Archive for On Writing Better

Compelling Newsletter Content:
2 Big Problems

newsletter-contentFrom what I see, many small business professionals struggle with writing compelling newsletter content. It’s not easy. You need to be interesting, personal, AND remind them of your products and services.Try too hard to do both… you end up confusing and losing readers.

The trick to creating compelling newsletter content is simple:

You’ve got to connect with readers in emotional ways and offer solutions to their problems. 

When I’m working with my clients on their newsletters, I often find one of two problems (or both): lack of clarity and lack of connection. Read More→

How to Engage Readers
AND Grow Your Reader Base

CAST TechniqueCongratulations! Your reader base has grown to 5,000! You had 4,277 hits on your blog last month, and 737 legitimate comments!

If you’re a solo professional trying to get found online, these numbers could be PDG: pretty darn good. Small businesses, however, might find these figures PDA, pretty darn awful. My point is whatever the size of your biz, you want to grow your reader base, increase hits on your site, and stimulate comments, on your blog, social media, and LinkedIn.

If you’re not seeing growing numbers, take heart; you’re not alone. I know this because it’s one of the frequent concerns and questions my clients have: “How do I grow by reader base?” Here are 4 techniques you should be using to engage readers, and grow your reader base.

4 Ways to CAST Your Net

“Quality online content” depends on what business you’re in, who your ideal clients are, and how you can reach out and attract them with your solutions. Here’s a memory device when writing for your blog or website. Read More→

How to Blog for Your Business Using Personality


TMI 2

Do you know how to blog for your business using personality yet remaining professional? No, seriously – there’s an ongoing trend to be personal with blogs. I see it everywhere – blogs, email, newsletters. If you’re writing for business, you want to connect with your readers by using personal stories. But how much is too much?

Rohit Bhargava’s written a whole book about this, filled with examples of how companies are successfully using personalities to market their business products and services: Personality Not Included.

This is an important skill to master when it comes to writing a business blog that attracts readers yet keeps a professional brand. Where do you draw the line when it comes to sharing personal stories? Read More→

Great Blog Content:
2 Reasons for Writing Stories

Great-blog-stories

Are you writing stories with feeling on your business blog? If your blog post doesn’t resonate emotionally, you can’t do a good job of building relationships, inspiring trust, and moving people into taking action.

As I mentioned in my last post, great blog content appeals to people who are both thinkers and feelers.  To do this, blog writers need to get real with readers – they need to step away from their anonymous masks and get emotional. If you don’t, readers won’t respond to you.  Read More→

Tips on Writing a Great Blog Post:
Give it a Rest

Bird BandageIt’s the rainy season here in Mexico – a great time to do a lot of reading, writing and recovery – at least, that’s what I told myself when I scheduled my shoulder surgery.  But I’m having trouble with my blog writing.  And now I’m stuck. I’ve got Blogger’s Block.  (Yes, even experienced bloggers can get stuck from time to time.)

So I pull out my bag of great blog post tricks, and determine where I’m stuck in the process.  And that’s it.  I had altered my writing process.  But that shouldn’t matter… should it? Read More→

The 4 Step Creative Process for Writing Blogs:
(& Happy Birthday to WOW Blog)

Writing-BlogsDo you struggle with the creative process of writing blogs? Do you cringe when you need to find a topic for your blog? You’re not alone.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve written a ton of information about writing great blog posts and newsletters, as well as e-books, white papers and articles to increase your visibility. Sometimes it feels like I’ve already written as much as I have to say. There’s nothing new, it’s been done before.

But then I remember that people forget and new people come to visit all the time. It’s motivation to keep my blog posts fresh and interesting.

So how do you choose a topic for writing blogs that will be most relevant to your readers, and hasn’t been said 1,000 times before? Trust the process and get busy.

Almost 100 years ago, Graham Wallas observed that creative solutions appear sequentially:

Preparation => Incubation => Illumination => Implementation

The same is true for writing quality content – blog posts are written by following a creative process. Read More→

How Authentic is Your Blog Writing?… And,
How Do You Write Authentically?

AuthenticAll the data shows that people prefer doing business with authentic brands and authentic professionals. But how authentic is your blog writing? Do you sound authentic? And, how do you write authentically, anyway?

In my last blog post, I shared 5-steps for a good bio/marketing message for an e-newsletter:

  • Tell them who you are and what you can do to help solve their challenges.
  • Let them know what kinds of people you work with, and how long you’ve been helping them.
  • Don’t try to sound too good. People have antennae for hyperbole.
  • Read your bio out loud to see if it sounds authentic.

The problem is that when you try to write authentically, it’s difficult to know what exactly to do. What makes blog writing sound real, sound authentic? Read More→

Best Kept Secret of an Email Newsletter Bio

Email-NewsletterWhat’s the best kept secret of a newsletter bio? As I mentioned in my last post, your bio on your blog or website About page should be current and tell a story, rather than be a resume written in the third person. The same is true for an email newsletter bio.

Unfortunately, I see many coaches and consultants use their resumes for their sidebar bio. (“Dr. Smith has 20 years experience in strategic planning and holds an MBA from Harvard, etc.”)

Then there are those who go to the other extreme: They tell too much about their achievements and come across like an ego-maniac.

While everyone wants to know about who you are as the author of an email newsletter, mostly they want to know “what’s in it for me.” (WIIFM) Read More→

5 Key Elements for Your “About” Page:
How to Tell Your Story

About-Page-My-StoryWhen’s the last time you updated your bio on your About page on your blog or website?

Smart bloggers know that this is one of the most visited pages: People want to know who’s behind a business. Personalities count. Yet many blogs and sites have a standard resume written in the third person, boring as all get-out.

Certainly client lists are important. But so are you. An About page is an important content marketing opportunity. Tell your story, your real story. If you are the sole author of your blog, write it in the first person. Read More→

2 Sure-Fire Ways to Inspire Your Blog Writing

Business-blog-writingA few years ago I polled readers and asked what their biggest blogging challenge is. Turns out, it’s not lack of time, it’s lack of inspiration. Does your blog writing lack inspiration? Is it hard to get really fired up when starting to write a post?

I get that.  When I was just starting out as a blogger (was that really over 15 years ago?!) I could just feel that screen staring right back at me.  What can a blogger blog about to other bloggers?

Lack of inspiration comes from not being sure you’re doing it right, or doing it well, and lack of confidence that it will be worth it… in other words, fear and doubt.

Fear and doubt go away when you know what you’re doing, and have a system that will allow you to move forward confidently.

Here are two ways you can side-step fear and doubt, and write frequent, consistent quality posts and develop a blogging habit that will grow your abilities over time. Nobody starts out writing well. Yet, everybody’s got a piece of genius within them, so it’s a question of finding it and putting it on paper, quickly, before any demons get in the way. Read More→