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.
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.
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When a content writer puts together a piece for a website, e-zine, blog, or newsletter, he or she doesn’t just have to make sure that the piece is well written, it also has to be nicely formatted and properly displayed on the screen. With clever and (dare I say) artistic placement of headings and subheadings, the content writer ensures that your copy doesn’t look like an insurmountable wall of text. A good content writer can take your complicated idea and turn it into an easily digestible and accessible piece of copy that pleases your readers, and keeps more eyes on you.
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?
There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content--far too many to cover here. My intent is to give you an introduction to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you’ll see the opportunities all around you. Soon you’ll be coming up with 50 content marketing ideas every day. You won’t be able to stop seeing opportunities to create content. Here are five examples to help your mind start percolating.
Here are some copywriting exercises that can help a junior or beginner copywriter become a master copywriter more quickly and easily. These are copywriting exercises I swear by, that will help you become a more successful and more confident copywriter. The exercises include things like handwriting a great piece of copy (written by a master) over and over again in the master’s exact words, word-for-word, to download their style into your brain. Performing this copywriting exercise, along with other exercises such as reading your copy out loud to yourself, are copywriting tips that give you a competitive edge.
But one thing I feel is share worthy is when I went for the meeting, I did the “briefcase method”. Basically did my homework and prep before the meeting, added value and suggestions on how to boost his business and highlighted how I helped my own business make money before. (I was selling gold and silver investing advice in 2010 before the great crash.)
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!
Regardless of team size, it's common for visual content to be created by nearly everyone except, perhaps, the SEO specialist. While designers will do the bulk of the advanced creative work, bloggers, content creators, and social media managers will all get involved in lighter-weight design. Often, designers will also create templates for the writers on the team so they can be more independent -- like creating ebook templates so premium content can be laid out by just about anyone with an InDesign license.
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…”
Your social media manager should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Consider the amplification of a piece of content shared on a Facebook page with 100,000 fans, versus 1,000 fans. The fans' networks work to help your content spread -- so the larger their networks, the better your content's distribution.
There are a host of metrics to look at when you have a robust analytics solution, but having too many goals to live up to tends to result in prioritization difficulties. I recommend content marketing teams have 2-3 metrics they measure, and perhaps some secondary metrics each sub-team can measure to help understand when there are different levers to pull. Here are my recommendations:
When the marketing team starts to grow, who leads content marketing gets more interesting. With a team of three marketers, you can approach content marketing a couple ways. Either one person can own content marketing activities, while the other two own activities that align more with the middle- and bottom-of the funnel. Or, two people can own content marketing activities, while the third owns the rest.
Competitor research is important, but you also have to be extremely familiar with your own product or service. Rolls Royce was one of the first major accounts Ogilvy won when his agency was in its early years. In his book, he talks about spending a full three weeks reading about the car to come up with one simple headline: “At sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.” This might not seem like the type of detail that would take you three weeks to find, but sometimes you need to give your brain time to let the information soak in.
On March 6, 2012, Dollar Shave Club launched their online video campaign. In the first 48 hours of their video debuting on YouTube they had over 12,000 people signing up for the service. The video cost just $4500 to make and as of November 2015 has had more than 21 million views. The video was considered as one of the best viral marketing campaigns of 2012 and won "Best Out-of-Nowhere Video Campaign" at the 2012 AdAge Viral Video Awards.
As you complete each content writing gig, or as you gain more experience in a permanent position, add each article or piece of writing to an online portfolio. This will then help you network for other writing projects and positions in the future. With enough clips and contacts, you may then be able to freelance and work for yourself as a content writer.
Ask a ‘yes’ question – This is a little trick many copywriters use and is something many bloggers use too. Open your blog post with a question that has a ‘yes’ answer. This immediately makes your post more engaging and conversational. Secondly, when a person answers ‘yes’ to your question, this means they want to learn more about the topic, and they are more likely to read your post.
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!
I’ve spent the last 2 years doing a lot of resumes and LinkedIn profiles for job seekers. I’ve also done a lot of biographies and social media marketing copy and consulting for coaches, authors and other solo business owners along the way. But now I’m leveraging my last two years of experiences (all of which were paying gigs, so no need to smack my pen out of my hand, LOL!) and I am positioning myself to expand and work with bigger companies like my first one.