Whether you’ve given writing content for the web a shot or not, it’s safe to say that in most situations a little bit of training is needed. Writing content online definitely sounds easy enough, but there are actually many different kinds of content that get published, all with different marketing needs. You have to think about more than just the words on a page. Consider:
There are actually two parts to the course, the first titled “Engaging Audiences for Your Organization” and the second titled “Expanding Your Content’s Impact and Reach.” Both are six weeks of study and completely free, although you do have the option of getting a Verified Certificate from Northwestern University for completing the course for $49.00.
If you’ve ever slogged your way through reading a piece of marketing and only finished reading because you had to, then you’ve experienced bad content marketing. When I speak to companies about content marketing I tell them that content is good if they genuinely want to read it. Content is great if they’re willing to pay to read it. If you want to see great examples of content, just look at what you’ve paid to read, watch, or listen to lately. If you watched The Lego Movie this year, you saw one of the greatest examples of content marketing to date. Oh, you thought they made that movie in order to sell movie tickets? Think again. That was a 100 minute toy commercial, and rather than using a DVR to skip it you paid good money to watch it. Is it any coincidence that Lego recently leapfrogged Mattel, the creators of Barbie, to become the largest toy company in the world? You may not have the budget to make a feature film to promote your company, but you can still give potential customers valuable information.
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.
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.
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.
Content marketing also provides additional benefits in that it supports other digital marketing channels. It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.
Excellent post Henneke 🙂 Listening connects dots, and connecting dots helps you craft inspired, goading copy that influences readers to take beneficial actions. But we need to learn how to listen before actually listening. This skill is largely a lost art. Writers often create content based on their wants, totally ignoring the needs of their audience. Listening is the first step in matching reader needs with your copy creations.
But sometimes what I love the most, is just blogging about what I want to blog about. It’s that complete freedom to explore unknown creative or linguistic territories – with no brief to follow or project manager breathing down my neck. I’m definitely going to make more time to knock up fabulous blog posts in the near future and distant future. So watch this space 🙂
Theory #1: The mere act of publishing content on a regular basis does a lot of the "distribution" work for you -- if you consider search engines a distribution channel. (Which I do, considering how often people use them to find content.) If you create content on a regular basis that's informed by keyword research and optimized for search, Google takes care of the rest of your content distribution plan.
Do you wonder what makes viral marketing campaigns work? Learn how to market your ideas, brands or products in the most effective manner possible. Take the journey from word of mouth to online word of mouth with this course created by University of Pennsylvania. Professor Jonah Berger, an expert in the domain helps you understand how campaigns can become more shareable on social media and will teach you to create contagious content, develop sticky messages and get products to catch on.
Add value. That’s the secret. It’s not really a secret at all. We've already talked about it throughout this piece. Although when you look at some of the marketing companies engage in you wonder if they’re purposely avoiding the obvious. We skip advertising when it provides little to no value. If you want to learn about advertising that doesn’t get skipped, find a skateboarder and ask him if you can watch him look through a skateboard magazine. You’ll see that he spends as much time looking at the ads as he does looking at the articles and photos. Or check out The Berrics website. Much of the content is advertisements, but skaters don’t skip these videos, they watch them just like they watch the other videos, because they’re getting the value they want--good skating. As a skater I’d like to say skateboard companies pioneered content marketing decades ago, but I know they were only doing what came naturally, and selling more product was secondary to the fun of creating videos and magazines. If you want to hire someone onto your marketing team who understands content marketing intuitively, hiring a skateboarder might not be a bad step.