Defeat This Fear & Achieve Your Goals

Some personal challenges recently reminded me of an acronym a work colleague uses. It describes a core issue that can hold you hostage, preventing you from achieving your business and life goals.

For example, do you:

>Try hard to fit in?

>Commit to people and/or tasks you really don’t enjoy?

>Buy the latest “shiny-object” because it’s trendy (or because it’s a substitute for personal effort)?

>Sacrifice your goals because achieving them takes you out-of-the-loop?

If you can relate to those and tons of other mostly obsessive behaviors you have what my friend calls – FOMO. It stands for Fear Of Missing Out.

And here’s the core reality of FOMOFear Of Missing Out is really fear of failure and perhaps even success.

Your greatest enemy to living a productive and rewarded life isn’t always outside forces. In fact, it’s rarely nothing from the outside that you can’t push through.

What keeps most of us locked into mediocrity, failing to achieve our goals, and realizing our potential is between our ears.

It’s resistance – FOMO’s most strategic weapon.

When you fear missing out you’re more likely to delay work on your top goals, building your business to the next level, and facing the next challenge with courage.

How to defeat FOMO:

1) Be resourceful.

The viral impact of FOMO is believing there’s something else out there. And once you obtain it you’ll have everything you need.

For example, if you give into FOMO you’ll make the pursuit of the next-new-thing your goal in the moment. Before long it’s eaten up all your productive moments and you have nothing but the shiny-thing to show for you efforts.

This fear is insatiable. You’ll never satisfy the craving if you depend on the attainment of something “out there” to be the answer you’ve been searching for.

Diligent, focused action creates results. You have all the resources you need to start and finish the task at hand.

Your unique ability and the compulsion to act defeats resistance. It doesn’t know what to do with momentum.

2) Be content.

Contentedness is sometimes confused with laziness. Misunderstanding what it means to be content can lead to inactivity and unfulfilled desire.

Being content is about owning who you are, what you have, and your plans to change it.

The content person, like the content business owner, is so in tune with their own sense of purpose that they’ll go-it-alone, if necessary, to achieve their goals.

You achieve success by courageously pursuing your mission. You’ll attract others when your contented resolve is crystal clear and it appears you’d do it whether no one else chooses to do so.

3) Be yourself.

Many people aren’t comfortable with who they are. So, they live according to FOMO.

After all, who decides who’s “out” and who’s “in?” Though it’s a much deeper matter than this post can address, bullies put themselves in this judgmental role.

The root of bullying behavior is that bullies aren’t comfortable in their own “skin.” Expose them and you strip them of their power.

Stand up for who you are, what you can do, and how you can uniquely make a difference. Why fear not standing where the “crowd” gathers?

Start your own “crowd!” Better yet – celebrate another’s right to have a “crowd.”

Whatever you do, “own” where you stand.

In your business or personal life, where does FOMO impact you? How have you been resourceful, content, and comfortable with who you are?

4 Social Media “Basics” That Can Transform How You Do Business

Had to “reboot” a device recently? Like your smart-phone or computer, your social media content strategy needs an occasional reboot.

The reboot is a cleansing feeling really. By now (hopefully) you’ve ventured into the surf and are discovering how useful social media is for engaging with not only your friends but colleagues, clients, and prospective ones.

It’s time for a “reboot!” Let the following back-to-basics information clear the fog and get you back on track.

4 Social Media Basics for Transforming Your Business Connections

1–Publishing

In social media, publishing takes many forms. A blog post, a YouTube video, a Flickr photo and album.

And of course, an informative 140-character “tweet” on Twitter, a Facebook post, and now Google+linked to an archived article or blog post.

Variety is the name of the game for social media publishing. Consider how you can maximize your personal or business publishing.

Just thinking of yourself as a “publisher” may be your first strategic step.

Don’t picture publishing as a time consuming, laborious task that requires endless days of writing, editing, etc. (Understand, it does take time.)

Remember, social media publishing means engaging your “tribe” (in this case your personal and/or business followers) with relevant content that addresses and answers their questions, needs, concerns.

2–Interacting and Sharing

Engagement is the way of relationships in social media. How one-way are your connections on social media?

In marketing most are used to having a more offense-oriented game plan. You call a marketing play, such as a direct mailer or a radio spot.

You execute the play hoping to gain some yardage. And in some instances you have and will.

The social media approach is different. You engage your clients and prospects through a varied use of social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, a blog).

They comment, share, and post your useful data on their various social media channels. That’s how engagement begins to work.

Evaluate the nature of your current marketing approaches alongside social media. Compare how much interaction you’re receiving as result.

If the engagement return is low (and probably will be by comparison), take a dive into social media. You’ll notice the difference – often much sooner than traditional approaches.

3–Networking

Sure, it’s socially enjoyable to commute to a lunch meeting, exchange business cards, and hope (after a follow-up communication or two) to land a new client. It’s worked for years and won’t soon cease to exist.

Now consider the efficiency of networking from the comfort of your office, a coffee-shop table, even a chair on the beach…and connecting with hundreds, even thousands!

Social media multiplies your networking capabilities a hundred-fold! And many of the people who connect with you at levels removed from direct contact with you could benefit from your content, products, and services.

A Twitter follower who reads one of your “tweets” linked to useful content, “retweets” (if you’re unfamiliar, think of it as forwarding an email) it to their list of several hundred (or thousand) followers. One follower, who just-so-happened to be in need of what the content addresses  contacts you. Viola! And that’s just the beginning of social media networking.

4–Selling

According to social media expert, Nick Usborne, “Making sales can be an important part of social media strategy, but it would be a mistake to focus on this as a primary goal. What social media does best is facilitate publishing valuable content, sharing, and networking.”

Think of social media as a vital first-phase strategy in your sales and marketing force.

Think outside the box like 1800Flowers does by selling through its Facebook page or offering coupons through a social media tool like LivingSocial and Groupon.

If you’re a location based business, use Facebook Places, Foursquare, and Gowalla as a tool to encourage people to “check-in” when they’re on site.

These social media based actions can prime your target audience for sales. But remember social media’s sweet-spot is publishing valuable, relevant content that enagages others.

>Do a quick reboot with all you’ve learned and practiced to date with social media.
>Evaluate your progress with these 4 back-to-basics core qualities of social media.
>Act on each with a few changes this week.

What successes have you had with social media? If you’re not using it consistently, what would help you be more consistent?

How to Pump-Up the Slumps

I scrolled through some archived e-newsletter content I published three years ago (wow). Amazed that as a freelance copywriter, and (adding to the mix) now a blogger, social media content writer/strategist, and soon to be info-publisher, I’m – to the week – experiencing similar thoughts and challenges about life and business building.

Labor Day weekend is in the rear-view mirror. This annual holiday marks the official transition from summer to fall and the final stretch of the year.

Summer’s laid-back, lazy attitude (I’m missing it already) gets exchanged for the more reflective the-year’s-almost-over-how-am-I-doing attitude of the fall season.

This seasonal transition is one I personally grieve – in a weird sort of way. Though I enjoy fall’s colors and the crisp, cool temps, football, and the approaching holidays…I’m a summer-dude at heart.

Seasonal transitions and their momentum are an effective way to evaluate where you stand in life and business. Build on summer’s renewing qualities (vacations, recreation, etc.) and head into the year’s fourth and final quarter – as fall approaches – pumping up the volume.

In sports, relationships, business, sales, your attitude, or life in general – slumps happen. Think about it – no one or nothing is immune from the inevitable “funk.”

Be prepared for slumps and willing to take action to overcome them. I discovered the following points from Harvey Mackay* (NY Times best-selling author and businessman).

Consider these essential “slump-gear.”

1–Get back to the basics.

Start by looking at your goals. Are you following your game-plan to achieve them? If not, fix what’s broken – if so, create new plans. Do the basics well – marketing, prospecting, lead development, follow-up, customer service, etc.

2–Evaluate your own performance first.

Before you place blame remember, this is your slump. Commit to hard work until you get out of it.

3–Seek trusted advice.

After you’ve exhausted your own resources get the input of friends, colleagues – even a business/life coach. Check your ego. Prepare for honesty.

4–Stay focused on the desired outcome.

Distractions clutter thinking. Don’t let them. Work upward. Take simple steps without starting from scratch.

5–Keep a positive outlook.

Prior success can lead to more. Confidence flows from your skill sets. Be fearless to apply them differently or develop them further.

Mackay also quotes copywriter and prolific author, Robert (Bob) Bly. Here’s his three-part strategy for overcoming slumps:

1–Do something.

2–Do more.

3–Keep doing it.

Beat the slumps with some good, old-fashioned action!

What challenges do you face in life and business as the year moves into the fourth quarter?

*Source: Tulsa World, 08.12.07

How Copywriting Uncovers Hidden Value

A local paper ad caught my wife’s attention. It was promoting an international coin buyer’s event taking place over the weekend at a local hotel.

Our experience prompted my thoughts about some important copywriting and marketing principles. I was reminded how it’s essential to think about the untapped value within your products and services.

Along with gold and silver items, the company was offering cash payouts on coins of a certain vintage. My wife knew we had a few silver and half-dollars lying around so she scoured the house, drawer clutter, and forgotten containers to find a few hopefully valuable coins.

Bingo! Among some kitchen drawer clutter she uncovered a 1966 half-dollar. And we did a halfway serious happy-dance as if we were holding the winning Powerball lottery ticket.

We arrived at the hotel, took our number and a seat waiting among a few others who hoped they too had discovered the mother-lode in a jar or coffee can among their house clutter just as we had.

In a moment I’ll tell you how much our 1966 half-dollar was worth and what we walked away with check in hand. But first, our experience reminds me of some basic copywriting principles to apply to your marketing content.

Understand perceived value

Remember that people buy for emotional not rational reasons. This holds true for how they perceive the value of your services and products.

Imagine someone seeing your latest promotion for the first time. Once they begin reading they’ll immediately form an opinion about whether there’s value for them (perception).

Of course, you know the value. And it’s the job of your promotional content to sell them on it.

Your copywriting and marketing content must get inside their head. But don’t stop there. You must reach their heart – the emotional core. How?

>Use benefit-rich action words and keywords.

>Ask questions they must answer in the moment as they read, view, or listen to your content (however it’s delivered).

>Raise the value of whatever your promoting in the minds of your readers with comparative data (statistics, facts, etc.).

>Write to overcome perceptions and objections.

Deliver beneficial value

Whatever you’re promoting has built-in value. But do you know the value inside and out?

Change your perspective and look at your products and services with fresh eyes. Consider outsourcing your copywriting and marketing efforts on occasion.

Your products and services contain hidden value. And the purpose of your marketing is to discover it and create solid, compelling content that promotes it.

Show your readers the benefit-value of your services. But don’t stop there.

The purpose of copywriting is to put the product/service in their hand…in their experience with words. Use words to paint a picture of the future with them benefiting from its use and the consequences of not doing so.

Use content to get them so emotionally attached to your services that they can’t walk away without buying.

Increase value

Not only give them a picture experiencing the benefit of your services. Show others benefiting also.

The “community” or “tribal” effect can increase value. It’s the show-and-tell principle that builds a story around the product/service benefits.

>Use testimonials throughout your marketing content.

>Expand your testimonials into case-studies and whitepapers.

>Show your products/services solving problems, altering outcomes, increasing confidence, saving lives, etc.

This has emotional appeal that few can ignore without joining the crowd.

Back to our coin selling experience. Our number was called. And we were graciously escorted to a table where the buyer eyed the few coins my wife had uncovered.

He immediately separated the value-coin from all the rest – our 1966 silver half-dollar – and casually told us to spend the other coins since they wouldn’t increase in value.

We agreed to his estimated value on our 1966 silver half-dollar. We shook hands. A check was issued.

And we walked away…$3 richer. Hey, unless my “math” is wrong (wouldn’t surprise me if I was) isn’t that a value increase of 400%?

How to Stimulate Your Reader’s Imagination

I’m a visual person. I default to thinking in pictures and images.

For example, when I set goals I see the process, the path, and the end-result of achieving it. Then I move forward in that direction (at least that’s the plan).

Visualization stimulates energy. Imagination taps into emotions. Images ignite thoughts and compel action.

At the movies the preview trailers for upcoming features keep me in my seat. I’ll forgo the concession line to make sure I don’t miss one Preview of Coming Attractions.

There’s promotional power in watching action-packed, laugh inducing snippets from soon-to-be-released films (occasionally the trailer is better than the movie itself).

The visual set-up, like imagination, motivates. It prepares you for action. Visualization energizes your receptivity to new ideas and the means to achieve your copywriting and marketing goals.

What you see is what you get. This works in for the features & benefits of your products and services just like it does in life.

Let’s talk about that for a moment.

What “images” are you creating for your marketing approaches? Are your clients “seeing” what you’re promoting before they get it?

Visually compelling copywriting is essential if you want to captivate the imagination of your target market. Help them picture themselves using and benefiting from your product or service.

3 ways to stimulate your prospects’ and clients’ responsive imagination.

>Paint-by-numbers<

Remember those paint-by-numbers coloring books that brought out your inner-Picasso during childhood? You would pick a number-color combo and give life to an otherwise dull image.

Compelling copywriting involves numbers. Facts, statistics, and relevant data adds color to an otherwise dull promotion.

Useful data provides proof that your business, product, or service delivers beneficial results. Color your copy with testimonial and expert information.

>Get real<

People (your clients) have real problems. And you’re in business to solve them.

Help them picture the benefits your product or service delivers. Connect it to real life.

This means you must know your prospect. Lead them with words to visualize the future – the future that your product/service can enable them to experience. Remember you’re promoting benefits – real…hands-on benefits.

>Show some emotion<

Again, knowing your prospect involves understanding what reaches, touches, and compels them. My business tagline states, among other things, that I write compelling copy. If writing doesn’t compel…you won’t sell (pardon the cheesy rhyme).

Tap into the emotions of your prospects and repeat clients. Write in a way that visualizes fear…greed…insecurity…happiness…pride…guilt…confidence…etc (all among common copywriting emotions).

Remember, *people buy for emotional, not rational reasons*.

Visualization stimulates the imagination. Give people an image that compels them to do business with you.

3 Online Marketing Assets Worth Controlling

I have control freak tendencies. Why are you giving me that look?

Come on now. You have your issues too!

Truthfully, this sometimes freakish behavior has value.

For example, you should consider it a good thing that you want to maintain control over your business assets. I marvel at people who face the wind while building a vibrant business (online or offline) – especially those who knock it out day in and day out with “sweat-equity.”

A recent post on Copyblogger stoked my control-freakiness. In this instance it’s a good thing.

I encourage you to read the entire post and let it prompt whatever useful insights it should in you. But I’ll cut to the chase and share what the writer, Sonia Simone, had to say about your business’s most valuable assets worth protecting – on the marketing side of the equation that is.

Simone affirmed the 3 assests you should be building – and for practical purposes – controlling:

1. A well-designed website or blog populated with lots of valuable content
2. An opt-in email list, ideally with a high-quality autoresponder
3. A reputation for providing impeccable value

In essence, your marketing content, connections, and character are of utmost importance to the lifetime value of your business.

>Content

I think you’d agree we live in an information-rich era. Social media has raised the water level somewhat. From blogs, to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more we’re a content fueled culture. And it’s not likely this will change.

But what must change is our due diligence to create and protect this asset (See Simone’s full post for her provoking insights on this).

Just as you’re not soon to stop promoting your products and services – you’ll not soon stop thinking of new and better ways to create compelling content.

Do a quick inventory:

-Do you have a blog? What’s the date of the most recent post? Who wrote it? Did it appeal to your niche? Was it actionable/practical information? Are your posts keyword-strategic? How are you curating content? (Curating? Huh!).

-Are you engaging your industry…clients with social media? How often do you post to Twitter and Facebook? If you’re a location based business do people have the option of “checking-in?” Do you give them any “love” for checking-in?

-How are you spotlighting your success-stories? Do you give customers, clients, constituents a feedback channel (surveys, etc.)? When someone provides outstanding feedback where do you feature it? Are you expanding your client testimonials into benefit-rich case studies?

Just a few content questions to get you mind cranking.

>Connections

You can have outstanding content but someone has to read and benefit from it. Your list, “tribe,” or community is the all-important asset here.

People connect with you publicly when they frequent your business location (if you’re location based). If you’re online as well, and connecting there, your best asset is a combination of email and social media.

Are your social media connections one-sided? By that I mean, if you’re the only one talking without acknowledging and giving or receiving feedback – it’s one-sided.

Social media, in particular, is more of conversation than a promotional medium. Sure, it works both ways – and most of us do our fair share of promotion via Twitter, Facebook, etc.

What if you improved your approach? Instead of primarily thinking of ways to promote, sell, and market what if you gave as much or more energy to starting conversations?

Use social media to ask questions specific to your industry, lifestyle, and niche. Respond to answers with a blog post or two (more connective content).

Give people an opportunity stay engaged and conversing with you by joining your email list. Reward those who connect with a content-rich special report and/or a regular enewsletter full of practical content.

Give people a reason to connect and stay connected.

>Character

80′s pop-star, Cindy Lauper sang, “I see your true colors shining through…” (If you’re too young and saying, “Cindy who?”, hop on I-Tunes and give it a spin.)

It doesn’t take long for our “true colors” to show in today’s 2.0 marketing culture – online and offline. We’re talking character here.

Reputation is everything. And character guides reputation.

Measure your character here by how much consistent and “impeccable value” you deliver to others. Does it bug you to give valuable content away for free via your blog or enewsletter? If it does, do some character inventory. You’ll be glad you did.

Remember conversations lead to relationships that lead to sales and beyond.

You’re in business to help people, right? And that’s the truest color imaginable.

Some things are worth protecting. Character ranks high. And these days so does your content and connections related.

“Est” Syndrome & How to Beat It in Your Content

Sometimes I can’t get-over-myself. This occasionally happens when I write proposals to promote my services to a potential client.

My first hurdle with self promotion is taking myself just seriously enough to boldly inform someone that I’m the person to get-it-done for them. Something similar happens with product and service promotions.

The “est” syndrome.

This feature-focused disease includes promotion killing words like bigg-est…fast-est…great-est. The problem with “est” words is their potential to create unhealthy – or unnecessary – comparisons.

There’s a much better focus. I’ll share that in moment.

Think about making an impression on someone. That all important first impression makes it harder to breathe, doesn’t it?

You stress about your appearance – what to wear? You stress over your first words, how firm should your handshake be, etc.

It’s all about the feature presentation. And perhaps that’s the fear source.

When you think features – everything has to fit and flow just short of “perfect,” right?

But like all lasting relationships, you eventually move past the surface appearance and engage with what’s beneath – the real person. That’s where the relationship takes off and has staying-power.

The staying-power of your products and services have more to do with the deeper benefits than surface features.

Write your promotional content to the benefit level.

1) Look at the product or service with fresh eyes.

Ask – what problem does this service really solve? Then think solutions.

Perhaps you’ve focused so much creative energy on the presentation (features) that you’re missing your most compelling selling points (benefits).

2) List every possible problem the product/service solves (really, all you can think of).

This list could be creative-gold for your R&D (Research & Development) processes. Whiteboard or mind-map every possible problem and solution your product/service engages.

Punch-up your content with these gold nuggets. Benefits connect and compel your prospect’s emotions.

3) Leverage the results of happy users/clients.

When someone solves a problem with one of your products/services that’s an emotional deal. No, there may not be laughter and tears (depending on what their issue is) but now you’ve won a customer…perhaps for life!

Why? Because you engaged them at an emotional level – where life, an issue, etc was kicking-their-butt.

You delivered a timely and useful solution to their dilemma. And they’ll talk you up because of it.

But…they won’t if you don’t give them a venue. Testimonials, case studies, survey forms are excellent venues for this kind of “love.” Leverage them.

Seeing yourself as the solution (benefits) is much more effective than comparing yourself to everyone else (features).

YOU have a voice that’s uniquely YOU.

Get over yourself. Start using it.

How to Get More of What You Want with Social Media

Call me naive but I’ve felt to my core (most of my life) that love, giving…and all that so-called fluffy stuff is the best way to live. And though the years could have jaded me somewhat (and have on occasion), I still believe this.

Social media has given me renewed trust in the you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours idea. A weird analogy but you know what I mean.

Business, like life, can be scary. You wonder who you can trust. Who’s sincere? What’s in it for me?

I say err on the side of giving and you’ll win.

Sure, you’ll get hurt a few times. But better to be occasionally bruised than jaded and bitter…right?

The following phrase can sound trite and overused. But it’s deeper meaning holds some timeless value.

I’ve heard it most often from Zig Ziglar, so he gets the credit. And it deserves some practical reflection in how we engage with social media (especially in business).

“Help people get what they want…and you’ll get what you want.”

Thanks, Zig.

>Start by being “real.”

I’m not talking about the psycho-analysis approach to “lets all circle up and share how we really feel.” It’s more fluid than that.

Be yourself. What engages others in your social media circles is YOU.

That means no hide (self) & seek (approval).

Realness (where business is concerned) here means building a relationship before and as you’re talking business, product, and service(s).

You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a networking function or even in a casual conversation and start with the promotional pitch (or would you?).

“Real” works in social media (and everywhere else for that matter) because it’s a conversational medium at its core. Sure, it can feel a bit one sided and SMS text-like at first.

But once you get in the flow you’ll appreciate and perhaps eventually gain profitable benefit from the conversation. And speaking of conversation…

>Say what you need to say.

Cue the John Mayer track (love that song). When you’re reading a tweet, a Facebook post, or a content link therein and it prompts an a-ha, a smile, an LOL, or heartfelt, “that’s right!” – go with it and let the person know.

The retweet (Twitter) and the Like (Facebook) says what you need to say. Be generous with them.

At first it will feel a bit sucking-up but who cares. We’re being-real here (see pt. 1).

I’ve had to improve at saying what I need to say to my growing tribe of friends and followers. Before or shortly after I file it in Evernote for curation purposes or bookmark it for later reading and reflection – I’ll send a retweet or a “via” tweet.

In fact you’ll begin to know what’s best shared on your status feed or with Twitter’s direct message (DM) and Facebook’s message tools.

I recommend the DM and message for those conversations that require more personal, detail oriented talk. Sort of like a formal, “Can I talk with you for a moment?” conversation that’s best shared 1-on-1.

Saying what you need to say should go without saying in social media. The quickest way to being “loved” in social media is to speak up.

And that said…

>Share the love.

The social media environment makes this easy because it’s built on a strong relational vibe. It’s like saying “You’re gonna love my friend…associate…colleague…coach…or __________.”

Every retweet or “like” is a form of a testimonial. It says, “This person has something to say…listen with me.”

Follow-Friday (#FF) on Twitter is an excellent way to share-the-love too. Starting and inviting people into a group on Facebook or similarly, a circle on Google +, creates a community where “love” goes the distance in promoting you and your brand.

Social media isn’t a self-centered environment. Far from it.

Get familiar with the word “engagement.” It’s the new-black of getting-what-you-want these days.

How are you “helping” and being “helped” via social media channels? Comment. Let’s talk further.

How Un-Marketing & Social Media Can Transform Your Business

I’ve been reading Scott Stratten‘s book, Un-Marketing. I scanned the book nearly a year ago because a client asked me to review a few chapters to write some themed blog posts.

I researched the book. Got intrigued. Wrote the posts. Yet I put it aside on my shelf.

Thanks to social media (amazing how it works) and a recent tweet by Nick Usborne linked to a post about Scott – his book was back in my hands all weekend.

I started dabbling in social media in 2008. A colleague (at the time) asked me over lunch if I had a Twitter and that I should get one and start tweeting. Think about how odd and a bit intimately personal that suggestion must have sounded to me at the time (“…get a Twitter…start tweeting…” Wha…?).

But I listened…just like I’m listening now.

I wasn’t ready then, and I wasn’t ready a year ago to REALLY hear what Scott Stratten has to say. Now, I’m all over it! And have been for awhile now.

In fact, social media is the primary way I’m un-marketing my business. And businesses that “get” social media will un-market themselves too.

What Stratten means by un-marketing (in a nutshell) is having the mindset that marketing is more about relationships (engaging) than it is about selling (marketing without a trusted connection). The results align – people are sold – but the platform is different.

Think of social media marketing (uh, engagement) as a return to the essence of sales. It’s like a handshake long before the deal is done. It’s a connection that says – I trust you because you’ve invested time to do so.

For social media, the time investment is about information…content. And that’s where the engagement (un-marketing) starts.

What Stratten is teaching me about how to start un-marketing with social media:

1) Value relationship development.

We’ve known for eons that relationships lead to sales. But some sales relationships are like an occasional one-night-stand. Ewww…right?

Picture this – a quick mailer (the wink across the crowded bar). Then – an unsolicited email blast or two (cue creeper-pick-up-line). Continued with – a flurry of slick-eye-candy-web-popup-ads (too many drinks to remember). Boom! Sales cha-ching (“…now what was your name…?)! A tad overstated…perhaps.

Use (not abuse) social media to create trusted conversations that lead to relationships where ongoing, profitable connections are made.

2) Restore engagement to selling.

As a trained copywriter I’ve learned the necessary value of trust building. What separates profitable promotions (whether print or online) from all others is their ability to lead a reader – in a trustworthy way – to a point of decision about the product or service. And ultimately a “yes” decision.

Everyone sells. Though some don’t necessarily like using the term.

Try this – exchange sell for engage.

For the most part, engaging with social media instills a trust-oriented attitude about how you approach friends, clients, vendors, and all prospects related.

3) Get outside-the-box (seriously!)

I didn’t say “think-outside-the-box.” Thinking often stops short of action. And action is vital if you’re wanting to engage with social media.

I know a business is at least thinking outside-the-box (about un-marketing) when I see social media buttons show up on their website or email signature. And that’s a good, commendable start.

But there’s more to going social than eye-candy buttons that indicate a Twitter account, a Facebook page or a Google + presence.

Take action…engage already!
>Ask questions you/your clients/friends want answered. Social media is generous with information.

>Answer questions others are asking. Give and receive (there’s something “golden” about that rule).

>Establish a consistent routine. Random activity (not engagement) will deliver random (that’s being generous) results.

>Get help. There’s plenty of us who see engagement as an un-marketing lifestyle and not a passing trend (Check our Twitter profile feed too. Follower numbers tell less about engagement than a consistent timeline of quality…tweeted content).

Now to un-finish Stratten’s Un-Marketing book!

Does Your Content Pass the “Bar-stool Test”?

Does your marketing message connect? Is it rising above the content noise in today’s marketplace?

As a professional copywriter and content publisher it’s essential that what I write connects. Clients pay me for the connect-ability of my writing to their target audience and market. When it connects, people buy, use their services, make an investment, embrace their ideas, etc.

After all, the essence of marketing is connection – making the sale – however you define “sale.”

Word quality is important. But consider this – so is tone, quantity, and let’s not forget delivery.

Occasionally, I’m paid to talk (nearly 30 years of speaking experience). Writing is simply talking on paper or the monitor.

Conversations, like speeches or content on a page or screen, go one of two ways: people get bored and think – “when is this person going go shut-up…,” they turn the page, they *click* away from the website or blog page.

Or…they stay engaged – “tell me more…I’m listening…give me more information…let’s talk again soon!”

Your marketing tone keeps the conversation flowing. Or it’s just another piece of paper, a webpage, post, or talking-head voice.

Remember the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher?

You never heard actual words. All you heard when ole’ Chuck or a classmate asked her a question was “wah-wah-wah-wah-wah…” Seinfeld’s George Costanza would say, “Yada…yada…yada.”

Writing requires proper voice or it’s just words (yada…yada…wah…wah…wah).

For maximum impact, evaluate the words you use to promote your ideas, information, services, products, etc.

Keep it conversational.

When I first started to learn copywriting skills, Michael Masterson taught me a priceless lesson. He says, when writing imagine you’re sitting on a bar-stool in a conversation with a friend, colleague, family member, or someone you just met.

You’re sitting there. It’s casual. You’re comfortable. They’re comfortable. And you’re just having a chat.

Try these 5 “Bar-stool Copywriting Tips”:

1–Write like you talk.

Imagine a casual moment, sitting on a bar-stool. If you were telling someone about your company, product, service, or idea, how would you describe it? Would you go all technical on them? Would you use big, industry words only you and a few others understand? Would you explode into a hype-driven, sales-y tone? Or would you just talk?

2–Make an impression without trying to impress.

When the person you’re talking with (in this case, writing to) leaves the conversation will they remember you more for how impressive you were or will they recall the easy-going, comfortable nature of the dialogue? Would they say, “Let’s talk again soon…”? Or do they think, “Could we do this again, like…during the next solar eclipse…”? The impression you make with your writing brings people back for more.

3–Give communication the power-position.

The goal of marketing is the sale (the impression). Merely impressive marketing efforts may or may not achieve that goal. It’s a choice – be impressive (eye & ear candy) or make an impression (compel & persuade). How you communicate effects the bottom-line.

4–Dress your language less formal and more casual.

Some are more comfortable in a suit, others in jeans. There’s a time and place for both.

Good, compelling content is comfortable – like your favorite jeans.

When writing most can’t get the image of their English teacher out of their mind (I know…thanks for reminding you). You stress over crossing all your “t’s,” dotting all your “i’s,” watching your sentence structure…and don’t eeeeven get me started on grammar.

I’m not saying “slang-it-up,” get lazy or sloppy. But what works on the bar-stool – formal or casual?

Use good judgment. What’s easily read gets remembered. And what’s remembered gets purchased, used, or applied.

5–Communicate effortlessly.

Envision Peyton Manning completing a 20 yard pass for a first-and-goal…Tiger Woods teeing off…Kevin Durant sinking a 3-pointer. The common thread – they appear effortless! Their skill seems second nature and fluid.

Make your writing appear effortless.

Be aware of how writing about your idea, product, service, and business gets in the way of the benefits or the intended result. Remember – features entice. Benefits sell!

Give your content and marketing approaches the “bar-stool test.” Evaluate and apply these tips to your writing. They could be the difference between decreasing or increasing profit and confusing or compelling your reader.

Copyright 2010