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.
Content marketing requires manpower, so the first step is figuring out who is going to head up the program. There's no one-size-fits-all for team structure -- it depends largely on the size of your company, your marketing team, and your budget. But if we assume that those three things are interlinked, as they often are, I can provide you with some frameworks based off of other content marketing-focused companies' structures. These should help you hire the right people, and have them "sitting" in the right spot in your organization.
Use a newspaper article from a local publication or an online publication and break it down based on the upside triangle structure of a typical newspaper article. Does the article conform to the traditional structure or does it use a different structure or form? Does the writer seem credible and believable? Does the article use reputable sources and quotes to support any arguments in the article?
Customize your resume and cover letter. If you decide to go a more traditional route and apply for a permanent content writing position at a writing based agency or organization, you will need to customize your resume and cover letter to fit the position. This will show your employer that you noted the skills outlined in the job posting and that you can fulfill the expectations of the position.
Let's say you're using PPC as your primary means of generating leads for your business. You need more leads, and decide to bid on the term "infographic generator" for $2 a click. At the end of your month-long campaign, you generated 1,000 leads and spent $10,000. Not bad. But what about next month? You have to spend $10,000 again. And again. And again. That is, if you want the leads to keep coming. In other words, when you turn the faucet of money off, leads stop coming out. The same concept applies with list purchasing, tradeshow marketing -- anything where you don't own the property from which leads are generated. Now let's contrast that experience against, say, blogging.
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.
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.
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.

The supply chain of digital content marketing mainly consists of commercial stakeholders and end-user stakeholders which represent content providers and distributors and customers separately.[34] In this process, distributors manage the interface between the publisher and the consumer, then distributors could identify the content that consumers need through external channels and implement marketing strategies. For instance, Library and document supply agencies as intermediaries can deliver the digital content of e-books, and e-journal articles to the users according to their search results through the electronic channels. Another example is when consumers pay for the acquisition of some MP3 downloads, search engines can be used to identify different music providers and smart agents can be used by consumers to search for multiple music provider sites. In a word, the digital content marketing process needs to be conducted at the business level and service experience level because when consumers are accessing digital content, their own experience depends on the complex network of relationships in the content marketing channels such as websites and videos. The consumers interact directly with distributors in the big supply chain through various digital products which have an important role in meeting the requirements of the consumers. The design and user experience of these channels directly decides the success of digital content marketing.[27]
Content marketing is a quickly growing field. With that growth comes opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded writers. If you're curious about getting started in content marketing, we've put together a guide that should tell you if you are cut out for the job -- and if you need content writers for your next project. Find out as we discuss content marketing 101.
You're Director of Marketing for an agency that specializes in design solutions for small businesses. You're having trouble attracting customers, though, because keeping an agency on retainer seems like a luxury for a small business. So you decide to create some DIY design tools to help them, you know, DIY. You do some keyword research and notice about 2,000 people are searching for an "infographic generator" every month, so you decide to build one that people can use for free once -- and if they like it, they can create more infographics for free if they provide a name and email address.
Predictably, blog posts are typically written by the bloggers. However, if your team is large enough to have someone dedicated to creating gated assets and premium content -- things like ebooks and tools -- they should also write blog posts to help promote those assets. SEO specialists will also work closely with bloggers, as blog posts are often a company's best opportunity to improve organic search rankings. As such, bloggers should be writing posts that help improve the site's SEO, and drive organic traffic and leads. Their editorial should be informed by keyword research, and optimized for SEO.
Like Harry's, RXBAR is another company that has reaped the rewards of simple and concise copy. Previously, protein bars have been complex. Half of the ingredients you read on the back of them can't be pronounced. RXBAR decided to create a bar that was just that... a protein bar. They kept it simple and created killer copywriting to further highly this simplicity. How about that ending line? "No B.S."
Like Harry's, RXBAR is another company that has reaped the rewards of simple and concise copy. Previously, protein bars have been complex. Half of the ingredients you read on the back of them can't be pronounced. RXBAR decided to create a bar that was just that... a protein bar. They kept it simple and created killer copywriting to further highly this simplicity. How about that ending line? "No B.S."
I loved the tips you shared in this article, Gregory. A lot of them I probably knew and I do utilize them in my everyday work, but I do it perhaps … a bit randomly. This article paints a clear, concise picture of what’s really important if you want to convice someone to do something via a compelling copy. I also realize that most of the stuff listed here works well when combined. For example, a story is a way to invoke memories, but crafting a good story probably requires verbs rather than adjectives, etc…
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Sell a good night’s sleep, not the mattress”? Think about all of the mattress commercials and advertisements you’ve seen before. Do they lead with coil count or insulation padding details? Nah. They sell you on how comfortable the mattress is, how well you’ll sleep on it, and how much more productive and enjoyable your days will be when you are well-rested. They want you to positively frame their product, envision yourself using it, and negate any potential concerns you may have.
Contacting marketing agencies, content writing companies, magazines, and other companies that put out a lot of content can be a more effective strategy for many writers. The editors at these companies might be too busy to put out an advertisement for new writers and there will be fewer applicants with whom to compete. Fortunately, you don’t need many clients to become a full-time freelance content writer. Many writers have enough work with only a handful of regular clients.
When you reference another website’s content, make sure you hyperlink back to that site. It’s good internet etiquette, and you’d want the same courtesy. Always cite your sources, even if you’re afraid it’ll send your web traffic to another site — and you can always choose the “open link in another window” option if you’re that concerned about keeping your traffic.
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.

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."[18] 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."[19]
Businesses focused on increasing sales through content marketing should look at traditional e-commerce metrics including click-through-rate from a product-page to check-out and completion rates at the check-out. Altogether, these form a conversion funnel. Moreover, to better understand customers' buying habits, they should look at other engagement metrics like time spent per page, number of product-page visits per user, and re-engagement.

Books. Like movies, people often think of books as selling themselves, but savvy marketers don’t sell books just to sell books, they sell books as marketing tools. Michael Port’s sales manual Book Yourself Solid is a great read for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, and while I’m sure Port enjoys selling his book, the book is a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Although with self-publishing it’s easier than ever to publish a book, there is still the perception that it’s difficult and that only reputable professionals can publish a business book. Publish your own, and even if people don’t read it you can still use it as a form of content marketing every time you’re introduced as “Author of…”


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.
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.

What I mean is the “power” of using “negative or disturbing in-nature” words in a powerful and shocking way. My favorite word in this sense is “killer” which made me meet Copyblogger for the first time. I still remember typing something like “how to write an effective article etc.” in google and it was the Copyblogger’s “How to Write a Killer “How To” Article…” article that grabbed my attention and opened me a brand new world that I did not know it existed.
Just ran into this blog post via LinkedIn and I’m soo glad I did! I mostly do social media and digital communications but I find that a lot of the that has to do with the ability to write in a way that gets people excited and willing to try a new product or share something with a brand. For that reason, I’ve been trying to learn as much as possible about copywriting. These tips are excellent! Some of these I’ve used frequently but verbs over adjectives is a new one for me. Thanks so much for sharing these!! 🙂
Wow! You have hit everything right on the money here (no pun intended). Any time you want to work with people, build relationships, trust, etc. you have to know how the human mind works. This blog post does just that beautifully! Our imagination is powerful. Our problems need resolutions. Our stories are relational. Combining all of these elements together is impact full. Not just to bring in more revenue, but to just know you are making a difference in life of someone else. It’s just like what the great Zig Ziglar has taught for years. “You can get whatever you want in life if you are willing to help enough other people get whey they want.”
When businesses pursue content marketing, the main focus should be the needs of the prospect or customer. Once a business has identified the customer's need, information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs, etc.[5] Most of these formats belong to the digital channel.
Don’t think for a second that a boring or technical topic gets you off the hook either  — IKEA assembly instructions have nothing to do with gay dating (usually) but we used a visual to help the reader make the connection. Push yourself to add a little creative fiction to your website content writing and see how much more fun it is to read (and write!)
You may also want to consider doing an internship at a publication you hope to work for full time in the future to make connections with editors and other writers at the publication. Many of these internships will likely not be paid, at least not at first. Be prepared to receive compensation in the form of connections and contacts. But be wary of being taken advantage of as free labor. If you feel uncomfortable working for free, try to find internships that pay.[9]

"Ideation" is a marketing industry buzzword that describes the creative process of finding a subject, title and angle to write about; and ideation begins with analytics. Most ideation is done in a team setting, but freelance writers are usually on their own. Which is why it's helpful to know how professional marketing teams generate ideas. Before doing that, successful content writers need to: 
Books. Like movies, people often think of books as selling themselves, but savvy marketers don’t sell books just to sell books, they sell books as marketing tools. Michael Port’s sales manual Book Yourself Solid is a great read for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, and while I’m sure Port enjoys selling his book, the book is a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Although with self-publishing it’s easier than ever to publish a book, there is still the perception that it’s difficult and that only reputable professionals can publish a business book. Publish your own, and even if people don’t read it you can still use it as a form of content marketing every time you’re introduced as “Author of…”
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