Problem: I need to reach more customers, while keeping my costs low. According to Forrester research, today’s customers distrust and resent marketing that interrupts or intercepts them. Engaging content marketing should be part of a natural conversation with current and potential customers, be relevant to their interests and behaviors, and build a continuous story over time. Content marketing pays dividends for a very long time, and this effect multiplies as you build out your content library.
Businesses focused on increasing sales through content marketing should look at traditional e-commerce metrics including click-through-rate from a product-page to check-out and completion rates at the check-out. Altogether, these form a conversion funnel. Moreover, to better understand customers' buying habits, they should look at other engagement metrics like time spent per page, number of product-page visits per user, and re-engagement.
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.)
Webpages. What’s the difference between a normal webpage and a webpage that is content marketing? Consider The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, a provider of SEO related tools and resources. This resource, offered for free, has been viewed millions of times, bringing in countless customers who otherwise might never have stumbled across Moz and the services they offer. Or take a look at a case study from the design firm Teehan+Lax. Most case studies are boring. Their case studies are fascinating. That’s the difference between simply putting content on your website, and content marketing.
There are many firms that offer content marketing services, often paired with SEO or PR. If you’re simply too busy to do it yourself and aren’t ready to manage it in-house, then hiring a firm may be your best option. But if you want to jump in and do your own content marketing the easiest way is to start blogging. It will likely be hard at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Following tips from websites like Copyblogger you’ll quickly learn how to craft content for your website or blog that will engage readers and turn them into customers or clients. But while technically good writing and the right headlines can help, it’s not the key to creating great content that is the best form of content marketing.
Content marketing requires manpower, so the first step is figuring out who is going to head up the program. There's no one-size-fits-all for team structure -- it depends largely on the size of your company, your marketing team, and your budget. But if we assume that those three things are interlinked, as they often are, I can provide you with some frameworks based off of other content marketing-focused companies' structures. These should help you hire the right people, and have them "sitting" in the right spot in your organization.
Your specific needs might vary -- for instance, perhaps you need subject matter expertise in your writers, or coding experience from your long-form content creators. Or perhaps your titles differ, and your "content creators" are actually "content strategists", or your "social media manager" is really a "specialist." Make edits as you see fit, but these frameworks should be helpful in getting you started if this is your first time hiring for any of these positions.
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!
Quick turnarounds. When you write for an employer, on their timeline, you will need to be able to write fast and write well. This is especially true for writers just breaking into content writing. Often, your project will come with an expected words per hour, or article per hour, as well as strict deadlines. You will not have time to labor over every word or turn of phrase. Instead, you will need to produce content fast and at a constant rate.
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.