Archive for Attracting Clients

Key Content Marketing Strategy: Answer Readers’ Questions

bigstock What You Need To Know 40622695 300x200 Key Content Marketing Strategy: Answer Readers Questions Does your website answer readers’ questions? This is a key element of a smart content marketing strategy. You must devote a few key content pages to answering readers’ questions about your business products and services.

Otherwise you’re not helping them solve their problems. You won’t keep visitors on your site for long; it will be “click and bye-bye.” Read More→

Ebooks for Experts: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Write

Shortcuts Expert Ebook Ebooks for Experts: 10 Questions to Ask Before You WriteI’ve been blogging recently about how experts need to publish their own ebooks as part of their strategy to get found, get known, and get clients through online content marketing.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before you write a single word of your expert ebook:

Download the questionnaire here: www.Ebooks4Experts.com.

Over 10 years ago, professionals started using blogs to communicate to clients. As co-founder of The Blog Squad, I proclaimed blogs to be ‘the best darned marketing tool on the planet!’

To some extent they still are, but the key for experts is to excel with quality content. A blog is only one channel for online content marketing, along with social media networking sites. Another key communication channel is publishing expert ebooks. Read More→

Who’s an Expert, and Why Experts Write Ebooks

ExpertEbooks StuartMiles 300x240 Whos an Expert, and Why Experts Write EbooksIn my current series of posts about writing ebooks, I’m primarily addressing the challenges of experts who want to write and publish a digital book, for example, on Amazon.

Who, exactly, is an expert? Who qualifies? I don’t know that there’s any definition or standard that one must go by. To me, my clients are professionals such as doctors, lawyers, consultants, coaches, speakers and educated people who’ve been practicing their skills for 20, 30 or more years. They’re experts.

Wikipedia defines an expert as someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study.

I guess just about anybody can call themselves an expert, especially if they have knowledge and skills that others don’t. Writing and publishing an ebook doesn’t make you an expert, but it certainly shows your knowledge, experience and value as such.

Why Write an Ebook instead of a Printed Book?

There is no denying the shift that is happening in the book industry: ebooks are on the rise and here to stay. Check out some of the latest industry data:

  • E-book sales grew dramatically in the first quarter of 2010, jumping from just 1.5% of total US book sales in 2009 to 5% of the market in the first quarter of 2010. Source: R.R. Bowker
  • The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) reported U.S. wholesale ebook sales for January, 2010 were $31.9 million, up 261 percent from the same month a year earlier.

Reports from Amazon

  • Ebooks are now outselling hardcover books at Amazon, selling 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers.
  • Jeff Bezos told the USA Today that he predicts Kindle ebook sales will outsell all books (including paperback) within a year.
  • The Kindle is now available at Target and Best Buy.
  • Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.

Most experts I know believe that by publishing an ebook, they’ll get known by a larger number of people. They’ll establish credibility by writing about what they know best. They’ll connect with readers who may have exactly the kinds of problems they can solve.

To me, writing and publishing an expert ebook not only makes sense, but is a requirement for anyone who wants to use the Web to get found, get known and get clients. What do you think?

(Image: freedigitalphotos.net)

Expert Ebook Writing: Prepare or Just Do It?

Make a List 300x225 Expert Ebook Writing: Prepare or Just Do It? Starting to write your expert ebook is not the first step. What comes before ebook writing is key -

  • Research what readers want most
  • Find out what other books have been done
  • Decide what you have to say that will make a difference

Without smart preparation, you’ll find yourself bogged down with too much information and lack of focus. Fortunately there are online tools that will help you discover more about your ebook topic.

Amazon.com makes it easy for you to find out other titles, readers’ reviews and sales results. Survey tools like SurveyMonkey makes polling easy. As an expert, you can ask colleagues as well as clients for their ideas and opinions. And of course you can use social media pages to ask for other people’s perspectives. Read More→

The Biggest Mistake Experts Make When Writing an Ebook

Fire Extinguisher 205x300 The Biggest Mistake Experts Make When Writing an EbookExperts know a lot. Of course they do, any professional who’s been gathering experience for 20, 30, even 40 years has a lot to say. But many experts think they can pour out everything they know into an ebook and readers will want to buy and read it.

I call this the fire-hose writing approach. Give them everything you’ve got and hope that you hit a nerve that resonates.

You could be wrong. Readers don’t really want to know everything about your field of expertise. They mostly just want to fix a problem they’re having.

The biggest mistake experts make when writing an ebook is to focus on what they know instead of on what readers want to learn.

Reader Focused Writing

This is why you must shift your focus when writing an expert ebook from your expertise to how your readers and clients struggle.

For example, when listing a table of contents that takes the reader from A to Z – everything you know about coaching and goal setting – just to pick an example – your ebook contents needs to go directly to the reader, what he/she struggles with, why traditional solutions don’t work, what new solution you offer, and how the reader will benefit.

In other words, smart experts write an ebook following this progression:

  1. Who are you writing this book for, and why (which problems do readers face)?
  2. What common solutions exist and why they don’t always work?
  3. What new ideas and solutions can you share (challenge the status quo)?
  4. How will the reader benefit?
  5. What can readers do today to resolve their frustration?

This is not a new concept, but it can’t be emphasized enough when it comes to writing quality digital content designed to highlight your expertise in an expert ebook. Those ebook writers who start writing with a reader-centered focus will not only have an easier time writing their book, but they will also end up with greater appeal to their audience.

In website design, this is called “user-centered design” process. It’s frequently used in product development and R & D. In brief, it’s a process for creating products and services that work well for the end users. You create your design to help people achieve their goals in ways that will work for them.

As an expert, you should already know your targeted audience well since you’ve been working with them for years. Maybe they’ve changed, and if so, you need to find out what their frustrations are. Find the “sweet spot,” what they most want to discover.

Then help them understand and discover solutions they may not have thought of.

Readers don’t want to know everything you know, they don’t want to become experts. They want to fix what’s wrong and your job is to help them understand how to do that in plain language.

I’m guessing that the biggest problem that experts have in writing about their own field is that, like the spy who gets killed, “they know too much.”

Instead of blasting readers with a fire-hose, target their problem and pain with a small fire-extinguisher. It’s much kinder, don’t you think? Don’t ruin your chances of successfully publishing an expert ebook that helps you get found, get known, and get clients.

(Photo: freedigitalphotos.net)

Is Ebook Writing Different than for a Blog,
Webpage, or Printed Book?

EbookWriting 225x300 Is Ebook Writing Different than for a Blog, <br>Webpage, or Printed Book?In this series of blog posts about writing an expert ebook, we explore these questions about digital content writing, or content marketing:

  • How is writing an ebook different from writing a blog post, a special report, a web page, or for a printed book?
  • Are there any grammar or style differences?
  • Formatting issues aside, what are the rules and best practices to improve readability and boost readership numbers?

Or, is it any different? Most people I know, including many of my clients for whom I ghost write and edit, assume that all book writing is the same. They try to follow the rules of style and grammar learned in school.

They could be wrong. If there’s one thing rapidly changing technology has taught us is to question everything. Don’t assume anything.

What worked for Dickens and Hemingway won’t necessarily work for you on the Web. It might work, but then again it probably won’t. Read More→

Smart Business Blog Linking:
Top 25 Content Marketing Blogs

Blog Linking 300x300 Smart Business Blog Linking: <br>Top 25 Content Marketing BlogsIf your business blog needs to get inbound links, here’s a prime example of how to do it. Pay attention to this tactic, it’s easy, it’s smart blog marketing and a great way to get other blogs linking to you, thereby improving your search rankings.

I’ve talked about creating your own Top 10 lists before, and it still makes sense, even more so given the way SEO works today.

Recently our blog here, WritingontheWeb.com showed up on a list of the Top 25 Must-Read Content Marketing Blogs. Well, we’re listed as #24, but hey! Who cares?

Author Jennifer Barry, who writes for Hubspot as well, says on the Writtent.com blog:

“The marketing industry is diverse and ever changing, and one of the easiest ways to stay on top is to read the most relevant and pertinent blogs. There are thousands of marketing blogs out there that focus on different aspects of the marketing industry from optimization, conversion, advertising, and content.” Read More→

Why You Should Write Quality Blog Content

Best Business Blog 300x300 Why You Should Write Quality Blog Content Quality blog posts are key to your business getting found on the Web. While that may sound obvious – (“Of course, why would I write something ho-hum boring?”) it’s harder than you might think. Not everyone agrees on what quality content is.

Quality content scores high with readers, your target clients, and with search engines. If you want to get found, get known and get clients online, you need to write and publish quality blog posts that resonate with your readers.

There’s a lot of emphasis on publishing frequently. Most professionals and small business owners are told that once or twice weekly is a bare minimum. But none of that matters if what you write is boring, mediocre, confusing or poorly written and formatted.

What is quality content? Sure, you know it when you read it, but what are the essentials? It depends on who you’re writing for. As writer Ginny Soskey at Hubspot blog points out:

“There are lots of concrete principles of writing that can help determine the “quality” of a piece of content. Verb usage, spelling, sentence structure — these all have defined rules that, for the most part, have stayed pretty constant. It’s black and white. That is wrong; this is right. 

“Then there are the gray areas in writing. Stylistic preferences. Imagery. Storytelling.” Read More→

Content Marketing with Visuals:
Write Like an Egyptian

EgyptianSymbols 300x199 Content Marketing with Visuals: <br>Write Like an EgyptianLately I find myself building pyramids. Not real ones, but the kind you can do in Microsoft Word docs. I use them to illustrate a point in an article or blog post. Content marketing with visuals makes your piece clearer, and more compelling to the readers.

Here’s what I’ve designed in just the last few weeks, and it isn’t stopping. (See end of this post for the pyramid drawings.)

  • First it was the “3 Levels of Accountability” pyramid.
  • Then, I was writing about life planning so I did a “Life Plan Pyramid.”
  • And for my article on The Quest for Better Teams, I created a triangle with the “4 Elements of Effective TEAMS.”

What’s up with that? Naturally, since I’m finding myself obsessively drawing charts and triangles, I checked to see if I’d gone off my meds. No. I’m just on a visual kick. Why write paragraphs of text when a doodle says it all?

Apparently I’m not the only one to think this way. A quick research on Amazon and I discovered a trend touting the benefits of the “Visual Revolution:”

Visualization is a doorway to insight about your own visions, strategies, and implementation plans. It is a path to appreciating the interconnection and wholeness of things.”  David Sibbet, Visual Leaders, Wiley 2012

I’ve written about using images and diagrams and such for blog posts before. And there’s a lot that’s been written about the value of quality content, accompanied by animation and great visuals. But now I’m discovering the psychology behind this trend. Graphic images that illustrate articles and blog content are more than eye-candy to attract readers, much more.

Visual tools help in these ways:

  • People learn and change when they become engaged in the process.
  • Processes are easier to understand through drawings.
  • Drawings help both the author and the recipient make connections.
  • Metaphors and maps transform data into meaning.
  • Images connect and involve the whole system.
  • Many graphics can be used as templates to allow the reader to interactively participate.

The Egyptians had a whole system for communicating with little pictures or hieroglyphics. They apparently understood what academics and theoreticians have a difficult time with: Simple is better.

The younger generation doesn’t have patience to read through text and I’m not going to debate that. The use of quality images can make communications clear, meaningful and memorable in ways that text cannot. What’s been your experience using drawings and images?

P.S. I highly recommend Sibbert’s books! Egyptian image: Freedigitalphotos.net.

3 Levels of Accountability1 150x150 Content Marketing with Visuals: <br>Write Like an EgyptianLife Plan Pyramid 150x150 Content Marketing with Visuals: <br>Write Like an EgyptianTEAM Effectiveness 150x150 Content Marketing with Visuals: <br>Write Like an Egyptian

5 Ways to Make Your Business Blog Remarkable

Blog Visibility 5 Ways to Make Your Business Blog RemarkableHow do you make your business blog really remarkable? Like, fascinating?

The main goal of writing a blog, whether for business or otherwise, is to get people to read what you write. Seems pretty simple. But attracting readers to a new blog (or even an established one) is easier said than done.

So how do you build a readership base and continuously gain new readers to keep your blog and your business going. Here are a few ways to make your business blog one to watch.

1. Keep up with current events – while you shouldn’t always write about what’s going on in the world, using relevant examples and anecdotes lets your readers know that you are knowledgeable.

2. Pay attention to your social media networks – what are people talking about on your social media pages? What are they asking you as a business? Consider using these questions and discussions for blog topics. You’re more likely to engage your customers by writing on topics they clearly are interested in than developing your own. Read More→