Powerful SEO Content Begins With Personal Connection


I’ve always been intrigued by the science of search engine optimization (SEO if we’re talkin’ the talk), and fascinated by the idea of building a message around keywords and phrases that bring web searchers and surfers right to your post, page, or site. But I’ve learned that without genuine reader connection, even the best SEO copywriting is just noise. And while noise can get people’s attention, it doesn’t hold their attention for long. Content that’s optimized for search engines is not necessarily optimal for “searcher engagement,” i.e. making a connection with readers that makes them want to know more. And without that connection, the only thing visitors will click when they get to your site will be the “back” button.

SEO is a ridiculously powerful, often magical means of drawing attention to your business and increasing traffic to your website. Just remember, the real trick is connecting…conjuring up a message that readers can relate to, and that they will respond to.

Would you like to explore adding a little messaging magic to your SEO content strategy? Contact the Wordsmith today!

Elevator speech secret: nobody sells to everybody

What I remember most about my first visit to the Wisconsin State Fair was the guy in the vendor building selling “super-shammies.” A miracle of spill management technology, these super absorbent sheets were able to soak up copious amounts of anything you might drip, dribble, or spill. More incredible than the sheets, though, was the way the guy was selling them. Captivated by his voice and amazed by his demonstrations, people (myself included) were feverishly groping for their wallets so as not to miss the special offer available only to the first five (might have been 50) customers.

So how did this marketing magician generate universal appeal? He spoke to everyone in the crowd, individually. He focused not on features and benefits for everyone…

This product is for any household spills.

…but on how a given feature was of particular benefit to someone…

Parents, you’ll love how quickly this product makes that juice-box-mess a memory!
Sports fans, these things will soak a spilled beer out of the sofa in seconds!

When talking about your product or service, don’t describe your ideal customer or perfect referral as, “Everyone who…” or “Anyone who…” Think about who you really want to talk to, and then talk to them in a way that they can understand and relate to. Because even if you could sell to everyone, you’d have to do it one someone at a time!

Want to learn how shape your story into one that really connects with someone? Contact the Wordsmith today!

Spellcheck doesn’t know write from wrong

I remember the first time I experienced spellcheck. “So, I just type away,” I asked gleefully, “and this spellchecker fixes all my mistakes? It’s like there’s an English teacher in the computer!” Turns out, it’s not. Because while spellcheck can indicate when you’ve typed the wrong spelling, it won’t necessarily indicate when you’ve typed the wrong word. For example…

• I once came across a school district newsletter that dedicated an entire page to a marketing club competition. The students apparently excelled in the areas of baked goods, turning things over, and pushing things on wheels, as there were over 30-references to various forms of “roll play.”

• I recently saw a social media post apparently suggesting that workshop attendees should be cautious of dismembered limbs going for a stroll as there would be, “…hands on walkthroughs.”

• Working on a sell sheet for an accounting firm, I reviewed content spellcheck said was perfect, and discovered I was introducing the firm as a group of, “Certified Pubic Accountants.”

Remember, spellcheck is a proofreading tool, not a proofreading replacement. And even if your system includes a grammar checker, there’s no replacement for a thorough review. From articles to invitations, promotions to posts, don’t risk missing mistakes that send the wrong message.

Want to learn more about the most affordable & powerful investment you can make in your messaging? Contact RJ today!

Dumbing It Down vs. Clearing It Up

So often, our efforts to outshine our competitors result in overselling ourselves. We attempt to position ourselves as experts in our field and confirm that position by using complex language and industry-specific terms. We try to impress rather than inform, and we end up with a message that is more confusing than compelling.  

Clients often tell me they don’t want to “dumb down” their message. “If people don’t understand our product, they’re not our target customer anyway.”  Well, I don’t know how a refrigerator works. But I definitely need one. And when I buy one, it’s not because a refrigerator expert gives me a lesson in refrigerator technology that optimizes cooling and tells me when I should buy more fruit and less ice cream. It’s because someone I’m comfortable with introduces me to a reliable machine that keeps stuff cold.

Simplicity is not a sign of stupidity. It’s a path to clarity that truly engages listeners and moves them to the best possible response, “Tell me more.”  

Let’s talk about making your business’ message simply amazing. Contact The Wordsmith today!

Avoiding Business Wedgies

Skipping through the cable guide the other day, I came across the cinematic masterpiece, “Revenge of the Nerds.” I enjoyed that movie, but not for the same reasons as my friends (not entirely). Beyond the triumph of the super-smart over the super-strong, the nerds demonstrated the power of packaging and how it affects perception and acceptance.

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Don’t Itemize…Illustrate!

People often ask, “So, what do you do?” But they never ask, “So, what do you sell?” And with the zillions of ads and promotions being driven into our laptops, tablets, and phones every moment of every day, we’ve become very skilled at recognizing and ignoring sales pitches…online, in print, and in person.

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Being Efficient Doesn’t Guarantee You’re Being Effective

Elevator pitches are about being efficient. You need to be quick, because when the bell rings and the doors open, your audience is going to leave (or depending on the length of the ride, run away). You need to be thorough, because if you don’t name every product you have, you might miss the one your listener needs. And you need to offer (force-feed) your business card, because it’s possible your business name or logo might remind them of the commercial they just ignored while counting down the moments until their escape.

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Ditch the Pitch!

“What do you do?” It’s a simple question that drives business professionals to a complex series of responses that often include information like title, job-description, products, services, maybe even location (at the corner of So What Street and Who Cares Boulevard). Given the chance to introduce ourselves and our businesses, we slip into a sales-trance and begin reciting a pitch.

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Marketing vs. Messaging… Awareness vs. Interest

Whenever someone approaches me about creating content for their business, I always ask, “Are you trying to create awareness or interest?” And more often than not, they respond, “Aren’t they the same thing?” Now I’m no Noah Webster (to everyone who appreciates that reference, meet me behind the card-catalog next to the encyclopedias for a high-five), but I believe those terms have wildly different implications.

  • Awareness is about what you sell…information about your “what.”
    Interest is about what you offer…insight into your “why.”
  • Awareness is about repetition…saying something so often people can’t forget it.
    Interest is about engagement…saying something unforgettable.
  • Awareness is about marketing…showing your product to your customers.
    Interest is about messaging…drawing your customers to you.

There’s no denying the importance of building brand awareness; ensuring that when people need what you’re selling, they think of you. But in a world where people have been conditioned to tune out the continuous flood of ads and commercials, the first step to making people aware of what you have to sell is generating genuine interest in what you have to say.

If you’d like to talk about the messaging behind your marketing, contact R.J today!

Get Off The Elevator

The elevator speech is a great concept; a concise yet compelling description of your business that you’re ready to deliver whenever the opportunity presents itself.

For many, though, the elevator speech is little more than a commercial; a rapid-fire list of products or services, and the offering of a business card that will soon be at the bottom of a recycle bin.

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