What do you want readers to do with the content you create? If your only answer is, “Well, read it, I guess,” you need to go back to the drawing board. Before you even start writing, you need to know what your call to action will be, and you need to make it compelling enough that readers can’t help but click. That’s how you connect content writing to marketing goals and prove ROI.
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:
I guess I’ve never had a real gig yet… I’ve written website content for clients many, many times. I’ve also had gigs writing SEO content. But I’ve never really truly had a copywriting gig yet. Thanks for this article. To be honest, I’ve only buzzed through it quickly just now (#MeWantsTShirt), but it actually looks really good and I plan to re-read it carefully, following all the helpful links (especially the ones on the copywriting resources… I really want to be good, no… GOODER, at the art of written persuasion), and bookmarking it. (By the way, offering a paid service to rewrite websites is brilliant. I’ve offered to review and improve websites from a CRO perspective… but I never thought of offering a “better copy” only approach. Nice!
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.
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.
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.
Very nice article. I’ve been writing and traveling the world, full-time now, for three years. I can’t think of an easier way to make money than writing. No costly inventory, no expensive website, and little investment needed. When I started all I had was a gmail address, and a small portfolio. I would cold contact 10-15 websites a day offering my services. Three years later I’m farming out the small jobs, and still have repeat business from when I first started. It’s a great way to live.
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.
I notice that you have Ben Settle on the list here. I enjoyed your radio show with him not too long ago, and I have used the templates he provided from one of his guest posts here. But I can also say that Ben as good a copywriter as Ben is -especially his email writing expertise- he’s just as effective at teaching HOW to write emails that sell. I recommend his monthly print newsletter called Email Players.
"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:
It can help, but other degrees also have content writing value. For instance, the ability to synthesize and relate complex information is key to content writing, but can also be acquired from studies in education or philosophy. Companies that offer content writing positions tend to find it easier to train someone in a complex topic than to train someone to write, however. For example, as a healthcare professional with mediocre writing skills, you're less likely to be hired as a healthcare content writer than a strong writer with no healthcare background (but who can be trained in healthcare topics).
Ricardo specializes in content marketing for real estate professionals, and he’s got lots of resources for using blogs, social media, and content to create effective marketing for that market. I love this example of a content marketer working within a well-defined niche. (If you’re a writer struggling to stand out, think about the niche you could be serving.)
During the baby boom era, Kellogg’s began selling sugary cereal to children. With this change in business model came sociable animal mascots, lively animated commercials and the back of the cereal box as a form of targeted content marketing. Infographics were born in this era. This represented a new approach to make a brand memorable with the audience.