Mastering the Pitch: Final Steps For Module #3

The Best Way to Sell Something Online Is to Avoid Sales Language

The primary purpose of a blog post is to inform your readers. The secondary purpose is to sell them something. These two aims are in direct tension with one another. Notice how this writer starts out their introduction with the clear intent to provide free information to their audience:

Many people are clueless when it comes to revising and editing their own writing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This article will explain how to do so effectively. It will go through the most common mistakes and give some helpful tips.

This makes the audience feel that you don’t have ulterior motives. Even though you kind of do.

Use a Story and Plain Language to Make Your Blog Post Relatable

Think of yourself as the best example that the information you’re giving your audience is credible. Notice how this writer uses a personal story to exemplify the information they’re presenting:

For instance, I have a first cousin who tried to go to community college. He tried and tried. Eventually, he stopped going and decided to work for a rock quarry. My other cousin, on my father’s side of the family, is a Princeton alumni who majored in the Classics, received her Master’s, and loves to discuss her thesis on Dante Alighieri. Meanwhile, my blue-collar cousin enjoys discussions about America and NASCAR. But what do these two individuals have in common? They are both human and they are no better than the other.

Actually, blue-collar cousin very well could go back to community college, obtain tutoring, transfer to a university, receive his Master’s, and also write his thesis. Sure, it might be the equivalent to climbing a mountain, but he could do it. Just like my Princeton cousin can put on a hardhat and drill holes into boulders all day, instead of making crafts for Instagram. My point is, when writing user friendly procedures and documents, it is important to understand that your target has potential. Also, it is important to know that you are writing for a human being. Simplifying material is a way to allow others to take the appropriate steps to progress forward.

This is informal language, but it also instructive. The exact kind of balance you want to strike with your tone.

Plain Language Means Avoiding Any And All Complex Words and Phrases Whenever Possible

We can all understand this because we are highly educated. Someone with an 8th grade reading level would struggle:

We all know that the economically disadvantaged are disproportionately and negatively affected when it comes to education and food quality, but have to ever considered how climate change affects poor communities? Fluctuations in Earth’s temperature, increased occurrences of natural disasters, and decreases in food and water quality all have the most negative impact on those who cannot afford to combat these major changes or adjust to them. Tools required to adjust to climate change can include things such as medicine, better infrastructure, and more indoor facilities to avoid breathing contaminated air.

Edited for Plain language:

We all know that many poor people suffer from a lack of education and access to food. Do we think about how climate change affects poor communities, though? These effects include changes in the Earth’s temperature, increased numbers of natural disasters, and decreases in food and water quality. These effects can have the most impact on those who have the least resources. This is why poor people often struggle to adjust to climate change.

Whenever you’re using a complex term, think if there is a simpler term you can use with the same meaning. Also use shorter sentences and phrases, which are easier to follow.

Use Eye-Catching Images That Match the Tone and Topic of Your Post AND That You Have Permission to Use

Blog posts with images get up to 60% more engagements. Notice how the following writer uses and image that perfectly exemplifies their topic and is also colorful and eye-catching:

A photo of a woman's hands writing on a notepad in front of a laptop

For the purposes of this assignment, you can use whatever images you can find on pixabay.com or flickr.com/creativecommons.

Use Headlines that Include a Quantity, if Possible + Your Keyword, Then Use That Exact Keyword In Your First Sentence, Body, and One Heading

The following is a great example of an effective headline:

3 Mindfulness Exercises for Anxiety

There is an issue, however, when we get to this writer’s opening paragraph:

Mindfulness can help calm anxiety. Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s consciousness to the present. Anxiety is the general term for disorders such as nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying.

Be sure to use the exact same keyword you used in your title within your first sentence, body, and at least one heading:

Mindfulness exercises for anxiety can help you keep calm even when you’re experiencing anxiety. Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s consciousness to the present. Anxiety is the general term for disorders such as nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying.

You Have One Line To Use Sales Language: Your Call to Action

Your call-to-action is the only sales language you can get away with. It should:

  • come at the very end of your post
  • be a subtle command
  • compel a specific action
  • compel an action that is easy to take
  • compel an action that is appealing to your audience

Pretty much no one had one of these that met all of these criteria ;-). Here’s an example from my blog for Content Garden:

"Are you a non-profit or small business that needs help with digital marketing? Get a free one-hour consultation."

Notice the subtle command that compels a specific action: clicking on the button. Clicking on a button is also an easy action to take and is appealing to an audience interested in this topic, because they get something for free.

What’s Due Monday at Midnight

6) 10/22/18 by midnight ET >>

Revise all documents you’ve created. The point of these reviews is to help you improve your writing. This process will be negated if the draft you submit to Eli is the same as the draft you hand in as your final. Revise, revise, revise.

Be sure you log in to Eli to see what you reviewers said about your draft as you work on your final draft. Listen to your reviewers and make critical choices to improve your documents based on what they say.

Post your Cover Letter and a final draft of your Content Recommendation Report to Blackboard.

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