The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product." Content on the blog included how-to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interviews and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." The popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content."
In my book, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, I teach small and mid-size business owners who can't afford to hire professional copywriters how to write effective copy that will bring the results from their marketing efforts that they want and need. However, just as there are steps you must take to write great copy, there are also mistakes you can make that can destroy your marketing messages and reduce your ROI to a fraction of what it could have been. Whatever you do, don't believe the five myths described below.
You've written a blog post that has wide appeal beyond just your target audience. You test promotion of that blog post via a paid Facebook ad, and find that the CPC is lower than your typical paid expenditures, and is driving 40% more site traffic than those typical expenditures. Even so, when you turn off that budget you lose that traffic ... right? Right. But you still received a huge influx of traffic that, even if none of them convert to leads, might have spurred either inbound links or social shares -- both of which will help bolster your SEO.
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!
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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…).
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?
Check your local college or university for a technical writing certificate program. Look at the faculty of the program to confirm you are being taught by professionals in the field or working content writers who are familiar with the demands of the writing industry. Certificate programs can be beneficial for writers who are new to content writing or technical writing.
Lack of creative license. Though you may think content writing will give you a chance to showcase your creativity and rousing ability with words, in fact, most content writing is seen as a way to sell a product or simply inform a reader of the facts. In a content writer role, you will likely be writing about dry or dull topics, though you may get a chance to also write copy for more engaging projects on occasion. Your employer will dictate the topics you write about, and you will need to learn to be flexible and engaged on even the most obscure or boring subjects, regardless of your personal preference.
The subject line is what gets your e-mail opened, so don't write something quickly just before sending. You have to convince your readers that they really need to open your e-mail. The best word you can use to get the reader's attention is you. The word you says that the message is about them. Other great words for subject lines (and headlines) include new, exciting, exclusive and introducing. Also, try to keep your subject line to 50 characters or less, including spaces.
hi Gregory, the way you have highlighted the use of “you” made me surprised for so far i was told use of “we” and “Our” were to increase the chances of a reader believing the statement, more often than when said “you”. For instance, “You always had such problems” is not always appealing to a reader, but “we always had such problems” was better trusted. Because by using “we” we get to become a part of the reading(clients) people.
That’s only if you, for whatever reason, don’t have another person to edit your work. Even with a great spell check, there will be things you miss. Make sure there’s somebody in your organization with great writing and editing chops who can give your work a second set of eyes. Remember that behind every good writer — whether it’s a best-selling author, a Washington Post journalist or a copywriter for a viral marketing campaign — is a great editor.