Category Archives: Writing for Attention

Sales Presentation: Engage Your Audience

Presentation skills

Seven ways to improve customer presentations:

  1. Provide a “Want” – not an Info Dump!  Be conscious of making sure the audience comes away with information that has value to them and not just pontificate of your knowledge. Give them just enough information that makes them “want”more – your products, services, expertise, a follow-up meeting, etc.
  2. Lead them with numbers. Tell your audience where your presentation is going. For example list 3-5 main points, tell them what you are going to tell them, and number the points! People like numbered lists because they know what to expect, where you are in the presentation, and it also helps them to better remember your presentation points.
  3. Create 3 basic parts to the presentation:  1. Introduction. 2. Content (which should contain 3-5 numbered points). 3. Conclusion: tell them what you told them.
  4. Communicate nuggets of info. Keep it simple. Make sure each point has an intro and conclusion so the audience can take away identifiable nuggets of information. It also makes it easier for people to take notes and retain the main points of your speech.
  5. presentation tipsTake your audience on a journey. After quoting a fact or a statistic to validate a point, engage the audience with a metaphor or tell a personal story. It makes it easier for the audience to understand and remember your points.
  6. Create a great first impressions at the podium. Looking to the back of the room, and slowly side to side lifts your head up higher and gives the impression you are confident and knowledgeable about the topic you are presenting. Avoid darting your eyes back and forth and around the room –it makes it appear that you are looking for a way to escape.
  7. Use vocal variety and pauses. Vocal variety shows passion as a speaker. It’s like a hit song that has a melody and a chorus, soft and loud –and just the opposite of a monotone presentation. Vocal variety creates subliminal dynamics that keeps the listener interested and engaged.
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5 Blog Tips that Get Results.

  1. Blog best practiceThe title needs to contain the “keywords” that people use when searching for your blog topic. the closer the keyword is to the front of the title, the better the SEO results.
  2. Repeat the keywords in the text. Once the title is set, the keywords need to be used in the blog at least three times.
  3. SEO for phrases and keywordsSearch engines will show about the first 40 characters of a title, depending on spaces and punctuation. To make sure the audience knows what the blog is about, put the key info in the front 40. (The length of this blog title is 38 characters).
  4. Reader attention span: The blog needs to be more than just interesting to read, it needs to consider the interest level and the state-of-mind of the audience reading your blog. Go easy on the story telling – I recommend getting to the point very quickly because people are busy and most likely want answers – quickly!
  5. blogsHow long is the ideal blog? About 250 word is ideal – this one is 250. Extremely short and long blogs are not SEO ranked as high as blogs around this optimum length. Plus, the average length of time people spend reading a blog is around 90 seconds. A longer blog of around 350 words gives those who want detail to get their fill, shorter blogs around 150-200 words are more “newsy” and people typically will read the entire thing. So it will be best to mix the length up a bit.

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!