The Power of Email in a Social Media Storm

Email marketing nurtures leads

Using email marketing to nurture water industry leads

Introduction

Is email still relevant in a social media storm?

Of course, it is! Email is still a powerful communication channel and should be part of every marketer’s toolkit.

Email marketing nurtures leads

Email marketing helps you stay in touch with current clients and past customers as well as engaging new prospects and nurturing leads. Newsletters, as discussed last week (read it here), are great at keeping you in touch with your audience. Other engagement like surveys and quizzes keep your audience entertained.

Still not convinced that email marketing could match the ‘power’ of a big Twitter following or lots of Facebook friends?

The power of email marketing

Although there are many benefits to a well-planned and executed email marketing strategy, there are three main ones:

1.    Email is still the #1 communication channel

At least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis No other communication channel can match that.

2.    It’s your list

You worked hard to build your list and it is all yours. No one can take those leads away from you.

Online social media platforms, on the other hand, are owned by someone else. Your account could be suspended or deleted at any time, for any reason, without notice.

3.    Email converts!

It turns out email marketing brings in the highest overall ROI of all marketing channels! And its best use is to nurture leads. Indeed, 57% of B2B marketers surveyed plan to increase their email marketing budget next year. It turns out, the average order value from an email lead is at least three times higher than that of social media connections.

The benefits of email marketing are hard to argue. Add to that its low cost and potential to automate and you can’t afford NOT to use email marketing to nurture leads.

The most important element to email marketing is your list. List, you say, what list?

Where do we get our list?

Email marketing is at its most effective when you have permission. Permission to send quality content to a lead’s email inbox. Sending out emails to prospects from purchased lists is more likely to get you marked as spam as get you leads.

The best list is one you build yourself. To build your list you need a lead magnet and a landing page.

Lead magnet

Email marketing nurtures leads

When you use lead magnets, you give your prospects access to gated content. In return, they fill out a signup form on your site. Voila! They just joined your email list, which makes it much easier to engage with, and convert them into future buyers, through email marketing.

Find out more about lead magnets here!

Landing page

Email marketing nurtures leads

A landing page compels your visitors to fill in a form and click a button to download something of value – your lead magnet. Each lead magnet should have its own landing page that convinces readers of the value of your offer and has a form for collecting email addresses.

Design your own landing page! Find some tips here!

CONCLUSION

Social media has taken marketing by storm. Now you have to connect with your target market on any number of channels. But is social media an effective way to nurture leads through your sales funnel? That remains to be seen.

Email marketing is a tried and true method to engage and nurture prospects. To convert them into customers. Plan and implement an email marketing campaign around your next white paper and see what happens!

Looking for more great posts about content marketing for the water and environmental industries?

Check out WaterBlog

Newsletter Campaign Planning: Easy as A B C

newsletter campaign planning

Success takes planning

Introduction

Do you publish a company newsletter? If so, why? Did you see the potential benefits of publishing a newsletter:

  • lead generation,
  • building and maintaining relationships, and/or
  • establishing thought leadership?
newsletter campaign planning

Maybe you realized that newsletters provide a low-cost, instantaneous channel to engage your list. That newsletters provide another channel to publish your quality content. In fact, newsletters leverage, rather than compete with, other assets in your strategic content marketing plan.

Yet, after months or even years of effort, you might not be reaping the benefits you sought. Why? The most important thing about a company newsletter is consistency.

As with all content marketing, consistency counts. Inconsistency in a newsletter campaign takes on several forms:

  • if your delivery days and intervals vary,
  • if your design, layout, and format changes with each edition, and/or
  • if your content isn’t consistently engaging and educational.

If your newsletter isn’t consistent in deliver, design, and content, you may be missing out.

What’s the solution? You need to take action and make a plan!

Newsletter campaign planning

A newsletter campaign plan will help you establish and maintain consistency. Get your team together and thrash out a plan! (You can develop your own plan using the free checklist you’ll find here.)

It’s as easy as A B C:

  1. Newsletter Delivery and List Management
  2. Newsletter Design and Layout
  3. Newsletter Content and Tone

Let’s get started!

A.     Newsletter Delivery and List Management

Publishing frequency- monthly, weekly – and the day you publish

The frequency at which to publish your newsletter is critical to success. Monthly is generally considered a minimum to maintain interest and build a relationship. Less than that and you start losing readership because they forget who you are and why they subscribed.

If you have more than one audience you might think about sending two shorter, distinctively different newsletters each month. This would allow you to tailor each issue to a particular group.

Address the newsletter will be sent From and the email address the Reply will be sent to

People only open emails from people or groups they trust. Set up an email address that the newsletters will be sent From, preferably a person and with your company URL – j.smith@company.com. To increase engagement, have any replies to the newsletter delivery email come to a designated email inbox. Reply to all comments and suggestions.

Information you collect at sign up

Keep your newsletter sign-up form simple. All you really need is their email address, but a first name is nice too. Just be aware that if you ask for too much information you risk scaring people away potential.

When people do sign up, what happens on your end? Develop a procedure for new subscribers. Establish who maintains the subscriber list and how is the information you collected at signup is incorporated into your list.

Auto-responder messages

Draft up a welcome message for new subscribers. Thank them for signing up and tell them what to expect, such as a confirmation email or a download link. Ask new subscribers to add you to their contact list to avoid landing in their spam folder. Include a prompt asking your reader to forward a sign-up link to a friend.

B.      Newsletter Design and Layout

Great design plays a big part in improving open and click-through rates. Your design should:

  • be clean and easy to digest,
  • complement the content and your audience,
  • include attractive and engaging graphics and photos, and
  • have a clearly visible and actionable CTA.

The design of the newsletter will incorporate the name, tagline, and recurring sections.

Newsletter name and tagline

The name of your newsletter is important. You want it to be memorable and catchy, while telling readers what it is about. You are trying to build a readership and also a brand. Use the tagline to draw readers in.

Recurring sections

Recurring sections are comforting for your subscribers. Your readers like knowing that a certain favorite section is always there. It is always nice to have an introductory welcome message from the ‘author’. Change it up each edition will a personal summary of the contents.

You might have a ‘global’ level section where you examine high level changes in you niche. Legislative changes, technological changes, political changes. Next level down might be about new solutions to problems your audience is facing. Then maybe a section about what your company is up to in the space.

Always include the About Us section and your company contact details.

C.      Newsletter UVP, Content, and Tone

Unique Value Proposition

Establish your company’s unique value proposition (UVP) and showcase it in the newsletter. It’s about what makes you unique in your niche.

Part of your UVP is understanding you audience. If you know your audience, you can figure out what they need, what their pain points are, and how you can resolve their problems.

Content

Don’t put everything you know into each newsletter. Be selective in your content. Tell them why of your product not the ‘how’. Be sure to keep your newsletter informative. It’s not a monthly sales brochure!

Tone

Establish a ‘voice’ for your company newsletter. A tone that matches your operating style. A personality that’s different from others, competitors in particular. Think about your UVP and how that influences the tone of your newsletter.

Inclusions

There are a few things you should include is each edition you publish, in no particular order:

  • An edition number and date
  • Complete company contact information
  • An introductory note signed by the author
  • An overview of this month’s content and a preview of next month’s
  • A link to an archive of past issues
  • A sign-up form
  • An About Us section
  • A copyright notice

Conclusion

This post, Newsletter Campaign Planning: Easy as A B C, seeks to help you with your newsletter campaign planning. Develop and implement a plan for your newsletter campaign and reap the rewards!

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 newsletter?

WaterCopy can help!

I provide newsletter planning and writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss all your content needs.

Landing Page Mastery

landing page mastery

Four things you need to know to nail that landing page

Introduction

Are your prospects stuck in the top of your sales funnel? Are they finding your website, reading a blog or a press release, and then moving on?

Quality content lures prospects into and through the sales funnel.  At the top of the funnel, content goals are around generating leads.  A critical way to identify a qualified lead and pull them further into the funnel is to offer something that your prospects will exchange their contact details for – a lead magnet.  Where do visitors end up when they click on your call-to-action?  On a landing page!

Identifying the goals and target audience for the landing page follows on from the goals of your lead magnet. The landing page reflects the style of the lead magnet and, ultimately, cultivates action. 

In this post, we will examine four things that help build a landing page that converts:

  1. the Value of your offer
  2. the Impact of your offer
  3. building Trust in your offer
  4. using Design to lead to action

First, we look at the value of your offer.

1       the Value of your offer

It’s said that you have less than 8 seconds to make an impression. That means it is critical to get the unique value proposition (UVP) of your offer right up front. Your UVP should communicate the value of your offer and it should differentiate you from others in the marketplace. 

On a landing page, showcase your UVP in the headline and tagline, and in the body copy.  By addressing these SEO basics on your landing page, you also increase traffic to the site.  More traffic means more potential conversions.

The headline

The headline on your landing page should be concise and specific. You want it to compel the site visitor to act.  Headline the benefits of taking up the offer. Overcome any objections with a clever tagline Try to reinforce any implied urgency.

landing page mastery

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.

Just be sure to keep the headlines about the offer. A landing page is not the place to sell your brand. Stay in context with the content your visitors were consuming when they the clicked through.

The body copy

Body copy on a landing page that converts aligns with the headline and tagline.  It should focus on the benefits, results, and outcomes that can be expected from the offer.

Don’t bombard visitors with all the benefits of the offer. You only need to list as many as are necessary to move the visitor toward the call to action on the page.

Try to address any anxieties that may be plaguing your visitor.  They may be worried that your product or service won’t make a difference, that it won’t solve their problem. Let them know the offer will start them on the path toward a solution.

Address SEO

Although optimizing for search engines is not a critical factor for conversion success, it doesn’t hurt. Use relevant keywords in the headline and tagline. Sprinkle them in the body copy. Make sure the page name is using the same keywords. Optimize the meta description on the page for keywords.

Critical to building a landing page that converts is showcasing the Value of your offer – your Unique Value Proposition. Showcase the landing page UVP in the headline, tagline and the body copy. Optimize for search engines. 

2       the Impact of your offer

The whole point of a landing page is to compel your visitors to fill in a form and click a button to download something of value. So next it is the CTA and the form to think about for a landing page that converts.

The CTA

The whole point of the Call-to-Action (CTA) is to get the visitor to fill in the form and push the button.  A CTA of “Submit” may not be enough to compel action.

landing page mastery

You’ve only got a few words to get visitors to fill in the form. Choose them carefully.

What makes a CTA compel action?  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 can even add an incentive to convert, some added bonus for acting.

The Form

The form is focused on gathering information about your visitors.  The amount of information you can expect a visitor to give you is directly proportional to the value of the offer. 

It is easy to scare prospects by asking for too much.  To draw leads into the middle of the sales funnel, keep it simple.  Getting a name and an email address allows the conversation to begin.  Further into the funnel, when content is more valuable, you may be able to ask for more details.

As with all web content, make sure the form is mobile-friendly.

A critical factor in the design of an effective landing page is the call-to-action and the form.  A concise, compelling CTA and an appropriate form contributes to conversion.  Take some time to get it right.

3       building Trust in your offer

When designing a landing page that converts, getting people to exchange their contact details for your offer requires trust.  They need to trust the offer and trust that their privacy is ensured.  They want social proof that you are trustworthy, that your offer is worth it.  They also want to know they are not the only ones taking action.

landing page mastery

Effective landing pages always include trust-building elements.

Trust building elements can be in the form of testimonials, social sharing, photographs of actual customers, client logos, third-party certifications (trust badges), or even short case studies. 

Three of these are particularly effective at establishing trust: testimonials, images and video, and enabling social sharing.

Testimonials

Testimonials are powerful because you’re not the one saying nice things about your products.

Three things make a testimonial persuasive.  They persuade if they:

  1. mention a specific benefit your product offers;
  2. substantiate a claim you’ve made; and/or
  3. favorably compare your product to a competitor.

You may not find a customer that will testify to all three.  Use the best you have and make sure they relate to the specific offer on the page.

Images and video

Images and video help you connect on a more personal level.  Images capture a visitor’s attention and encourage them to stay on the page longer.  Use images and video to show snippets of the content on offer.  Perhaps a photo of actual customers.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Social sharing

Social sharing has emerged as another powerful trust element.  Be sure to allow sharing through all your social media channels.  The number of shares highlights your status as an industry expert among your visitors.

Trust is an important part of the buyer’s journey in every industry.  The water industry is no exception.  On a landing page, trust is established using trust-building elements such as:

  • testimonials,
  • social sharing,
  • photographs of actual customers,
  • client logos,
  • third-party certifications (trust badges), or even
  • short case studies.

Using elements like testimonials, images and videos, and social sharing on your landing pages will help build trust in your offers and in you company.

The final critical factor in designing a landing page is visual flow.  Your landing page has one goal: for the visitor to fill in the form and click the CTA button.  Accentuate your most important content by optimizing for scanning, using consistent design elements, and presenting easy-to-read copy.

4       using Design to lead to action

Your landing page should present a simple, easy way for your visitors to take the action they need to do to access the offer.  Keep it free of clutter.  No header, no sidebars.  The visitor should have no other option but to fill in form and click the CTA. 

Optimize for scanning

Readers tend to track across a page in an ‘F’ pattern.  They track left to right across the top of the page and then down the left side.  Attention then focusses on the final horizontal in roughly the middle of the page.  That’s where you want your CTA.

Make sure you keep all the important stuff above the fold because many visitors will not scroll down the page. Use dot points (more on this below) where possible.

Consistent design elements

Although you have removed the distractions associated with headers and sidebars, you need to keep the design of your landing page consistent with design of the site your visitor clicked through from.  This implies trust, that it is the same company site where they started.

Easy-to-read copy

Use plenty of white space so the bright color of the CTA button stands out.  White space relieves the reader’s eyes and provides contrast to company colors.

Dot points break up blocks of text and allows for skimming.  Use dot points to address anxieties and highlight benefits of taking up the offer.  Focus on the benefits.

By using design to lead the eye you present an easy way for your visitors to access your offer.  By optimizing for scanning, maintaining consistent design elements, and using easy-to-read copy your landing page will convert.

Conclusion

This post has demonstrated four things to think about when designing your next landing page.  Each factor has its job to do:

  1. the Value of your offer: the UVP should dominate the headline and tagline. They keep visitor on the page and move them further into the copy.
  2. the Impact of your offer: the CTA encourage action. Form fields reflect the value of the offer.
  3. building Trust in your offer: trust elements turn naysayers into believers
  4. using Design to lead to action: visual flow leads the visitor straight through to the CTA and form.

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.

Book a FREE Consultation! 

Lead magnets in the water industry: Why? What? How?

lead magnet checklist

If you’re going to give it away make it worth it. An 8-point checklist

Introduction

In the last few years, the term lead magnet has become a bit of a buzzword. But what exactly is a lead magnet? And why is everyone making such a big deal about it?

lead magnet checklist

Essentially, whenever a prospect lands on your website, your end-goal is to drive profitable action. But visitors are seldom ready to make a decision right away. They want useful and relevant resources and information. That’s where lead magnets come in.

When you use lead magnets, you give your prospects access to gated content. In return, they fill out a signup form on your site. Voila! They just joined your email list, which makes it much easier to engage with, and convert them into future buyers, through email marketing.

In this post, we’ll look at why you need a lead magnet, what kind of lead magnet to offer, and how to make sure your lead magnet meets its goal.

Why give stuff away?

You may be asking why you should develop something valuable just to give it away? You do it because a lead magnet is a piece of content that will draw in the type of leads you want to your business. It’s a way for you to identify potential customers.

lead magnet checklist

The main benefit of a lead magnet is to grow your email list. Your lead magnet must, therefore, be valuable enough for a person to give you their contact details in return. Once a person has given you permission to email them, you can start to build a relationship with them. Pure gold!

What to give away?

The type of lead magnets you offer will depend on your product and on your prospects. Some good types of lead magnets for the water industry are:

Useful and educational resources

Once you have identified a topic your audience wants more information about, develop a short, concise piece of content that educates and informs. Infographics are excellent useful and/or educational lead magnets when professional designed and presented.

Just keep content assets short and leave them wanting more. Leave them wanting more information they can only get from contacting you directly.

Cheat sheets, and checklists

Cheat sheets are popular because they save people time. They work similarly to a checklist, only cheat sheets have a more actionable nature to them.

lead magnet checklist

Both cheat sheets and checklists are useful if you’re sharing tips that help readers understand complex tasks for the first time.

When developing a either cheat sheet or a checklist, remember to keep things brief and concise. With this type of content, it’s not about telling a story, it’s about getting straight to the value of your offering.

Video training/tutorials

Video tutorials have been shown to boost your conversion rate as much as five times! There are technologies that make it easy to create a step-by-step video product in just minutes. Tutorials help customers understand a process or see how easy it is to use your product. An excellent choice for demonstrating your water and/or waste treatment processes.

Webinars

Webinars are another highly efficient and currently quite popular lead magnet. Regularly scheduled webinars encourage your visitors to learn more about your company, your products/services, and your business culture. Remember, avoid making it purely promotional. In fact, you must offer value before asking for commitment from your leads.

Software downloads/demos

If your product is more intangible, like software, think about offering free downloadables. By offering a trial or a slimmed-down software version, you can significantly increase your conversion rate. Make sure your visitors have to opt-in before downloading your free product.

Surveys and quizzes

Depending on your audience online, surveys and quizzes can be effective. They encourage prospects to test their skills, knowledge, or attitude. You get to ask them for their contact information while entertaining them. You can also gain valuable information about your audience with clever survey/quiz questions.

How do you know your lead magnet is good? 8-point checklist

You’ve decided you need a lead magnet to build your email list. You have picked the perfect type of lead magnet for your audience. The next step is to develop an effective offering. So, what makes a lead magnet good? This checklist explains the eight criteria of a successful lead magnet:

  1. It is specific

Your lead magnet must be ultra-specific to the audience you want it to engage. If your offering isn’t relevant to their wants and needs, they aren’t going to download it.

  • It focuses on one emotionally compelling idea

It is a common theme in content marketing: one emotionally compelling idea. Your lead magnet should engage your reader on an emotional level. Solve a problem – generate gratitude. Offer a useful resource that makes their job easier – build trust. Give them an engaging quiz – entertain them.

  • It will solve a problem

Successful lead magnets are focused on solving a problem for the reader. Make life for your prospects easier, better, smarter.

  • It is useful

The offering must have value – actual value. Solve a problem for your lead. Provide valuable information. Offer a demo or free trial. Make sure it is valuable enough to your audience from them to give you their email address.

  • It is actionable

Lead magnets should provide instant gratification. Solve a problem, entertain, or educate – just do it quick!

  • It is concise

Lead magnets are for quick consumption. The rule is no more than 5 minutes to experience the content. Leave them wanting more.

  • It shifts the relationship

When the reader trades their contact information for your lead magnet, they are demonstrating trust. Trust that you will value their connection. Trust that you will follow up with them.

  • It must have high perceived value

Just because you are giving something away, it shouldn’t look free. Design and formatting must look professional and of high perceived value.

Conclusion

If you want to build a relevant contact list and establish a relationship with your prospective customers, you need a lead magnet. Email marketing still delivers the highest ROI of any channel, so the quality and size of your contact list is extremely important.

With a lead magnet you give your prospects something they want for free. In return you get contact information to use in email campaigns. However, before creating your next lead magnet, ask yourself this question:

What can we give away for free that will make our prospective customers’ lives better?

If you can answer that, you’ve got a great idea for a lead magnet!

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 content. (Click here to see more details about my skills and experience).

Contact me to discuss your next content asset.


Book a FREE Consultation!

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!

Contact WaterCopy for all your content writing requirements.

CONTACT ME

Categories SEO

Get that company blog up and running in 4 weeks: Week 4: Awareness: Put up a more effective company blog

effective company blog


4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog

Introduction

Do you have an effective company blog?  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. You’ve made a plan and written your first post and put it up on the blog page of your website. Now what? It’s time to get it out there; get it liked, and shared. An effective company blog achieves its goal of building your list, increasing traffic to your website, or generating awareness of your solutions.

There are seven actions you can take today to make your company blog more effective.  Each one is just a small action, but they add up to a more effective company blog. In this last post of the series: Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks – 4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog, Week 4 we look at each action that makes for an effective company blog.

Week 4: Awareness: Put up a more effective company blog

An effective company blog helps build awareness of your solutions, your unique value proposition. Once your blog is up and running, there are seven actions you can take to increase the effectiveness of your blog. Let’s check them out, in no particular order.

Action #1. Name your author(s)

effective company blog

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. Even when working with a freelancer, make sure your writer understands the persona of the published author.

Blogging is a key element in establishing your company as thought leaders. Naming your authors provides a sound foundation to build on. Provide a short bio for each author, establishing their expertise.

Action #2. Keep the same domain name

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 – blog.companydomain.com or companydomain.com/blog.

Action #3. Enable subscribers with an RSS feed

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.

By enabling RSS feeds on your site, readers can subscribe to be notified when a new post goes up. 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 new lead.

Action #4. Maintain consistency and quality

effective company blog

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.

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.

Action #5. Encourage action with a CTA

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.

Action #6. Facilitate sharing on social media

Your blog should facilitate sharing with social share buttons. That way your readers can 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 can increase click-through rates by an astounding 55%!

There are several plug-ins that allow social sharing.  Be sure to include links to all your social media sites on your blog.

Action #7. Optimize for speed, mobile, and SEO

Speed

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.

Mobile

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

SEO

You want to ensure readers can find you through search engines.  Part of optimizing your blog is in optimizing your content.  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 company 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.

Conclusion

In Week 4 of building your company blog consider these seven actions you can take to increase the effectiveness of your company blog:

  1. Name your author(s)
  2. Keep the same domain name
  3. Enable subscribers with an RSS feed
  4. Encourage action with a CTA
  5. Maintain consistency and quality
  6. Facilitate sharing on social media
  7. Optimize for speed, mobile, and SEO

By taking these actions you will find your blog effectively:

  • increasing site traffic,
  • establishing your thought leadership and building awareness,
  • moving you up in the search rankings, and
  • helping convert 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.

CONTACT A BLOG PLANNER/WRITER

Get that Company Blog Up and Running in 4 Weeks – Week 3: How to write that company blog – 3 things about 3 things

write that company blog

4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog

Introduction

You’ve convinced management of the benefits of a consistent, quality company blog. You’ve written the blog plan. You have a production schedule, a list of topics, and a goal for each post. Now you need to write.  This can present a challenge, whether you like writing or not.  How does one go about writing a blog post?

Check out these 3 things about 3 things on how to write a post that gets clicked, read, and shared.

Week 3: How to write a blog – 3 things about 3 things

Thing 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.

1. Title/headline

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.

write that company blog

Research shows certain headlines catch readers’ attention better than others. The ever-popular How to…, is popular for a reason. It works! Other phrases work too:

  • The truth about… (e.g. The truth about clarifiers)
  • Facts you should know… (e.g. Seven facts you should know about aerators)

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:

  • including numbers,
  • adding an intriguing adjective, or
  • using action verbs.

Make sure the headline is specific. Your post is about a specific and emotionally-compelling idea. Keep the title specific too.

Keep the headline as short as possible. It’s best if it will fit in search results displays. Even before the internet, research proved a title of 8 words or less is most effective.

2. The body copy

Now it’s time to write the post. It helps to start with an outline, even for a short piece of content like a blog post.  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.

Two critical headings to use are the Introduction and the Conclusion. As with a good story, in the introduction you set the scene. You tell the reader what you’re going to tell them.  Follow with the body copy, subdivided into sections with headings and subheadings relevant to the topic.  This is where you tell them about the one big idea and the problem it solves. 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. Ask a question. Follow the discussion and contribute solutions.

3. The call-to-action

write that company blog

Finish every post with a call-to-action (CTA).  As a powerful top-of-the-funnel tactic, your blog is the perfect place to pull prospects further into the funnel. Tell your readers what to do next:

  • subscribe to your blog,
  • contact you, or
  • read about your product and services on your website.

Go back to your blog plan and check the goal for your blog. Make sure your CTA will help you achieve that goal.

Thing 2: Readability IS the new SEO

write that company blog

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:

1. Keep it concise 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 and stick to it. 

  • 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.

2. 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 they’re are right for the content. Using personal pronouns may not be appropriate in every situation.

3. Avoid jargon

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

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.

Be careful about words like very, really, actually, or carefully that 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 and avoid padding your text with words that serve no purpose.

Need help with readability? I’ve designed a plain language checklist that will help you write more readable content. You can download the checklist for free here: https://www.watercopy.com/checklist-readability/

Thing 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.

1. White space

Dense blocks of text can intimidate readers.  Clever use of white space – areas with no text or graphics – will lessen the stress. Keep paragraphs short and use line spacing to add a little white space between paragraphs.

Putting in a pull quotes add variety to the blog’s visual flow. Photos, graphs, charts, and tables add visual appeal while providing in-depth information in an eye-catching format.  Keep graphs and charts relatively simple.

2. 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.  It helps with SEO to optimize headings for keywords, where possible.

3. 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.

Conclusion

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 3 things about 3 things you can help to ensure your post will get clicked, read, and shared.

Do you have any tricks for writing great blog posts that readers love to read? Please share them here!

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.


CONTACT A BLOG PLANNER/WRITER

Get that Company Blog Up and Running in 4 Weeks – Week 2: Consistency: A company blog plan ensures success

company blog plan

4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog

Introduction

Although by nature blogs have a certain spontaneity about them, an effective company blog is meticulously planned and consistently executed.  Planning ensures you meet your marketing goals by publishing quality content on a regular schedule.  Your subscribers and interested readers want to know when they can expect new content from a source they have come to trust. 

company blog plan

The company blog plan sits within and supports your greater content marketing strategy.  However, a company blog is such a valuable marketing asset that it needs a plan of its own.  A plan that describes:

  • Why you blog – Goals
  • Who you blog to – Audience
  • What you blog about – Content
  • When you blog – Schedule
  • How you blog – Promotion

This post will examine each step in building a company blog plan that ensures success.

Week 2: Consistency: A company blog plan ensures success

Why you blog – Goals

The first step in any plan is to set goals.  In a blog plan, goals for the blog should support the company’s business goals as well as the goals of your strategic content marketing plan.  Goals like building your list, increasing traffic to your website, or establishing thought leadership.  By establishing goals and objectives for your blog in general, and for each individual blog, allows you to understand what success looks like.

Who you blog to – Audience

To be effective at generating awareness, you need to understand your audience. Market research helps you define your audience and assess your competitors.  The more you learn about your audience, the better able you’ll be to provide the content they want.  By understanding your competitors, you can craft better content to gain that critical edge.

Audience research

Getting to know your target audience is key to crafting relevant content.  You need to learn what:

  • people expect from blogs in your niche;
  • kind of content do they find useful and exciting;
  • benefits do they expect to receive from your blogs; and
  • makes them tick and compels them to keep coming back for more.

It may not be easy to define your target audience when you have no blog subscribers.  One way to get an idea of what your audience wants is to conduct a survey.  Ask what your audience wants more information about.  Ask what they like about your blog and what other blogs they like.

Competitive analysis

As well as understanding your audience you need to understand your competition.  How are they promoting their content?  What are they blogging about?  By having an insight into their content strategy, you can fine-tune your own.  Find your own unique voice in your niche.  You can only do that if you know the competition.

What you blog about – Content

While there are many sources of ideas for topics to blog about, you can boost your search results by using keywords to come up with topics.  That means carrying out keyword research.

Keyword analyzers

Start with your main keyword.  Keyword analyzers, such as Google AdWords, suggest keyword combinations and then rank them on the number of searches a month that used that combo.  You then check out related words and terms.  Search on semantically-related words as well, such as the individual components of water treatment systems.

company blog plan

Long-tail keywords – 3 to 4-word phrases, will get you less traffic but more targeted searchers.  When they find your page, they are more likely to become a lead because the search was more focused.

Search engines

You can also find keywords and phrases through the auto suggest from a Google search.  When you type in a keyword or phrase, a dropdown list will display previous search phrases. 

At the bottom of the Google search page is another source of keywords.  Google provides a list of other search terms and phrases that are similar to the current one.

By basing the topics on keywords and featuring the focus keyword in page titles, headers, alt tags, and images you can optimize your blog for search engines.  Be sure to provide links back to your power pages – products and services, and a call-to-action that encourages further engagement.

Your team

Another important resource for topics is your sales team. Find out what questions customers and leads are being asking, what problems they are facing? Join and follow forums in your niche, paying attention to problems being discussed. Check these against your keyword phrases. You may find many parallels.

When you blog – Scheduling

company blog plan

The production schedule for your company blog fits into content calendar of your greater strategic content marketing plan. Plan to post weekly to start but that is really a minimum.  Hubspot found that B2B businesses who blog at least 20 times per month have five times more traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.  Just keep it at a frequency you can maintain consistently.

You may want to plan posts in a series with a contextual lead magnet at end of each.  Be sure each post is based on one compelling idea, and that all posts compel your audience to read the next post, and to ultimately to download the lead magnet.

How you blog – Promotion

The whole point of a blog is to get your posts read by as many people as possible.  That requires promotion.  The first place to post you blogs is on your company website, of course.  But there are other ways to get your information out to your audience. 

Share each post on all your social media channels with a link back to your website.  Have your employees send it out to their networks.  Send updates out to your email list with links to your recent post.

Consistently publishing quality content is important. Be sure to get it read by as many people as possible by promoting it effectively.

Conclusion

An effective company blog is meticulously planned and consistently executed. To make it work, you need a company blog plan. A plan that describes:

  • Why you blog – Goals
  • Who you blog to – Audience
  • What you blog about – Content
  • When you blog – Schedule
  • How you blog – Promotion

Implement this plan consistently and reap the rewards!

The next post in the series: Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks – 4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blogWeek 3: How to write your blog with your reader in mind – 3 tips, explains how to write a blog that gets read and shared.

Do you have a blog plan? Is it documented and implemented?

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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Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks: Week 1: Benefits: How to sell it to management

company blog benefits

4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog

Introduction

Why bother with a company 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.

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. 

company blog benefits

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.

The first step in establishing an effective company blog is to sell it to management. It is essential that the blog is adequately resourced so consistency and quality is maintained. In this first port in the series: How to Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks – 4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog, we identify four key benefits that will sell your blog idea to management.

Week 1: Benefits: How to sell it to management

Your company blog is 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:

  1. Increasing traffic to your website
  2. Building awareness of your solutions
  3. Moving your company website up the search engine list
  4. Converting leads through Call-to-Actions.

Let’s look at each in a bit more detail.

1:      Increasing traffic to your website

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’s status with search engines too.

2:      Building awareness of your solutions

By sharing information, you to build awareness of your company, your solutions.  A blog is the perfect place to do just that.  Think about what problems your target audience is facing and the solutions available.  With a consistent, engaging blog, your company is more likely to come to mind when a solution is required. 

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.

3:      Moving your company website up the search engine 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 consistently.

company blog benefits

Optimize each blog for keywords by developing blog topics around industry-specific keywords.  Be aware though, ‘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 that SEO is not limited to keywords anymore.  Search engines now assess the readability of content.  The idea is that readers prefer content that is easy to read.  You can improve the readability and visual appeal of your company blog with a few simple tricks. Writing a readable blog will be covered in Week 3: How to Write a Blog with Your Reader in Mind – 3 tips.

4:      Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

Blogs are a classic example of a top-of-sales-funnel tactic.  Prospects who 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.

company blog benefits

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.

Conclusion

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 publish that information.

In the water industry there are many reasons to love your company blog.  The big four are:

1:    Increasing traffic to your website

2:    Building awareness of your solutions

3:    Moving your company website up the search engine list

4:    Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

A company blog is a cost-effective way to raise awareness at the top of the sales funnel. The trick, of course, is to post informative and interesting content consistently.  The second post in the series: How to Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks – 4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blogWeek 2: Consistency: How to plan a company blog that works, 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 planning and writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss all your blogging needs!


CONTACT A BLOG PLANNER/WRITER

Marketing with White Papers: Secret #4: Six Essential Channels to Promote your White Paper

promote your white paper

Four secrets that guarantee white paper success

Introduction

Is your white paper being downloaded, read, shared? No? You need to promote your white paper to ensure its success. As content marketing tactics go, white papers are a sizable investment.  You want to make sure your white paper does its job.  That means you need to actively promote your white paper.

Promote your white paper

It is important that the marketing team understands that the more effort they invest in promoting a white paper, the more likely it is that it will succeed. Make sure the marketing team is in on the white paper planning process from the start. Make sure the team is thinking about promotion all the way through the white paper process.

There are many ways to promote your white paper but the six we discuss here are essential for a credible Return-on-Investment. In this fourth post in the series: Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, Secret #4 describes six essential channels to promote your white paper.

Secret #4: 6 Six Essential Channels to Promote your White Paper

Essential to marketing your white paper is a landing page. A landing page is a page on your website to send interested readers to when they want to download your white paper. The landing page advertises the white paper and has a contact form for the prospect to fill in. With a first name and email address you can start the conversation.

Once the landing page is in place it’s time to promote your white paper. There are many ways to get the paper out there but six stand out as essential channels. To ensure white paper success, use all six essential channels to promote your white paper.

1.    Promote it on your company website

The obvious place to start to promote your white paper is on your company website.  Feature the white paper prominently on the home page with a call-to-action button that links to the white paper landing page.

Your company blog is another powerful way to advertise the white paper.  Write a series of posts about your white paper, ready to send out, weekly, at a minimum. You might blog about:

  • the upcoming white paper launch, then
  • a brief summary of the problem the white paper addresses, then
  • a post about the innovative solution the white paper presents, then
  • a summary of the entire paper.

Always include a CTA that ends up on the white paper landing page. Write the posts in a way that will entice prospects to download the whole paper. Remember, though, that even if only the blogs are read, it will continue to build awareness of your brand, your solution.

2.    Promote it in your regular newsletter

Another excellent channel to promote your white paper on is your company newsletters.  Place an ‘ad’ in the sidebar of the first page of the newsletter.  Have a compelling button that again links to that all-important landing page.

Promote your white paper

You could write a small article that summarizes the white paper and place it in the newsletter. It is also a good idea to arrange for your white paper to be mentioned in your channel partners’ newsletters.

3.    Promote it via email

Email is a cost-effective way of promoting your white paper.  You can:

  • e-mail it to your sales force to educate them in the key benefits.
  • e-mail it to your channel partners – your distributors and dealers.  They too will benefit from understanding all the features and benefits of the new product or service.
  • e-mail it to your house list of prospects and clients. 

When emailing through your channel partners, send a link to the white paper landing page so you can collect new leads. When you email your inhouse list, send the pdf as an attachment to keep your solution top of mind.

4.    Promote it on social media

Speaking of sharing, social media is another essential promotion for your white paper.  Post a link to your landing page on LinkedIn and announce it to any appropriate LinkedIn groups. Tweet about it on Twitter! Place links on all your social media sites, always linking back to the landing page on your website. 

Every time you blog about your white paper (see # 1 above), post a link to the blog on all social media channels. Include an enticing tidbit to get readers to your blog and the CTA.

5.    Promote it externally

There is nothing wrong with the old favorites.  Press releases are still effective at spreading the word.  Go ahead, publish a press release about it. 

  • Send the press release, along with a copy of the white paper, to journalists who cover your space.
  • Send the press release, along with a copy of the white paper, to bloggers who cover your space.

Don’t forget, there are sites where you can post your white paper for free.  Use all available channels.

6.    Promote it through internal and personal networking

Promoted internally, white papers can educate your sales team.  That sales team is then better able to promote the white paper! Beautiful.

A slide deck and presentation based on white paper content is effective for educating and networking. The same presentation given to the sales team can be presented at networking events, like association meetings, conferences, workshops.  All great places to promote the white paper.

Conclusion

Your white paper won’t achieve its goals if it is not actively promoted.  In this post in the series: Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, Secret #6 identifies six essential channels to promote your white paper:

1.    Promote it on your company website

2.    Promote it in your regular newsletter

3.    Promote it via email

4.    Promote it on social media

5.    Promote it externally

6.    Promote it through internal and personal networking

For a successful white paper, you need to maintain the push.  You must promote for months to get full value out of your white paper.  Promote strongly right up to when the next white paper is released.

This series, Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, will help you ensure your next white paper is a resounding success:

Secret #1: The right white paper at the right time

Secret #2: The white paper plan

Secret #3: How to write a white paper

Secret #4: Six Essential Channels to Promote your White Paper

Are you looking for a white paper writer for your next product launch? Why not hire an expert?

A persuasive white paper, special report, or e-book uses simple language to explain complex solutions.  I understand the science and technology behind your product, your services.  I can translate that complexity into easy-to-read content for a lay audience.

I know when to leave the jargon in and when to take it out.

Contact me to plan your next successful white paper!

CONTACT A WHITE PAPER WRITER