When businesses pursue content marketing, the main focus should be the needs of the prospect or customer. Once a business has identified the customer's need, information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs, etc. Most of these formats belong to the digital channel.
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.
With the pace of social media and the frequency of blogging, not to mention that many of your content assets will be used across multiple campaigns and teams, a lightweight project management tool is critical. I recommend using a free software called Trello, which helps you organize your content, set deadlines, attach files, and collaborate with multiple teammates. Another great tool for keeping content projects organized from planning to publishing is Zerys -- a content marketing tool with a built-in marketplace of professional writers.
Acknowledge payment of an overdue balance Acknowledge the Return of an Item For Exchange, Refund or Credit Announce a business anniversary Announce a change in policy or fee amount Announce a change of business address Announce a new business location Announce a new business, store, or branch office Announce a new product or service Announce a price decrease Announce a price increase Answer a request for information on a product or service Apologize for an invoice or billing error Ask for an investment Change an order Complain about a delay in an order Confirm an order you have made Confirm receipt of an order from a customer Confirm the receipt of a package or other item(s) Confirm the sending of a package or other item(s) Decline orders but offer an alternate or substitute item Delegate follow-up on a complaint from a customer Follow up with a reminder Grant approval for credit Introduce a new employee Notify a customer that a shipment has been delayed or that merchandise ordered is not available Notify a shipper that an order is incomplete, incorrect or damaged; also, return unwanted or incorrect merchandise Offer a sales position to someone who has not applied for employment Offer the use of a charge account Prepare a prospective customer to receive a sales telephone call Request a discount or a complimentary product or service Request a refund or reimbursement Request a rush order Request additional money or information before you can fill an order Request an increased credit line Request estimates or bids Request information on a product or service Request samples or information about products or services Thank a business for good service, low prices, or professional courtesies Thank a customer for a payment Thank a customer for purchasing a product or service Transmit a payment Transmit a shipment of merchandise that a customer has purchased Transmit an advertising copy to a magazine or other media Transmit informational or sales literature Use a referral in a sales letter Write to former stockholders or investors
If you want to write an exceptional sales letters format, you should first think about your audience. Come up with a list of all your potential leads and who they are so you can learn more about your potential customers. Without knowing your audience, you won’t know how you will sell your product. But once you understand your audience, writing the letter becomes an easier task.
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 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.
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.
It’s that, for most of us, the idea of selling something is already unnerving. Who wants to come across as a slimy salesperson? Plus, with writing, there’s a delay between copy being created and the other person reading it. You’re vulnerable without the luxury of self-correcting based on that person’s body language. You have to release your words into the ether and hope that someone receives it and acts upon it.
There are several copywriting exercises that you can do at home, in your spare time, that will help you learn the skill of copywriting faster. The reason why the expression, “Practice makes perfect” is said so often, is because it’s true. It’s especially true if you keep practicing the same type of copywriting over and over (for example, practicing writing Facebook ads.)
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.
Read Joe Pulizzi's excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt's Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won't take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.