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Few days back, Peep Laja, the founder of ConversionXL tweeted how the concept of USP is obsolete and I agree with him.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

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.

 

How to map web content to your marketing goals

You cannot write anything from sewing to coding on your business blog.

Your web content needs a strategy that aligns with your customer’s goals.

Your blog needs a plan that builds the content network to establish authority in your industry. It needs content mapping to build that network.

What is industry authority?

Before I explain industry authority to you, you need to know who you are writing for and what you aim to achieve writing for your audience.

Let me give you an example, I aim to create simple guides that help aspiring writers or online business owners learn to write effective web content.

Who is my audience?

 ► Aspiring Content Writers

 ► Online Business Owners

 ► Freelancers who are DIYers

What do I do for them?

 ► I help them write web copy and content.

 ► I help them write content that elevates their goals.

What is my industry?

 ►I belong to the writing/blogging industry. You can also call it the content industry.

How do you stand out in a competitive industry like this?

 ► By holding the ropes of authority. You have to create content that showcases your expertise. If you are a website designer, your blog should display arrays of articles that solve website woes. For example, you may write posts on installing Google Analytics plugin, fixing the dangling hero on the homepage or enabling clean margin spaces on a web page etc.

By doing this, you are establishing industry authority. This tells your audience that you know your work inside out. Your audience will trust you to solve their problems because they have seen you doing that.

If you are a web design expert and if you write about your favorite pet or your favorite travel destination, it is not going to work.

Establishing authority can help you earn a loyal audience who will trust your work.

What is Content Strategy?

In short, Content Strategy is the master plan behind establishing industry authority through the content on your web. You need to devise a plan that creates a unique content network on your website.

A network cannot have broken links. Likewise, your content plan should connect each piece of content to a smaller goal.

A collection of smaller goals pointing towards a bigger marketing goal is the purpose of your website hosting a business blog.

What are marketing goals and how do you set them?

You set goals because we identify the need to prioritize. If you do not prioritize, your business will be as disorganized as an addict’s backpack. Full of stuff, but nothing vital.

Setting marketing goals becomes a need when you see shortcomings in building your brand. You see shortcomings when you evaluate your work or abilities. Have you identified your immediate business objectives? Do you have a list of tasks that elevate your business?

For freelancers or small businesses, a long to-do list is the biggest productivity killer. The overwhelming list helps you procrastinate and lose the game.

Set short goals. Have goals for the day. Beginning this month, a social media manager’s goals could be to get high paying clients. Wrong.

That is a redundant goal even though that is the ultimate result every business wants.

Make workable goals.

A social media manager should master the art of persuasion (Of course, not in a day!). She is given a limited word count. And that word count is her only opportunity to persuade as many readers she can to click the link she is posting.

So her main goal should be to master persuasive writing. She should know how to make an instant connection with her audience. She should know how to walk her audience and convince them that the link is a valuable resource.

So, the workable goal here is to learn PERSUASIVE WRITING.

Is this goal helping her meet her marketing needs? Of course, she can make use of the same persuasive methods to tell her prospective clients how good she is in her work.

Now do your marketing goals align with your content? Oh yes!

Content Mapping and Marketing Goals
Content Mapping and Marketing Goals

How content mapping boosts your business?

When you own your reader’s problems and turn them into solutions they need, consistently, it means that your strategy is on the right track.

How do you provide solutions?

  1. A high-value blog post that gives a step by step plan your reader needs to meet one of his objectives.
  2. A workflow that helps one of your readers arrive at a solution.
  3. A motivating piece of statistics that will inspire your readers to take action.
  4. An infographic diagram that explains the core subject in bite-sized chunks that is easy to consume.

You succeed in your content marketing goals only when you bring demand based solutions to your blog. Your readers will not want solutions to problems they do not have or are insignificant to them. Do your market research.

What is the best way to know what your customer needs?

There is no way you can read your customer’s mind. You are not Edward Cullen. Even if you are, your customers are many a Bellas. They are emotionless when it comes to your pain points even though you are trying to solve their problems.

When I started out in marketing and began searching for my ideal client, I would crack my head.

How can anybody read their customer’s mind to know what she wants?

I would sit for hours taking guesses. It is a stupid thing to do. Why not just ask them? By asking your customers about their problems, you are surely providing solutions to problems that EXIST.

I attended a marketing event organized by one of the startup hubs in Hyderabad. Business owners introduced themselves and spoke about how they made dollars and there were some who did not. There was one entrepreneur who invested nearly $25000 in his venture and failed. He crawled into debt. The first question the host asked was, “Did you carry out a market research before you built the product?” and the answer was “NO”. He was confused. He built an app that targeted the education community. But before building the app, he did not ask one person from the education community about the necessity of such a product.

Products are not made of ideas. Products are built, reinvented and customized to suits the market’s needs.

So, offer solutions that are needed. You will be left bankrupt if you spend your money on unwanted solutions. That is the position of market research in business.

Mapping content to your marketing goals

Now that you know what the customer wants, aim to build products around their needs. Before you sell your products, build a knowledge base that dissipates bite-sized information that solves your customer’s little problems.

How do you release the bite-sized solutions? Through your business blog, email marketing and promoting this content to the world through social media platforms. Although there are other social platforms, your business blog is the major bridge between your customer and your company that emerges as a true brand community.

Now, devising your content flow is gathering all the input points that land to one central point of focus. The CTA.

It is the CTA that helps you accomplish your goals as a marketer or a small business owner. You can easily call it that tangible element in this virtual world. Is the content leading to CTA compelling enough to catalyze the reader’s action? Has the content brought engagement that builds customer relationships? These are the factors that you need to visit with agility and work till you get there. Content Strategy is not a one-off item on your content marketing checklist. It takes experimentation to beat the odds and focus on the right channel, right method and right type of content that aligns with your goals. The point is, have you set the right goals?

What is copywriting and why every business needs it?

Direct Response Copywriting

Copywriting. This term can be condescending, I know.

The word “copywriting” can evoke baffling questions like these:

Is copywriting about copying? Is it copy-pasting?

No kidding, such questions are asked for real.

So, what is copywriting?

Copywriting is the art and science of putting words that absolve the reader’s objections and persuade the reader to take a pre-defined action.

Good copywriting is backed by a thorough study of the psychological behavior of the business’ audience. It involves a step by step procedure that gathers detailed information about the target visitor. 

In the digital age, copywriting is synonymous with web copywriting or direct response copywriting. Web copy is written to lead the target prospect to act on a CTA.

Copywriting is an intense process. As a copywriter, it is your responsibility to know your customer’s business in and out. The business functions, benefits, features, USP, value proposition, objections, problems, FAQs, mission, vision, audience and so much more.

What does a typical copywriting process look like?

  • Ideally, a copywriter gets business information from the client in the form of a questionnaire with specific answers. Specificity is the key. It is up to the copywriter to ask questions that fetch unambiguous information avoiding back and forth communication. 
  • Based on the information in the questionnaire, the copywriter studies the customer info and derives a customer profile.
  • The copywriter designs a wireframe sketch to make the copy come with a flow. The wireframe sketch decides the fluidity of the copy.
  • The positives and features of the product or service are aggregated and converted into benefits.
  • The copywriter comes up with a clear value proposition that tells the purpose of the business website. No beating around the bush here. It has to be clear and concise.
  • This is followed by rounds of editing, search engine optimization and testing the copy.

Note: A  prospect is determined by the business whose products are designed for a certain demographic. 

Why should a copywriter know everything about the company?

To define the value proposition

You are writing copy for the company’s customer. You are writing copy to convince the prospect. The prospective visitor comes with many questions. Answering all their in-mind questions on-page is the goal of web copy.

In order to answer their questions, you should know the business inside out. If you do not know about the company functions and operations unique to that company, your value proposition fails. If you do not know why the company does what it does, you fail to get the purpose in words. 

The value proposition is the most distilled version of the company’s prime purpose.

To understand and reproduce the purpose

When the “why” is not projected strongly, there is nothing that moves the prospect to establish an emotional connect. The emotional connect is not about instantly liking your brand. It is about a feeling your words can evoke

Let’s talk about a common activity you and I both do. Do you feel good shopping on a website that sells the products you love at your happy price? Do you see the key-points here? Love..Happy!

Ultimately, you do what you do to make yourself feel the way you want to. Even if it means trading money.

Jim Keenan, the author of Not Taught says you cannot sell to your prospect if the prospect doesn’t perceive value in your product or service. The “value” here can take any form. But it eventually boils down to a feeling. An emotional state of content that happens after an action.

Great copywriting is about salvation, not sales. – Aaron Orendorff

When you invest your money in a worthy product, you willingly trade your hard earned money because you have assigned a value to the product. That is all a customer pays for – Salvation. And, copywriting is the art and science that brings out the value out of a product and projects it in the form of words.

If you succeed to provide that reason of fulfillment your prospect is looking for, you have written good copy. That is when your copy becomes convincing. You don’t need to put any more effort, even in terms of fancy-glittery graphics. They do not matter. All you have to do now is drive your prospect to take an action. The sale is just a resultant action. And, congratulations! You just sold your product.

How to edit your copy?

To get the most pristine version of your copy, try removing one random word from one random sentence of your final copy. If you see a discrepancy, in any form, you put back the word and publish it. If not, repeat the distillation process.

Good copy is achieved when if you remove a word from the line, it obstructs the meaning of the sentence terribly.

Why is copywriting called copywriting?

The above definition implies that anything worthy of being reproduced to preserve its existential value is copy. This highlights the monumental importance copywriting holds in the business world. 

Why every business needs copywriting?

When I began my career as a copywriter, I wondered what copyblogger meant. It sounded weird. I get it, the word is formed by the amalgamation of two words copywriter and blogger. But why? Why would anybody do that?

Now, when I know why every business needs copy, I fully understand the profound reasoning behind naming the legendary website CopyBlogger. In simple terms, CopyBlogger is a resource that teaches you conversion blogging or business blogging but not limited to blogging. 

It is all about conversions. You cannot grow your business without conversions. Can you?

You need copy to convert.

Copy that converts + A well positioned product = Sales that spike your revenue

And after all, sales is the ultimate goal of any ethical business. Now that you know why every business needs copywriting, what are the steps you are going to take to write copy?