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.
Use an existing degree to get into content writing. An English degree, or other writing and reading focused degree, can be used to get into content writing, especially if you feel you have strong writing skills. Consider how well you did in your English classes, writing essays, book reports, and other assignments. Would you be willing to spend hours a day writing on a variety of topics for an employer? Could your existing writing skills translate into more professional writing for an employer?
Email lists are marketer's most treasured assets -- and they're a smart way to drive traffic, conversions, and re-conversions on your content. Invest in growing your blog email subscription list for an incredibly valuable distribution arm alongside your sales lists. You can do this, for example, via lead flows that politely ask readers if they'd like to subscribe as they're reading through certain articles on your website.
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.
You may also want to consider doing an internship at a publication you hope to work for full time in the future to make connections with editors and other writers at the publication. Many of these internships will likely not be paid, at least not at first. Be prepared to receive compensation in the form of connections and contacts. But be wary of being taken advantage of as free labor. If you feel uncomfortable working for free, try to find internships that pay.
You run an accounting firm that specializes in tax preparation, and business was lagging this year. You want to do better next year, so you start a blog on your website and publish posts about some of the common tax-related issues your target customer faces. You write a few posts a week, and eventually those blog posts start to rank in Google and other search engines.
With a marketing team size of around 18, your content marketing team will be staffed with all the same roles -- bloggers, long-form content creators, SEO specialists, designers -- just multiplied. Aim to have three bloggers on staff, and two employees for each of the other roles. It's wise to have one of those bloggers have expertise in editing, too, so there's someone dedicated to maintaining content quality as output increases.
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.
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.
Step 2: Understand their buyer’s journey. A buying journey maps a buyer’s decision-making process during a purchase and will help you determine what content you need. Different kinds of content appeal to different buyers in different stages of their journey. By mapping your buying stages, you’ll better understand the process buyers go through when considering your product or service. As a result, you’ll be able to develop a content strategy that speaks directly to buyers, no matter what stage they’re in.
Let's say you're using PPC as your primary means of generating leads for your business. You need more leads, and decide to bid on the term "infographic generator" for $2 a click. At the end of your month-long campaign, you generated 1,000 leads and spent $10,000. Not bad. But what about next month? You have to spend $10,000 again. And again. And again. That is, if you want the leads to keep coming. In other words, when you turn the faucet of money off, leads stop coming out. The same concept applies with list purchasing, tradeshow marketing -- anything where you don't own the property from which leads are generated. Now let's contrast that experience against, say, blogging.
Load that baby up into your “Canned Responses” and send it out whenever you need. Oh, and those blue [purchase] links are just links to PayPal buttons. Don’t get distracted with being over-fancy with shopping carts and merchant accounts and all that jazz. Wait until you’re a baller copywriter bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars before fiddling with that.
Visual content plays a big role in the success of a content marketing strategy. We've found that The Adobe Creative Suite will set content marketers up with everything they need to lay out ebooks, design infographics, create social images, etc. The team will find themselves in InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat pretty frequently. For a free alternative, try Canva. This lightweight software makes it easy for designers of all levels to create quality visual content -- things like presentations, cover photos, ads etc.
Begin the letter with something will catch the reader's attention immediately. For example, many sales letters often ask readers to consider a "pain point" - a problem that a person needs solved, and then introduce a product that will provide the solution. It's important to quickly move to your sales pitch in your sales letter as most readers will understand that your sales letter is a form of advertising. Sales letters also often include an offer to encourage customers to try the product. It's important that these offers are clear and provide a useful service to the reader. Finally, it's becoming increasingly important to provide a brochure along with your sales letter providing details about your product. Finally, sales letters tend to use formal letter structures and are rather impersonal because they are sent to more than one person.
Content marketing requires manpower, so the first step is figuring out who is going to head up the program. There's no one-size-fits-all for team structure -- it depends largely on the size of your company, your marketing team, and your budget. But if we assume that those three things are interlinked, as they often are, I can provide you with some frameworks based off of other content marketing-focused companies' structures. These should help you hire the right people, and have them "sitting" in the right spot in your organization.
Another way I use to write copy is write down headlines from my swipe file on little 3 x 5 cue cards and shuffle them. Then I ask myself 10 questions about who my target market is, like what keeps them up at night? What are their biggest frustrations, what are their biggest fears, what do they secretly desire the most… etc. what makes them tick. And also shuffle that with the headlines.
Step 3: Brainstorm, then create your content marketing plan. Planning and creating new content isn’t just about mapping and metrics. Brainstorming and asset planning can be one of the most challenging and important parts of content creation. To catch inspiration when it strikes, you need a receptive environment, and team-wide willingness to try new things. An editorial calendar is not only where you keep track of, coordinate, and share your upcoming content, it is a strategic tool that helps your team execute integrated programs that include your content. Keeping an editorial calendar ensures that you’re releasing your content at the best possible moment, and that your whole team is aligned around the release dates.
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.
Basically, the only exercise I DON’T do is #5. Mostly because I have plenty of copy to write as is. I know there’s value in copying stuff by hand, but I’ve just never felt it was necessary for me personally. However, if I remember correctly, that’s how Dan Kennedy built up his mad copywriting chops – just rewriting hundreds of sales letters by hand.
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.
Thank you Neville!! Your writing is very inspiring, humerus and educational. I recently took a leap of faith and quit my job so I can work from home. I have been following your posts for the last two days and finally got the courage to write something. I was looking into other types of work from home opportunities which led me to scams or purchasing starter packages. Now I’m 100% sure of what I would like to do. You will be seeing more of this Future Freelance Copywriter.