How to effectively share blogs and articles on Social Media

small__312407445If you’re a blogger and hang out a lot online, sharing your own and other people’s posts becomes second nature. But hang on, not just hang out. Are you doing enough, or could you add a lot of value just by writing a few more words? [Read more…]

Elevator speeches: we help our customers to ZZzzzzzz…

Elevator speeches: we help our customers to ZZZzzzz...Psssttt … did you know that potential customers are bored fartless by the stock answer to “what to do you do,” e.g. “we help people like you to quadruple your turnover in a week / make employees slave 12 hours a day for you until their hands bleed / have rampant sex that makes a jack rabbit look boring / etc.?

Recently I have been attending several face-to-face business networking meetings and as you know, most are prefaced by the ringleader getting everyone to introduce themselves.

Without fail in the last few weeks, each time I hear those words “we help our customers/clients to…” all eyes drop down to the smartphones for a surreptitious email check… [Read more…]

Lift yourself right up with a good elevator speech

Elevator speeches are a delightfully North American invention if for no reason other than North American cities tended to have very tall commercial buildings before the others in far-flung places got there. And anyway, people – whilst travelling in their elevators (lifts) – have the opportunity to share their raison d’ètre with whoever happens to be going up or down with them at the same time.

Despite many big city buildings being unbelievably tall, their elevators move fast, so whatever you say to your co-elevatorees on the way up or down needs to fit into around 30 seconds or so.

Realistically, “elevator speeches” are set pieces in which you need to define why you exist – in business terms – within a very short space of time whether you’re yomping up and down in an elevator, speed-networking at a F2F meeting, or chatting to a potential client while waiting for a bus or train. Whatever the circumstance, this is not the right occasion for trotting out your mini-biography, no matter how concise it might be.

Whereas mini-biographies talk about you, elevator speeches must talk about what you do for your clients. Big difference. However don’t be intimidated. All you need to do is identify how whatever your skill or business capability is, helps clients do their stuff better.

To illustrate, here is a short bio of mine, followed by an equivalent “elevator speech…”

Bijou bio:
Suzan St Maur is a leading business writer, best-selling author, editor and writing coach. Check out how she can help you write more effectively here:

Elevator speech:
I help people create text that works – from whole books to microblogs. I’m also an editor / proofreader / writing coach with 30+ published books of my own, so I really do know how to help you successfully write whatever you want to!

See the difference?

Yes, but everybody says “I help you do blah-blah-blah” …

And when they do, they’re on the right track. However someone in an elevator with a half-dozen random business people who says:

I can help you get rid of bugs that eat your baby lettuces with my amazing organic, eco-friendly bug deterrent

…isn’t necessarily going to score too many points.

But relax. If you do something that specialized, you don’t need to avoid big city elevators and focus on country buildings where amateur veggie growers congregate to admire the huge size of each other’s cucumbers.

Not only are these latter buildings unlikely to contain an elevator in the first place, but also they are unlikely to contain quite so many potential clients who could use your broader talents.

So, how do you adapt your elevator speech for bigger urban elevators where potential clients could abound? By thinking wider and broader.

Take a few steps back and develop the big picture

Say you are that gardening expert and you can, indeed, show people how to stop bugs destroying their baby lettuce crops.

But … what else does that do?

Sure, we have to assume that some people in that elevator won’t give a sh*t about growing vegetables. A few will, but far more importantly most if not all will be interested in ways to improve eco-friendly, organic ways of making sure their salad is bug-free and clean.

So, how about something like this for your elevator speech:

If you eat salad, I bet you care about how bug-free your lettuce is? Well, my business gets rid of any bugs that could contaminate your salads … organically and safely.

As always, think about “what’s in it for them”

I know I’ve been banging on about “what’s in it for them” for years now but as I’ve pointed out above the sad reality is that your elevator speech needs to ignore, potentially, what you’d really like to say, and focus purely on what you can offer the other people in the elevator.

If in doubt about the content of your elevator speech, check out this article of mine – it’s a bit harsh, but it stops you writing up blind alleys and keeps you focused on what you need.

So – good luck. (And if you do happen to know how to kindly and organically divert bugs away from my young lettuce plants, please share here in the comments….)

Now, give all your writing a lift:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

photo credit: lrargerich via photo pin cc

Write right for Twitter and your book or eBook can sell bigtime

Once in a while it’s encouraging to see a straight, old-fashioned sales success story about promoting your book or books, and here is my latest contribution – using Twitter.

Back in the early 00s I wrote a book called “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book. It took me all of about 3 months in total and I enjoyed every minute of it. The book was published by one of the specialist equestrian imprints in the UK and the USA and since then it has sold out several times and been reprinted as many times again.

Needless to say its success is due largely to it being an affordable horsey gift, which is why it’s nearly always in the top 20 “horses” category on Amazon and regularly hits the number 1 spot there in the run-up to Christmas. It also sells hand over fist in bricks-and-mortar equestrian retail outlets, and does pretty well online from specialist equestrian websites, as a gift for Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and more.

All the same a while back, with one eye on maintaining its sales and the other eye on establishing the groundwork for its sequel which was being published soon afterwards, I decided to try Twitter to promote it.

We’re talking very basic advertising strategy here

Via Tweetdeck I set up searches for various incarnations of horsey and other phrases, but settled on the most obvious ones … #horses and #gifts. I was quite surprised to see how vast the horse-related Twitter membership is, especially in the USA, but with what seemed like thousands in the UK as well. When my search was on “horses” and my PC’s speakers were turned up, the Tweetdeck pinger would be going off like a pesky burglar alarm.

I wrote and sent every tweet manually and changed things around a bit as I went along, but my basic tweet would be something like:

Want the perfect stocking filler for a friend who loves horses? “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book” #horses #gifts

I started tweeting these at the beginning of November and continued at the rate of about 8-10 per day up until Amazon’s Christmas delivery deadline.

I then received the final figures from my publishers:

The sales total of “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book” on Amazon UK just in November and December 2010, was 25 percent more than all the book’s sales in the whole 12 months of 2009. (Sales figures for the same period 12 months later were almost identical after a similar promotional push in November and December 2011, and I’m currently running the same again for 2012.)  

And it wasn’t doing badly back in 2009 before I started using Twitter for business, either. So if this isn’t proof that promoting and selling niche nonfiction books work well on Twitter, I don’t know what is. So get Tweeting – and sell your books and eBooks!

More help for you on Twitter and beyond:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English