joyfully around empty shops selling locally produced artisanal product

French Shopping Marketing Strategy My Words Work For You

Buy, if you can find me

s it occurs to us, where is everyone? Shops are hidden away in winding passages, no sign that they are there until you are in the door. No fluorescent signs directing you ‘this way’, no ‘SALE’ posters, just a doorway recessed in a wall. It feels as though these hidden gems want to stay hidden, how are they surviving? Are the rents extremely low?  Are business rates so reasonable that businesses don’t need to fight hard for the trade? The owners don’t have that look of desperation as you browse, far from it; it’s baffling but beautiful, so relaxing for us and them.

No Pressure!

I love a pottery, we discovered the cutest one I’ve ever seen in Caylus, just down the road from our holiday farmhouse. ‘Bonjour’ I announce and the old boy begins to chat in French, it doesn’t take long for him to realise we need the help of his wife, who speaks some English! It transpires that this dear old couple design, make and decorate everything in their shop, a treasure trove that even in today’s economic climate is affordable for us Brits; we shopped till we dropped, Monsieur et Madame were just happy to see us. Madame told me how they used to make soaps by hand but have stopped as ‘there aren’t the people now’, my heart went out to her but she seemed tres content.

Pottery in France business Support My Words Work For You

Hidden Gem Remaining Hidden ‘Qui le trouvera?’

Marketing Strategy

For a British business my instinct would be to create a website, begin publicising this unique treasure, think of its USP, create a Facebook page, form alliances with local businesses, create publicity… the list is endless, for this business, and for this area of France it feels as though it would all be unwelcome, and unnecessary. The locals are happy with their lifestyle, they enjoy their siesta, if silly tourists insist on arriving ‘a midi’ they’ll just have to wait, or not, c’est la vie.

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Increasing Sales, Revenue and Loyalty

An Ailing Website

When I was first approached by this client, the record for consecutive days of sales was nine. In the years preceding my input there had rarely ever been more than one sale a day, visits to the website were brief, bounce rate high and despite a range of products being on offer, only one product was selling with any regularity.

The Brief

The owner had reached the limits of his content writing, re time and ability. Existing pages provided information but not inspiration. I began with the most important page, the ‘About Us’ page then quickly followed this with the ‘Home’ page, then on to the products. Every product needed to be completely re-written in the ‘voice’ of the business, engaging customers, increasing trust and fostering loyalty. Alongside, I re-wrote every existing communication keeping the brand message and tone consistent.

The Action

It was easy to bring the business to life, speaking with the audience and allowing the benefits of each product to shine out from the page. I created a story around the products, placing them into the customers’ minds and lives. The aim was that each customer felt the need to have the product; they didn’t have to think of the reasons why they should buy it, my words took care of that part. The content I created across the site was unique, quirky, fun and engaging, perfect for the company’s brand. I re-wrote every page of the website, every product and added hundreds more products along the way. At this point, I was also choosing the new products and managing stock to ensure we had enough to meet the increased demand.

The Result

This ailing website was now thriving, loved, trusted and was now completely ‘on brand’. A customer called to ask the owner who wrote the copy and to tell me it was ‘the best copy she had ever seen’. As if that wasn’t enough, she went on to say she worked for the leading international advertising agency, Wieden + Kennedy I’ll take that!  Needless to say, my details weren’t passed on to her! You can see a few of the statistics that the owner shared with me a couple of months after I began, here

Here’s a summary:

  • The previous record of nine consecutive days of sales was somewhere around 450+ (including Christmas Day) and counting
  • Products dramatically climbed in the search engine rankings
  • Sales increased, often reaching 30-40 a day
  • The average basket value significantly increased
  • Multiple purchases became normal
  • Sales were up by hundreds of percent each month compared to previous years
  • Traffic to the website grew exponentially
  • Revenue increased, profits rose

I love this little graph, the effect was so dramatic, and instantaneous, the power of good content writing is displayed so clearly as these were the only changes being made within the company at this point. With every trend on the increase, the company was now in a position to flourish.

Power of brilliant content writing Small Business Support My Words Work For You

The Power of Good Content Writing Alone, No Other Changes Were Made Within The Business

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