5 {easy} ways to improve your business blog content

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

If your business blog content drones on longer than 1,500 words a post, you may be lulling your target audience to sleep. Even worse, they’re quickly clicking away. Need a few alternatives? Consider writing a mini ebook as a free download for your business. Or, break this big baby into a series of blog posts.

Word counts — who’s counting?

Why? Despite the push for long-form content, the perfect length for blog posts is still up for debate. One author cites Seth Godin as a premium example of successful short form blog posts. Honestly, 500 helpful words written weekly may capture your ideal client’s attention better than a monthly long-form post.  (And, yes, I need to practice what I preach.)

Reality check. Think of how busy you are. We live in a world of information overload. How much time will you actually spend reading others’ blog posts?

Sell to skimmers.

I read long posts by skimming. Often I check out the paragraph headers and sometimes just read the sections that apply. Anyone else raise a guilty hand here?

Use short paragraphs and catchy headlines on those paragraphs to capture attention and keep the reader’s interest. We all need white space!

Use my handy-dandy secret weapon to check out your blog content readability.

Install YOAST SEO plug-in if you’re using a WordPress website. This gives you practice writing with current blog content readability measurements.

Next, go ahead and write your content inside of WordPress to test it out. If it’s not intended to be a blog post, that’s okay. Just delete it after checking out the SEO feedback. 

Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash

Satisfy your readers by scratching the “itch” we all have.

Tell a true story about yourself or something relevant to daily life. Stories create connections. They hook your readers. Maybe it’s the inner curious kid we all have? 

Seriously, speak to the 6th grade version of your client avatar. In the good ol’ days, my 6th grade teacher read great stories like Johnny Tremain out loud to us after lunch. You could almost hear a pin drop as we hung on her every word.

All content marketers learn about hooks. Make certain you have a hook — and a relevant story reels folks in. Do spill that tea, please.

Squeeze every last ounce of usefulness from your content!

You can re-purpose your content in so many ways!

Curate a collection of blog posts into an ebook.

Use a teaser excerpt from your blog post to cross-post on Facebook.

Drop your current blog post content into LinkedIn publisher.

Pull talking points from your current post to do a Facebook Live! 

  • Don’t forget about images! (Bonus point because I love to give.) Always post content with a pic or infographic. We’re visual creatures, too. (www.unsplash.com –free images)
Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash

My favorite business/marketing books: 

Want a few more of my favorite resources for improving your business blog content?

How to Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards

Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson

Published by Chandler Bolt (there’s a book — or three — inside of me yet). 

Stories that Sell by Casey Hibbard


Online Marketing Made Easy — Amy Porterfield

The Ray Edwards Show

B2B Writing Success by AWAI

High-Income Business Writing — Ed Gandia

Social Media Marketing Word — Michael Stelzner

Blogs I follow: 

Make a Living Writing



Ending on a triumphant note : telling business stories that matter

The Last Lesson — lingering notes
Long, slender fingers gracefully tickling the ivories — tiny hands that at first could only plunk out simple tunes and could not span an octave — now playing Les Miserables, “I Dreamed a Dream.”
The last notes fade.

This week I’ve given two last lessons.

Two bright, beautiful young ladies played my piano for the last time. Eight years of lessons for each of them — persisting through the crazy busy high school years. The call of music found them.

Long after the last note dies away, a legacy continues.
One shared legacy is our family connections to piano.
When you take the time to listen, the stories you uncover are truly breathtaking. Sometimes heart-rending, too.

My student’s great-grandmother plotted a successful escape from Nazi prison camp. Eventually, if I’m keeping the grandmothers straight) she become a piano teacher in the US. This I know, my student had amazing grandmas.
My great-grandmother from the same era toted her piano from farm to farm on the back of a flatbed truck as a migrant farm worker’s wife. She’d sing and play for the Sunday Schools she started wherever she went.

I never intended to be a piano teacher, but my legacy found me. I’ve enjoyed plunking out tunes since I was six.

One of my earliest memories is musical, embracing a summer morning on a ranch in Texas, my arms spread wide while I sung my heart out on the back porch steps with only the cows for an audience. I’m sure the cows laughed. I remember feeling gloriously alive!

Back to the one student with a piano-teaching great grandma? She’s adopted. The family heritage found her, too.

My other graduate? Her music is full of glorious soul and expression. When I mentioned she could probably use a practice room at college, she told me she intended to bring her old keyboard with her.

Keyboard with weighted keys, at least, I asked? No weighted keys.
This is what you’ve been practicing on all along? I bit my lip to hold back tears.

Girl, you have NO idea how amazing you are! How do you pull such fire and feeling out of your music on a keyboard?

The only decent piano she’s practiced on in eight years is mine and the one in her school’s music room.

She’s planning to become a doctor. She has the grit.

Through piano our stories have intertwined. The gratitude I feel to have been part of this is profound. I always said I wouldn’t write until I had something worth saying. Now I know.

Look around. Listen. The great stories are hidden everywhere.

Millennials speak social media {my takeaways from Delaware Tech Social Media Conference -2019}

Photo Credit:

The only session at #DTCCSMC2019 I attended that was not led by a millennial social media expert was the keynote speaker. Michelle Freeman of #freemanstage fame in Delaware IS mother to a 28 year old millennial. Does that count?

She shared her powerful “climb from the bottom up” story in a nutshell. We all cheered for her many years of productive, positive, inspiring sobriety.

Her message was right in sync with what each breakout session speaker already had in place in their power-point presentations. Tell your authentic story. Create connectivity.

Word of the Day?

Hands down, AUTHENTICITY was the unplanned top word. Tell authentic stories. Be authentic in your business. Don’t fake it. Millennials know when they’re being “sold” to. Yes, almost across the board, you will be marketing to millennials. So pay attention to them!

Funniest fact?

The human attention span is now 7 seconds long. A goldfish’s attention span is 8. There’s a lot of noise competing for that 7 seconds, so think outside the box.

Sadly — not funny — teachers are competing with social media in the classroom. They report that kids don’t even know how to have a conversation anymore.

Me first? Uh, no!

That puffy resume. That stuffy LinkedIn profile. That long ranting web page about your business? Not gonna cut it. You need client-centered marketing on all of your content channels. What are your client’s needs? Problems? Desires? Put your client first.

You can KISS!

Or, Keep It Simple, Sweetie! Social media content marketing is morphing rapidly. Don’t think you have to show up on every platform. Do show up consistently on the platforms you do use. For Facebook and Instagram, showing up at least every other day is important.

The perfect video?

Yes to the video. No to perfection! While you need video content on your social media platforms, you don’t necessarily need to hire a professional. Sometimes simple, candid clips shot on your iPhone can garner the viral attention that every business dreams of. Follow the above steps when planning your video. Simple. Authentic. Client-focused.

Favorite millennial social media platforms?

About 90% voted for Instagram. Surprise, surprise, though! The fastest growing crowd of Twitter users? YOUR grandparents! Maybe Twitter is where the generations connect?

Are websites dead?

According to at least two millennial experts, NO! While this will not be your “hottest” social media real estate, you can conduct some great social connectivity and plant anchor content there which is NOT owned by social media platforms.

I might add that some businesses are finding connectivity with once-a-month email marketing. Once a month was the latest recommendation. Your email list? Totally your own real estate on the web.

When to boost a Facebook post?

All Facebook post boosts should be very targeted to your area and demographic and strategically timed, especially if you’re running a special event connected to your business. Great time to boost a post is about a week before the event.

It’s okay to be late to the social media party.

If you’re being authentic wherever you show up, your clients will share. Make it easy for them to find you, yes! So go set up that business Facebook page and start your IG account. (Ummm, working on that one next — that was my biggest personal takeaway). Then be consistent.

Use your dog for a mascot?

Delaware Beaches Mascot? Whatcha think?

Yes, yes, yes! Dogs are good for business. So are cats. From security cats on Facebook to dogs wearing swag, a furry mascot does not hurt business! If you can warm up your content with some fur, well, just do it already. Pets: the new universal language?

So which content cat do I choose? I’ve got three! I’m in a bit of a pickle now. Ha! Especially since I’ve accidentally acquired TWO alpha males.

For a new-found friend of mine who works with #CHEER as a community relations director, a pet mascot for seniors is a gold-mine idea. How could you make this work for your business?

If you attended #DTCCSMC2019, I’d love to hear your takeaways, too. Each of us tuned in to something different. Please COMMENT and SHARE!

Is THIS one ingredient missing in your business?

In a vast ocean of service providers, what makes YOU different from anyone else?

Follow up?

Quality service?

Prompt service?

Highly-specialized medical service provider?

Largest medical practice in the area?

Been in business for 50 years?

Family-owned business?

Next question — what do your clients say about you? Even those unwanted reviews on Google and Yelp? Could they possibly be right?

I’ve got a story for you today about a medical service provider. In fact, this story encompasses a whole range of medical service providers, but I’ll start with this story.

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. One of dearest loves in my life has a new, very suspicious few moles.

In fact, this person had skin cancer a little over a year ago, and the dermatologist had to do the MOHS procedure to get it all. It was hours long, requiring many layers of tissue removal.

What I am most distressed about is that my loved one is refusing to go back to said dermatologist. Overall impressions of this office were not good, though the surgery was successful.

For one thing, they handed out iPads to gather information. Very efficient. Very impersonal — just like the whole consumer experience in this office. #UXFail

The dermatologist acted like she didn’t have the time of day, and downplayed my loved one’s concerns and opinions. How do I know this is true? I wasn’t there.

Oh, but I decided to try out this same practice, by recommendation of the same primary care physician my loved one uses.

Same speedy, impersonal, efficient treatment. I literally saw the dermatologist for no more than five minutes. Didn’t even get asked if I had any other skin concerns — which I did!

Efficient service. Prompt service. Service with a hasty smile (that felt totally fake).

This wasn’t the first specialist that’s treated me this way. Or my loved ones. For a period of a many years, we’ve seen a medical specialist every single month in my family. A few years back, we were going to specialists almost every single week due to cancer.

So I’m not crying, “WOLF”.

Service that makes a loved one with a potentially life-threatening condition REFUSE to go back — now that’s the kicker!

If this were a one-time experience, I would say, “Well, there’s a bad apple in every bunch — even in a well-to-do area known for its smorgasbord of excellent medical providers.” (We travel to medical providers in the Baltimore/Annapolis metro area).

What is missing from many service providers and medical practices is HEART.

Genuine service providers that care about their clients are actually HARD to find. We’ve experienced life’s great frustrations and even being ripped off by all of the below:

The worst part is that we’ve paid good money to these over the years!

Auto mechanics

At least a dozen different medical specialists


HVAC providers



Insurance companies

Tire companies

What are some common ways (and obvious fixes) that service providers mistreat their clientele?

Number ONE on the list is treating your client like a NUMBER! To be a little extreme and possibly over-dramatic here, think about the Nazi death camps.

What is one of the top ways Nazis dehumanized their victims?

They took away their names and assigned them numbers. If you use iPads to gather information, at least make sure that you, as the medical service provider, also ASK your clients if they have any additional questions.

Number TWO is hiring incredibly rude office staff. Or just unfriendly, unhelpful folks? I’ve written about importance of that front desk personnel. Efficiency is wonderful and necessary. But your staff should also treat people with kindness and respect. Every. Single. Time.

I’ve been that front desk receptionist in a medical office. Yes, you get rude treatment sometimes. It goes with the territory. If you’re being abused by a patient, it’s time for the office manager to step in with firm kindness.

Due to HIPPA laws, I’ve struggled as a caregiver to get needed information or even confirm appointments. The worst part? The person on the other end of the phone acted as if they could care less! That stinks.

Number THREE is debatable. I could have put this as Number ONE — failure to provide a quality service or product.

Sure, I understand that we’re all humans. Humans make mistakes. What I am calling out is the purposeful deception of certain auto mechanics or the tire company selling you older tires that have been sitting in storage for too long that will wear out more quickly.

Is it any wonder that there’s deep consumer distrust in this industry? It’s easy to make a quick buck by lying, cheating, and stealing.

Or the doctor that is understandably tired but fails to take the time to listen to their patient. You could be the patient’s last hope for relief!

As a writer, I understand needed edits, corrections, and pleasing clientele. Sometimes you actually lose money along the way in order to satisfy your client. That is unsustainable! But you live and learn. You improve your game, and perhaps choose your clients more wisely.

If you are not a good fit for your client, tell them so!

If they have a problem you cannot fix, refer them to another provider with kindness and grace.

In a world full of mistrust, deception, and struggle, your quality service with HEART and kindness can actually improve someone’s life.

You can restore faith, too, in someone who’s been burned by the system. A lot of us, actually, are in this boat.

Of course, I’ve told my loved one this. “You simply MUST see another provider. Don’t give up! Change doctors.” I’m hoping with all my heart that they’ll listen.

How to stand out in a sea of service providers? Offer Golden Rule Service! #goldenrulemarketing

3 ways to personalize your marketing

The ONE piece of junk mail I read this week…

Cute puppy, relevant news, and my name’s on the front page… #personalizedmarketing

I’m not a customer of Geico. But their latest snail mail advertisement caught my eye. Ninety-nine percent of the time all such mail hits the trash immediately. So I set out to analyze my own response. Why did I bother opening and reading this?

  1. My name caught my eye. Sure, I’ve seen this trick before. They pulled my name off of some list. Added me to their ad campaign. At least they used my name. I’ve recently had daily LinkedIn connection requests. Guess what? They hit the junk mail bin almost immediately. Ninety-nine percent never personalize a message. So why should I bother connecting?
  2. Cute pet photos are eye candy if you’re a pet lover. According to a recent APPA National Pet Owner’s survey, 68% of Americans own a pet. Geico hedged their bets pretty accurately. Most of us like pets. Knowing some basic facts about your target market is a great place to start personalizing your outreach.
  3. Right now if you have a friend in the federal government, you know their personal budget has taken a hit in January. Relevant news for the target market. I’m not a federal employee, but I have several friends affected by the recent government shut down. Either share news that affects your target market or at least sympathize with their problems.

All it takes is a few minutes of your time to do a little research and personalize your marketing or networking efforts. #goldenrulemarketing

So I’d be delighted to hear from you on LinkedIn, but if you do reach out, please tell me what we may share in common and why we should connect, okay? I promise to do the same for you. https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliadaniels/

3 lessons from Gillette for content marketing

marketing cat 
LOVE it? HATE it?

Marketing hit the news this week with a whiff of aftershave. Shaving? Controversial? That male rite of passage that often starts around 12 years old? I remember my brothers’ sudden interest in shaving apparatus and the creams and lotions that accompany it. New smells from the bathroom!

Now everyone’s talking about shaving. At least for the moment in certain contexts. We’ll come back to this thought.

CNN for business reports crowding in the men’s razor market. According to CNN, the new controversial Gillette shaving commercial was spawned because Gillette had to do something to stand out. They’re re-branding due to the fierce competition in their market. True and true.

CBS chimed in with their own take. So have thousands of other people. I first noticed the buzz on my LinkedIn feed this morning. A fellow marketer put up the YouTube ad link and posted a question. Love it? Hate it? Within an hour 65 comments had been posted! Being curious as a marketer, I skimmed all 65.

Here’s a link to the Gillette ad that’s generating so much buzz about life, marketing, and especially #metoo. https://youtu.be/koPmuEyP3a0

Lesson 1: Good marketing starts a conversation.

Gillette sparked a conversation. Look who’s talking! Major news sources are. Social media is. Your friends and coworkers are. You can’t reach clients without talking to them in some way, shape, or form.

Lesson 2: Good marketing tries to step into the shoes of the target audience.

Someone in Gillette’s marketing department has been researching their clients’ challenges. When you find you’re in a hot mess, you appreciate someone who’s willing to step in it with you. Misery still loves company. Bullying. The #metoo movement which has been shaking things up for fathers, grandfathers, bosses, and co-workers. Love it or hate it, you ignore this issue at your own peril.

Lesson 3: Good marketing focuses on the power of ONE. One big idea.

Gillette’s marketing is short and sweet: We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. It ties into their tagline -The Best Men Can Get. I have formed my own opinions on this topic. I’m sure you have, too. Nevertheless, if Gillette had tried to also include something about the controversial wall or the environment, they would’ve lost their audience’s attention. Too many ideas confuse. You confuse, you lose. I’m betting Gillette is on the right track for more sales this quarter!

Take a page from Expert Secrets. Throw out ONE marketing hook at a time.

Do you need help with storytelling that starts a conversation? Need clarity finding your audience’s challenges or pain points? What about content marketing that focuses on ONE big idea, ONE hook at a time? Let’s do some powerful business brainstorming today. Or just throw the idea at me, and I’ll run with it for you! julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

#contentmarketing #goldenrulemarketing #marketing #freelancemarketingwriter

12 Ways to Make {sweet} Lemonade As A Small Business Owner {or how to juice up your business mindset}

I’m an old hand at lemonade stands. Maybe that’s where my gritty business mindset was born. Hot, humid South Carolina summers in “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” with several busy siblings — it’s prime recipe for an age-old kid-preneur business plan — a lemonade stand. Ours stood under a giant mossy oak tree.

Fast forward twenty years. My cutie-pie, blueberry-eyed daughter with long blond braids wanted some pocket money one summer. Without scrubbing Mom’s windows, sigh. Selling lemonade seemed SO much more exciting — until she spent hours in the humid shade of a tree with very few sales.

This time of year, you might be dreaming of sunny summer days with a hint of lemon in your sparkling water and LOTS of clients in 2109. You’re planning and getting your business in order. Or making a valiant effort?

2018 was a tough year for small business owners wiped out by the fires in California or the hurricane damage and flooding in Florida. Maybe it was a tough 2018 for you due to personal losses.

Personal loss and tragedy can be especially hard to work through when you run a small business and don’t have the perks of paid time off to recover and refocus. How can you bring your A-game to your business when your mindset is out of kilter?

I can relate. I’ve been hands-on caring for an immediate family member recovering from stroke and cancer. Then there was the sudden, unexpected cross-country move of another close family member, as well as two not-at-fault car accidents this year. I’ve felt like I could barely come up for air before the next wave washed over my head.

Yet somehow, I’ve been blessed with some sweet, sweet lemonade. I’ve worked with wonderful clients this year. I’ve interviewed and written about some amazing humans that inspire me to tiptoe in their GIANT footsteps. Their accomplishments are such a dose of positivity that I tell myself: Pick yo-self up! Shake it off! Move it, lady!

I had some help! Looking back on 2018, I made a list of a dozen favorite tools and tips for inspiration that helped me keep moving and not drown in a sea of lemonade. If sharing these can help you persevere in your business or even in a stinky job, well, I’d love to pay it forward right here.

3 Books That Inspired Me in Business and Life.

Just three, folks! Anyone can do this. I read more books than these on a personal growth level, but these three really applied to my business mindset.

1.) Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins was my top favorite business book. I bought in on a flash sale off of Amazon, and read it on my Kindle app on the go. If you’re on the verge of quitting on your talents — don’t!

Read this book first. Please. We’re not factory machines. You’re not a cog in a wheel. You have unique gifts and talents to use for the good of others and your own paycheck. “A laborer is worth of his hire.”

2.) Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy. I so needed this book. By the way, Michael Hyatt and Brian Tracy must share ideas. They both talk about getting your BIG THREE out of the way first thing each day.

Writing down my BIG THREE each day has been a huge benefit to my productivity and a boost to my morale and mindset. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. Whew! I did it. This is only one of 21 wonderful tips that make total sense when your life doesn’t.

( If you’re thinking I’m hooked on the number three, you might be right. The artist side of me knows that a good composition often consists of groups of three.)

3. ) Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson. Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Russell Brunson has helped internet businesses catapult with his SAAS-type offering at ClickFunnels. I’m still on the fringes, figuring this out, but I can say I’ve talked to two people personally whose small businesses have grown exponentially by using ClickFunnels.

One thing Russell has inspired me to do is to be authentic in my business. Like today. I’m telling a bit of my story, because I’m a human interested in helping other humans. He didn’t quit, either, when his story got very tough. Lotsa lemonade to be sipped while reading Russell’s story.

3 Podcasts that Motivated and Kept the Wheels Turning In My Brain (cause business mindset matters).

Photo by Daniel Brunsteiner on Unsplash

Personal challenges can suck the brain cells right out of you. You get a sucker-punch in the gut, and yet somehow you have to get on stage with your business and perform. That’s when nothing in life makes sense, right? So here are my podcasts of brain restoration in the order of MY personal favorites.

Ed Gandia of www.b2blauncher.com hits it out of the park with practical, useful topics for business writers. However, often his topics overlap and apply to any small business owner — such as a podcast on health insurance for freelancers. Or how about a podcast on using LinkedIn to grow your business? Ed’s been podcasting for a while. With a wealth of topics to choose from, you can choose ones that interest you and apply to your business. Check out the link below. You’re welcome, too!


I was first introduced to Michael Stelzner after reading his book on writing white papers. Very, very B2B!

So imagine my surprise when I found out Stelzner now heads up Social Media Marketing World conference and offers his expertise at www.social mediaexaminer.com. His podcast is chock-full of interviews with experts on the ever changing world of — you guessed it — social media marketing! Cause pretty much every single business is on social media now. You need this shot in the arm!


Since I’m a business writer, the next podcast is my cuppa tea. Steve Slaunwhite is an excellent teacher on all things practical for business writing. Maybe you want to handle more of your own business writing? Check out his short, informative podcasts!


3 of MY Favorite Facebook Business Groups of 2018

Now, to be clear, I’m biased. I’m a business WOMAN. I’m also a writer. So I’ll forgive you if you tune me out here.

However, my top favorite FB group is run by a woman, the inspiring Julie Christine Stoian, but many men are in this group: Living the Laptop Life: A Group for Online Service Providers and Marketers.

Such a plethora of amazing professionals hang out here and help one another. Plus, you get to drop a link to your business on Mondays and Fridays (with a $50 offer that can lead to MUCH better money). It’s been good for business, folks. If you don’t get a bite, keep throwing out different hooks, a.k.a, Russell Brunson.


I was so delighted to find The Freelance Content Marketing Writer group on FB. Jennifer Goforth Gregory has a good thing going here. Though the job postings have not yet hit “gold” for me, I’ve gotten answers to business questions.

Writers let down their hair and ask for advice about tough clients or prospective gigs and pricing questions. The professional insights are just what the doctor ordered to ramp up my business mindset. It’s a good, safe place to go when business from home gets tough or lonely. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreelanceCMW/

For networking purposes, I’ve been pleased with Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs FB group. I haven’t really done a lot on this group, but I find the quotes to be inspiring, as well as the large group of women working from home. https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenbizowners/

3 More Tips for Squeezing Lemonade When You Have a Bucket of Lemons

  1. Hire a coach or business mentor. If you’re stranded beside the highway, you call a tow truck. So why not hire a professional to help you get “unstuck” in your business? Business mindset is tough! The hardest part is finding a good one, right? That’s where a Facebook group could be of service. For example, dozens of coaches hang out in Living the Laptop Life. Post a few “I’m stuck” questions. See who bites. Go bold and ask for recommendations.
  2. Take an online class. I’ve taken a few good ones from Hubspot. They offer some great marketing advice. Even better, I’m in the

    Here’s to raising our glasses of lemonade and welcoming 2019! Because when life gets tough, the lemonade you make tastes that much sweeter!

    I have a few openings to work with quality, caring professional service providers. I can help you attract and connect with your clients through regular blog posts, email newsletters, or a THAT ebook download you need. Maybe you need a refresh on your web copy? Let’s make some sweet lemonade with your content marketing! Call me or email for your free initial phone consult.

    Julia 443-362-8789 julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

The five-second rule {for marketing, not food}

man looking at watch
Wildly successful marketing expert and ClickFunnels founder Russell Brunson asked a million  dollar question in a recent podcast — How do you get your target market to FOCUS on your message for even five seconds?

It’s a CRAZY noisy world.

We’re constantly bombarded with marketing. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube.

If you’re a professional service provider dead-set on doing your best for your clients, it doesn’t seem fair that the biggest, loudest, flashiest voices get the “worm”.  (You know, “the early bird gets the worm”).

Maybe you only have five seconds or less to capture your target audience online. 

Or maybe not. Maybe that climb to the top will take T.I.M.E!

climb to the zip line

My take? Perhaps great marketing for quality service providers is a combination of the five-second rule AND the story of the tortoise and the hare.

If you’ve never heard this Aesop’s fable, here’s my five second version: It’s the ultimate practical joke in the Animal Kingdom. Everyone knows the outcome, right?

The race is set between the flashy, fast-talking, handsome Hare and a slow-moving, heavy Tortoise. BANG! They’re off.

Hare prances, dances for his audience, and zips off at lightning speed, leaving Tortoise to eat his dust.  Once he’s far enough ahead, he decides to take a short snooze.

Tortoise crawls along lifting one cumbersome, heavy leg at a time. He never stops moving slowly but surely.

Along the way, he passes the sleeping Hare but does not pause until he crosses the finish line!

The Animal Kingdom gasps then raucously applauds, waking up Hare.

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

Ever heard that line before? I’ve repeated this hundreds of times as an educator, encouraging my students to persist, to keep climbing, to take one small step at a time.

Content marketing needs both elements — pizazz and persistence.

Here are three ideas for pizazz:
  1. Real photos and stories of real people in your business.  Give some inside glimpses of your business. Tell your story in your bio, and add personal touches of who you are outside of the office. People want to do business with real people, not just a long list of accolades.
  2. Client success stories. You can hire a writer to interview and highlight your happy clients in your email newsletter or company blog. Stories are huge credibility builders. If you are a B2B company, a fresh, full-fledged case study may be just what the doctor ordered.
  3. Go LIVE. Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, give it a try. Just chat with your potential clients. Always provide a bit of helpful information. If you’re a lawyer, share how to avoid getting that into that hot mess in your area of law. If you’re a doctor or dentist, perhaps it would be sharing the most common ways people sabotage their health or their teeth.
How about three ideas for persistence marketing?

Why do I call it “persistence marketing”? Most content marketing is effective as a steady drip. You have to show up regularly to build confidence and trust. We’ve seen more than one shop in town end up closing due to irregular hours.

  1. Start or revive your online newsletter or blog. Treat it like a brief bi-weekly chat with your current or potential clients. Always be helpful and friendly. Don’t be long-winded and boring. Unless you’re speaking to a very technical market, save the long posts and in-depth explanations for a rare occasion. Make sure your content is shareable! Happy clients will spread the word for you.
  2. Post on Facebook and LinkedIn regularly. Here’s where you and your freelance content writer can strategize. You can repurpose blog or email content. Share local events.  Make connections to news events that tie in to your services. This is also shareable content.
  3. If you mail monthly bills, include a brief, friendly bit of helpful news in the mailing. Perhaps include a helpful checklist or an informative brochure.  Again, a content writer/marketer will know your target market and help you strategize for success.
  4. Automate some of your marketing using The Attraction Marketing Formula. Instead of driving clients away with TOO much noise, woo them with small bits of digital marketing. For FREE information, click this link.

How will you add pizazz and persistence to your content marketing plans today?

I offer a free 30 minute content strategy session for new clients only where I look at your business online and discuss ways to improve your copy or content marketing. Julia, at your service! Call 443-362-8789.

Piles of content to write? “Eat that frog!”

When you need fresh inspiration for your business, read a new book!

Here’s what I’m dipping into between doctor’s appointments, end of summer activities, and writing web pages for a client. Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy.

Now, I really don’t think procrastinating is my biggest problem, but getting more done in less time? Well, I’m all over that one.

Some tasks I need to automate. Some tasks I need to delegate. Some tasks I just need to throw onto next month’s or even next year’s pile.

As Tracy puts it, you just cannot get it all done. You never will. But what’s the most valuable thing you should be doing each day? That’s the frog you need to eat.

WRITE IT DOWN! As he puts it, think on paper.

The most important tasks I need to tackle first thing. Every. Single. Day. Eat that FROG!

What things in your life and business are so important that only YOU and your special gifts can accomplish them?

Another question to ask yourself is this: What do I stink at or hate doing that I can delegate to someone else? (Someone who adores those neat calculations and entering data — well, that’s their zone of genius, not mine!)

I’m loving this book. Tracy writes with such clarity that I can read for ten minutes and take away something actionable. That’s value.

Hello! How clear are you on the VALUE you offer your clients? Are you timely, accessible, the best in your field?

So let’s “eat that frog” together.

I’d love to help you clarify your unique value. Whether it’s a friendly, monthly voice in an email newsletter or blog post, your personal web bio, or your needed web copy makeover, I’m your writer gal! Let’s talk: julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com or 443-362-8789



What my mom friends and I REALLY want from our medical providers

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Do YOU shop for doctors who practice patient-centered care?

If you’re shopping for a big ticket item this week, chances are you’re going to ask some BIG questions. At the very least, you’ll read online reviews, maybe check out Consumer Reports, and do a bit of “Google” searching. If you can, you will definitely talk to a real live sales person, too. Along the way, you will ask friends and neighbors about their experiences with the product or service provider in question, right? It happens all the time.

My mom friends and I are no different. We are always asking each other questions. Whom do you recommend for a doctor, a dentist, an orthodontist? Why? Did you like your HVAC company? Why not?

Why should this be any different for our medical providers — from our family practice doctors to the different specialists we need?

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a few questions for our future pediatrician. Our hospital at that time required you to have one lined up before giving birth. Momma bear went into research mode.

Guess which pediatrician I chose? The doctor who called me back and allowed me 5 minutes of his valuable time to answer my few questions. He soothed a momma bear’s heart. He is excellent at patient-centered care!

Funny thing — I tried this same tactic very nicely at our local primary physician’s office this week. I walked in. I waited patiently for a receptionist to finish a call. She then asked if I was there for an appointment.

No, but are you currently accepting new patients? Yes? Great! Would I be able to ask a doctor just a few questions before I make an appointment as a new patient? She can call at her convenience any time. No rush.

The receptionist actually told me, Oh, you’re shopping for doctor? Well, you can’t do that here. I smiled, said, Okay, that does answer my question, and left.

My daughter’s outgrown her pediatrician, and she’s really nervous about seeing a new doctor. I’m still the momma bear. I’m out to protect my cub. It’s my right.

You can guess the office I walked into obviously got a big fat “F” in the realm of patient-centered care.  Maybe that receptionist was just having a bad day. She needs to practice a new line, though, or undergo more training. Wonder why I wrote this article about a medical practice’s most important hire?

I should know, because I spent a few years being that front desk lady. As I learned later, our optometrist’s office had gone through quite a few hires to find a multi-purpose receptionist (greeter, appointment-setter, eye-care coaching, insurance and financial data gatherer, and eyewear sales, anyone?)

Who says you can’t shop for a doctor? Yet the system makes it crazy hard to do so.

You’re only permitted one shot at a doctor for a yearly routine appointment covered by insurance. Otherwise, you have to pay out of pocket for a second visit to another physician, and the cycle could repeat itself until you find someone you like and trust.

Why wouldn’t there at least be a representative nurse to answer a few questions? After all, whoever helps you take care of your health is actually one of the most valuable purchases you make in life.

Consider this, too. For most folks, medical insurance is one of their larger monthly bills. So why wouldn’t you ask questions and invest in yourself wisely? Who has the gall to say they won’t talk to a potential buyer? Really?

Something similar also happened this week to another lady friend of mine as we shared stories. She went shopping for a doctor and asked the same question I did. Truly reasonable question, I think.

“May I talk to the doctor a few minutes before scheduling a first appointment?”

Happily, she received a slightly-altered, but much more patient-friendly response.

“We don’t offer a meet-and-greet session with our doctors, but we do have a nurse that knows each doctor very well who can answer your questions.” Ahhh! Your nurse is your salesperson. That works. Yes, I’ll be happy to talk to your nurse.

As it turns out, my friend who also asks annoying, intelligent questions has some very unique and serious health issues. She simply wanted to learn more about this doctor’s level of experience with her specific needs. It was vital!

Her next doctor would affect the quality of her life. She’d been down a long medical road, knew what had helped her, and what didn’t. She didn’t want to go back through all of the “experimental stages” with a new doctor in a new area.

My mom friends and I — well, we’ve heard this run-around from medical practices before, so we compare notes. We chat about our various doctors, because it’s often the only way to get information.

One friend has been so perturbed by her experiences that she refused to hire a primary care physician for several years. She would just go the the walk-in emergency medical clinic if she was sick, instead.

There’s a simple answer actually. What we all want is genuine transparency from our medical providers with a touch of caring.

And that may take more than 15 minutes of scheduled time.

We don’t just want to read about you on the web. We want to get a feel for your practice, and have a few personal questions that may be quite private.

Just a little bit of time goes a long way. If you don’t allow “interview questions” you’re really not being fair to us your consumer. You’re asking us to hire you blindly.

Do you practice patient-centered care?

Even if it’s just your trained staff responding knowledgeably to our questions before we hire you to protect our most valuable commodity, that counts.

“Golden Rule Marketing” — life’s really golden when you apply it. Very simple, actually. You treat others the way you want to be treated. I’m excited that my friend found a doctor who sounds golden. It’s good to know you’re out there.

If you’re interested in growing your wellness practice with patient-centered care, then you should also try patient-centered content marketing. I’d love to help you make friends with your clients using email newsletters or friendly, helpful blog posts on your website.

Fill out the contact form below. I will be happy to help!  Or call me directly at 443-362-8789

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