Accelerate your blog: 10 things every effective blog must have

effective business blog


Is your company blog effective?  What makes a blog effective anyway?

You established your company blog to reap the benefits of blogging.  You want to establish thought leadership, build trust, and generate leads.

There are 10 actions you can take today to make your blog more effective.  Each one is just a small action, but they add up to an effective company blog.

  1. Know your AUDIENCE(s)

The trick is to create blog content for your buyer personas.  But who are you talking to?  For a water effective business blogindustry blog, your audience may change through the sales funnel.  There are project managers investigating a problem their company is facing.  There are upper management decision-makers considering proposed solutions.  There are technical boffins assessing if the proposed solution will solve the problem.

Your blog shouldn’t be about a hard sell.  It shouldn’t be a platform for discussing current trends.  Your blog should be a way to educate your audience.  A way of engaging with prospects and moving them through the funnel.

  1. Name your blog AUTHOR(s)

Naming a blog author establishes credibility and builds trust.  You can work on developing a unique voice in your industry.  Because your audience changes through the sales funnel, your content should too.  You might establish several blog authors, that address different aspects of your buyers’ journey.

Blogging is a key element in establishing your company as thought leaders.  Naming your authors provides a sound foundation to build on.

  1. Keep the same DOMAIN

A major benefit of a company blog is moving your company page up in the rankings of major search engines.  Each time you post a blog, a page is added to your website.  That’s another page for search engines to investigate and rank.  But it only works if your blog is on the same domain as your company website – or


Don’t miss the value of building up a following of loyal blog readers. The more readers that subscribe to your blog, the more opportunities you have to fill the top of your sales funnel.   You also increase the number of visitors coming to your website regularly.

Every time you post a blog a message goes out to your list, letting them know it’s up.  Your subscribers may share that email with friends and colleagues, who then may subscribe themselves.  Every new subscriber is a potential lead.

  1. Maintain CONSISTENCY

An effective blog provides its readers with quality content on a consistent basis.  This is where your blog planning pays off.  An important part of a blog plan is the publishing schedule.  With a publishing schedule in place, it is much easier to post regularly.  Whether you blog monthly, weekly, daily, or multiple times a day, you want to keep it consistent.

  1. Provide quality CONTENT

A corollary to blogging consistently is providing quality content in each post.  Without quality content your blog may not achieve the traffic goals as planned.  You should monitor responses to each blog and how they impact site traffic on a monthly basis.  You may need to up the frequency to achieve your traffic goals.

  1. Encourage ACTION

Encourage your audience to take an action in every post.  A clear Call to Action (CTA) will pull them further into your site.  After reading quality content, your reader is primed for more valuable content.  Be sure it is relevant to the topic of each post.

For example, a powerful CTA:

  • is concise, and
  • action-oriented (maybe a short phrase using an action verb),
  • that plays on a visitor’s fear of missing out, or
  • evokes excitement and enthusiasm to stimulate action.

You might add an incentive to convert, some added bonus for acting.  Just be sure to encourage action in every post.

  1. Facilitate SHARING

Your blog should facilitate sharing with social share buttons. It’s the way your readers will share that fantastic article you recently posted.  The success of your blog depends on how many people read it.  As a matter of fact, social sharing buttons increased click-through rates by an astounding 55%!

There are several plug-ins that allow social sharing.  Be sure to include them on your blog.

  1. Optimize for SPEED and MOBILE

Optimize your blog so that it loads quickly on all devices.  There are online tools you can use to check loading speeds and identify areas for improvement.  One thing to check first is the size of images on the page.

Given the increasing use of mobile phones for internet searching, be sure to optimize your blog for smartphones and tablets.

  1. Boost your rankings with SEO

Although there are many channels for promoting your blog, you want to ensure readers can find you through search engines.  Part of optimizing your blog is in optimizing your content.  As discussed in the blog: 4 Ws and an H: Blog planning in five steps a couple of weeks ago, planning your blog topics around keywords makes it easier to optimize them for SEO.  Your focus keyword should feature prominently featured in page titles, headers, alt tags, and images.effective business blog

Another trick is to link other relevant content within your website.  Perhaps you have white papers or case studies on a related topic.  Where appropriate link to your product or services pages.  Search engines love this sort of linking and it will help move you up the ranks.

Ranking high on searches is incredibly important.  In fact, Marketshare found that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.


That’s ten actions you can take to increase the effectiveness of your company blog:

  1. Know your AUDIENCE(s)

  2. Name your blog AUTHOR(s)

  3. Keep the same DOMAIN


  5. Encourage ACTION

  6. Maintain CONSISTENCY

  7. Provide quality CONTENT

  8. Facilitate SHARING

  9. Optimize for MOBILE and SPEED

  10. Boost your rankings with SEO

By taking these actions you will find your blog effectively:

  • increasing site traffic,
  • establishing your thought leadership and building trust,
  • moving you up in the search rankings, and
  • converting leads.

Is your company blog doing what you thought it would?  How do you ensure your blog is effective?

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog every week?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.


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Blog Writing: It’s not just about words.  Write blogs that get clicked, read, and shared.

business blog writer


You’ve decided you need to upgrade your company blog.  You need to provide quality content to your audience to build thought leadership and generate leads.  You need to quit filling your blog with product launch announcements and trade show pics.

You’ve written the blog plan.  You have a production schedule and a list of topics.  Now you need to write.  This can present a challenge, whether you like writing or not.  How does one go about writing a blog?

Check out these three tips on how to write a blog that gets clicked, read, and shared.

Tip 1: Get the basics right

There is a basic structure to any piece of quality content.  Get the basics right and your blog is that much more likely to get read.


The headline presents the first impression of post.  It’s important to get it right or readers won’t click through to read the content.  A headline should be actionable and keyword-focused.  Try to keep it brief.  Be clear and definitive, maybe even intriguing.

There are lots of guides out there on how to write a great headline.  Most agree that you can spruce up a mediocre headline by:

  1. including numbers,
  2. adding an intriguing adjective, or
  3. using action verbs.

The body copy

Any piece of content will be more engaging if it is focused on one emotionally compelling idea.  A blog post is no different.  You should have that emotionally compelling idea based on your keyword research, as discussed in last week’s post.  Now it’s time to write the post.

Always start with an outline.  Organize all the information that supports the one big idea and make sure it follows a logical flow.  Use headings and subheadings to divide the supporting information into sections.

Start with an introduction, where you tell the reader what you’re going to tell them.  Follow with the body copy, subdivided into sections with headings and subheadings.  This is where the real information is.  Finish with a conclusion that tells them what you told them.

Unique to blogs is the chance to get a conversation started.  Find a way to invite your readers to comment.  Follow the discussion and contribute solutions.

The call-to-action

Finish every post with a call-to-action.  As a powerful top-of-the-funnel tactic, your blog is the perfect place to pull prospects further into the funnel.  Get your readers to subscribe to your blog or to contact you or to read about your product and services.  Be sure to include that CTA.

Tip 2: Readability IS the new SEO darling

Although keywords and keyword phrases remain important, search engines are increasingly focused on readability.  Search engines want to be sure your content will fulfill the reader’s intent.  Most readers prefer easy-to-read text.  Here are some ways to make your text easy-to-read:

Use personal pronouns

Using personal pronouns gives your writing a conversational tone.  Personal pronouns seem to connect the reader to the writer.  A conversational tone helps your reader focus on your message rather than your blog writer

Avoid jargon

In the water industry, it is easy to fall into using technical terms that may confuse some readers.  If you must use a technical term, especially when you’re writing for non-specialists, define it so all your readers can understand.

Avoid padding

Words like very, really, actually, or carefully don’t serve any purpose.  Keep in simple, keep it easy to understand.

By adopting an easy-to-read style, you can start engaging your audience.  Use personal pronouns, where appropriate.  Avoid jargon by choosing the right word. Avoid padding your text with words that serve no purpose.

Tip 3: Design it so readers will move right through to the CTA

You may not want to know this but not all your readers will read your entire blog.  Many blog readers (43%, according to Hubspot) admit to skimming content.  Rather than being offended by this, play to those readers.  Cater to all readers with the design of each blog writer

White space

Dense blocks of text can intimidate readers.  Clever use of white space – areas with no text or graphics – will lessen the stress.  Put in a few pull quotes to add variety to the blog’s visual flow.

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings not only help with the flow of logic of the post, they provide a break from the text.  They allow skimmers to get the gist of the blog without having to read the entire article.  Optimize headings for keywords where possible.

Bulleted or numbered lists

Anytime your information allows, break up blocks of text with bulleted or numbered lists.  Again, they cater to skimmers, but they also help organize information into short concise portions.


Photos, graphs, charts, and tables add visual appeal while providing in-depth information in an eye-catching format.  Keep graphs and charts relatively simple.



After all the meetings, the brainstorming, the planning, it’s time to write.  Writing posts for the company blog may never be your favorite thing to do but with these three tips you can help to ensure your post will get clicked, read, and shared.


How do you check the readability of your content?  Which tools do you like best?


If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, business blog writerhow do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.


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Blogging benefits the water industry in four ways


Why blog?  Is it that important in the water industry?

Let’s think about marketing in the water industry.  What are you selling?  Highly specialized and often complex technology that has a long operational life and a hefty price tag.  These kinds of systems don’t sell themselves nor will the hard sell impress the people who buy them.blogging benefits

How will a company blog help you sell your water treatment systems and services?  What your audience needs is information.  Not about your products but about the problems they are facing.  Once they figure out the problem, they need information about available solutions.

In fact, a typical B2B buyer is more than half way through the buyer’s journey before they engage directly with a supplier.  You gain trust by giving your audience quality information without a hard sell.  An important channel for publishing this information is your company blog.

Blogging benefits the water industry in four ways

You need to think about your company blog as a long-term marketing asset – a critical part of any inbound marketing program.  And although there are many direct benefits to the water industry from maintaining a company blog, four stand out.

Benefit 1:          Increasing traffic to your websiteblogging benefits

A water industry website tends to be static.  You may occasionally publish product updates or refresh some text, but the content mostly stays the same. With a blog, subscribers and new readers come to your site regularly for the fresh content.  Once they are there, they may browse other pages and find further value.

Your products and services pages are important.  Putting in-links from keyword-optimized hyperlinks in the blog will increase traffic to these critical pages.  In-links help boost your site with search engines too.

Benefit 2:          Establishing thought leadership and building trust

Sharing information allows you to establish thought leadership and build trust.  A blog is the perfect place to do just that.  Provide information about problems water managers may be facing and the solutions available.  Keep your blog updated and engaging so that when it comes time to contact a provider, your company comes to mind.

A key aspect of content marketing in general, and blogs in particular, is to avoid the hard sell.  Your posts should inform and entertain, not constantly blast your audience with ads, brochures, or technical fact sheets.

Convince prospects that you’re an involved and informed industry player.  Sharing information on your blog gives your readers insight into the value you offer.  Guide your audience and educate them in how to solve their problems.  But make sure they understand the complexity of the problem and its solution.  Let them know how your company can solve their problem seamlessly.

Benefit 3:          Optimized posts moving you up the search list

Search engines love blogs.  If you blog frequently, and frequency counts, you create more pages and more content for indexing.  This enhances organic traffic to your site when you blog comes up on the first page.

Optimizing each blog for keywords is a must.  Develop blog topics around industry-specific keywords.  However, ‘stuffing’ content with dozens of mentions of keywords is not optimizing.  In fact, search engines frown on the practice, which could lead to your site never appearing on the first page of Google.  Used strategically, however, keywords will bring more traffic to your blog and help to generate leads.

Remember though that SEO is not limited to keywords anymore.  Search engines now assess the readability of content.  The idea is readers prefer content that is easy to read.  Readability and visual design will be the topic of an upcoming blog.

Benefit 4:          Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

Blogs are a classic example of a top-of-funnel tactic.  An excellent top-of-funnel tactic.  Prospects that come to your blog for the quality content can quickly become leads.  Bring them further into the funnel with a clear, compelling call-to-action (CTA) each time you post.  Make the CTA relevant to the topic of the blog.  Invite the prospect to download educational or useful content in exchange for contact information.

An effective CTA leads to an offer that a prospect is willing to trade their contact information for.  What to offer, the lead magnet, will be covered in an upcoming series of blogs.


Clearly, there are many benefits for the water industry in maintaining an effective company blog.  The problems your clients are facing are complex.  The benefits your solutions provide can be difficult to quantify.  Your prospects want information.  A blog provides a powerful platform to provide that information.

By blogging, the water industry benefits four ways:

  • Benefit 1:   Increasing traffic to your website
  • Benefit 2:   Establishing thought leadership and building trust
  • Benefit 3:   Optimized posts moving you up the search list
  • Benefit 4:   Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

An effective company blog is a cost-effective way to raise awareness at the top of the sales funnel.  Consistently publishing quality content on your blog will position you as thought leaders in your field.  It keeps you top of mind with your clients.

The trick, of course, is to post informative and interesting content consistently.  Next week’s post is all about blog planning, and how to develop a production schedule that will keep your blog on track.

What benefits do you reap from your company blog?

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.



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Is your case study candidate the Hero of your success story?

case study candidate


Is your case study candidate a real hero?

When crafting your next case study into a compelling success story, be sure to pick the right ‘hero’.   A critical part of a successful case study is selecting the right customer.  You want someone who is happily using your product, but they also need to be able to talk about how your product solved their study candidate

Then, after you pick your hero, you need to get the best story you can.  That involves an interview.  By being organized will make the whole process a breeze.

In this post, we consider how to find your hero and then how to interview that hero.

The Hero

Who is a Hero?

It is important to find a case study candidate that qualifies as a hero for your success story.  You want a smart business leader who identified a challenge or just a better way to solve a problem.  Someone who checked out the different options and picked your solution.  So, you want someone who:

  • has in-depth product knowledge;
  • experienced remarkable or even unexpected results;
  • has a recognizable brand name; and/or
  • switched from a competitor’s product to yours.

Your hero should know your product or service well.  That product knowledge will come through during the interview.

Where is your Hero?

How do you find your hero?  You can find people who are already talking about your product or you can start by canvassing customers.

Find people who already love your product/service.

Check with your sales and service teams.  They hear directly from clients and customers and may know of specific customers that had outstanding results and are happy to talk about it.

Check on review sites on the internet.  Your customers may be posting reviews of your products.  Customers may be talking about you on social media sites.

Send out emails to list of customers

Customers on your email list are another source of potential candidates.

When using email for reach out to case study candidates, you need to follow a few simple rules:

  • Keep your first, introductory email short and to the point. Suggest a time and date to chat further but no specific details.
  • Mention them by name in the email. Don’t send out generic emails; make it personal.
  • Include your own name, too. Let them know who they are dealing with.
  • Be complimentary. Boost their ego and make them feel special for being asked to participate. It may make them more likely to agree to participate.
  • Attach the questions you’d like to ask. This will help them decide whether they want to work with you on your success story.

Will the Hero participate?

You may need to convince your hero to participate.  Emphasize the benefits of being the hero.  You could offer a monetary incentive, but this tends to come off as a bit dubious.  Convince your hero that participating in a case study is really about free publicity and thought leadership.

Your case study candidate should understand that being part of this success story is a win-win situation.  You get to tell your good news story and it gets the hero’s company and its actions out on your channels as well as theirs.

Is the Hero right for the job?

Once you have a short list of case study candidates you need to decide which hero is right for the job.  Conduct a brief interview with each candidate and ask these three questions to reveal all:

  1. Tell me about your company.
  2. Which of our products do you use?
  3. What benefits have you gotten from our products?

You want someone you will give you complete answers.  They may even volunteer information.

Avoid those who give vague, and/or short, answers.  If they can’t define that benefits they have enjoyed, move on.  While chatting try to make sure your hero is going to be easy to work.  You will be connecting with them several times over the course of the project.

Let the runners-up down easy

After you decide on the hero for your success story, be sure to let the runners-up down easy.  Let them know that you appreciate their time, but their story is not in line with current marketing strategies.  You may want to use their story in future.

The Interview

Once you have your hero, you need to get their story.  The interview is crucial.  Be ready, and get the hero ready as well.

The time

This is important.  Your hero is busy.  Don’t waste their time playing phone tag.  Contact the case study candidate and schedule a convenient time for the interview.  Also, don’t waste time during the interview.  It should take less than an hour.

The interview will also go much smoother if, when you schedule the interview, you also send them the questionnaire.

The questionnaire

Sending your case study candidate a copy of the questions serves a number of purposes.  Possibly the most important reason to use a questionnaire is that it makes it that much easier to keep the interview on track.

Keep the questions in the same order as the case study:

  1. About/Background – company, industry, candidate (title and role in company).
  2. Challenge – what challenge were they facing that made them start looking for a new solution.
  3. Solution – how did they a solution and why did they pick you.
  4. Results – what benefits did our solution provide; how did you measure the impact (hard or soft metrics).
  5. Future steps – how the solution will continue to provide benefits into the future.

Since the customer has had a chance to consider the questions, you should be able to draw out details of benefits that were maybe unexpected.  Listen carefully and ask for details of key features and benefits of your solution that really resonated with the customer.

The person

Now this may seem obvious but be sure to interview a real, live person.  A case study based on testimonial videos and notes from the sales team won’t come across as an engaging success story.  You want to be able to draw out details that the customer hadn’t anticipated, just by listening and interacting with a real person.

The record

Whenever possible, and only with the customer’s consent, you should record the interview.  This allows you to focus on the interview and not worry so much about note-taking.  You won’t have to go back to the customer to clarify things you didn’t write down.


Your case study candidate should be the hero of your success story.  By picking the right hero and interviewing effectively, your case study will almost write itself.

Next week’s post will look at how to effectively present your case study and the data that proves the results, your solution.


Are you so busy making a difference to your clients that you don’t have time to tell your good news stories?  Have you solved a wastewater problem for a client, a community, a country? Then get that story out there!  Let the world know how your company solves problems and makes a difference.

That’s where WATER COPY comes in.  I research and write top quality science-based ‘good news stories’. (Click here to see more details about my skills and experience).

Contact me to discuss your next case study project.



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5 Blocks to Build a Successful Case Study


In the water industry, trust is everything.  Building trust with your customers and prospects is critical to improving leads and sales.  And for building trust, case studies are unbeatable. case study writing

Unfortunately, case studies about water industry products and services are often dense, difficult to read, and, frankly, a bit dull.  Used to convey complex technical information about a solution to someone’s problem.  Written to a strict formula. No pizzazz.

If you want your case study to resonate with your audience, bring in leads, or close a sale, you need to present it as a success story.  A compelling story of how your solution solved a client’s problem.

In this post we look at the 5 key parts to a case study and how to turn your case study into a compelling success story.

But first, consider your audience

As with any piece of content it is important to know your audience.  The goal of a case study is to build trust, in your product, in your brand.  After your ideal customer reads you case study, you want them to feel that:

  • you are experienced in the industry;
  • you understand their industry’s specific needs; and
  • you know how to get industry-targeted results.

To do that you need to know your audience.

And consider the ‘skimmers’

With so much content out there, many of us have become ‘skimmers’.  Skimming headlines and section headings to see if the content is relevant to our needs.  For these readers you should include an executive summary.  A mini-headline serves to capture attention and then, in a couple of sentences, or better yet dot points, summarize the case.  Highlight the relevant aspects that made it a success story.

5 building blocks for a successful case study

Tell your case study as a success story.  Stories have a beginning, where the hero is faced with a challenge.  Stories have a middle, where a solution is presented.  And they have an end, where the results of the solution provide benefits to the hero.

All case studies follow the same progression.  There are 5 basic blocks needed to build a successful case study:

  1. The Customer (Hero) block
  2. The Challenge block
  3. The Solution block
  4. The Results block
  5. The Future block

Let’s break down each part and see how the facts and details of your case study can be crafted into a success story.

Block 1:              The Customer

This first block is like the prologue to a novel.  This is where you set the scene for your story.  Tell us about:

  • the featured Customer and what do they do;
  • what the Customer wants; and
  • what the Customer needs.

Describe the Customer in terms of their being an industry leader and innovator who found creative ways to solve a business problem using your product, of course.

Remember, although it was your product or service that saved the day, the Customer is always the Hero of your success story.  Always treat your product as a supporting character.

Block 2:              The Challenge

In the Challenge section you describe the obstacles the customer was facing before your solution.  It is important to provide the context right up front.  The key here is to make the challenge universal.  Explain how the customer’s business challenge sits within the water industry.  You want your readers to be able to relate to the hero’s (your customer’s) problem.

Block 3:              The Solution

Here in the middle of the success story comes The Solution.  This is where the hero, your customer, decides to implement a solution to their Challenge.

Take your readers on a journey as the hero searches for a solution.  Explain how your solution compares to any others on the market.  And, of course, your solution proves to be the one that can save the day.

In this section you explain:

  • how your customer found you;
  • how and why they picked your Solution; and
  • how the Solution was rolled out.

Be sure to highlight specific features that appealed to that customer.

You can also provide details of the implementation of the solution.  However, if there were major complications with this stage, conveniently leave that out.

Block 4:              The Results

The Results section is where the data and technical details come in.  This is where you provide proof that your product solved the problem presented in the challenge section.  Charts and graphs describe the data visually.  This not only helps your reader understand your solution, but also breaks up blocks of texts.

Use data relevant to the story.  Summarize large data sets where appropriate and use colors in graphs to highlight trends.

Then describe the benefits of your solution.  Hard numbers are always better, like: ‘boosted revenue by 63%’ but soft benefits, like ‘saved time’ can also work.

Block 5:              Into the Future

As with an epilogue to a novel, this section is often missing from case studies. But describing the customer’s use of your solution in the future can be powerful in generating trust.  Tell how your products will be an essential part of their operations moving forward.

You should explain how your support services provide benefits over the long term.  It demonstrates your commitment to your customers on-going success.

One more thing…

In the water industry, the impacts of your solutions can roll out over time.  Positive business and environmental impacts take time to develop.  Consider keeping up with your customers and chronicle how your solutions continue to provide benefits.  This lets readers see that your goal is not only to help with immediate needs, but also to ensure long term results

This is particularly effective in the water industry as your solutions often provide benefits beyond your immediate customer.  Managing water resources sustainably provides benefits to the community and the environment.  Tell that story, too.


For your case study to resonate with your audience, bring in leads, or close a sale, you need to present it as a success story.  A compelling story of how your solution solved a client’s problem.

In this post we looked at the key building blocks to a successful case study.  And how to turn your case study into a compelling success story.

Come back next week to find out how to find the perfect case study ‘hero ‘and how to interview them.


Are you so busy making a difference to your clients that you don’t have time to tell your good news stories?  Have you solved a wastewater problem for a client, a community, a country? Then get that story out there!  Let the world know how your company solves problems and makes a difference.

That’s where WATER COPY comes in.  I research and write top quality science-based ‘good news stories’. (Click here to see more details about my skills and experience).

Contact me to discuss your next case study project.


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FREE DOWNLOAD: A useful plain language checklist

plain language

FREE DOWNLOAD: A useful plain language checklist

Is your content ‘talking’ to your audience?

plain languageThe whole point of marketing is to start a one-on-one conversation between two people.  Ultimately a conversation between your sales person and their business manager.

Your product is complex and technical.  That’s fine.  But if your content is hard to understand the conversation may never get started.  You need to simplify the language in your content to make your complex, technical product understandable.

Download this useful checklist and keep it handy for when you write your next white paper, case study or blog post.  Make your content more easily understood. More believable. More persuasive.


Download Your Free Checklist


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Five simple steps to start the conversation (Part 5)


We have found an emotionally compelling idea, adopted an easy-to-read style, and kept it concise and to the point.  We have made it skim-able by adding headings and lists. The last step is to complete your structure work.  This week Step #5: Structure it to soothe the reader’s eye.

Step #5: Structure it to soothe the reader’s eye

Readers can be intimidated by long blocks of text.  Making content easy to read in a visual sense will make it easier for the reader to understand your key message.

You can soothe the reader’s eye by using white space. Use adequate margins and space between sections. Keep paragraphs short.  The lists we discussed last week help break up text and provide relief to the eye as well as enhancing its skim-ability.

Visual tools can help explain your content.

  • Infographics provide a clear visual representation of data, relationships, or ideas.
  • Tables can help comparisons and show relationships without using a lot of text.
  • Lists group similar items. Numbered lists are ideal for items that are sequenced or ranked; other lists may be bulleted.
  • Other visual tools include inserts, charts, maps, and checklists.

Make sure the tool you use matches your content and the needs of your audience. You can’t explain everything with a pie chart!


In this series we have seen how plain language improves understanding.  Understanding leads to trust, and ultimately to action from your prospect.  Take these 5 simples steps to start the conversation:

  1. Find one compelling idea.
  2. Use an easy-to-read style.
  3. Keep it concise and to the point.
  4. Make it skim-able
  5. Structure it to soothe the reader’s eye.


To keep these simple steps in mind while writing, download and print the handy checklist:

Checklist 5 Simple Steps to Start the Conversation

Download Your Free Checklist


Contact Water Copy for all your content writing requirements.




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Five simple steps to start the conversation (Step 4)


We have found that if you find an emotionally compelling idea, adopt an easy-to-read style, and keep it concise and to the point, your content will be easier to understand.  This week and next we look at ways to structure your document to make it easier to read.  This week Step #4: Make it skim-able.

Step #4: Make it skim-able

You can make your document more user-friendly by providing cues that promote skimming.  There are a couple tricks you can use to help these readers out.

Trick #1: Use headings

Headings show your readers how your document is organized.  And they let your reader skim the text to find the information they’re looking for.  Readers on the Internet tend to move on to something else if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly.  In longer documents, add a table of contents at the beginning, too.

There are several ways to write a heading.  You can state it as a question, as a phrase or as a declarative sentence:

  • “Are there two kinds of people in the world?”
  • “Two kinds of people in the world”
  • Declarative sentence. “There are two kinds of people in the world.”


Trick #2: Break up blocks of text with bulleted/numbered lists

Lists are easy for readers to skim. Choose numbers when presenting a list with items in a specific sequence or rank order. Use bullets when the items listed are equivalent in importance.


These tricks improve readability because:

  • They make it easier for readers to find what they want.
  • They make your content less intimidating by breaking it up visually.


Do you have a white paper or case study that didn’t bring the return on investment you had hoped for?  Perhaps it needs a Readability Revamp. 

I am a water quality scientist with fantastic writing skills.  I offer a service that can improve your content’s ROI.  I take the text and bring the FK score down.  I improve the readability without “dumbing” it down. By increasing understanding, I help your readers take the action you desire.

Contact me to discuss your next content project.




Stay tuned next week for Step #5: Structure it to soothe the reader’s eye

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How to make sure your content achieves your goals


Is your content achieving your goals?content marketing tactics

Last week we looked at how important goals are to strategic content marketing.  And we saw how the goals for your content change through the sales funnel.  Now you need to develop content that will achieve those goals.

This week we look at the types of content -tactics – that will support and encourage your prospects in their journey through your sales funnel.

For you see, the tactics you use to deliver your content will change, along with your goals, through the sales funnel:

  • At the top of the funnel your content needs to build AWARENESS
  • In the middle of the funnel, content must enable EVALUATION
  • At the bottom of the funnel, your content needs to CONVERT

Section 1: Tactics at the top of the funnel

At the top of the funnel you are striving to build awareness.  Awareness of your brand and your products.  Awareness that your solution will solve your prospects’ problem.  You may even need to make your prospects aware that they have a problem, a problem you can solve!

At the top of the funnel you provide quality information that informs your audience.  Content should be engaging and informative not full of hype.

There are many tactics that are effective at the top of the funnel.

Blogs are imperative for top-of-funnel content publishing.  Provide relevant and timely information about problems in the industry and available solutions. And provide the information consistently.  Decide on a schedule and stick to it.

When you post a blog you then post social media updates with links back to your blog and website.

Problem/solution whitepapers are an excellent tactic at the top of the funnel.  (More detail about white papers through the sales funnel here).  And whitepapers are a great call to action.  By downloading the white paper, they are showing an interest.  Ready to be drawn further into your sales funnel.

Infographics can provide information in an entertaining and easy to digest format.  And by requiring an email address to download, they become a powerful call to action.

Newsletters are an excellent channel to build and maintain relationships.  Keep the content 80% information and education and 20% about your company.  How you work, how you interact with your community, your employees.

Provide primary research on trends in your industry.  Conduct and report on surveys of your customers about their pain points, issues with current solutions, emerging trends.

Regardless of the tactic used, always provide value.  The top of the funnel is about building awareness.  Establishing trust. And that only comes through quality content provided consistently.

Section 2: Tactics in the middle of the funnel

In the middle of the funnel your prospects are evaluating your solution.  Making comparisons.  Showing some interest but keeping a distance.content marketing tactics

Therefore, in the middle of the funnel, your tactics should provide information that will assist them in their evaluation of your solution.

For you, the middle of the funnel is all about lead magnets.  Lead magnets that compel your prospects to take action.

What is a lead magnet?  A lead magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange to their contact information.

In the middle of the funnel the best tactics include:

Educational resources including case studies, free reports, eBooks, and white papers.  Numbered-list white papers are very effective in the middle of the funnel.  They provide information in an easy-to-read and skim-able format.

Useful resources can be even more powerful than educational resources as lead magnets.  Checklists, templates, tool kits, resource lists all provide that chunk of value that compels your prospect to give you their contact information.

A quiz or survey on a relevant industry topic can entice readers to divulge contact details as well as provide valuable information for blogs and articles.

Webinars and events are an opportunity to provide valuable content while gathering contact information.

In the middle of the funnel your tactics must continue to provide valuable information.  Information your prospects are willing to trade their contact details for.  Lead magnets that change prospects into leads.

Section 3: Content at the bottom of the funnel

At the bottom of the funnel you are striving to convert your leads into customers.  Here you need to provide specific details about your solution.  Enough detail to convince your lead that your solution will in fact solve their problem.

At the bottom of the funnel effective tactics include:

Showing how your solution works with a demo/free trial.

Providing specific, technical information in a backgrounder white paper.  Give your leads all the information they need to convince themselves that your solution will solve their problem.

Using customer success stories to demonstrate how your solution worked for a specific customer.  These stories are closer to testimonials than case studies.  The point is to demonstrate your solution and your services.


You can now see that the tactics you use change as your goals change through the sales funnel.  It is also clear that mapping your content to your buyers’ journey is critical for a good return-on-investment for your content:

  • At the top of the funnel publish content that builds AWARENESS of your brand, your solution.
  • In the middle of the funnel provide information that encourages EVALUATION of your solution.
  • At the bottom, tactics must CONVERT leads into customers.

Next week, we check out how to measure how well your tactics are working through metrics.


Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you struggle producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?

I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.

Contact me to discuss your next content project.



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Five simple steps to start the conversation (Step 3)


We now know that if you find one emotionally compelling idea and adopt an easy-to-read style your content will be easier to understand.  This week we look at Step #3: Write concisely and to the point.

Step #3: Write concisely and to the point

When writing about complex technical subjects, you need to construct your sentences carefully.  Direct, simple sentences will help get your point across.  In fact, long sentences almost always have complex grammatical structures.  This puts a strain on the reader’s immediate memory.  The reader has to retain several parts of each sentence before he can combine them into a meaningful whole.

Here are a few tricks to help you keep concise and to the point:

Trick #1: Keep sentences and paragraphs short.

The average length of your sentences should be 20 words or fewer

Trick #2: Sentences should focus on one idea

Keep it simple. Cover only one idea per sentence and one theme per paragraph. Get to the point; don’t wander around first.  Find one emotionally compelling idea, as we discussed in the first post in the series.  Find it here.

Trick #3: Use the active voice

Use the active voice.  The passive voice tends to seem evasive:

The standards were breached.

Who breached the standards? As a reader, you might think: Is the writer trying to hide something from me? If you don’t want to appear to be hiding something, you should use active voice:

The refinery breached a water quality standard.


Keep you writing concise and to the point.  Keep sentences short and focused on one idea. Use the active voice.


Do you have a white paper or case study that didn’t bring the return on investment you had hoped for?  Perhaps it needs a Readability Revamp. 

I am a water quality scientist with fantastic writing skills.  I offer a service that can improve your content’s ROI.  I take the text and bring the FK score down.  I improve the readability without “dumbing” it down. By increasing understanding, I help your readers take the action you desire.


Contact me to discuss your next content project.




Stay tuned next week for Step #4: Make it skim-able

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