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.
Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O'Brien of Contently wrote on Mashable, "The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story." Content marketing requires continuous delivery of large amounts of content, preferably within a content marketing strategy.
Whether you're a seasoned writer or a novice, it's always important to strengthen your editorial skills and make sure your e-mail marketing communications contain valuable information. Good copy helps your readers understand your offer--and how to respond. The following copywriting tips are ones that pros know well. Keeping these "commandments" in front of you when you write will help you create compelling copy that engages your readers, conveys your business message and creates effective calls for action.
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.
Never. Writing marketing copy is like no other form of writing. It defies many of the rules you may have learned in English class, and it relies more on subtle persuasion, psychology, creativity and an understanding of your specific business and consumers than any other type of writing. Not all writers are good copywriters, and not all copywriters are good writers. If you decide to write your own copy, study the craft prior to putting pen to paper. And if you decide to hire a copywriter to help you, remember that not all copywriters are the same. Only invest in a copywriter who has experience and takes the time to understand your business and your customers.
Traditional marketers have long used content to disseminate information about a brand and build a brand's reputation. Taking advantage of technological advances in transportation and communication, business owners started to apply content marketing techniques in the late 19th century. They also attempted to build connections with their customers. For example:
At this stage, the work of the one or two content marketers on your team remains about the same as it does with a team of one -- content creation, SEO, and social media. Even if you decide to dedicate two hires to content marketing as Volpe suggests, to bifurcate responsibilities between those two employees is premature. Both employees should contribute to all three responsibilities, and leadership of the content marketing program is shared between those employees.
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.
I am a little biased here because I have worked with them in the past, but The Hustle does a lot of things from a copy standpoint really well. My personal favorite is their email opt-in page –– "Your smart, good looking friend that sends you an email each morning with all the tech and business new you need to know for the day." They have expertly created a trusted and personable brand through conversational copy.
No, they don't. They care about what's in it for them if they pull out their wallets and hand over their hard-earned money to buy your product or service. They don't care that you've been a member of the local Chamber of Commerce for 20 years, and they don't care how cute your kids are (so leave them out of your commercials, please). Consumers care about having their needs and wants fulfilled. The goal of copywriting is to convince consumers that the product or service you're selling will meet their needs and desires, even if you have to create perceived needs and desires for them. In other words, your copy must focus on the benefits consumers will receive if they buy your product or service. It's great that your business has operated from the same location for 10 years, but for the most part, consumers only truly care about what your business can do for them and how your business can make their lives easier or better. Those are the messages your copy should focus on in order to drive results.
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.
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.
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.
You run an accounting firm that specializes in tax preparation, and business was lagging this year. You want to do better next year, so you start a blog on your website and publish posts about some of the common tax-related issues your target customer faces. You write a few posts a week, and eventually those blog posts start to rank in Google and other search engines.
The easiest way to get started is to apply to write content for a content writing service or freelance job board. Content writing services create business relationships with companies that need content and provide writers to write that content. Freelance job boards are sites that allow writers to make individual profiles and vie for jobs posted directly by the client.
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.
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.
An excellent post – you had me hooked with the 7 Reasons headline. The scientific reasoning was so interesting and I know I can take these tips on board and write better copy. Verbs. Verbs. Verbs. The powerhouse of the sentence. Having read your post, I have learnt about mirror neurons, I ‘heard’ the bone break and I tasted the cold beer (I don’t care whether its ‘the done thing’ I like my beer cold!) I also enjoy playing the devil’s advocate and now understand why it is such a useful and clever tactic and I love any form of transportation/escapism. One of the reasons why TV ads are so powerful, they offer a brief glimpse through a window into another world. Fantastic writing and great inspiration and motivation. You have earned your beer. Thanks.
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!)