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?
Copywriting is persuasive writing, also known as sales in print, or what I like to call closing in print. Every single day, copywriters prove that written words can influence people to take a particular action, such as buying a product or service after reading the copy. The written content – the ‘copy’ – is persuasive and meant to compel the reader to take action.
I love your voice. Thank you for your emails and all the knowledge you share. Sometimes I’m a bit suspicious and wonder why do freelancers share their knowledge and let others do and grow in the same field… Well, let me tell you that although I had never thought that I could write for money, six months ago I got my first freelance writing gig… and I was not looking for that. I used to be an export director but after having kids my life changed drammatically, so my last job was as an account manager in a company that builds websites for state agencies. I realised that most of my clients got blocked when I asked them to send me the copy for their brand new website. They didn’t know how to describe their services, how to talk about the team, etc and they sent the copy full of old-fashioned expressions that I don’t like myself to find anywhere. So I used to write the copy for them… for free! I just wanted to help them and have the job done, you know, I got paid when the website was finished. So one of these clients told to a friend that I wrote the whole copy of their new website for them, and this guy came to me asking if I would rewrite his company’s website (300 employees, that’s quite a big company in Spain). I did it (not for free, but I just counted the invested hours). Afterwards, he wanted me writing the weekly posts for the company’s blog. This time I’m getting paid not only for the invested hours but also for my creativeness. Last week another big company asked me for a quotation, we will start working on his blog after summer. I’m so happy with my new career! Now I’m part of my husband’s small company and I offer my services as a marketer and copywriter.
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:
In recent years, content marketing has exploded, with 89% of B2B marketers currently using content marketing. The reason? The internet. The shift to online media, and more recently, to mobile, means that audiences are consuming content in new and savvy ways. This has led to brands big and small developing comprehensive content strategies with allocated marketing budgets.
The errors I have mentioned are largely due to writing too quickly and not proofing and editing well. I have been there and done that. The problem with writing online (blogging, websites, forums, etc) is that hasty writing produces errors that last forever. I can’t stress enough that printing out your copy and reading it out loud is always a good use of your time.
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.
You've written a blog post that has wide appeal beyond just your target audience. You test promotion of that blog post via a paid Facebook ad, and find that the CPC is lower than your typical paid expenditures, and is driving 40% more site traffic than those typical expenditures. Even so, when you turn off that budget you lose that traffic ... right? Right. But you still received a huge influx of traffic that, even if none of them convert to leads, might have spurred either inbound links or social shares -- both of which will help bolster your SEO.
I won't pull any punches: I started, and it took a while to stop. That is to say you're about to dive into a pretty in-depth post (that's a nice way of saying "long") about content marketing, one which you may want to bookmark to read later. But I think it covers most of the aspects of content marketing that modern inbound marketers need to consider, beyond the basics of simply writing content optimized for the web.
The short answer is that she found me and cold emailed me. The long answer is that she was Googling for copywriting tips and stumbled across an article I wrote a few years ago with a list of copywriting resources. (This makes me cringe a bit to share, since it’s so old, but here’s the blog post: http://skillcrush.com/2014/09/18/write-better-copy/) The interesting thing here is that when she read the article, she looked at the author name and recognized me from Instagram, where she already followed my account all about vegan food (http://instagram.com/randlebrowning). Since she’s launching a vegan health supplements company, she thought I’d be a great fit to write copy for her…and I am! It has been a really fun first project to work on.
I searched for the best way to get started; enter, Elance. It took a while to get that first measly web content contract. But after that project, the client gave me stellar feedback, and my service started to gain speed. I wasn’t making much at all, but the inquiries came rolling in. So much that I neglected to respond to some project invites, which lead to the demise of my Elance profile. Yep, Elance suspended my account that had pretty good potential and creditability. Make sure you read those terms carefully. Lessons learned.
Bloggers are people who make dumb list articles with sensationalized titles to try to garner search hits on their website, which in turn they hope will turn into clicks on ads so they can try to make money. Bloggers also write very one-sided articles, which tend to either evoke extreme praise for the article or extreme flame wars. There is rarely any middle ground.
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.
In some cases, the guidance or existing copy that a content writer receives from his or her client is, in a word, awful. Many are the days that I’ve sat down to look at a wall of ill-formatted, poorly spelled, stream-of-consciousness rough copy, and begin the arduous task of editing and polishing it. It’s the intellectual equivalent of cleaning up someone else’s bedroom: you just don’t want to know what goes on in there to cause such a mess. Still, we do it, and we smile, because in the end making you look and sound good is what our jobs are all about.