The reliable source of traffic and leads from your evergreen content will give you the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed content. Plus, your content will not only help attract leads -- it will also help educate your target prospects and generate awareness for your brand.
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.
You have to be clear with your copy. If you’re selling yourself as a social media marketer, you can’t simply say, “If you need a social media marketer, I’m your guy (or gal).” You want to actively show your potential clients why they should choose your services (for example, Choose me because I have five years’ worth of experience in improving social media awareness for big brands, like…).
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?
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.
Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.
Problem: I need to increase the volume of my organic search. Your audience can’t buy from you if they can’t find you, and today up to 93% of buying cycles start from a search engine. Additionally, according to Kuno Creative, 51% of content consumption derives from organic search, so content marketing is a great way to build organic awareness. When your valuable content ranks highly on search engines, or is shared widely on social networks, you’re building brand awareness at no cost, and since your content will only be shared when it’s relevant, your audience will be less inclined to tune it out.
Understanding the purpose of content is key to producing high-quality work. It's meant to speak directly with a particular audience, such as customers, potential customers, investors, employees, or other stakeholders. Content can be well-written, researched and creatively conceived, but if it isn't speaking to the intended audience, it's not doing its job. Here are a few good examples of long-form, quality content written by Scripted writers:
I noticed that they have a 8 1/2 by 11′ paper printed and taped on 10 different locations inside and outside the gym that read “$0 down” in plain text. I felt that this was such a waste because it assumes that people’s numbers one incentive for going to the gym would be that it’s “affordable”. I talked with my personal trainer manager and told him that they should put pictures of testimonials (before and after pictures), as well as other messages like “finally get that beach body you’ve always wanted”, “don’t wait until January 1st to start living a healthy life. Request a free consultation at the front desk”. The manager told me new members were attracted by the testimonials on the Mirrors and the messages. He even offered me a job (but I turned it down of course. They won’t let me work in my pajamas)
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!
I’ve just set up my own website, now, and those early gigs have provided some great testimonials, which is a huge boost to confidence. I used Blogger for my own website – it’s free, apart from a fiver a year for a custom domain, and it’s surprising how versatile Blogger can be, with a little practice. I’m now ready to start doing all the things Neville recommends in the above article, and the future looks loaded with potential.
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:
I’m currently taking a course on how to write case studies. Being a fiction writer, one of the aspects I love is the research and being able to talk to SMEs. I figured writing case studies would be a good fit. I was thinking about focusing on case studies for professional services. Which leaves it open to a pretty broad spectrum. As a newbie in this field, is it TOO broad? Should I narrow it down and focus on a specific TYPE or professional service?
This is an amazing article! When I started maternity leave I decided to start a blog and to my surprise I discovered that I love writing. I’m now attempting to make writing pay before I return to work so that I can stay home with my beautiful baby. Your article is the most helpful thing I have read so far and I’m sure that your tips and pointers will help me achieve my goal. Thank you!
Low pay. Most content writing positions do not pay well, especially entry level writing positions. Small newspapers or publications are often good places to start in terms of gaining experience and contacts. But often, the compensation will be $10-$12 an hour. The average salary for content writers in the United States is $40,000 a year. Higher paying positions in the content writing field include project managers, online researchers, and proposal writers. However, you will need higher levels of experience to qualify for these positions.
Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast--all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.
Your social media manager should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Consider the amplification of a piece of content shared on a Facebook page with 100,000 fans, versus 1,000 fans. The fans' networks work to help your content spread -- so the larger their networks, the better your content's distribution.
Predictably, blog posts are typically written by the bloggers. However, if your team is large enough to have someone dedicated to creating gated assets and premium content -- things like ebooks and tools -- they should also write blog posts to help promote those assets. SEO specialists will also work closely with bloggers, as blog posts are often a company's best opportunity to improve organic search rankings. As such, bloggers should be writing posts that help improve the site's SEO, and drive organic traffic and leads. Their editorial should be informed by keyword research, and optimized for SEO.
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.
The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product." Content on the blog included how-to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interviews and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." The popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content."
"The best way to help your sales team is to build brand awareness and create content that generates a lot of leads over time. An increase of twice as many leads means twice as many quality leads -- as long as you have software that lets you filter those incoming leads efficiently. That's how you build a successful sales and marketing machine," explains Mike Volpe.
Professional content writers create written content for a living. A professional writer should be competent and skillful, and they should be engaged in writing as their main paid occupation. As a content writer, you may write content on a variety of topics for a variety of organizations, from popular websites to scientific and technical print documents or manuals. The benefits of being a professional content writer includes being paid for an activity you enjoy (writing), and as you become more established, the ability to work remotely or from a home office.
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.