Category Archives: Sales

Writing for Your Audience: How to Keep Them Engaged While Still Selling

How Social Media Holds the Keys to Successful Business Writing

NewspaperAccording to The State of the News Media: 2013 Report by The Pew Research Center, “Newspaper website audiences grew 3 percent as measured by unique visitors from November 2011 to November 2012. However, total visits decreased almost 5 percent in the same time period.” These numbers point out an interesting phenomena occurring in media as consumers are transitioning their readership to online channels, while spending less time reading the news than they did in the past.

So as a writer, how do you keep your audience engaged, especially when your end goal is to sell your product? What are the emerging trends in business writing sales and how can you help stay abreast of the latest writing techniques needed to make a sale? Believe it or not, social media may hold the insider’s tips into keeping your audience engaged.

Keep it Short and Simple

The shear metrics behind the Twitter website should demonstrate consumer’s demand for short and to-the-point information consumption. According to the company’s website, average monthly users soared from 100 million in 2011 to 255 million currently. This represents a 155 percent increase in just three years. Compared to the 3 percent growth for newspaper website audiences, it’s clear to see Twitter has the emerging market cornered.

That said; how can you capture audiences using the same characteristics of Twitter? Well for starters, consider keeping messages short, simple, and to the point. Twitter has a 140-character limit for a reason; people don’t have the time or attention span to read anything longer. Imagine how successful your next media ad text would be if you sold every key benefit within the first 140 characters. Or, what if you wrote a sales blog that got to the point in three paragraphs instead of seven? While short and sweet definitely has its place, the theory of “less is more” cannot be lost when it comes to writing to sell.

Visual Interest Is Crucial

Dog Watching ButterflyImagery is a necessary part of any successful business writing piece. In fact, imagery, be it a company logo, creative photo to accompany your advertisement, or even a fun video to go along side your blog, can be the difference between capturing an attentive audience or receiving a high website click through rate before your readers actually absorb any of your content. For example, organizations such as the Business Marketing Organization are recognizing the value of using up-to-date, intriguing visuals, and are updating their brand imagery accordingly.

Social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest provide leading examples of the use of effective imagery which brands should be striving for. True-to-life, action shots of average people in real life settings are the business imagery that will resonate in the future. Gone are the days of staged portraits with professional actors who know nothing about your product. Looking for great imagery to accompany your business writing piece? Try photographing some of your actual clients using your product in a real-life setting. Or, use customer submitted photos. If you think it would get a “Like” on Instagram or a Pin on Pinterest, it’s probably a solid image.

Relationship Building Is a Necessary Step

NotebookYour business writing piece should speak to your audience in a way they can relate to. Just like your Facebook followers, users who regularly visit your business blog or look for your advertisements will expect a certain caliber and stream of content from you. For example, the content created on a Facebook page for a local rock band would be much different than the Facebook content created for the corner garden and nursery supply store. Keep in mind the audience you are speaking to about your business just like you would your Facebook page:

  • What will my friends/family/followers want to know about this product or service?
  • Will this information actually interest them?
  • Have I already talked about this idea in the recent past?

Likewise, make your business writing a two-way conversation. While this specifically applies to blogs, it is crucial that your audience feels like you are talking with them, not at them. Solicit commentary from your audience. Welcome guest bloggers. Make your writing a conversational piece verses simply just a straight sales pitch. The more social engagement you can bring into your piece, the stronger your final sales results will be.

~ Katie

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Filed under Audience, Capturing Audience, Content, Content Marketing, Sales, Social Media, Technical Writing, The Writing Process

Hold Your Content Writers Accountable to these Five Resolutions

If you’re one of those lucky millions who recently shoveled a couple feet of snow, you probably had ample time to think, while criss-crossing the sidewalk and driveway.  Not only does the shovel feel heavy, but in some cases, so does your outlook on your professional skills and career.

IMG_6681The past is the past.  Look ahead. This year holds so much promise for you.  It’s a wonderful time to be an Internet Marketer and if you enjoy writing, great opportunities await you!

If you’re a manager of writers remember that, in general, writers are reflective.  Talk about this year’s resolutions with your team.

The following goals can be used by freelance writers or members of your content department to professionally stretch.

Attend at least one industry conference this year.

Conferences can be expensive, but you’ll find worthwhile investment in knowledge and networking.  If you attend a conference at the top of the year, you benefit from that knowledge and the contacts gained that year.  However, when you attend a conference in September, you’ll find decision-makers who are looking for your services at the start of their budgeting process for the following year.  Some of our favorite digital retail conferences include:

Some of our favorite authorship and publishing conferences are Highlights Workshops, Write-to-Publish, and the San Francisco Writers Conference.

Read on a daily basis.

There are so many worthwhile blogs and as a writer, you should be reading not only to gain business savvy, but to improve your writing technique.  Besides our own, My Web Writers blog (which you’re reading), we recommend that you keep tabs on the following blogs:

Improve writing with a daily grammar lesson or peruse articles at Copyblogger.

Improve your writing.

  • Do not send an email, resume, article, post, or power point to another without checking the spelling and grammar.  Use the many digital tools available to you.
  • Improve your story-telling by reading your articles out loud to a video camera or to a recorder.  Then, observe your fluency, word choices, and tone.  Put your work away and then look at it again with fresh eyes at a later date.
  • Take a college writing class.  Join writers groups.  Connect in LinkedIn forums.
  • Study sentence combining. The more you maneuver parts of sentences, the more you’ll see the various options open to you when editing.

Directors, hire a freelance editor this year for additional perspective on content.  An educational program for your writers is great, but one-to-one coaching by an outsider can correct individual idiosyncrasies.

Learn more about selling.

Many talented writers totally miss the concept of why they’re writing retail content.  That’s because many of today’s digital writers majored in journalism or creative writing because they wanted to write important news stories or memoirs or fiction.  Writing about soap, perfume, or widgets was never the original calling or intent.  Now, you want them to sell? The purist author is only producing website copy to pay the bills.

But, writers, you won’t be able to sustain your revenue for long if you don’t cozy up to the idea of selling and we don’t mean screaming at your audience to buy stuff.  We mean subtle, well-positioned selling that most readers never notice.

Where should you go to learn more about selling? Start with Seth Godin. He’ll turn your mind inside out.  Then, search for “selling techniques” or the “art of selling”.  There are so many videos and articles on the topic. You might land on the Sandler Method or find a helpful article at the Salesforce blog.

The most important fact to remember is that you can sell.  When you influence your children to earn good grades, you’re selling.  When you persuade your spouse to take a vacation, you are selling.  Apply the same principals of persuasion to the content you’ve been tasked to write.

Managers, provide sales training for your content team. You’ll notice a long-term difference in conversions.

Keep learning new time management techniques.

Not letting that blog post take all day to write is a stress that most writers share.  That’s because we were taught the writing process in school, but in the real world, the pace is much faster.  My Web Writers’ blog offers several articles on time management.  Speed up the process by adhering to these timing techniques:

  • Set a timer for each writing session;
  • Track your hours with a time card;
  • Make use of moments when you’re forced to wait- on trains, in cars, in the orthodontist office, while on hold, etc.;
  • Keep a notepad with you at all times to jot down or to list ideas that come out of nowhere;
  • Say “no” to distractions when accomplishing a particular goal within an hour’s time;
  • Allow for blocks of time to enjoy and then to psychologically remove distractions.

Supervisors, ask each writer to share an effective time management technique.  Then, choose a few to monitor and to reward this year.

Encourage and stretch your content department by implementing the above professional resolutions this year.  Did we miss yours? Share it with us!

Other Articles:

Stop Writing Fluff

Build Better Client Relationships with Help from Bruce

How to Write a Big Impact Proposal in a Short Amount of Time

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Filed under Authoring Books, Conferences, Editors, Education Strategy, Favorite Websites, Leadership, Sales, The Writing Process, Time Management, Writing Careers

Five Tips to Building Client Relationships from Bruce, the Shelter Dog

By My Web Writers

You’re a go-getter and you’ve already forecasted how to make 2014 (or even 2015 – 2018) produce greater revenues for your company.  We thought we’d turn to a true professional for sound insights on how to treat clients.  Our friend, Bruce, a former shelter dog turned master of a large household, has a few suggestions from his years of experience working tables.

Don’t Take the Bits of Crackers on Your Nose for Grantedphoto (5)

Find a way to convert smaller jobs into longer-term meals.  You may feel that the fatigue of serving clients for crackers isn’t cost-effective.  In some cases it isn’t, but small morsels do add up over time. Find ways to cater to smaller clients.  Drop your prices or work on sliding commissions and ride the ride with smaller clients.  When they become bigger clients, you’ll have success stories to share.

Ask Before You Eatphoto (6)

Clients want to be treated like royalty.  If they put a morsel on their knee for you to eat, humbly ask if that would make them happy.  Yeah, we’re being a little facetious and sometimes what clients want you to do is crazy, but if you show respect eventually, you will be respected.

Sometimes You Do Have to Barkphoto (7)

The flip side to showing respect is to demand respect.  If the client repeatedly ignores your emails, doesn’t take your calls, or is slow to pay, you might have to bark and put down your paw.  Only do so after all other avenues have been explored.  Get firm with a smile.  If you’re still ignored, keep barking.  Eventually, they’ll let you in so that you don’t rouse neighbors.

Don’t Be Desperatephoto (8)

As you close in on the sale, resist the primal instinct to focus on the paycheck, while unintentionally biting the client’s fingers.  Work gingerly through contract negotiations and project logistics.  The goal is to make meal time a pleasant experience for the client.

Be Present and Thankfulphoto (9)

Don’t eat and run.  Remain present for the client after the purchase is made and always remember to be thankful for the sale.  One realtor we know did not bail after a hole was discovered in his clients’ roof after they closed on their home.  He stood behind the clients by seeking legal recourse and advice.  He knew that his communications and efforts on their behalf would lead to positive recommendations and more business down the road.

My Web Writers looks forward to more posts from Bruce in 2014. On behalf of all of us here, we wish you a light-hearted and relaxing holiday season!

Other Fun Ones to Read

Tips for Giving a Successful Toast

Holiday Content Challenge

Useful Skills that English Majors Have

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Filed under Business Strategy, Marketing, Sales