If your “payment” for your work is a bio at the end of the post and links within the article – which is the case in guest posts – you should make this work hard for you. I show you how and give you an easy to follow example.
When you write a guest post you obviously do your best to show your strength and expertise on the subject while giving the audience valuable insight into what you know. You are done, it is brilliant, you checked it several times – only the bio is missing from the end. You quickly look for an earlier bio to copy-paste or scribble down a condensed version of your CV to be able to send it by the deadline.
Well, until now! Your compensation for the whole article is the attention you get for your own site and activity, so give as much attention to your bio as to the whole post. To make it absolutely clear right at the beginning: the reader doesn’t care who wrote the piece they are reading. Unless they are writers themselves, or you are a celebrity (in which case you don’t need to worry about your bio), readers are not necessarily interested in the author. Even if they finish reading the piece, they are not obliged to go on to read the bio. This is the reason why you shouldn’t list all your previous achievements, publications, qualifications and degrees.
Instead, go through these three steps to make the article and the bio work for you
#1 Pick one single goal you would like to achieve when readers click through. This seems to be easy: you usually want them to get through to your blog, website or social media, but the fact is that the readers don’t just want to click through to see another blog. Therefore, narrow it down to a more specific goal which the reader can easily relate to and which naturally matches your guest post. It could be a specific article which has more info on the discussed subject, your TEDTalk on the topic, or even an e-book or a video series they should sign up to. Tailor your bio and the links to support this goal.
To avoid any misunderstanding: your article should be a useful and brilliant piece in itself, not just some trailer that you excel in the content behind the click. But as an expert, you must have loads of additional info about your topic and you should link to these instead of your general webpage.
#2 Once you have a specific goal, match it with one action you want your reader to take. This can be reading a chosen article, watching a video, following one of your social media channels (and the word “one” is important here) or signing up to your lead magnet. Resist the temptation to list many options here and stay focused on the goal. Choose a channel which matches the best the original article and gives the reader the most on top of what he has just read. Also, instead of listing your general achievements, show a result you reached in that specific area.
#3 The last step is to sum it up in a nice message you would like to deliver to your audience. The point is that your bio should not be about you (as surprising as it sounds!) but your reader, and you should be able to show them how they would benefit clicking the link you give in your bio. I give you a bio example at the end of this post (and there is my bio too).
You should add the link(s) to relevant place(s) in the post if the blog owner allows it. (To avoid misunderstanding and to build a fruitful relationship from the start, always read the contribution guidelines, and if it is not clear, ask the blog owner what you can link.) If you are not allowed to place links in the body of the post, you can still refer to the additional info readers can find in your bio.
Measure the impact of your guest post
To be able to measure how effective your guest posts are – and to be able to decide where to put more energy – include a trackable link. It is very easy to build with e.g. Google Link Builder and if you create a chart in Excel with your links and the visitors from them, you can easily keep track of how much it was worth to write the post. If you would like to go a step further, you can also measure how valuable visitors were: if they converted i.e. did what you asked them to do in the call to action.
It is important to note however that the number of visitors coming from an actual article/bio is not the only factor to take into account when deciding where to write. Writing guest posts is also a great tool for building your brand, have a reference and have your name appear more times in an eventual Google search.
Free Bio example for you to follow
To this end use your name the same way (must sound funny but there are people using their names in alternate ways, sometimes with the middle name, sometimes without), you can even think of using a unique author name. If you add a title, use one that is easy to understand and remember, and use it consequently in each bio. This could even be something that is different from the usual titles and therefore catches the attention. (Just to give you an example, a chef could be a Tastemaster if it is appropriate and matches the style of other activities.) Important to note that the structure of the bio is flexible, and you don’t necessarily have to start with your name and title.
If you can, add a professional photo where you are easy to recognize, convincing and can be associated with your profession. Use the same profile photo you use in social media and other communications to build your self-brand.
Finally, here is an example, that you are free to follow and adapt:
The sample bio is for an article written for mothers about how to make their baby fall asleep.
“Anna Eden, Expert of Babysleep, and Founder of www.babysleep.com, is responsible for the calm and silent nights of more than 550 families. Listen to her groundbreaking, 3-minute video of the major misbeliefs about baby sleep issues parents should immediately forget.”
While we experiment with new content marketing tools we shouldn’t forget those good old ones that always work and are a nice change of pace to our content flow. Here I selected those especially suitable for B2B marketing.
#1 Challenge your leads
This is a great tool for collecting leads, activating the existing ones, and reaching out to the clients. We all face challenges, why not to help your audience achieve these. Challenge them to collect 1,000 leads in a month, build up their social presence, set up a motivation strategy or make sure they have a safe IT environment (obviously something you can help them achieve). Sark eMedia has a blogging challenge for 30 days with a closed Facebook group and special offers for members, a very engaged audience.
You send a task to complete every day until the challenge runs, and your audience can improve step by step. In your emails, you can add the link to blog posts and videos you created earlier and it will give you a continuous traffic on your earlier content.
Apparently, most people will not be able to meet the challenge every day, so make sure you include catch-up days, motivate and reward them. But all in all the main point is that you can show your expertise, engage clients and it gives space to several touch points with them. You can contact those who are struggling, to offer your help.
#2 Carry out an ‘audit’
We all want to know where we stand in the industry and versus competitors. So why not to offer an audit to your audience, asking them to fill in a questionnaire so that you can show them where they are compared to the other companies you have on file. This requires some previous data you have from other companies which you can get via a survey and you should have full disclosure about the procedure (i.e it is not an in-depth audit.).
I used this when I recruited guesthouse owners to a booking database. These guys are faced with an unbelievable mass of insult from various companies to advertise with them. So even an awesome offer wouldn’t have been enough to catch their attention. But offering them to show where they stand in the industry opened the door.
I also found this tool dramatically efficient to find out the biggest pain my lead has and then tailor the offer accordingly. Makes it easier to push that red button.
Interviews always make a nice change of pace in your content flow as the dialogue form helps you get through messages easier, but in the B2B communication, it is especially effective. Interview the industry-leading companies what they think about certain issues you all face, how they solve these, what their plans are.
Alternatively, ask authorities about hot new or upcoming legislation in your industry. In your interview, you can help interpret these regulations so that it is clear for your audience. If you can be the first one with this, you can get a very high quotation and referral rate in the press. (Sometimes you even get the interviewee distribute the interview.)
Testimonials can also turn to great interviews if you ask your existing clients how they use and benefit from your service or product. If you can present a well-known client, even better, like in this interview by Campaignmonitor where they asked their client Virgin Experience Days to talk about their success, and then advertised this piece. (Sadly this interview lacks the real facts case studies require, I assume Virgin ED and Co didn’t agree to go into more details.)
It is good to have a network for interviews but you shouldn’t think it is so impossible to get through to the big players. It requires some investigation, following and commenting their activity – which you probably do anyway – and being bold to contact them with a well-written proposal. It is also an opportunity for them to expose their thoughts to an other audience, and many of them are passionate to talk about their profession. (I asked the then CEO of Booking.com for an interview on LinkedIn and the next day he said yes :-)).
It is crucial to have good questions, though, simply ask the real questions your audience is interested in, and be careful not to end up with a nicely polished PR piece for the partner.
Interviews give credibility to your message, you can refer back to them later as a reference, and you will be the source of essential information for your leads. Who wants more?
If there are success stories why couldn’t be failure stories? Because most companies are reluctant to reveal their failures. And exactly this is why it is a good idea to do it because you stand out. Showing what we screwed up earns the attention and also the admiration of the audience for being brave enough. At the same time, we can show how we stood up after the failure, what we learnt from it, and how we can help them come out of similar issues.
It is a great argument that we already spent the money on failures so that the client doesn’t have to. You can also present case studies of pitfalls of other clients – if they agree.
#5 Combine all the above
Feel free to combine the above tools. You can start a challenge and interview the members, present success and failures based on their challenge. You can offer an audit for them as a reward. Then prepare a study with infographics on the data you collected and distribute it.
If you send your leads a mail with an invitation to any of the above, it will attract their attention much more than a neutral ppt about your offer.
Sitting at the counter at Three being served by a very eager assistant, I had to stop him just to take a photo of this signboard behind him (and the very same board hangs behind each assistant). A very good way of suggesting that I made a good decision sitting here to show that this company is by far the best – supported by an impartial body showing the competitors score. Using the Trustpilot scoring builds credibility. A little roast of the competitors: their bad ranking is displayed as opposed to the good ranking of Three.
Make a note of the headline: instead of the usual “What our clients say” they display a huge Thank you! It is not only an eye catcher but puts the emphasis on the clients and on themselves.
How to maximise the power of testimonials in your business
There is no point in burying nice feedback just on a page of your site (if at all). Use it at each stage of the customer journey and via each possible channel. Try to find testimonials which reinforce the clients’ decision about that particular product or service, about the price (“it would have been worth twice as muc.”), about the speed of the service (“I sent my order, and in 6 hours I had my new sunglasses on.”), about the venue (“Both the venue and the catering were well above the usual conference standard.”)
Our clients are sometimes the best copywriters
Pick the best strap lines from testimonials (and not the whole bit) and spread it all over the website, in some cases it makes a good headline, or can be the title of a blog post! Use these lines as a delicate spice in your communication, and this way it is not only you talking to the client. When brands talk to people they unconsciously raise some concerns, and you immediately answer these with a confirmation from their peers.
Even if you don’t have Trustpilot (which is a good brand, and sends the message that the opinion is reliable), you can use Google and Facebook reviews, display the stars, use screenshots of the reviews to show credibility. Obviously, you can – and should – also ask direct feedback from customers, right after the service: in a video or in writing. They will be more inclined to give it to you then and their positive impression will still be fresh. In case of a conference, course, or training you can ask them to fill in a short form, and you can direct their thinking with some questions. These should focus on what their problem was, what they expected from the service, and how it solved their problem. These will be very helpful for you to use the feedback at exactly the right stage of the journey. (And by the way, a very useful way to find out more about your audience).
It is crucial that testimonials should be specific. If it says: “It was brilliant.”, however positive it is, it hardly helps someone. It should say how exactly it was brilliant, how exactly it solved a problem. Then the next clients will see they have the same problem and will see exactly how it is solved.
Display testimonials everywhere
It is not only for the website! You obviously share them in social, but look at the example I started with, at Three. You can use printed verson of this invaluable feedback at the customer service, at the reception where your clients are waiting for you, or where guests are checking in. You can frame them and put them in meeting rooms, or paint the best straplines on the wall!
In Venice, I saw a restaurant, where one feedback was engraved in a nameplate outside, so if you had no idea which places to choose for your lunch, this was a big help. Five Guys displays the quotes about them offering the best hamburger outside their place.
A final thought: testimonials are good feedback about what we do. But these should be all about thanking our clients for their trust and helping our next potential clients with their decisions.
Author: Tima Kadar, Head of Content at ContentBonum
If you find a good ad, send me it to email@example.com, and I will write about it.
Copy and image by Timea Kadar, www.writefab.com
Read my quotes about words on Instagram.
Well, women all know the feeling before waxing – the main wish is to get through it as rapidly as we can, with as little pain as we can. And this is what this billboard promises with the very clever use of “on and off”- instead of saying it will be fast and painless.
Demonstration is better than description
In sales writing one of the challenges is to demonstrate and explain processes, services, results with words instead of showing it. If people can observe something it is always more powerful than reading or listening to an explanation about it. In the above example, if I go to the salon, and see how quick it is, I would be impressed.
Picture made of words
Fortunately, words can also do that: with expressions which make us feel the impact instead of understanding and analysing it. If I say fast, it can be anything from 1 second to a few minutes or an hour depending on what process I am talking about. But expressions like ‘with a click of a button‘ imply that you just push a button and it happens, A more powerful way of saying ‘You can order online fast and easy’.
The same thing happens with ‘the blink of the eye’ – we all know it is one second and unconsciously imagine this blink and fell the speediness. The ‘on and off’ example just does the same: in one second the was is there, and in the other it is not.
As easy as 1,2,3
‘As easy as 1,2,3’ or ‘as easy as abc’ are again great picture-expressions: as we read them we feel how fast it is, and feeling is always stronger than any other understanding.
Be careful: it is not the same as idioms. If I say ‘as easy as pie’ – which is a widely known idiom for being easy – nobody will think of an actual pie, or nobody will feel the easiness. Idioms are also great elements in writing, but in this case, will not have the same impact of showing a picture in our head.
From a great night to goodnight
This Uber ad is displayed on the tube and aims to draw the attention to their better and quicker alternative for late night party-goers. And as discussed above it plays with the “great night – goodnight” word-picture, much much better than “get to your bed in 18 mins”. The good-great word couple can be used the other way round in slogans, headlines: ‘good for you, great for your children‘. Or ‘good people, great results’. Or an actual slogan of Eden Eco Solutions: ‘Good for your business. Great for our world.’
Note, by the way, using a non-round number (18) as the length f the journey. We pay attention and believe more numbers which are not round, so it becomes more credible. Even if in the example it is completely hypothetical, just wants to suggest a very short period.
We take only ‘Wow’ as an answer
If you provide services – like we do with content – we all know there are three types of reactions from our clients when we show them our work. They either say – hopefully in a very rare case – ‘no, this is not something I wanted’, or they say, ‘Fine.’ And the best is when they are impressed, and say ‘Oh wow, this is better than I imagined.’ Instead of writing on our website that we work until our clients are satisfied, why couldn’t we say: ‘We work until you say Wow.’
Use a few of these word-pictures in your copy and it will be more powerful and will clearly demonstrate what you are saying.
Words and photo by Timea Kadar, Global Head of Content at ContentBonum
Not because it is a secret but because they are so overwhelmed by pitches and emails and their daily work that they don’t have the time to tell you this. Having written for various magazines for 5 years, and having pitched successfully many others including Forbes, I can tell you what editors never tell you.
If you ever tried or thought of trying to send an article pitch to an editor (but this is true for any cold email) and it was never answered, you might have made one of the below mistakes. But don’t worry, these are easy to avoid, and you will have a much higher response rate.
#1 Too much ado about you
It is obvious that in such an introductory email you would introduce yourself or your company to justify your expertise and why they should listen to you. However, this should not precede the fact that they are interested in your idea. So even if overall politeness and chronology tell you to introduce yourself first, in a pitch to the editor this should come only after you have their attention. And even then a brief intro is enough.
#2 They have just written about your topic
You don’t necessarily have to be a fan of the paper and read everything about them, but it is nice to have an idea about the types of articles they publish and check back a couple of months what they published to avoid repetition. Look for some niche area they don’t talk about and you could.
#3 You sent a full article
It might seem obvious to show that you can write well and send the whole article they just should publish. In reality (1) editors don’t have the time to read full articles pitched and (2) they prefer to be involved creating the piece. So better to send a few bullet points about what the article would include, or you might want to write a lead.
#4 “I can write about anything that is important for you.”
In most – if not all of the – cases this often used sentence just delegates the task of finding the idea to the editor. And this is exactly they would be happy to have help with. The best help if you come up with specific ideas and show how you would write them. If you have a blog or Facebook with similar topics, you can justify the interest in them.
#5 Sending too much information
It is tempting to attach all your previous work, achievements, blogs and websites, but the editor will surely feel overwhelmed by all these and will never take the time to find out from your blog who you are. On top of that heavy attachments could block their already stuffed email box. It is always nicer to offer in the email that you can send high-quality photos, a presentation etc if they want, and it is your job to make them want 🙂
# +1 Following up
Some editors would call it crazy chasing what some writers do. Following up on FB, Linkedin etc right after sending the email if they have seen your message is not the best way to make them reply. Some experts advise following up frequently using all channels, but I would say you should keep away from that. It can easily happen that the editor misses your first email, so a reminder can be helpful, but I prefer to wait for some time and to tie it to some additional info and then use the opportunity to ask about their opinion.
Copy and image by Timea Kadar, www.writefab.com Read my quotes about words on Instagram.