The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Fired on Twitter

Back in 2013, a British teenager was appointed as the Youth Police and Crime Commissioner for her county’s police department. Seventeen year old Paris Brown’s job was to advise the police on policing teenagers.

It was a brand new role. Nothing had ever been done like it before, anywhere in the UK.

Paris beat over 160 applicants to the job. But when her appointment was announced, British tabloids started digging for dirt.

They didn’t have to look far. In the words of the tabloids, during her younger teenage years Paris had posted “foul-mouthed” tweets.

Within a week of being given the job, Paris resigned.

When she announced her resignation, Paris said:

I have fallen into the trap of behaving with bravado on social networking sites. I hope that this stands as a learning experience for many other young people.

All too many young people – and even adults – are unaware of the online footprint they leave behind when they post a tweet. Some even fail to realize that their tweets are public. (Several racists have discovered this to their peril).

This month, a teenager in Texas made a similar mistake.

Cella became a Twitter celebrity when she posted:

Ew, I start this f*** a** job tomorrow”

Her new job was at a pizza joint, working the cash register and taking phone orders. Unfortunately for Cella, her new boss at the pizzaria found out about the tweet after a staff member passed it on to him.

He logged into Twitter and posted a reply:

@Cellla_ And….no you don’t start that FA job today! I just fired you! Good luck with your no money, no job life!

Ouch!

Moral of the story: If you wouldn’t want your boss (or a future boss) to read it, don’t post it to Twitter. It’s not worth the risk.

Tweets are public – anyone can see them. That includes your momma. So if you wouldn’t say it on a stage, in public, don’t say it on Twitter.

Easy, right?

Have you ever said something on social media that you later regretted? What happened, and how did you fix the mistake?

Standout Content

New blogs are created every day. Thousands and thousands of them.

By some estimates, a new blog is set up every half a second.

In total, there are over 150 million blogs. And only 400 million blog readers.

If each blog reader only read one blog, that works out at three readers per blog.

With only a limited pool of readers, how can you make your blog stand out from the crowd?

One way of doing so is to improve your writing skills. Chances are, there are thousands (if not millions) of blogs on the same topic as yours.

What will make your blog – and your business – stand out is the way you write.

Here’s how to write in a way that grabs the attention of your readers.

1. Know Your Audience

Find out everything you can about them. Talk to them. Listen. Have coffee with some of them, if you can.

Why? Because when you know your audience, you can craft content that’s just for them. More than anything else, this is what will make your blog engaging to readers.

2. Write for Skim Readers

The internet has changed the way we read. In a big way.

When we’re reading online, we skim read. We scroll through articles faster than we can take in words.

Why is this?

The problem is TMI. Too much information. There’s so much information out there that we have to filter. Skim reading is a way of filtering.

When you skim read, you’re looking for a headline or subheading that hooks you in. It’s new or relevant to you. When this happens, you pay more attention.

Then you go back to skim reading.

So, how do you write for skimmers?

First, you must write freaking awesome headlines. If your title fails to grab attention, then your article will be ignored.

Second, divide up your article into sections. Give each section a subheading. And don’t make your subheadings cute or coy. Your subheadings must point to your exact destination. Skim readers want this simple, to the point guidance.

Finally, make your important points stand out. Bold text is a handy tool for doing this.

3. Don’t be a Show-Off

No one likes a bragger, especially not online. When it comes to creating content, you need to avoid showing off in two important ways.

1. Don’t show off your products. Yes, creating content is a way of marketing your business. Ultimately, it can help you sell more stuff. But it’s not a sales tool. I’ll say that again: Content marketing is not a sales tool.

Content marketing is about being useful to your audience and engaging them in conversation. First, you provide value. Then, people think “this is great, I’d like more”, and they check out your products.

In simple terms, content marketing isn’t about you. It’s about your customers. Put them first in everything you create.

2. Don’t show off your flowery writing style. You might believe that you deserve to win the Nobel Prize for literature. But your content is not the place to show off your literary talents.

When readers are engaged with your content, they shouldn’t feel like they’re “reading”.

Let’s take a look at why that is…

4. KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)

When you’re writing content, use short words, sentences and paragraphs. How short? Shorter than you think.

With everything you write, ask yourself:

  • Is there a shorter word I can use that means the same thing?
  • Can I make this sentence any shorter?

People don’t have time to “interpret” your writing. It’s got to slide into their minds, smooth as silk.

Short words and sentences help people to skim read.

Remember, many of your readers will be visiting your blog or website after a hard day’s work. Fail to make life easy for them, and there’s plenty of other places they can go.

That’s not to say that writing in short sentence is easy. In fact, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

To get a feel for really short sentences, read a Jack Reacher novel. Or sign up to an email list from Andre Chaperon.

5. Do the Heavy Lifting for Your Readers

Pretty much anyone can write a sentence these days. We all learned to read and write at school. What’s hard is writing clean, simple and engaging prose.

Why is this hard?

As a rule, writers resort to long, complicated words when they’re not really sure what they’re talking about. You have to understand something inside-out before you can explain it in everyday language.

So, do the heavy lifting for your readers. Write about subjects you’re expert in, or do the research before you write.

6. Inject Voice into Your Writing

Voice is what makes you stand out from the competition. Anyone can share information. No one has your voice.

How can you find your voice?

In some ways, this is a nonsense question. Do singers “find their voice”?

No, and yes.

No, singers don’t find their voice. Every singer is born with a unique voice. No one else will ever sound exactly like them.

The same is true in writing. When you write, you can’t help but write in your voice.

On the other hand, singers spend years training their voice. They practice and practice for hours a day. They seek advice from professionals. They play around with the many different ways they could use their voice.

So, to “find your voice” you need two things.

Number one, yourself. That’s easy. You’ve already got that.

Number two, discipline. The discipline to practice. The discipline to try different approaches to writing. The discipline to learn about writing from professionals.

A really simple way to practice is to write out articles written by other people, especially if they’re in a style you like. This allows you to “try on” other voices. You’ll pick up tricks and techniques to add to your own voice.

Over to You

What writing techniques do you use to make your blog stand out from the crowd? Let us know in the comments section, below.

Welcome to the final installment in our How-to discussion on SEO for Amazon Products. You can find the first two posts here, and here in case you missed them.

Last Saturday we ended up with a list or spreadsheet of keywords with high search volumes that are related to our Amazon product. But what the heck do I do with these phrases now? We analyze the data and put those phrases to work in our product listings.

Analyze Keywrods

Keyword Analysis

If you’re not the analytical type and just want to grab a few keywords as quickly as possible you can wing it. If you’ve only saved a few terms and are in a hurry, just click on the magnifying glass on the right and look through your keywords.(Google automatically saves your last plan, so you can come back to it or start over at any time.) Pick five or so and go with those. If they’re on the list and are relevant to your product, you’re good to go. Even the most rudimentary researched phrases are better than the ones you pull out of thin air.

If you want to use the power of Google’s tools to make a scientifically-backed selection of keyword phrases, you’ll need a few more minutes of analysis. Ideally, you’d want the highest search volume terms with the lowest “competition”. You can get this information from the spreadsheet if you download it. Click on the right on the little downward facing arrow and save the spreadsheet to your desktop.

Low competition keyword phrases are not being targeted by others in a PPC or AdWords campaign, and are less likely to be in use by your competitors.

Relevance to your product is the first and weightiest factor in determining your keyword phrases, search volume is next, then competition.

Other Tools

The Search Bar You can also pick one or two high search volume keywords that are relevant to your product, enter each one into Amazon’s product search and analyze what keywords the top results are using. Pick the ones you think are relevant to your product and include those in your title.

Google Instant & Google Trends You can also use Google Instant and Google Trends to find high volume keywords. If you have Google Instant turned on in your account settings, Google “predicts” what you’re typing, as you type it. Pay attention to what pops up in the instant search choices. These are usually the most used terms based on the one or two words you’ve already entered.

Google Trends shows you what’s hot in search terms right now. Just try out a few searches and see what you can find related to your product

WHY it Matters

Why go through all this trouble?

Because you, as the seller, do not think like you, the consumer. Let’s take a look.

For our iPhone cord example, our keywords that have the highest search volumes are:

  • iPhone lightning
  • lightning to USB
  • lightning USB
  • iPhone charger cable
  • apple iPhone charger
  • iPhone 5S cord
  • iPhone lightning cable

As a seller, I would describe my product as an “iPhone lightning charging cable” but there isn’t a high search volume for that keyword phrase. You see, it matters if you call it a charging cable, but consumers search for a charger cable, or even a cord. In our minds, these things are all the same, but Amazon’s search engine isn’t as intuitive as Google’s and it may not display the same results based on the wording used in the title or description. That’s why you see some product titles that are R E A L L Y long.

If you want to get your product in front of consumers who want to buy your product, you have to know how the majority of shoppers are searching for that product. Being “close” might get you on the tenth or twentieth page of results. Do you really want a buyer to see twenty pages of similar products sold by other sellers BEFORE they get to your product? Will they even make it to that twentieth page before they purchase an item?

Pick Your Poison

Once you’re armed with keyword phrases, pick out a few with high search volumes and use those in your product title. This will put your product in front of shoppers when they use those same words to search for a product.

You can also use a few in your product description, but don’t overdo it. ALWAYS, write for the shopper (people) first, and the search engines (computers) second. If your title and description reads like a list of ingredients or keyword stuffed nonsense, you’re going to discourage shoppers from making a purchase. You’ll be giving your product a cheap, spammy image and the shopper will buy from someone else.

What Not to Include in Your Amazon Product Listing

Pay Here

Amazon limits how many characters you can use in your product title and description, so we have to be a little bit picky about which words we choose. Our results from last week included title details like “8 Pin”. And while 8 pin is the technical description for the lightning cable, most consumers don’t know that. The lightning cable has eight tiny “pins” or connectors embedded in the hub of the cord, but have you ever taken the time to count them? An IT guy might call it an 8-pin cable, but do you want to limit your sales to IT guys?

In my case, the “8 Pin” description actually caused me to hesitate and be unsure if this product was actually what I was searching for- was it compatible with my phone? Confusing your customers doesn’t help close the sale. Save the technical details for the product description unless they are used by a the majority of consumers. Limit your product title to high-volume, relevant keyword phrases and unique features of the product (if you have room).

In the case of an iPhone lightning cable, buyers usually want to know length, color, and connection. Does it have a USB end? Does it plug into the wall, computer, or car? Is it pink so my boys won’t want to steal it (hehe!)? Is it at least four feet long to reach the corner of my desk where I keep my phone? This is where knowing your customer’s needs comes in handy.

Looking at the Big Picture

SEO isn’t going to miraculously create hundreds or thousands of sales for you on Amazon. The fact is, SEO is only going to get your product in front of shoppers. It won’t help you get people to put your product in their virtual shopping carts. You have to employ SEM and traditional marketing principals AND have a product people need or want. I can be selling the best darn lint balls on the planet, but if people don’t know they need or want them, they’re not going to buy. Good marketing is selling that same darn good lint ball as a firestarter for boy scouts, hikers, survivalists, and campers. Good SEM is advertising my lint balls on websites and forums were these people hang out, where they go to get advice about camping or share a bear-in-the-woods story. It’s running a PPC campaign targeting words like survival gear, emergency firestarters, and guaranteed fire starter.

It’s not enough to have an in-demand product in the world of online shopping. There are too many choices online. The chance of a shopper stumbling upon your product while browsing are slim to none. Don’t get lost in the search box shuffle. Use SEO and marketing to boost your Amazon sales.

 

 

Hey! Did you know the folks at REV Media Marketing do this stuff professionally? They’re web-savvy and up to date on marketing tactics that really work. Hire a pro if you feel like you’re like you’re in over your head with selling your products on Amazon. You won’t be disappointed. Call 513-334-0605 or drop an email at: info@revmediamarketing.com.