How not to write a value proposition: 7 examples to learn from

How to write a value proposition

Premature positioning without translatable proof crashes your credibility.

The job of a value proposition is to gravitate your prospects towards your business.

You’ve got to define your brand the very first time they hear about you so that they remember you.

Humans are constantly looking to benefit. If you don’t take that to your advantage, you’ll be just another brand screaming for attention instead of making heads turn.

If you can write your value prop in 3 words – just 3 simple words, it means that you’ve achieved the clarity you need to lead your content.

So in this blog, I’m going to show you the value props of several websites and also tell you the first probable question that pops up in the reader’s mind when they land on a web page.

We’ll also talk about what not do while writing a value prop.

Ready? Cool.

Stop defining your company with a weak adjective

The above value prop is clearly braggy.

Also, I had never heard of Cypher learning until now. So, I’m assuming it’s not an omni brand either. And omni brands rarely call themselves the best. They’re uber specific.

Adjectives like best, world-class and high-quality mean nothing.

High-quality just means high-quality. There’s no other way to say it or measure it. Because the one thing that defines this word is “quality” which is subjective.

That is why your value proposition should never depend on adjectives to define it.

Adjectives can never communicate the real value your business offers. Behead the adjectives out of your value prop so that you can focus on bringing the outcomes to the forefront.

Why your value prop is not your USP

Few days back, Peep Laja, the founder of ConversionXL tweeted how the concept of USP is obsolete and I agree with him.

Because in 2020, it’s impossible to be running an extremely unique business.

Especially, if you’re in a SaaS market – you know how crowded this industry is. So describing your brand as unique in 2020 is definitely not a good idea.

What the absence of a value proposition does

What should your value proposition communicate

My first thought goes – how do you make your results colorful? Colorful pie chart? Colored graphs? Rainbow data?

I feel confused and I start wondering about what the product actually is.

Unfortunately, it’s a web development company.

Solution: They could have actually spoken about the approach they mention in the CTA and position their brand with a clarified message.

Why it’s important to state the biggest benefit – FIRST

How Edgecase can complete your value proposition

Nobody actually needs more data in this world saturated with data.

So saying “Need more data” in one of the headings is

And having data is not a benefit. It’s actually a liability to deal with if you don’t know how to tackle the data overflow problem every company faces today.

So if you’re a company offering a solution to analyze, organize, optimize and monetize your data, you should as well state this fact in your value prop and lead with it to bring in conversions.

Otherwise, you confuse your readers like this company does. And confused readers get off the wagon ASAP.

Lesson: Lead your value prop with your biggest benefit

Keep your first screen clean

How not to write your value proposition

Again, here’s another value prop starting with an adjective. We know what the problem is. So let’s talk about the UX here.

The goal of a business website is to make your reader’s job easy.

You start with clean websites. The screenshot of a login portal to the left is meaningless. It doesn’t add any value in elevating the message.

The objective of your message is to take your reader from one awareness stage to a deeper, better understanding of your brand.

When you add screenshots like these, that make the reader think hard, you leave them disappointed. 

Conclusion: The reader doesn’t understand what this company is about until they read the tiny text that uses two keywords (AI and data analytics) in an unnatural sentence. 

Solution: A hero section with no image is better than having a confusing, deviating image with an unclear value proposition.

Avoid writing unprofitable value propositions

Don’t come across as narcissistic brands by stating your own name in the value prop.

Instead, take this opportunity and use your online real estate to own your message, connect with your audience and bring them closer to your brand.

3 simple ways to make your brand more approachable

  • Write an engaging value prop with a call to action with an immediate value add like in the below example. Appsumo doesn’t waste a second in adding value to their audience.
  • Connect with the ideals of your audience. Connect with a belief your audience stands for. Meetup does this so well! Their value prop says – “The real world is calling”, which connects with us on so many levels because we’re all fighting this digital age and screen toxicity. We’re all striving to make our lives a little bit more outdoor-ish. The gist is – to find out how you can match with your audience’s mindset and convey that.
  • State your why loud and clear just like 450GSM. They’re not afraid to break the rules. The moment you land on the homepage, it’s clear where you have come. No clever tactics, no desperate messaging to sound badass – only clear messaging.

Action steps to writing a clear value proposition

  1. Avoid adjectives – because adjectives repel clarity and are subjective
  2. Highlight the biggest benefit
  3. Use social proof to write your value proposition if you can
  4. Connect with the values and beliefs of your audience
  5. Connect with your reader’s mindset and intent
  6. Clean UX around your value prop means higher conversions
  7. Stop trying to be unique and focus on being useful to your readers

Any questions? Ask me in the comments.

How to Optimize Content to Rank on Google and Establish Brand Authority

To ensure your brand influence is catching up with your business growth, you should write content that gets you results.

Here’s how you improvise your content to put your brand on the world map.

Write better headlines for better SEO and Conversions

80% of your readers don’t read your copy if you can’t get them to read your headlines – David Ogilvy

Most companies fail to grab their prospect’s attention because their headlines never offer a benefit the prospect is looking for.

  1. Are you helping your audience save time?
  2. Are you helping them bring down operational costs?
  3. Is your solution accessible from anywhere, anytime?

Then you mention that in your headline.

The benefits should go straight into your value proposition to get your prospect interested FIRST.

Then you can explain how your solution works, the features to follow and why they should trust you etc.

Now, why is something as simple as highlighting benefits a deal-breaker?

Because the benefit IS the solution your business has been thriving on.

And what a catastrophic mistake you’ll be making if you’re not strapping the benefits to your headline, right?

Pro Tip: Ensure you optimize your title tag with the main focus keyword.

Boost your SEO by using quality keywords

Google Crawlers are constantly looking for relevant keywords (the keywords you want to rank for) in your content.

And the keywords your prospects search for are all about saving time, progress, doubling revenue, bringing down operational/admin costs, reaching omni-access solutions like yours.

This means that the right keywords in the headline not only help you grab your audience’s attention, they also help you rank on search engines with ease.

Upgrade Alt Text to Rank on Google Image Search

My website ranks #1 on Google Image Search for a high competition keyword and here’s the proof.

No FB ads. No Google ads. Simple optimization techniques helped me achieve this with ease. Look at the screenshot below.

SEO techniques to rank on Google Image search for a high competition keyword like Empathetic Copywriting

If you see, the top 3 results on the search page are displaying images from my website for the keyword empathetic copywriting.

Now I won’t say that this is a product of mere updating of your alt text tag. I also had a Pinterest Marketing Strategy running behind this result. We’ll talk about it another day. But for now, you should update your alt text because it is the bridge of communication between your website and search engine spiders that help you rank.

3 benefits of using descriptive alt text and captions:

  1. It indicates the exact content of the image
  2. Increases relevance and brings clarity
  3. Specific information increases your chances of matching with the search keywords and bumps your page to the top
Tip: Run an instant SEO Audit of missing alt text images on your website now for FREE.

Add social proof to bring congruence to your content

If you noticed, I added proof in the form of a screenshot about how I ranked on Google Image Search in the previous section organically. By giving your readers proof then and there, you are elevating your brand’s trustworthiness, increasing authority and positioning as an expert in the industry.

Because marketing and sales is all about BEING relevant to your audience through – relevant content, connection, and relevant social proof.

Coherent content elevates your brand image and perceives you as someone dependable.

It’s not just true for readers, even Google understands that including proof, customer reviews in the form of testimonials is a sign of authenticity and reliability.

Divide and Rule your Content to Optimize

Using human psychology and content marketing to improve SEO and rank on Google

Humans are wired to react to interruptions. This is the reason why constant mobile phone notifications are making us less and less social and leaving us distracted all the time with depleting attention spans. So how do you make your reader remain focused?

By using Pattern Interrupt Techniques.

Pattern interrupt is a psychological approach to shifting your reader’s focus and alter behavior.

How can you use this psychological phenomenon to keep your readers interested in your content?

Create Disruptive Content Without Switching Context

Interrupt and disrupt your reader before a notification takes that power away from your content. Make your content MORE interesting than their distractions – By dividing and displaying content differently:

  1. Ensure the headings carry appropriate H1, H2, H3 tags
  2. Use graphs and visual charts to make information more memorable
  3. Use screenshots to offer proof and explanation then and there
  4. Use snappy gifs to make content memorable
  5. Use bullets instead of a clunky chunky text box
  6. Highlight to bring the focus back – bold, italics, underline, color
  7. Use images to explain instead of a long boring paragraph
  8. Use content highlighters like, colored blocks
  9. Create carousel content to keep your audience hooked
  10. GIFs when used appropriately can pattern interrupt much better than stagnant, dull images

Anchor Text and User Experience

The fundamentals of creating content for your audience is to be helpful.

Anchor text is one such feature that makes the web so powerful. It makes access to information relevant information as easy as a click!

Use this to your advantage and link related topics in your content so that you form a content repository your audience comes to for all their info needs.

To get anchor texts right, every time you create anchor text, connect back to the primary intent –

  • Can this link introduce my readers to topics they need to know?
  • Can this link open up new channels and learning experiences for my readers?
  • Is this link connecting to a pre-requisite topic that’ll bring them closer to their desired outcome?

On the downside, too many external hyperlinks may take your audience away from your website. So, make sure that you’re bringing a balance.

Tip: Overdoing hyperlinks can also result in penalties by Google.

Summary: 6 easy steps to SEO Content to increase conversions

How to optimize content on a B2B SaaS blog to rank on Google and establish brand authority
The easy 6-step optimization strategy to rank on Google and convert better

This is how I went on to rank on Google and generate qualified leads from the traffic. Now, you try these 6 steps and let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

How to make your homepage perform like a beast and catalyze conversions

What’s the point of having a website when nobody scrolls past your hero image?

If your value proposition doesn’t catch your prospect’s attention and fails to lead them past the following copy, you’re losing business faster than a descending aircraft.

Your homepage is the most important real estate online. And a bad homepage can tarnish your reputation.

Homepage copy should highlight the benefits your reader can reap out of working with you. It should talk about how you’re capable of pulling them out of their current situation and building a bridge that enables them to move closer to their goals.

Use these simple homepage copywriting techniques to empathize with your audience:

  1. Replace “I”, “We”, “Our”, “Ours” with “You”, “Your” and “Yours” to make your copy appealing to your prospects instead of tooting your own horn. Let the message on your website invite them already. Show them you’re here..solely..to serve them. Prove it to them that they are your priority and you’re nothing short of value.
  2. Make sure you state what you do – loud and clear. You could be a startup owner, creative entrepreneur, agency owner or an angel investor – whoever you are – Say it. Declare it. Announce it. But do it in a way that highlights the one biggest benefit you offer, the one big problem you solve for your prospects.
  3. Highlight the outcome of your product or service. You are in business for a reason. You work hard for that one purpose – to help your clients. But a majority of the homepage copy found online barely scratch the surface of communicative marketing.

    Explain the outcome and let the message sink in. Let them relate, imagine, desire and own the outcome. Then, they’re ready to buy.
  4. Offer an incentive. A homepage without an incentive is a waste of your online real estate. You are letting your hot leads slip away in a snap instead of catalyzing the opportunity to bring them closer to your brand.
  5. Show them what it’s like to work with you. Let them taste your work. At first, give immense value. And then give some more. This goes without saying.

    Include conversion metrics in your testimonials, include real stats from real people and bring the number game on. This makes your prospects trust you more. It’s like feeling safe to get treated by the same doctor who treated your uncle earlier rather than landing up in a certain Dr. Strange’s office. It’s pure human psychology at work.

Optimizing your homepage is easy. You just have to make sure you’re checking the above list.

Need help writing web copy? Contact now.

Copywriting 101: How to write with clarity and establish authority

Writing with clarity is all about designing your idea to be simple, comprehensible and memorable.

Today, you’ll learn:

  • The exact process to attain clarity before you start writing
  • Exercises to strengthen your message
  • How to play with adverbs to make your writing more powerful

What’s the one thing you need to write with clarity

Your ability to break an idea into simpler sub-ideas that help the reader to absorb the information easily is writing with clarity. It’s having clarity of thought.

To write clearly, your mind should watch your thoughts slow down, sit and settle. It’s like snorkeling. Too many suspended particles affect your visibility. So you wait for the water to settle down. Likewise, to write with clarity, you should wait, think and understand clearly.

Understanding an idea happens in 3 stages:

  1. Acknowledge – Giving the idea a thought and taking the liberty to agree/disagree to it.
  2. Organize – Logical structuring of your ideas with the help of a clear goal and outline to steer your writing.
  3. Mapping – Drawing relevance. This is where all the connection happens. The place where you say – “Makes sense!”
    Example: Connecting the subheadings to the main idea so that you don’t deviate from the subject and stay focused.

Without the above steps, it becomes impossible to bring your ideas to life.

If you follow the above process, you can bring clarity to your writing — one sentence at a time.

How to strengthen your message

To write is human, to edit is divine. – Stephen King

You need not struggle to whip up a fantastic piece the very first time. It’s the editing that energizes your first draft and turns it into something more powerful.

6 kickass tips to strengthen your message:

  • Use power words that evoke a feeling, emotion or stimulate a response
  • Kill your favorite sentence mercilessly if you think it confuses your reader
  • Eliminate filler words
  • Carry out several rounds of edit to make sure your writing is clear, has a flow and gets to the point quickly
  • Replace big words with simple, smaller and unambiguous words.
  • Replace adverbs with stronger, better verbs.

Let’s see how to play with adverbs in the following section.

How to use adverbs smartly

If you are using an adverb, you have got the verb wrong. – Kingsley Amis

Because adverbs weaken your writing by sucking the energy out of a phrase. Adverbs make your writing bleak and powerless which bores the reader.

But how do you avoid using adverbs? By replacing (adverb + verb) with a better verb.

Example:

  1. She sighed irritatingly in pain and despair.
  2. She groaned in pain and despair.

What sounds better to you?

In the second example, the better verb is doing a better job. It just sounds good. And writing well is all about sounding good.

But there are times when adverbs are a must to set the context. Sometimes, you’ve got to describe your verb more accurately to narrate the situation. And these are the only times you should pledge to use adverbs to make your writing stronger – to read your emotion.

Example:

The company urged the employees to avoid misusing the resources.

This sentence implies that the employees are/were/could be irresponsible in using the resources and hence the company issued a notice.

The company urged the employees to use the resources sparingly.

The above sentence sets the context. Why did they mention sparingly? Is the company running losses? Are they running out of resources? Is replenishing their resources becoming a big problem? The readers put on their thinking caps instantly and that’s exactly what you want as a writer.

You see – one adverb could imply so much more meaning when used smartly. So, choose your adverbs wisely.

Conclusion

When your message is clear, you naturally attract followers who’re eager to hear and learn from you. They listen to you and you matter to them. This is how you build authority with clear messaging.

Questions on clear messaging? Let’s figure it out in the comments!

How To Attract Ready-to-Invest Leads With Empathetic Copywriting

How to attract ready-to-invest leads with empathetic copywriting

3 years ago, I met up with an app developer at a local startup meet. He had a painful story of losing $25000 building an app whose ROI was less than one dollar.

He tried to understand why his product failed when:

  • the end-users loved the demo
  • they loved using the app
  • they appreciated the UX and UI too
  • the target audience appreciated the idea
  • they thought it was useful as well

Yet, the product failed.

Devastated, he narrated the story to the crowd, seeking for answers in their eyes.

A sassy marketing expert came forward and asked, -“Did you refer to your market research material while you designed it’s features?”.

After a few seconds of embarrassing silence, the app developer asked – “What is market research?”!

So, this passionate startup owner went straight into building the app ASSUMING all of the features himself and he ran into a debt of $25000 that he had invested out of his pocket.

Lesson? It was an app loved by many, but utterly un-needed.

Learning about the user journey helps you shape your product AND your marketing. You sell well when you know what you’re building, for whom and why you’re building it.

You see? The first step to a successful product launch is to create a product your audience NEEDS and then market around those needs to attract qualified leads.

How to Qualify Leads and Convert Better

To connect with your readers on an emotional level, you should know them inside out.

How do you do that?

By asking questions like:

  1. What makes your prospects happy?
  2. What makes them cringe?
  3. What keeps them worried?
  4. What gets them excited?
  5. What are their priorities?
  6. What are their apprehensions and expectations?
  7. What outcomes do they dream about all the time?
  8. What makes them feel threatened?
  9. What are their biggest challenges right now?
  10. What makes them nervous?

Understanding the underlying problems and creating a solution around these problems gives you a solid product that people actually need unlike the one this passionate startup owner had created.

With a solid product, built on people’s real demands, you can set-base to market.

You now have full permission to go tout about how YOU know to fill that aching gap your audience couldn’t

You don’t qualify leads, you qualify your marketing content. Quality leads begin to flow when they can empathize with content that brings clarity.

Tip: Read more about writing with clarity and establishing authority.

Brain Chemistry and Empathetic Copywriting

Your readers dig details.

  • If it’s a physical product, they want to know exactly what it’s made of.
  • If it’s a service, they want to know what they get.
  • If it’s a solution, they want to know how it works.

Once they know the details, they’re ten times more likely to buy from you.

Now, why does this work?

The ever-curious human mind stops releasing the stress hormone, cortisol, the moment it understands that you are in a familiar environment.

By giving out the exact details of working with you, you’re creating a safe, future environment for the reader by telling the reader’s brain that:

  • You’re in a safe, familiar environment
  • You’re with someone who knows how you feel and empathizes with you
  • You can stop being in the fight-or-flight mode

Marketing is about understanding your audience, empathizing with them and inviting them to know more about your offer – nothing more, nothing less.

You’re here to talk about how you can free your audience from that big fat suffering that’s been hindering their growth and transformation.

How to keep your audience thinking about what you said

The reason you remember the story from the movie you watched when you were 10 but not the history lesson is because you mirrored and experienced the emotions played in the movie.

How you can use this technique to win your audience over:

  1. Pinpoint your audience’s exact pain points and address that in your copy
  2. Identify with their fears and anxieties and acknowledge that in your copy
  3. Promise the desired outcome (and deliver it in your product please)

What not to do in your copy

Okay, if you don’t keep the conversation going between you and your reader, the connection dies.

So, make your reader feel heard, understood and important.

This is how you roll:

  1. It is when you DON’T make them feel zoned out – they start relating to you.
  2. It is when you DON’T make them feel like a faceless speck from the masses – they start valuing you.
  3. It is when you make them feel understood – the chemistry of liking strikes.

So it all boils down to understanding your reader. Inside out.

When you synthesize your audience’s thoughts that they find difficult to express, you win their trust.

When your audience feel understood, they take the first step toward trusting you and believing in what you have to say. This tells them that you know where they’re coming from – a point of stress and struggle – a point that YOU have surpassed – a point in place they want to be

How to develop a memorable voice and brand personality through copywriting

Now that you know what to say, let’s focus on how you say it.

Your voice is nothing but your thought process – how you identify what to say and when.

Your tone is the language and mood and feelings you use to convey the message.

I’ve always loved Mailchimp copy. And you know what makes readers love Mailchimp? The tone. It’s easy, flowy and minimalistic. Notice the adjectives I used to describe the tone? That’s how you develop a personality around your brand.

Look at this example here.

How to build a friendly voice and write with empathy

The above form makes it want to sign up and see how easy it can actually be to get started with a Mailchimp account. You too, right?

That’s the magic of having a distinct voice and tone. People actually listen to you speak.

You too can develop a tone. Let’s run through these examples quickly to find out how.

1. People are addicted to cell phones.

2. Smart screen toxicity is harming youngsters.

What sounds more vivid and powerful to you? 1 or 2?

The first statement is normal that uses everyday words.

But the second one? It’s exactly pointing out who it’s harming the most – the youngsters. What is harming? – Smart Screen Toxicity. It’s done in an unconventional manner – yet without using any jargons that a layman wouldn’t understand. That’s how you develop a voice.

How not to sound in your copy

Let’s get straight to the point.

  • Don’t sound like you and your competitor are cut from the same cloth
  • Be different but never be inappropriate
  • Think aloud, but don’t harm
  • Don’t force/coax/pressurize/confuse your readers
  • Don’t limit user personas to a set of demographic data but also care about your audience’s tastes, traits, and behavior in as much.
  • Don’t talk. Make a statement.

Okay, these are the 6 big tips to follow every time you start with a copywriting project.

To practice, today you go back and pick a page of copy.

Rewrite the page by applying the tips and techniques you read just now and tell me how you feel about it at the end of the exercise 🙂

How to identify your brand message and nail it like a boss

 

By the end of this blog, you’ll have learned:
1. How to write your USP
2. What is your unique angle
3. How to write your mission statement
4. How to write your vision statement
5. How to stand out from your competition

Your prime offer isn’t selling because you’re not communicating your brilliance.

How do you describe what you do in one powerful sentence?

It so happens sometimes – you either narrate a boringly lengthy story or you go blank, right?

Don’t worry. It has happened to the best of us.

This happens when you haven’t delved enough to understand your brand. 

Hang on and you’ll learn how to dissect your brand and come up with the core branding statements that help you rise above the noise and command premium prices.

How to write your USP

The purpose of your messaging strategy is to help you be differentiable so that your prospects pick you over your competition.

Many business owners find it difficult to come up with a compelling USP. This happens because they’re busy joining the race. They want to do what their competitors are doing instead of identifying their unique angle.

What is your unique angle?

You can identify your unique angle when you accept your strengths and weaknesses wholeheartedly and build from there.

What it means is, elevate your strengths and complement your weaknesses to build a powerful brand.

For example, if you’re good at strategizing growth but have no idea how to create content, you should focus on strategizing growth and let someone else take care of content. 

The goal is to become extremely and especially good at the ONE thing you love to do. That is your unique angle.

Now take your unique angle and create your USP.

The purpose of your USP is to build a reputation for your brand or reinforce your preexisting brand reputation.

The formula to writing your USP

Your USP describes the purpose, goals, and benefits of working with your company.

Your USP = Who you are + What you do + For whom + Why it is beneficial + How you do it

Let me dissect my own USP. 

I’m a copywriter and brand strategist for thriving businesses looking to amplify their influence by expressing their innovativeness.

Who you are + What you do = I’m a copywriter and brand strategist

For whom = For thriving businesses

Benefits = Amplify your influence

How you do it = By expressing your innovativeness

Your turn. Write down your USP with the above formula.

Done?

Let’s move on to writing your mission statement.

How to write your mission statement

Your mission statement describes how you put your USP into action. How you differentiate your work from the others. What is the core function that makes your business what it is, what is it that you actually do? Describe this in one sentence.

Let’s take Content Primer’s mission statement as an example.

Our mission is to help businesses/organizations communicate their ideas + express their innovativeness without the stress and struggle.  

Don’t overthink this one. Because your mission is the very reason you started your business. It’s your primary purpose. Write it down.

How to write your vision statement

How to write your vision statement

How is your vision statement different from your mission statement?

Your mission is – what you do.

Your vision is – why you do what you do.

Your vision statement talks about your aspirations whereas your mission statement specifies what you do in the present and how you do it.

Your vision statement tells the reader WHERE you want to be, what inspired the founding of your company, and what’s the idea that sparked the realization and growth of your brand. Write it one sentence.

For example: 

Content Primer’s vision is to connect like-minded entrepreneurs who bring about their developmental ideas together to improvise world affairs.

Your turn. Write down your vision statement keeping your company’s place in the future in mind.

How to beat your competition – Carve your identity 

When you compete based on the value you are providing to your client/customer, price becomes irrelevant. At this point, you may not believe it because money is everything, right?

Not really.

I’ll tell you how and why you with a well-known example.

You subscribe for Amazon Kindle membership even though you barely read a book.

It’s all about the offer being presented.

How to stand out from your competition

Tell me this.

What is more valuable? 

  1. You get to read unlimited books for $10/month
  2. Buy a book for $5 each

What is more valuable? Obviously the first option right? If you’re a bookworm who gulps in 2 books per week, the first offer is a steal deal. Even if you want to read just three books per month, the offer is a no-brainer and your natural instinct is to go subscribe. 

Got my point?

Now, did you see how price became irrelevant? You chose the more valuable offer even though the unlimited subscription model is priced at thrice the average price. This is when price becomes just a number.

Increase the value of your package to create a juicy offer that sells itself. 

Creating irresistible offers that bundle up relevant products/services is a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

What’s one thing you bought because the offer was too good to be ignored? tell me in the comments. even better if you can share the link for the offer. If you need further help crafting the core statements that define your company’s identity, we’re happy to help you.

Follow Content Primer on Facebook to stay updated about brand messaging and attracting your ideal clients.

 

 

7 Pressing Reasons To Have An Active Business Blog

Business Blog

Is maintaining your business blog becoming a terrifying nightmare?

You know what the internet world calls a business owner with a stale blog? Non-existent 🙁

You have seen wrong writers, littered content calendar, that pressurizingly blinking cursor, the content marketing gurus who force you to take care of alt tags, meta descriptions and other robotic parameters you don’t understand and you think it is better to let it go?

Take a seat. I’ll be your blog-therapist for today. And in the end, I’ll leave you feeling good + a cheeky grin guaranteed!

You are tired of deception from the so-called “helpers”. You download all the free content creation calendars that promise you to take away your blogging woes.

But then, you end up staring at a blank worksheet that asks you the exact same questions … you have been digging the mud for??

And you graze your face exactly like that witch from a horror movie…That’s okay, swallow your snot. There is something more horrifying than this….that blank screen…it feels like your voice is being throttled. But sometimes, you go on a rampage and type out that entire paragraph like a solo engine taking test rounds around the station…and then when you read it, you press the backspace until you go back in time…to an intimidating-blinking cursor. Story repeats, yeah?

So, you make up your mind and you try to hire a “writer”…but, you end up scrapping all the work you were DELIVERED. You look at the chunks of kooky words that hang like your most ill-fitting garment catching dust. When you hit the sack, you are having nightmares where your prospects are barfing on your website. Eiks!

Forget all of this.

One fine day, you recover from all of this drama because it was a Sunday morning! You’ve had a fantastic week and now that you have an interesting incident to share with your audience, you decide to blog on your website. You grab your mug of fresh green juice and sit in the sun with your biz machine aka your laptop. All was good until you fall back trying to avoid the glaring sun … having no clue where to start, build context or structure your writing. Agghh, too much work! And you quit, right?

Or maybe you wrote it off that evening and then 11 months have gone by, your blog dons that stale blog.

If this is your story, there is help coming soon.

Look boss, I agree, you have challenges! You wanna go smash those sales figures, rock those goal-sy meetings, attend networking events, figure out the perfect funnel, grow your email list, hunt for the tech wizards who can set things up for you, go live on that podcast and the list never ends. You have A LOT on your plate!

But, are you putting your blog on the back seat because your time is TAKEN up?

Psst…aren’t you making a mistake big gun?

Tossing your blogging plan backward means you’re chapping up your business plan. Wanna know why? Here are 7 reasons (out of 119 reasons btw) to keep your blog active.

Blogging cuts down your sales time by 50%

Your blog is the place where your prospects get to know you, learn about your personality and identify your voice. It is where you show them who you are, instead of telling them what it is about you that they should know to buy from you. I mean, that’s what you do in a sales call, right?

By reading one piece of writing on your blog, your prospect has a registered impression about you. Now, it is up to you to build the tempo from here. A job well begun is half done? Obviously! You are already half your way through in winning that prospect. So, go blog darling!

Blogging gives you fodder to feed your social media profiles

You cannot go live 14 times a week to share your thoughts on social media. But, you can have blogs written to let the world (your customers) know, what your opinion on an issue is.

Now, why do you want to lose a stream of high-quality traffic just because you lack a blog?

Why do you want to send back those interested prospects to your competitors?

I repeat, why leave money on that frickin’ table?

Blogging makes you that money-making list

How else do you want to grow your email list? Yeah, you can tell me we have chatbots. But you know what? The chatbot is a vulnerable media. One click and poof, your messages are muted. You wanna talk to deaf ears? Nah…

I’d love to know if you have another method to grow your list (I am curious)

So, listen to me, get your blog up and going. Because honey, in that list is your money!

Nurture your authority. Earn respect as an expert

Imagine you are an authority figure or an influencer in your industry. If I meet you downtown and won’t stop admiring you and your work, how’d you feel? Mind=Blown!

That’s why, grow your authority. And this is a no-brainer. Come on, you are an expert already, and that’s why you are running a business. IT’s not just about someone admiring you. It’s the recognition that fetches you reputation. Your reputation is everything when you’re in business.

I’ll show you 5 easy ways to build authority…right here, right now

  1. Recommend products you use (clink clink..already making money from affiliate marketing? Nice uh!)
  2. Give your audience helpful tips that they can ACT upon (they’ll thank you forever and feel indebted to you even if they are paying money to get your secret tips and saucy advice)
  3. Get yourself featured on elite publications and look at how clients swarm your doorway. (In case you don’t know, check out my piece on the prestigious Thrive Global that got me 3 new leads within a week of posting it)
  4. Make powerful connections and flaunt them. This isn’t hard at all. All you have to do is one round-up post on your blog featuring influencers from your industry and you have an invaluable network in your back pocket.
  5. Once you do these 4 steps, you become a “credible source of valuable information” naturally. You become more authoritative.

Now, all you have to do is, share information + ideas consistently.

Blogging brings Traffic + SEO

If you have a website and do not want traffic, you are mad. I mean, not you you..come on you obviously want traffic. Imagine leads come and land on your website and they head to your services page and end up hiring you. All because you shared a blog post of yours on social media. And, if you have kickass copy + a fantastic funnel, nobody can stop you from building your list, growing your biz and making a ton of money.

Plus, there is a lot of noise out there. You can cut through that noise by talking to people in your voice on your blog, on your uncluttered space. So, my dear, get a blog!

Tip: If you need more information on SEO, check it out here.

Strike conversations with your clients over a blog post

Your blog can act like an intense knowledge dissipating FAQ repository. The information can itself act as sales objection tackling mechanism which puts your prospects in your pipeline. Having your would-be clients in your digital vicinity is cool, right?

Also, who doesn’t want an opportunity to talk to clients isn’t it?

Offer YOUR solutions (services) to your clients’ problems (opportunity)

Imagine talking about a meeting in your office that sped up productivity that leads to you landing a high-ticket client. If you talk about those innate occurrences and unique experiences, you are making your clients believe you are a real, working breathing human being. And they trust you enough to buy from you.

Quick Recap

To conclude, your blog is not just beneficial for your business, it is your creative asset. It helps you capture your voice and your reader’s attention.

Your blog is the virtual bridge that connects you with your customers. If you want to resonate with your clients, build your personal brand, grow your authoritativeness, drive traffic to your website and benefit from all of the other advantages it comes with, get your blog running.

P.S: If you are totally convinced that your blog has to have a game on but you do not have the time or capacity to maintain your blog, click here.

How to upgrade how your audience perceives your content

How to Create Compelling Content

Content is the endocrine system that creates the image of your company. Content is what makes your company a brand.

Pick any big name and you know about it because of the reach the company has had. This kind of outreach is a product of consistent content marketing efforts the brand has invested in to reap the benfits of consistent lead flow in the long term.

But creating on-brand, value-based, educative content is not an easy affair. It takes months of planning and consistent creative efforts to come up with content your audience revere.

Employ these 5 essential strategies to create timeless content that attracts your best seeker.

5 Essential Strategies to create timeless content
  1. Create content that is hard to copy
  2. Create content that is easy to use
  3. Double check your grammar and spellings
  4. Create content to connect with your readers
  5. Do not deviate from purpose and context

Create content that is hard to copy

Create Timeless Content
Click to tweet this

If you want to make your content an experience, it has to be unique and individualized.

To make it unique, use excerpts from your own business interactions. Talk about events that occurred between you and your clients. Narrate de facto episodes and instances in your content.

The one thing people can’t steal from you is your experience. It’s exclusive to you. Now, how do you apply this idea and use it to your advantage to create content?

Talk about your work process that highlights the direction your prospect is hungry for. When you highlight your work process in a blog or case study or any of your company marketing material, you’re instantly checking off objections in your audience’s minds by:

  1. Feeding their curiosity – by giving the exact steps they’ll be walked through during your work process
  2. Eliminating anxiety – by mapping out clear directions
  3. Establishing authority – clear processes are a result of the experience that comes from the learning you’ve applied from your failures

Content that connects relieves your audience and builds their confidence because they now believe they’ve found the solution they’ve always wanted. It’s like going to meet your audience at a point where they are, instead of asking them for directions.

Banking on the not-so good-things

You can bring your negative experiences and present them as valuable lessons. To show you how –  nobody knows about the challenges you have faced in coming up with the robust system you have now. I am sure you have learned your lessons from this. Turn this experience into a shareable excerpt that instills trust and confidence in your readers.

By talking about these learnings, you demonstrate your openness. Plus, you are bringing a real story that has lived with you. Real stories are charming because everybody wants to know what happened to your product/event/client meeting at the end. That’s what it means to show and not just tell.

Help your content with the what happened angle and you will be, remembered.

Create content that is easy to use

The web is filled with beaten content. It’s either overused or still greasy.

Starting your headlines with facts and figures used to be a thing where an average writer would stick an unimportant stat in the headline just to make it more believable even though the headline never explained how it was beneficial. And when you do that, you almost never convince your reader to actually click on the headline. All your effort goes in vain.

Easily consumable content is:

  1. Clear and concise
  2. Beneficial
  3. Visually appealing
  4. Actionable (not just inspirational)

The great content overwhelm

Let’s talk about the other face of marketing – Content Fatigue

Do your readers a favor, save them that unwanted stress! If the gurus tell you to write a minimum of 2000 words and the content you are creating doesn’t stretch that far, then do not write 2000 words just to keep up with a random rule.

Write for your readers, not for rules.

Creating flubby-dubby conundrums or writing lengthy unwanted stories, stuffing images unnecessarily, throwing in stats at the drop of a hat makes your content forced and coerced. Avoid. All of this.

Is grammar and spellings everything?

Although the internet may forgive you for typos, sometimes, bumbling with grammar and syntax can get annoying.

You instantly look down upon a piece of writing that that calls more than one mouse mouses instead of mice. Agree?

Sometimes, typos can get annoying as silly errors tend to change the meaning of a sentence completely leaving the reader baffled and thwarted.

For example:

“Their wasn’t a way out” – sounds awfully misleading and confusing. Yes?

But, in a quest to obsess over grammar, syntax, and spellings, don’t ignore the big work.

Typos can be forgiven if the content is exceptional. – Adam Connell

Adam Connell, the chief wizard behind Blogging Wizard goes on to say – “We’re only human, so mistakes happen. That said, when people find typos, it can cause them to question the credibility of a website – particularly in sales copy or any page that someone would use to evaluate a buying decision.

Ultimately, how significantly typos impact your results can largely depend on the type of content and exactly who your audience is.”

So, if you do not want to risk your position, it is best to avoid typos and severe grammar errors that question your credibility.

Create content to connect with your readers

We write and create content to communicate what we know and express what we think. This is just one side of the story.

Your readers read your content because they want to learn, know, make aware, be informed and ultimately feel how they want to feel. That is why, it is important to write content that influences, and not just informs.

Sharp writers choose each word with piercing precision. – Henneke Duistermaat

No doubt Henneke is the best of writers. She knows how to evoke your senses. Look at the choice of her words – piercing precision! Isn’t that incredible? Your word selection makes or breaks your content. Because there’s no choice – you have to be empathetic when you’re writing. You have to give your audience what they’re searching for. If you promised a solution in your headline, deliver it. If you promised a result in your headline deliver it. That’s how you connect and keep your readers.

Do not deviate from purpose and context

Are stories overdone? We all know that marketing pushes stories like it’s the bloodline of the marketing system. Stories are being pumped into content like never before.

But, what we see today, especially in email newsletters is a bunch of irrelevant, irreverent stories with a connection so weak that you begin to hate business emails.

What should you do?

Cut the crap and deliver what is needed. Even if you have to break rules.

When the whole world is drumming about using stories in your content, it is alright to go without it if you do not have a worthy story that connects.

I have seen emails with subject lines like “My mother’s death anniversary + Fast action bonuses“. I find this kind of subject lines obnoxiously careless and insensitive. You too, right?

Capitalizing on your mother’s death and mixing business by writing a story in the email about how loving your mommy was – an absolute NO!

It is a huge turn-off and people unsubscribe. You don’t have to bring your mother’s death anniversary to build context. It is off-putting.

So please, avoid using such click-bait headlines and cheesy marketing tactics. It is 2020! If you promise something in your headline, make sure you keep your promise by delivering what you are supposed to.

Tip: Check how to write promising headlines and also keep​​​​​​​ the promise.

Conclusion

Evergreen content is continuously improvised and nurtured. It is not a one-time task, it is a process. So, to summarize:

Timeless content is – exclusive, consumable, grammatically correct, evoking and in context.

What do you do to make your content evergreen? Do you have anything else to add to this list? Tell me in the comments below.

9 steps to writing a blog faster : Practical Template

Write a blog faster

As a time-starved business owner or freelancer, let’s face it: you have a million things to do. And writing your blog doesn’t always get top billing.

But, you will have to produce content consistently to keep your marketing alive.

And, you have other inevitable responsibilities like maintaining your website (WordPress or not), dealing with clients, those annoying plugin popups, your subcontractors, taxes, processes, workflows and 67399 other things!

In the middle of this busy-paced work day, how do you make time to write content? It sure is hard.

But, here’s the good news: There’s an easier, much faster way to write blogs – and I’ll teach it to you right now.

What you will learn in the post

  1. How to save time writing a rough title
  2. How to write the introduction
  3. How starting with Summary helps you write a blog faster
  4. How to decide on the format of the post
  5. How to design a post outline
  6. How to write a post with helpful details
  7. How to add jazz to your post
  8. How to revisit headlines
  9. How to check for readability and on-page SEO

How to save time writing a rough title

I started this post with the title “Write a blog post faster“. This helped me set the context for steadfast writing and gave me a direction. You know what you should write about.

It is a way to channelize your focus to think about what you want to achieve with this post. You should go with a rough title because it will help you set the goal for the post.

You can always come back and optimize this title later to make it more interesting and clickable. But, to begin with, and to save time, you should have a title that tells you what you should write about.

How to write the introduction

Assuming that you can update this section to suit the tone and course of your blog, write the introduction in a way that it grabs your reader’s attention.

You can do this by addressing your reader’s pain point (bring emotional relatability here).

Make sure the first sentence is super short, snackable + magnetic enough to pull your reader to the next sentence and then to the next and so on.

How starting with Summary helps you write faster

I generally wrote without summary till recently.

But this method helped me write much faster.

Because I already had the goals and the mini goals defined in the summary section. The purpose of the blog is clear now.

You only have to follow this map to write a detailed post once you decide the format of the post and come up with a blog outline.

How to decide on the format of the post

The Summary section will also help you decide the kind of post you want to be writing.

For example, whether it will be a list post, a how-to guide, an interview, a product review, newsjacking post or any other type of post.

The summary helps you set the context for the reader and the reader knows what to expect from it.

How to design post outline

This is the most important section.

Post outlining is a way of mapping the relevant topics you will be covering under your post.

Outlining a post makes it easier for you to write. And not just that, it also makes it easier for your reader to consume information without being overwhelmed.

So, how do you design an outline? Just write down the things you want to cover under your blog. For example, in this post, what makes you write faster? The outline is:

  • starting with a rough title to set goals
  • catchy introduction
  • carving a summary
  • format of the post – list, how to, review or whatever

To be more practical, let me give you another example. Say you are writing a post called “5 Benefits of using Google Docs“. Your post is all about highlighting the benefits of Google Docs. So the outline of the post will be:

  • Introduction
  • List of 5 benefits
  • Benefit 1 – Easy to use
  • Benefit 2 – Accessibility – Access from anywhere
  • Benefit 3 – Reliability – Google is up most of the time
  • Benefit 4 – Never have to worry about losing data
  • Benefit 5 – Share easily
  • Conclusion
  • CTA

Once you carve out the subheadings, it becomes so much more easier to write and most importantly, finish the post. Let’s move to the next section.

How to write a post with helpful details

Once you have outlined your post, you now know your mini goals. You only have to elaborate on these mini-goals and fill in the content. For example, say you are writing a post titled “How to achieve SEO in simple steps“. The subheadings under this will be something like:

  • Hashtags
  • Low-Competition Keywords
  • Using Images
  • Fresh Content
  • Length of content
  • Title
  • Header Tags
  • Meta tags
  • Slugs
  • Internal Links
  • Sitemaps
  • Robots.txt

Now, under each subheading, you write about optimizing or methods that help you achieve SEO.

Tip: A comprehensive subheading is a huge plus for SEO. Write, elaborate and clarify.

How to add jazz to your post

To make the post more interesting, add information in different formats. Presenting information in formats other than normal blog text format keeps your reader hooked until the end.

There are many ways to present information differently:

  • Add a Note that gives a warning to avoid mistakes your reader might commit if there is a chance that s/he might get confused.
  • Give a Tip that adds more value to the content in the subheading.
  • Quote a high authority industry personality to leverage the content.
  • Include statistics that imply that your content is well researched
  • Include images – because visual information is consumed faster and stays longer in the memory. Plus, relatable images and graphics keep the flow smooth.
  • Come up with graphs, pie charts or Venn diagrams to represent complicated information in an easy to understand, visual format.

How to polish your headlines

You must and should revisit headlines.

If your headline does not interest the reader, all your efforts go down the drain.

You can also curate a Headline Swipe File to draw inspiration when you get stuck.

I use Coschedule’s headline analyzer to check the factors that make a good headline.

For example, a catchy headline has a high emotional quotient attached.

CoSchedule’s headline analyzer tells you the exact quotient your headline is lacking.

Plus, the analyzer assesses a combined score suggesting you to tweak the headlines to make them more intriguing, catchy and clickable.

Check how I used the analyzer to come up with a title for this post.

Write a blog faster
Write headlines faster with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer

How to check for readability and on-page SEO

The last step to take care of before you publish a blog post is conducting an SEO check – put on your white hat baby! Here are the steps:

  1. Check for hyperlinks wherever necessary. Check if they are working and have no broken links.
  2. Optimize your images with the right title, descriptions etc.
  3. Conduct a spell check and use Grammarly to catch minor errors.
  4. Optimize your headings with the right header tags.
  5. Add screenshots wherever necessary. The screenshot from CoSchedule has obviously given you a better understanding of what’s going on. So, make use of screenshots to make your blog more interesting.
  6. Check for Yoast’s readability score and tweak your sentences to make them easy to read and follow.

After you follow these steps, make sure you proofread your blog.

Now that you know the 9 easy steps to write a kick-ass blog post, will you follow these steps? Or do you have a different process to write a blog? Have any questions? Comment below. Let’s have a discussion.

Why every small business needs a content calendar

Content Calendar

Before you think you don’t need a content calendar, tell me if you do all of this:

  1. Scroll Facebook endlessly in the name of networking?
  2. Wander on Twitter not knowing what to do?
  3. Being there on LinkedIn but you don’t know whom to connect with?

Do you do all of this as a freelancer or solopreneur? I bet you do.

Do you know you are wasting days and months and may be years sitting behind your screen and think why your other peers are doing good as freelancers while you are lingering around social networks for work?

It is because you don’t have a content calendar.

How will a content calendar solve your business woes?

Your calendar is like your ideal manager. If you do things according to what your calendar says, you will stick to a schedule and your productivity shall spike.

It is very easy to get distracted and also stay there. I have done it. I keep reading meaningless posts where the group admin asks, “What are you baking today?” and there are 256 comments talking about the Thai curry they tried to bake. Now ask yourself, where is this Thai curry going to help you in your career? It won’t. It only boosts the engagement profile of that FB Group and you will be bombarded with more of such meaningless posts that waste your time. This is why social media gets overwhelming.

On the other hand, imagine having a robust calendar that tells you what to do? No brain damage.

Have you ever imagined how a certain business develops engaging content day after day, every day, even on a Sunday? This is how they do it.

How to design a Content Calendar?

Hubspot has a very cool way to get you started.

Hubspot’s content calendar is based on a concept called the content cluster. Now you don’t need to start off with a platform like this, to begin with. I used a plain excel spreadsheet to design my calendar. It is distraction free. The less the application is polluted with features, the more it will help you accomplish your goals. The more it will help you turn your ideas into executable tasks.

But, I am using the concept of the content cluster to design my content strategy. It gives a good perspective and the approach is holistic. You get to design an overview of your strategy instantly with something like this.

Content Marketing further branches out to:

  1. Market Research
  2. Customer Persona Design
  3. Copywriting
  4. Business Blogging
  5. Social Media Engagement
  6. Email Marketing

Below is a picture with the core idea in the center. I named it content marketing because that is my core service.

Content Calendar
Content Cluster for a Business Blogger

You could be a freelance blogger, yet you will need all the other branches of content marketing to be successful.

You will need Market Research to find out who your customers are so that you generate content accordingly.

After you gather information about your prospects, you need to design Customer Personas.

Based on the Persona, you need to write web copy that will attract your audience.

With the help of web copy and lead magnets, you capture email ids.

Then begins email marketing to grow, retain and engage your lists.

Meanwhile, you promote the generated content on social media to gain visibility and attract traffic.

This is how the content marketing cycle runs. At every step, you evaluate the results to see what is working for you and what is not.

I shared a blog post about writing content in 50 minutes by putting up appropriate and trending hashtags. I increased my Twitter followers by 150% in 3 hours.

I could do this because I made use of the right hashtags on Twitter.

How to identify the right hashtags for your business?

  • Choose the hashtags most relevant to your content.
  • Choose the hashtags that are trending at the moment.
  • Choose the hashtags that carry relevant semantics.

This is what Content Strategy can bring to a marketing business. Content Strategy is also about retaining inbound traffic with the help of content clusters.

I generate content around these clusters to stay in tune with my niche. Isn’t this an efficient way to manage your content, be productive as well as not get overwhelmed with all the (mis)information you come across?

Advantages of having a Content Calendar

By having a definitive content guide,

  1. You will not feel lost about what to write in this wide, web world bursting with information.
  2. You get to focus on subjects that boost your industry authority.
  3. You will save 2 hours of time in a day. How many times have you wished for a 26 hour day as an entrepreneur?
  4. You can plan content according to events like Women’s day or Black Friday.
  5. You can outsource social media promotion to a VA or teammate and be rest assured that this won’t get messed up.
  6. You can easily upcycle content by clubbing two or more topics depending on the need.
  7. You can also design FREEBIES based on the topic so that the freebie stays relevant and can garner maximum lead capture.

Now, are there any reasons you don’t want a content calendar? I follow a weekly content calendar that keeps me organized. It also helps me come up with new content to write. Do you want to know how I do it? Download my Content.