100 Words That Instantly Add Sizzle to Your Sales Copy

Let’s play a word association game. What would you say if I asked you to describe a salesman in one word?

If you’re like most people the words sleazy, slimeball, moneymaker, or pushy come to mind.

Salesmen don’t have a great reputation. Yet as an entrepreneur, you’re forced to operate as one on a daily basis.

  • Every time someone asks you what you do for a living, you’re selling her on the idea of your business.
  • Every time you meet someone who should use what you have to offer, you’re selling her your goods (or services).
  • Every time you talk to someone, you’re selling her on your smarts and status within your industry… because you never know who she might refer to your business!

Yep, like it or not, you’re a salesman.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re lumped into the stereotypical type of salesman that comes to mind (see above for a reminder on why that’s a bad thing).

The problem is, sleazy sales work. They’ve worked for decades and they continue to work. To find a healthy balance between falling into the trap of becoming the type of salesman that makes people avoid eye contact with you when you walk in the room, you need to watch your words.

Watch Your Sales Words

The way you communicate on your website, in your sales emails, and in person says a lot about you. It shows how you operate and how much you believe in what you sell.

Although you never (seriously… NEVER) want to fall into the trap of becoming a sleazeball, there are a few lessons you can take from the playbooks of the top salesmen in controversial industries.

Why controversial? Because they spark the biggest reaction among their customers.

For you to make a strong name for yourself and bring in the big bucks, you can’t run from controversy. You need to use words that give your copy feeling and stir up emotion in your readers. To do that effectively, here are 100 words that are safe enough to use without looking sleazy, but spicy enough to make you look enticing.

Help ‘em visualize what it’s like to work with you

Using experiential words, you make people instantly envision themselves in an experience when buying from you.

  • Apocalypse
  • Armageddon
  • Bloodbath
  • Bloodcurdling
  • Uncensored
  • Thrilling
  • Tantalizing
  • Famous
  • Notorious
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Red-carpet
  • Fantasize

Push the boundaries

There are certain words that sound innocent enough given the context, but they still trigger a heightened emotion when people hear them. Push the boundaries and use these words to conjure up excitement.

  • Spicy
  • Crave
  • Enticing
  • Sinful
  • Scandalous
  • Provocative
  • Steamy
  • Spine-tingling
  • Blissful
  • Mind-blowing
  • Sexy
  • Moaning
  • Tantalizing

Tap into their fears

Fear-mongering works. Everyone is afraid of something. When you know what that something is, use these words to harness the fear and turn it into a sale.

  • Frightening
  • Terrifying
  • Prison
  • Beat
  • Assault
  • Crazy
  • Danger
  • Blundering
  • Jeopardy
  • Invasion
  • Dumb
  • High-risk
  • Perilous
  • Invisible
  • Demon
  • Chilling
  • Forbidding
  • Menacing

Make ‘em feel amazing

Nothing gets more people excited than feeling like they’re doing something right. Excite your reader and make them feel warm and fuzzy using these words.

  • Sensational
  • Delightful
  • Courageous
  • Charming
  • Breathtaking
  • Beautiful
  • Stunning
  • Gorgeous
  • Dazzling
  • Magnificent
  • Brilliant
  • Intense
  • Unworldly
  • Divine
  • Godly

Indulge in their anger

Misery loves company. When your customer is angry, fed-up and sick of dealing with something, indulge them by joining along with their frustrations using these words.

  • Abuse
  • Arrogant
  • Bullshit
  • Revolting
  • Disgusting
  • Repulsive
  • Smug
  • Superior
  • Ruthless
  • Stuck up
  • Obnoxious
  • Frenzy
  • Boorish
  • Turmoil
  • Rage

Show ‘em the goods

What do people want more than anything in the world? Money, love, fame, and fortune. Give them what they crave with these words.

  • Free
  • Skyrocket
  • Soar
  • Jackpot
  • Winning
  • Explosion
  • Dollar bills
  • Luxury
  • Lavish
  • Rich
  • Abundant
  • Gift
  • Bonanza

Give them peace of mind

When all is said and done, nothing is more enticing than a restful night of sleep knowing that you are in good hands. Your customers want to feel safe with you. Show them they can trust you with these words.

  • Moneyback
  • Refund
  • Lifetime
  • Proven
  • Verified
  • Certified
  • Secure
  • Fail-safe
  • Social proof
  • Best-selling
  • Top-seller
  • Most requested
  • Guaranteed
  • Surefire

That’s it! Interchange any of these words with some of your boring, wornout sales copy and watch your conversions soar!

What other words would you add to this list?

The Future of Advertising

Imagine this: The season finale of your favorite reality show is on tonight. You’re glued to the TV waiting to know who gets [kicked off the island/publicly shamed out of a proposal from “the one”/sent packing from the house].

You’ve popped your popcorn, uncorked your favorite bottle of wine, and you’re perched ready to tune into all the action when… Your cable box decides to call it quits.

All that anticipation goes out the window. Instead, you’re feeling fury, rage, and heartbreak. Finding out what happened the next day on Facebook just isn’t the same!

At that moment, you unlock your phone, pull up your web browser and type in “cable companies in Vail” (or whatever city you live in).

You expect to find a company that you can reach out to first thing in the morning to replace your cable box so you can kick your current service provider to the curb. Instead, you see an article called, “What to do When Your Cable Goes Out.”

Sounds interesting, so you click on it. You quickly get a few good tips on how to restore your cable box. While you’re reading, you notice that the competing cable company in your area sponsored the article! You’re so blown away by how they saved your night (and sanity) that you immediately decide to make a call and switch from your no-good, loser provider to the one that actually helped you solve your problem when you needed it the most.

That is Native Advertising.

And it just seduced you into buying.

People these days (like you and me) are blind to print ads, website ads, and commercials. We are so conditioned to scroll past banners on webpages that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We open up a magazine and go to the images of celebrities carrying their oh-so-adorable babies through the city streets. We press fast forward through television commercials. And when that’s not even an option, we hit MUTE.

Traditional advertising is becoming less and less effective.

But that’s no surprise. Content marketers have touted the demise of traditional advertising for a while now. That’s why blogging has become so popular. That’s why people write guest posts on other websites. That’s why social media is such an effective platform.

(NOTE: Social media is ONLY effective when companies use it in the right way. Relentless selling and pushing product is NOT effective on social media.)

Native advertising is the marriage of content marketing and traditional advertising.
In its most basic form, native advertising is when a business sponsors an article in a publication.

It takes helpful articles and valuable content and uses it to promote your business to an existing audience.

It’s not pushy. It’s not in-your-face. It’s pure value-based marketing.

Introducing My Latest Project

If you’ve stuck with me for some time now, you’ve probably noticed that things have been a little quieter than usual around here. That’s because I’ve started a new project to provide native advertising to local businesses in my area.

It’s called Get Vail AZ.

A little over a year ago I joined my local Chamber of Commerce. Full disclosure: I did so hoping to get offline some social interaction in my day. I work alone and things can sometimes get a little lonely.

Since my motivation to join was not fueled by trying to drum up more business (although that has been a nice side effect) I didn’t go to networking events with the sole intent of pushing my content marketing services. Instead, I did what all introverts do best. I listened.

I heard the needs of business owners. People wanted to reach Vail homeowners but weren’t quite sure how. They advertised in our local newspaper that gets distributed monthly to about 17,000 households in our area. They had a website but didn’t know much about it. They laughed at the idea of social media marketing but were fascinated by how they could make it work.

Bottom line – they were hungry for a new way to reach people and see a greater return on their advertising dollars.

I bet that sounds familiar to you. Smart business owners across the country feel the same way.

So I created a hyperlocal website specific to my area. As someone who’s always been a little bit fascinated by the journalism world, I was excited to dip my feet in this area. But instead of creating a news site, I created a lifestyle website to tap into what’s happening in my small (but quickly growing) town of Vail, Arizona.

What does this have to do with you and your business?

Native advertising opportunities are available all over the Internet. If you’re looking for a more effective way to market your business online (and not be obnoxious), find the right audience and snag your piece of real estate on that well-established website.

Sure, there’s a small fee, but it’s minimal compared to how much print advertising costs. It’s also way more effective.

By sponsoring a helpful, valuable, informative article on a website, you create instant trust with the people you want to reach. You offer a solution to the problem your audience is experiencing. In turn, you bolster your brand’s image while creating a loyal fan base.

In marketing, it’s not about you. It’s all about HELPING the people you serve. When you can make someone’s life a little bit better, everyone wins. Your company profits and your customers run away raving about how awesome you are to their friends and family… who in turn just might buy from you.

Content Marketing Lessons Learned From the Ice Bucket Challenge

Nominations are in and you’re up next! Your Facebook friend chose you to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Now, you have 24 hours to dump ice-cold water over your head, donate to the ALS association, or BOTH.

It’s a phenomenon hitting social media. Everyone from celebrities and former presidents to bloggers and children has participated.

Have you?

Content Marketing Lessons From the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I have to admit. I wasn’t always on board with this idea. Although it is clearly a phenomenon, part of me thought it was a ridiculous idea. I live in Arizona! Water here is as precious as gold. What good can come of dumping good, clean water over my head? And apparently, I wasn’t alone in this thought.

After a few weeks of standing strong opposed to the challenge, I was nominated.

My childhood friend who had no way of knowing that I was against the idea of wasting water put me in the hot seat. Never being one to turn down a challenge, I did some research.

As of August 20, 2014, the ALS Association raised $31.5 million in donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge
People who didn’t know much about the disease (if anything at all) are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of ALS.
It encourages charitable giving beyond the ALS.
This is user-generated content at its finest.

There is enough money being raised to matter. The attention drawn to the disease and the need to support charitable organizations is impressive.

As an entrepreneur, you want to make a difference too. It’s why you got into business – to fulfill a need. Although your product or service may not touch lives in the same way a charity can, there are still ways that you can make a splash (pun intended) with your user-generated content marketing.

Even if you just get a drop in the bucket (another pun!) of the same success as the ALS Association, you’ll still get more eyes on your content. Here’s what it takes:

Make it Meaningful

No matter what charity benefits from participation in the ice bucket challenge, it touches the nominee on a few different levels.

It makes her proud to donate to a worthy cause.
It allows her to share her experience with others.
It gets her involved with her social community beyond cat gifs and food porn pics.
Most people would not participate if there weren’t something meaningful behind the trend. To get your core audience involved, your content has to matter on some level.

Harness the Power of Video

People on social media love having an opportunity to get more likes, comments, and shares. It’s the nature of the platform. Video in particular personalizes the sharing experience. Getting in front of the camera to talk about a specific idea or cause adds a unique energy to the content.

Offer that same appeal using the power of video content. Encourage your audience to take a video of some kind. Get them in front of the camera sharing thoughts and ideas with you. It’ll break down barriers and immediately get them and their followers more engaged with what you offer and stand for.

Follow the K.I.S.S. Rule

The K.I.S.S. rule is, “Keep It Simple Stupid.” The harder you make it to create content, the less likely it is that your audience will participate.

With just a smartphone (which most people own these days) and a bucket of ice, you accomplish the mission. There isn’t a lot of thought or preparation that has to go into it. Better yet, the mission doesn’t require more than one person to complete.

Keeping your content as simple as possible to create eliminates excuses not to participate.

Keep It Enjoyable

Let’s be honest. Watching people shiver in shock at having a bucket of ice dumped over their head is entertaining. What’s even more entertaining are the ice bucket challenge fails… but I digress.

Fun-loving challenges are exciting to participate in and even more exciting to watch. Your audience is more likely to want to become a part of your content the more fun it is to watch.

Encourage Sharing

Once you’ve successfully dumped ice cold water over your head, you get to throw your friends under the bus. It’s the CHALLENGE part of the challenge.

Nominations are part of the fun and it forces participants to spread the love. Without this core element, the challenge would never have sparked the level of viral excitement it has.

Give people a reason to share your content. Without encouraging sharing, your audience will be far less likely to spread the love.

Have you participated in the ice bucket challenge?
In spite of my disappointment in the amount of water wasted, I participated using less water than some. I donated and then bribed my husband to take the video while I dumped the water over my head. It wasn’t bad (especially because I did it right after a very difficult workout). Visit my Facebook page to watch my overreaction to the cold.

Then, let me hear your experience! Did you participate, have fun, nominate others to take the challenge, donate? Tell me about it.

How to Keep Bad Headlines From Ruining Your Reputation on Social Media

Tell me if this sounds like you.

It’s Friday afternoon and you’re bored at work. You’re scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed to “try to find some inspiration.” You promise, it’ll only take a second. An hour later you’re still on Facebook liking a few cat GIFs, watching some video of a woman screaming as she flies through the air on an amusement park ride, and you realize… you have just wasted hours of your time.

Nothing on social media was inspirational. Nor was it worth the time you spent there.

And therein lies the problem.

Social media marketing fails because your headlines suck.
Those marketers who just tried to capture your attention and get you to their site? They failed. They did nothing to get you excited, make you feel inspired, or even give you another website, blog, article, or post to waste your time with. FAIL!

People are judgmental. Your social media followers? They’re even more judgmental. And they have every right to be. They’re letting you into their space and their private news feed. They don’t want to see your crappy headlines and irrelevant promotional posts.

But that’s the first thing that pops up in front of them. When scrolling through a newsfeed, the first thing that they see is an image and your headline. This is your one and only chance to capture their attention and get them to click through to your blog.

It all starts with your headline.

If you want more clicks, shares and likes, you’ve got to start creating better headlines. Plain and simple. I’ll help…

Here are the four basic components of any great headline.

1. There has to be a sense of urgency.

First, you need to give your reader a real reason to tune in to your article. Writing a headline that inspires a feeling of ‘I need the answer to how to do that right now’ or ‘That’s a question I’ve been dying to know the answer to, I have to know!’ will get your articles opened up more times than a boring headline with no urgency behind it.


2. You have to give a crystal clear reason why the person should click to read your stuff.

Your headline is stuffed between an image of a dog playing with a million tennis balls and a quiz to find out how Redneck a person is. It might not sound like stiff competition, but when you think about the real reason your fans and followers are on social media… it is. Your headline has to beat those other pieces out. To do that, you have to describe why you should win that battle. When you give someone a reason to click, chances are they will tune in.

3. 
Get a little bit CRAZY!

You’re unique. Embrace that! Don’t be afraid to put a little personality in your headlines. This is especially true of blog posts and eBooks. Give your audience something fun and unique to look at to encourage them to dig further into your content.

4. 
Follow through.

Is there anything worse than clicking a headline and then finding the content beneath it sucks? Rhetorical question… I know there are many worse things in life, but you get my point. 
You did the work to get the person to your website, now make them fall in love with you. Give them what they expected and then some. Blow their minds with content that’s helpful, interesting, and totally worth not taking that quiz on Facebook.

A great headline shows the reason behind your article, the specific value, your unique perspective and that there is something useful to follow.

Headline Templates You Can Steal

To help you get started writing better headlines, here is something helpful. If you ever get stuck and need a little bit of headline inspiration, try one of these basic templates. Fill it in with your details and voice and you will be good to go.

Ever Wanted ______? Here’s How You Can Get It!
Stop [emotion] About [problem] Once and For All
Quick Tricks to [solve a specific issue]
Be Proud of Your [product or service]
Are You Making These Mistakes In/With [topic you will be discussing]?
X Easy Ways to Get [something desirable]
They Said I Couldn’t _________, But Then I Did This…

Headlines are tricky, but with a little practice (and a bit of testing), you can attract more readers from social media and stick in the minds of your target audience. What is the most compelling headline you’ve seen lately?

Are You Guilty of This Copywriting Pet Peeve?

There are a lot of things that annoy me.

People who chew so loudly I can hear them on the other side of the restaurant.

  • Arrogance in any style or form.
  • Air conditioning blasting through the vents so hard that it makes you put a sweater on when it’s 110 degrees outside.
  • People saying “but it’s a dry heat” and thinking that it makes that big of a difference – 115 degrees is 115 degrees!
  • Ignorance about what’s happening in the world (would it kill you to watch the news every now and then?).
  • People who drive below the speed limit thinking that they’re making the world a better, safer place. They’re not!
  • Door-to-door salesmen. Sorry, I know you have a job to do but you set my dog off on a wild barking spree every time you ring my doorbell!

When it comes to copywriting, I’m no different. I hate seeing the word “we” splattered all over websites. And I hate boring, dry, lifeless sales copy (as if that’s going to get anyone excited to buy from you? Please!)

But there’s one new copywriting trend that’s gaining popularity among some writers and it’s irritating the hell out of me… Now, more and more copywriters are trying to mimic other successful copywriters and it’s just not working!

Stop Trying So Damn Hard!

There are a handful of copywriter pioneers who made it cute to use provocative language, cuss, and paint lewd pictures as a way of driving sales. Then there are the people who copied them…

It doesn’t work for everyone, and it SHOULDN’T work for everyone!

Just like you can see right through that creepy, voyeuristic look some used-car salesmen give you when you put your big toe on their lot, you can see through fake, disingenuous sales copy.

I get it. I will be the first to admit that when I hit a block in my writing, I look at what others are doing online for inspiration. But when I find that inspiration, I close all the windows, open a word document or good old-fashioned notebook (because yes, I’m that old-school – can you really beat putting pen to paper sometimes?) and write.

I write from my heart. I write without distraction. And I write thinking only of the person who will eventually lay eyes on the text I’m putting out there.

Psych 101

Not to toot my own horn but… I have an uncanny ability to read other people. I used to want to be a psychologist before I realized that if I wanted to make the kind of money I want to make, I’d have to spend the majority of my life in school and then the rest of my life paying back debts. I love business, so copywriting seemed like the natural fit.

Now, I use this bizarre passion for getting to know and understanding other people to help. I help buyers find the businesses they want to work with. I help small business owners make more money by looking as amazing as the product they sell. And I help myself earn a flexible living that affords me the ability to buy a good bottle of wine now and then.

What I don’t do is try to be someone I’m not.

And you shouldn’t either!

Because as soon as you start trying to be someone your not, or start using words you wouldn’t normally use in your conversation with your best friend, the world will know… and they will cringe…. and then they will sprint away from your business faster than you can say, “but wait, there’s more!”

Stop it. Just stop it.

Be who you are. Own the values you stand for (or don’t stand for). Embrace your uniqueness and then find the sides of you that will make your buyers fall head over heels in love with you so much so that you will earn the kind of loyalty you so desire.

Because really… what’s better than showing off your true colors, letting the world see you in all your glory and then making them adore you as you delight them with your wit, grace, humor and brains.

What’s your number one copywriting pet peeve? Let me hear it in the comments.

How to Use User-Generated Content to Spark Social Conversation

Let’s be honest. Every social media marketer dreams about the day when the video, picture, gif, or post will go “viral.”

NOTE: Viral is in quotes because it’s such a gross, ugly term for something so desired online. Going viral won’t make you sick. It won’t cause the stocks for Kimberly-Clark to soar through the roof. It’ll only make you get people talking.

Today’s online users are living in a world of content overload. There are blogs, articles, press releases, emails, and social media content.

Social media content is easier to digest, faster to scroll through, and sometimes filtered to their liking (read: Facebook algorithms keep going crazy).

Still, the overload of social media posts is enough to make people’s heads spin. Marketers struggle to stand out among it all.

Enter: GoPro

GoPro is a small camera that you can put through the wringer on mountain bike trails, dive missions and rock climbing adventures. It’s flown on drones and jumped out of planes. There’s not a lot that this little camera can’t do and users LOVE it.

The average user turns on his GoPro to capture funny moments, document adventure and even send the GoPro places that he’s too scared (or can’t) go.

Here’s a fun little collection of those videos to give you a taste of where the GoPro is going.

The Age of User-Generated Content

Content-creation is one of the hardest things to tackle on the to-do list for many entrepreneurs. That’s partly because it’s hard to “get to” in your daily grind. It’s also because it’s a task that’s never finished. Once one blog is created, you have to start coming up with ideas for the next exciting post you’re going to write.

More and more content marketers are reaching for user-generated content to fill the gaps and spark conversation. GoPro has led the way in championing user-generated content. See the examples above for proof. These videos were all shot by people who BOUGHT the product and took the time to CREATE a display of what it can capture.

Ever wonder how to get ROI from social media marketing? This is the secret sauce.

Sure, your product probably isn’t quite as easy to buy and use to capture adventure like a portable video camera, but there are a few ways you can use the user-generated content trend in your social media marketing.

Ask your customer to tell her story.

Give your customer a voice by telling her story about how her life became better after buying what you sold. Most people love having the chance to talk about themselves.

Send her a few quick questions to answer, ask for pictures, and there you have it! The best part about this is she will share her published story with her friends and spread the word for you.

Give a public high-five out of the blue.

Your customer won’t always tell you about their great accomplishment. It’s up to you to watch out for it on social media through mentions, and by following the people you work with. When you see her succeed at something great, promote it your social media.

You’ll put your customer in the spotlight and they’ll publicly thank you for it.

Hold a contest.

Okay this is a little ‘old-school’ but it’s something that still gets people’s mojo running. Everyone loves to win something. If you have a fun prize on the line, chances are your customers will respond.

Here’s an example of how this can work. It’s a Pinterest example because I love Pinterest! Ask your customers to pin to a board on Pinterest with items related to what you sell. For example, if you are a wedding gown dry cleaner, create a contest where your customer pins her favorite wedding trends to a Pinterest board. The only rule? She has to pin a picture of the wedding gown you dry cleaned for her too and tag you in the post.

Start a hashtag.

Be careful when doing this as hashtag campaigns can backfire. But if you’re smart about it, people will start creating content for you online using your hashtag.

One real-life example of this done very, very well is #100HappyDays. This was started by Dmitry Golubnichy after he quit his job and traveled the world. He found himself in a slump and sad so he created a daily post with the hashtag #100HappyDays to give himself something happy to share on social media every day. People loved it, they followed suit and now it’s a phenomenon online.

User-generated content is an easy and enormously effective way at getting people involved with your brand. Have you ever run a user-generated content campaign? Tell me about it!

Why I’m Not Following Copyblogger’s Advice

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Copyblogger, it is perhaps THE biggest copywriting and content marketing website out there.

For years I’ve followed their blog, paid for a spot in their “Authority” program, and recently “graduated” as an official certified Copyblogger content creator (check out the badge at the bottom of this page for proof)!

It’s safe to say, I have a lot of respect for their organization.

In spite of that, I’ve chosen NOT to follow their lead on one major shift they just made.

The Comments Remain Open

Copyblogger recently announced their big (and I mean, BIG) decision to take the comments off their blog. Since then, I’ve seen several other smart, reputable bloggers take the same approach on their blog.

Some reasons why include:

    • They wanted to move the conversation to the social media platforms to encourage a wider audience to engage with the content.
    • They want to encourage their audience to write thoughtful feedback on other websites (namely, their own).
    • They want to save themselves the hassle of dealing with spam.

These are good reasons. They make sense. But I’m still not following in their footsteps.

I’m Going to Level With You

There was a hot minute when I tried removing the comments. That was sort of an accident.

I recently went through a major website redesign. When I did, I also switched platforms from WordPress to Drupal – big mistake. I’m not a technical person. Sure, I work a lot online but when it comes to stringing lines of code together, I’m not all that great at it.

I have always hated the standard commenting system. I think it looks tacky and it discourages people to write (seriously, how many times do I need to type my email address just to leave a comment…). My commenting system of choice is Livefyre. It looks nice, it works well, and it keeps a conversation moving in real-time – how conversations are supposed to happen.

On WordPress, installation of Livefyre was easy enough. On Drupal, not so much. I needed a network key, and all sorts of other things that (quite honestly) I was too busy to find.

That’s when I remembered the Copyblogger post!

I decided it was a sign from the universe that I shouldn’t have comments on my new blog either (read: I found a pretty solid excuse to not do the work to get comments on my blog).

Then I posted something emotional on my blog. That post was tough for me to write. Sending it live on the Inter-webz was not easy because I was putting myself out there.

Little did I know how much I would want the comments enabled on that post.

I shared the post in a private Facebook group with other soloprenuers because I knew they’d get it. When I did, I got this comment back:

“Warning: I’m about to get deep, so if you’re averse to mush… look away!

Oh man, I wanted to comment on this so bad, but it seems like comments are disabled.

Just two days ago a childhood friend of mine passed away at 24. Naturally, everyone is hyping on the event of the death itself—how did he die, could it have been avoided, etc. He was super close with my twin sister who took it pretty hard. She kept focusing on how it happened and I reminded her that our lives are not measured by our years, but our achievements. He was a great guy, a kind person, and a devoted friend. That’s what should be remembered. It only took a little reminding for her to shift her focus.

As solopreneurs… isn’t breathing humanity into our business the point of it all? To align our values with genuine business? To make money while celebrating kickass value? The point of our businesses should be measured by what it achieves, rather than the amount of money it makes or the time it exists? I think it takes a special type of businessperson to really incorporate that philosophy into their money-making scheme… so hats off to you!”

WOW! How did I let that slip away from the blog to hide somewhere private online?

So I decided to add comments on the blog again once and for all. Although I am still not using Livefyre, I have Disqus which isn’t too bad either – and it doesn’t make you add your email address every stinkin’ time!

Why I’m Not Removing Comments

I admit. I like the reasoning Copyblogger gave. It makes sense to move the conversation to social media where others are more likely to see the post. It also makes sense to encourage feedback and links on other websites.

Having the comments enabled does not stop that. Instead:

  • It’s an open forum. Disabling the comments made me feel as if I was hiding something. I want people to disagree, agree, and give more insight into their experience with a certain topic. If I hide that conversation from the website, I feel like I’m not engaging with readers.
  • It encourages people to spout off. It gives an audience member a spot to offer her opinion in real-time, right when she’s feeling whatever she’s feeling. Instead of relying on her to take the conversation to another website, or spread the word about it offline, it provides one more spot where she can talk and express herself.
  • It creates community. Opens a discussion among readers with common interests so that they can get to know each other, sparking new connections. And that’s what community is all about.

It’s a hot trend online right now, and I get it. I’m just not following along.

How about you? Let me know in the comments if you feel so inclined, or chat about it elsewhere. The choice is entirely yours.

How to Overcome Top Content Marketing Challenges

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently published their annual state of the industry report. In it, they found that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. While many B2B marketers believe that content marketing is one of the most effective forms of creating brand awareness, and driving sales, many still struggle to accomplish their goals.

The challenges of content marketing?

Here are the top 3 faced by B2B marketers:

  1. 64% struggle to produce enough content
  2. 52% struggle to produce engaging content
  3. 45% struggle to produce a variety of content.

When it comes to content marketing, having enough of the right stuff is difficult for most marketers.

70% of consumers prefer to learn about brands through content, rather than through traditional advertising. So how do you produce enough of the right content for your audience to make your content marketing effective? Here are a few tips to help:

Answer more questions

You talk to your customers day in and day out. Chances are, you address the same concerns, struggles, and daily challenges over and over again. Use your content to address your customer worries when you can’t be there to answer them in person.

Creating content around customer challenges is a powerful way to strengthen your value proposition. Providing a valuable response to how your business can solve real problems for real people in accessible bits of content is perhaps the best selling proposition you can make. You don’t look sales-y. Instead, your business looks helpful, and like one people will actually want to work with.

Dedicate one person to social media marketing

Social media marketing is time consuming. In order to be successful at it, you need someone that can constantly be online and engaged with what your customers are saying.

Dedicate one or two people in-house to answer your social media marketing. This helps organize your content marketing, streamlines it, and keeps it on track. By limiting the number of people you have as social media managers, you make it easier to manage as a company. For small businesses with limited resources, this can be a tremendous help.

Outsource the most difficult content marketing tasks

Let’s face it. Finding the time to actually sit down and write the content you need is the hardest part. You want to be engaging, but with constant distractions and a to-do list a mile long, that’s just not possible.

In today’s increasingly digital world, the good news is, there are plenty of people out there to help you with your content marketing needs. Save yourself a headache and team up with a skilled content marketer that can produce the amount and quality of content you need to reach your consumers.

Content marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Organize your efforts, get the right people on board, and you too can put the “king” of marketing to better use in your company.

Brand Journalism: How to Get People Talking

A few Saturdays ago, I volunteered at a golf tournament for the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce. One of my duties was to sit at the hole-in-one contest to verify if someone were eligible for the prize. Tough job, right?

In order to win, two people had to see the golfer make the hole-in-one. That was great because it meant I got to share a few moments with another Chamber member.

While chatting, the term “brand journalism” came up. He’d never heard of it, and I can’t blame him for that. Most professionals I talk to haven’t. It’s a relatively new term, and one you should know if you want to see your brand’s reputation blossom.

Who’s telling your story?

Brand journalism is picking up steam in the online marketing and PR world. It’s my favorite new buzzword for a lot of reasons!

Basically speaking, brand journalism means telling your company’s story through content and social media. It puts you in charge of the conversation happening online about your business, giving you more control over your reputation, and steering your customers in the right direction.

Better yet, it’s giving companies with small budgets the power to harness digital resources in a way that, before content marketing, was never all that readily available.

Brand journalism is leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs like you and me.
Sounds pretty great, do you agree? Yet not enough small businesses are doing it. Myself included.

In the coming weeks, I’m gearing up to enhance my own brand journalism efforts. I thought that while I do that, I should probably bring you along for the ride.

Here’s what’s the in works (and what you might want to start thinking about for your business too).

  • Give site users a better experience. I just rolled out a new website design that makes it easier for people to find what they need, no matter where they are in the content marketing process.
  • Bring evergreen, old content to the forefront again. This design will allow me to bring forward some of my older content that’s still relevant and useful today.
  • Create new long-form content to give away. As mentioned last week, I’m also launching a new roadmap to help you reach a new level of authority status. Sign up for that and other free goodies in the sign up form at the bottom of the page.
  • Provide a platform for small businesses to have a voice on my site. You will hear from more than just me when you visit this site. I’ll welcome high-quality guest posts from authors with something valuable to share.
  • Write guest posts on other websites to address the needs of different audiences across the Internet. Likewise, I will also write more guest blog posts to get in front of an audience craving more information about brand journalism, content marketing, and copywriting.

All these tasks fall under the umbrella of brand journalism. Every single one serves the goal of telling the story of what I do for entrepreneurs – make them look amazing online.

To stay competitive, you need to create your own brand journalism plan. Not sure where to start? Take a step back and put yourself in your customer’s shoes at every step of the buying process. What content do you miss? Are there any gaps where you have questions that aren’t being answered? Do you make it easy for people to talk about you?

Doing something every day to build your brand’s reputation online will make it easier for you to rise to the top as an expert in your field, and make a name for yourself in the market. Capiche?

Wiping the We-We Off Your Marketing Materials

Note from Kimberly: For those of you who’ve read my ebook “Magnetize Your Website”, you know how much I love despise the word “we” in sales copy. That’s why I was thrilled when this gem of a guest blog post landed in my inbox. Brad from Enmast does a great job of giving yet another reason to erase that word from your vocabulary! Read on to learn how to speak in a more provactive and enticing way to your audience. Enjoy!

Ever come across a site or two that’s a little heavy in the “we” department? I’m talking about the sites that boast, “We offer full-service business solutions” and “We’re skilled in X, Y, and Z!”

This “we” language leaks into other marketing materials, too, and becomes overwhelming. For the consumer, it feels…showy. It feels like, “Why is this business talking so much about THEM when they should be talking about how they can help ME (the consumer)?”

In the past, I’ve worked with many clients whose websites are knee-deep in we language. In one instance, I circled 22 “we’s” (just on the home page of a client’s website.) The trouble is that the company is convinced this language communicates a team feeling and presents a unified, group effort. And, in part, it does.

But the problem is this: If a client or customer comes looking for your website, they already know about you—what you offer, where you’re located, etc. What they want to know is how you can specifically help them. They want to see how well you can understand and connect with them. They want you to solve a problem or address a specific need. It’s more about the “they” than the “we.”

So how can you take the “we” out of your website and make it more customer-oriented?

Step one: Identify the dirty words.

Words like I, us, our company, we—that’s what you’re looking for. Take those words out and re-work the copy to be more problem and solution oriented. Think pragmatically. Describe your ideal customer and then speak directly to them.

Step two: Get into the details.

What do phrases like “business solutions” even mean? Take out that surface-level, jargon-y business copy you’ve seen on a million different sites and go into detail about your products and services. Explain how they solve the problem or address a need as if your customer has no clue why they should work with you (because, really, they don’t yet!)

Step three: Communicate the “we” through your writing voice.

Instead of spelling out your company’s values, be more subtle and incorporate your brand’s personality into the writing voice your copywriter takes on. Are you funny? Formal? Quirky? Write your website copy that way, then! It will be much more engaging for your readers and will express the feeling of your organization without bluntly saying, “Hey, we can be kinda funny!”

Back to that website with the 22 “we’s.” When the business owner and I discussed the problem with this language, he was clearly frustrated. But eventually, he understood why the copy was failing to connect with his audience.

You might be in the same boat, and you might not agree with removing “we” language. But just do an experiment with one page of your website copy where you remove those words and re-work it a bit to be more customer-oriented. Have an outsider read it and gauge which one they like better. It’s worth testing!

Are you a victim of a “we-centered” website? Do you think it works well for you, or are you going to try changing things around?