One Sure Way to Build Trust with Your Content

I’m a huge fan of using industry stats and data from credible sources to build trust. I use this technique often when I write for my clients. Why? Because content that contains relevant data is proven to build trust with your readers. In fact, not using data can make it much less effective.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

“If your content doesn’t include data, it is less likely to be trusted, persuasive, or even read,” writes Ann Gynn in Content Marketing Institute.

Gynn cites data from Survey Monkey that shows 75% of adults say content that includes data is more trustworthy than content that doesn’t.

“Too often marketers think of data only in terms of analytics – prescriptive and descriptive data to understand how well content is performing or to inform their content planning. But this research reminds marketers that using data in their content is an audience must-have (or at least a preferred-have).”

Thanks to easy DIY graphics programs like Canva, your data doesn’t have to be dry.  Infographics and other visual representations can add punch, or you can pull images directly from cited sources — just make sure you give them proper credit.

Source: Netflix image via Content Marketing Institute

Whether you create your own research, or use industry sources, having solid data in your content will raise your credibility and build reader trust. And I’m 100% behind that idea.


5 Tips to Proofread Your Own Writing

5 ways to proofread your own writingEvery January since 1975, the Lake Superior State University publishes their list of banished words from the preceding year. The complete list has more than 900 entries, words considered overused, misused or just plain nonsensical. It includes words like “babyboomers” from 1989, “BAE” from 2015, and “talk to the hand” from 1998. This year’s list contained something special: covfefe, a word that isn’t even a word, described as “an impulsive typo, born into a 140-character universe, somehow missed by the autocorrect feature.” Yes, even on Twitter it’s important to proofread your own writing.

We like to think that this year’s list also contained a lesson about just how loud a mistake can be. In 2018, resolve to proofread. The website Grammarly put together these five tips to help you be a bit more effective at proofreading and hopefully avoiding your own impulsive typos this year.

1) Start a list of your most common mistakes

 Everyone has a few grammar errors that they seem to make over and over again. Maybe you can’t ever seem to remember whether you need your or you’re or automatically click a misspelled ‘definitely’ over to ‘defiantly’. Start keeping a list of the items you have trouble with, along with the correct way of writing them. Keep the list somewhere visible. When you have easy access to answers for these common mistakes, you are more likely to double-check what you are writing. Once you develop the habit of writing it the correct way, you are less likely to trip on the same problems.

 2) Take a minute before you even start proofing

After you finish writing, go do something else before you begin proofing. Everyone knows that you are supposed to read it again before you hit send. But sometimes when you have been sweating over something you’ve written, reading it again is the last thing you want to do. Stop. Wait a minute. Get up, walk around, get a cup of coffee. Come back and look at it again. As Brittney Ross at Grammarly points out, “The more time that passes between writing and proofreading, the better you’ll be at spotting mistakes your brain skipped over the first time through.”

3) Proofread your own writing by reading it backwards

Did you know that according to a famous study done at Cambridge, for many people, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae? If you could still read the second part of that sentence, this kooky tip is for you. Our brains have a tendency to fill in misspelled or repeated words as correct, especially when we are familiar with the piece. Reading backward, slowly, word-by-word can help to correct for this. Your brain simply won’t be able to tell you that the words are correct, even if the first and last letters are in the right place.

4) Change how you are looking at it

Grammarly advises that you change how your writing looks and “zoom way in so you can see only one sentence at a time. Change the font. Print it out.”

Changing how it looks will make the text feel unfamiliar so that, once again, your brain is less likely to “fill in gaps and blind you to mistakes.” This tip is particularly helpful if you don’t have time to read it backward or let your writing sit for a while first. Think of it as a shortcut to seeing your work with fresh eyes.

5) Read it out loud

It might make you feel silly, but reading it out loud is the best proofreading technique. You’ll find yourself stumbling over typos when you say them out loud that your brain whizzes by when they are written. Taking your time and focusing on each word will help you spot misspellings. As a bonus, when people read their work out loud they find themselves changing sentences around and making phrasing less awkward.

Shut your office door, hide in a broom closet, or head to the abandoned bathroom that no one likes and read your work out loud. It will help you spot anything that confuses the reader because, effectively, you become the reader.

Here’s to a typo-free year!






12 Ways to Nail Your Smart Goals this Year with Content

Content is hugely powerful. While pure ads used to be able to pierce through, we’re now so bombarded with advertisements every day that we tune them out. Trying to force your message upon people will no longer work. In fact, content marketing is really the only marketing left.

Why? Because content marketing turns your message into something people want to consume. Instead of being forced to consume an advertisement, good content is something that people seek out. And good content is content that tells a story. Your story, your brand’s story, the authentic story of your business. People love to read stories.

Does the idea of telling your brand’s story sound exciting to you, but the idea of actually having to write it sound horrifying? Don’t worry. For each strategy, we’ll give you options for doing it yourself or for outsourcing it to someone who loves to write.

Understanding your SMART goals

SMART goal setting is probably nothing new to most small business owners, but a little recap never hurts. We found a great article that lays it out in The Balance.  small business planning process from the balance. A SMART goal evaluates a goal and determine its viability using the five criteria outlined below. Setting a SMART goal (and then nailing it with content) will help take your goal from a general idea stage and put it into action.

S = Specific

When you are just getting started with goal setting, you may only have a vague idea of what you hope to accomplish. As you get further along in the process, however, you will need to be as specific as possible about your goal. A specific goal should clearly state what you want to accomplish, why it is an important goal, and how you intend to accomplish the goal.

M = Measurable

You need to be able to determine, without question, whether or not you are successful in achieving your goal. In order to do this, you need to create a way to measure your progress and your end result. A measurable goal should include a plan with targets and milestones that you can use to make sure you’re moving in the right direction during the process and should clearly tell you when you’ve completed the process.

A = Attainable

While business goals may often pull you out of your comfort zone and challenge you, if the goal and the parameters you have created are not realistic, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

An attainable goal should be realistic and include a plan that breaks your overall goal down into smaller, manageable action steps that use the time and resources available to you within the timeline you’ve set.

R = Relevant

The relevancy of a business goal will often determine the likelihood of achieving it.

Goals that do not mesh with all of the other factors that directly and indirectly impact your business are often unachievable. Ultimately, a relevant goal should make sense when measured against your business model, mission statement, market, client base and industry.

T = Time-Based

Business goals cannot be open-ended; every goal should be limited by a period of time. The timeline may vary by weeks, months or years depending on your goal, but a defined timeline is vital in order for you to commit to the goal. Having a deadline can also create an urgency that will motivate you.

A few examples of using content to nail your SMART goals

SMART Goal for Photography Business:
Within a month, I am going to re-energize my photography business, which will allow me to benefit financially from one of my favorite hobbies. Within six weeks, I will have personally called clients from the past three years who were pleased with their photos but have not booked another session. I will follow up those calls with a “5 tips”-type of document that will give them ideas on how to take better photos with their smart phones and ask them to follow me on social media. By making those personal calls and following up with the “5 tips” document, I will schedule at least 4 photo sessions for the next month.

 Content strategy for the photography business:

  • Define talking points for the phone calls, including a specific ask to follow on social media
  • Define strategic keywords to highlight in your social media profile and product descriptions
  • Start blogging, documenting the process of your photo shoots

SMART Goal for consulting business:
I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business within two months by launching a social media marketing campaign and networking with local businesses. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.

Content strategy for a consulting business:

  • Create and market your referral program
  • Make sure all social media profiles are keyword rich and authentic to your voice
  • Create newsletter

SMART Goal for social media expert:

In order to establish myself as an expert, I will write a 150-page book on social media by writing one chapter per month (3-5 pages per week). The book will be completed in 10 months, and then I will search for a publisher or explore self-publishing.

Content strategy for social media expert:

  • Outline book, and share your thoughts on social media
  • Ask for early readers to give feedback
  • As you write, turn each chapter into a blog post and share before you publish

SMART Goal for small business accountant:
I will acquire the services of a PR/publicity firm and launch a publicity campaign that will help establish me as a well-known expert in small business accounting who is asked to speak publicly on the topic at least once a month, receives interview requests every week and writes one article per month for a top industry publication. This will reinforce my 20+ years of experience in the field and allow me to reach more small business owners who need accounting advice.

Content strategy foran  accountant :

  • Load your blog with good, rich content to establish your expertise
  • Write long-form articles to share on LinkedIn
  • Update your LinkedIn profile with keyword targets

Where to Find the Words

Once you’ve created your SMART goals, and the content ideas to go with it, it’s time to start creating. Love to write? Great; here are some resources to help you get started.

Not interested in doing your own writing? Not to worry; there are plenty of us content creators out there to help. These resources may help you find the right person.