The One Thing that Drives Success

The One Thing that Drives Success

What’s the one thing every business needs to do in order to be successful?

(Hint) It also seems to be one of the hardest things to do.

Answer:
Determine what makes your business different from the competition so that every communication promotes those unique capabilities, and you attract ideal customers.

Do you know what your unique differentiators are that make prospects want to buy from you – and only you? 

Let me ask you this. When someone asks you what is different about your business, do you:

  • Have an immediate answer of about 20-30 words long?
  • Does your answer address the top pain point for your ideal customer?

If not, read on.

Differentiating your business makes it memorable and credible. It helps your prospects quickly understand what you do and what sets you apart from your competitors. This unique difference is also known as your value proposition and should be the basis of all your marketing.

A Great Tip for Differentiation

Promote your core value. To do this, of course, you have to know what your core value is. For us, it’s Writing the Words that Sell our Customers’ Products and Services.

Google’s core value is organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.

In contrast to most other companies that focus on profit, Disney focuses on the intangibles that make the Disney brand unique and distinct. The core value for their theme parks is to create happiness by providing the best in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere.

What is your core value and how can you share your values with your ideal customers, thereby setting yourself apart from the competition? I would love to hear from you.

How to Create Thought Leadership Content

How to Create Thought Leadership Content

Thought leadership builds trust in your audience. It elevates your company and your industry to a higher level of thinking about the problems your customers face.

Thought leadership content is insightful, quality-focused, and takes more time and effort than even the best regular blog post.

Thought leadership is more than just good. It seeks to drive change.

When Are You Ready to Delve into the Magnificent World of Thought Leadership Content?

When you want to grow your brand and have a unique perspective on the marketplace.

There isn’t a formula for writing great thought leadership content, just like there isn’t one formula for creating a great soufflé.

Thought leadership is one of the most powerful ways for brands to establish authority and grow … to boost brand awareness and increase market share.

Typically, they are longer than the normal blog post – but not always. Sometimes they cite other key authorities and include quotes. They are always well researched and meaty.

Add to the Conversation

Thought leadership is a superb way to build a brand and set it apart in the marketplace.

It takes time and effort, but is generally well worth it.

Your company website is the perfect place to house thought leadership content and establish your business as an innovator and leading source of information. By providing insight, guidance, and encouragement, you build trust while adding  value to your community and customers.

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

I take delight in meeting deadlines and delivering projects on time. I know it’s weird. But I truly like being organized and I’m a dedicated planner. As you can imagine this is an invaluable skill when writing copy for small businesses – often several projects at a time.

How do I project manage? It’s my Measure Twice; Cut Once Plan

1. I lay out a detailed editorial calendar that tells my client’s story and brings readers to a conclusion and a decision. I work backwards from the publishing date and measure the time it will take for each step leading up to that date (first measurement). And then I confirm all deadlines with the marketing team (measure twice).

2. The delightful part is that once that calendar is finalized, I only have to cut through the details once, without having to re-negotiate deadlines along the way. I’m happy. The client is happy.

As a business owner, you may not be creating all of your own content. Or maybe you are and, if so, this is even more important for you. In either event, you need to ensure that the people who are writing for you are on target and on time. The creation of an editorial calendar is an outstanding way to begin.

And if you would like a copy of one of my editorial templates, click here now.

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project.
No obligation, of course.

I Get Criticized for this ALL the Time

I Get Criticized for this ALL the Time

I interrupt people. I know. It’s a horrible habit – which I’ve tried to break. And I’ve apologized over and over.

There is one time, however, that interrupting is a good thing – and that is in business writing. It’s a professional copywriter’s technique called pattern interrupt. And it will dramatically increase the chances of getting your sales letters and proposals read all the way to the end.

Here’s The Idea

When was the last time you listened to the seat belt announcement on an airplane?

Most of us ignore it completely. Couldn’t tell you what was said. If you are used to seeing or reading something a certain way over and over again, you get trained to ignore it.

It’s the same thing in business writing. Readers expect paragraph after paragraph after paragraph. They get bored and go on autopilot. You don’t want that. You want reader’s attention. Break the pattern and insert things like testimonials, sidebars, and callouts throughout your narrative that temporarily interrupts the pattern. I promise it will help keep your readers attention all the way to the end.

P.S. When you’re looking to take the sales performance of your landing pages … squeeze pages … emails … sales letters … ads … websites … videos … content marketing … and other online and offline promotions to the next level … just call me at 917-670-3554 or email me the details to Claire@Clairestoddard.com. No obligation, of course.

Hogs, Jogs, and The Power of Blogs

Hogs, Jogs, and The Power of Blogs

For the past few days, I have been waking up and writing blog posts for my Jigsaw publication.

As a business owner, I know you know the importance of staying in front of your customer. Whether you’re a hog farmer or sell running shoes, your customers have to be reminded of your existence all the time. There is nothing better (and cheaper) than a consistent email campaign or blog to stay in front of your customer.

One Snag

This does require creating a ton of content. However, there are a few things you can do to create and keep track of content so that you don’t drop off the cliff in a month.
 

  1. Brainstorm all the topics about which your customers would like information. Be sure that these topics relate to your business so that you have the creds. to offer advice.
  2. Categorize the topics. This makes it easier when you’re writing. Once you’ve written one tip on email marketing, for instance, it doesn’t take a lot of time to write a second tip.
  3. Select low-hanging fruit. For which topics do you already have easily-obtainable information – emails, articles, employee expertise, etc.? Write these first.
  4. Create an editorial calendar and map out a realistic publishing schedule in advance
  5. Include calls to action for every blog post – whether a link to another piece of free information, a product for sale, or an invitation for a free consultation.
  6. 2 productivity hacks that work:
    • Go someplace where there are no distractions – I don’t write in Starbucks, for instance;
    • Take regularly scheduled breaks for 15-20 minutes, usually after every 60 or 90 minutes of writing. I actually set an alarm clock to remind me to stop. This does 2 things – it gives me something to look forward to so that I keep writing and it clears my head so that I can write more. Plus it makes the whole process more fun!

P.S. If you would like to talk to me about writing your blog or newsletter, give me a call. I love writing this stuff. 917-670-3554

5 Things to Look For When Hiring a Copywriter

5 Things to Look For When Hiring a Copywriter

The heart and soul of marketing is the sales copy.

Writing compelling, congruent, persuasive sales copy is a skill, hard-earned over time.

“Great copywriting gets readers focused on the message, and then
deftly carries them along on an emotional journey – cleverly disguised
as the presentation of facts – until it delivers them at the choice point (to buy, or not to buy), ready to make a commitment.”
-Entrepreneur Magazine

When it comes to great copywriting, it is better to hire a professional copywriter – unless you think you have the time, energy, and flair to give it a try yourself.

The question is, who do you hire and how do you know it will be a good fit and you’ll get your money’s worth?

So let’s cut to the chase.

Here are 5 top things you should look for – and some of this might surprise you.

  1. First of all, a great copywriter needs to have stellar SALES writing skills. They need to know how to write with a marketing twist. This is different than writing books, or articles, or white papers. Sales copywriting, sometimes called direct response copywriting, is a very specific specialty. You need to determine if the copywriter you’re considering has a marketing and sales orientation.
  2. A great copywriter needs to have excellent RESEARCH skills.
  3. They must be able to write with EMPATHY – to really be able to speak to the emotions of your buyer and demonstrate an understanding of the user experience.
  4. They need to be able to create something NEW and IMPACTFUL, even if it’s old news.
  5. Most of all, copywriters tell stories – your story, which requires CREATIVE MINDS and the ability to spin a narrative – even for the most technical business.

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project.
No obligation, of course.

It’s Come to This!

It’s Come to This!

We’re all marketing to goldfish.

The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.

Human beings lose interest after 8 seconds.

That’s right – the digital age has left us all with less focus than goldfish.

And every single minute there are:

  • 1400 new blog posts
  • 204 million emails
  • 2.5 million new social media shares
  • 277,000 tweets
  • 72 hours of new video on YouTube

How can you possibly compete? It is almost overwhelming to grab and keep reader attention for more than 8 seconds.

But it can be done – by following 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Grab attention with a splashy headline (punchy … provocative)
Step 2: Keep attention with a killer first paragraph
Step 3: Follow the 3-sentence rule (no more than 3 sentences in each paragraph)
Step 4: Use images and graphs
Step 5: Abide by the 3S’s – short sentences, short paragraphs, simple words

PS. And now congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to make it through this article. 😊

Not quite sure whether your copy is breaking through the constant barrage of content every minute?

My Copy Critique Service can help you eliminate mistakes, strengthen headlines and copy, and launch your campaign with greater confidence. Just call me at 917-670-3554 or email me the details to Claire@Clairestoddard.com for a free estimate. No obligation, of course.

I Trust You

I Trust You

Question: How do you attain the exalted position of trusted advisor and preferred service provider?

Answer: Regularly and consistently create compelling, information-rich content; e.g., articles, blogs, presentations that:

  • Clearly demonstrate your expertise
  • Add significant value and knowledge to your reader
  • Encourage sharing of content
  • Leave an indelible impression that you are an authority in your field

And then send them to your entire list and post them on your website, social media pages and groups. You will be amazed how quickly your reputation is enhanced.