Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Writing for your business: your New Year resolutions

1. Write little and often.

Writing a 300 word blog entry every day will make more impact on your search engine ratings than a 3000 word article every month. Search engines love content and consistency and whether you post it to a blog, your website or an article bank, over time this produces results for you.

2. Write to one person at a time.

Only one person reads your words at a time even if two people are reading together. Each interprets what you’ve written using mental filters, life experience and needs that are unique to them.

3. Create a story about your reader.

Make sure you know as much about your customers as possible. If you have several different categories of people buying your products then you need to create different stories for them. For example; a financial product for a retired couple and a young couple with a baby needs to achieve different results. Approaching them the same way will miss the target for both of them.

4. Listen to your customers.

It’s too easy to assume we know what our customers think. We need to think about our product or service from their viewpoint. Many businesses think they do that but then write about themselves not about their clients.

5. Break your message down into small chunks.

People need the full story but what they don’t need initially is an essay. However much content you need to include and for some products that’s a fair amount, make sure that they have the headlines of each topic to guide them then make each section clear and easy to understand. If you are hiding something in the text by using long words and difficult jargon, you will lose their interest and potentially their sale.

6. Use rhythm in your writing.

Good writing is like good conversation. It flows, is clear and keeps the interest. Short sentences should be mixed up with longer ones. Avoid including too many ideas in one sentence. And repeat ideas several times in different ways if necessary; that way you’ll underline the important points for them without insulting them.

7. Join the conversation in their head.

How busy are you? Mega busy probably, juggling responsibilities for home, children and work. And that’s before you start juggling the challenges in your business.

Your customers are no different and when they begin to think about buying your product or service, they are already talking to themselves about the pros and cons of finding the perfect solution to their problem. You need to join in that conversation by addressing all the likely issues they have. Avoiding them is not an option. They’ll think you’re fudging for a motive of your own. Be clear about the challenges and be clear about the solutions you can offer.

And prove it.

8. Be specific.

To follow up on number 7, when you prove your case be specific about it. If you have a 100% solution then of course say so. But understand that we’re all sceptics and we want to prove you wrong. Whatever sounds too good to be true usually is.

9. Decide what your message is before you start writing.

The worst thing you can do is sit down and write and then let it straight out to customers.

First; it won’t be the best you can do. I know no professional writers who will allow work to go to clients without checking it at least once.

Second; it won’t be clear enough. At least rough out your ideas in note form before you begin. And at have all your research to hand so you don’t have to keep looking things up as you write.

10. Enjoy your writing.

If you think that writing is like having teeth pulled then that’s how it will read. This is an article to encourage you to write for your business but if you are a beginner it may take you some time to become expert. In the meantime seek help at least with organising your writing if you need to. Pay an expert and pick their brains about how you can improve your writing fast.

Writing needs to crackle with energy and passion. The same energy and passion that you had to set up your business. Use the same approach and even if your writing may not be grammatically perfect, it will say what you want and will connect your enthusiasm for what you do.

And to finish, I wish you all the best for your business in 2012.

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