HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Wishing everyone a healthy & happy 2012 – catch ya on the flip side!
An email crossed my desk just a few weeks ago about using the phrase, “Does that make sense?” during a presentation or on a call. The email was basically stating that certain catch phrases really should be left unsaid. The email read, “…follow the advice of the Strunk and White classic, The Elements of Style: “Use definite, specific, concrete language.”
The Elements of Style is an excellent read – I turned to it frequently as a newbie writer, and I still keep in within arm’s reach today. Reference to this classic reinforces simplicity, when writing and speaking. It reminds us that less is more. I learned very early on to “write like you talk.” When you write a piece of content, read it out loud. If it doesn’t sound like something that would naturally roll off your tongue, it’s not going to read well to your audience. The Elements of Style taught me to eliminate useless fluff from my writing.
For example, “It goes without saying/needless to say …” OK, if it goes without saying then don’t say it. And if you can cut a sentence down from 16 words to 7 and still deliver the same message, do it.
As a speaker, according to Jerry Weissman, a corporate presentations coach, “…you must diligently delete meaningless words and phrases from your speech.”
What I gleaned from this is that the same rules apply to both writing and speaking – get to the point. Just the facts, ma’am. It does make me wonder, though, if you are supposed to write like you talk, should you talk like you write?
In mho, that all depends on whether or not you can write like you talk.
Does that make sense? I’ve read very different opinions on this. What do you think? Are you showing your own uncertainty by asking “does that make sense?” Are you suggesting your audience is filled with drooling morons who can’t begin to comprehend your complexity? Or are you speaking from the heart with sincere vulnerability?
There are 5 phases of a typical buying cycle. When you’re writing content for a website, you need to understand the purpose of each page. What do you intend it to do? Provide generic information? Product details? Or is the page designed to get people to buy? Each phase of the “buying cycle,” or conversion cycle, requires a different style of writing and different keywords.
There are a great variety of ways to describe the 5 phases – here’s how I do it:
Let’s say you sell purple house hippos. Your future customers will go through these 5 phases, so you want to make sure your site’s pages bring them in at the right phrase. How do you do that? First, you have to get inside their heads to understand how they think. Ask yourself, “what would I type into the Google search box to find purple house hippos?”
That’d be a good start – but only for people who have already decided to buy the purple house hippo. What if they’re not sure what they want yet? Maybe this would be a more accurate search:
These are two very different keyword phrases – each is equally important to your prospects. So when you’re setting out to do your keyword research, remember to search according to the 5 phases of the buying cycle and then build your pages around those themes. For example:
Of course, there are many other factors at play when it comes to choosing keywords and building out content themes. But we’ll talk about those in another post.