To some writers, writing online content is basically equivalent to journalism. They contribute articles to e-zines, corporate blogs, and other such places on the web. Yet more content writers spend their days working exclusively for small businesses, and some even write content for government websites. Content writers are full-time employees and independent contractors. We are SEO specialists and html experts. We’re reporters, experts, comedians, and salespeople. We’re the filter and the amplifier that sends your voice out into the universe, and when used effectively, we are the keys to success on the web.
At HubSpot, we use ... well, we use HubSpot at HubSpot. It comes with a Content Management System (CMS), which allows you to create and publish content quickly in a format that's web-friendly. Whether you use HubSpot or another CMS, you need some CMS so your content marketing team can easily set up a blog, add blog posts, and add website pages without having to get help from IT or developers.
So, whenever someone asks me what I do, I reply that I’m a content writer. Quite often, they aren’t sure what that means, and for good reason. It’s not the most descriptive job title in the world, but that’s because content writing has to remain as open and flexible as it can; content writers wear a lot of hats. Ask 10 different content writers what they do during the day, and you’ll most likely get 10 different answers. The truth is the job of a content writer is about much more than just churning out articles or blog posts. Let’s take a moment to break down the job of the content writer, and see if we can develop a more thorough understanding of just what we content writers do – and why you probably need one.
In 1933, Procter & Gamble started to broadcast a radio serial drama sponsored by their Oxydol soap powder. The owners wanted to build brand loyalty by aiming to adult women. They could intermix their marketing messages into the serial drama. The term soap opera was born in this year, and they marked a precedent for native ads. Engagement with the audience was a key element with the creation of this content.
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!
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:
The content writer doesn’t just write 500 words on how great your hat shop is and call it a day; a good content writer will ensure that in addition to content being fresh, it’s also optimized for the specific keywords that are going to increase your search ranking, bringing more visitors to your site. We understand the value of a great headline, appropriate keyword density, and keep up with current SEO best practices to ensure that the methods we’re using are the most effective. If you’ve been seeing your search ranking sinking, a good content writer can dig you out of the hole of SEO silence.
Premium or gated assets are typically longer form, and/or more time-intensive pieces that don't exist on a blog. They might be used to generate leads or contacts, or for brand-building purposes. These are typically created by the dedicated long-form content creator if your team is large enough to have one, but sometimes bloggers get involved too, as blog posts are good testing grounds for what performs well and is thus worth investing in.
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:
Not all SEO suites solve the problem. Some bombard you with too much data, without providing the tools you need to sort through it and tweak your content strategy. Other SEO tools break everything down into their own proprietary system, without giving you the enough data to draw your own conclusions. And when they get it wrong, you’ll have no way of knowing until your traffic starts to crash.
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?
Beginner copywriters can get anxious or intimidated about attempting to craft a 5-page piece of copy, and it could take them weeks to craft this, because being intimidated leads to procrastination or perfectionist tendencies. However, if you craft short copy, you can get it done fast, and you won’t hold yourself back as much. It won’t be as intimidating.
And to think I was trying to make my first $10,000 by this summer. Reality check. I just finished reading your suggested books by Halbert & Sugarman in 3 days. No long story here but on my blog this month, I will be thanking you and noting Sugarman’s advice. Just get ’em to read the first line of your copy. I am AWAI trained & needed to see what else was out there in the universe. I will follow you on facebook…….