Unique business writing is like garage band music. Everyone wants to be good at it, but more often than not, it all starts sounding the same. Boring.
Boring business writing does not compel people to share it on social networks, does not pique potential clients’ interest to explore your content further, and will not boost your Google rankings.
In an effort to combat this epidemic, I took a popular, well-loved movie franchise and pulled out (with surprisingly little effort) fantastic marketing tips for entrepreneurs and decision-making strategies for managers.
I wrote the John McClane, CEO: ‘Die Hard’ Business School series.
Interesting subject? Check.
Funny content? I thought so.
Unique business writing? Not at first.
The very first post was written way back in the QLP blog’s infancy, when we were still developing our approach to social media. Basically, our blogs alternated between features of promotional products and whatever random thoughts I found to be interesting.
The very first Die Hard post was inspired by an argument with my roommate at the time over whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Although my argument is airtight, the “compelling business writing” goal was missing the word “business.”
The second blog post not only had the same interesting subject and friendly, humorous tone, but it also had a few other things going for it that were much improved over the original:
- Better title: Describes the content and invites the reader without giving too much away.
- Targeted content: QLP blog readers are mostly small and medium business owners (and my mom), so while we can cite stats about the shifting gender ratios in the workplace, the majority of these ideal readers are men. I am an exception to this set myself, so I know that I can rope in male readers as well as ass-kicking female readers as well with a Die Hard focus.
- Improved readability: While both posts contain a list format, this one also has photos, rich text, and varied paragraphs sizes – all of which are more visually appealing.
The impressive social shares on Twitter, Facebook, and Digg helped confirm my feeling of success. Interesting business writing can certainly be reflected in Google search rankings, but social shares are a more distinct measure of how much someone loved your work. If they really enjoyed it, their friends will know. Yippie ki yay indeed!
Honestly, I was feeling pretty smug about my success at this point. I had written an industry-relevant post that was socially shared and commented upon by more than two “outsiders” (plus my mom).
There was still room for improvement, and I made additional headway in my third post.
How was the Taking Action post a step up from the Marketing post?
- Broader appeal: Small and medium business owners and employees are not all marketers, but they are all in a place to take action. This also can be considered a solid source for general life motivation.
- Internal links: By adding links to other sites on the QLP page, I was able to set readers on a course to dig deeper into our content.
Today, I add this fourth post to the series. First improvement:
- Compelling headline: Not only did I directly address the reader to offer a solution, but I moved the word “Die Hard” closer to the front of the title. After all, if someone has only seen the movie once or twice, the name “John McClane” may not ring any bells.
What else have I improved on? Where else can I make adjustments to make my writing even more creative, compelling, relevant, shareable, and valuable to my readers? Did I backslide on any particular metric that I used before?
Read my guest post over at Firepole Marketing’s blog, and tell me what you think of it! But before you head over there, make your predictions in the comments below. Have I hit my peak, or is there more to explore?
Update: I’ve added another Die Hard article to the arsenal!
John McClane, CEO: How to Make Your Brand as Successful as the Die Hard Franchise looks at the franchise as a whole, analyzing a few factors that contribute toward its success and how you can apply it to your own business model and brand building. I do defend A Good Day to Die Hard in here, so this article is not for anyone short of superfan status (unless you really want your company to take off).
Until next time, keep expanding your brand!