Never underestimate the power of your content…

You do don’t you? Care about your audience that is? You want what is best for them? You want to get to know them? You want them to understand you? You want them to be loyal to you, your business and brand- don’t you?

I mean without them – what are we? So how do you make it all about them in your copy and content I hear you ask? Well, read on and see….

Firstly: Never underestimate the power of emotions

We all want to be able to relate to one another. At this point in our online social boom, we have found more than ever that we want to connect with one another. We want to engage. We want to see ourselves in the content we see. We want to be able to visualise ourselves on the page.

We all want to feel understood and we want to be able to relate to one another. So, by getting to know your audience and by using language that speaks to your audience, you can really get to know them. You get to see what they see. You get to solve their pain points. You get to move them from one emotion to another.

Not manipulation. That’s not what I mean. And that’s a very different thing. But by knowing what worries your customer, what troubles them, and what bothers them; you can look to fix it for them. You can be their hero.

Neil Patel details the importance of emotions and psychology in an article he wrote and published called, ‘how to incorporate psychology and emotions into your copywriting’. In it he looks at and describes what we look for as buyers and what factors we may think of before we purchase.

He also goes on to address the well-known book by Robert Cialdini called, ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’. In which Cialdini talks of the 6 key principle human behaviours in varying situations; ‘Cialdini mentions the six keys of influence as follows:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Liking
  5. Consistency
  6. Consensus

These six principles are the key to understanding human behaviour in a range of situations. You as a writer and marketer can use them effectively in your copy to reach your audience in a unique way.’

So you see, emotions really do play a vital role in understanding your audience. By seeing your customer’s real-life situations and providing a valuable solution; you get to address your audience. You get to offer them insight, inspiration and to create a channel of communication.

Not only can you do this through your product or service, but in the copy and content that you produce too. By having your ear to the ground, you can offer very practical solutions to very real problems that your audience has.

How you make your customer feel, creates a customer experience like no other. Of course, don’t force emotion within your copy and content. Keep it natural and align it to your business and brand.

Secondly: Feedback is like an unpolished diamond

Don’t throw it away. This is where the gold lies. It’s like an unpolished diamond. By listening to feedback and absorbing what is said, you have the opportunity to adjust and to make sure you are always adapting to the wants and needs of your audience.

Just as it is described in an article by Vision Critical; you can use feedback to build a better picture of who your audience actually is, ‘rather than make assumptions on your audience based on a loose idea of who your buyer personas are, what if you could ask them directly?

By gathering customer feedback over-time, it becomes easier to separate your readers from your non-readers, and find similarities and differences between the two. By asking them about their content preferences and habits, you can build more accurate audience personas and improve your content marketing efforts as a result.’

Feedback gives you clues about your customer and how you might then be able to relate to them. Feedback gives you insight and it allows you to measure satisfaction, plus it helps you to retain your audience and clients.

Feedback can be left in all manner of places. For instance, it could be within comments on your website, through testimonials, through phone calls, emails and through comments on your social media posts.

You have the sparkling crown jewels within your grasp. You have untapped value in feedback that you can use to speak back to your audience. But also, that speaks to your business too, as it says how aligned you are with being able to meet with your customer’s wants and needs.

Your audience feedback may give you ideas for posts, blogs and videos. Undoubtedly it will give you the language that your audience and clients use. This will give you the ability to truly communicate on a human level with your audience.

Thirdly: Empathy has unknown super-reach

According to a Forbes article by Josh Ritchie, ‘Merriam-Webster describes empathy as the, ‘ability to understand and have empathy with others.’ Brené Brown describes it as, ‘feeling with people.’

So, what does that mean to you and why should you care about empathy and its unknown super-reach?

Well…to feel is to empathise. To create empathetic content for your audience, you need to showcase a degree of empathy towards them. You need to understand and share the highs and the lows with your audience. You can do this by putting their pain into words, and by then offering them your solution.

Offer them value, offer them an escape. This enables them to connect to you. They want to have a relationship with you, your business and your brand.

Be the star of the show by offering your audience a pain that is less than what they are feeling. A remedy or a welcome distraction to their thoughts and pains. By empathising, it allows you to truly get underneath the surface and to know how your audience feels.

Naturally with empathetic content you increase your engagement levels with your audience. Which then in time may create customers from your audience. Whilst also widening the reach of your content to new members of your audience.

Think about how you will address your audience with empathy. How does that convert into your content? Who are you talking to? Be specific. If you’re talking to everyone, then you’re talking to no-one.

Also, think about what your audience is interested in and where do they go? What can you then do with your content that will fit into those things.

Josh Ritchie, CEO/Co-Founder of Column five says, “Decrease the amount of selling in your content and increase the amount of time listening to and thinking about your customers.”

Lastly: Woo-them by telling them a story

Did you know that 81.7 million people follow National Geographic on Instagram?They have the strong ability to stop the scroller in their tracks. Why? Not only do they use great and captivating images to stop their audience. But they also have the unique ability to tell a powerful story with the accompanying text.

Now it may not be a part of your strategy to add photos. Perhaps it’s video. Or perhaps you weave a tale with words. National Geographic uses value-based content with purpose. What you want to do is to tell a story to your audience.

Storytelling in business makes it compelling for people to engage with you. It forms trust, it builds rapport and it helps to create valuable relationships with your audience. But it must also contain a focus to retain the attention of the reader.

When storytelling with your copy and content you should be able to understand and identify the following;

  • To always know why you’re telling your story?
  • Who is telling your story?
  • Know why it should be important to your reader?
  • Know what challenge is being overcome?
  • What message is behind your story?

Storytelling takes your audience on a journey with you. It builds loyalty in following, and it gives an insight into your world, and for you to get a glimpse into theirs.

You can make your audience a part of your story by helping them to see themselves on the page, or in your blogs, or on your website and in your videos.

Share your learning with your audience from things that you have achieved, the things that you’ve done and maybe events that you have been to. Use the day to day ordinary things to form a part of your story. Look to choose things that your audience will want to share with others, where they’ll want to comment and where they’re likely to get involved.

Keep the process of storytelling going and make it a part of your content strategy. To increase your chance of success always see it through the eyes of your audience.

Don’t make your copy and content hard to read. Make it an insightful read. Ensure it uses language that your intended audience can and will want to engage with. Make your content accessible for your audience. Make your audience feel like they matter to you.

Are you making it all about your audience? Do you think about your audience when you produce content for them? Do you make them feel like they can relate to you, your business and your brand?

Let’s summarise;

  • Never underestimate the power of emotions when reaching out to your audience.
  • Treat feedback like a priceless jewel.
  • Know the value of natural empathy in your copy and content.
  • Understand the journey you take your audience on with storytelling in business.

Never underestimate the power of your content.

 Let’s keep the conversation going…

Come and chat to me about how your copy and content should talk to your audience. You can find me on LinkedIn: @Amber L Smith and you can send me an email at: ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com.

How to bake to perfection your content for your brand and business…

So, you’ve written your business piece, your blog, you’ve posted your post, typed your article, created your content, made your video. But does the middle part of your content seem muddled? Does it align with the message and tone of the whole piece?  Does it match the question in the title? Does it correspond to the conclusion?

We spend a large proportion of our time perfecting our introduction, and tweaking the end, but does the guts of the piece fit in with your overall message?

This blog article is all about how you can help to keep yourself on track with ensuring your middle is baked to perfection and not more akin to a cake that looks better than it tastes when you bite into it.

Let’s start with the muddle part of your baked business content

The muddle is the middle. It’s what sits between your title and leads your reader through to the end.

It’s the juicy bit. The meat. The special sauce. It’s what gives your reader their takeaways from your content. It’s what your reader will learn. It’s what will guide them to the end. It’s your story.

As well as being gripping and interesting your content needs to peak enough interest to keep the reader wanting more. You want your reader to feel satisfied, empowered in some way, to have insight, to gain awareness and to enhance their knowledge of you and their reason for reading, viewing or watching what it is that you have to say.

As well as what you’re writing or presenting, your reader wants to see consistency in your content. But most of all they want to see value in your content. Don’t allow your content to veer off topic.

3 takeaways to consider for the middle part of your business content

1) Message match throughout all of your content that you produce. Relate it back to each section and then ensure it still relates back to your reader.  What is the meaning of your message? Identify its purpose.

2) Keep it simple. Think with clarity. Make it easy for your reader to follow your message throughout. Make it digestible.

3) Who’s it about? Always make sure your reader is the star of the show. Your audience should always be at the forefront of all of the content that you’re creating. Think about what you are trying to tell them?  What’s your unique selling point? Who are you aiming your message at? Does the content do its job? Does it make sense? Is it any good?

Some content creators like to use formulas and frameworks such as PAS (Problem-Agitation-Solution) and AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Conviction-Action) to keep them on track. You may find that this helps your business to create the best content it can offer and to ensure the whole piece of content is focused rather than elements of it.

The middle is just as important as the end, the beginning and your call to action. It will all be for nothing if the pieces do not connect with one another.

Focus towards your one goal of the piece, with the content you are creating.  Make your audience want to move in some way to connect further with you, your brand and your business.

Let’s address the star ingredient of your business copy and content – the reader

It’s always your intended reader. Your audience. Every last bit of copy and content that you produce has to relate back to your audience. It has to offer value. It has to offer learning. It has to offer something for your audience to take away. It has to offer enough to intrigue them to want more.

Have you got personas of your target audience? To create the best content and to relate it to your reader you have to know who they are. Knowing this helps you to know what content to write, to post, to blog, to put into video form. It allows you to use it as part of your content strategy.

On a star ranking blog written on the jeffbullas.com website they list 7 questions to get to know your audience. So, when you are wanting to make your reader the star of the show make sure you can answer these questions about them;

1) What are they like?

2)  Why are they here?

3) What keeps them up at night?

4) How can you solve their problems?

5) What do you want them to do?

6) How can you best reach them?

7) How might they resist?

Could you answer these about your reader? This in turn helps to build your brand, your business. It adds authenticity, it adds weight to your marketing and your expertise. It’s also in understanding how your reader acts online that you can direct your content to speak directly to them. How is your reader likely to respond to your content?

Website content and your reader

Did you know that according to an article on crazyegg.comthe average reader will spend 15 seconds on your website content before clicking off?

That’s 15 second to make an impact. That’s 15 seconds to encourage them not to bounce. Make it count. Make it compelling. Make it persuasive. Make every part of your copy and content worth sticking around for. This of course will impact how Google will view your content and whether or not your reader returns back to the search page that they started on.

Social media content and your reader

Of course, it’s not just the copy or content on your website that you’ll be encouraging. It’s also your social media posts. Despite the reported drops in content engagement over the last few years, social media still plays an important role.

Not only does your social media strengthen your brand loyalty, and build strength in your relationships, it’s also still one of the most powerful conversion tools. Which is why it’s imperative to get to know your audience. To talk to them. Just like you were chatting to them in person.

That’s why social media is encouraging the “social” part. People want more from your content. They want to get to know you. They want to understand you and understand why that should matter to them. They want to engage and connect with your business and brand. Your audience wants to feel connected to you.

Being active with your reader and your content

Being active with your content and relating it back to the reader along with ensuring you are making it all about them –– is the goal. It’s the vital decoration on the cake. This ensures you are on the same page. The same level as your audience.

According to a SocialMediaToday article; 65% of brands post online but don’t engage. It’s one of the easiest ways to make it all about your audience. It shows that you’re real and that you care enough to want to respond to them.

So, make your reader the star of the show. Make them want to read what you have to say. Give them the lead role in your business and brand copy and content.

The icing on the cake: the Hollywood ending with your reader?

We’re not dancing off into the sunset. That’s only for the movies. But you can do a waltz with your audience; with your reader.

It can be hard to add personality and a human touch when you can’t see that person’s face but there is a person behind every profile. Make your brand human by showcasing your human side in every part of your business copy and content.

Find a way to connect. Let’s get social and let’s be authentic in our interactions with our copy and content. Let your business message and your goal also be to resonate with your reader in every aspect of your content. Let your content spark a response. Let your content create a conversation. And let your content offer value and learning.

After all what are you trying to achieve if not to build relationships that create value but that ultimately create long-term, long-lasting opportunities for your brand and business?

And cut the cake: It’s the summary

Each and every piece of your business and brand content is as important as the other. It doesn’t matter what content or copy you are creating, whether it be a blog post, a video, an article or a short form post for social media. Your goal is to move the reader along. Guide them to then end. Create authority for you brand and business.

Take your audience on a journey. Squeeze the value into everything that you do. Make sure your goal for your business and brand content speaks to your reader and keeps the action going right from the start until the very end.

So, what do you think: is your business and brand content looking like it’s baked to perfection?

Don’t stop there: head on over to my other blogs at simplyamberlou.wordpress.com; or you can email me for help with your copy and content needs at ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com, or connect with me on LinkedIn at Amber L Smith Twitter @simplyamberlou, Facebook Amber L Smith and Instagram simplyamberloucopywriting.

Walk a mile in your audience’s shoes: Extended cut

Eh?….

How does that translate or mean anything to me and my audience I hear you say?

Well….

You see the thing is…. through knowledge and understanding of your audience you can relate and connect through your posts, blogs and articles. You can create your platform with your audience.

You see if you create a platform for connection and engagement with your audience; you allow for an open channel of communication. You build trust. You build opportunity.

To know and understand your audience you have to fully commit to getting to know them. It’s hanging out where your audience is. It’s  targeting your blogs and articles for them. It’s tailoring your story so that your audience can relate to you.

Here are 8 quick and easy tips you can digest on the go to help you to relate and speak to your audience;

1) Research

Yes, research is your friend. And yes, it may take time. But you can break it down as you progress forwards. You don’t have to know it all in one go. But the more you know the more specific and targeted you can make your content and social media for your audience.

Hang out where they are. Listen and observe to what they say. Interact where you can add value. Build a trusted network around you.

2) Connect

Connect with them. Think quality over quantity when on social media. Try and respond to comments and questions on your posts. Answer with your response and a question. Build meaning and depth to your relationships online and offline with your audience.

Make it more than surface level. People crave connection and real meaning over fleeting encounters. Human beings are social creatures. Make social media human. Remember there is a real person behind the avatar and photo that you see.

3) Relate

Relate to your audience. Find a common ground. By getting to know them you’ll start to understand what this means. You can build your story around this. You can tailor your posts, blogs and articles to your audience. You can do this through your comments on relevant posts and groups online.

Talk in the language that your audience uses. You can still show your knowledge by changing the language. Make it emotive. Make it relatable.

4) Engage

Many of the social media platforms push for engagement. This doesn’t have to be a headache. This can be fun. This is an opportunity. An opportunity to learn and grow. LinkedIn for example is a great platform for being able to engage; by showing interest and offering value through opinion or fact.

Try observing first and then find posts or groups where you can comment. Where you can engage. You don’t have to be afraid if you haven’t done this before. People want to hear what you have to say. And you can show you are interested in others. It’s of mutual benefit to everyone. It not only helps their posts but it highlights you to your audience and new potential audiences.

You don’t have to be a yes person unless of course that’s how you truly feel. You can have a different opinion but always do so in a polite, positive and respectful way. When you aren’t face to face with someone it can be much harder to read expression and tone.

A few sentences or short paragraphs can add great value. You can use these then in your own posts or make a blog out of a topic you have discussed.

5) Be you. Be authentic.

Always be yourself. This showcases the authentic you. It says who you are and enables your audience to place you and know what you stand for.

You are your brand, the face of your business and whatever business or service that you stand for. Be true to that at all times and use it to springboard back to your audience.

6) Language

Choose your language carefully. Try less I and me and more you, your and you’re. This automatically makes it about your audience. It makes it about them. It flips it on its head and makes what you’re saying instantly relatable. It makes your words about your audience.

To be interesting you have to be interested.

7) Plan in advance

Plan your content like your blogs and articles where possible in advance. This will help you to make sure you are talking to the audience that you are trying to attract. It gives you the opportunity to tweak where necessary.

It is also helpful to look at how much time you plan to spend looking online and responding. Make it work for you. Be realistic. If you can only commit to once or twice a day then allow for that. If it’s more or less then that’s ok, try to be consistent with what you can offer.

8) Add value

You are the expert and have plenty to offer your audience. Showcase your expertise in your posts, blogs and articles. Your audience will look to you once you have established yourself as the go to person for learning from in your field.

When writing for your audience think of the value and learning they can take away from what you’re saying.

To summarise;

You can show both your expertise and that you care in your blogs and articles by understanding your audience. Look at your content from the outside in. Create value. Build trust. Grow strength and connection with your audience. Engage on more than just surface level.

Walk a mile in your audience’s shoes…

What do you think? You can let me know by connecting with me on any of the below channels.

Thank you for coming along for the ride and for sticking with me. Let’s continue  the journey on together.

I want to see what you do. Let’s connect and chat. You can email me on ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com or visit me on Twitter @simplyamberLou and LinkedIn Amber L Smith.

Don’t stop here. There’s more to read at; Simplyamberlou.com

5 Essential Anatomy Parts Needed To Make The Perfect Blog Post: Part 1…

Are you already writing your blogs and wondering if the pieces of your article fit together?

Creating the perfect blog is more than words. It’s what you say, how you say it and how much you say it. But it’s also creating flow, making a great title, breaking down large portions of text with white space, alongside the sparing implementation of using numbered points and highlighting with bold and italics; that bring together and form the perfect blog post.

The anatomy of your blog post should be clear about who it’s writing to, what the call to action is and whether or not you include the complimentary addition of pictures, infographics, visual aids, vlogs and interactives. Let’s look at each essential anatomy part in more detail and see why you should include them in your blog…

1)  Create good flow…

Creating good flow in your work means to create fluency for your readers. Avoid capitals where they’re not needed. Try not to have too many commas or other forms of punctuation if you don’t need them. Your objective is to get them to the end of your piece.

Don’t make your paragraphs too lengthy. Break down your paragraphs into 3-4 lines maximum. This ensures that there is not the appearance of too much bulk text for the reader to need to take in. Consider the use of bullet points, numbered points and subheadings.

Even think about adding a hint of colour for emphasis on certain points or headings. Only use it sparingly to create impact as too much can cause your reader to have too much to absorb. The chances of them then finishing the piece and any other work you print can be seriously reduced.

Having flow in your writing creates an easy to follow article for your intended reader to digest and engage with.

2) Make a good and bold title…

Carefully consider your title. It should say what your piece is about in a few words. Keep it short. Adding in numerals, emotive language, and questions within your titles helps to appeal to your reader.

You may find that trying to write the title after you finish your piece works better. It gives you time to compile your copy and think about what will fit best as your heading. The introductory text that directly follows the title should say what the piece is about and compliment your leading title.

Make your blog stand out: Keeping your introduction to one or two paragraphs will grab and maintain your readers attention and ensures you stick to the point of your piece.

3) Write for your audience…

Knowing who you’re writing for is a good place to start. Who you’re wanting your copy to speak to will dictate the language you use and how you write your piece. Think of the words to include and how you’re going to engage your reader in the point that you’re trying to get across. Use a style and voice that is natural-as if you were speaking directly to that person.

Always remember you’re speaking to another human. Think about writing how you speak. Don’t be unnecessary with words or sentences.

4) What’s your call to action?…    

Your every piece should have a call to action within it and it needs to be clear for your reader to digest and easy to navigate. It could be that you want your reader to follow you on social platforms or you want them to share what you have written. Or you may want them to subscribe to your newsletter, take advantage of an offer or purchase a particular product etc.

Whatever your call to action is ensure that it is there in your copy as clear as day. If you don’t ask your audience they won’t know what you expect and want them to do.

5) A picture says a thousand words?…

Be original, a picture certainly does speak a thousand words. Use pictures to help break up your text and set the tone for your piece of copy.

Handy tip: Ensure you use relevant pictures to your piece or you could hinder your rapport and loyalty with your reader.

Consider video to accompany your piece to complement and enhance your message. Can you then use chunks of your text as short form copy on social platforms? Use your hard work in as many forms of content as possible to market you and your brand and to deliver your message.

Bonus tip: Break up large chunks of text

It’s important that you keep paragraphs short and as well as pictures to break up text, you can also take advantage of creating plenty of white space surrounding your copy. This allows your reader to read with focus, flow and less distraction.

The readers concentration is less overwhelmed when consuming white space whilst reading.

Combining all of these essential anatomy parts within your blog posts will ensure that you’re offering your piece every chance of success with your reader.

If you’re short on time why not liaise with and utilise a copywriter that can help your business market itself and progress forwards?

You can email me on ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com or visit me on Twitter @simplyamberLou and contact me through LinkedIn @Amber L Smith.