You Have 8 Seconds To Get My Attention

Did you know that according research by Microsoft, our attention span is now shorter than a goldfish?

In today’s crowded digital space, we see hundreds of messages every day. When we visit a website for more information, we expect to find what we’re looking for quickly and easily, without having to dig.

The average customer will give you around 8 seconds to convince them to stick around before they click away – so your web content must be precise, concise and most of all, show how you can help them solve their problem.

People aren’t interested in hearing how amazing you and your company are, or how your product or service has the latest and greatest in awe-inspiring features.

So instead of focusing on the details of your product or service, use your content to show them:

1. WHY they can trust you

The key to building trust is to help your customer connect the familiar (their experiences) with the unfamiliar (your business).

We all want to have confidence in a company before we buy their product or service. One of the most effective ways to do this is to show them examples of the types of clients you’ve worked with and their satisfaction with your service using testimonials.

2. HOW you solve their problem

No matter how simple or complex your product or service, customers want to feel certain you understand their needs, and that your product or service is the best solution to meet these needs.

Case studies are a great way to achieve this as they provide a real world context for what your company does, rather than just selling features and benefits.

3. WHAT sets you apart 

Most customers today will research a purchase online long before they pick up the phone, or even email you, so it’s vital that you stand out from your competitors right from the beginning.

Express your point of difference loud and clear, and explain it in solution terms by asking ‘what’s the outcome my customer wants?’ and ‘how do I want my customer to feel?’ Don’t hesitate to inspire an emotional response – they’re far more likely to act if they feel something about your product or service, not just understand it.

The Do’s and Don’ts Of Using LinkedIn

With an audience of more than 500 million professionals, LinkedIn is one of the best places to get noticed, build your reputation and grow your business.

But like any social network, there are rules of the game you must know if you want to look professional and take advantage of all the benefits LinkedIn has to offer.

Here are some things you’ll want to avoid:

1. Having no image

We all want our posts to get noticed. And posts with images are proven to get double the engagement, so go for maximum impact every time you publish and always include an image. Make sure it’s good quality and relevant too.

2. Talking about yourself

One of the biggest turn-offs is a user who focuses only on themselves. LinkedIn is designed for interaction and networking, so don’t just broadcast all your wins – share other users’ posts, acknowledge their successes and offer help if you can.

3. Connecting without a reason

LinkedIn is a great place to meet people in your industry, get advice and attract customers. It’s easy to send someone an invitation to connect, but they’re more likely to reply if you add a brief message telling them why you want the connection, and how the connection can benefit them.

Here are some things you’ll want to do more of:

1. Sharing your knowledge

One of the best ways to build your reputation is to provide useful information without a sales pitch. Educational and how-to content is also more likely to be shared, taking your message to an even bigger audience.

2. Keeping it brief

With so much content competing for attention, posts that are concise and precise often get the best engagement. The best way to achieve this is by focusing on just one or two key points in each post.

3. Making yourself easy to find

Get to know the most common keywords and hash tags in your industry and use them every time you post. If your audience is looking for an expert, they’ll be more likely to find you.

Ready to start using LinkedIn more effectively and take your online presence to the next level? Join us at the next LinkedIn Strategy workshop: more info

5 Simple Tips for a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

Once considered a site for job seekers, LinkedIn is now the most popular social media network for professionals in the world.

It’s often the first place people look when they want to know more about you. But many of us don’t take full advantage of this powerful marketing tool.

Whether you’re in business, planning a career move or want to be seen as an industry expert, having an effective LinkedIn profile is vital.

Here are 5 simple tips for creating a profile that gets noticed:

1. Use a Quality Photo

A clear, up to date photo is as important as looking your best in a face to face meeting – especially because your LinkedIn profile is often the first point of contact. A headshot looking straight at the camera with an uncluttered background usually works best. Don’t substitute your logo for a personal image – your audience wants to connect with you, not a faceless brand.

The same rule of quality applies to your company logo and background images. If you don’t have a clear, interesting and uncluttered background image, use a solid colour matched to one of your primary brand colours.

2. Use Plain Language

Your audience will quickly form an opinion of you based on the words you use – so make sure the ones you choose feel natural and express your message clearly.

Industry terms and jargon have their place, but use them selectively: it’s great to demonstrate your knowledge, but if your audience doesn’t understand or the jargon doesn’t enhance your message, you’ll look like you’re showing off and they’ll simply tune out.

3. Be Precise and Concise

LinkedIn is not the place to share a long life story. Your audience will skim through your profile looking for what’s important to them, so each point you make should help them relate to you and encourage them to find out more.

Be pragmatic about your career history. Unless a previous role shows an important step towards your current career or a valuable skill you want to highlight, leave it out.

4. Share Your ‘Why’

People do business with people, not brands. So the best way to build rapport with your audience and encourage them to connect with you is to let them in to your world. Tell them what motivates and inspires you, why you love what you do, your goals and your purpose.

5. Use Common Keywords

Being creative and showing your personality is great, but it’s also important to use words that the average person would search on if they didn’t know you personally.

Focus on the solution or benefit your audience is looking for: for example, if you’re an expert barista, say so – don’t make your job title ‘Latte Master’. It might sound more exciting, but people won’t find you.

An effective LinkedIn profile is one of the most powerful ways to stand out in the crowded online space. Whether you’re growing your brand or network, changing careers or looking for more customers, using clear, purposeful words and photos will help you connect with your audience, demonstrate your point of difference and build a strong professional image for you and your business.

Ready to start using LinkedIn more effectively and take your online presence to the next level? Join us at the next LinkedIn Strategy workshop: more info

 

Content Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

We’re living in an age of information abundance. With the click of a button, Google can give us answers to every conceivable question. So it’s not surprising business owners and marketers are increasingly using content as a lead generation tool.

This can be a highly effective strategy, provided your content is customer-centric. Unfortunately this is where a lot of businesses fall short – not through lack of knowledge or expertise, but simply because the content doesn’t resonate with their target audience.

Creating content your customer doesn’t want or need wastes your most precious resource – time – and can even damage your brand if customers find it confusing or misleading.

Here are three common content mistakes and how you can avoid them:

Mistake 1: Focusing on you

The cornerstone of great content is storytelling. And every great story has a hero. When it comes to business content, your customer must be the hero. Rather than describing what your business does, ask ‘What’s the problem or challenge my customer needs to solve?’ Then rephrase your content in solution terms, so customers feel understood and know why they should buy from you.

TIPS: 

1. Give customers a real life scenario. For example, if your business is unblocking drains keep the technical detail to a minimum and instead focus on the outcome, such as how the service will help them avoid flooding that could damage their property.

2. Another useful approach is to present your information in an FAQ style. Brainstorm some of the most common queries or concerns your customers have brought to you, and address each one succinctly and directly – remembering to focus on helping, not a hard sell. 

Mistake 2: Too much detail

As an industry expert, you have a wealth of knowledge to share. But sometimes the desire to show how much you know can hinder rather than help.

If your product or service is complex and requires a detailed explanation, break it down into smaller sections or steps your customer can follow one at a time. This gives your customer clarity and keeps them engaged. If you must communicate a large amount of information in one piece of content, use bullets and subheadings to separate key points and make it easier for your audience to consume.

TIPS: 

1. Identify the actions or knowledge that define each step. For example, if your business is providing estate planning advice, create a timeline of events that explains what’s required of your client, your role, other authorities or legal bodies involved, likely timeframes, the documents required etc.

2. To keep your audience engaged throughout long pieces of content, look for ways to add a visual element. Don’t limit yourself to a few stock photos – consider how a visual could make your message easier for the audience to consume – such as a graph or chart, infographic or video. 

Mistake 3: Lack of context

For content to be effective, it must have context – otherwise it’s just information! Giving your audience something they can relate to bridges the gap between what you do and what they need.

Some great ways to create context include providing real life examples of how you’ve helped other customers (eg. case studies), and by sharing industry insights such as new developments, statistics or reports.

TIPS:

1. Industry bodies and associations can be a great source of shareable, often exclusive, information. For example if you are a real estate professional, keep an eye on communications provided by the Real Estate Institute in your state and use these as the basis for a regular update to your customers, showing them you have your finger on the pulse of your industry.

2. Sharing behind-the-scenes information or insights about your daily operations is also a great way to build context as it highlights the human face of your business, helping create a stronger connection and deeper understanding of your business. 

Content can be a valuable marketing tool. But to be effective it must be meaningful to your audience. People want to deal with businesses that understand them, not just the product or service. Show them who you are and how you can help, and they’re more likely to become customers, rather than just visitors.

Do your words work?

No matter how far we’ve come with technology and communications, the written word still holds great power. The words we choose to use – or not use – can completely alter our message. Have you considered the impact your words are having on your customers?

Whether it’s the home page of your website, a blog or a Facebook post, your content must be solution orientated. This not only shows that you clearly understand your business and your audience, it makes customers want to know more, and therefore more likely to act.

This distinction is critical, because while many businesses do a great job of describing all the features of their product or service, they often leave out what customers are really looking for – how the product or service can help them.

So how can you make your online content more effective?

Here are our top 5 tips for creating content that works:

1. Focus on benefits

Customers buy benefits, not features. Rather than going into great detail about everything your product can do, explain how this translates to a benefit for your customer – such as time or money saved, better health or higher performance.

Remember that whilst Google might be the first place customers go when looking for a product or service they’ll rarely search for a specific business name, but rather an answer to their question. For example, someone with a burst water pipe won’t search for ‘Dave The Master Plumber’ – they’re more likely to search for ‘fix pipe’ or ’emergency pipe repair’.

2. Avoid jargon

Speak plainly, and avoid using terms someone outside your industry wouldn’t know. You don’t need to dumb down your content – just keep it simple. This gives your audience confidence in your message, and therefore your product or service. A simple test to see if you’re using too much jargon is to do a quick spellcheck – if it’s not in the dictionary, leave it out!

It can be tempting to demonstrate how well you understand your industry or business by using technical terms but unless your audience is also technically-minded, they may be turned off. In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply [your customers will think] you don’t understand it well enough”.

3. Be authentic

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your content. We know people do business with people, so help your audience get to know you – they’ll be far more likely to engage with your message.

If you’re not sure where to start, just imagine you’re having a conversation with your customer. Conversational content is increasingly becoming the preferred style for a wide range of businesses, simply because it’s relatable, human and engaging!

4. Simplify complex ideas

If you have a large amount of information or the topic is complicated, break it into smaller pieces using subheadings or bullet points. You can also divide a long piece of content into several shorter pieces. These techniques help your audience stay focused and take in more of your message, which gives them greater certainty about your business.

5. Provide value

Today, it’s not enough to write about your product or service. Instead you need to create valuable content that’s useful even when customers aren’t looking to buy. Providing information and education rather than a sales pitch builds trust, so that when the time comes to purchase, your name will be front of mind.

There are many types of content that will encourage your customers to regularly read your newsletter or visit your blog. For example, a real estate agent might provide insights into the best kept cafes in their local suburb, or top tips on how to choose a removalist.

No matter what the industry, great content focuses on one thing – your customer. So next time you write a blog article or social media post, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider the impact of your words. A message focused on your customer’s needs is far more likely to inspire confidence, understanding and engagement – which ultimately give your customer a reason to act.

8 Content Marketing Lessons From An 8 Year Old

It’s all too easy to over-complicate things.

Whether your content marketing strategy is designed to sell houses or haircuts, the principles are the same.

Whenever I feel tempted to leverage everything marketing and social media technology has to offer, I’m reminded of a valuable lesson taught me by an eight year old boy, who once asked me what I did for a living.

I explained I wrote stories to teach people how a product or service could help them, and what made it special. He replied, “That’s easy.  Make it exciting and cool, a total surprise. You know, like getting a new Lego when it’s not even your birthday”.

Before I could respond, he added “But don’t pretend it’s real Lego if it’s not. Kids hate that”.
It’s pretty hard to argue with that logic, so here are my 8 golden rules of content marketing, based on the wisdom of an eight year old.

1. Go for maximum impact

Don’t be vague or slow getting to the point.

Your audience must see immediate value or they won’t read past the first couple of lines and your efforts will be wasted!

Give them a compelling reason to keep reading, like a solution to a common problem, an interesting statistic or fact, an opportunity to learn something new. Use photos, graphics and video to entice readers into your article and give them a sense of what’s to come.

2. No such thing as a bad idea

Allow your imagination and creativity to run free.

The most successful writers and bloggers are popular because rather than conforming they innovate and disrupt. They don’t pause to ask ‘What will people think?’, they just do it. Writing content for business doesn’t have to equal dry and boring, or even strictly factual. Consider presenting written information in a more visual way, like a table or infographic. Or try a different writing style, like conversation or Q&A.

3. Let your personality shine through

It’s a common phrase, but one worth repeating: people do business with people.

Share a little of your everyday life and experiences with your audience – even when things don’t go to plan, or you appear less than perfect. Give the reader insight into what inspired a blog post, describe a challenge you’re facing or share something you’ve learned.

4. Mainstream isn’t always best

Your audience is already swamped with content from a multitude of sources that looks and sounds the same.

Consider what catches your attention on and offline: most likely it’s something that challenges convention, dares to be controversial or presents a new spin on an old idea.

5. Give everyone a voice

People look for content they can relate to.

Once the connection is felt, they’ll often want to reinforce the ‘me too!’ moment with a blog or forum comment, or by sharing across social media networks.

Your audience is much more likely to respond to a request than take the initiative, so encourage readers to comment and share, and make it easy! Broken links, hard-to-find sharing icons and comment boxes requiring too much information quickly discourage reader interaction.

6. Share, share, share!

Your audience is unlikely to see everything you publish, or frequent every social media platform you use.

Your content should be a conversation starter, not a statement – don’t just leave it sitting on your blog page, or assume that several social media posts linked to the same article will be regarded as spam.  Valuable, relevant content will engage your audience, not annoy them!

7. Assume nothing

We all crave information, advice and guidance.

If something seems obvious, simplistic or everyday to you, don’t assume it won’t be valuable to your audience.  A quick look at YouTube demonstrates how much people love to be shown, taught and explained all manner of things.

8. Be spontaneous

Treat social media like a face-to-face conversation.

The key is jump in wherever you can add value, rather than waiting for the ideal moment, or time to craft a perfect response.

There’s no better place to get feedback, respond to issues, identify interests and understand the challenges facing your audience. Great content marketing is about authenticity, connection and understanding.  Be real, be cool, be creative – but keep it simple! Your audience are people just like you, so make them the focus your story. Let your customer be the hero!

Top 5 Benefits of Using a Copywriter in Your Business

Communication is evolving at lightning speed. We see millions of written messages every day, many of them beamed directly to our emails and phones. So how can you make your message stand out and grab your clients’ attention?

You guessed it – professional, persuasive writing.

Copywriting can help you create highly effective, targeted content that not only engages your clients, but compels them to take action and buy from you.

In business, great writing is vital. Your clients decide to click-through or delete in a heartbeat, so every piece of writing must clearly and efficiently convey the solutions and benefits your product or service offers.

No one knows your business better than you, but sometimes we’re too close to our subject or too busy to communicate effectively, losing priceless opportunities to engage with our clients.

So what are the benefits of using a copywriter? Here are our top 5:

1. Capture and Hold Attention

Your clients want to buy from a business that understands their needs, and the first place they’ll often start their research is your website. A copywriter can help you hone in on what’s important to your clients and define your product or service in these terms, keeping them on your site longer and making them more likely to get in touch.

2. Save Time and Stay Connected

As an industry expert, you have a wealth of knowledge to share with clients. Publishing regular content is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and stay front of mind with clients, but it can take you away from more important tasks. A copywriter can help you save time and stay in touch by identifying and writing the best content for your purpose, and advising you on the most effective ways to distribute it.

3. Inspire Confidence

Clients are all too familiar with sales-heavy communication, their inboxes are overflowing with them. What will distinguish your content from every other email is authenticity. A copywriter can bring an objective perspective to your messages and help you shed the sales speak. This inspires confidence in your clients, making them more likely to buy from you.

4. Build Your Reputation As An Expert

Your clients have unprecedented access to information and increasingly want the advice of specialists. Professionally written content that educates and informs helps position you as an industry expert, increasing the perceived value of your offering and positioning you as a trusted advisor your clients want to do business with.

5. Grow Loyalty

Customers expect to be kept informed, but they’re also faced with an avalanche of communications. A copywriter can help your message get noticed by making it not only clear and concise but personable, even where word count is limited. This shows your clients you value them as individuals, inspiring loyalty and repeat business.

Words are everywhere, but the ones that connect with your customer are not always the most colourful or those that shout the loudest. It’s content that speaks on your clients’ wavelength that gets results.

The greatest benefit well-targeted copywriting can provide your business is to help you cut through the sales clutter and position you as a solution provider. Defining your product or service in your client’s terms inspires trust and confidence, setting you apart from your competitors and making you a company of choice – which will ultimately save you marketing dollars, boost sales and grow long term loyalty.

5 Big Benefits of Copywriting for Real Estate and Property Professionals

Buying and selling property rates amongst one of life’s biggest decisions, so it’s not surprising many people research the market and shop around long before requesting a market appraisal or attending an open for inspection.

Faced with greater competition and high client expectations, many real estate and property professionals find it difficult to differentiate themselves based on advertising alone. What’s needed to engage new clients is unique content that demonstrates the wider, long term benefits of your expertise and industry knowledge.

Professional copywriting can help you cut through the clutter of property listings and sales pitches to generate more enquiries and position yourself as the go-to agent in your area.

It’s not about having the most elaborate campaign or being able to quote the latest auction clearance statistics, but focusing on what matters most to your clients then quickly and efficiently communicating those benefits in a way that compels them to find out more.

So here they are, our top 5 benefits of copywriting for real estate and property:

1. Stand out from your competitors and build reputation

Advertising listings alone are not the most powerful way to engage clients. Vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants all want an agent with in-depth knowledge who is focused on making their lives easier. A copywriter can make your business stand out by creating property and industry content for your blog, website or newsletter that provides up to date information and advice for your clients and builds your reputation as a trusted advisor and industry expert.

2. Provide value to vendors and save time

Vendors understand theirs is not the only property you have to sell, but they still want to feel you’re  not just following a copywriting ‘formula’ and their ad campaign will get results. Using a professional copywriter allows you to demonstrate your commitment to providing a high-end service whilst focusing on what you do best – achieving the best sale price – by creating ad content that tells a story, engages your clients’ emotions and stays clear of tired cliches. These distinctions are especially important during peak periods like Spring when ad volume spikes.

3. Capture buyer and tenant attention

Serious buyers and tenants have many properties on their inspection list and need a clear reason to include yours amongst their ‘must sees’. Professional copywriting cuts through the clutter of ad listings and speaks their language, conveying the property’s vital attributes but also positioning the property in lifestyle terms – leading to greater engagement, more enquiries and better attendance at open for inspections. A copywriter can also create information and resources for buyers and tenants that help them navigate the sales or rental process, inspiring trust and confidence in your business.

4. Get published faster for greater exposure

Whether it’s an interest rate change, the weekend’s clearance figures or a new auction campaign, getting your content published quickly is vital. A copywriter can help you streamline these important communications so you go live sooner for maximum exposure, generate more enquiries and show you have your finger on the pulse of your industry.

5. Improve opportunities for free editorial promotion

Editors are all too familiar with agent sales pitches claiming their campaign or story to be the best or most deserving of editorial coverage. They want content that entertains and informs their readers, and shares with them unique or interesting information they might not otherwise discover. Whether it’s a local area review, property listing or new agent profile, professional copywriting helps your editorial pitch stand out by building compelling, relatable content that engages readers and makes them want to know more about your business.

The greatest benefit well-targeted copywriting can give property professionals is to help them build point of difference focused on the benefits clients value most. Vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants may be at different points on the property spectrum, but they ultimately want the same thing – a professional agent who knows the market, is focused on matching the right property with the right purchaser and is committed to achieving the best result. The right content can help you position your business in a way that inspires trust and confidence, sets you apart from your competitors and makes you an agent of choice.

Recruiters: 5 Key Benefits of Using a Professional Copywriter

Recruitment professionals have enormous influence on decision makers. Whether it’s a company looking to hire the best talent, or a candidate searching for their dream job, they rely on the information and advice of a recruiter to help them make the right choices.

Today, clients and candidates demand much more from recruiters. It’s not enough to have a great track record or access to exciting career opportunities. They expect personalised guidance, expert knowledge and commitment to matching the right job-seeker with the right employer.

Professional copywriting is a powerful way to show your clients and candidates you’re the best recruiter for the job. Rather than competing for attention on job listings alone, a copywriter can help you build a content resource that speaks directly to your audience’s wants, needs and challenges.

Here are five key ways a copywriter can help you develop these resources to provide value, demonstrate your expertise and give you a competitive edge.

1. Position yourself as an industry expert

Your clients and candidates want a recruiter whose knowledge goes beyond the job title. They expect insights about key industry players, the labour market and where the best opportunities lie. A copywriter can create website, blog or newsletter content that highlights your expertise and positions you as a trusted partner who helps clients find the talent they need for growth and helps candidates reach their career objectives.

2. Provide ongoing value and encourage repeat business

Great relationships are a cornerstone of effective recruitment. Clients and candidates will be more loyal to a recruiter who’s committed to their long term success. A copywriter can help you demonstrate this commitment by creating added value resources like tips, how-to and educational content about hiring, interviewing, resume writing and presentation skills – resources that will keep you front-of-mind and encourage them to seek you out.

3. Stand out and attract more clients

For clients, choosing the best recruiter is not just about a big candidate database. With so much online research done before a client picks up the phone, it’s essential your online presence clearly distinguishes you from your competitors. A copywriter can create content that highlights how you support your clients throughout the recruitment process like advice on writing a job description, tips for inducting new employees and guidelines for interviewing and reference checking.

4. Build candidate loyalty 

Many candidates will one day be clients – so when it comes to helping them get their ideal role, your relationship is pivotal. It’s not just about job listings, but demonstrating your commitment to their professional success. A copywriter can create resources that build candidate loyalty by helping them position themselves effectively – such as industry insights like salary benchmarks and in-demand skills, and practical tips such as how to overcome nerves or dress for interview.

5. Improve advertising effectiveness

There are over 100,000 listings competing for attention on job boards like SEEK at any time. To cut through this clutter, your job ads need to speak your candidates’ language and highlight the role’s unique benefits. A professional copywriter can help you create job ads that reflect what matters most to candidates so your ads stand out in search results, get more clicks and more well-matched applicants.

Recruitment professionals play a vital role in helping organisations attract and retain talent and helping candidates achieve their career ambitions. To stand out from competitors and earn loyalty, recruiters must demonstrate both industry knowledge and the ability to understand people. Professionally written content can help you communicate these insights in a way that’s meaningful to your audience, giving them confidence you are not just a consultant but a trusted partner in their success.

megan@mwords.com.au
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