Traditional marketers have long used content to disseminate information about a brand and build a brand's reputation. Taking advantage of technological advances in transportation and communication, business owners started to apply content marketing techniques in the late 19th century. They also attempted to build connections with their customers. For example:
At my own company we’ve used content marketing to grow more than 1,000% over the past year. Potential clients find our content, find value in it, and by the time they contact us they’re already convinced they want to work with us. We don’t have to engage in any high pressure sales tactics, it’s merely a matter of working out details, signing an agreement, and getting started. The trust that usually needs to be built up during an extensive sales cycle has already been created before we know the potential client exists.
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.
Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O'Brien of Contently wrote on Mashable, "The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story." Content marketing requires continuous delivery of large amounts of content, preferably within a content marketing strategy.
Problem: I need to create brand preference. Engaging content marketing creates preference through thought leadership by making you a trusted source of information and education. You can also create preference through relationships, which are strengthened whenever your content entertains or helps your buyers. People are more likely to buy from companies with whom they have relationships.
Hone your message Use short sentences (10 to 20 words) and paragraphs (2 or 3 sentences) to boil down your message you its essence. This is also a good time to check for grammar and edit out anything unnecessary: modifiers, complex clauses, awkward phrases. Use an active voice, and avoid business jargon, obscure words, stale phrases, and any abstract or confusing ideas. Make it concrete and straightforward.
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.
Copywriters think in a completely different way to a) editorial or book writers, and b) almost every other person on Earth. In fact, the overwhelming majority of copywriters think in pictures. We leave our art directors to think in words, which also accounts for the overwhelming majority of art directors. It's an unexpected phenomenon, but that is why the time-honoured ad partnership works as well as it does.
In addition to the playful header, "not the usual blah blah," the copy above takes on a farm theme, assuring visitors that employees aren't simply "caged hens." Rather, they're a "free-range, artisanal, cruelty-free team." Funny on the surface, but helpful to job seekers who, much like food, want to know where their work comes from and how it's made.
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.
Content writers may need a bachelor's degree or higher. Many employers hire writers with degrees in English, journalism, communications, or creative writing. Depending on the subject matter, content writers might need a degree in a particular field. For example, a content writer creating content for an online math course might need a degree in math in addition to demonstrating solid writing skills.
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.
You'll need some analytics for your website and blog so you can measure your content marketing performance against your goals. Some content marketing teams rely on Google Analytics, others rely on more robust closed-loop solutions that make it easy to tie content marketing activities at the top of the funnel to revenue. I recommend the latter if you want to use metrics to prove the success of your content marketing program so you can secure more budget and grow the team. If you're looking for an easy way to share numbers across your organization, look into DataHero. This tool integrates with the HubSpot software and allows you to track, visualize, and share your analytics through customized dashboards and charts.
You know what? 87% of B2B marketers practice content marketing to produce more qualified leads. And 78% of marketers are preparing to spend more money on content marketing. But according to my experience, the consistently producing quality content brings more traffic to a website. It also improves engagement with targeted audiences. Not least but using images in post increase audience engagement up to 30% more than plain text.
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?
Check your local college or university for a technical writing certificate program. Look at the faculty of the program to confirm you are being taught by professionals in the field or working content writers who are familiar with the demands of the writing industry. Certificate programs can be beneficial for writers who are new to content writing or technical writing.
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.
What do you want readers to do with the content you create? If your only answer is, “Well, read it, I guess,” you need to go back to the drawing board. Before you even start writing, you need to know what your call to action will be, and you need to make it compelling enough that readers can’t help but click. That’s how you connect content writing to marketing goals and prove ROI.
Most people count on incorporating popular holidays such as New Year's and Thanksgiving in their marketing efforts, but you don't have to limit yourself to these important marketing dates. If there are niche holidays that might appeal to your audience, it could be worth publishing content on your blog or on social media. HubSpot's Service Blog Editor Sophia Bernazzani compiled this ultimate list of social media holidays -- keep an eye on it when you're planning your calendar.
I write a lot of product review articles and I can attest to what a valuable resource Amazon reviews are. I have also found the “Questions Asked by Customers’ section to be a gold mine. The questions are asked by people who are considering buying the product and are answered by the sellers and, importantly, by people who have actually bought and used the product. I get ideas for most of my subheads from there.
Red Bull, which sells a high-energy beverage, has published YouTube videos, hosted experiences, and sponsored events around extreme sports and activities like mountain biking, BMX, motocross, snowboarding, skateboarding, cliff-diving, freestyle motocross, and Formula 1 racing. Red Bull Media House is a unit of Red Bull that "produces full-length feature films for cinema and downstream channels (DVD, VOD, TV)." The Red Bulletin is an international monthly magazine Red Bull publishes with a focus on men's sports, culture, and lifestyle.
Name recognition is important. Social media puts everything you need within your grasp. Build your audience, meet publishers and talk to industry experts. When your writing is published, the fun has only just begun. The more active you are on social media, the more likely your followers will be to recommend your content. Successful content writers are active, public and friendly.
While successful content writers seem to have an enviable life -- they work from home, make their own schedules and work as much or as little as they please -- the vast majority have a hard time making a living of it. They lack the skills necessary to succeed. Because no matter how talented they are, writing skill is simply not enough. So, if you want to become successful as a content writer, you need a full toolkit of marketable skills.
Make letter clear and brief: Professionals say Brevity is a soul of wit” the ability of clear information helps to make the letter more understandable. A brief letter is easy to read than a wordy document. Many customers lack much time to read market advertising letters. With such regard, it is good to remain brief in writing and strait to the point.
You can't write without words! In Lesson 7, you'll learn to make accurate word choices. The lesson will discuss the level of vocabulary appropriate for business writing and show you how to choose words that reinforce a project's theme. It'll also clarify some tricky word pairs and discuss word-choice problems whose usage can undermine the professionalism of your writing.
Before you even start to write content, you need to know what you’re writing about — and you can kill two birds with one stone if you combine search engine optimization with your editorial calendar planning. New York Times Bestselling author and top marketer Neil Patel calls keyword research “the most important part of digital marketing” and “how we keep our ears to the ground,” and for good reason.
Email lists are marketer's most treasured assets -- and they're a smart way to drive traffic, conversions, and re-conversions on your content. Invest in growing your blog email subscription list for an incredibly valuable distribution arm alongside your sales lists. You can do this, for example, via lead flows that politely ask readers if they'd like to subscribe as they're reading through certain articles on your website.
Use a newspaper article from a local publication or an online publication and break it down based on the upside triangle structure of a typical newspaper article. Does the article conform to the traditional structure or does it use a different structure or form? Does the writer seem credible and believable? Does the article use reputable sources and quotes to support any arguments in the article?
Although SEO is important and being able to write effective sales copy may also be essential for website copywriting, many of the basic writing skills are also required. This means that most website copywriters have to be familiar with basic grammar, style, and structure rules. Content has to be well written in order to accomplish its goal, and adherence to standard writing rules is often a prerequisite to a well-written article.
Infographics. These are generally long, vertical graphics that include statistics, charts, graphs, and other information. If you need some examples, here are 197 infographics on the topic of content marketing curated by Michael Schmitz, head of Content Lab at Publicis, Munich. Infographics can be effective in that if one is good it can be passed around social media and posted on websites for years. You can get a professionally designed infographic by hiring a contractor on a site like oDesk or if you want to remove some of the risk you can go with a company like Visua.ly. A decent infographic will usually cost you at least $1,000 to have designed, but can cost several thousand dollars if you are hiring a contractor or agency to include strategy and planning, research, copywriting, and design. There is also the matter of promoting that infographic to bloggers and the media. Or you could set up a board on Pinterest and curate infographics on a topic related to your business. That is also a form of content marketing, and it costs nothing but your time. Hey, it worked for Michael.