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Archive for March, 2015

Trainers, Consultants, and Professional Coaches – Be an Exceptional Content Marketer

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches have an unfair advantage with their internet and email marketing. The advantage is that their core product, knowledge, lends itself perfectly for powerful content marketing.

However this advantage is often squandered with poorly constructed messages, uncompelling overview information, or a lack of actionable information for fear of “giving away the farm.” Below are some guidelines for making your valuable knowledge into compelling content marketing.

Make Text Scannable

Huge blocks of text turn readers off. This can be paragraphs that go on for twenty lines or more, or pages of text without section headers. In other words, text that looks like a wall. These sorts of things subtly tell readers the text is going to be hard to read.

Simply breaking text up and making it scannable would help a lot of business content. People are far more likely to read something online if it appears to be a quick read.

Three simple changes can make a huge difference:

  • Break paragraphs into five lines or less
  • Use section headers
  • Use bullet points wherever possible

Write Clearly

If you can get past the long dense type in many content pieces, the next obstacle you’ll run into is the copy. A lot of content marketing is, in fact, hard to read. There are long, overly-elaborate sentences peppered with acronyms and jargon that prevents anyone except seasoned experts from understanding it.

Target content so that a fourth or fifth grader can comprehend it. That’s the level of copy that people respond to best. This is not because people are stupid but rather because there is limited time to focus. This doesn’t mean the content should be dumbed down but rather simplified so that it’s easy for readers to digest.

Use Images

Use images to break up the text and to magnify the points made by the words. Try to use one image on every other page/email/social media post.

Focus on the Audience

The question that should be top of mind for any content marketing is “What’s in it for them?” Your brand and product or service might be part of what’s in it for them, but even if they do decide to buy, they will still be 99% focused on what’s in it for them.

Use Data

Odds are good you’ve got quite a lot of information about what your audience is interested in. You probably know which pages people like and which reports they download the most. Use that data. Make more content similar to what has worked in the past.

Ask Questions

We are no longer involved in a simple one way broadcast. Internet marketing is interactive. Engage in a conversation. Ask your readers what they think.

Make the Content Engaging

A lot of content marketing is regurgitated information, copy and pasting from training materials, or unrefined reports. These things can all be used as inspiration but are unlikely to engage your audience without some re-thought and re-work.

Some of Your Social Media Content Needs to be Original

Friday, March 6th, 2015

ID-10098730Social media profiles can and should be an extension of a business, firm, or individuals personality. This is especially true for trainers, consultants, and professional coaches who are the product and the face of their organization. While using social media to highlight valuable material or support a complimentary viewpoint serves as a valuable single source for information, it’s imperative that some of your content be original.

It’s rare that people are excited to get a second-rate knock off product. But that’s what many lazy social media marketing tactics illustrate. A trainer, consultant, or professional coach with no unique insights serves a similar function as a parrot, listening to something and repeating it right back. At first people will be captivated by the material but as they run into it elsewhere the novelty will wear off and credibility will erode.

I recently experienced this very thing from a sales training firm that I follow. One of their posts in particular grabbed me as both funny and poignant. I was about to share it when I noticed a contact on LinkedIn had posted the same exact graphic. At first, I thought they had shared it from the sales training company, but no, it was a carbon copy. It turned out the graphic was from another sales consultant’s page. I was shocked to find that several of their posts had been lifted directly from this consultant’s profiles.

I’ve paid little attention to this sales training group’s social accounts since. After all, why do I need them when I could follow the consultant they are copying from?

It’s great to share, retweet, like etc. content that your users will get value from but do it selectively. Have a schedule for producing original content that people get first from your accounts. If you are sharing someone else’s content make sure to customize or comment on it so that you’re adding something to the interaction. Regurgitation should not be your social media strategy.

Image courtesy of  adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net