Are you misusing your news blog?

Unless you either have a major brand or are a simple aggregation site, there’s a very good chance that you’re misusing your blog.  Many bloggers attempt to provide their readers with news, which is great – to an extent.  It’s not enough, though.

Between the internet writ large and 24-hour news networks on TV, news isn’t hard to find for those who care enough to look for it.  If your blog is relatively new or doesn’t have a massive readership, it’s likely that most of your readers will already have most of the information about which you choose to write before they click over to your site.  They usually know all (or most of) the same facts that you do.

So where does that leave you?

As a blogger, you should aim to provide your readers with either insight or analysis.  Sure, it’s great to post a link early in your post and possibly one elsewhere just in case the odd reader doesn’t know what you’re talking about, but that needs to be an aside, not the thrust of your post.  The value that you offer has to be something unique.

With regard to insight, speaking from personal experience can be a very effective route to go because those experiences are unique to you.  Nobody else has had your life experiences or can say something intelligently based on the same observations that you’ve made.  Have you visited a region being covered, worked in a company similar to one in the news, or done something similar to the person about whom you’re writing?  Those are all great topics for blog posts because they can offer a perspective different from what your readers will see on the larger sites.

As for analysis, there are two ways you can go with this.  The first is to write about stories in areas with which you’re very familiar, and the second is to go the extra mile and do some serious research into your topic.  The truth is that reporters are lazy.  They want simple stories that write themselves, usually with the best pictures they can find.  If there’s a story about a bombing in the Middle East, they’ll write exclusively about the bombing.  If a business leader gets arrested, they’ll write about the charges.  It’s rare that they’ll go beyond that to things like the broader context of the bombing or how common activities like that for which the arrest was made happen.

Simply put, people visit your blog for things that they can’t get elsewhere.  Whatever the topic of your blog is, provide something of value by offering something that your readers can’t find elsewhere.

Haven’t got time for that?  I do!  Use the contact form on this site to let me know what you need so that I can offer you a quote.

Are You Using Social Proof?

You have great features that really solve your customers’ problems.  You make them feel better, lose weight, learn new skills, or whatever else.  You’ve shown that you can identify with your buyers’ needs and shown how you can solve their problem.  Not only that, but you’re driving plenty of good traffic to your website.

So why aren’t you selling more?  In all likelihood, the missing piece is testimonials.

Almost daily, people hear complaints – often enough from themselves – about people trying things that didn’t work.  Sure, that could be because they didn’t use a tool properly (or at all), they never read the directions, or they had ludicrously high expectations, but they didn’t get the results nonetheless.  They feel like victims, having been “scammed”.  That is nobody likes buying products or services from someone who may or may not deliver.

Social proof is your solution.

If your product or service has been around for a while, make sure that you brag about the successes that your customers have had with it.  Have you had people thank you for winning their law cases, tell you how much they love their new home, or send you a letter talking about how your seminar changed their life?  Tell your potential customers about those successes.

What if your product is new?

This can be slightly trickier with a new product that you haven’t previously offered, but it’s not impossible.  If you are selling a new product or service, you have a couple of options.

One of the most effective ways to provide social proof in this case is by including testimonials about you.  What related things have you or your team done and received praise for?  Did you have another similar product?  Did you meet the needs of people similar to those to whom you’re selling?  Use quotes that are about you and integrate them into your sales materials.

Another was you can go about providing social proof is by getting testimonials about the type of product or service that you’re offering.  Be careful that you distinguish between what you are selling and what the testimonials are talking about, but do so in such a way that still gets the maximum benefit from what people have said.  For example, if you have a food product that is some combination of several foods or vitamins, consider using testimonials of those who have benefited from individual contingent parts.

If you really want product/service-specific testimonials but don’t have any, consider offering what you have to a small group of people in exchange for feedback.  Not only do you get the chance to improve what you’re offering, but you also get some great quotes for your sales copy.

This social proof is extremely important not only because it shows how potential customers can benefit from your product, but just as importantly it allays their fears of being taken advantage of.  If other people have gotten their desired benefits, that makes those benefits real in the minds of those reading your copy.

One final point: don’t fake testimonials.  Many companies are tempted to use them in their copy.  Not only can this get you into legal trouble, but it’s also unethical.  If you have a good product or service, you should have no trouble getting people to speak highly of it.

Getting the right political ghost writer

Ghost writers’ opinions don’t count, right?  After all, you hire them to write what you want written, not what they want written, right?

Well, yes and no.

It’s absolutely true that you hire a professional ghost writer to tell your story, express your views, promote your brand, etc.  Any ghost writer who doesn’t understand that simple fact isn’t a ghost writer.  They simply want someone to pay them to write whatever they choose.

That said, if you want to hire a political ghost writer, you want to make sure that it’s someone who shares your own world view.  To be sure, they won’t agree with you on everything, and that’s okay.  That’s actually better than okay because it means that they have the ability to think.

If you’re in the market for a political ghost writer, I don’t have to tell you that politics is a touchy subject.  The main reason that it’s at the center of so many arguments – often heated ones – is that it gets to the core of people’s values and thought patterns.  Many people, writers or otherwise, view those who disagree with them as having either a warped thought process or a deficient value system.  That’s not, mind you, the same as considering them stupid; it just means that they consider those who disagree to have fatal flaws in their reasoning.

The reason that matters is because you need a political ghost writer who is always going to understand your thought process even though they don’t agree with you on every single issue.  Hiring someone who has either a substantially different value system or a substantially different reasoning process all but ensures that there will be major struggles and conflict along the way.  At best, the writing process will be a slog as you have to go over every sentence with a fine tooth comb to make sure that the writing accurately reflects what you want expressed.  At worst, you could end up publishing a book (or article) that has flaws in reasoning that you and/or your publisher didn’t catch.

While I have mostly liberal friends (hey, I grew up in New York), I would not be well suited to ghost write general political books for those left of center.  If you’re looking for a libertarian ghost writer, though, you’ve come to the right place!  Use the contact for on my website to inquire about my rates and availability.  I’d be happy to handle your project for you.

(N.B.: Depending on the issue(s) involved, I may also be able to ghost write books, e-books, or articles for conservatives as well.  I’m culturally conservative, but outside of the life issue, I tend to advocate means outside of government to promote that agenda.)

Blank Page Monday?

You’re all set to start a highly productive week that moves your business ahead.  You walk into your office knowing that your first task is creating an e-mail to send out to potential customers.  You turn on your computer, open up Word, and….  Nothing!  Minutes go by…then hours, and you’re still staring at a blank page (or maybe a couple of sentences that you really don’t like).  Those plans to get a ton done this week?  Yea, they look like a distant memory by noon on Monday.

Sound familiar?

Writer’s block is inevitable.  It happens even to the best of writers.  So why let it slow you down and keep you from more productive tasks when you can hand your writing tasks over to a professional?

Your time is valuable.  Your business needs you to work on improving your products and services, connecting with new customers, and developing new partnerships.  Handling things like copywriting yourself is costing you money.

Don’t let writer’s block kill your week.  Let me know what you need so that I can give you a quote and get you results!

Are you springing forward or stuck in a deep winter sleep?

The internet isn’t a book.  Your site is never ‘done’.  There is no last page, happy ending or final farewell.  Simply put, your site is either dead or alive.

 

The weather in most of the US has started to warm up, and after a frigid, white winter, many people are finally excited to enjoy some warmer weather.  Some are getting their gardens ready, others starting to enjoy their warm weather sports.  In fact, for a lot of people the weather, even more so than usual, is a part of everyday conversation.

 

Connecting and building trust with your customers is an ongoing process, and the more human you make your business, the more likely people will be to want to connect with you.  Obviously, the weather need not dominate your content.  It should, however, be a part of it, at least right now.  It humanizes you and helps you relate to your customers.  It also goes to show that you are continuing to work on your business and not just having a robot dole out content months after it was written.

 

Of course, creating content that humanizes you and relates what you have to say to your customers just right isn’t easy.  In fact, it’s so common that there’s a term for it – the dreaded “writer’s block”.  For large businesses, writer’s block can be a headache for those who manage blogs.  For small businesses and sole proprietorships, it can grind business to a halt because it keeps the people who need to be taking care of other things from doing so.

 

There are costs associated with hiring a writer to provide your blog content.  Of course, there are also costs associated with buying computers, having water pumped into your home and office, and buying food from the store rather than growing it yourself.  At the end of the day, though, the costs of all of those things are small relative to the benefits derived from handling it all yourself.

 

Rather than spend spring stuck in the winter doldrums, sitting in one place rather than going out and doing the things you need to do to make your business run, why not let me take care of your blog content for you so that you can do what you do best: run your business?  Get in touch with me today to let me know how I can help you to connect with your customers online so that you can do the other things that make your business profitable.