Category Archives: Writing for Attention

Are you a political news addict? Here’s how “the addiction” engages the audience.

CNN news I am a political news addict, and I’m trying to kick the habit. There I admitted it. News addiction? I did some research – and here’s the most powerful drug ever: the visceral gut feelings of outrage relieved by the most powerful emotions of all . . . the thrill of your tribe’s victory over its enemy and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Movies and TV shows use that psychological formula to engage the audience – so why the news?
Because it’s done for ratings: The outcomes of news debates are carefully fixed by the producers – whether you watch CNBC, CNN or Fox news – it’s fixed so the home team has the best chance to win. That keeps viewers coming back again and again, which means more advertising dollars. How to apply that addiction to social media marketing? Stay tuned, it’s a little later in this blog.
Neuroscience has known for years that “news junkies” or “political junkies” were in fact addicts… junkies …who got their addictive dopamine hit from the emotional roller coaster of unbridled outrage followed by the dopamine releasing experience derived from the thrill of watching the victory over your ideological enemy tribe.
Does your product appeal to everyone? Does your product have an enemy you can identify? Can you target a specific demographic that can emotionally side with your product versus your competitions product or service? Can you develop a tribe-like addiction to your services or products?
Are you or your client are willing to play an aggressive role, like a politician or news channel, and possibly at the expense of “your brand?”  If so, then just maybe you can create addicts to your services or products. I’m not condoning the approach, just engaging news addicts …

3 ways to create a better blog title, the difference between a good and bad blog title, and why should you care about a blog title?

best presentationsTo pull in your audience, create a compelling title to your blog that is On Fire!

3 ways – 1. List a “number” of reasons, 2. offer comparisons or concerns, and 3.  the “why should” approach. They are effective because they make a very specific promise of what’s coming.

Here are  two blog topics by a law firm client of mine, (one on elder law, the other on estate planning), and both topics use three different approaches to create engaging titles.

List Approach: 

  1. 3 ways the elderly are now protected by law
  2. 5 reasons to review your estate planning now

Comparison or Concerns:

  1. Are the elderly better served in civil or criminal cases?
  2. The pros and cons of estate planning

“Why Should…” titles:

  1. Why should we care about elder laws?   
  2. Why should you worry about your estate’s assets?

How these “simple tricks” get your emails read.

Whether you’re a millennial or an old dog, here are some easy and new tricks to get higher readership out of your emails.

tricks to writing emails

This blog’s subject line (which could also be an email), uses these 7 tricks that are likely to get more readership:
  1. Putting quotation marks around a phrase or statement increases readership
  2. The word “How” makes people think (rightly) that they will get some advice.
  3. The word “these” makes the advice sound specific.
  4. “Simple” makes it sound easy – and the word “easy” in the subhead also increases readership – because people hate hard work.
  5. “Tricks” makes it seem easy as well.
  6. The phrase “get your emails read” increases readership because it makes the sentence active – that simple approach does the trick.
  7. The word “your” helps, too, because people are interested in themselves.
Eight more tricks you can use …

marketing tricks1. When providing a list, use numbers instead of bullets to increase readership. Readers typically finish reading a numbered list to see if something resonates with them – and refer to the number of solutions or tips like I did using the number “7.”

2. Use the words “you” or “your” it’s certain to increase readership.

3. But that’s not all. (Use bold text for subheads or as an introduction to paragraphs like I did in this long-winded blog – it breaks up lengthy text and creates more visual interest).

Getting people to read your text4. The subhead needs to encourage people to start reading your full story – it’s a bit like an appetizer in a restaurant.

5. Does the use of questions keep people reading?  Yes, because they suggest answers to come, so does a list of specific examples – because when someone suggests something to you, you often say to yourself, “What do you mean?”

6. Did you notice that the paragraphs in this blog vary in length? One is only nine words long. The mind enjoys variety, and the empty spaces allows the eyes to rest.

7. “Use simple words everyone knows. Then everyone will understand.”

email tricks for readership8. Should the writing style be the same as casual chat? Typically it’s more formal – but writing is really nothing more than a well-organized speech. And when you write you have time to think things out and arrange them in ways you cannot in the rush of a speech.

Wether you are new to the game or an old dog learning new tricks, keep your message simple and to the point – because people have little time to dig for what they are looking for.

 

Features, Benefits and Advantages: Finally – the differences explained.

Business writing

When writing text for a company’s products, clearly communicate the value and benefits of a product.  Figure out what the benefits and advantages really are, and don’t just creatively describe the features as given to you by the company’s engineers.  Most copywriters and marketers don’t differentiate between features, benefits and advantages because it’s like pulling teeth to figure out why a customer needs a product and why they should buy it. Yes, it takes time to think that out, but think how long it took to design and develop the product – and the marketing of the product is just as important as the product itself, so it needs proper marketing effort for the product to sell.

You should know thisThe difference between the features, benefits and advantages:

A Feature is the function of a product – specifically what it can do.

A Benefit is why a product’s feature is desired, needed or a good thing.

An Advantage is why someone should buy the product and why it is a better choice than the competition.

Here’s a simple example of using the above definitions:

kayakFeature: This kayak is made out of hardened fiberglass
Benefit: So it won’t ever leak or break
Advantage: Meaning you can take on more extreme rapids than ever before

So many times I see the features of a product called a benefit, and or features mixed in with benefits and written under the heading of benefits. Clearly communicate the differences between a Feature, Benefit and an Advantage – and let the follow-up info for responses to inquiries be used to fill in additional information on the features. Give customers a reason the product is needed and is better value than the competition’s product.

My New Year Message …

NewYear2016-Gary

The New Year marks a time for reflecting on the past year and contemplating what we learned from the last 365 days to make the coming year even better. Yes, it’s a time to celebrate past success, but it’s also a time for bold moves and fresh starts. It’s a time for dreams and friendships both old and new. It’s an opportune time to raise a toast to those who share your business success and those who cherish your personal happiness and hopes for the future.

The New Year marks a new beginning. New people to meet, new adventures to enjoy, and new memories to create. Here’s wishing you the gift of peace and prosperity throughout 2016, and wishing you a Happy New Year!

10 best tips for email marketing (1 of 3)

Email marketing tips 1-3 of 10 best 1. The first email. First and most important is that the very first email that goes out establishes and communicates the purpose of the email. If it doesn’t communicate value, some recipients might consider it intrusive, unsubscribe or worse – label it as spam. Attention to detail is important. (If you want to develop a consumer email base, provide a sign-up form on your website and  social media sites with an incentive such as a discount coupon for signing-up to build your list. Email tips for business Email-opt-out2. Provide an Opt-out option and a Forward button. It’s frustrating for customers to get emails they don’t want and can’t easily unsubscribe to, plus it’s legally required to do so at the bottom of each marketing email. Bonus – provide a “forward” button so that the recipient can forward the email to another person in the company that might be an appropriate person to also get the email, as well as providing a link for them to also subscribe to the emails. Make sure your business emails are mobile friendly3. Make sure the email is mobile-friendly. Many people these days read their emails on phone and tablets to check in while they are at lunch, after work or waiting somewhere – and are doing so to kill time. It’s an opportunity if the email can easily be read on a mobile device – if it’s interesting to them they will know to read the email on their computer when they get back to the office. If the text is to small they will skip to the next email, if the pictures are not optimized (taking to long to load), they will skip to their next email and may automatically delete it when they get back to the office. Mobile-friendly email many times get read twice – and it doesn’t cost any extra to make it mobile-friendly. Also important, if there is a call-to-action, make sure you link it to text and not a photo that may not have downloaded correctly. If you need help with your email marketing program, click here to drop me an email.

5 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2015

social media analytics

 Use advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms

My social media marketing predictions for 2015 should be your resolutions …

1. Digging Deeper into Data. Using advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms is key in knowing what to write about as well as knowing your visitor’s likes, shares, engagements, demographics, etc. Making the most of your metrics will help you identify the right prospects and pinpoint the right offers at the right time.

2. Eliminate Advertising-based Content. Over and over again I see companies writing blogs that are just product descriptions and – essentially just a landing-place to copy and paste content from data sheets. Write to your customer’s needs, not just what you are selling. Content Marketing is all about providing content that has value to consumers. It can offer practical information, tell a touching story, or be outrageously hilarious. It should forge emotional connections that nudge people toward the business that rolls out the content. Make your content stand out in 2015 by performing thorough keyword research, present new information, offer something innovative, and distribute it to your customer base effectively.

3. Being Candid and Honest. Zig Ziglar once said, “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” TTransparencyhe same principle rings true for current marketing trends. The best brands will give an accurate and real-time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.

4. Social Media Connections. Your target customers have some traits in common, but that doesn’t mean that they all are the same entity. People want to feel they are part of a group, crave connection, and participate with others of like-mind. Consumers buy from friends – companies can be perceived as a friend by sounding more personal in their writing styles. When you are writing, talk to your customers and future clients like each one really matters, because they do.  
Personal Social media marketing 5. Personalization. One way to send personal messages is via triggered emails. When a customer joins your rewards program or signs up for your newsletter, send a warm welcome. You can even include a special freebie or stellar discount. On your customers’ special dates, such as birthdays – send a friendly greeting. These automated messages can make recipients feel that you care about them.


No one can say for certain what the future holds, but the current direction of marketing shows that the above trends will impact marketing in 2015. Expect marketing to move strongly in a digital direction and focus on transparency, technology, personalization, and quality.