You all get the idea – you need to send more material out into cyberspace to increase your online popularity and increase your sales. But what do you say when you get there? Here are my 10 top tips for the day (well, it started out as 8, but quickly grew to 10!):
1.Work out who your target audience is
Don’t just write a whole heap of words for the sake of it. There’s an old saying if you aim at nothing you’re likely to hit it. Sit down before you log in to your site and work out who you want to communicate with. Make some notes, then make sure you aim your writing directly at this group of people.
2.Talk to your target audience
Once you’re online, talk specifically to that group of people. Imagine that you ARE a member of your target audience. What sorts of things would you be interested in hearing about? What links would you be interested in finding out about? Are there some great articles you know about which can show your readers that you are an expert in your topic?
3. Avoid the hard sell
Let’s face it – if we want commercial TV or commercial radio with ads constantly blasting at us, we will go there. If you want to develop trust and rapport with your audience, you will need to create content that makes them feel included in the converstation – don’t expect them to passively gobble up your marketing campaign. Engage your readers, and you will develop respect as someone who is open and available – not closed and opinionated, which is the fastest way to loose your audience.
4. Share your knowledge
If you hold your knowledge close to your chest, no one will ever find out how valuable you are. Sure, you don’t want to give all of your skills and knowledge away for free – but there is always SOMETHING you can share that gives your readers the confidence to trust that you are a great source for them to return to when they need a hand.
5.Keep it simple
Don’t cram too much into your updates. Remember the old advertising maxim – sell the sizzle, not the sausage. You want to share a tip or an idea, not flip your reader’s mind open and fill it full of every last detail you know on your subject. Give your readers a reason to come back tomorrow for more – keep it simple and light. If someone wants highly specialised information, they will know how to contact you for private consultation – and that’s the aim of the whole excercise.
If you want to get something off your chest, go for it – but avoid turning your writing into a rant about the things you love to hate. Keep that for your best friends to hear. And if you must debreif online, consider using a pseudonym.
Remember, once you put your material out there, it’s out there. It’s in databases, it’s searchable content, and it will be around forever more. So be very mindful about what you say. That doesn’t mean you should censor what you write to the point that you cease up until you can craft the perfect message – it just means you should think twice before bagging out your colleagues, your clients or your boyfriend. Rule of thumb – if you wouldn’t want to say it in public, don’t say it on the net.
8. Broaden out your personality
Don’t just talk about your marketing message – broaden your profile out. Like minded people will be interested in hearing about other areas of your life – what are you reading, what did you think about a recent television progam? What are your favourite things to chat about? Talking about these things helps your readers to learn more about you, and it also helps you connect with your niche market. You might get involved in a conversation about your favourite book – then when that person needs an expert in your industry, they will remember the rapport they have already built with you and come striaght back to you. That’s the way it works!
9. Write and Read before you publish
How many times have you been halfway through making a facebook update or a twitter post and something goes wrong – you loose the material, get distracted by a phone call or the computer crashes half way through. If you are writing for twitter or facebook, writing directly into the post is obviously the way to go. But for lengthier online communications, such as blog posts, or comments on other people’s sites, you definitely want to write your material in an ordinary wordprocessing program first, so you can read your material, save it to your disk, edit it and spell check it. If it is a very sensitive topic, it may also be wise to write it today and publish it tomorrow – after having a rethink overnight.
10. Don’t drink and dial…
You know the old rule, no late night phone sessions when you really should be tucked up in bed asleep. If you’re tired, upset about things, feeling down or a little under the weather, get off the net and get some rest! You may feel that it’s really important to get things said while you’re feeling all puffed up about it – but you might regret it tomorrow.
- Elizabeth Walton