Entries Tagged 'Content marketing' ↓
November 18th, 2013 — Content marketing, Content writer
Just because your online marketing strategy demands content, it doesn’t mean any old thing will do. And definitely not something that was out sourced to a far-flung part of the world for a couple of dollars.
When marketing your business online you must think like a big brand.
If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will.
The content you produce must be interesting, well written, and relevant to your audience and it must offer them something – a nugget of information they can take away with them. Basically, if they haven’t learnt something from reading it, there was no point writing it in the first place.
What makes content valuable?
I’ve pretty much already summed it up, but as far as your online marketing goes and the effect your content has on your overall strategy, it must be:
Let me explain.
If people can’t find your content, they can’t read it.
Your content should contain an H1 tag headline and at least a couple of H2s (one small caveat here though, as you know Google is always moving the goal posts, so although this is a basic requirement now, its importance may change in the future).
All the images you use should have Alt tags and it should be written with your keywords in mind. That doesn’t mean cramming as many as possible within the content. Oh, and by the way, if anyone tries to tell you keyword density is important, do me a favour and punch him or her very hard.
Writing in a natural, conversational style is essential.
Don’t write your article as one long block of text.
It looks horrible and people won’t want to read it.
If you want people to give up their valuable time to read your words of wisdom you must write it in an appealing way:
- Lots of white space
- Short paragraphs
- Simple language (put your thesaurus away)
- Bullet points and numbered lists
As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter a jot about how educated your audience is, always write using simple language and a simple structure.
Forget trying to shoe horn in your latest favourite multi syllabled word, it will not make you sound impressive. You’ll just come across as trying too hard, or being ignorant because, let’s face it, anyone can throw big words at people (in the vain hope they’ve got the context right), but few people are able to explain concepts and ideas in simple terms.
Talking of which, avoid jargon and industry-speak (especially really annoying marketing jargon), it’s not big, it’s not clever and it makes you sound like a complete ******* (insert your own favourite uncomplimentary term).
The idea about generating content is to build relationships with your readers.
If you just keep posting stuff, the only thing you’re developing is a one-way conversation. So, if you want people to interact with you, you’ve got to ask them to.
Just like your website copy has calls to action, your articles and blogs should also have an actionable request. It could be asking them to sign up to your newsletter, a link to relevant content on your website, an invitation to share, or asking for their opinion by leaving a comment.
If you want people to interact with you and share your content, you’ve got to give them a reason.
Write something that your readers can relate to on a personal level, so they can pass it on to friends and colleagues.
Make sure you include all the usual social sharing links to make it easy for them and ask them to share it for you (if you don’t ask you don’t get).
I can see you nodding your head – nothing here is new, but it should be common sense.
I say ‘should’ because it obviously isn’t considering some of the content I’ve read online.
Hiring a copywriter isn’t essential (wow, that hurt), especially if you don’t want your business to be taken seriously. But working with someone who understands online content demands will give you a huge advantage.
So if you want to be seen as a trustworthy, reputable company that cares about its customers you know what you should do.
October 28th, 2013 — Content marketing, Content writer
You’re probably expecting me to now tell you there is one perfect method you can use that will guarantee excellent copy every time.
You’re going to be disappointed.
The truth is there is no single way to plan.
This method is great for news articles and press releases.
It ensures the most important information is at the top (beginning of the article) and the least important at the bottom. That way, the reader gets the vital stuff straight away, so should they wander off, they’ve learnt what they needed to know.
Starting with a central idea, you can use these diagrams to help structure an argument or piece of content.
They are very structured and give a visual representation of how your writing will take shape. By giving it focus in this way, you can organise your information to group like subjects together. Ideal when planning a brochure, web copy or case study.
A mind map is a creative and logical way of planning out your ideas.
Starting with a central topic, mind maps grow organically, helping you plan your ideas to create coherent themes. From these themes, information of lesser importance is presented as ‘twigs’ on each relevant theme ‘branch’.
Unlike the spider diagram, mind maps tend to be colourful and a mixture of text, images and symbols and can be less ‘organised’.
(Image courtesy of Nicoguaro)
These are just 3 examples of different planning techniques that you can use. Finding the one that suits you and the project you’re working on comes down top personal preference.
One thing is for use though, whatever you’re working on, it’s essential you plan it out before your start writing if you want a coherent and well-structured result.
Over to you
Do you use one or more of these methods, or have you devised one of your own?
Does your planning method depend on the nature of the project you’re working on?
Leave a comment below.
October 14th, 2013 — Content marketing, internet marketing, search engine optimisation, seo
Is it really worth adding a META Description to your blog posts and other web content?
These tags are chunks of information about a web page that the search engines use to suss out what the page is about. There’s a lot of conflicting information about these, so this post will make the current situation clear.
These tags are not used by search engines to rank a web page. That said they are still a very important element that should be included on every blog post and page.
The search engines always show a description of the page in the search results, so why not make sure it’s something relevant?
If left blank, the search engines will pick something based on the search term used. But you always include well-written descriptions Google (and the other search engines) should use them.
Think about your own search habits. When faced with a list of websites you automatically read the tags to see which result is the most relevant to you. So if you want your web page to get the click, make sure you write a stonking tag.
How to write a good description
The following tips will help you create great descriptions:
- Write for your readers, not the search engines. Although it’s important to include keywords, don’t stuff them.
- You’re limited to about 150 characters so think carefully about what you want to say.
- If you use WordPress, use one of their SEO plugins to help you.
Think of the META Description as your 60 sales pitch. Use it to tell your reader what the page is about and how it will help them.
A well-written tag will dramatically increase your chances of getting that all-important click. So next time you write a blog post or create a new web page, think carefully about how it will help your reader and tell them in the tag.
Remember, the META Description won’t affect your ranking, but it will help drive search traffic your way.
Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+
August 12th, 2013 — Advertising, Content marketing, marketing
Is there such as thing as a bad sale?
You would have thought the answer to that was ‘no’. After all, any money coming in to your business in the current economic climate’s got to be good – right?
That’s the train of thought that’s led many companies down the coupon or voucher route.
Offering blistering deals to get people through the door appears to be a great idea. But think about that for a moment. Who are you trying to attract?
The science behind sales
Offering a voucher or coupon will, in all likelihood, bring buyers to your door.
But what kind of buyers are they?
Are they the ones that came to you because they love what you do, want to build a relationship with you and will continue to buy from you in the future?
They are the ones that can’t resist a bargain, dash in, buy cheaply and then head for the door, never to be seen again.
Your marketing must build trust if you want lasting results. Yes, that will take time, a huge amount of great content and a lot of patience, but it will retain new customers.
A voucher or coupon will generate a one off visit to your website and/or purchase, but that’s pretty much it.
In other words, they’ll bring in the wrong kind of customer.
Getting your marketing right
If you want to attract customers who will come back again and again, you must produce marketing content that will:
- Build trust
Long-term customers only come along when they feel valued. By offering them information that will be beneficial to them, they’ll grow to trust you and with that trust comes their custom.
The important thing to remember is that your marketing can’t just be a one off. To get results it must be sustained.
If you’re unsure where to start, chatting with a professional marketer will help. They’ve been where you are now and have avoided the hurdles along the way (or at least learnt from them).
Sally Ormond – copywriter – find her on Twitter and Google+
August 7th, 2013 — blogging, Content marketing, Content writer
It’s every blogger’s and content writer’s worst nightmare.
It’s something that happens far more frequently that they would like.
What is it?
A blank mind.
They know they have to generate great content quickly to satisfy the insatiable appetite of their readers, but sometimes, just sometimes, the ideas simply won’t come.
Why does this happen?
Probably because of poor writing techniques:
- Sitting in front of a blank screen in the hope that inspiration will strike
- Writing well to start with and then heading off in a long-winded tangent that ends up being deleted, returning them to the blank screen stage
- Constantly distracted by their Twitter feed, Facebook and emails
- Editing and formatting as they write
This doesn’t make them bad writers, far from it, but they are distractions that can seriously block creative flow.
Here’s how you can get around the problem.
Most writers are at their height of creativity first thing in the morning, before their brains get clogged with client work.
That’s the time to sit down with pen and paper and brainstorm ideas. Think about what’s happened that week, conversations you’ve had with clients, articles you’ve read in the papers or news stories you’ve seen on the TV. Draw from everything you can think of and come up with a list of title/outlines for your articles.
2. Choose and plan
Once you have your list, pick the one that really jumps out at you.
But, before you start hammering the keyboard, take 10 minutes or so to write a plan. Whether it’s a list of points you want to cover, a mind map to help you visualise the way the piece will be structured or a general outline, this will help you keep focused and your writing on track.
Once you have your plan, you’re almost ready to get started.
Before you start typing though, switch off Twitter, log out of Facebook and close down your mail client.
It’s essential nothing distracts you so you ideas can flow freely.
Once you have your first draft, read through it, refine it and check it for typos and grammatical errors.
But only when you have a first draft – checking as you write will stifle your workflow and clog up your creativity.
Plus, make sure you set the first draft aside for a while before you edit it.
Now your article is written and you’re happy that it’s error free, you can go back and format it. Add in any bold headings you want, italics and hyperlinks. And make sure your paragraphs are flowing, short and easy to read.
These 5 simple steps will help you avoid wasting hours sat in front of a blank screen.
Keeping a pen and paper with you at all times will help you record ideas as they come to you (you can also record voice memos on your phone), so you’ll always have a supply of great content ideas.
Give it a try and see how you get on.
Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+