Monday, November 23, 2015
That being said, the question of "Does anyone really still need a blog" comes up with relative frequency among my clients and their agencies. My answer is always, "Yes, blogs are great to have for a number of reasons." Here are a few:
1 - It provides updates to your website. Search engines love fresh meat.
3 - Blog content is not limited to living only on your blog/website. The content (usually with some slight revisions) can be:
a. Shared as a guest post on another site.
b. Posted to LinkedIn Pulse.
c. Used as a public relations pitch or as a story pitch to become an expert contributor to a publication.
d. Repurposed as a handout for a presentation.
e. Rewritten/repurposed for Slideshare, for a Powerpoint presentation, or a webinar (a slide is a slide is a slide ...).
f. Used as the basis of a video that will be posted to your website, on your video channel of choice or sent via email to your lists.
Speaking of email ...
4 - Promoting a new blog article is a reason to touch base with your clients, prospects and associates with an email. Yes, Virginia, there really is still email marketing (just ask my colleague, Susana Fonticoba of Right Click Advantage).
And no, it does not have to be me. But if you're interested in finding out more, you can send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call (201-791-4694). Sure, we have writers here that work in a variety of industries, but I'm always happy to recommend other writers who could be a great fit for your needs.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
So everyone wants to publish. And LinkedIn lets us do that. That's the good news. The bad news? Lots of "articles" that are simply promotional posts that add nothing to anyone's day except for (maybe) the person who posted it.One of the problems is that since LinkedIn Pulse is seemingly open to everyone, the volume and quality are not being controlled, and some stinky stuff is showing up in our notifications. Am I right?
Not everyone is a writer, and not everyone has something of business value to share there that often ... and that's OK! Make it a status update if necessary, or post it on your website or your blog to promote yourself (and even that might not be so cool -- blogs, as part of your social media and content marketing efforts, should also be informational, educational, helpful, insightful, etc.). LinkedIn is a B2B social network and the publishing opportunity should contribute something to your business connections, not stuff their feeds with garbage or filler. Helpful advice, industry insights, points of view about a trend or an issue in your field are great. Thinly or not-even veiled promotion is content trash.
A client of mine, an advertising agency CEO, noted this recently during a discussion on publishing opportunities for expert byline articles; we talked about how the potential for LinkedIn to be a valuable platform for expert content has diminished due to the low quality and sheer volume of the published posts. LinkedIn got the lowest marks in a survey cited in a recent Market Watch article and when I shared the link, I commented about how disappointed I have become in my once-favorite social network because of the quality of posts.
My colleague, Gene Sower of Samson Media, an internet marketing and social media expert, agrees. After he read the article and my opinion about it, he said: "People are posting Pulse content that is one paragraph and a link to some promotional piece ... Or posting totally promotional content without ANY value to the reader .... Just because you CAN post anything in LinkedIn Pulse does NOT mean you should. Done properly, the writer should always have the reader in mind." We lamented about the declining quality of the posts (real estate listings, speaking engagement announcements, materials for sale); to illustrate the point, he shared a link to post about a broadcasting award someone won over 15 years ago. It would be great on that person's website. It's not an article.
I originally posted this on LinkedIn and I was very sure people were going to poop all over it as a rant that doesn't belong there as a published item. So be it. I threatened to write this blog post as well and maybe they'll poop on that, too. And I'll bet the LinkedIn people will be mad at me for taking them to task for not moderating published content. Oh well. I consider this a public service to my colleagues who are in agreement with me about the filler that's been appearing in LinkedIn posts.
So dear readers, before you publish on LinkedIn, please consider if you are writing and sharing an expert opinion, an industry insight, an update about your field, something pertinent to your cohort and the like. If not, please make it a status update if you're feeling the urge to put it here. Or flush it down the toilet.
Rant over. Have to go take out the garbage.
I went on a rant today about LinkedIn posts that just pile garbage onto the content heap. I will edit it for the blog but you can read it here:
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Making the Most of Your Post-Event Email Marketing (Or How Not to Piss Off Other People Who Did Not Meet You There)
LinkedIn post, I recently attended a conference sponsored by an organization of which I am a long-time member. Within a few days of the event, I received three emails from other attendees saying how nice it was to meet me there, along with a sales pitch about how they might able to help me or my clients with their products/services.
This would have been acceptable had I actually met them; I do not even know who they are (and I know a lot of other organization members)!
This really pissed me off and gave me three reasons to scratch my head over these people's email marketing process (and etiquette).
Warning: Before you send out a followup email or marketing message to some list you downloaded or pulled together on your own, be very careful what you say, and be very mindful of who you are saying it to!
The form letters landed like lead balloons in my inbox, rather than as effective lead generation tools. These were not auto-generated responses to a request for more information (which would have been welcomed as timely followups). These were three emails by three people who are now a lesson about what not to do in marketing (digital or otherwise). Here are some ways those ill-conceived emails could have been better conceived and executed:
Create different lists for your message. Make one for fellow attendees you don't know and another for those who you actually did meet. Email marketing solution such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, aWeber, emma, etc. make this easy to do and will show recipients that you approached your marketing effort with a grain of consciousness (since it will lead to tip #2).
Form letters can have different forms. Form letters are expedient, but the openings and closings should be modified for your different target recipients. The boilerplate openings of all three emails reflected a lack of thought about who the email was going to--an immediate turn off. If you are sending marketing communication that starts with "It was nice to meet you at ..." make sure you actually met the recipient. It is easy enough to revise the opening and closing copy for a list of fellow attendees who you did not meet but would like to.
Suggest instead of selling. I did not know the senders and had no need for or interest in whatever they were selling. However, had they used the email to provide some value to me, I might have given them a chance. There are ways to promote your products or services without being overtly promotional (the foundation of content marketing). For example, you can mention what you do and then direct the reader to a great resource, or provide a helpful tip. Had I seen any of that in the bodies of the emails, my annoyance at the bad copy choice up front might have been mitigated and given me a reason to pause before hitting "delete." At the very least, I'd have been more likely to remember the senders as professionals who want to help rather than sell.
Good email marketing practices.The one thing that was right about these three emails was that the senders clearly stated the connection (the conference) so at least it was not obvious spam. If you get a list as part of a sponsorship or pull together your own, make sure to identify right at the top why the person is getting your email. Oh ... and just because I handed you a business card at a networking event does not mean I just subscribed to your e-newsletter! Please ask people in advance if they'd like to be added to your list.
If you need help crafting an email marketing message that provoke unnecessary rants among your recipients, ask me (email@example.com) or a marketing communications professional that you work with. We'll keep you on those recipients' good sides!
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
As a copywriter I consider myself a generalist--no particular industry/area of expertise, able to write about a broad range of topics and for a variety of industries or fields of endeavor with a few exceptions. But as general as I am, and as many clients I am able to work with, I have to say that sometimes, you just can't please 'em all. And sometimes, that one-writer-fits-all-clients simply doesn't fit.
I was contacted several months ago by a lovely person who is starting a new endeavor with a business partner. Could I write the copy for their new website? Sure, would love to, sounds great. But it wasn't.
Aside from the fact I did not adhere to my own process for writing website copy (having the client complete a questionnaire to gather necessary information/input, provide competitor websites as reference and identify competition in the marketplace), our writing relationship has teetered on disastrous. I blame myself for not managing the process and for not stepping out of it in time. It simply was not a good fit. We got stuck in a morass of confusing messages, stream-of-consciousness input, direction that shifted a few times; the client did not even have a company name when I dove into the project. After four drafts and about four hours of phone time and copy review, I gave up. I could not for the life of me capture their voice--the heart of the problem, I believe. I was lost in a sea of too many changes and could not find my way back to their USP, their brand promise, their mojo.
What Would Donald Trump Have Done?
What I should have done, after the second go-round, is politely fire myself from the project. I have since done so, asking a colleague to handle any further edits because at this point, I can't see straight! (The website developer has had similar issues with the client--they don't know what they want until they see it, many revisions, no clear direction ...)
Because it is so important to me to have happy clients, I did not charge her for a lot of the work. She paid me up front to write four pages of copy, which was the original scope of the project; I'd written two others and edited (heavily) an additional two pages at no charge since I could see this was not going so well (although I have to say, to their credit, they have been very gracious and kind on the phone). After a point I advised the client to rewrite what I gave them in the way they wanted and I'd tweak and edit it to make sure it reads well. I was gratified to see they did use some of my copy throughout, and I gave them back their edited pages. At this point I have no clue where the project stands and I'm afraid to ask. But I am relieved to not suffer through any more changes and I am betting they're also relieved to not have to explain, once again, what they are looking for that they aren't seeing on the page.
So word to me and to the wise: If you're not a good fit for the client or the copy, move on! Replace yourself with someone who is a better fit, and you'll all be happier. I know I am.