Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Do I Put on my Business Facebook Page?

It’s the age old question of businesses everywhere: What do I put on my business Facebook page?

The personal is easy, right? Funny selfies, birthday and anniversary greetings, and great news about our kids, to name a few.

But what’s appropriate on business Facebook pages?

That all depends on your audience.

Every company has a different corporate culture and industry. How much of their information should be shared with their Facebook audience is an individual matter. However, Facebook, unlike LinkedIn or even Twitter, thrives on visual and energetic content.

There are many studies and statistics out there about what content is sure to engage and encourage clickthroughs and shares, but most agree that adding a photo or video to your post will best engage your audience—up to 2.3 times more engagement according to Hubspot. Other visual content, like infographics, are likely to be shared three times more than other content. In other words, it pays to “dress up” your posts.

For the past five years I’ve been curating, creating and posting social media content for businesses, and I never seem to run out of ideas for my clients’ Facebook pages. Below I give you 60 ideas for your Facebook posts, but all you really have to do is reach out with a BRANCH—an acronym I made up to help you remember “categories” and therefore inspire your content.

B stands for Behind the Scenes. Depending on the nature of your corporate culture, there are elements of your office, environment, and people which you can share to humanize your organization and make your Facebook friends feel more connected to you. You’ll be surprised at how effectively engaging these light, fun posts can be. Posts that I have seen/created in this category include:

  1. Office renovations (Ex. “So excited about our new conference room!” with photo of course)
  2. Video office tour
  3. Employee birthday (with their photo)
  4. New equipment (“Our new 3D printer will make our job so much easier!” with photo)
  5. Office celebrations or special days (Ex. “Our staff dressed up for Halloween”)
  6. Employee workplace achievement (Ex. “Employee of the month”)
  7. Employee industry achievement (Ex. president of association)
  8. Employee personal achievement of interest (Ex. won the Boston Marathon)
  9. Distinguished visitor to the office (with photo)
  10. Photos of merchandise being staged or ready for sale (“We are set for the sale!” with image of full warehouse)
  11. Images of awards you may have won
  12. Now hiring with link to recruiter site or website career page
  13. Organization support for a charity or non-profit (photo of logo in program, on t-shirt, etc.)
  14. Post a staff photo and identify everyone in it
  15. Post a photo collage of the workplace
  16. Post a “throwback Thursday” photo

R stands for Relevant. In other words, this is information your clients really need to know about your business. These are usually changes or things your organization has done that could have a direct impact on your customers/clients.

  1. New hours of operation
  2. New services
  3. New website
  4. New logo
  5. An infographic about your process or services
  6. Post an unexpected use of your product or service
  7. Post your business’ commercial or advertisement
  8. Ask for input on a product

A stands for Around either the industry, the town, or the world. These posts connect something the business is doing to something that is happening elsewhere. These can be shared articles or originally produced content. Posts I’ve seen/created in this genre include:

  1. Comments on a current event in relation to the industry
  2. Organization/participation in an upcoming trade show. (Don’t forget to put booth number)
  3. Organization at an upcoming event (Link to event registration)
  4. Organization or employee participation in an upcoming training
  5. Organization hosting or sponsoring an event (Image of signage)
  6. Organization support of local community (Ex. Image of sponsored team jersey)
  7. New laws, codes, regulations or political news that would affect customers
  8. Show a nostalgic picture from the business-first office, first dollar earned, etc.
  9. Product recall notices of interest to your readers

N stands for Nice, or nice things your customers have said/done for you, or things you would like to say or do for your customers. There’s no better third-party endorsement you can get, or any better way to generate corporate goodwill!

  1. Testimonials your customers have given you
  2. Photo of a thank you note from a customer
  3. Photo of a customer with your product that they sent to you
  4. Photo of a gift your customer sent to you
  5. A heartfelt thank you for a good quarter, season, etc.
  6. A promotion for a special sale to Facebook friends
  7. Engage your customers by holding a contest (Ex., “Name the new mascot”, “best photo with our product”)

C is for Content. This is information that your audience will value; either generated or shared by the company.

  1. Link to your latest blog post
  2. Link to one of your older blog posts that is relevant again
  3. Share an article from another source that will help explain an important topic to your clients
  4. Share a fun cartoon about a relevant subject that will make them laugh
  5. Post a video answer to an often-asked customer question
  6. Share statistics or a chart your customers would be interested in
  7. An inspirational saying with an image shared from another source
  8. An inspirational saying with image you create with your logo on it
  9. Recommend a tool or technique to help customers use your product or service
  10. Give a recommendation (or share one) to a vendor or product connected with yours
  11. Honor a timely or unusual holiday. For example, if you are a restaurant, wish everyone a happy National Hamburger Day
  12. Offer a free ebook or whitepaper
  13. Post a link to your company newsletter
  14. Provide a summary or important information that you received from a seminar or webinar
  15. Share a presentation you have through a slideshow or series of posts
  16. Share a recipe with a relevant ingredient, name, geographic region, etc.

H stands for Happenings. What is your business doing that’s new or interesting? Keep your audience engaged in how you’re actively participating with them and the community.

  1. Invitations to organization-sponsored events
  2. New product introductions
  3. Promote special sales events
  4. Stream live at an organization-sponsored event.

I’m certain there are hundreds more. What has been your most successful piece of content posted on your business Facebook page? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list! And if you need any help with your business Facebook page, please contact us.

Social Media Prime Time: When Your Business Should Post

Social media is an incredibly important aspect of today’s business practices, and knowing when the best time is to post or update social media can be key to exposing your content to a wider audience.

Recently, I attended a presentation on this very topic given by Maria Ramos, an award-winning blogger and social media consultant.  Her website, A Savings Wow, is an eclectic mix of coupons, savings tips, and deals and giveaways. As a social media consultant, Maria helps businesses get the most from their efforts, and her presentation gave some concrete information on the best and worst times to post on some of the most popular platforms. I’ve put together this chart as a handy guide for myself (and you!) to schedule accordingly.

Social media Best time to post Worst times to post
Facebook 1-2 times per day, 1pm to 4pm ET Weekends before 8am and after 8pm ET
Twitter About 3 times a day, Mondays through Thursdays from 1pm to 3pm ET Every day after 8pm and Friday after 3pm ET
Instagram Mondays from 3pm to 4pm ET
LinkedIn 2 to 4 times a week, Tuesdays through Thursdays at noon and between 5pm and 6pm ET Mondays and Fridays between 10pm and 6am ET

Also, if you have active social media, make sure your customers and prospects know you’re there! There are many unusual places to put your social media icons that you may not have considered.

Experts will tell you that even if you don’t follow the guidelines above, the important thing is to post, get the word out and make social media work for you!

At Big Ideas Writing, we help clients with their social media content and page management. If you need some help with yours, contact us today!

Ten Ways to Promote Your Business After You’ve Won an Award

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So you’ve won a business award. Congratulations!

After you’re done with the awards ceremony, the handshakes, the acceptance speech, the photo op and the positioning of the trophy on the front desk of your office, remember, the power of that award is yet to be unleashed. Don’t leave the story to be told only to those who enter your office. It’s time to tell the world!

Chances are the organization, non-profit or publication that gave you the award will have some public relations efforts in place. They will probably have a press release prepared and distributed with the names of the winners on it. If you are a sole winner, this may or may not be the case. If you are a winner in a multi-category or multi-tiered competition, the press release will include names of all winners. Whether you are a sole winner or one among many, it is always a good idea to make the investment to do the most important thing you can do…

  1. Issue your own personalized press release. Why should you do this, you ask, if the organization is doing their own press release? For several reasons. First, your own press release allows you to describe your business and include a quote from your president or CEO which helps increase your brand awareness and the award’s significance to your company. Second, you can customize the distribution to the right trade and local publications, which may lead to a feature story or other opportunities. You may or may not be privy to the media list from the awarding organization and many of the outlets may have no meaning for your customers and potential customers. Finally, in some markets, your release may provide a secondary touchpoint for the news. You can never get your name into the press too often!
  1. Announce the award on social media. If you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even just Linkedin, make the announcement with nice images of the actual award or the company representative receiving the award. As you know, the beauty of social media is its shareability. That’s why social media is a great way to get the word out to the world as quickly as possible.
  1. Announce the Award Internally. It’s important for morale that your employees know they have won an award so they too can spread the news. It’s even a greater morale booster to have a small in-house celebration, which can be as inexpensive as allowing a casual dress day or bringing in donuts or a celebratory cake. The announcement can be made orally or in writing, with a description of the ways the award will be publicized, and of course an invitation for them to share the company social media posts about the accolade.
  1. Add “award winning” to all company descriptions. After they win an award, I tell my clients from that day on, they now have the right to call themselves an “award winning” company. It’s not bragging—it’s a fact, and one that can be used in many occasions to add authority and relevance to the company.
  1. Add to company collateral (stickers). It’s often Murphy’s Law that the day the new brochure rolls off the press, the company wins an award which of course is then not mentioned in the brochure. I often recommend a company produce inexpensive, but tasteful looking stickers that can be affixed to marketing materials like a seal, stating the name of the award.
  1. Add to your email signature. Your email signature is seen daily by scores of people who may not know about your award. Just add a statement that says “winner of the (year) (award name). Be inconspicuous, yet bold.
  1. Consider an advertisement. It’s common for companies to take out an advertisement after they’ve won an award to call attention to their achievement, or to possibly congratulate fellow winners.
  1. Tell clients individually or in company newsletter. Winning an award is a great time to touch base with clients and thank them for their patronage. Some companies even go as far as to make a special direct mail piece card that is an announcement and “out of the blue” show of appreciation for their clients. Announcing it on the company newsletter is another good place, or any other marketing materials that typically hit your clients.
  1. Signage. Right near my home is a car wash that was honored as a “best of” from a local magazine as voted on by the readers. It is a banner that hangs outside, just above the front door. My first thought? Smart. More companies should do that!20150710_134719
  1. Website home page. Finally, an often overlooked but very important place to put your award is on your website home page. A mention, a graphic element, a slider image or banner are all ways to represent the award on your website.

It’s your award so make it count! Can you think of any other ways to publicize your awards? Leave me a comment and let me know!

WEB FRIGHTS: Four Things That Will Scare Away Your Visitors

web-frightIt’s Halloween, the time of year when we are surrounded by scary costumes, makeup, life-size sound or motion-activated spooks and unfortunately, bad web design.

It’s true that a bad web design can bounce your visitors away faster than a fake mummy hand reaching out to grab their bag of candy. As a freelance content writer, I work on a lot of websites and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly as far as design goes. Here are four elements that you should avoid unless you want to send your site visitors fleeing for the nearest competitor.

We’ll start with one of the most common ones…read on…if you dare…

FRIGHT #1:  TOO MUCH CONTENT

bad-website

Never mind that it’s in Norwegian…they will translate for you. But quick…what do they sell? How can you find what you want? If you can’t answer either of these questions in the first four seconds, you have a bad web design. And yes, this is a home page. I told you not to read on.

Still don’t want to turn back? Ok, feast your eyes on our next scare..

 

FRIGHT #2: TOO MUCH COLOR

website-mistakes

Whoa! This kind of thing should be kept in the sky on an infrequent basis after a rain shower. The designer attempted to use color to separate the testimonials but in doing so, he/she shattered all unity between them. I think the thought was to continue the rainbow from the header into the copy, but learn from this mistake. Too much color qualifies this as a scary web design.  Still not shaking in your shoes?  Step into this lair….

FRIGHT #3: IRRELEVANT OR UNATTRACTIVE IMAGES

web-site-fright

Ok, I never could track down what this website is about, but it really doesn’t matter. Unless the Creator in heaven has purchased a url (and really looks like this!) I don’t see how this could possibly be relevant to any business. If they were going for the “out of this world” look, I think they nailed it. However, if you don’t want to scare away customers, use attractive, relevant images that relate to your products and services.

 FRIGHT #4: BAD SEO

Scary websites hide in the shadows. Their bad search engine optimization (SEO) scares away Google’s little automated crawlers that index web content. So, their url, content and images can’t be found, or even indexed. People who search the web for their site may never find it.

The scary thing about these websites is not their appearance at all. On the outside, they look just like everyone else, with attractive graphics and content. But underneath their pretty mask, their search engine optimization is frightening. Their content contains no keywords and neither does their coding. Their title tags say things like “home” and their images are labeled with numbers rather than keywords. In some ways, websites with bad SEO are worse than the scary websites that you can find.  The scary websites lure people to their door, but the people flee when they see what answers. The ones with bad SEO don’t even get the visitors to their door because you don’t know where they live!

This Halloween, check your website for these four frights. They can cost you your business reputation, your potential customers or even your self-respect. If you need some help organizing your content, or just want a check that your website is not so frightful, feel free to call me to discuss at 630.778.6182.

Pare it Down: Why You Need a Content Writer

Edit-ContentI was recently at a lovely meeting of WESOS (Women Entrepreneurs Secrets of Success). We we were given the opportunity to give our “elevator speeches” to each other, then were asked to perform a gesture that best expressed our business. I was truly impressed by the creativity in the room, and surprised that my gesture came to me immediately. I held both arms wide, indicating a large amount, then brought my hands in quickly, just a few inches apart, to indicate a small amount. Why? Because as a content writer, this is what I do for many of my clients.

For most businesses, they don’t come to me to figure out WHAT to write for their business..they usually have a plethora of information for me. The problem is, they need it to fit into a certain space as succinctly as possible.

For example, they may need to encapsulate their business model into a catchy tagline.

They may need website page copy that is short, to the point, but does a good job of converting the customer.

Their linkedin profile may be too short or too long. I can help them make it just right.

They may need their typically used 250-word bio condensed to a 50-word introduction for a special event or speaking engagement.

They may need a press release written from the pages and pages of information they have about their project.

Their resume is four pages long and they don’t know what to cut.

They need brochure copy developed from their lengthy website content.

These are just a few times when a content writer can come to the rescue….in a flash.

Why?

Content writers are ruthless editors. Don’t misunderstand. A content writer worth their salt will always retain the information that puts you, your company and your products and services in the best possible light, but when they are not the author, they can be completely objective. In fact, usually content writers have developed the skills to be completely objective when editing their own work.

We’re used to working within constraints. Remember when you were little and you double-spaced to make your half-page paper into one-page to meet the requirement for your English essay? Well, content writers don’t usually have that problem. For example, first drafts are usually too long because chances are there is too much to say about your wonderful business! But there is always a word count, an appropriate length that needs to be respected, and content writers see these as surmountable challenges, not constraints.

Content writers have a thick skin. We’re used to being pared down. Yes, there are times when I tear up inside because my client tells me the beautifully eloquent product description I just wrote is no longer necessary because they are not going to release that product version anymore, but in general, experienced content writers can take any editing parameters that the client can dish out. It’s part and parcel of the job.

Content writers care about the words. People who don’t like to write, don’t care about words. Writers think about words a lot. They pay attention to them, look up definitions and am intrigued by usage. Then they put their passion on paper, which is hopefully evident to the client.

Do you have content you need “pared down?” Pass that mighty content potato, eyes and all, over to Big Ideas Writing and let me pare it down for you. Contact me for your next project at 630.778.6182.

THE BEAUTY OF “YES AND”: A SCRIPT WRITER’S LESSONS FROM SECOND CITY

Script-Writer-Karen-DixEvery summer, I seek out summer camps for my kids so they can have an experience that is fun, but will also improve their skills in a certain area.  This year, I decided it was mom’s turn. I enrolled in a 3-day intensive comedy writing course at the world renowned improvisational theatre company, Second City Chicago.

With theater, improv and scriptwriting in my background, it was a welcome, creative retreat of sorts. The class was taught by Jeff Griggs,  current director of the Second City Show, Drunk at the Kid’s Table and author of “Guru: My Days with Del Close”, about his days working with the famous improv actor. It was wonderful to stretch those creative muscles that had lain dormant for so long, and to be in a room with other people discussing things like character, plot and dialogue.  My hope was that in addition to reconnecting with my “past self” I would learn something that could help me in my business and make me a stronger script writer.

My class was small but filled with an eclectic mix of people. It was a writing course, but we experienced firsthand many of the fundamental rules of improv itself for business, especially the essential “Yes And” rule.

The rule “yes and” is important in improv because it provides the basis for a scene to develop. Someone begins an action and the next person accepts what’s happening, and adds to it. In other words they say “yes”, by agreeing about what is going on in the scene and then adding the “and” or new element to the scene to create a meaningful piece for the audience.  For us writers, Jeff led us through exercises to demonstrate this collaborative technique through storytelling and scriptwriting. We played an improv game where each of us would add a word or sentence to a story one at a time and see what developed. For dialogue, we would write a line of a script, then pass it to the next person until time was up and we could review our collaborative creation. It was always full of surprises, and usually a better product than if we had created it on our own.

I took the class in part for personal fulfillment but I definitely discovered how “yes and” could make me a stronger script writer.  I was also intrigued with how the concept, and improv itself, can benefit the business world. The Second City has a business arm called  “Second City Communications”. The organization collaborates with clients to offer branded, entertaining content marketing, as well as presentations and events that offer relevant and practice training for sales, teambuilding, creative problem solving and more based on the fundamental values of improv for business.

I returned to my client work with a refreshed attitude and new perspectives on my world, thanks to the Second City. For example….

The most creative, and ultimately, the best ideas emerge from an accepting environment. Let’s face it, business situations can be intimidating.  Everyone would shout out their suggestion if it was sure to be approved. If you were certain it would be immediately critiqued and torn apart, you’d probably hold your tongue, right? Creativity involves an openness to new ideas, no matter how undeveloped they are at the time of conception. When all ideas are treated as having value, creativity is nurtured. In the class, we simulated a business meeting in just this atmosphere. We were charged with a task and everyone was wildly applauded when they gave an answer, regardless of the answer’s appropriateness or realism.  The results were extremely hilarious and unrealistic, but intensely creative, and illustrative of the point.

It takes ten or more solutions to find the best one.  The class also reiterated to this writer that every story can have many, many endings.  We were encouraged to take our characters, drop them in a setting and brainstorm 10 possible ways their story could develop. The ending of the story is important to know before the script is written.  In corporate communication, we call this end game, the “objective,” and it should be known before we sit down to write. The class taught me that the objective can be something other than the obvious. It’s worth it to take time and explore the options.

Comedy comes from life. Life is funny. As writers, we were challenged to create realistic character, then write scenes with them in ordinary environments. Why? Because that’s all that is needed for comedy to ensue: characters and a setting.  The world is filled with different perspectives and by exploring them through characters, we can find comedy.  I am more aware of the comedy in real life now, and it’s always good to appreciate what surrounds you in a meaningful way.

From the people I met, the scripts I wrote and overall experience of walking the halls where so many great comedians once trod, I found inspiration, and discovery about my strengths as a script writer.  The Second City is not only a place to see a good show; it can also be a place to discover more about life, business and yourself.

 

COPYWRITING AND CONTENT WRITING–WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

CopyContent

For years I used to introduce myself as Karen Dix, freelance copywriter.  Lately, though, I tend to introduce myself as Karen Dix, web content writer.

The truth is, I am both. And I’ve never met a company that at some point or another, didn’t need both copywriting and content writing.

Many people outside of the industry wonder, however, what exactly is the difference between a copywriter and a content writer?

Although there are several differences, the biggest is the overall OBJECTIVE of the writing. If you ask yourself if you need copy or content, you’re asking yourself if you need the words to primarily sell or inform.

COPYWRITING is as old as advertising. Because that’s what it is: the art of producing intelligent, sometimes clever but always persuasive or motivating text for the purpose of selling something or calling the reader to an action. Good copywriting addresses features and benefits of the product it is trying to sell.

Copywriting is subjective. It boldly expresses opinions, makes an argument and takes a side. The subject of the copy is unequivocally, “the best” and the definitive answer to the problem for the reader.

Copywriters write the words to sell products both online and offline products through:

online iconONLINE

Advertisements (PPC)
Eblasts
Website
Catalog Descriptions
Directory Listings

offline iconOFFLINE
Print brochures
Direct Mail
Flyers/Brochures/Marketing Collateral
Advertising (Print, Outdoor, TV, Radio)
Presentations

We’ve all seen examples of ad copy. It takes many formats:

1) Headlines. These brief lines pull the reader into an ad to tell you more and hopefully, sell you something. The ideal headline is targeted at an audience, as brief as possible, attractive to read and makes the reader want to know more. Headlines work in concert with graphics to create an overall impression that captivates the reader. Here’s an example of some advertising headlines that might just keep you reading…

THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER.

INTRODUCING A NEW WAY TO WASH YOUR DISHES.

EAT THIS TO LOSE WEIGHT!

2) Taglines. These are used to describe a company’s services, or identify their brand. Can you guess what company goes with what tagline?

I’M LOVIN’ IT

IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER.

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT.

3) Body Copy  One of a copywriter’s specialties is selling a product in as few words as possible. Printed selling pieces such as brochures, advertisements, sell sheets, direct mail, marketing collateral, websites and even exhibits have space constraints and need concise text. Therefore, copywriters choose their words very carefully.

Good copy attempts to speak personally to the reader. It can appeal to their senses and invoke a longing for the product or service.

Here’s a sample of body copy I recently wrote for a Christian summer camp in Lake Geneva:

Conference Point is located in William’s Bay, WI on Lake Geneva, a summer playground for young and old alike. Comfy cabins feature porches with views of the lake and cool breezes off the water. Together, couples and families enjoy a retreat from the hustle and bustle of work, home and children’s activities and spend time enjoying each other and God’s great creation.

Or just take time for yourself. Settle back in one of the many Adirondack chairs around the grounds and enjoy an afternoon read. Let the sounds of the waves and the rustling trees soothe your mind and soul.

Feeling hungry? Our dining hall has delicious, hearty meals all ready for you, each guaranteed to please every palate in your party.
Conference Point is the perfect, restful getaway!

My body copy was written to inform, but you could tell by my word choice that I was trying very hard to sell the place. My objective was for the reader to see the features (comfy cabins, views of the lake, a respite, dining, etc.) while I alluded to the benefits (time for yourself, soothing natural wonders, time with the family, no meal planning necessary). While I explained, I sold. There was nothing objective about it because the purpose of the copy was to motivate you to make a reservation. The audience for this piece will also be “captive.” If they bother to read the brochure, they are already somewhat open to going there.

CONTENT WRITING has seen an explosion with the millennium. The purpose of content writing is to educate, bring value and as a result, build relationships. If you have a website that imparts valuable content, you can make friends with all kinds of prospective customers who appreciate the information you give them. The purpose is to keep your company name at the forefront of their mind when they need your products and services.

Content is objective. It does not advertise, but offers valuable information that comes from a reliable source. Producing good content can be part of a strategic marketing plan and set the author as an authoritative source in their field.

Content, for the most part, is written for the digital medium and comes in a variety of formats such as:

online iconWebsite Content
Blogs
Digital Press Releases
Social Media Posts
Online Profiles and Biographies
Case Studies
White Papers
Enewsletters

Content is created to be shared. My copywriting example above, which was produced for a written piece, could be shared if the client posts a pdf on their website or social media. However, the original intention of the text or “copy” was to sell the conference within the printed brochure. Chances are it will only be shared (or accessed) by those directly interested in the product, which is in this case, a venue. Copy then, has more of a “captive” audience than content.

Does that mean the copy does not have to be written as expertly as does content? Absolutely not. It must be written just as well, for a different audience and a different purpose. Some folks would argue that the copywriter is under fire for RESULTS since their job is to directly call the reader to action. The content writer, however, produces a piece that indirectly calls the reader to action. They produce their valuable, informative piece of content and release it into cyberspace in hopes that it will be exponentially shared. It could have a call to action, but the real goal here is sharing.

Every day, people share millions of blogposts, social media posts, etc. over the internet with an audience that appreciates the value of the information each contains.

So while both kinds of writing—copy and content—benefit a business, the big question a client has to ask is if they need words to sell or inform. If you’re in business, chances are you could use one or both in your advertising and/or marketing efforts. If you’re looking for a solid, all around writer who is experienced in both copy and content, look no further.  Contact me today.

12 DAYS OF CONTENT

Web-Content-Writer-Blog

It’s time to wish all my clients and friends Happy Holidays and my best wishes for a prosperous New Year, including a profitable content marketing strategy! So my holiday gift to you is the following parody entitled “The 12 Days of Content.” Hum along and learn the many ways a web content writer like Big Ideas Writing can help you communicate your goals and reach your 2014 marketing goals.  The first step is to develop a marketing plan to guide the journey towards success!   

 Here we go..

 On the first day of content my writer gave to me…A strategic content marketing plan.

 

 On the second day of content, my writer gave to me… Two website concepts,

And a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 On the third day of content my writer gave to me… Three catchy taglines

 Two website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

On the fourth day of content my writer gave to me….Four case studies,writing icon

Three catchy taglinesTwo website concepts,  and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

On the fifth day of content, my writer gave to me…Five landing pages, 

Four case studies,  Three catchy taglines Two website concepts,  and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 On the sixth day of content my writer gave to me… Six testimonials,

 Five landing pages,  Four case studies,  Three catchy taglines Two website concepts, and  a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 On the seventh day of content, my writer gave to me… Seven blog ideas, 

 Six testimonials,  Five landing pages,  Four case studies,  Three catchy taglinesTwo website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

facebook logoOn the eighth day of content my writer gave to me.. Eight Facebook postings,

 

Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

 

On the ninth day of content, my writer gave to me… Nine press releases,

 Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts, and a strategic content marketing plan!

 

On the tenth day of content, my writer gave to me… Ten Linkedin profiles,

linkedin inmage

Nine press releases, Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts and a strategic content marketing plan!

On the eleventh day of content, my writer gave to me…eleven SEO keywords,

Ten Linkedin profiles, Nine press releases, Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts and a strategic content marketing plan!

On the twelfth day of content, my writer gave to me…twelve company bios,

Eleven SEO keywords, Ten Linkedin profiles, Nine press releases, Eight Facebook postings, Seven blog ideas, Six testimonials, Five landing pages, Four case studies, Three catchy taglines, Two website concepts….

 andstrategic content marketing plan!

 Merry Christmas from Karen Dix @ Big Ideas Writing!

 

 

WHY HIRE A WEB CONTENT WRITER?

A graphic designer recently told me that her clients are often reluctant to hire a freelance content writer for their website.  “Hire-Web-Content-WriterMost of the time, my customers write their own web content,” she said.  I was taken aback, but certainly understood what she meant.  Few clients have the graphic design chops to create their own website, but since everyone “writes”, many business folks conclude that they can write copy for their own website.  And, from the number of poorly written websites out there, it seems this is exactly what is happening.

A freelance web content writer can help you grow your business in many ways and website content creation is just one of them.  So if you can put a sentence together, why hire a professional web content writer to write your website?  From all the possible answers to this question, here are my top 10!

 1. Organization.  As a freelance content writer, I would say 80% of my job is organizing content for my clients. Most web content writers are masters at organizing information.  They should be able to help you create a site map that will make sense to your readers, then use techniques to break your content into easily digestible pieces, like using bullets and subheads.

 2. Focus.  Before they sit down to write, a good web content writer will ask you important questions about your website and your mission that will help focus their words.  They will ask you to identify your target audience and your message.  What do you want them to do? Why should your prospects choose you over your competitors? All the information you give will help shape the copy into a piece that will present your business and its mission as attractively as possible.

 3. Your Personality.  A versatile,  freelance content writer should be able to write in different “voices.” Their work may be very formal for a law firm’s website, ethereal for a faith healer’s website, or fun and playful for a recipe blog.  They recognize that part of their job is finding the right tone for your content and they will work to produce content with your particular brand voice.

 4. SEO.  Search engine optimization means using different techniques, including strategic keywords, to get your website found in the search engines.  Good web content writers will know how to incorporate these keywords into your content and may even be able to help you with keyword selection.

5. Pizzazz.  Some business owners know their website copy is missing something—someone may even have told them so–but they just can’t put their finger on it.  Often, they are just missing a professional’s touch.  A solid writer can provide exciting work that flows, is easy to read and engages the reader.

6. Brevity.  You could say, “It is important to write succinctly in a website because writing that is too abundant in words could negatively affect how well the website visitor reads and reacts to the content written therein.”  Or, you could say, “Concise content is more likely to convert website visitors.”  An experienced web content writer will always use the least amount of words needed and get straight to the point so that the reader understands the message and also wants to keep reading!

 7. Clarity.  Freelance content writers are first and foremost, communicators.  They take the message you want and present it in an effective, understandable format that gets results for your business.  

8. Speed.  Since freelance web content writers are experts at what they do, chances are they can do it more quickly than you can.  Even if they are charging a large hourly wage, or substantial lump sum, think for a minute about the cost of your own time.  How long will it take you to do the writing?  What will it cost to have you or an employee engaged in website writing instead of your normal activities?  When will you be able to get to the task? By hiring help, you could stay focused on your core business and get a higher-quality result in a shorter period of time.

9. Feedback.  Ok, most web content writers aren’t graphic designers, but part of their job is to integrate image and verbiage so it wows the client.  Writers pay attention to design, just as designers pay attention to headlines. If asked, your web content writer will be able to offer valuable feedback on your graphic design direction and offer punchy headlines and sidebars that will work best with the design template.  Also, sometimes when we do something ourselves, we cannot evaluate it objectively.  A good web content writer can do that as well.

10.  And most importantly…Conversion.  Let’s face it. The real reason you want people to come to your website is to do something, whether that’s call for an appointment, make a donation or order a product.  Are you sure you know the best way to present information about your products and services that will motivate them to take the next step?  A good freelance content writer can choose words and structure phrases that motivate and inspire.

Ready to write your new website?  Or give your website copy an overdue facelift?  Contact us today for a consultation.

 

THE SECRET TO GETTING LINKEDIN RECOMMENDATIONS

LINKEDIN_RECS

I’ve always been a fan of Linkedin and nothing strengthens your profile like a recommendation from a colleague or client.  Linkedin recommendations can provide valuable insight into your services and professionalism, especially if they are sincere and informative.

However, for most people, the idea of “asking” for a recommendation can feel uncomfortable. We don’t want to brag about ourselves let alone ask someone else to do it.  But really, it’s just a business best practice, especially after a successful collaboration or when you’ve just made a client sublimely happy.

Usually, if you ask for a recommendation, you will receive….eventually.  But there is another, alternate secret to getting a Linkedin recommendation that I have learned from others wiser than me:

 Give one.

In other words, if you give you may receive.  We all like to reciprocate good deeds and giving a Linkedin recommendation is exactly that—a good deed.  If you consider your network of friends and colleagues,there are many that you could probably give a thoughtful, sincere recommendation. And whether or not the effort is reciprocated, you will be helping two parties by taking the time to provide a recommendation: the subject of the recommendation; and anyone who views him on the internet to consider him for his product or service. Your words may just determine whether or not he gets the call.

If you’ve never written a linkedin recommendation, or don’t know where to start, here’s some basic tips to make it easy:

Begin with the specifics and length of your association with the subject.   Start by stating how you know the subject and for how long you have known him. Then reveal what you know about him beyond the immediate affiliation. For example, if you know Steve from a professional association, add more if you can.  For example, “I met Steve five years ago at an  Air Conditioning Association meeting. He currently serves as president of the group.” 

Answer the question, why is this person worth a recommendation?   “Steve is a hardworking, creative contributor to our team who has truly made a difference.”

Include specific achievements that you have witnessed.  “In his first year, Steve’s efforts brought in three major clients to our firm.”

Include personal attributes that would be appreciated on a professional level.    Even in business situations you may have observed attributes about the subject that are worth mentioning in a professional recommendation. For example, are they hard-working? A great leader? Fair? Truly caring of their clients? Dedicated? Bringing personal attributes into the recommendation demonstrates that your relationship with the subject is genuine. “Steve is a great leader who is always willing to lend a hand to others.”

Close with a recommendation  At the end of the recommendation feel free to give a recommendation! “I recommend Steve to any company considering air conditioning service.”

In business as in life, giving feels great and reaps rewards. So next time you’re wondering why your Linkedin recommendation section is a little scant, it’s time to GIVE ONE.  Try it.  And leave me a comment about how it worked out for you!