400 Words Are Worth Many Pictures

As I pivot Bredemarket’s writing services (due to my exit from some biometric writing) and return to a more regular blog posting schedule, I’ve discovered that Bredemarket isn’t the only Inland Empire West business that could use some additional text content.

There are local business websites with blogs that are nearly dormant. And that’s not good.

Sure, some of them have active image-based accounts on popular social services (Instagram, TikTok, etc.).

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Bredemarket has an Instagram account of its own.

But their websites have blogs that are gathering dust.

Imagine if those blogs had a regular cadence of content, attracting content to YOUR website – not Mark Zuckerberg’s website or Bytedance’s website.

Content that not only describes what you do, but how you do it and why you do it.

Content that answers a lot of questions about your business – six questions in particular. Actually more than that, but there are six questions that will get you started with your personal content creator. I know; I wrote the book on it.

The answers to those questions launch an iterative process to create your blog content. Perhaps a one-time post, or better yet a blog post every month, attracting customers on a regular basis. Your own secret salesperson, as it were.

I offer the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service, a package that starts with a kickoff session and ends with between 400 and 600 words of blog or social content.

By Unknown author – postcard, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7691878

Can you use Bredemarket to attract new customers?

If so, let’s talk.

Don’t Send ALL Your Traffic to Zhang Yiming and Mark Zuckerberg

Most of you don’t know Zhang Yiming.

But you promote him anyway.

If you use TikTok to promote your business, you are sending traffic to tiktok.com.

Zhang Yiming’s website.

Or maybe you don’t use TikTok, but instead promote your business on Instagram, sending traffic to instagram.com.

Mark Zuckerberg’s website.

Not yours.

By Lobo Studio Hamburg – https://pixabay.com/photos/phone-display-apps-applications-292994/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126385924

If you own a business, don’t you want at least some of your traffic to go to your website, rather than their websites?

For example, this blog post attracts people to bredemarket.com, Bredemarket’s website. People who read the post can see other things on the Bredemarket website – who I am, what I do, where I do it, and why things like customer focus and benefits are important.

People who read Instagram posts learn why the metaverse is important to Mark. They don’t learn why you do what you do.

So how can you use blog posts to attract traffic to your website?

I’ll tell you how in a future post.

Six Questions Your Content Creator Should Ask You: the e-book version

I love repurposing.

So I’ve repurposed my October 30 blog post into an e-book.

This gave me an opportunity to revisit the topic and add critical information on wildebeests, George (H.W.) Bush, and Yogi Berra.

But more importantly, it allows me to share my thoughts with a wider audience.

If you missed the October blog post, I state that there are six critical questions that your content creator must ask before creating content These questions apply whether your content creator is a consultant, an employee at your company, and you yourself.

The e-book discusses each of these six questions:

  1. Why?
  2. How?
  3. What?
  4. Goal?
  5. Benefits?
  6. Target Audience?

And as I note in the e-book, that’s just the beginning of the content creation process.

Whether you intend to use Bredemarket as your content creator, use someone else as your content creator, or create your own content, the points in this e-book are helpful. They can be applied to content creation (case studies, white papers, blog posts) or proposal work, and apply whether you are writing for Inland Empire West businesses or businesses anywhere.

And if you read the e-book, you’ll discover why I’m NOT sharing it on the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services LinkedIn page and Facebook group.

You can download the e-book here. And you can be a content marketing expert also.

Does Every Blog Post Need a Call to Action?

Does every blog post need a CTA?

No.

Let me explain.

What is a call to action?

No, not the Western Electric kind of call. By Jonathan Mauer – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50534668

For those who are not familiar with the term, a “call to action,” abbreviated as CTA, is just what it sounds like: a summons to do something. So if you want to call it a STDS, feel free. (Although I wouldn’t.)

Of course, calls to action have been used long before the digital world appeared. For several decades, automobile dealer Cal Worthington (and his dog Spot) wanted people to come to his car dealerships, so in between the entertaining animals, the call to action “Go see Cal” was repeated in commercials like this one.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hT2oP–NSU

And things haven’t changed in the 21st century, except that most of us have retired the dog Spot. For example, some of my blog posts include the following call to action:

These three bullets, when used, are preceded by a statement such as “If I can work with you to create your written content, please contact me.” Or whatever makes sense for the particular blog post.

But not all of my posts include the three CTA bullets.

Posts for awareness don’t need CTAs

Take my post from last Saturday, “Candy Street Market is coming.”

Candy Street Market, 110 W Holt, Ontario, California

This post simply talked about a new candy store in Ontario, California, but never talked about Bredemarket’s content creation or proposal writing services.

So why did I write a post that doesn’t directly lead to business?

For the awareness.

The awareness of Bredemarket doesn’t equal the awareness of Kleenex. But I’m working on it. By kimubert – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40263441

Ever since I exited some of my prior identity-related markets in the spring of 2022, I’ve pivoted my marketing activity and am concentrating more on serving local firms in California’s Inland Empire. This isn’t a new activity; I’ve targeted local businesses since September 2021. But since I am no longer serving my former clientele of companies that identify individuals using fingerprints, faces, and identity documents, the local business is obviously extremely important.

But the locals need to know that I’m here.

Hence I wrote about a local candy store to provide awareness to businesses that Bredemarket is out there.

If their curiosity is piqued, then perhaps they’ll subscribe to the blog or explore what I do to find out what Bredemarket can do for them.

And even if not, at least the readers know another place to get candy in downtown Ontario.

CTAs on some posts wouldn’t be prudent

And then there are posts in which a CTA plain doesn’t belong.

I already linked to one such post above: my April 22 post announcing my change in business scope.

In short, the post let people know all of the business that I wouldn’t accept in the future.

Why post a call to action after announcing that?

And how would I word it? “If you are a biometric identity company that needs content marketing or proposal writing services, don’t call me”?

It comes down to goals

But you don’t need to detailed list of do’s and don’ts to determine which blog posts need CTAs.

It all boils down to one simple question:

What is the goal of the blog post?

As I stated in October, one of the six questions that you (or your content creator) should ask before starting work is about the goal for the piece of content.

  • Do you want people to keep you in mind if they need your product or service in the future? (“That guy knows Ontario, and he writes content; maybe he can help me.”)
  • Do you want people get more information on something (such as a service description)?
  • Do you want people to contact you personally if they want more information?
  • Do you want people to pull out their credit card immediately and buy something?

The answers to those questions will shape the final content, whether a CTA is needed, and the type of CTA.

This post DOES have a CTA

So let’s say you’re an Inland Empire business that needs a content marketing expert to write a blog post for you.

And let’s say that you have specific goals for this blog post.

And you’re targeting a particular audience for this blog post. (Maybe candy lovers.)

And you realize that buyers aren’t persuaded by a list of features you offer, but by a list of benefits for them. (Yes, benefits are important.)

Before Bredemarket writes a blog post for you, I’ll ask you about these items and others (see the list here), to make sure that my work is aligned with what you need.

So do you want to talk to me about that blog post that your business needs?

Here’s the call to action. Talk to me.

Who’s laboring on Labor Day?

Bredemarket has always restricted its business to the United States. (Lately I’ve focused more on California’s Inland Empire West, but that’s another story.) So everyone in my target market is celebrating Labor Day today.

Theoretically.

It’s important to note that most other countries celebrate the contributions of labor on May 1, but for several reasons the United States chose a different day. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO page that explained this no longer exists, but I quoted from that page in a tymshft post a decade ago:

Despite the popularity of May Day and the appeal of an international holiday, the American Federation of Labor pushed to secure Labor Day as America’s primary celebration of its workers. This was due to the more radical tone that May Day had taken. Especially after the 1886 Haymarket riot, where several police officers and union members were killed in Chicago, May Day had become a day to protest the arrests of anarchists, socialists, and unionists, as well as an opportunity to push for better working conditions. Samuel Gompers and the AFL saw that the presence of more extreme elements of the Labor Movement would be detrimental to perception of the festival. To solve this, the AFL worked to elevate Labor Day over May Day, and also made an effort to bring a more moderate attitude to the Labor Day festivities. The AFL, whose city labor councils sponsored many of the Labor Day celebrations, banned radical speakers, red flags, internationalist slogans, and anything else that could shed an unfavorable light upon Labor Day or organized labor.

From https://tymshft.com/2012/05/01/the-american-perspective-on-may-day-or-i-am-not-a-commie/

So for over a century, most Americans have chosen to celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September.

Well, some Americans.

I took a walk.

My employer for my day job is closed today (at least for its U.S. workers), so I kinda sorta took it a bit leisurely, waking up at…5:35 in the morning.

You see, this is the last week of my company’s wellness challenge, and because of the current heat wave in Southern California, I wanted to get my walking in while the temperatures were still in double digits (on the Fahrenheit scale; that’s something else that Americans do differently than the rest of the world).

I didn’t take any pictures of myself walking today, but here’s one that I took Saturday while I was walking inside (at the Ontario Mills indoor mall).

At Ontario Mills, Saturday, September 3, 2022. It was about 25 degrees cooler inside than it was outside.

Other people were working.

But while I took my early morning Labor Day walk, I ran across a lot of people…working.

  • There were the people at the Starbucks in downtown Ontario, busily supplying breakfast sandwiches and drinks to people.
  • There was the woman at a 7-Eleven in Ontario, letting me hydrate with a cold drink. (She may have been the owner, but owners deserve a day off too.)
  • Finally, I passed two men who have been working on and off on a residential wall, and today was apparently one of the “on” days. I hope they’re not working in the afternoon.

The truth is that, even in the midst of COVID, the entire workforce can’t shut down entirely. Some people have to work on days when many people don’t work. Remember that even in “blue law” states, preachers certainly work on Sundays.

Me too.

But still my morning walk was somewhat relaxing, because even though it was a weekday, I didn’t have to end the walk by 8:00 to start my day job. So while I got my steps in, I did so somewhat leisurely.

So what did I do after my walk was done?

Well, I did Bredemarket work.

  • I renewed my City of Ontario business license. (Online, of course, since city offices are closed for Labor Day.)
  • Right now I’m writing this post.
  • And after I write the post, there’s an email that I need to send.

So I guess I didn’t completely take the day off either.

But at least I’m not buliding a wall out of doors.

Oh, and I work on Saturday mornings also.

Of course, since I’m employed full-time, Bredemarket itself is a weekend job for me. My official office hours fall on Saturday mornings, for example.

While this is work, in a way it’s not work, because it’s a refreshing change from my normal work. (And since I enjoy my normal work, that isn’t so much work either. If you’re not working at something you enjoy, then you’re working.)

And if you don’t enjoy creating written content, let Bredemarket help you create it.

I can help you with white papers, case studies, blog posts, proposal responses, or other written content. (Well, unless the written content involves finger, face, driver’s license, or related identity services. There’s the day job, you know.)

If I can work with you to create your written content, please contact me.

Meta-repurposing

I like to publish “in case you missed it” (ICYMI) posts over the weekend, just in case my Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter followers might have missed something that I originally published in the preceding week.

Last weekend I tried something a little different. Now that Bredemarket has been a going concern for over a year, I chose to publish some items that my followers might have missed when I originally published them in the preceding YEAR.

Although there are some parts of 2020 that aren’t fun to revisit.

But this past weekend, I went back to October 2020 for my latest #ICYMI offerings. I want to talk about two of these offerings in particular.

The first #ICYMI item

The first item that I shared last weekend was a Bredemarket blog post from October 17, 2020 entitled “You go back, Jack, do it again” that talked about repurposing content. Here’s a brief excerpt that links to a Neil Patel post.

Why repurpose content?

To reach audiences that you didn’t reach with your original content, and thus amplify your message. (There’s data behind this.)

If you’re a data lover, check the link.

The second ICYMI item

Waylon Jennings promotional picture for RCA, circa 1974. By Waylon_Jennings_RCA.jpg: RCA Records derivative work: GDuwenTell me! – This file was derived from:  Waylon Jennings RCA.jpg:, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17091525

The second item that I shared last weekend was a Bredemarket Spotify podcast episode from the same period entitled “A special episode for Spotify subscribers, with Waylon Jennings’ ‘Do It Again.'” You can probably guess that it was about repurposing content.

To answer a few questions about the podcast:

  • Yes, it was a repurposing of the blog post.
  • Yes, this particular podcast episode was only on Spotify because it included a song sample.
  • Yes, I chose Waylon’s version of the song rather than Steely Dan’s because I like Waylon’s version better.
  • Yes, you have to be on Spotify Premium to hear the whole song, rather than a 30-second snippet. (I’m not on Spotify Premium, so even I haven’t heard the entire podcast as envisioned.)

I don’t really have anything profound to say about repurposing that hasn’t been said already, so treat this as a reminder that you can easily repurpose content on new platforms to reach new readers/listeners.

As I just did.

Again.

Postscripts

For the record, I haven’t created any other Spotify-only podcast episodes with music since that initial one a year ago. So all of the other podcast episodes that I’ve recorded are available on ALL of my platforms, including Anchor.

By the way, there was a third #ICYMI item that I re-shared last weekend on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. But it didn’t deserve its own re-blog.

(You gotta know when to hold ’em. Yes, that’s Kenny, not Waylon.)

Are longer posts better? It depends.

I may be a writer who specializes in biometrics, but I write about other things also.

Perhaps you didn’t know this, but my favorite record album of all time is The Beatles, more commonly known as The White Album. Side 3 of that album concludes with a George Harrison song, “Long, Long, Long.”

Harrison was NOT talking about blogging when he wrote “Long, Long, Long.” Heck, we didn’t even have Usenet back in 1968. But if “Long, Long, Long” had been about blogging, most people would think that Harrison lived in a crackerbox palace.

Ain’t She Sweet, when sweet is a blog post?

For years, I’ve subscribed to the theory that blog posts need to be short and sweet, and have corrected myself when I thought that my blog posts were getting too long. After all, my first blog post in October 2003 was only two paragraphs long. My second consisted of a single sentence.

However, the vast majority of my subsequent posts were much longer, which finally led me to try to embrace succinct writing. Or try to, anyway.

Even Bredemarket’s business tactics are geared toward shorter blog posts. The reason that Bredemarket 400 is called Bredemarket 400 is because the target minimum length is 400 words. I’d certainly be open to writing a 2800 word blog post—after all, it provides me with more revenue—but so far my blog post customers have preferred the shorter length.

And the shorter length seems to fit the consumption preferences of some people. When seeking information, many people prefer a few minutes of reading to an hour of reading. Even if something is broken up into a series of posts, do you really want to read a 27-part series?

But what if posts aren’t read by people?

Which brings me to a comment that I made toward the end of a recent, short blog post.

Perhaps you’ve seen my post “Rhonda Salvestrini and her secret salesperson.” As I concluded that post, I inserted the following:

And yes, Rhonda, this blog post has far fewer than 3,000 words…

Most of the people who read the post may not have had any idea why I said that. But Rhonda certainly knew, because in the interview that formed the basis for my post, Salvestrini briefly referred to a preferred blog post length of 3,000 words or more. She didn’t really go into detail about WHY longer blog posts are better, since this was outside of the scope of the interview.

So I looked up the topic.

One of the items that came up in my search was a Neil Patel post entitled “Why 3,000+ Word Blog Posts Get More Traffic (A Data-Driven Answer).”

Yes, friends, the reason that longer blog posts are better is derived from…science. (No, I won’t post the song. You can find it yourself.)

By dm4244 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63061280

You see, short blog posts can be great if a human is reading them. (Or perhaps not. We’ll come back to this later, when I give you 70 reasons why longer posts can be better in some cases.)

But in many cases, HUMANS AREN’T THE ONES READING BLOG POSTS. At least not directly.

Perhaps I’m going out on a limb here, but I suspect that most of you don’t wake up every morning and say to yourselves, “I’d better go check the Bredemarket web site and see if there’s a new blog post.” That’s NOT how this website, or many websites, get the majority of their traffic. In many cases, people visit a particular blog post because they’re searching for an answer to a question.

A question that they asked a search engine.

As a result, the people aren’t reading the blog posts. THE SEARCH ENGINE is reading them.

And how do search engines find content? Patel’s post links to another post that discusses long-tail search engine optimization. In brief, this post asserts (and Patel agrees) that more descriptive phrases are more beneficial than single words.

Let’s use an example, and say that you’re looking for a writer who specializes in biometrics. If you search for “biometrics,” you will get a lot of results that don’t really pertain to what you’re seeking. Perhaps “biometric writing” might be better, but, as I found out (iguana food, you know), that presented a number of results about a particular biometric modality. “A writer who specializes in biometrics,” while not yielding perfect results (yet), appears to provide results that are much closer to what you’re seeking.

Back to Neil Patel. His post includes a graphic (I don’t have permission to reproduce it here, so you’ll have to find it) that asserts that 70% of search traffic is long-tail traffic. And it stands to reason that longer posts will tend to have more of those longer phrases that are search engine gold. (Don’t try shorter posts that use keyword stuffing; Google’s on to that.)

In summary, posts often AREN’T read by people, but by search engines that are seeking the phrases for which searchers desire the answers to questions.

Why not go to seventy different sites to answer your question?

But Patel asserts that there are other advantages to longer posts. One of these is the fact that a comprehensive post on a particular topic will serve the reader better, since it can answer all of his or her questions.

How many of you groaned when you saw my question above about visiting seventy different sites? If you want a comprehensive answer to your question, I’m sure that most people would prefer to read one comprehensive well-written post instead of reading seventy different posts.

Here’s part of what Patel said on this particular topic:

You’re perceived as an authority in your industry. Your audience appreciates comprehensive posts that delve into intricacies of their pain points. They won’t need to jump on 10 different websites to get the same information.

Yeah, Patel referenced ten sites while I referenced seventy. My pain points are truly painful.

A few moments ago, I made the statement that “short blog posts can be great if a human is reading them.” This is sometimes true, and sometimes not true, depending upon what the human wants to know.

  • If the human’s question is fairly simple—for example, “When did the Cuban Missile Crisis occur?”—then a short post with a single sentence may be sufficient.
  • But what if the human asks a more complex question—for example, “WHY did the Cuban Missile Crisis occur?”—many people aren’t going to be satisfied with a one-sentence answer. This article devotes over 2,500 words to the topic.

So, who’s right on blog post length?

If you’ve come to this post to find the definitive answer on blog post length, I’m going to have to disappoint you.

Blog posts are designed to do one of the following three things:

Regardless of attention span, SEO, or anything else, a blog post will be as long as it needs to be to satisfy its purpose. (Yes, I’m channeling Abraham Lincoln here.)

This particular post is roughly 1,200 words long, which is too long for a “succinct” blog post and too short for a Patel-optimized blog post. But I don’t feel like padding it to get to an optimum word length, and I don’t feel like cutting anything.

I especially don’t want to cut the George Harrison song.

Rhonda Salvestrini and her secret salesperson

I just listened to an interview of Rhonda Salvestrini, conducted by Sumair Abro. During the interview, Salvestrini made the following point:

Content for your business is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic. It’s your secret salesperson because it’s out there working for you 24/7. And it’s evergreen, so not only is it working…day in and day out…it’s available years down the road.

Rhonda Salvestrini
By Luke Rauscher – James Bond (Daniel Craig) figure at Madame Tussauds London, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86705881

Excellent point. In my 17 years of online writing, I’m consistently surprised when someone contacts me about something that I wrote years ago. The Internet, for better or worse, never forgets.

So if you’re reading this quote in 2029, and the quote inspires you, let Rhonda know.

And if you’re reading this in 2020 or 2021 and are looking for a writing coach to give your enterprise a voice, Rhonda is available to assist you.

(If you’d prefer to outsource the writing rather than doing it yourself, Bredemarket can help.)

Finally, if you want to hear the rest of the conversation between Salvestrini and Abro, here it is. Both the interviewee and the interviewer share many other insights on content creation.

And yes, Rhonda, this blog post has far fewer than 3,000 words, which kinda sorta limits its repurposing.

Or maybe not.