Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Where's the Beef?"

I noticed Wendy's is running a new campaign based on the classic "Where's the Beef?" ads from 1984.

The new campaign (to introduce Dave's Hot & Juicy Cheeseburgers), is "Here's the Beef."

And that reminded me that, as careers industry professionals, we need to give prospective clients "the beef" -- so they will choose us.

How to Answer "What's in It for Me" in 15 Seconds or Less
The most important question to answer in any kind of marketing has always been: "What's in it for me?" In other words, "Where's the beef?"

If your marketing and your content don't answer this question in 15 seconds or less, chances are you're going to lose your prospective client. If you really hammer the answer home in the first 15 seconds, chances are they'll read the entire article.

Before You Write Anything
Before you write any kind of content, take a look at the design of your website. In particular, look at your header.

Does your overall website convey a benefit to the reader? For example, if your header says "Bob's Website," chances are readers aren't going to get a sense of what they could get from your site.

On the other hand, if your header said, "Resume Writing Services from a Former Hiring Manager" -- people are much more likely to perk up. If that's coupled with good design that builds credibility, you have a strong chance of getting the reader to pay attention. (Good design = Good beef!)

Writing Your Headline
In direct response marketing, the headline is often considered the most important component of any marketing piece. (The same is true for great resumes, you know!)

That's because it's the first thing that people read. It's your first and sometimes only chance to capture the reader's attention. People who read your headline should instantly be able to tell exactly what your content is about. It should hammer home the benefit and get them excited to learn more. (Good headlines = Good beef!)

Using Graphics
Most people's eyes will gravitate to any graphics on the page before they even read any text.
Have you tried Wendy's new burgers yet?

Hungry yet?

Using graphics to convey a benefit can be an incredibly powerful tactic. For example, our goal is to get clients interviews! If you have a picture of a client, dressed in interview attire, with the caption, "Thanks, (your name)! I got the interview...and the job!" -- that can convey the "what's in it for me" answer much more powerfully than a written testimonial in just words ever could.

Make sure you also take advantage of the space right beneath an image. Research has shown that captions underneath images are some of the most read parts of any website. (Good graphics = Good beef!)

Using the Opening Paragraph Wisely
Finally, spend a lot of time on your opening paragraph. If your opening paragraph doesn't quickly convey the benefits of reading your content, you're probably going to lose your reader. Even if you're writing a five-page, 5,000 word article, your time would be well spent if you focused 20 percent of your time on developing your first paragraph.

The first paragraph should start out with a strong "hook" sentence. Then the next 3-4 sentences should explain exactly what they'll get from reading the rest of your article.

If you combine all these techniques, you'll be able to convey to your readers exactly what they'll get from reading your content in 15 seconds or less. This will increase your readership, bring back more returning visitors, and ultimately bring you more sales. (Good structure = Good beef!)

Combine all these elements -- good design, good headlines, good graphics, and good structure, and your prospective clients will easily be able to see "Here's the beef!"

(Can you tell I had a hamburger for lunch today -- and dinner last night? Five Guys little bacon burger last night and a Culver's Butterburger today. Yum!)

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