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April 29, 2017

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida Business

How to overcome 'writer's block' when creating marketing content

Ron Stein | 4/10/2017

In business, writing is one of the best ways to inform your audience, engage them, and stay top of mind. It isn’t an option. It’s essential and the essence of content marketing.

But, sometimes when writing, you just get stuck. It goes like this: You sit down to begin writing and stare at the computer screen or off into space. And stare. And stare some more. (I know how you feel -- it’s like eating a thick piece of chewy rye toast, dry without jelly!) So you put it off to another day. Good luck with that!

Blogging, social media, email newsletters, internal reports -- a column like this -- all require you to sit down and get it done. Even speeches, presentations, and video have words in the form of carefully considered scripts.

In sales and marketing, "writer's block" can stifle business. How can you jump-start your brain?

Content marketing is the art of providing relevant, useful, and occasionally eye-opening information to your buyers without selling or interrupting them.

Rule number one is NOT to write about you or you company -- unless it’s a story with a clear connection for the reader. That connection can be emotional or related to solving their pain. If not, then you risk putting your reader’s brain on defense and they’ll shut you out.

Sure, your product or service is great and is exactly what’s needed to help your target audience get what they really want and achieve world domination too.

Yet, you can’t write about that too often which eliminates your favorite topic. Now what? Here are some tips about how (and why) to create content and get the creative juices flowing.

Why great companies provide useful content. Before jumping into what to write, you need to know the why to guide you. The simple answer is to get a following that sees you and your business as the go-to, trusted source in your market or industry. Once that happens, people will share what you’ve written, come back for more, and buy your stuff. Having those eyeballs on your company is one of the most valuable assets you can have. The neat thing here is you can do that without writing about your products or services -- but it has to be interesting to your specific audience. Assuming you’ve done a deep dive on your target persona, you know what they like and hate, what they’re curious about, if they travel for fun or just business, if there’s a sense of adventure in their soul, are couch potatoes or tend to be fanatical outdoors types, an on and on. Create content that resonates with people, but not just any “people.” Write for your audience like they’re your best friends.

Offer a solid mix of help, facts and opinions. Just don’t write about your business! This is where most people will tell me I’ve gone off the deep end. Yes, you should write about the issues that affect your buyers. The key here is to focus on them, not you. Talk about the questions and concerns your audience have that affect them. You and your company are the go-to experts in your field, so act like it! It’s OK to give your views. I do it all the time! And mix it up a bit with Tweets, blog posts, and articles that have nothing to do with your business and industry. Don’t apologize; when you understand your buyers as well as you do -- you know what edges to push and how to say it.

Also, it's important to develop a genuine, and distinct, tone of voice. You’ll stand out in your market and your particular audience will take note. This is how you can shape the opinion of your audience, as they get to know, like, and ultimately trust you. No more boring and dry writing for you!

High-value content ideas. Demystify or bust a common myth about your industry. Write a review of a great book you read or a seminar you attended, its impact, and how it changed your way of doing things as a result. Conduct an interview of someone interesting and write it up in a short Q&A format. Mention a post by a popular blogger in your niche and stir up some controversy by respectfully taking a contrary position. Conduct a survey and report on the results -- on your market as well as non-business topics of interest to you audience. Share big industry or company news and reflect on how that affects your outlook and mission to serve your customers. Instead of dull staff profiles, include a glimpse of the people inside your company with what they do for fun and adventure outside of the office, with photos. Talk about trends. Tweet about some of your interests; for me I occasionally send out tidbits on the band I’m in or and interesting fact about coffee, which I drink too much of. Mostly, get your audience to think. Get your audience to appreciate your style and point of view.

In our increasingly digitized and mobile world, short attention spans rule. Yet, content, in the form of old fashion writing will help you stand out and sell more -- without pitching your products or services.

Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute said, “Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.”

Once you know what your readers want to read, it’ll be easier to create content that delivers value. This is why buyers will come back to again and again and how to consistently attract new traffic.

Stop staring at the computer and start writing!

Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.

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