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A non-profit that serves children and their families was planning to expand nationwide, more than doubling its local chapters. The organization’s execution and messaging were disjointed across all stakeholder groups including the board, paid staff, volunteers, families and donors. The organization’s inconsistent execution and misalignment were impeding the planned expansion and creating financial shortfalls.

We conducted in-depth interviews with all the stakeholders across the existing chapters to identify why they were involved, what was important and what motivated them to stay involved in the dysfunctional environment.  From the data, we pulled out the common themes and identified the emotional connection to the organization. Leveraging this work, we built a brand positioning including the background, values, history and vision/mission and positioning statements. To support the execution of the brand positioning, we developed the brand standards (graphics, colors, fonts, images), a messaging plan with talking points for all audiences, a social media strategy and an annual giving campaign.

With the successful implementation of the brand positioning and its emotional connection, the annual giving campaign doubled the donations of prior campaigns. Additionally, the organization was able to get on track with expansion of chapters.

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Our client, a reputable civil litigation law firm, had undertaken a costly SEO campaign through a digital marketing agency, expecting to generate desirable cases. The SEO campaign setup took several months, and when inquiries finally came in, they were not for the kinds of cases our client desired. What’s more, the digital agency spent a lot of time and money creating content that was not aligned with the firm’s brand to support landing pages.

Through a series of discovery sessions, we identified the firm’s core values and created content for their website that accurately reflected the compassion with which they handled each client’s case. SEO and website inquiries remained an aspect of our overall strategy. We designed and implemented a search campaign that allowed website visitors to self-determine whether the firm could help them. 

We immediately cut the firm’s monthly expenditure on lead generation and marketing in half. Within the first 90 days, we reduced the quantity of incoming inquiries by 75% while improving the quality of inquiries by 100%.

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A global shipping and logistics company was operating without a dedicated, in-house marketing team. The communications team, already spread thin by the demands of internal communications for three shipping terminals, was expected to handle marketing and PR as well.

Civilis became their outsourced strategic marketing partner, and through a variety of PR initiatives, social media engagement and ongoing organic content production, we set out to position the company as an asset to the communities in which they operate. We included a community nonprofit and charity outreach campaign which highlighted the efforts of those organizations, further positioning our client as a community social cause champion.

Over the course of several years we effectively positioned the company as a key contributor to and supporter of environmental and social progress in their local communities. This awareness-building also positioned the company as a desirable place of employment for individuals looking to build or continue a career in the logistics and maritime space.

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An innovative Cleveland-based memory care company was growing rapidly and had plans to open a new facility in Central Ohio. While the company had a well-established reputation in Cleveland, the principals faced the challenge of entering a market where they were relatively unknown.

We designed a relationship-based sales and marketing strategy that would set them apart in the crowded Central Ohio market. Through a series of discovery workshops, we helped the principals zero in on the company’s driving factors and core values. We created and implemented a go-to-market strategy which included press talking points, brand standards, and website design and navigation.  We also identified events and strategic referral partners integral to launching a grass roots awareness campaign within the community.

Within 12 months, we created and optimized social media channels, built a website that accurately reflected the company’s unique value proposition, and provided cohesive brand standards and messaging guidelines. This allowed the principals to focus on the logistics of building their new facility. What’s more, the press talking points served as a foundation for a brand philosophy and manifested in actionable cultural practices and training protocols once the new facility was opened.

New Marketing Paradigm

Today’s digital technology has brought about a sea change in how businesses and prospects interact.

Unlike the old days of marketing, where a business was (largely) in control of the way their image was projected to the outside world, today’s marketing paradigm has the consumer in the proverbial driver’s seat.  It’s the consumer who now decides what she needs to know in order to make her buying decisions, and she’ll go get that knowledge herself, thank you very much.  And chances are, it’s not some flashy campaign or clever tagline that’ll do the trick.  Rather, it’s genuine engagement and transparency that will win her over.

The world communicates differently now—this isn’t a secret and it isn’t news. But old habits die hard, especially in marketing.  With all manner of digital communication allowing information to transfer from one source to another faster than ever, this New Marketing Paradigm is one where…

  1. A consumer now has the ability – and even the expectation – to learn a lot about your brand long before she will ever do business with you.
  2. Two-way conversations between consumer and business are now the norm.
  3. Transparency and trust are non-negotiable when it comes to winning (and keeping) a customer.

Check Out Before Check Out

The Old Marketing Paradigm:

In the past, the traditional advertising and marketing paradigm were about crafting a clever message, tagline, logo, or campaign…a message so unique and wonderful that it would compel the consumer to get out their wallet.  Anyone who’s seen “Mad Men” will be familiar with the approach:  “We are going to tell you what you want to hear, and when it works, you are going to come and do business with us.”

Well, dear marketer, gone are the days where you can mesmerize your customers into buying from you.

The New Marketing Paradigm:

With the explosion of social media like blogs, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and review sites, a potential customer will not be so easily wooed.  They now have the power at their fingertips do quite a bit of sleuthing before handing over their hard-earned dough.  They’ll check out your website and blog to see if what you believe in is what they believe in.  They’ll check out review sites to learn what others’ interactions with you have been like.  They’ll ask their friends on Facebook or their connections on LinkedIn for recommendations.  And guess what?  They can do all that without ever interacting with you directly!

So in the New Marketing Paradigm, your marketing efforts MUST include a plan for establishing and maintaining a polished and authentic digital presence.  Your website, blog and other social channels need fresh and consistent content that shows your potential customer what it will be like to work with you.

Social Channels are for Conversations

The Old Marketing Paradigm:

Under the Old Marketing Paradigm, marketing and advertising was thought of in terms of one-way messaging.  Your brilliant marketing campaign – that you created and had control over – would be broadcast via one-way channels like TV, radio and print.  And when your campaign didn’t work as planned, or when you wanted to try a new approach or even change your very identity, you could simply ‘turn off’ the old message and reinvent your brand with a new one.  And because you had so much control over what was said, to whom it was being said, and when they would hear it, you could (with some degree of certainty) measure the return on your advertising investment.

My how times have changed.

The New Marketing Paradigm:

Marketing your brand is no longer about broadcasting your super-creative messages to a targeted group of recipients.  Success under the New Marketing Paradigm is about engaging consumers (and prospects) in an actual, genuine, two-way conversation, allowing them to get to know you before, during and even after it’s time for them to buy.

Social channels like Facebook, Twitter and even your own blog now provide the perfect venue for this kind of interaction.  Your customers and prospects are already spending a significant amount of time there, asking questions and having a two-way dialogue, so you’ll want to make sure you’re there, too, being a part of the conversation.  And although marketing in this way might be a lot of work, it has two distinct advantages:

  1. Loyalty – Two-way social marketing enables you to develop meaningful relationships with your customers, and the more meaningful the relationship, the more loyal the customer tends to be.
  2. Intelligence – Every conversation is like a mini-focus group, allowing you to learn about what is important to your customers and prospects.  Businesses pay research companies HUGE money to learn about the preferences and dislikes of their customers.  For the first time in history, your own social channels offer you ready access to such crucial information.  All you’ve got to do is ask.  You’ll be amazed at how forthcoming your customers are with meaningful info that will ultimately enable you to serve them even better.

And while it may feel like you have less control in this New Marketing Paradigm, you actually can control (and even measure the impact of) what is being said about you…by simply being present and being yourself.

And speaking of ‘being yourself’…

Welcome to the Age of Transparency

The Old Marketing Paradigm:

In the Old Marketing Paradigm you never got any measurable feedback from a customer until they bought or complained.  Similarly, under that old paradigm, customer ‘issues’ were addressed behind closed doors, one customer at a time.  Here’s how it used to work:  a disgruntled customer would make a call or send an email, it would be forwarded to a customer service specialist who was specially trained to handle such matters, and the specialist would respond directly to that customer with a resolution.  No one (except for that particular customer) ever knew how well (or badly) your business dealt with its customers.

So what does customer service look like under the New Marketing Paradigm?

The New Marketing Paradigm:

Like it or not, we have entered the Age of Transparency.  More than ever before, there’s an alarming amount of information readily available for all the world to see about each of us (have you ever tried Googling your own name?). Whether it’s personal info (like photos tagged on Facebook) or business-related info (like reviews or discussions on social media), in this new social media driven world it’s simply not possible to keep your laundry (dirty or otherwise) to yourself.

Now a customer can and will comment or complain in a wide variety of public forums.  And more importantly, everyone else, including any prospective customers, will be watching to see how you respond.  Those brands who admit mistakes and demonstrate a genuine desire to rectify them will win more loyal customers than those brands who don’t.

Contrary to what some might think, transparency isn’t necessarily bad for business.   In fact, it’s actually an opportunity to connect with your customers in a deeper more meaningful way, as well as a chance to set yourself apart from your competitors.  So embrace this new Age of Transparency and just be real.  It’s what your customers actually want from you.

Adapting to a whole new way of marketing can be challenging and even frustrating. But this New Marketing Paradigm also brings new opportunities to learn about and interact with your customers like never before.  So make a plan, put in the extra hours, and, most of all, participate in this New Marketing Paradigm—the consumer world wants to hear from you. And if you feel you need a little extra help getting (and keeping) those conversations going, get a hold of us.  We’d love to have a two-way conversation with YOU!

Beware of HubSpot Hal. And, be careful that HubSpot Hal is not actually YOU! Here is another “how not to do it” story from the modern world of marketing.

In Clicksand, I spent a lot of time talking about how marketing automation tools like HubSpot (and Pardot and Marketo and Eloqua and the others) can actually ruin your chances of building real, authentic relationships. Let me share a real-life example of how this happened with me recently.

Let’s hit the trail

I have a good friend Nick, who is a regular hiker. He and I have talked for a few years about spending some time hiking together on the Appalachian Trail. This summer, he told me that he had a hike planned and asked if I wanted to come along. I eagerly accepted. Nick explained that he had two other friends who were also coming along, so there would be four of us on the trip.

The next day, Nick sent an email to the other two hikers (we’ll call them Jack and Hal) to let them know I would be hitting the trail with the group. Jack and Hal both sent nice little notes back saying welcome, and Hal joked “as part of the new hiker initiation, you are required to carry Jack’s and my packs for 9 miles each day. Welcome aboard!”

Things were off to a nice, cordial start. Soon after though, Hal turned into HubSpot Hal.

The tiger shows his stripes

Remember that my introduction to Hal was a personal one—not in any way a business relationship. And our interaction was limited to that one email exchange of 23 words.  Regardless, Hal then decided to take my email address and add it to his company’s HubSpot program. 

Within days, I started getting automated emails from his company that I had never asked for. Hal had taken a personal introduction from a mutual friend and turned me into a business prospect; bombarding me with a never-ending string of marketing emails.

Let me reiterate: Hal and I did not meet in a business setting. This was completely personal. This means that Hal believes everyone he runs into, no matter how briefly or in what context, should be thrown into his marketing automation junk machine.

Hal is the modern-day equivalent of the leisure-suit wearing guy hitting on every girl he runs into, trying to make another conquest. He’s the creepy cousin who pitches relatives on his latest get-rich-quick-scheme at a wedding reception. He justifies this behavior, like all such sleazy pitchmen do, by figuring “Hey, anyone can opt out if they don’t want to receive the messages, right?”

Like millions of business owners, Hal has fallen for the idea that to be successful, you have to pound away at people with marketing automation tools until they give in. It’s the way these tools are built—because companies like HubSpot make more money if the Hals of the world send ever more messages to non-consenting people like you and me.

Collateral damage

One thing Hal did not consider is that not only did this diminish him in my eyes, it also reflected poorly on our mutual friend Nick, who made the introduction. If this is the kind of guy that Nick hangs out with, then maybe I should reconsider my relationship with Nick? At the very least, I’m certainly not interested in meeting any more of his friends!  Or worse, is Nick getting some kind of kickback for bringing his friends to Hal?

Luckily, in this particular case, I’ve known Nick for many years, so my relationship with him is strong enough to withstand this HubSpot Hal event. But what if that wasn’t the case? Unfortunately, in my experience, businesspeople like Hal are so focused on their own goals that they never even consider the negative effect they might be having on other people and their relationships. Hal never stopped to think that he might be hurting Nick by treating Nick’s friends so poorly.

The rest of the story

There is another interesting subplot to my story with HubSpot Hal, that neither he nor Nick know. It turns out that Hal owns a marketing firm that convinces businesses to use HubSpot as their primary marketing vehicle. So not only does Hal treat everyone he personally meets like a “mark,” he also takes it a step further by advising lots of other businesses to do the same thing.

I knew of Hal’s company but had never met him before Nick made the introduction, and I had no idea that Nick knew Hal or that they were hiking buddies. Interestingly, the reason I knew of Hal’s company before this experience is that over the last few years, several of his customers had actually left him and come to us at Civilis Marketing!

Our business at Civilis Marketing is driven by a constant stream of companies who have realized that the marketing automation approach taught by pitchmen like Hal were not right for them. It didn’t work and more importantly, it conflicted with their values about how people should be treated.   

The companies that came to us from HubSpot Hal wanted to find a way to succeed with real, authentic relationships that aren’t based on a set of pitchman tactics.

The good news is that if you are tired of getting advice (that doesn’t work and that feels a bit creepy), let us show you how to succeed without being a HubSpot Hal. Oh, and let me know if you want to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail sometime. If you’d like help forging stronger relationships – with your prospects, clients, or team members – please Get in Touch.

You’d like to run a simple social media campaign to increase your visibility and attract some new customers. You probably have at least a couple of platforms; Facebook, Twitter, perhaps Instagram—and you want to make sure you’re maximizing your content reach and impact within each. A quick Google search on how to most efficiently use Facebook’s ever-changing social media algorithms stops you short: The results make your head spin. See: 9 Ways to Outsmart the Facebook Algorithm in 2018. And Facebook Is Changing. What Does That Mean for Your News Feed? The list goes on.

So, you immerse yourself in the latest articles and instructional posts to get a sense of how to navigate the labyrinth. Just when you think you’ve learned how Instagram and Twitter choose to display the content of the accounts you follow, you realize you didn’t really have a good understanding of their selection process at all.

Worse still, you’ve wasted precious time.

As a marketer who regularly uses and is intimate with these channels, I can confirm it’s often a full-time job trying to keep up. However, rest easy with the knowledge that we can offer some solace if you’re growing weary of the ever-present need to change your game just to get exposure.

Consider this the end of the indoctrination period you never really needed.

The new age of online marketing

You CAN reach your intended audience and foster the business you’re working hard for, without subscribing to the ever-changing cheats, codes, and secret rules of social media algorithms. It’s simpler than you think:

  • STOP worrying about exposure.
  • START focusing on the real people you’re trying to reach.
  • And accept the fact that those people, the real individuals whose relationships are important to your business, don’t need to be exposed to a generalized broadcast—they just need to hear from YOU.

Investing in your business relationships directly, instead of using intricate and elaborate social media campaigns and automation services, will pay more dividends later on.

This means showing your customer who you are, as genuinely as possible. Even if this comes across as unpolished and informal, it will serve to increase your authenticity and, therefore, trustworthiness.

No one wants to hear from bots.

I think of it as taking the high road. If you think of your marketing like a moral compass, you can trust in the fact that saying and doing what you feel is kind, respectful, and true, will rarely do you wrong.

Now, that’s not to say that just being nice to those people who represent your critical business relationships will get you all the way to your goal.

For that, you need a process.

You might be thinking, “You just said that marketing automation and mass communication aren’t the keys to success.” To that, I would say, “Correct.” But keep in mind that automation and process are not the same.

Digital Marketing: Decoded

It is possible to conduct genuine and systematized one-on-one outreach to the most important people in your universe. In fact, most everyone creates processes for this very purpose all the time—they’re just so ingrained into our daily lives that it’s hard to recognize them as such.

Every time you add a loved one’s birthday to your calendar you’re following a process to help you nurture your relationship with that person.

Side note: Social media has simplified aspects of this for us—but at a cost. Facebook reminds you when it’s someone’s birthday. It even offers pre-made videos you can share in lieu of a card. But don’t these things begin to feel disingenuous and transparent?

I don’t mean to sound old-fashioned, but you know what’s way better than getting a cookie cutter Facebook video on your birthday? Getting a phone call and Chinese takeout.

Don’t go it alone

Next time you find yourself face-palming over the complexities of social media algorithm flux and ad-word optimization, remember that maintaining a steady, true, moral marketing compass will help you navigate those woods.

The even better news: You don’t have to do it alone. We’ve got relationship maintenance and process planning expertise a plenty to offer entrepreneurs, business owners, or mid-sized businesses who’re coming into their own.

So get a hold of us. We’ll show you how we work with individuals and teams to help them better understand their own communication styles, and apply those principles in a harmonious, orderly, driven way.

This article is part of the 7 Deadly Sins of Relationship-Based Marketing series. In the series, we’ll chronicle different online behaviors and practices that can ruin your business relationships. Some are subtle, and some not so much. If the success of your business relies on maintaining healthy relationships with current clients, prospects, or a network of referrers, it could be time you start repenting.

The path to hell is paved with good intentions, right? That expression may seem a little extreme, especially if you’ve come here seeking marketing advice. However, there’s some very real truth to it.

It’s become a noisy world, with businesses competing for attention in nearly every channel imaginable. And with all the clamoring of each voice striving to be the loudest, you can see companies making the egregious mistake of saying anything to get customers to notice them. Even if it means they’re not being totally honest with their audiences.

This is a reminder that what you say does matter. Especially if it’s wildly different from what you are actually doing.

In online marketing; don’t just say what you do—do what you say

Here’s a tale about a company that recently failed to practice what it preaches:

A few months ago, I was in the market for new windows. I called around to several companies to get quotes, and most sent a salesperson to my home to count windows, answer questions, and discuss pricing and product options with me.

But one of these companies—we’ll call it Window Company C—was different. It had the loudest and proudest online marketing I’d seen so far, promising the easiest, most personalized customer experience and the most knowledgeable and helpful staff.

When I called to schedule an appointment for a quote, the owner (he made sure to remind me several times that he was the owner) answered the phone. We’ll call him Dan Windows. He didn’t offer to send a salesperson out to assist me, he instead insisted that I walk around the outside of my house and describe the size and nature of each window to him. Not only did this feel unpleasantly like a doctor trying to diagnose a health condition over the phone, it made me feel guilty about not knowing the difference between each type of window.

The whole affair left a bad taste in my mouth—especially considering that the “About” section on the company’s website read, “Window Company C was founded by Mr. Dan Windows on the simple idea that buying windows should be easy.”

After I’d essentially done all the work for him, he quoted me an outrageous price and promised that I’d receive a “helpful” packet in the mail.

Here’s the kicker: A few days later I went to the mailbox and pulled out a large packet from Window Company C. What I found inside was far from helpful. It was a 30-page book titled “30 Reasons Not to Buy Windows from Window Company C.” Inside the book, each page had one watermarked sentence that simply read “Not a reason.”

That’s 30 wasted opportunities to tell customers why they should buy from Window Company C. And it was arrogant. And it certainly wasn’t “helpful.” Now, I can appreciate a clever marketing joke as well as the next person, but this?

This is a prime example of a business owner who got so wrapped up in shiny marketing tactics that his messaging became misleading. While Window Company C is busy pumping money into online marketing ads and direct-mailing useless piles of paper, it’s failing to deliver exactly what it promises: an easy window-purchasing experience for its customers.

In contrast, I actually did have an easy experience with the other three companies I called—imagine that.

Create good first impressions for your business relationships

If you’re a business owner, you know all too well the countless hours, care, and work you’ve invested in your business. In fact, your reason for starting your business is probably a direct extension of your personal beliefs and values—making it all the more important that you fight tooth and nail to uphold your company’s integrity. The grace with which you manage your customer and other important business relationships can be a prominent illustration of that integrity—and, it can be the first thing prospects notice.

You might be feeling immense pressure to buy into the latest marketing trend. A lot of clients come to us with questions about content marketing (likely because of its buzzword status)—and our best advice to them is that it’s not as simple as just “putting some content out there.” You have to be considerate and honest with your marketing; otherwise, you’ll run the risk of making promises you can’t keep.

If you’re running an outbound marketing strategy, it might behoove you to take a nice long look at exactly what it is you’re “outbounding.” And if you’re still not sure if your company’s message is aligned properly with the service it offers, we’ll give you a second opinion.

Keeping your digital channels full of fresh, on-brand content requires a great content writer. Often times this job is handed over to an intern (because she knows her way around social media) or an administrative assistant (because he’s got time between answering phone calls).

We hate to see businesses fall into this trap. Finding someone who has the right experience and is qualified to speak on your company’s behalf is key. These seven guidelines help us (and can help you) evaluate and chose content writers.

1. Fundamental understanding of your business challenges and goals
Being a good writer isn’t enough. Whoever writes your social media marketing content must know what its ultimate purpose is, whether it’s to generate leads, acquire new customers, or give people enough information to choose your company over the competition. Without an understanding of precisely how the content on social media is supposed to improve your business, the person responsible for writing it is probably going to fail at the job.

2. Understanding of your marketing strategy
It’s important to differentiate between a goal and a strategy. Your marketing goal might be to sell 1,000 widgets in the current quarter. Your marketing strategy involves how you’re going to reach that goal. The person responsible for writing social media content must understand how to execute that strategy on each of the various platforms you want to use. Your company’s marketing strategy will also affect the tone and style used on different platforms. One approach might work fine for a blog post but fail miserably with a downloadable e-book. A qualified content writer will know which approach is right.

3. Understanding of the audience
Ideally find someone who is (or has been) a customer or client of your business. The content writer needs to understand who they are writing for, and what better way than to actually have used your product or services. In any case, the content writer must understand the audience’s psyche and how to motivate them. If they don’t, it will be very difficult for them to write content that is compelling and effective.

4. Understanding of the technical aspects of your business
Every business has its jargon, its technical terms, and its complex concepts that are confusing to people not intimately familiar with the business. If your audience is other people in your business or industry, your content writer has to communicate like an insider. You can’t fake it—an expert audience will spot an amateur right away.

5. Ability to communicate complex concepts concisely
This can be a tricky line to navigate. How can you make it easy for the audience to understand your overall business, or the aspect of your business that you’re trying to communicate, while you still execute your desired marketing strategy? Fortunately, this is a skill you can test. Give a prospective candidate something to write about and see what they can do.

6. Excellent communication skills
This is different from tip #5. This is about the nuts and bolts of writing: grammar and spelling, choosing the proper tone, and getting the right words in the right places. You can test this, too, by asking to see samples of a candidate’s past work, or by giving the candidate a writing assignment.

7. Ability to generate original content
The massive size of the online world makes plagiarism easy. But you don’t want your business caught stealing someone else’s online content. It’s unethical, and not only that, content that’s not generated directly by someone who understands your marketing goals and strategies probably won’t accomplish the desired effect anyway. Your content writer should be an original thinker with lots of ideas (and you should have safeguards in place to spot plagiarism).

Indeed, effective content writing is a set of specialized skills and you need just the right person to be responsible for communicating the essence of your brand to the world.

Your blog is a beast that needs constant feeding. Coming up with an ongoing stream of fresh, new ideas that your readers find valuable can be a challenge. Is it possible to have it both ways—frequent, fresh content that’s compelling, too?

It is. Use these guidelines to help get you started.

What’s useful to your readers?

Blog topics need to provide value to the reader and give them something in return for reading. Start by asking yourself: What questions might my customers have about my product or service? What’s new in my business or industry? What do my customers need to know to stay on top of changes they may face? Blog articles that proactively answer those kinds of questions are going to be useful to the reader.

Additionally, topics that tell a story are also great articles for your blog. You might have a story about a customer, a case study, someone you met, or a new product that’s coming out. But, be sure it has an outcome, a moral or a point to be made so that your readers find it readable, relatable and newsworthy.

What will resonate with your readers?

If a reader doesn’t actually care about what they’re reading on your blog, they won’t click the “like” button, share your post, or retweet it. (Caring enough to share is what puts the “social” into “social media marketing.”) Stories often resonate best when they relate to the experiences of others. Maybe you’ve had similar experiences yourself, or maybe your reader is looking for a product or service that will help them avoid the experiences others have had. Think about your audience and what’s on their mind, what’s bothering them or what’s keeping them up at night. Articles that address these things are going to contain the information your audience is searching for and is interested in reading.

What do you want the article to accomplish?

There can be a tendency to choose topics with this as the only goal:  “We want to sell a thousand of these new widgets within the first 60 days.” But it’s important to remember that you must use your blog as a marketing tool that will help accomplish your business goals. You can use you blog and other channels to steer the reader toward the purchasing decision you want him or her to make, but you must do it through the stories you choose to tell and how you choose to tell them. You can’t just jump in and say, “You should buy a widget from us today.” Instead, make your readers come to that conclusion on their own.  You want your reader to read your article and think, “I should buy a widget from them today because….”

Write for people, not for search engines

Unless your business lives and dies by leads generated through search-engine traffic alone, writing articles to optimize search hits on certain keywords is not as important as writing content that is useful to and resonates with your readers. It’s important to make the distinction between keywords and topics. Keywords are meant for search engines, and topics are meant for people. So, first and foremost, chose topics and write articles based on your human audience. You can relate them to your keywords, but don’t make them about your keywords.

We love thinking and talking about this! If you want help brainstorming topics for your next round of blog articles, give us a call. We’ll help you think it through.