Is LinkedIn the death of the personal approach?

OK so some time ago I started Yellow Tomato but didn’t tell anyone about it.

It wasn’t that I was embarrassed or anything but I just had so much on that getting the website right and sorting images and logos and all that stuff just took up all my time.

And to be frank I wasn’t chasing clients, which was nice.

Anyway eventually I got round to setting up my company page (you can view it here) and changed my profile status.

And that was it – I was officially the owner of a two-person media company and not an accountant.

Bridges burned

Oh yeah, bridge burned

So My profile change was shared on the platform and people started sending in congratulations and I noticed something interesting.

Most of them were push-button responses.

I know that we’re all busy people but the consistency in the congratulations really stood out.

I’ll tell you what really stood out

In amongst all the cookie-cutter ‘congratulations on your new role’ messages were two other types.

The worst was a lady who used the opportunity to try and sell me something that I hadn’t bought before.

Her approach was so opportunistic that she actually guaranteed that should I need her service I would NEVER buy from her.

So I learned something.

The other type of message that stood out were the ones where the person had taken two seconds to pen a short, personal message.

My instant reaction was ‘I love that guy!’ (or gal)

The difference in approach and my reaction was amazing.

So my lesson from this?

Take just a tiny bit of time to say hello.

Personalise your message and don’t try and sell anything.

It might not be intuitive but actually the push-button approach that LinkedIn promotes and encourages actually make life easier for those people old fashioned enough not to use it!

How you can get more business using fresh and useful content

Yellow tomato - I write content for small businesses

If you are anything like most small business owners then you could probably do with just a little more work – the cream off the top, the icing on the cake sort of thing.

Maybe your website is working well or maybe it’s just tumbleweed blowing across the screen but either way, an excellent method of getting more work from the same asset is to have fresh and up to date content for potential buyers.

So what you really need is a content marketing plan

It’s always good to have a plan

But don’t worry, your content marketing plan doesn’t need to be all singing and all dancing.

What it needs to do is identify the people you want to work with, where they hang out, the questions they are asking and how you are going to answer them

Let’s take an example

Imagine a business that supplies In Car Entertainment systems (ICE).

First question – Who are their ideal customers?

They aren’t selling to young mums I would suggest, or retired people or school kids.

So we know that their content probably needs to be aimed at drivers, probably 17-35 and predominantly men (I know sexist).

And this is the important point here.

I’m not saying that ICEs are ONLY bought by this demographic, but what I am saying is that this is by far the largest market.

So chase it.

Where do they hang out?

I reckon it’s largely pointless getting editorial content into the Guardian.

People that read the Guardian are less likely to be in your target market.

Where do 17-35 year old men hang out?

Youtube, Facebook, maybe Insta

So now you need to get some content up that will speak to them.

Giving something of value

What is likely to get these guys clicking away from Facebook?

Something that they need or something of interest

And so you need to look for people who maybe have been searching for new cars, or who are members of car interest groups.

These are the people who are more likely to want to buy or upgrade their ICE or want more bits for it or who want advice about it.

So you’d look to produce content on ‘the 5 best head units released this year’ or ‘About to fit a new stereo? Don’t make this common mistake’.

Promote the right content in the right place and you’ll get clicks

Get people out of a bind

So far the content suggestions have been for when people are actively searching for something they are going to do but what if they find themselves stuck?

Don’t discount the power of videos as a way to drive sales.

I recently fitted a stereo to my Jaguar (I’m not that rich, it’s a 15-year-old x-type!)

The problem was that none of the fittings were the same so I had to search for how to fit it and what items I needed.

As it was there was no provider who had put on a video and I found some guy in Kentucky who had posted a vid of him doing exactly the same thing.

Now if our imaginary ICE store had posted a video that showed how to do it and then linked to a shop page where I could have bought the DIN converter, ariel converter and trim surround then I am pretty sure I would have bought.

Here’s your homework.

So if you want to make a difference to your business with fresh content then what should you do?

Firstly sit down and write out a pen picture of your ideal customer.

Then find out where they hang out. How you can connect with them. What they are searching for.

Then plan your long-tail keywords to suit.

Once you have your keywords then get your content produced.

Either do it yourself or find an amazingly awesome copywriter or video content producer.

Now, where could you find a copywriter???

Here’s the ad

OK so copywriting is what I do.

It might be blog articles, website content, eBooks or video and advertorial scripts but if it’s words then I am your man.

I can even help you plan out that marketing and work our some suggestions for those pesky long-tail keywords.

You can find out about my services here

Contact me now and let’s see if I can be of help.

Proven methods to get readers for your SME blog

Website content for SMEs

So you’re all set up with a website and you’ve written a couple of entries for your SME blog but no one is reading.

What’s gone wrong?

Check out these methods for getting noticed and driving readers to your blog

#1 Post little and often

So there’s lots of argument about how long posts should be.

I’m going to be honest I don’t know and I’m thinking that if anyone says that they do then they are bluffing.

Some people will tell you with total certainty that you HAVE to post 650 words or less every time.

Other people will tell you with equal certainty that the other people are idiots and you absolutely HAVE to post at least 2500 words.

Actually what I think is more important is that you post regularly.

The search engines value content that is fresh and updated so doing one 750 word post a week is much better than doing a 5000 epic once a month.

And who has time to write all that content for their SME blog when they could be doing business?

#2 Make sure your on-page SEO is all good.

So this might sound a bit like gobbledegook but SEO is simply making sure that your business blog has all of the attributes that make it attractive for the search engines.

I’d suggest installing an SEO tool to help with this. I like Yoast and the good news is that the free version has lots of features and will help you get your post right.

#3 post added value

A lot of my clients like to post little snippets and opinion pieces on sites like LinkedIn and I don’t have a problem with this.

It’s all part of the community building work that you need to do.

But if you want to drive readership then you need to be producing posts that help people solve problems that they are experiencing.

When you are looking at your marketing plan (you have got one?) then work out ways that you can solve the issues that people search for with your post.

#4 Have a marketing plan

You’re going to need one of these.

It doesn’t have to be all singing and all dancing but you’ll find life much easier if you have planned out the milestones you need to hit.

You’ll also find that with a marketing plan the post titles will almost write themselves because you will already have some…

#5 Long-tail keywords

I reckon this is worth a post all of its own.

Briefly, though, a long tail keyword is a more natural way of making sure the search engines know what you are posting about.

So for instance you may be wanting to write a post about the water-saving value of changing your toilet flush valve.

Instead of just writing a post that includes the words ‘toilet flush valve’ you’ll write ones that answer questions about them.

‘How do I change a toilet flush valve?’ ‘What are the benefits of a new flush valve?’ ‘What are the parts of a toilet cistern?’ That sort of thing.

The search engines are looking for posts that answer questions that their users are asking so you should answer them.

#6 Don’t just rely on the search engines

If you are writing posts of genuine value then why hide your light under a bushel?

Make sure you publicise your posts on your company Instagram, Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn.

Whatever you have then make sure it’s posted up with a nice pic and a working link.

This is where smaller businesses can have a real edge over bigger companies because they can really home in on their customers’ needs and develop a proper community.

Getting your SME blog a sizeable readership…

Truthfully, it’s not rocket surgery.

I’d like to tell you that it is all a dark art and you HAVE to buy my services but actually getting readers along to your SME’s blog is just a matter of having a plan and making sure you are working it.

If you’d like some more information on how to get readership for your blog then check out these other posts.

Now look, I write blogs for SMEs.

I’m not too shabby at it (after all you’ve read this far) so if you aren’t wanting to write your own content then why not give me a call or message me?

How much does decent copywriting cost?

Yellow tomato get yourself a decent blog writer

If you are a small business then you want to make sure that you have got control of your marketing budget and you may well be wondering how much employing a blog writer is going to cost you.

Good question

So if I had my sarky hat on I’d probably give you a picture like this;

Yellow tomato - awesome copywriting for small businesses

But I’ve got my professional head on today so I won’t do that. Instead, I’m going to try and answer your perfectly reasonable question using my adult voice.

Which frankly is making me feel a bit shaky…but here goes…

Answer the question – how much does copywriting cost?

OK so it depends what you want done and how big you are and who is doing it.

Now let’s start at the top.

If you are commissioning a big agency to do your copy and you are doing a big national campaign and you are a big company with a fat marketing budget then you are probably going to spend the thick end of £250 per hour.

Oh yeah.

But you’re not a company with a big fat marketing budget because they don’t care how much they spend and they don’t google how much does it cost…

You are probably much more intelligent than that.

Pay by the word

There are four main ways you can pay for copy

The first of these is to pay by the word.

You’ll often see prices quoted by the word for things like blog posts (like this one!) or for eBooks and stuff.

This is because it’s fairly easy to predict how long it will take to produce a thousand words on any given subject with or without research.

Now to be fair the main factor in how much it costs to get copywriting done will be quality.

So if you go on a platform like People Per Hour or Upwork then you can probably get some copy done for £8 per thousand.

Yeah really

What will it be like?

Well, it’s probably going to come from a copy farm where they blat out thousands of words using some software that doesn’t really care what it’s doing.

So if you want to spend the next hour proofing and editing the post you’ve just paid £8 for then…

In fact you can find out what happened when I bought some cheap copy here. Spoiler alert:- it didn’t end well.

Why buying cheap copy is a mistake
Want to know what happened when I bought cheap copywriting? Click the pic to find out.

Pay by the Hour

The second method of paying for copy is to pay by the hour.

This is often preferred by freelancers who need to do a lot of research before writing.

It’s also useful if there is an uncertain brief or where it’s just not clear how much work is really going to be needed.

Again good copywriters will charge you £250, bad copywriters will do it for £7 but on average you should expect to pay in the region of £25- £60 per hour.

Pay by the project

This is a really good way of making sure that the budget doesn’t go crazy and freelancers are often happy to use this method.

It’s good where there is a clearly defined project and where the freelancer knows the client and what they like.

So they may say for example they will write a set of five blogs for £250 all-in and this will include their research time and amendments.

Paying on retainer

Some clients (and many freelancers) like to pay by retainer.

This means that the client has a standard amount that they pay per month and the freelancer works a certain number of hours, almost like a part-time job.

This has the benefit that the client knows exactly what they will be paying for their content every month.

I have clients that do this to spread the cost of their content over the year, some months I do more, some less but it generally evens out.

What should you pay?

Well, I reckon that as an average you’ll pay somewhere between £30 and £75 per thousand.

It very much depends how much effort you want the freelancer to put into your post.

I don’t mean that unkindly at all.

For instance, some of my clients have posts and articles that they want rewriting in their house style, and that’s really quick for me to do.

The thing that takes the time is where I have to do desk research and then write up my findings.

So as an example, I’ve written reviews for things (software mainly) where I have to set up an account, install it, use it and then write up my thoughts.

So a thousand words take a lot longer.

How much does it cost?

This is a different question.

You see I know how much I have to pay for a plasterer to come and sort out my wall in my office.

I could do it myself but I’d get a worse job, it would take longer and I’d make a mess.

Just watching tradespeople do what they do proves why they are professionals and I am a writer.

So the price of a job isn’t the cost.

I might pay a plasterer £40 an hour to work but charge my clients £50 per hour.

My job gets done, I make money so the job has cost me minus £10.

Or I might pay them £60 an hour and while they are doing it charge £50 but have no stress and no mess at the end of it.

That’s why getting a professional writer to do your blog might not cost you anything!

Now you know how much it’s going to cost to get a professional and frankly amazing blog writer then why not drop me a line?

I’ve got some whizzy package deals on for new customers and if nothing else we can have a chat about motorbikes or plastering.

Check out this big mistake most businesses make with their blogs

Yellow tomato copywriting for small bsuinesses

Unbelievably, most SMEs make the same mistake with their business blog.

They don’t mean to of course, but they do, so I am here to tell you how you can get around it and make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.

They start off really well

When we start our businesses we all have good intentions.

We set up the website and work with a designer to make sure it looks great

We provide loads of copy and make sure we know how to handle the posting method

And then we write a few blogs and put them on our site and then one of two things happen

We get dispirited

We check out our analytics (because we’ve installed Google analytics console) and it’s disappointing.

Google has spotted us and gone ‘meh’

We don’t rank highly and our website isn’t driving traffic so we decide to put our effort into something else that might do better.

We get busy

Which is great right?

Our business takes off and the orders are flying in

Suddenly the blog doesn’t seem so important and anyway business is great so we don’t need to drive traffic.

So we stop blogging.

Both completely understandable

And both mind-numbingly dumb. (people just don’t speak like that to potential customers do they? Maybe they should)

I can talk like this because I’ve done exactly the same thing with my business in the past (not this one obvs because this one is epic.)

I did this with my consultancy business Isango8. You can check out my desultory effort here http://www.isango8.co.uk

I started out with good intentions, got bored, got busy and stopped blogging.

Before long the only people visiting my site were girls from Russia who really wanted to be my friend and guys from Nigeria who had just been left elevntybillion dollars by their uncle – if only they could get it out of the country…

Blogs only work if they are active

Google knows full well what people do – because we all do the same things so it penalises sites that aren’t active.

What search engines want is to serve up useful, relevant and up to date information, not something you wrote late one night in 2016 in a fit of guilt.

The trick is to post little and often

If you do loads all at once then you get pretty bored with the process pretty quickly and it becomes this thing that you have to do rather than something you want to do.

Write about things that have happened, the latest industry news, something your business has done or even opinion pieces if you really must.

They don’t have to be hugely long, after all, no one wants to read war and peace but they should be relevant and to the point.

What will happen if I do this Stu?

OK so if I had my salesman’s hat on (did I tell you I write blogs for small businesses?) then I’d tell you that all of a sudden you’d get loads of sales from it.

But you won’t.

What will happen, especially if you promote it properly is that you’ll get a bunch of hits on the first day, then it will start to tail off and you’ll probably only get one hit per day per blog.

Google will still be saying ‘meh’ and you won’t be making any sales.

But you carry on doing one, maybe two pieces a week.

After ten weeks you have perhaps 15 blog posts on your site.

Each one of them is only getting one hit a day.

But that adds up to 15 hits per day

And now Google is saying ‘Hmmmm’.

You’re still not at the top of the rankings but you’re moving.

This is the point that most businesses give up

So you carry on.

In another couple of months you are getting 30 hits a day from your old content and if you are lucky one strikes a real chord and it drags in 10 people per day.

Then something unexpected happens.

You’re at a networking event and someone says ‘I saw that post you put up about how to fix a leaky tap and it worked….could you come round and quote on a new boiler?’.

You write more posts and suddenly Google thinks – ‘this guy knows about leaky taps’

And more people speak to you at networking events and people fill in your contact form.

More useful is the thing you don’t see.

When you speak to people about doing work who you don’t know, they go on your site afterwards to check you out and guess what?

They find someone who clearly knows what they are talking about because they have a business blog full of useful information about plumbing or landscape gardening or wedding cakes or accountancy.

So you get the sale but you never really know why.

Stu, get real I just haven’t got the time to write a business blog for my company and anyway what’s this long-tail keyword thing?

Aha! what a great point!

Get someone to do it for you.

Me preferably, but if not then find someone who can commit to producing one business blog a week for the next 12 weeks say.

Make sure they know about ‘on-page SEO’ and all that stuff, and then forget about it.

At the end of the time take another look at your site.

It won’t be ranking like BBC.co.uk but it will be better and more important than all that ranking nonsense when a potential customer visits it will be looking more professional and you will look like you know what you are doing.

Even if you don’t

Which you do.

So here’s the ad

I do copywriting for small businesses.

I write blogs, articles, eBooks and all sorts of stuff.

I even know about long-tail keywords

You can get me to write the odd blog or we can set up a standing arrangement where I’ll do the keyword research for you, write the blogs and even post them directly to your site for you.

All you have to do is pay my very reasonable bill.

Seriously, you know you have to do it so why not give me a call and get the problem off your desk?

Oh and if you are wondering whether blog posts actually get read – well you’re here aren’t you?

If you want more advice on content marketing for your Small Business then check out some of my other posts here

The secret to getting people to read your SME content

Yellow tomato - original copywriting for your small business

What’s the point of writing a great blog post if nobody reads it?

None right?

So you need to get people along to read your content otherwise your website is just so much dead air but how do you get people to click through?

What would you say if I told you I had the secret?

You’d want to know it right?

Of course you would because we love secrets.

If you don’t believe me then why not check out this excellent TED talk series on The Secrets to Understanding Life

Of course we all want to know the secret to understanding life but would we be more or less likely to click on that link if it was titled as ‘a series of talks on personal management’?

Probably not.

As a bit of a test I challenge you to simply type the words ‘ the secret to’ into google and get past page 2 without finding something really interesting to read.

So the secret to getting clicks on your content is…

Have a banging title.

Face it, nowadays most people don’t read past the title and many search engines and agregators only show you the title anyway.

So having a Secret in your title is a great way to intrigue people and hook them into your subject.

The ‘how to write a great secret title’ bit

It’ not enough to just use the ‘secret’ word in your title though. you need to lead people to what the secret is about.

So you need to have a teaser to the content in the title.

‘check out this little known secret to great margaritas’

Or combine it with a listicle (you do know about listicles right?)

”6 secrets to having great hair’

or if you want to get all clickbaity ‘ 21 secret illnesses celebrities have (you won’t believe number 9)’

Still don’t believe that a secret can get more posts to your SEO blog content?

Well you clicked on this article didn’t you?

This post is part of a series of ways to increase clicks on your blogs so check out some of the other posts for more info.

And if writing all this stuff up seems like a bit of a distraction from our day job then whynot contact me and let’s see if I can help you

Use this simple trick to get more clicks to your small business blog

Yellow Tomato Copywriting - providing the best in small business blogs

When you are writing a small business blog it can be pretty disheartening when nobody reads your thoughts

But using this simple, 10-second trick will increase your click-through rate and hopefully encourage you to keep on with producing great content.

It’s all about listicles

Ever noticed how many lists of things there seems to be on the interweb?

A 2-minute search found lists on beard oil (didn’t even know that was a thing), best white trainers for this season and 29 healthy snacks to help you lose weight!

We love love love lists

So when you are planning your marketing effort you need to think about where you can add in a listicle.

Timing is everything in blogs

Hitting the sweet spot in terms of timing for your business blog can be epic.

For example, I subscribe to a site that produces a list of the best motorbike released at various motor shows.

I know that they produced a great list one year and I subscribed because I knew I’d want to read next year’s list.

So does your business sector have an event that you could spin a list off?

As an example, if I had a football-related business then I would spin a list off of the start of the season-best transfers of the close season, most likely to be relegated, that sort of thing.

‘The six best kits in the English Premier League’ has got to be a click magnet and if you are smart you’ll use it as a way of driving comments and therefore engagement

Oh and think both ahead of time and behind time.

So what I mean by this is that you can do a list based on something that is going to happen (English football:- the 10 teams most likely to get relegated) or something that has happened (English football:- the ten managers who overachieved this year).

Business blogs need to add value

OK so here’s my listicle.

You’ve enjoyed it hopefully and it has given you some food for thought and some value.

but just ramming in a listicle for no good reason that doesn’t inform, educate or entertain (where did I get that from?) is going to be pointless

Worse than that it is likely to really annoy people who will mark your site down in their heads as a time-wasting clickbait site.

So why for instance do I subscribe to a motorbike list?

Well it entertains me because I love motorbikes

It informs me because it gives me the reviewer’s view of what things hit them mark this year

And it educates me in that I get to understand what is on the market now and what their features are.

And that is essentially what you have to do, no matter what your particular niche is, you need to give people a listicle that will add real value to their small business blog.

So that’s it then.

Get yourself writing.

P.S. don’t forget to let me know how you get on with your listicles in the comments section below.

PPS -if you’ve found value here then a share would be absolutely smashing and a backlink would be treasured like gold.

The advert

Look we know that theory is great but when you are building and running a busy business then blogging probably comes quite low down on your agenda.

Let me take the hassle away and write your blogs for you. I may even do a Listicle!

Contact me here and let’s chat about how I can help

But wait… there’s more

This is a page from a series which focuses on getting more clicks for your business blog so why not check out some of my other stuff here?

5 Ways to increase clicks on your small business blog

5 ways to increase clicks on your small business blog

Yellow tomato - copywriting for small businesses

I spend my life doing small business copywriting and there are a few tips of the trade that tend to make my life easier.

One of these is getting the titles right as a way of encouraging clicks.

Now let’s be honest, if you don’t promote your posts or if you promote them in the wrong place then you’re never going to get clicks

But if you make a tiny bit of effort with your post title then you can drag more visitors to your business blog and that can’t be bad.

#1 Listicles

People love a list, not sure why but doing a list gives a nice structured method of providing information

You’ve definitely seen these – you know the kind of thing – ‘the 6 best brands of beard oil’ that sort of thing

Oh hey, you’re reading a listicle now!

#2 Proven methods

So yeah, I could have called this post ‘5 proven methods to increase your post click rate’ or something a little more elegant.

Using the proven methods blog title will help you get a bigger readership for your tips.

# 3 Mistakes

Using a mistake that people commonly make in your line of work as a post title certainly increases readership.

This is especially useful if you have something that you find people always do.

Can also be combined with a listicle

‘6 common mistakes that people make when buying a car.’

# 4 Secrets

Everybody loves finding out a secret right?

Having a blog post headline that promises to let people in on a secret is a great way to drive engagement

‘The secret way to make delicious bread at home’.

Admit it you really want to know that secret now right?

# 5 Hacks & Shortcuts

Nobody wants to go the long way round nowadays

Including a hack or shortcut in your title gives people the expectation that they can get things done quicker, easier or cheaper.

‘Try this life hack to manage your inbox’

OK so that’s my listicle done but the absolutely epic news is that I’ve done a separate, in-depth post on each of these, in turn, to help you get a bit more engagement in your writing.

The in-depth posts on ways to increase clicks on your small business blog

Here are some examples of how these work, some of these are guides to the method and some are example posts that use the method.

Oh and no post would be complete without a little advert, amaright?

My job is to produce top quality small business copywriting.

I love writing for businesses that don’t like doing it or can find more value in working on their business rather than writing blog entries.

Why not contact me and let’s have a bit of a chat about how I can help you drive engagement and get more people to speak to you.

Use this great hack to make sure people read your content

small business blogs are like spinning plates

If you are writing small business blogs for your company then you may well be disappointed at how many people actually click through onto your site.

After all, what’s the point of writing this stuff if no-one ever reads it right?

Unbelievably there are a few ways to make sure people click on your links and I bet you know most of them but don’t realise it.

And you have just fallen prey to one of them

Can you see what it is yet?

It’s all in the blog title

There’s a list of post titles you can use to boost your click-through rate.

Now they won’t save every type of blog post, and to be fair if you promote your content in the wrong place then there’s no helping you.

So for example, if you have a post about industrial valves and you post it to an undertakers discussion forum then I reckon it doesn’t matter what you write or how you write it.

But, if you are writing the right thing and it’s relevant to your target auduence then we’re in business

Or rather you are.

You can find my list of great blog titles to boost click-through rate here

So what’s this great hack then?

It’s including ‘hack’ in the title.

Have you noticed how clickbait farms tend to use this one a lot?

that’s because we are busy people and finding a way to circumvent the normal rules of behaviour really does appeal.

Also, a hack is a bit naughty, but not massively so and this plays to our sense of humour.

Things to remember about your hack post

There does actually need to be a useful tip or trick that the reader can use.

After all, after reading this post you now have a hack that you can use to aid your click-through rate right?

Shortchanging people on your small business blogs is a bad way to go.

And you mustn’t require people to sign up or have any of that nonsense going on. If you do you won’t get repeat visitors and frankly they probably won’t sign up anyway.