Archive for personality

Your Business Newsletter:
What’s Your Brand Personality?

Newsletter-BrandsWhen it comes to a business newsletter, your brand is perceived in a blink of an eye.

As I shared in my last post, your newsletter should build trust and confidence with your readers. It should include tips and information that invites your prospects and clients to take action. Your newsletter is a representation of you and your business. It’s a part of your brand.

Read More→

How to Blog for Your Business Using Personality


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→

Is Your Content Writing Appealing
to Thinkers AND Feelers?


Is your blog content writing appealing to both thinkers AND feelers?  If you aren’t appealing to these two types of communication (and decision) styles, you’re missing half of your readership potential.

When I’m blogging, I like to cite studies whenever I write about a concept, to prove my point. In The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types, noted psychologist Carl Jung identified four primary functions of consciousness:

  • Two perceiving functions: Sensation and Intuition
  • Two judging functions: Thinking and Feeling

Based on this, Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed a personality inventory (Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory).  Many professionals use this tool to help match their communication styles to other preferences.

My communication and decision style leans toward facts and data – (hold the subjective, touch-feely, please.)

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I “preach” the importance of keeping your readers’ needs in mind.  So when I write, I picture my reader.  Of course, being human, I tend to project myself on to my reader: You will want the facts, not just the personal factors.  However, I know that all my readers are not like me. 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→

Does Your Blog Pass the Blink Test?
3 Critical Blog “Must Haves”

Blink TestDoes your blog pass the blink test? Content is king, but if your design stinks, visitors won’t get past the banner. They won’t stay, they won’t get to know you and they won’t subscribe to your blog.

I mentioned this in my previous post: in order to impress visitors and showcase your business expertise, your site must pass the “blink” test.  If it doesn’t, you could be spending a lot of your valuable time blogging for nothing.

Bad blog design = bad marketing = no new business. Stinks, doesn’t it?

The three critical blog “must have” elements you need to consider:

  1. Branding/Personality (Banners, logo, photos)
  2. Navigation/Simplicity (Layout, use of white space and read more)
  3. Content (Problems you solve for your readers)


Read More→

The ABC’s of Business Blogging:
Create Shareable Content – Don’t Be a Bore

Create Shareable ContentIn the world of business blogging and content marketing, there’s nothing worse than a bore.

I know we’ve all seen bad content marketing – blogs that are irrelevant, outdated, full of incorrect information, typos, rambling rants and silly drivel. But what I find to be the worst is mediocrity. Read More→

5 Pinterest Pinning Tips: Don’t Be a Pinhead

Don’t Be a Pinterest Pinhead
5 etiquette tips for pinning on the world’s favorite social pinboard

It’s true that Pinterest is fun—designed to be a simple, beautiful way to pin all your favorite ideas, products and places on the Web—but it’s also true that it’s powerful. With a registered user base that includes over 10 million and grows every day, Pinterest represents great potential for influence. That’s why, to avoid serious copyright infringement or even just the simply bad manners that are possible on this popular social pinboard, it’s vitally important to practice good Pinterest etiquette.

So whether you pin for pleasure or pin for business, here are 5 key tips to make sure you’re doing it right!

  1. Always pin from the original source: This rule is first because it’s most important. Always, always, always pin from the original source. When you pin an image that doesn’t link to its original source, you are essentially stealing credit from the creator of that image. This kind of careless sourcing is no small matter—it’s drawn some of the biggest controversy Pinterest has ever seen. Any time you pin (or repin) anything, make sure it directs users to the original site where that image was posted—otherwise you risk infringing on copyrights, upsetting the original author and giving yourself a bad name.
  2. Write teaser descriptions: Every time you pin an item, you have the opportunity to write a short description about it that will appear on your board. Because clicks are the currency of Pinterest, it’s crucial you write teaser-type phrases that draw users in but also that you don’t write descriptions that give all the information away. If you pin a recipe for black bean brownies, for example, don’t copy and paste the entire recipe into the description—simple write the name of the recipe, maybe naming the person who created it, and then let users click through to learn more.
  3. Like and comment: Interaction is what makes a social network social—so participate in the Pinterest community by liking and commenting on pins that catch your attention, repining images that you find inspiring. This helps build connections with others as well as engender goodwill. Plus, it’s fun!
  4. Show respect to users: When it comes to interactions, Pinterest is no different than any other spot on the Web—when you comment or respond to comments, always show respect to other users. This means no harsh language, no name-calling, no rudeness. Treating others how you wish to be treated goes a long way, both online and off.
  5. Report violations: Part of the way Pinterest polices its site from inappropriate content is through the help of users. On its etiquette page, the network asks users to report any content that violates the site’s Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy—this includes nudity, as well as content that promotes harmful behavior—by pushing the “Report Content” link on a pin. So when you see something inappropriate being pinned, help the network out by reporting it.

Following these five etiquette tips will spare you the biggest and most common Pinterest problems—but is there anything I missed? What other Pinterest etiquette have you found to be important?

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web development company with clients in diverse industries, from the makers of fire retardant clothing to providers of a leading merchant processing service. Check out the Straight North Blog, or follow @StraightNorth on Twitter!  

Get Personal: 5 Tips for Putting YOU in Your Blog

If you’re writing for your business, how much of yourself should you include? Everyone agrees that blogs are a place to have a conversation. How personal should you be? How do you keep the YOU in Business Blogging and still make it work for business?

There’s an ongoing trend to be personal with business communications. Rohit Bhargava’s written a whole book about it, filled with examples of how companies are successfully using personalities to market their business products and services: Personality Not Included.

I get updates from a professional who writes about arguments with her husband. I can’t help myself, I’m drawn into reading the damn things. And sure, she’s promoting a program…And there’s only a loose tie between the story, the husband, and the program she’s promoting!

But she tells the story so well, you don’t care! I can’t stop myself from reading her blog and newsletters. Why? As a psychologist, I can tell you why:

We’re hard wired to connect with others, especially about family stories, and we all relate to each others’ predicaments.

So, the dilemma remains: how do you do this successfully without embarrassing yourself – or worse – incurring the wrath of a family member? Read More→