Entries Tagged 'Content marketing' ↓
April 16th, 2014 — Content marketing, Content writer
You hear it all the time: if you want to sell you have to engage with your customers; your content must engage your customers; or your blogs must be engaging.
OK, I get it. My writing must be engaging, but what exactly does that mean?
Well there are 2 types of content: that which asks the reader to take an action (sign up, buy now, click on a link); and the type that encourages interaction, comments and social sharing.
That second type of content is the engaging one because it starts a conversation.
How to write engaging content
Before you can learn how to write engaging content for your blog, you must first take some time out to understand what it is your audience wants.
After all, if you don’t give them stuff they’re interested in they’re not going to spend time reading it. And if they’re not reading it they won’t comment on it, share it, like it or anything else.
So, if you’ve set up your blog as a thinly veiled cover for lead and sales generation, you’re in trouble because your readers aren’t stupid and they won’t keep coming back to read your content.
Your writing has to give them what they want – that means ideas, great information, tips and hints, in fact anything that will start a conversation and give them something for nothing.
Types of engaging content
Although you can generate a lot of traffic by writing top tens of this and top tips for that, they don’t tend to be the posts that generate the engagement you want.
Having said that it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them, just don’t use them exclusively. You must mix them up with other types of content.
Try writing opinion pieces, but be genuine. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Yes, you might offend some people, but others will be inspired by your honesty and respond to you with their own thoughts. If they do – bingo – a conversation has started.
Believe it or not, people do actually want to know about what you think, especially if you’re seen as an expert in your field. They’ll keep coming back for your opinions and, because you’re being open and honest, they’ll feel your blog is a safe place to air their views too.
The conversations will grow, the sharing will increase and before you know it you’ve got a shed load of engaging content.
So, if you want traffic and just traffic go for top lists and tips. If you want engaging copy that is shared, commented on and keeps bringing people back, write questioning posts and opinion pieces.
Author: Sally Ormond, copywriter at Briar Copywriting, blogger, tweeter and wine lover.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos/Graeme Weatherston
April 7th, 2014 — Content marketing
According to Neilsen, less than 50% of customers trust any form of advertising.
That confirms what I’ve long believed – the best content marketing doesn’t push or overtly promote your products, services or brand.
Yes, you really can produce content that doesn’t shove selling in your customer’s face. You see, great content is all about offering advice, information and tips and here’s how you do it.
Before anyone will buy from you they want to be in full possession of all the facts.
That means providing detailed product information offering them everything they need to know, because if you don’t tell them, they’ll wander off to another company that does.
This information can also include ‘how to’ guides to add extra value by telling them the best way to use your product so they can see for themselves the benefits it will bring.
You have loads of customers and, believe it or not, they probably don’t speak to each other (because they don’t know each other) and so are likely to come up with the same questions time and time again.
That’s why it is important for all your departments (customer service, sales team etc.) to make a note of the questions to provide a comprehensive FAQ section on your website, or create ideas for blog posts and ‘how to’ guides.
This will help improve the service you offer your customers and reduce the number of calls you get.
Your content doesn’t always have to be written.
How about using Instagram and Pinterest to show your products in action, or videos to offer ‘how to’ guides and useful or unusual ways your products can be used?
I’ve already mentioned ‘how to’ guides, but why not think a bit bigger than that? Your customers will love you if you provide ideas around your products. You’re not selling them directly, merely planting a seed as to how they could be used.
You could provide recipes, checklists, and information about styling tips or even research around your area of expertise in reports.
Each of these won’t be a sales tool per se, but they are food for thought about how your product can be used.
Customer reviews and case studies are fantastic below the radar marketing tools. They give your customers real life stories about how a product can be used and the benefits it offered.
There’s no hard sell, just simple facts outlining how someone benefited from what you offer.
How else can you produce content that doesn’t sell?
Well, how about simple things like linking your content back to your product page under the guise of ‘to learn more’ rather than ‘buy now’. It’s also a good idea to enable social sharing and printing of your web page and offering a regular email or newsletter to capture email addresses from potential customers to grow your own marketing list.
It really is possible to produce content that isn’t all about sales. It’s what your customers want, so isn’t it about time you gave it to them?
Author: Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd and cyclist who is very nervous about attempting her first time trial this week.
March 31st, 2014 — Content marketing
OK, before you run off for that well-earned coffee, this isn’t just ‘another one of those content strategy blogs’.
Well, yes, it’s about content marketing strategy, but it looks at where you’re going wrong. Yup, I hate to say it, but you are probably barking up the wrong tree right now.
Ask yourself something – why are you producing the content you are producing? How are you measuring its effectiveness? How do you decide what type of content to put out?
Head spinning yet?
If you don’t have a well thought out content marketing strategy, you won’t be able to get the right content in the right format out to the right audience at the right time. It’s as simple as that.
To summarise, you’re just producing content for the sake of it.
So what should your strategy look at?
Things to consider when creating your content strategy
One thing I have noticed (and I am guilty of it too) is that most of the content produced by companies is in the written form. It’s things like blogs, articles, reports, e-newsletters etc.
Granted, writing is a great way to get your information across, but it’s also time consuming to read and, let’s face it, a bit boring.
Think about your audience and what it is that they might like. Mix it up a bit with infographics, videos, animations and even music. This kind of content is very shareable (when done well) and will help widen your reach.
Talking of widening reach, how do you measure the success of your strategy?
Most companies look at web traffic as their main metric. After all, content is there to attract readers, so surely the best measurement is the amount of extra traffic it brings.
Traffic is great, but it doesn’t mean you will automatically sell more. If you plump for traffic volume as your prime metric all you’re doing is measuring an activity not results.
Far more effective forms of measurement are:
- Sales lead quality and quantity
- Direct sales
- Product awareness
These metrics give a direct correlation to the effectiveness of your content strategy and sales.
Let’s face it all the traffic in the world is useless if it doesn’t convert into sales.
The top 3 goals for any content strategy should be:
- Lead generation
- Customer acquisition
These are the only 3 things that matter.
Right, before you get back to work think about your own strategy. Make sure you are putting out a variety of content formats and measuring its impact using the goals above.
By focusing on the things that matter (i.e. the needs of your audience and tangible results) your strategy will become incredibly powerful.
Author: Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter, MD at Briar Copywriting and cycling nut.
March 14th, 2014 — Content marketing, marketing, website copywriting
High street retailers have a major advantage over their online competitors; their customers can see, feel and touch their products and talk to someone about them there and then.
In the world of Internet retail, there are no roaming sales people to have a chat with and no product displays that you can interact with to get a feel for what you’re buying.
That’s why it’s important you get the right balance of content on your website to give your potential customers all the information they need to buy.
4 basic types of content
Some people react better to text, others to images, some videos and then there’s those that love to read reviews. That’s why your website’s content must be a mixture of all of them.
Your product information copywriting is going to be the main information source for your customers.
It must primarily focus on the benefits the product offers, but also provide everything they need to know about it: size, colours, functionality etc.
A great way to do this is using a mixture of detailed information, high quality photos and customer reviews.
The humble frequently asked questions page is a gold mine of information for your customer. List every question your customer service team is asked to make sure you provide a comprehensive range of questions and answers – even the really tough questions.
How to guides
A bit of educational content will add extra depth to your website. The best way to create ‘how to’ guides is by using video. Short explainer videos can get lots of information across in a very short space of time. You could also opt for a series of images showing step-by-step instructions.
Ratings and reviews
I’m sure you’re fed up with hearing this rather hackneyed phrase, but people really do buy from people.
Customer ratings and reviews give your customers an unbiased view of the product, helping them decide whether it is right for them.
If you have all these elements and wrap them up in a way that is entertaining, informative and shareable, your business will go far.
Well, if your content is useful and people share it with their friends, they are doing your marketing for you, or friendvertising.
Take a look at your website and see what content you’re offering. Are you ticking all the boxes or are you missing some?
Perhaps there’s another form of content I’ve not thought of that you use to great effect? If so, leave a comment below and tell me what it is. I’d love to hear from you.
Author: Sally Ormond, copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd, cyclist, Pinot Grigio fan and very partial to Rowntree’s Pick’n Mix
February 19th, 2014 — Content marketing, Content writer
Before I answer that, I want you to think about content.
What is it?
Well, as far as I can tell there are 2 types:
- Sales content – website copy, brochure content, emails etc.
- Marketing content – blogs, articles, case studies etc.
Not really, but that doesn’t stop most people from deciding one is worth investing in and the other isn’t.
It’s a given that your website copy, brochure content, email marketing etc., should be professionally written because they are key to converting readers into customers.
Most companies see that as a worthwhile investment, but when it comes to content generation things seem to change.
You already know that to be an effective online marketer you need to produce content regularly.
What you may not know is that content must be what your customers want to read. So we’re not talking about press releases that talk about your latest achievements, plugs for your latest product or service thinly disguised as blog posts, or self-serving social media updates.
Peanuts don’t make prizes
The cheapest way to get a continuous supply of content for your business is to create it in-house.
That’s great if you happen to have some very talented writers on your payroll. But not every company has that resource.
There are companies out there that will generate loads of content for you for peanuts.
Only if you want generic, low quality articles that won’t enhance your reputation.
“But I only need it for the search engines.”
If that’s your attitude, you’ve missed the point of content marketing completely.
Today, marketing isn’t about “hey, this is what we sell, this is how to get in touch with us, so buy, buy, buy.”
Now your customers want more; they want to build a relationship with you, get to know you and feel as though they can trust you. They want to talk to you, engage with you and have a bit of banter.
That’s right – marketing is now a two way street.
The blogs and articles that you once thought unimportant (because they’re just for the search engines) are hugely important. They are what make or break your brand’s reputation.
If you publish low quality generic articles, people won’t become engaged with your brand so they won’t buy.
But if you publish high quality content that’s useful, they’ll lap it up.
You see, content is content whichever way you look at it. If you pay peanuts for it, it will fail.
Author: Sally Ormond – Briar Copywriting