How to Powerup your Blog: Action 4 – Powerup other channels – SlideShare

blog SlideShare

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

The goal of any company blog is to increase awareness of the company’s brand. To do that the blog must drive traffic to the company website, where the visitor is encouraged to browse other pages.

blog SlideShare

After you have organized your blog using categories and tags, shared your posts on relevant social media channels, and optimized open rates with keyword-rich headlines, there is one more action that will enhance your SEO and extend your blog’s reach – SlideShare.

The last post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looks at powerful channel for content distribution -SlideShare.

Action 4: Powerup other channels – SlideShare

SlideShare, now owned by LinkedIn, is a website that allows you to post content (PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, videos, documents, and others) as a presentation.

Once uploaded, your content is public, searchable, viewable, and even sharable! This increases brand awareness, expands your market reach, and drives traffic to your blog or website.

Benefits of using SlideShare

With over 60 million visitors a year, SlideShare is powerful channel for your content distribution. Some benefits of using SlideShare are:

It extends your reach to a large professional audience.

LinkedIn is the parent company of SlideShare, and we all know about the power of LinkedIn professional networks. It also means SlideShare users tend to be business-oriented rather than social browsers.

It boosts SEO

It turns out that Google ranks successful SlideShare presentations above blog articles, news stories, even YouTube videos (well, sometimes). This is a big boost for your blog’s SEO.

It’s free!

For startups and solo professionals, a big benefit of SlideShare is that it is free! For any business it is a smart marketing channel for your content marketing strategy.

It’s easy!

blog SlideShare

SlideShare is easy to learn. If you’ve ever used PowerPoint, you’re on your way. If not, there are many tutorials out there to help you get started quickly.

It helps builds authority.

On SlideShare you showcase your expertise in your field by sharing useful and relevant information. When readers come across your quality content on SlideShare, they will associate that content with you and your personal brand.

It includes analytics.

There is a free analytic tool that helps you measure how and when viewers interact with your content. You can track how many times each presentation or infographic is viewed, shared, liked, commented on or downloaded in a specified period.

How to use SlideShare

So, how do you use SlideShare to extend the reach of your blog? The easiest way is to make a SlideShare presentation for each of your blog posts. A presentation that summarizes the post and makes it easily consumable, understandable, and quick to digest.

Because you’ve already written the post, creating and publishing a presentation is relatively simple. Not only will you at least double your exposure but there is the chance your SlideShare will go ‘viral’!

If SlideShare delivers as predicted, you may decide to start writing your posts with a presentation in mind.

Action 4.5: Powerup SlideShare

You can take a few steps to optimize your SlideShare presentation for your readers and for search engines:

Template

People like things that are familiar. Put together a template that displays your brand, your message. Use it again and again. Make sure the template reflects the colors and style of your blog and website. Place your brand logo on every slide.

Headline

This has been covered in some detail in the 3rd post in this series – Action 3: Powerup your Headlines. Just remember to optimize your title for searching by including keywords/phrases relevant to the blog topic.

Tags

blog SlideShare

You can include up to 20 tags in your presentation, making your presentation that much more searchable. Base your tags on the tag strategy you worked out in Action 1.

Description

By include a compelling description for your SlideShare, you make it more appealing to your reader and increases its SEO. As with the meta description on your website, include relevant, highly searchable keywords/phrases in your description to help search engines find it

Links

Links are very important to your SEO. Google assumes that pages with the most links to them should rank higher in search results than those without links.

So, place links throughout your Slideshare presentation, as well as on the last slide. Include a “Further Reading” slide with a list of links to related content on your blog.

Conclusion

This last post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looked at powerful channel for content distribution -SlideShare. SlideShare:

  • Extends the reach of your professional network
  • Boosts SEO
  • Is free
  • Is easy
  • Tracks metrics

Share all your posts are presentations on SlideShare and see if you don’t generate awareness and drive traffic to your blog.

A company blog is a powerful tactic in a content marketing strategy. Posting quality content consistently is key to a blog’s success. But it’s not enough. In today’s marketing environment you will need to powerup your blog to get heard.

This series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, is all about helping you take action to increase traffic to your blog and website:

  1. Powerup your site structure
  2. Powerup your social media
  3. Powerup your headlines
  4. Powerup all channels – SlideShare

I have put this blog series into a SlideShare presentation. You can download the SlideShare presentation here.

I have published this blog series as a kindle book!

You can buy it here

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

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How to Powerup Your Blog: ACTION 3: Powerup your Headlines

blog headline

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

Driving traffic to your website is one of the primary benefits of a company blog. However, posting relevant and useful content consistently may not be generating the traffic you expected. Other action is required to powerup your blog.

blog headlines

We’ve seen how to structure your blog using categories and tags and how to share your posts on relevant social media channels. Now what’s really important is getting people to click on the link to your blog and then read it. The only thing that can make people do that is the headline.

This third post in the series: How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, explains how to optimize open rates with keyword-rich headlines.

Action 3:        Powerup your headlines

First things first

Crafting a good headline should be the first step in writing a post. Start with the topic, one identified in your content calendar. Then, think about what benefit you will provide your readers in the post. With a topic and key benefit sorted, start brainstorming headline ideas, coming up with at least five drafts.

blog headlines

When writing the post, keep thinking about the headline, keep focused on the promised benefit and make sure you deliver in every post. The sections below will help you powerup your headlines to get them opened and read.

Keywords

There is some debate about whether headlines should focus on SEO or on “writing for humans”. As it turns out you should do both.

Keywords are important because they are words and phrases your audience is searching for. By using keywords, you attract more readers and drive more relevant traffic to your website.

Niche phrases, several keywords together, can add the human element. Although they generate less traffic, that traffic is more targeted with less competition. A niche phrase is more specific, and specificity makes for a better headline.

A really great headline, then, should speak in the language of the audience with keywords, presented in a proven formula that catches human attention and offers value.

Classic headline formulas

How to posts

How-to articles and blog posts are some of the most read, linked, and shared content online. Readers are looking for useful information that they can apply in a practical way. Try to focus on benefits that make your readers life better, easier, and happier. Follow up with great content that fills the promise of your headline.

There are many variations of the basic How to headline. The How to [Blank] and [Blank] was made famous by Dale Carnegie with How to Win Friends and Influence People, and it is still a powerful formula today. The How to [Blank] Without [Objectionable Action] title works because sometimes your reader wants something but doesn’t necessarily want to do what it takes to get it.

Numbered lists

A headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, tips, or actions works because it makes a specific promise to the reader. As long as you deliver on the promise with quality content, you’ll have a satisfied reader.

The human brain loves numbers, in headlines especially because numbers place information in a logical order. Interestingly, we seem to believe odd numbers more than even numbers. Odd numbers, the number 7 in particular, appear to help our brains process and recall information more easily.

The Content Marketing Institute recommends using the numeral 7 in headlines rather than the word seven. For example, instead of Seven Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier, try using 7 Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier.

Why and a declarative statement

People find it difficult to resist a headline that presents an interesting take on a topic they care about. This headline uses Why not as a question, but to put forward a point of view with the promise an explanation: Why Facebook May Be Bad for Your Business.

A reason to read

This headline formula is about giving readers a good reason to read your post. Use numbers combined with reasons to really powerup your headlines: 7 Facts about your Water Tanks that you May Not Know or 6 Insights into the Future of Membrane Technology

Conclusion

Optimizing with keywords and using winning formulas can powerup your headlines, increasing your click-through-rate.

The final post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, action 4 is about using all channels, SlideShare in particular, to extend your reach.

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

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How to Powerup Your Blog

blog social media

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

A primary benefit of a company blog is how it can drive traffic to your website. But maybe, just maybe, publishing consistently hasn’t generated the interest you were expecting. What else can you do attract attention?

blog social media

There is no better place to extend the reach of your blog than social media. But, as we all know, without a plan and some discipline, one can easily get sucked down the social media rabbit hole.

This second post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looks at how to promote your blog on social media, driving even more traffic to your website.

Action 2.        Powerup your social media

When planning a social media strategy for your blog, it pays to begin by establishing your goals. This will help you choose which channels to target and what focus your content should have.

To extend the reach of your blog on social media you need the right stuff. You need to have:

  • the right profile
  • on the right channels
  • with the right content
  • at the right time.

The right profile

The profile you use on your social media sites can help drive traffic to your website and blog. First, all social media channels give you a couple places to display your website’s URL. Use them all.

Then, fill your About and Biographies sections with relevant keywords. Complete every section to optimize your profile. Include a clear Call to Action to let readers know how to find more information or contact you. On some channels you may need to put the CTA in each post.

Every time you post a blog, share it on all your channels. Use the comments and questions you get to refer people to back to your site.

Place links in your social media biographies to further boost your SEO. When you link back to your site from your social media channels, you’re creating high-quality backlinks to your site.  This is a key benefit of social profile optimization.

The right channels

The business you are in and the content you intend to share will help you pick the social media channels to use. The following sections give a brief overview of social media sites used by B2B marketers.

Facebook

Although it’s changed over the years, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful B2B marketing tool. It remains the world’s largest social network and, used correctly, enables communication with your audience, your customer. Businesses are able to reach their customer base easily, and on personal level.

blog social media

Optimize your company Facebook page and remember that with the new algorithm it’s all about meaningful interactions. Best practice includes:

  • avoiding overly-promotional content,
  • creating and sharing content that’s relevant to your products, and
  • developing a company narrative that keeps your audience interested.

Twitter

Twitter is a channel where you build and manage relationships. Importantly, when you share quality content on Twitter you drive traffic to your site. Prospects that visit your site can then be converted to leads, and ultimately into customers. Twitter is a great place to provide customer service too. Respond to all enquires and comments to encourage engagement.

blog social media

Twitter is also a great place to get people talking about your company, your industry, and, yes, you’re your competitors. Use it to:

  • create buzz around a product launch,
  • give certain employees the power to act as personal contacts with your followers, and
  • develop relationships with bloggers and journalists for further reach.

LinkedIn

When blogging about business and professional topics, LinkedIn is an important channel. LinkedIn helps you reach a B2B-oriented audience. LinkedIn company pages allow you to showcase your business, brand, products and services, and job opportunities.

blog social media

Every time you post a blog on your website post a link to in on your LinkedIn company page as well as the personal page of your primary communicator.

Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest

blog social media

Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are almost entirely visual. These visually-oriented platforms are most effectively leveraged for brand-building. This is where you share your multimedia and video content (see below).

blog social media

Instagram in particular has become important in brand building because engagement is high, and followers become brand-loyal. Develop a visual identity that reflects your website and brand.

The right content

Regardless of the social media platforms you choose, the key to successful content is shareability. People share content that:

Inspires – you create positivity when you inspire your readers

Entertains – when your content engages, it entertains your readers

Educates – sharing knowledge improves your readers knowledge and quality -of-life.

The content you choose to share will depend on the channel, of course. Remember your goal – driving traffic to the blog on your website – and mix up your offerings.

Infographics

Informative and visually appealing, infographics present facts and figures in a condensed visual format. Infographics are hugely popular and can be a huge source of traffic, especially if it is good enough to be re-shared.

blog social media

Multi-media

On channels like Instagram content must be shared as images or videos. Sharing this kind of content can be very effective. You know how much a picture is worth!

Company clips

This isn’t about boring, old-fashioned corporate videos. Think about ways to show off your team and your brand. Take the opportunity to humanize your brand. You have the potential to win many more followers if you do.

Tutorials, quizzes

Creating tutorials in multimedia formats allows people to see actual products or methods in use. Many in your audience might prefer watching a video rather than reading a 1,000 word post. Use quizzes to entertain your audience and with the right questions, perhaps learn a bit about them.

The right time

Hootsuite, a social media integration platform, investigated the ideal times for sharing content on each social media platform.  They found that each platform has its own peak timing for sharing. For B2B marketing posts, peak time is generally weekdays during business hours. The sections below summarize Hootsuite’s findings.

Facebook

The best time for B2B brands to post on Facebook is

Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST.

LinkedIn

Being a professional network it not surprising that the best times to post on LinkedIn is before and after work on workdays, and at break times. Hootsuite found the best times for B2B brands to post on LinkedIn are:

Wednesday (followed by Tuesday)

at 7:45AM, 10:45AM, 12:45PM, and 5:45PM EST.

Twitter

An interesting statistic about Tweets: the average lifespan of tweet is only 18 minutes! That makes timing all the more important. Here, Hootsuite found that for B2B brands in the US, the best time to tweet is:

Monday OR Thursday

between 9AM and 4PM EST; focus on between 11AM-1PM EST

Don’t even bother on the weekend!

Instagram

Instagram is not as easy to predict due to its algorithm that prioritizes a feed based on the ‘recency’ of the post. The study by Hootsuite did not give specific projections for B2B business or the water industry specifically. They did find the following:

Professional Services

Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

Technology

Monday and Tuesday

at 2 p.m.

A note about timing

The water and environmental industries, while B2B, do not always fit into the categories analyzed. You should test the same content at different times on each channel. Hone your timing to best suit your audience and upstage your competition.

Always, remember, however, that the best timing int the world won’t make up for bad content!

Conclusion

You can extend the reach of every blog post by understanding your social media audience. By developing the right profile and content for the right channel at the right time your build awareness of your brand.

In the next post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, learn about how to write a killer headline in Action 3: Powerup your headlines.

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

Contact me for quality and professional content writing services

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How to Powerup your Blog

blogging site structure

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

Scrolling through water and environmental industry websites, I always check for a company blog. A place where the company showcases its brand and raises awareness of its products and services. Almost every site I visit hosts a blog. Some companies even blog regularly and consistently.

blogging site structure

One of the primary benefits of a company blog is how it can help increase traffic to your website. But publishing consistently may not be generating the interest you were hoping for.

So, other than publishing quality content, consistently, how can you optimize your blog to extend your reach?

This series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, will discuss four actions you can take right now to get more traffic to your blog:

  • Action 1: Powerup your blog structure
  • Action 2: Powerup your social media
  • Action 3: Powerup your headlines
  • Action 4: Powerup all channels – SlideShare

This first post explains how to structure your blog with categories and tags so search engines can find your content, driving more traffic to your website.

Action 1: Powerup your blog structure

Without a proper structure, as your blog grows, your readers will get lost in the search for the information they need. Your posts will disappear in the crowd. Search engines won’t be able to find them.

blogging site structure

How do you add structure to your blog? You start by using categories and tags. Strategically implemented, categories and tags extend your blog’s reach, get your content found, and improve your SEO.

Categories

You use categories to group your content into ‘global’ segments. Categories increase usability and enhance SEO. Search engines will find posts more easily if they aren’t competing with each other.

You can define and describe your categories in WordPress under the Posts menu. Each post should be assigned a single category. The description you use is displayed on the category page so make is compelling. For instance, the WaterCopy categories are based on the services I provide: Content marketing, White papers, Blogging etc.

Once all your blogs are assigned to a single category, you can put category pages on your site. Category pages sort your posts and display them on a separate page for each category. Links to category pages can be on a menu bar on in a sidebar. Remember, search engines love more pages!

As your blog grows you can add sub-categories to add another layer of structure. Evaluate your site structure regularly to keep it in order.

Tags

Hashtags are a word, or group of words after the # sign (like #hashtag, #watercopy, #contentmarketing etc.). Most people know of them from their use on Twitter as “tweet chats” – open group discussions around a particular topic. They are also known as metadata tags. You use tags to add further structure to your blog by describing your posts in more detail.

There are several types of tags:

Brand & Campaign tags

A brand hashtag is your company name or tagline. You use your business tag on all of your social media sites.

A campaign hashtag is one you develop for each of your marketing campaigns. If you can get people to use your hashtag, your campaign will get extended reach. Link relevant posts to campaigns with campaign tags.

Trending tags

A trending hashtag identifies a topic that is very popular. By using a trending tag in your blog post, you can potentially get your message out to a very large audience.

Content tags

Content tags are common hashtags that are related to your post content. You use content tags to further sort your posts, improving SEO. Base content tags on keywords related to the category and the post.

Content tags help get your updates seen by prospects who are searching for, or using, the hashtag words.

There are different ways to structure content tags. You may want to use:

  • product hashtags (e.g. #whitepapers, #casestudies)
  • service hashtags, (e.g. #contentwritingservices, #proofreading)
  • location hashtags (e.g. #onlinefreelancer)
  • event hashtags (e.g.#endofyearsale)

As well as adding structure to your blog, you can engage with people using related common hashtags – whether it’s a retweet on Twitter or a Like on LinkedIn.

Conclusion

Structuring you blog with categories and tags will increase traffic to your blog by enhancing SEO.

The next post in the series, How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your reach, action 2 is about effectively dispersing your message through lots of different social media channels.

For more free information about how content marketing provides benefits to the water and environmental industries:

Check out the WaterBlog!

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Search Engine Optimization Statistics Infographic

SEO statistics infographic

Is all that work optimizing your site for search engines really worth it? Will publishing quality content help? Check out these amazing stats about organic traffic and you’ll see the answer to both questions is a resounding YES!

WaterCopy SEO Statistics Infographic

Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you need help 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.

CONTACT A BLOG PLANNER/WRITER

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The Truth about Your Content: Five steps to more persuasive writing

more persuasive writing

Introduction

Is your content ‘talking’ to your audience? Would more persuasive writing increase your content’s ROI?

The whole point of marketing is to start a one-on-one conversation between two people. Ultimately a conversation between your sales person and their CFO.

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.

In this post, we look at five steps you more persuasive writing. First let’s look at how readability is assessed by most word processing software.

Readability: Flesch Kincaid (FK) Explained

The Flesch Kincaid readability assessment was developed to assess the difficulty of reading materials for upper elementary through secondary grades.  Although the FK test was developed to assess reading material for students, the FK score is basically about the readability of the text.  A scale based on a formula.

The FK score is assessed on these factors in a piece of writing:

  • # of letters per word: more letters, more difficult to read.
  • # of words per sentence: more words, more difficult to read. 
  • # of sentences per paragraph: more sentences, more difficult to read.
  • % passive sentences: more passive sentences, more difficult to read.

Most word processing software reviews documents and reports on two FK parameters:

  • Flesch reading ease, and
  • FK grade level score.

The Flesch reading ease assessment is reported as a percent and the higher the score the better. On the other hand, for persuasive content, an FK grade level score of 8 or less is best.

Although the FK score can help you improve the clarity of your writing, it does have drawbacks.  For instance, in writing water industry content, you will need to use some jargon and technical terms. Just be aware that your FK score may creep up if you rely too much on these less familiar and less used terms.

Remember too, that while bad readability scores often reflect poor writing, good readability scores do not by themselves mean the writing is good.

Now on to the five steps that will start you on your road to more persuasive writing.

Step #1: Find one emotionally compelling idea

The most powerful aid to more persuasive writing is to identify one emotionally compelling idea.  One that engages the reader both emotionally and rationally. When you try to write about many things your message becomes diluted.

more persuasive writing

It doesn’t have to be factual. But it does need to feel like it is or should be true. It must be so emotionally attractive the reader will want to believe it.

An emotionally compelling idea should generate a feeling of discovering something new and useful.  Something new to think about and share.

How to find that emotionally compelling idea.

There is no substitute for research.  You need to know the topic – your product or service – and its features and benefits. You need to know your audience and their needs. 

It always helps to start with a brainstorming session.  Whether alone or with your team, think about all the features and benefits of your product or service.  If an emotionally compelling idea doesn’t jump off the page, which it most likely won’t, more research is required.

more persuasive writing

Keyword research identifies topics that people are searching for. Keep and maintain a list of keywords and keyword phrases. Find out what your audience is interested in, what they want to learn about.

After further research into features and benefits and your audience’s needs, you then repeat the brainstorming activity. Itemize the benefits and turn each into one emotionally compelling idea.

Put that emotionally compelling idea right up front

Studies have shown that people like to know what they’re in for right from the start.  Put your emotionally compelling idea right up front.  In primary school, they taught us that when writing a report, you should:

Tell them what you are going to tell them,

tell them,

then tell them what you told them.

It still applies today.  Put the emotionally compelling idea up front and draw your audience through to the call-to-action. You can help your reader by:

  • Stating the subject of an email in the subject line.
  • Including an executive summary with a white paper.
  • Stating the basic facts about a news item in the first sentence or two of a news release.
  • Providing an introduction, regardless of the length of your document.

Step #2: Use an easy-to-read style

More persuasive writing uses an easy-to-read style. Your reader can then focus on your message rather than muddling through dense text.  These three tricks will help you develop that easy-to-read style.

Trick #1: 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 language. 

Just be sure that personal pronouns are right for the content.  It may not be appropriate in every situation.

Trick #2: Avoid jargon

It’s easy to be drawn to words that are common in your industry. But are they common to your audience?  When writing for non-specialists and you have a choice between words, use the common, everyday word.

more persuasive writing

A couple further pointers on word choice:

  • Use positive words. Negatives like don’t in front of a verb can make some readers stumble.
  • Avoid long strings of nouns. Sentences with several nouns in a row can be difficult to navigate.
  • Use inclusive language. Unless your document is about men, don’t use only male pronouns (he, his).

Sometimes you may have to use a technical term, even when you’re writing for non-specialists. In that case, choose words that will help your readers. 

Trick #3: Avoid padding with words like very, really, actually, or carefully

These words don’t serve any purpose.  Keep in simple, keep it easy to understand.

Step #3: Keep it concise and to the point

When writing about complex technical subjects, you need to construct your sentences carefully. More persuasive writing uses direct, simple sentences.  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 earlier in this post.

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 an active voice:

The refinery breached a water quality standard.

Step #4: Make it skim-able

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

more persuasive writing

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:

  • Question. “Are there two kinds of people in the world?”
  • Phrase. “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.

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

Long blocks of text can intimidate readers.  Persuasive writing is easy to read in a visual sense, making 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 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!

Conclusion

In this post we see how plain language improves understanding.  Understanding leads to trust, and ultimately to action from your prospect. Action that can lead to a one-on-one conversation between two people.

Your product is complex and technical. Simplify the language in your content to make your complex, technical product more easily understood. Take these five steps to more persuasive writing:

  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 five steps in mind while writing, download and print the handy checklist:

Five Steps to More Persuasive Writing – A plain language checklist to simplify your writing

GET YOUR FREE CHECKLIST HERE!

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Categories SEO

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)

readability

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!

Conclusion

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)

readability

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

 CONTACT ME

 

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

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Five simple steps to start the conversation (Step 3)

readability

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

 CONTACT ME

 

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

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