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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…).
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.
I searched for the best way to get started; enter, Elance. It took a while to get that first measly web content contract. But after that project, the client gave me stellar feedback, and my service started to gain speed. I wasn’t making much at all, but the inquiries came rolling in. So much that I neglected to respond to some project invites, which lead to the demise of my Elance profile. Yep, Elance suspended my account that had pretty good potential and creditability. Make sure you read those terms carefully. Lessons learned.
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.
Customize your resume and cover letter. If you decide to go a more traditional route and apply for a permanent content writing position at a writing based agency or organization, you will need to customize your resume and cover letter to fit the position. This will show your employer that you noted the skills outlined in the job posting and that you can fulfill the expectations of the position.
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?
The key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it. So was VW’s 2014 “Game Day” commercial, which has been viewed on YouTube almost 18 million times as of the writing of this post, an ad, or content marketing? The answer is it’s both, depending on how it’s received by each individual who is exposed to it. The same will apply to any piece of content marketing you create, depending on whether the recipient received value from it or not. Of course the goal is to provide as much value from your content marketing to as much of your target audience as possible. At this point, despite this definition and explanation, you’re probably still wondering what exactly content marketing is. We can get more clarity by considering a few examples.
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.
"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.
Those scenarios might have sounded like a lot of work to you, especially when considered alongside marketing programs that provide more immediate gratification -- like list purchasing, PPC, or trade show marketing that deliver names and email addresses in mere minutes. Often, content marketing is used when businesses realize those programs are either ineffective, too expensive, not scalable, or all of the above. Here's what I mean, using the "infographic generator" example above for demonstrations.
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:
You’ve asked your reader once. and you hope they're thinking about it. Add a P.S. to your sales letter to light a fire under your customer and get them to act right now. Use a carrot such as throwing in an additional bonus (“If you act right now, you’ll also receive…."), or a stick, such as reminding the customer that quantities are limited or the pricing will only last for a certain period of time (set a date).
The reason is that each form of writing has its own style. News is delivered AP style, in short, informational paragraphs with the meat of the story at the top. Blogging is personable, friendly and often opinionated. Ad copy is short and persuasive. White papers are long; they describe a problem and provide the solution. But, regardless, each and every category is content, and each style writers master makes them more valuable and in demand.
Traditionally, marketers have had to “rent attention” from other people’s media through display ads on websites, booths at trade shows, or emails sent to third-party lists. For example, when a brand pays out millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad, they are renting the attention that the TV networks have built. Content marketing, on the other hand, allows marketers to become publishers by building their own audiences and attracting their own attention. By creating and distributing content that buyers find useful, marketers increase their brand awareness and preference by establishing a relationship of trust with consumers as they move through the sales funnel. Additionally, content marketing is considered a less costly strategy than some others. It can have a bit of a slower start while your content library grows and reaches a larger audience.
You're Director of Marketing for an agency that specializes in design solutions for small businesses. You're having trouble attracting customers, though, because keeping an agency on retainer seems like a luxury for a small business. So you decide to create some DIY design tools to help them, you know, DIY. You do some keyword research and notice about 2,000 people are searching for an "infographic generator" every month, so you decide to build one that people can use for free once -- and if they like it, they can create more infographics for free if they provide a name and email address.
Take it from someone who writes for a living: Just start writing. Your first idea is probably not going to be a winner, and that’s why you should get it out of the way as soon as possible. Write out all of the ideas you have for your copy, no matter how silly– you may be surprised at what gems come out of a brainstorming session where you don’t edit or criticize your creativity.
The introductory paragraph of the letter should start with a sentence that grabs the attention of the reader. Then go ahead to thank the reader for the interest that he/she has shown in the product that you are selling, or the services that your organization provides, and convey the benefits and incentives that a client or consumer of the company will be eligible for.
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.