Very interesting stuff. More than anything, what this tells me is that we need to measure and track our marketing efforts. A/B testing, with different headlines and calls to action, is critical. There is no reason that we can’t hold ourselves accountable to our marketing efforts. There are tools that offer visibility and insight so that, like the researchers you cite, we can also make strategic determinations about what works best.
Low pay. Most content writing positions do not pay well, especially entry level writing positions. Small newspapers or publications are often good places to start in terms of gaining experience and contacts. But often, the compensation will be $10-$12 an hour.[2] The average salary for content writers in the United States is $40,000 a year. Higher paying positions in the content writing field include project managers, online researchers, and proposal writers. However, you will need higher levels of experience to qualify for these positions.[3]
Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.

Consider a technical writing certificate. Technical writing is a type of content writing that focuses on communicating technical material through manuals, reports, and online documents. This could be a how to guide, a safety manual for a worksite, or a document on a process or procedure. There is a growing demand for technical writers who can explain complex procedures to the average reader.

You can get content writing jobs a few different ways. It’s best to reach out to companies directly or to apply for freelance content writing positions that are advertised on websites like Indeed.com. Applying to posted calls for freelance writers can be a good way to know which companies are looking for new writers. However, companies that post these ads end up with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants, which can make it difficult for new content writers to obtain their first clients.
Thanks for the great tips, Gregory. I’m going to share a link to this blog with my readers because it’s so informative. Okay, with 2 tips out of the way I’ll relax and get to my point. Recently, a magazine publisher shouted (Australian for “bought”) me a dinner. Over the course of the meal, I mentioned how skeptical I was about claims that copywriting can pay big money. She told me categorically it can and recommended a course to me. The name of the course rang a bell with me, but I couldn’t place it. When I returned home, I looked it up and remembered how I’d been turned off before by its heavy hitting hype. Reading it anew, I had more faith in its claims because she had been so sincere and had nothing personally to gain from recommending the course. I’m still a little skeptical, though, because the copywriting that promoted the copywriting course was so ineffective with me. Then again, maybe my ingrained skepticism is not typical of most readers and I could possibly learn from those who have studied copywriting scientifically and know what works for the majority of readers. Thoughts?
Scripted has writers bidding on client writing projects, either by pitching themselves as writers or pitching ideas based on a client request. You choose the flat rate for the project and Scripted adds on a nominal fee. There are not editors to review your writing. Instead, it goes directly to the client for feedback. For this reason, it’s important that you’re able to proofread your own assignments well.
Great article. I love how you always give simple examples. I have learned from another institution that teaches what you teach, but in a different way. What you are repeatedly telling people is to avoid proclamation, and instead give information. You cant beat people over the head with your marketing message. The goal is to present information in a way that they form the conclusion you want to convey in their minds. That way it is their assumption, not your assertion. The difference between the two approaches is everything.
But to cement this, you’ll need the copy to show both the benefits they get and proof of those benefits. Often emails will include some stats or will link to a case study that lets readers know they were right to subscribe, and gives them another reason to stay on your list. Or it could be as simple as providing an extra free gift to thank them for subscribing.
Your specific needs might vary -- for instance, perhaps you need subject matter expertise in your writers, or coding experience from your long-form content creators. Or perhaps your titles differ, and your "content creators" are actually "content strategists", or your "social media manager" is really a "specialist." Make edits as you see fit, but these frameworks should be helpful in getting you started if this is your first time hiring for any of these positions.
Theory #1: The mere act of publishing content on a regular basis does a lot of the "distribution" work for you -- if you consider search engines a distribution channel. (Which I do, considering how often people use them to find content.) If you create content on a regular basis that's informed by keyword research and optimized for search, Google takes care of the rest of your content distribution plan.
No, that's not a good idea. Different audiences will respond to different messages depending on their demographics, behaviors, experiences and so on. For example, if you're writing copy for a direct-mail piece that will be sent to prior customers, your messages should be very different from those that would appear in a mailing to prospects. One audience is already very familiar with your products and services, while the other has no prior experience to draw from. Clearly, the messages to both audiences must be different to achieve the maximum response rates possible.
Read Joe Pulizzi's excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt's Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won't take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.

Always think about the other person when you're writing copy.  What does the reader need? What do they want? What do they care about?  The customer's attention span is about 3 seconds (seriously - they've done studies!) and most people - even you - spend your days thinking mostly about yourself, your problems, your needs, your wants, your posessions, etc.


Do you have a great customer quote that you can include in your e-mail? A brief and convincing quote can add credibility to your campaign. The more real you can make the person to your readers, the better. Including their name, what city or state they live in and even a photo, if it fits your campaign, is a great way to communicate the value of your service.

Let’s be honest– copywriting can be scary. Even for seasoned writers with nothing to prove, writing advertisements or marketing content can be daunting and terrifying. Copywriting is the literary equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, if you can imagine Mount Everest covered in junk mail and sales papers. You know it can be done, you’ve seen it done well, but you’ve also seen a lot of people die trying and you don’t want to be one of those fatalities.
Content marketing also provides additional benefits in that it supports other digital marketing channels. It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.
Some companies may have marketing teams of far more than 18. Here at HubSpot, for example, we have a team of nearly 100. Even so, we stick to a team structure quite similar to the structure an 18-person marketing team might use -- with one modification. Design is broken off of the Content Team, and relegated to a separate team. This might make sense for your organization, too, if you find that:
We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack. But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion. Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood? With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care? If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.

Great post. I loved all of your points but particularly number 2 on “beware of selling savings.” People really do value other things such as time unless you are selling a commodity like laundry detergent. And even then if you could improve someone’s experience of detergent by making it smell nicer or if it can make your clothes feel nicer that’s what you’d want to emphasize.

I am a massive copyblogger fan. Only thing I have trouble with is the ‘story’ approach. On the web, when I’m looking to buy something, if I don’t get a product or service definition, the benefits and the price within 15 seconds of checking the home page, I’m off to look for someone who isn’t wasting my time. I also hate long copy, and usually avoid taking on that sort of job. I know my personal preferences should not come into the equation, but I’ve been doing this for international clients for a long time, and feel I have earned the right to be awkward!
You have to be clear with your copy. If you’re selling yourself as a social media marketer, you can’t simply say, “If you need a social media marketer, I’m your guy (or gal).” You want to actively show your potential clients why they should choose your services (for example, Choose me because I have five years’ worth of experience in improving social media awareness for big brands, like…).
Still on the subject of targeting, it’s best practice to have a single goal – the one thing you want to achieve – for each email. This will help you focus your marketing copy, which we’ll talk about more in the next tip. Remember, if you have multiple goals you don’t really have a goal, so when planning your emails focus on the key action you want readers to take and build your email copy around that.
Great article. I love how you always give simple examples. I have learned from another institution that teaches what you teach, but in a different way. What you are repeatedly telling people is to avoid proclamation, and instead give information. You cant beat people over the head with your marketing message. The goal is to present information in a way that they form the conclusion you want to convey in their minds. That way it is their assumption, not your assertion. The difference between the two approaches is everything.

I like #1, “Make em’ feel something” because of what it DIDN’T say. People like to think they’re so sophisticated and rational; “Just the facts, ma’am.” Because, armed with the facts, they will make the perfect decision. “I don’t want to be sold to, just tell me what you do and I’ll make up my own mind.” HAHAHA. The fact is, they don’t. They don’t decide AT ALL. They move on to the next shiny object, procrastinate, and don’t do anything, don’t buy anything. “Make em’ feel something” and you can move them to take ACTION.
Not all SEO suites solve the problem. Some bombard you with too much data, without providing the tools you need to sort through it and tweak your content strategy. Other SEO tools break everything down into their own proprietary system, without giving you the enough data to draw your own conclusions. And when they get it wrong, you’ll have no way of knowing until your traffic starts to crash.
When the marketing team starts to grow, who leads content marketing gets more interesting. With a team of three marketers, you can approach content marketing a couple ways. Either one person can own content marketing activities, while the other two own activities that align more with the middle- and bottom-of the funnel. Or, two people can own content marketing activities, while the third owns the rest.
Your social media manager should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Consider the amplification of a piece of content shared on a Facebook page with 100,000 fans, versus 1,000 fans. The fans' networks work to help your content spread -- so the larger their networks, the better your content's distribution. 
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