I just wanted to say thanks so much to Sonia and the whole Copyblogger team for throwing my little blog on this list with so many folks I’ve looked up to for so long. James over at MWP gave me my very first guest posting gig and a lot of inspiration before and since. Carol Tice’s timely articles gave me what I needed to believe I really could make a living doing this stuff. Peter Bowerman got me started on the freelance writing idea years ago, and continues to provide tremendous value with his blog too. And no list like this would be complete without a huge mention of the granddaddy of writing blogs, Copyblogger! I’ve learned so much here, and it’s only just begun!
Another reason? People are just not that into ads. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust In Advertising report, people trust text ads less than any other content medium, especially on mobile. What’s more, on the list of trusted mediums, editorial content outranked ads on all traditional channels, including TV, radio, billboards, newspapers and magazines. Bottom line: editorial, informational, entertaining content works best.
Dan Lok has been viewed more than 1.7+ billion times across social media for his expertise on how to achieve financial confidence. And is the author of over a dozen international bestselling books. Dan Lok is the founder of The Dan Lok Organization (which includes over two dozen companies) and is a venture capitalist currently evaluating acquisitions in markets such as education, new media, and software. Dan Lok trains as hard in the Dojo as he negotiates in the boardroom. And thus has earned himself the name; The Asian Dragon.
At this stage of growth, it's also time to assign dedicated leadership to your content marketing team -- unless you want two dozen people reporting to the CMO. Many organizations hire a Director of Content, VP of Content, Chief Content Officer, or Editor-in-Chief to lead the entire content marketing team. This individual sets the vision for the team, secures budget, hires the right talent, contributes content ideas, solves for growth, and helps coordinate with other leaders across the marketing organization so content marketing doesn't become too siloed.
The proxy for content marketing in the following charts is "Attract", since content marketing is the top-of-the-funnel activity that attracts people to your business. "Convert" and "Close" refer to middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel marketing activities, like email marketing, nurturing, sales enablement, marketing ops, conversion rate optimization, etc.
If you’ve ever slogged your way through reading a piece of marketing and only finished reading because you had to, then you’ve experienced bad content marketing. When I speak to companies about content marketing I tell them that content is good if they genuinely want to read it. Content is great if they’re willing to pay to read it. If you want to see great examples of content, just look at what you’ve paid to read, watch, or listen to lately. If you watched The Lego Movie this year, you saw one of the greatest examples of content marketing to date. Oh, you thought they made that movie in order to sell movie tickets? Think again. That was a 100 minute toy commercial, and rather than using a DVR to skip it you paid good money to watch it. Is it any coincidence that Lego recently leapfrogged Mattel, the creators of Barbie, to become the largest toy company in the world? You may not have the budget to make a feature film to promote your company, but you can still give potential customers valuable information.
Great list, Sonia. Many of these are new to me. One blog that somewhat fits in this list, is Michael Hyatt’s blog. Since he is the former CEO of a publishing company, he has a lot of great insights about actually getting a book published and how the whole process works. If there is a book in your future, Michael’s blog may be a good place to start. (michaelhyatt.com)
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.
"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:
Add value. That’s the secret. It’s not really a secret at all. We've already talked about it throughout this piece. Although when you look at some of the marketing companies engage in you wonder if they’re purposely avoiding the obvious. We skip advertising when it provides little to no value. If you want to learn about advertising that doesn’t get skipped, find a skateboarder and ask him if you can watch him look through a skateboard magazine. You’ll see that he spends as much time looking at the ads as he does looking at the articles and photos. Or check out The Berrics website. Much of the content is advertisements, but skaters don’t skip these videos, they watch them just like they watch the other videos, because they’re getting the value they want--good skating. As a skater I’d like to say skateboard companies pioneered content marketing decades ago, but I know they were only doing what came naturally, and selling more product was secondary to the fun of creating videos and magazines. If you want to hire someone onto your marketing team who understands content marketing intuitively, hiring a skateboarder might not be a bad step.
Use an existing degree to get into content writing. An English degree, or other writing and reading focused degree, can be used to get into content writing, especially if you feel you have strong writing skills. Consider how well you did in your English classes, writing essays, book reports, and other assignments. Would you be willing to spend hours a day writing on a variety of topics for an employer? Could your existing writing skills translate into more professional writing for an employer?
Hi Neville, I’ve been poking around on your website for the last hour or so… great stuff, and I’ve been doing this (writing copy) for nigh on 25 years. I’d like to republish one of your articles in my weekly copywriting e-letter, the Copywriter’s Roundtable (link above, along with my email). I’ll look around for your contact info, but in case I don’t find it… how can we get in touch?
My big mistake was quoting based on hours at first — because I’m really fast, I’d quote a ridiculously low rate. Now I quote based on the value of what people will get. Because I’ve been in online business for about 6 years, I bring a ton of experience and strategy as well as a way with words. :) They’re happy, I’m happy, and my old “friends” now have to stand in line to book me. Bwahahahah!
Usually, businesses don't completely cease all other marketing activities and switch to content marketing cold turkey. In fact, most veteran content marketing programs typically incorporate other marketing techniques to complement their content initiatives. But the impetus for most of the companies I've worked with to initiate a content marketing program has been the need for a more cost-effective, predictable, and scalable source of traffic and leads than what they've been receiving from their current marketing programs.
I got my first client from a freelancing site in the Netherlands. It’s something like Upwork – I tried that too – but here, clients are actually willing to pay you good money. So I received 100 euro for some creative web copy around 600 words. And actually I think I could have charged more. The client said it was a decent price. Maybe I could have charged double!
There are several copywriting exercises that you can do at home, in your spare time, that will help you learn the skill of copywriting faster. The reason why the expression, “Practice makes perfect” is said so often, is because it’s true. It’s especially true if you keep practicing the same type of copywriting over and over (for example, practicing writing Facebook ads.)
Reorganize: This isn’t just an efficient way to pump out new content—it’s also a smart way to reach members of your audience who like to consume content in different ways. Some people you’re marketing to may like ebooks, while others prefer infographics, and still others learn best from slide decks. Slicing and dicing allows you to reach more people with less effort.
This book opened my eyes to the opportunity of making money from home from copyrighting. The prospect of creating something original, something of my own, is very exciting. I am going to follow the writer’s advice and try to earn money from my creativity. I wanted to give the book 5 stars but decided to give it 4 because I haven’t yet applied the writer’s advice. On paper, the advice looks good and I hope it will work as good when I put it in practice
Great stuff Neville! I love what you’ve posted here; I have been searching for information on freelance and copywriting for some time now. Everyone has done an awesome job posting on your site, it only motivates me to keep going. I’m aware of some of the obstacles and aware there will be more for me to cross, but its sites like this that encourage beginners, such as myself, to dive right into the writing world. You pointed out key points: “just start writing”, join groups that are already writing, and read material pertaining to writing. I only did one of the 3, read about copywriting, lol, I know what your thinking, “this guy must have JUST started”, yes, and thankfully, your site has opened a new portal for me. I’ll join a writing group or some writing groups after this post, and I’m taken your advice today by just start writing on your site. I know its a long way up the latter, but I’m determined to use my skills that has been repressed for sometime now. I actually have a great paying job, but, like most writers, I want more time for me; I spend entirely to much time doing someone else work making them rich, when I can use my own skills to make a decent living and have fun while doing it, its a no brainer for me now. Although, I know it will take dedication and consistency, which I know I have, I’m eager and filled with writer passion. Again, thanks to everyone and good luck to all, including myself. “Here we go”!