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.
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.
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…”
To explain how content marketing works, we first have to agree on a definition. Unfortunately, I might've sent myself on a fool's errand -- I went through dozens of different iterations of a content marketing definition (including the somewhat flippant "content marketing is using content for marketing") and found none of them totally satisfactory. But I hate to let perfection get in the way of progress, so let's just get something down on paper so we have a basis for discussion:
97% of consumers surveyed by @Pardot said bad #content negatively has impacted their trust in brands. #marketing Click To TweetMost businesses understand that they need to up their content game — that’s why our last post about web content writing tips was one of the most popular we’ve ever written. But just wanting to do better won’t make you a great website content writer, and the differences between strong and weak content marketers can make a significant difference in brand perception, web traffic and conversions.
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’m guilty of doing all of the above at one point or another. I think a lot of the time it’s the pressure to get up to a certain word count, whether for SEO purposes or because the employer has the idea that more content = better content. I think a lot of this fluff comes about from the quotas that are set. I know I run out of things to say when it comes to pots and pans.
It's important to do regular reporting -- I recommend monthly -- on each of these metrics so you know where your growth levers lie. Regular reporting also helps you identify negative trends or plateaus early-on so you can address them before they become bigger issues. Most importantly, however, tracking the success of your initiatives makes it easy for you to repeat what works, eliminate what doesn't, and promote the success of your content marketing program so you can justify its expansion, and its seat at the modern marketing table.
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."
Before you even start to write content, you need to know what you’re writing about — and you can kill two birds with one stone if you combine search engine optimization with your editorial calendar planning. New York Times Bestselling author and top marketer Neil Patel calls keyword research “the most important part of digital marketing” and “how we keep our ears to the ground,” and for good reason.
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!)