Fontana, California Fast Business Facts

The U.S. Census provides “quick facts” about U.S. jurisdictions, including business facts. While the business facts are ten years old, they still provide an indication of business health.

For Fontana, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented almost 14,000 firms, over $1 billion in manufacturers shipments, and over $2 billion in retail sales. These figures have presumably increased in the last ten years.

If you own or manage one of these thousands of businesses, and you need to let other businesses know about your offerings, perhaps you should turn to the Fontana, California content marketing expert. Bredemarket can assist your firm with the following:

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Two TERRIBLE ways to promote your business

Both small and large businesses need to attract customers to their companies, their products, and their services. Once potential customers are aware of the company’s business, then they can consider the benefits of the company’s offerings and (hopefully) decide to purchase the company’s products and services.

But what if you don’t want people to buy your company’s products and services?

When you DON’T want to promote your business

With little effort—REALLY little effort—your business could look like this! By Joadl – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4993153

For example, what if you business is simply a money laundering front, for which making sales would actually be a detriment? Take this example from the Department of Justice:

Edgar Porras, 49, of Moreno Valley, was charged in a criminal information filed today with one count of bid rigging. In a plea agreement also filed today, Porras agreed to plead guilty to the offense.

During the scheme that ran from 2013 through August 2018, Porras conspired “to suppress and restrain competition by rigging bids to obtain selected food contracts offered by the BOP,” according to court documents. To further the scheme, Porras, who was a contractor to a food company identified as “Company A,” agreed with co-conspirators not to compete to obtain the BOP contracts, and collectively they decided which conspirator would submit the lowest – and presumably winning – bid for a contract.

From https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/inland-empire-man-agrees-plead-guilty-bid-rigging-scheme-obtain-contracts-provide-food

By spending his time on rigging bids, the guilty party made sure that he couldn’t actually spend valuable time improving prison food. And we certainly don’t want that.

If you want to ensure that your business doesn’t make money, then I have two helpful tips for you.

Two TERRIBLE tips for business promotion

Tip 1: It’s all about you

When potential customers research businesses, they are usually looking for a company that can solve their problems. In other words, customers want a business that speaks to the customer’s needs.

However, we all know that the customer is always wrong, and that customers don’t realize what is important to YOU, the business owner. (What is wrong with these customers?)

Therefore, it’s important that your marketing materials talk about YOUR concerns, rather than the concerns of the customer. This will impress the customer, who will obviously realize that their concerns are unimportant compared to YOURS.

Here are three examples of things to include in your marketing materials:

  • Spend a lot of time talking about when the company was founded, the number of patents and awards held by the company founder, some early stories that you find funny (why isn’t the Bill Gates arrest story on the front page of Microsoft’s website?), and how the company has changed since its earliest days.
  • If your company is a startup that just received Series C funding, spend a lot of time talking about the funding and the dollar amount. Customers will be impressed at the monetary value. And if not, they should be.
  • When talking about your company’s products and services, be sure to concentrate on the features that impress your employees. Don’t try to apply these products to actual customer needs; customers should be able to figure this out themselves. Or just take the word of your engineers that the product is great.

If you write company-centric rather than customer-centric materials, then you are guaranteed to have customers ignore you, or even better avoid you.

Tip 2: Never update your content

Set it and forget it. It’s an easy way to maintain online content.

Granted, when you first create a website, a blog, or a social media account, creation of initial content is unavoidable. Now it’s quite possible that you can delay the appearance of that content by not posting anything until the content is perfect, but at some point the content is going to have to go live.

But once that unavoidable posting is complete, then your job is done. If you keep the same static content on there, you’ll maintain consistency. To maintain that consistency, be sure to avoid the following three things:

  • Avoid posting any new content. Once you post new content, then the search engines will flag and highlight the new content. And you don’t want the new content to appear more important than the old content, do you?
  • Avoid updating old information on your website or social media content. Outdated content such as 2015 copyright dates and references to Windows NT support are powerful messages that accentuate the long time that your company has been in business, without cluttering it up by mentioning anything modern. If your company was established in the 1990s, then animated GIFs and automated MIDI players convey an essential lack of innovation. For example, see http://www.netanimations.net/ (and yes, that’s http, not https).
  • Avoid updating outdated links. If you have a Twitter account that links to your website, and you fail to pay your web hosting bill, be sure that the Twitter account continues to link to the dead website. When the potential customer encounters the dead website, this will pique the customer’s curiosity and the customer will search for your new website, if any.
This screenshot was originally posted in “Three ways to prove to your customers that your firm is an ongoing, viable concern.” And no, I didn’t identify the business in question. Are you motivated to find it?

Professional salespeople often talk about pre-qualifying leads. If you follow the three steps above, then you will automatically pre-qualify your leads, since any customer who takes the time to find your current information is obviously motivated.

If you want to ignore my advice

Because I am always right, you will obviously follow my advice to alienate potential customers. If you instead choose to attract customers, then you’ll ignore my advice and do the exact opposite of what I say.

But what’s the fun in customer-centric, current content?

When I will style myself John E. Bredehoft, HubSpot Academy Content Marketing Certified…and when I won’t

TL;DR: Today I received HubSpot Academy certification in Content Marketing.

This post explains why it feels familiar to a previous post of mine, what this certification is, and when I will (and will not) use my shiny new HubSpot Academy certification. It also includes a different call to action than the one I usually use.

Deja vu all over again: remember my CF APMP certification?

While certification in and of itself does not necessarily indicate operating confidence, it provides some level of assurance that the certified person knows what he or she is talking about.

Which is why I pursued and achieved APMP Foundation certification (CF APMP) in September 2021.

For those who don’t know, the Association of Proposal Management Professionals provides many benefits, including improved service to Bredemarket clients because of my access to the APMP Body of Knowledge.

It also provides a mechanism for proposal professionals to certify their mastery of the proposal field.

Which is great, if you’re a proposal professional.

But I also do other stuff.

What does it mean to be “Content Marketing Certified”?

My Bredemarket consultancy can be sliced and diced in several ways, one of which is to look at the proposals side of my business and the content marketing side of the business. The latter concentrates on generating content that attracts customers to a company’s offering, leading to revenue. At Bredemarket, I practice content marketing on two levels:

  • I create content for Bredemarket that attracts customers to use my services.
  • I create content for my customers that attracts THEIR customers to use THEIR services.

In a sense, Bredemarket itself acts as a laboratory in which I can try out ideas that I can subsequently implement with my customers, ranging from creating a targeted LinkedIn showcase page for one customer segment (local customers) to creating initial versions of “pillar pages” that I can continue to iterate and flesh out with additional content.

As you can see from the text of the certificate above, content marketing encompasses numerous subtasks:

  • Long-term content planning. Haphazard creation of content is not as beneficial as creation of content to achieve a particular goal.
  • Content creation. An important part of the process, but ONLY a part.
  • Content promotion. If you build it, they may not come. They have to know about it first.
  • Content analysis. Analyzing pertinent factors about the performance of the content.
  • Increasing results. Does the content increase revenue?

What about the shiny new designation that comes with the shiny new badge?

Unlike other certifications such as an academic degree, PMP certification, or my APMP Foundation certification, there is not a suffix that I can add to my name to tout my credentials. So I can’t call myself “John E. Bredehoft, HSA CMC” or something like that. (You should only use acronyms sparingly anyway.)

But I can certainly refer to my certification in certain circumstances.

Here’s a quic: which of these would be appropriate?

If you answer the correct question in this quiz…YOU GET NOTHING.

A different call to action

If you read the Bredemarket blog on a regular basis, you’ve probably seen my usual three-bullet call to action ad nauseum.

So this time I’m going to use a different one.

If you will benefit from achieving a HubSpot Academy certification in content marketing, follow the link below.

You don’t need to be a paid user of HubSpot, or even a free user of HubSpot, to get this certification (although you will need a HubSpot account).

And the certification is not constrained to use of the HubSpot application; other tools are prominently mentioned in the course.

Timewise, I spent several hours a day over several days taking the course, including the time that I spent applying some of the suggestions.

To access the HubSpot Academy course in content marketing, go to

https://academy.hubspot.com/courses/content-marketing

Happy learning.

Iterating Bredemarket’s first pillar page

I’ve spent this afternoon posting messages to selected Facebook and LinkedIn pages, showcase pages, and groups talking about updates to blog content (and in one case a LinkedIn article).

If you look at the updated blog posts/LinkedIn article in question, you’ll see that they now start with this statement:

(Updated 4/16/2022 with additional benefits information.)

Then, when you scroll down the post/article to a benefits discussion, you’ll see this insertion:

(4/16/2022: For additional information on benefits, click here.)

This post explains

  • why I made those updates to the blog posts and the LinkedIn article,
  • how I added a new page to the Bredemarket website, and
  • what I still need to do to that new page to make it better.

(Why, how, what: get it?)

Why I updated selected blog posts and a LinkedIn article

I talk a lot about benefits on the Bredemarket blog, but all of the conversation is in disparate, not-really-connected areas. I do have a page that talks about the benefits of benefits for identity firms, but that doesn’t really address the benefits of benefits for non-identity firms.

Then, while I was taking a HubSpot Academy course, I found a possible way to create a central page for discussion of benefits.

A pillar page.

By Rama – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=638837

According to HubSpot, the need for pillar pages arose because of changes to Google’s search model.

Google is helping searchers find the most accurate information possible — even if it isn’t exactly what they searched for. For example, if you searched for “running shoes,” Google will now also serve you up results for “sneakers.” This means that bloggers and SEOs need to get even better at creating and organizing content that addresses any gaps that could prevent a searcher from getting the information they need from your site.

From https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-pillar-page

What does this mean?

Now, your site needs to be organized according to different main topics, with blog posts about specific, conversational long-tail keywords hyperlinked to one another, to address as many searches as possible about a particular subject. Enter the topic cluster model.

From https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-pillar-page

How I added a new page to the Bredemarket website

So I created the page https://bredemarket.com/benefits/ to work as the hub of a wheel of content regarding benefits.

But not all the content that I’ve written on benefits.

I’ve curated links to selected content (both on the Bredemarket website and on LinkedIn), provided a brief quote from the content in question, then provided a link to the original content for more information.

After that, I went out to each of the “spokes” in the topic cluster and linked back to the new content hub on benefits as illustrated above.

What I still need to do to the new page on the Bredemarket website

At this point the people who REALLY know search engine optimization are shaking their heads.

“John,” they are saying to me, “that’s not a pillar page!”

They’re right.

It’s just a very crude beginning to a pillar page. It lacks two things.

Multi-layered keywords associated with the “hub” topic

First, simply linking selected “benefits” pages together in a wheel is extremely simplistic. Remember how search engines can now search for both “running shoes” and “sneakers”? I need to optimize my wheel so that it drives traffic that isn’t tied to the specific word “benefits.”

Choose the broad topics you want to rank for, then create content based on specific keywords related to that topic that all link to each other, to create broader search engine authority….

For example, you might write a pillar page about content marketing — a broad topic — and a piece of cluster content about blogging — a more specific keyword within the topic. 

From https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-pillar-page

A logical organization of the pillar page

Second, a pillar page needs better organization. Rather than having what I have now-a brief definition of benefits, followed by a reverse chronological list of posts (and the article) on benefits, the pillar page needs to address benefits, and its relevant subtopics, in an orderly fashion.

Pillar pages are longer than typical blog posts — because they cover all aspects of the topic you’re trying to rank for — but they aren’t as in-depth. That’s what cluster content is for. You want to create a pillar page that answers questions about a particular topic, but leaves room for more detail in subsequent, related cluster content.

From https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-pillar-page
Example of a REAL pillar page. From https://www.hubspot.com/instagram-marketing

HubSpot directs its readers to HubSpot’s own pillar page on Instagram marketing. Frankly I don’t know that I’d want to write something that long, but you can see how the pillar page provides an organized overview of Instagram marketing, rather than just a reverse chronological list of content that addresses the pillar topic.

More to come

So my pillar page on benefits certainly has room to grow.

But at least I’ve made an agile start with a first iteration, and the search engines can start processing the existing cluster of links as I make improvements.

And as I create additional pillar pages. I already have an idea for a second one.

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle: When Your Goal, Benefits, and Target Audience aren’t Enough

Via Bredemarket, I work with a number of clients who ask me to create content for them. Since last September, I have used an internal “kickoff guide” form to start my conversations with these clients.

Header of September 2021 Bredemarket Kickoff Guide

While I thought that this kickoff guide was pretty good, I just revised it to make it even better.

The September 2021 iteration of the Bredemarket kickoff guide

I developed the Bredemarket kickoff guide to address a number of issues, including the style limitations of Google Docs. But the primary issue that prompted the kickoff guide was the need to capture as much information about a client project in the early stages, to reduce later rework.

The primary set of questions that I asked was a set of questions that I’ve talked about ad nauseum (literally). Before getting into the nuts and bolts of the content itself, there were three critical questions that I asked the client:

  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

There were two reasons that I asked these questions. First, I believed that the client’s final collateral would benefit if I asked these questions. Second, I believed that Bredemarket would benefit by differentiating itself from other writers who just launched into “the facts” questions about the content.

Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday.
Joe “The Facts” Friday was not a content marketer. By NBC Television – eBayfrontback, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33340402

If I may pat myself on the back, these are pretty good questions.

But is there anything else that I should be asking?

Simon Synek’s “Golden Circle”

I’m currently taking a course from HubSpot Academy, and one of the instructors mentioned Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle.”

This goes beyond a particular product or service, and addresses a company’s reason for being. Here’s what HubSpot says about the need for the “Golden Circle”:

…what Sinek found is that most companies do their marketing backwards. They start with their “what” and then move to the “how.” Most of these companies neglect to even mention “why.” More alarmingly, many of them don’t even know why they do what they do!

From https://blog.hubspot.com/customers/3-takeaways-from-start-with-why

Contrast this with companies (Apple is an oft-cited example) that know why they do what they do, and effectively communicate this. It may be hard to believe this, but for Apple, the “why” question is even more important than the latest color of its products (current iteration: “it’s green”).

So can Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle help my clients receive better marketing collateral, and can it help me (and Bredemarket) differentiate myself from other writers? And if so, what do I have do to achieve these benefits for my clients and myself?

The April 2022 iteration of the Bredemarket kickoff guide

One part of the answer was to revise my kickoff guide. In the latest iteration, I precede my goal/benefits/target audience questions with three questions derived from Sinek’s “Golden Circle,” starting with the all-important “why” question.

(“Why”: it’s not just for multi factor authentication!)

Of course, I still have to use the revised kickoff guide with a client, but I hope to do this shortly in one way or another. If you could like me to use this kickoff guide with your firm to help create meaningful, relevant content:

Postscript: an example of repurposing

This post was repurposed from a comment that I made in the HubSpot Community in response to the course that I’m taking.

Ontario, California Fast Business Facts

The U.S. Census provides “quick facts” about U.S. jurisdictions, including business facts. While the business facts are ten years old, they still provide an indication of business health.

For Ontario, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented over 14,000 firms, over $4 billion in manufacturers shipments, and over $4 billion in retail sales. These figures have presumably increased in the last ten years.

If you own or manage one of these thousands of businesses, and you need to let other businesses know about your offerings, perhaps you should turn to the Ontario, California content marketing expert. Bredemarket can assist your firm with the following:

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Bredemarket content marketing services for small businesses in and around Ontario, California (the April 8, 2022 iteration)

A minor refresh to what I wrote on March 31, including an updated brochure.

Here’s the text I recently added to my home page.

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits. I offer my services to firms in my hometown of Ontario, California, as well as firms in EastvaleFontanaMontclairRancho CucamongaUpland, other cities of the Inland Empire West, and throughout the United States.

From https://bredemarket.com/

This post concentrates on the services that Bredemarket can provide to businesses in my local area. Read on if you own a small, arty business in the Emporia Arts District of Ontario…

Ontario, California Emporia Arts District.

…or perhaps a larger, less arty business north of Holt in Ontario, or perhaps even a business in one of the other cities that I mentioned, or one of the ones I didn’t (sorry Narod).

There are a lot of local businesses out there

Even if you don’t count sole proprietors (such as myself) or freelancers, there are somewhere around 7.7 million businesses in the United States. (This figure is from 2016; I’m not sure if it’s gone up or gone down in the last five years.) Now if you include sole proprietors in the total, then you’re talking about 32 million businesses. (This particular number may have actually increased over time.)

Obviously I can’t target them all. Well, I could try, but it would be a little ridiculous.

So what if I took a subset of those 32 million businesses and tried to see if Bredemarket could serve that subset?

The local small business persona

When you want to market to a particular group, you develop a persona that represents that group. You can then develop a profile of that persona: the persona’s needs, aspirations, and expectations; the persona’s underlying goals and values; and perhaps some other elements. The persona may be developed via extensive research, or perhaps via…a little less quantification.

When I initially looked at this topic last September, I concentrated on a particular persona, but my thoughts on this topic have evolved over time. While I will still serve artists as I initially proposed last September, I’m now thinking of other businesses that can best use the type of content that I provide.

For example, the business may be an incorporated business that is based on the Inland Empire West, provides its products or services to customers in the local area, provides excellent service that is loved by its existing customers, and needs to get the word out to new potential customers by creating content that can be downloaded from a company website, shared via a company social media account, or handed out at a trade show or other in-person event.

Regarding the values of this particular persona, you can probably already deduce some of them based upon the customer love for the company.

  • The business puts the customer first and strives to provide services that satisfy its customers.
  • However, the business also prioritizes the well-being of its employees.
  • While the business may not have explicitly articulated a vision, its actions testify to a vision of excellent service, customer satisfaction, and care for employees.

But what does this business need in terms of types of content? For my example, these businesses are ones that need customer-facing content such as the following:

  • A document (online or printed) that explains the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides, and that discusses the benefits that the product(s)/service(s) offers to the customers. This document may take the form of a product/service description, or it may take the form of a white paper. For example, your business might issue a white paper entitled “Seven Mandatory Requirements for a Green Widget,” and the white paper just might happen to mention at the end that your green widget just happens to meet all seven mandatory requirements. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
  • A document (online or printed) that tells a story about how an individual customer benefited from the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides. You could call such a document a case study, or you could call it a testimonial. Or you could call it a casetimonial.

These types of documents are more valuable to some businesses than to others. Your average convenience store has little need for a 3,000 word white paper. But perhaps your business has this sort of need.

How many words should your content contain?

When I originally wrote this last September, I started off by discussing my two standard packages, based on word length. But now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, there are some questions that you need to ask BEFORE deciding on the content length. (We’ll get to content length later.)

(Owen Lovejoy) How long should a man’s legs be in proportion to his body?”

(Abraham Lincoln) “I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

Thomas Lowery, quoted at https://thelogcabinsage.com/how-long-should-a-mans-legs-be-and-2-other-lincoln-stories/
Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln. (Legs not shown.) By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895 – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a36988.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18705107

So how far away is the ground? Let’s ask some other questions first before we determine the answer to content length.

Bredemarket’s initial questions for you

Before I create a single word, I start by asking you some questions about your content to make sure our project starts on the right foot. (Even though I am left-footed.)

Bredemarket Kickoff Guide header.

  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

Once I’ve asked you these and other questions (such as a potential outline), we will both have a good idea of how long the final piece needs to be.

The length of the content also dictates the length and complexity of the review process.

Returning to the content length question

Once we have a good idea of the content length, there are three options that we can pursue to actually create the content.

If your content consists of 400 to 600 words, then I create the content using the process detailed in my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

This has two review cycles with up to three days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service
If your content is longer, say 2800 to 3200 words, then I create the content using a similar (but more detailed) process through my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/

This has three review cycles with up to seven days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service
If your content falls between these two lengths, or is longer than 3200 words, or needs a more rapid delivery time, we’ll talk and come up with a solution. (And we’ll even come up with a spiffy name if you like)
For more services, see https://bredemarket.com/what-i-do/

If you can use my services, what are the next steps?

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

SEO NVI, HRF VVI (Search engine optimization not very important, human readable format very very important)

I’ve been trying to add more local (Inland Empire West) content to the Bredemarket blog. Obviously I’m attempting to promote Bredemarket’s services to local businesses by writing local-area content such as these two recent posts centered on Upland.

City Hall and Public Library, Upland, California.
By Rockero at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3949535

Old SEO

Back in the old days, I might have done optimized for my local audience by going to the bottom of relevant pages on the Bredemarket website and inserting hundreds of words in very small gray text that cite every single Inland Empire West community (yes, even Narod) and every single service that Bredemarket provides. In the old days, the rationale was that this additional text would positively affect search engine optimization (SEO), so that the next person searching for “case study writer in Narod, California” would automatically go to the page with all of the small gray text.

Of course, that doesn’t work any more, because Google penalizes keyword stuffers or content stuffers who make these unnatural pages.

More modern SEO

I use more acceptable forms of SEO. For example, I’ve devoted significant effort to make sure that the two phrases biometric content marketing expert and biometric proposal writing expert direct searchers to the relevant pages on this website. (Provided, of course, that someone is actually searching for a biometric content marketing expert or a biometric proposal writing expert.)

First two results (as of April 1, 2022) of a DuckDuckGo search for biometric content marketing expert. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=biometric+content+marketing+expert&t=h_&ia=web

I believe SEO is important.

However, SEO is not very important (NVI).

(As an aside, I commonly distinguish between “important” stuff and “very important” stuff. And you also have to distinguish between importance and urgency; see the Eisenhower matrix.)

What is very very important (VVI)? Human readable format (HRF).

The two audiences: the bots, and the real humans

And SEO-optimized content may differ from human-readable content because of their different audiences. SEO text is written for machines, not people. In extreme cases, SEO-optimized text is unreadable by humans, and human readable format cannot be interepreted by machine-based web crawlers.

Machine readable and human readable formats. Olav Ten Bosch. From https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Machine-readable-and-human-readable-formats_fig1_327385570

Here’s a comparison:

Machine readableHuman readable
Easily parsed and processed by systemsEasily read by humans
Hard for humans to readHard for machines to read
Adheres to FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable)Communicates with humans via visual presentation
Example: machines have problems reading tables like this oneExample: humans can easily read and understand tables like this one
Google’s gonna hate me for putting this table into a post, but real human beings won’t. See https://control.com/technical-articles/machine-readable-vs-human-readable-data/ for a fuller explanation of the differences between machine-readable and human-readable data.

Here’s another example of how SEO-optimized text and human readable format sometimes diverge. I mentioned this example in a recent LinkedIn article:

I recently updated my proposal resume to include the headline “John E. Bredehoft, CF APMP,” under the assumption that this headline would impress proposal professionals. However, when I ran my resume through an ATS (applicant tracking system) simulator, it was unable to find my name because of its non-standard format. Because of this, there was a chance that a proposal professional would never even see my resume. I adjusted accordingly.

From https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-happens-when-proposal-evaluators-longer-human-bredemarket/
By Humanrobo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18947366

In this case, I had to cater to two separate audiences:

  • The computerized applicant tracking systems that read resumes and decide which resumes to pass on to human beings.
  • The human beings that read resumes, often after the applicant tracking systems have pre-selected the resumes to read.

I was able to come up with a workaround to satisfy both audiences, therefore ensuring that (a) my resume would get past the ATS, and (b) a human that viewed my ATS-approved resume could actually read it. It’s a clumsy workaround, but it works.

While that particular example is complicated by the gate-keeping ubiquity of applicant tracking systems in the employment industry, it is not unique. All industries are depending more on artificial intelligence, and almost all human beings are turning to Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and the like to find stuff.

These are our users (who use search engines for EVERYTHING)

There’s an old example of how dependent we are on search engines. In a famous case over a decade ago, people used the Google search engine to get to the Facebook login page, and were confused when a non-Facebook page made its way to the top of the search results. The original article that prompted the brouhaha is gone, but Jake Kuramoto’s summary still remains. TL;DR:

ReadWriteWeb posted “Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login“.

Google indexed the post.

The post became the top result for the keywords “facebook login”.

People using Google to find their way to Facebook were misdirected to the post.

The comments on the post were littered with unhappy people, unable to login to Facebook.

There are more than 300 comments on this post, the majority of them from confused Facebook users.

Despite the fact that RWW added bold text to the post, directing users to Facebook, and the fact that the post is no longer the top result for “facebook login”, people continue to arrive there by accident, looking for Facebook.

From http://theappslab.com/2010/02/11/these-are-our-users/

What if we can only optimize for one of the two audiences?

So people who create content have to simultaneously satisfy the bots and the real people. But what if they couldn’t satisfy both? If you were forced to choose between optimizing text for a search engine, and optimizing text for a human, what would you choose?

If it were up to Google and the other search engine providers, you wouldn’t have to choose. The ultimate goal of Google Search (and other searches) is to mimic the way that real humans would search for things if they had all of the computing resources that the search engine providers have. It’s only because of our imperfect application of artificial intelligence that there is any divergence between search engines and human searches.

But until AI gets a lot better than it is now, there will continue to be a divergence.

And if I ever had to choose, I’d write for humans rather than bots.

By Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-13018 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5480820

After all, a human is going to have to read the text at some point. Might as well make the human comfortable, since the bots aren’t making final binding decisions. (Yet.)

Bredemarket content marketing services for small businesses in and around Ontario, California (the March 31, 2022 iteration)

A lot has happened since I first wrote this description of Bredemarket’s local marketing services on September 1, 2021. Time for a content refresh.

The refresh begins with the reprint of the relevant text on my home page, which was just updated this week.

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits. I offer my services to firms in my hometown of Ontario, California, as well as firms in EastvaleFontanaMontclairRancho CucamongaUpland, other cities of the Inland Empire West, and throughout the United States.

From https://bredemarket.com/

This post concentrates on the services that Bredemarket can provide to businesses in my local area. Read on if you own a small, arty business in the Emporia Arts District of Ontario…

Ontario, California Emporia Arts District.

…or perhaps a larger, less arty business north of Holt in Ontario, or perhaps even a business in one of the other cities that I mentioned, or one of the ones I didn’t (sorry Narod).

There are a lot of local businesses out there

Even if you don’t count sole proprietors (such as myself) or freelancers, there are somewhere around 7.7 million businesses in the United States. (This figure is from 2016; I’m not sure if it’s gone up or gone down in the last five years.) Now if you include sole proprietors in the total, then you’re talking about 32 million businesses. (This particular number may have actually increased over time.)

Obviously I can’t target them all. Well, I could try, but it would be a little ridiculous.

So what if I took a subset of those 32 million businesses and tried to see if Bredemarket could serve that subset?

The local small business persona

When you want to market to a particular group, you develop a persona that represents that group. You can then develop a profile of that persona: the persona’s needs, aspirations, and expectations; the persona’s underlying goals and values; and perhaps some other elements. The persona may be developed via extensive research, or perhaps via…a little less quantification.

When I initially looked at this topic last September, I concentrated on a particular persona, but my thoughts on this topic have evolved over time. While I will still serve artists as I initially proposed last September, I’m now thinking of other businesses that can best use the type of content that I provide.

For example, the business may be an incorporated business that is based on the Inland Empire West, provides its products or services to customers in the local area, provides excellent service that is loved by its existing customers, and needs to get the word out to new potential customers by creating content that can be downloaded from a company website, shared via a company social media account, or handed out at a trade show or other in-person event.

Regarding the values of this particular persona, you can probably already deduce some of them based upon the customer love for the company.

  • The business puts the customer first and strives to provide services that satisfy its customers.
  • However, the business also prioritizes the well-being of its employees.
  • While the business may not have explicitly articulated a vision, its actions testify to a vision of excellent service, customer satisfaction, and care for employees.

But what does this business need in terms of types of content? For my example, these businesses are ones that need customer-facing content such as the following:

  • A document (online or printed) that explains the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides, and that discusses the benefits that the product(s)/service(s) offers to the customers. This document may take the form of a product/service description, or it may take the form of a white paper. For example, your business might issue a white paper entitled “Seven Mandatory Requirements for a Green Widget,” and the white paper just might happen to mention at the end that your green widget just happens to meet all seven mandatory requirements. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
  • A document (online or printed) that tells a story about how an individual customer benefited from the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides. You could call such a document a case study, or you could call it a testimonial. Or you could call it a casetimonial.

These types of documents are more valuable to some businesses than to others. Your average convenience store has little need for a 3,000 word white paper. But perhaps your business has this sort of need.

How many words should your content contain?

When I originally wrote this last September, I started off by discussing my two standard packages, based on word length. But now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, there are some questions that you need to ask BEFORE deciding on the content length. (We’ll get to content length later.)

(Owen Lovejoy) How long should a man’s legs be in proportion to his body?”

(Abraham Lincoln) “I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

Thomas Lowery, quoted at https://thelogcabinsage.com/how-long-should-a-mans-legs-be-and-2-other-lincoln-stories/
Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln. (Legs not shown.) By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895 – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a36988.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18705107

So how far away is the ground? Let’s ask some other questions first before we determine the answer to content length.

Bredemarket’s initial questions for you

Before I create a single word, I start by asking you some questions about your content to make sure our project starts on the right foot. (Even though I am left-footed.)

Bredemarket Kickoff Guide header.

  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

Once I’ve asked you these and other questions (such as a potential outline), we will both have a good idea of how long the final piece needs to be.

The length of the content also dictates the length and complexity of the review process.

Returning to the content length question

Once we have a good idea of the content length, there are three options that we can pursue to actually create the content.

If your content consists of 400 to 600 words, then I create the content using the process detailed in my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

This has two review cycles with up to three days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service
If your content is longer, say 2800 to 3200 words, then I create the content using a similar (but more detailed) process through my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/

This has three review cycles with up to seven days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service
If your content falls between these two lengths, or is longer than 3200 words, or needs a more rapid delivery time, we’ll talk and come up with a solution. (And we’ll even come up with a spiffy name if you like)
For more services, see https://bredemarket.com/what-i-do/

If you can use my services, what are the next steps?

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

And one more thing…

Scroll down to the bottom of my general “local” page for a special “locals only” discount code!

In marketing, move quickly PART TWO: THE OTHERS SPEAK

On March 23, I wrote a post entitled “In marketing, move quickly” (while noting that I didn’t move all that quickly in posting it). After citing stories from a local (unnamed) company, my own time as a product manager, an (again unnamed) international bank, and a (named) car manufacturer, I concluded as follows:

And if you can speed up production of a car, you can speed up production of marketing content and start putting your messaging on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts, as well as your website immediately so that your customers can get your message.

From https://bredemarket.com/2022/03/23/in-marketing-move-quickly/
By Malene Thyssen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10119596

And if you think that the idea of moving quickly in marketing was an idea that I completely originated myself, you REALLY need to get out a bit more.

This post collects a few things that others have said about moving quickly.

Empower your employees (Jim McGinnis of Intuit)

In 2015, Forbes quoted Intuit’s Jim McGinnis, who had previously worked at technology company Activision and non-technology companies Pepsi and Procter & Gamble. He left Intuit in 2017 and has since worked at two other firms, including MyCase.

A more effective strategy to engage your audience is to communicate directly with them often and through multiple touch points. At Intuit, we empower all 8,000 employees to use social media and tweet regularly, but to do so in a smart and effective way that minimizes risk. We do this by instituting principle-based management and guidelines that everybody operates within. We also have a very strong and enduring values-based organization, with the first and most important value being “Integrity without Compromise.”

McGinnis believed that with the Intuit organization, his people were empowered to communicate quickly without waiting for multiple layers of approval (as is required in a “command and control” organization).

And McGinnis’ new company MyCase? One of its marketing messages is the ability to reduce the time spent on weekly billing to 20 minutes.

Excite your customers (Adam Fridman of Mabbly)

That same year (2015), Forbes competitor Inc. ran a piece written by Adam Fridman of Mabbly, a digital marketing agency. Fridman noted that competitors are not the only ones watching how quickly a company moves.

People simply aren’t satisfied with the status quo; they want something more and they want it now. Companies must work quickly to satiate their appetites because audiences will have no qualms about moving to another product or service. 

From https://www.inc.com/adam-fridman/4-reasons-speed-is-everything-in-business.html

Don’t forget your vendors and partners (Isaiah Bollinger of Trellis)

Isaiah Bollinger, co-founder and CEO of Trellis, reiterated the points others made about competitors and customers in a 2018 piece, but he added two other stakeholders.

If you are a slow moving business vendors will (stop) putting effort into the relationship because they can find better customers….

Partners don’t want to work with a slow moving business that can’t innovate. They want fast growing innovators that will bring big impact to their bottom line. 

From https://trellis.co/blog/why-moving-fast-in-business-is-so-important

Incidentally, Bollinger may have moved a little TOO quickly. You see where I inserted the parenthetical comment “(stop)” in the first paragraph above? That’s not what he (or his copywriter) wrote. But we all know what he meant. Check the video.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4LViCLtEPU

Conclusion

So there are a number of benefits, and relatively little downside, to moving quickly. And even if you do fail, several of the people quoted above emphasize that you fail quickly, can correct just as quickly, and learn important lessons quickly.

And maybe I’m learning. I didn’t wait two days to post this.