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.
Setting the letter aside for some time will allow you to be more objective about it when it’s time to check and edit. Right after you’ve written the letter, reading it over and over again won’t be too productive. But after you’ve left it for some time, this would give you a clearer eye and a fresher perspective which, in turn, makes it easier for you to spot mistakes.
Get familiar with the content writer pay scale. Many content writers starting out in their careers are not sure how much they should be paid per word. Most publications pay by word, or by hour, with a certain word count expectation. On average, content writers should be paid no less than $0.02 per a word, but may not reach more than $1 a word. Salaried positions are different, as you will be paid a yearly rate for a certain amount of work. It can be difficult to get a salaried position fresh out of graduation or when you're just starting out. Most content writers will start out working per word, or per hour.
As you complete each content writing gig, or as you gain more experience in a permanent position, add each article or piece of writing to an online portfolio. This will then help you network for other writing projects and positions in the future. With enough clips and contacts, you may then be able to freelance and work for yourself as a content writer.
There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content--far too many to cover here. My intent is to give you an introduction to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you’ll see the opportunities all around you. Soon you’ll be coming up with 50 content marketing ideas every day. You won’t be able to stop seeing opportunities to create content. Here are five examples to help your mind start percolating.
I personally prefer things simple, so I think of content marketing technology solutions in terms of "need it" or "nice to have." Nice-to-have technologies are things like competitive intelligence tools, market research tools, or software that clues you in to real-time trends. Experiment with these on a rolling basis -- most will offer a free trial so you can validate it. But first, make sure you're set up with the core technologies every content marketing team needs.
How would you like to see more space in the parking lot of your auto dealership? Well, the solution to that is enclosed with this letter. The smart card which when attached to the services that you provide will ensure increased customer loyalty. But before we tell you about the benefits that you will gain from subscribing to these cards, we would like to thank you for showing an interest in our product.
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.
I got my first writing gigs by responding to a craigslist ad for a blog post writer. The pay was horrible, like $5 per post, but they only took about 15 minutes to write so that is $20/hour which according to one of Neville’s posts that is about average pay for a freelance copywriter. Good experience in that it showed me what companies were looking for in word counts, topics, SEO. It also forced me to work quickly.
Talk about the benefits of your product or service. These benefits will show your readers that they need what you have to offer. To make it more readable, use arrows, bullet points or other types of clever formatting. If you have a lot to say about your product or service, don’t hesitate to include everything. Unlike other business letters, one meant for sales doesn’t have to be just one page.
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.
At this stage of growth, it's also time to assign dedicated leadership to your content marketing team -- unless you want two dozen people reporting to the CMO. Many organizations hire a Director of Content, VP of Content, Chief Content Officer, or Editor-in-Chief to lead the entire content marketing team. This individual sets the vision for the team, secures budget, hires the right talent, contributes content ideas, solves for growth, and helps coordinate with other leaders across the marketing organization so content marketing doesn't become too siloed.