In her book Better Business Writing, Carol Gelderman noted that writing is the most important form of communication and the most difficult to master. So if you're a business owner or professional with a Web site, you're probably wondering what information you'll present to your target market--in other words, your content.
Recently TNJ spoke to Kristal Johnson, a marketing consultant and writer, about what content works for the web. Johnson is founder and president of Key Client Services (KCS). KCS provides Internet marketing tools, and social media consulting.
TNJ: What's the most important thing a business owner should keep in mind when writing content for their Web site?
KJ: As a business owner you have to ask yourself a few questions when it comes to your Web site, the first one being--is the content on the Web site current? It has to be something that's relevant to your readers. It has to be something that interests them and pertains to their business. Also, is your Web site engaging? I see so many Web sites that are basically “cookie-cutter” where they're taking a template and just inputting random information. The information has to go along with your niche and compel the reader to stay on your Web site to learn more about your business and be interested enough to actually sign up for your newsletter. You want them to take the time to get to know your company.
TNJ: How would you suggest someone learn about the way a Web site should look and how to make it compelling?
KJ: The first thing that I would do and, it's what I did for my own company, is I partnered with a great web designer to learn what is a SEO-friendly Web site--Search Engine Optimization. What gives you the high Google ranking? What colors appeal to people? What kinds of articles keep them interested? Also, do key word searches, which you can do via Google. What are people searching for and what key words can you use on your Web site that make sense for your company to use? Also, what programs are your readers using? It kind of ties that together.
TNJ: Should every business send out a newsletter?
KJ: It depends on the business. The most ideal businesses that sends out newsletters are consulting firms, marketing outfits or businesses that do a lot of online promotion. Their main business is really online. Even coaches and consultants will do a lot of heavy online promotion, so it makes sense for them to have a newsletter. Should every business have a newsletter? Probably not. For example, it wouldn't make sense for a carpet cleaning business to have a newsletter, but it does make sense for a graphics firm to have one because they have a client database and their clients are online. They're interested in seeing graphics so that is something their clients will go online to see versus a carpet cleaning company.
TNJ: Should a company still send out a physical newsletter or is it best to send it electronically?
KJ: I would say electronically, especially the way technology is going. The problem with physical newsletters is that there are so many variables. First of all, it's costly. There are postage fees and costs associated with gathering lists. It takes hours to create the newsletter, to get your distribution list up and running and to actually send them out. These days, the Internet is used so frequently it makes more sense to have a newsletter posted because people are actually going to your Web site, they put in their name and email address...It's just the better way to build a database.
TNJ: How long have you had your company?
KJ: About four years now. And our main objective is Internet marketing and also social media management providing tools, resources and e-books.
TNJ: How did you become interested in social media and Internet marketing?
KJ: I started out as a virtual assistant. That was basically administrative work. And what I noticed with clients was that they really had a need to have a marketing assistant help them market their online business. They were new to Facebook and Twitter and didn't really want to deal with it. By incorporating Internet marketing services, my client base grew and that phased out all of my administrative tasks. I do strictly Internet marketing and social media.
TNJ: Any upcoming events or promotions?
KJ: I know there are a lot of entrepreneurs that need help with their marketing, whether it's Web site design, WordPress help, webhosting or email marketing campaigns. They can go to my website which is www.keyclientservices.com  and click on the “My Partners” link. There, they will find many companies that can assist them with their needs.
TNJ: One last question. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has some new rules regarding endorsing products online. What can you tell us about this and where can we find out more information?
KJ: The first change is regarding consumer experience and results. It used to be that testimonials were acceptable with the disclaimer “results not typical” or "results may vary". With the change, you must explain exactly what consumers expect their results to be. Also, you must detail what are considered “typical” results.
The second change is dealing with the compensation of a product or service. If you are endorsing a product, you must disclose your "material connections,” in other words, if you received payment or free products/service.
For more information, please visit this link: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm . You will find examples and videos from the FTC detailing exactly what they are looking for.
Also, for free help writing your disclosure policy, you can visit http://disclosurepolicy.org/ .