Posts in Top 10

Your move: Chess strategy for your content marketing

October 17th, 2014 Posted by Copywriting Tips, Top 10 7,066 comments

Even a single pawn’s move in chess requires strategic thinking about the overall game. Nothing is ever a one-off, or done in a vacuum. Chess is an exercise of the mind and requires knowledge of the game and a comprehensive understanding of your opponent’s goals. Content marketing works a lot like chess when executed properly. Copywriting and content marketing can also learn a thing or two from chess, as great copy should also be a strategic exercise for any business.

Here are three chess principles that can help keep your content in check:

One bad move can ruin many good ones.

In chess every move counts and even one bad move can ruin every good one before it. Your content should always be focused on providing value to your prospects and customers instead of pitching a hard sell. If a customer comes across your asset looking for educational information, and it’s just another version of your sales brochure, they’re unlikely to engage with your published materials going forward.

Control the center.

Make sure your content has a clear, central focus and is interesting to read. Hooking your reader is important, but clearly stating the value and learning from your content will make sure it’s memorable and reflects well on your brand. Take a good look at the type of business content you enjoy and refer to when considering purchases, and attempt to emulate that. Research brands you admire and take a look at their content strategies and the tactics they use to keep customers close.

Work your pieces.

In chess, you have to move your pieces around the board to win. You can’t just focus on a few key ones in the middle. With content, it’s important to mix things up with various forms of deliverables. Try case studies, white papers, blogs, videos, poll results and infographics that all tie in with your overall business objectives and industry.

What’s been the most effective piece of content for your business?

What’s in it for me?

October 10th, 2014 Posted by Copywriting Tips, Top 10 7,430 comments

What’s in it for me?

That’s the question that we all ask ourselves in almost anything we do. If you are not asking this, then perhaps you are the pope or the last boy scout.  When we are listening to others speak, scouring the internet, watching movies, listening to music, we are all seeking something – entertainment, knowledge, a product or the best deal.

So how do you use this tidbit to capture your audience and give them what they want? Well, when it comes to your blog or website copy, you need to embody the WIIFM attitude, but from your reader’s perspective. Here are 3 simple concepts to keep in mind as you put together your message.

Keep it simple — This means delivering the message to your reader in plain and simple terms. If a reader has to wade through a lot of details, or re-read sentences to actually figure out what you are saying, you’ll lose them fast.

Location location location — The WIIFM statement should be the first thing the reader sees. When you are structuring a phrase or sentence or paragraph, lead with your strongest statements and don’t bury it end of a sentence. The reader is likely scanning, and will focus on the firsts (first word, phrase, sentence in each paragraph….) It’s ok to have support details, but be sensitive to how many and where they are placed. Consider what details are important from your audience’s perspective and leave out the rest.

Read it out loud — After you write your message, read it out loud to yourself. Did you fumble over the words? Did you notice any run on sentences or run out of breath? Then grab a friend and read it aloud to him/her. Ask them what the message was. Ask them if they can regurgitate the main points. If they can’t understand it, then your audience likely won’t either.

Here’s an example of how not to write to illustrate the importance of these points. Let’s suppose I am the owner of a small retail company and am searching the web for a new software solution for keeping up with my inventory and I come across this website. As I read through this intro, the WIIFM thoughts are popping up and you’ll see them in bold.

CTB Solutions was founded in Cleveland Ohio in 2006 by 2 hardworking graduates from State U. Not important, don’t care. Since then we’ve grown into a company of more than 30 teammates located all over the US. Ok so in 8 years you’ve only added 28 people, I’m not impressed. We have found that our clients want to best products and services and we focus on delivering just that. Ummm what does CTB Solutions do exactly???.  At CTB Solutions we provide services in data migration and software implementations for small business retail inventory management. This sentence should have been first. But my eyes have glazed over now so on to the next website.

Ok, now you have an idea of why it’s important to always keep your audience in mind and apply the WIIFM attitude. Good luck!