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.
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It’s worth noting that the second ad could very well convert like gangbusters—I’m sure there are literally thousands of ads out there that don’t follow PPC best practices and still convert very well. That doesn’t mean, however, that advertisers should emulate these ads unless they’ve performed well under rigorous A/B test conditions. As with much of the conventional wisdom out there, real data from real tests is preferable to any “best practice,” even if it seems counterintuitive. Do what works for your business, not someone else’s, and always make decisions based on hard data.
Content marketing is the process of creating valuable, relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your audience. Buyers and customers today are inundated by more marketing messages than ever before—more than 2,900 per day, by current estimations. This creates an environment of attention scarcity, challenging marketers with the task of producing engaging content that won’t get lost in the static. A well-crafted content marketing strategy places your business in the position of a thought leader, building brand preference as you inform and educate buyers. Providing helpful and entertaining content can form a strong bond between your brand and customers that continues to grow and strengthen over time.
The good news is that as a business or blog owner, you already know your product inside and out. You know the features, understand how it works, and are familiar with the benefits it provides your customers. This offers a great starting point for writing copy. Instead of needing to do in-depth research, you can begin by writing down what you already know. You won’t need to spend hours researching the product and taking notes.
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.
At HubSpot, we use ... well, we use HubSpot at HubSpot. It comes with a Content Management System (CMS), which allows you to create and publish content quickly in a format that's web-friendly. Whether you use HubSpot or another CMS, you need some CMS so your content marketing team can easily set up a blog, add blog posts, and add website pages without having to get help from IT or developers.
This technique is particularly prevalent in the legal sector, as many people who file lawsuits do so in the staunch belief that they’re owed something. In many cases, attorneys and law firms leverage the inherently adversarial nature of legal proceedings to create highly provocative ads that can be very persuasive—and appealing to a sense of entitlement is an excellent way to provoke an emotional reaction in your prospects. Speaking of which…
"Ideation" is a marketing industry buzzword that describes the creative process of finding a subject, title and angle to write about; and ideation begins with analytics. Most ideation is done in a team setting, but freelance writers are usually on their own. Which is why it's helpful to know how professional marketing teams generate ideas. Before doing that, successful content writers need to:
You've written a blog post that has wide appeal beyond just your target audience. You test promotion of that blog post via a paid Facebook ad, and find that the CPC is lower than your typical paid expenditures, and is driving 40% more site traffic than those typical expenditures. Even so, when you turn off that budget you lose that traffic ... right? Right. But you still received a huge influx of traffic that, even if none of them convert to leads, might have spurred either inbound links or social shares -- both of which will help bolster your SEO.
Today, 41% of B2B marketers focus on content tied to the buying journey of a customer, yet many businesses fail to produce personalized content dedicated to each stage of the buying cycle. Personalized messaging doesn’t just mean targeting by demographic or filmographic criteria, it means proactively producing content that is suitable for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Eighty-five percent of consumers trust solutions that take the time to walk them through various paths toward decisions rather than just attempting to make that choice for them. This type of content shows consumers that you acknowledge and value their ability to evaluate and make decisions for themselves.
I want to get into copywriting big time. I work with an Advertising Agency and have rather working knowledge of copywriting. If you have an assignment at hands can you share it with me. I’ll spend some time doing it and will share my copy with you. That way you can give me your inputs on how am I doing, what needs work and so on. You can give me a live assignment may be some of my thoughts will add to your existing thoughts!
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.
You'll need some analytics for your website and blog so you can measure your content marketing performance against your goals. Some content marketing teams rely on Google Analytics, others rely on more robust closed-loop solutions that make it easy to tie content marketing activities at the top of the funnel to revenue. I recommend the latter if you want to use metrics to prove the success of your content marketing program so you can secure more budget and grow the team. If you're looking for an easy way to share numbers across your organization, look into DataHero. This tool integrates with the HubSpot software and allows you to track, visualize, and share your analytics through customized dashboards and charts.
As you can see from these sample answers, there’s a big difference between features and benefits. Features are the technical aspects of the product, and the benefits are the way those features help customers accomplish something they want to accomplish. It’s good to record both, but we’ll talk more about the importance of benefits in a later chapter.
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.
There are a couple of routes you can take with copywriting. One you can work for an ad agency as an employee, or you can start your own freelance copywriting business. Most ad agencies will require you to have a marketing or advertising degree, which is one reason why many copywriters choose to freelance. Plus, you can make more money as a freelancer.
There are many different types of copy you can write, but even something more to consider is what industry would you like to write for? While some copywriters are generalists and write on a wide-variety of products and services, it's easier and more lucrative to choose a specialty. Figuring out what niche you want to focus on can be a challenge, but if you mind-map your passions, interests, experience, and knowledge you can narrow it down relatively easy.
But sometimes what I love the most, is just blogging about what I want to blog about. It’s that complete freedom to explore unknown creative or linguistic territories – with no brief to follow or project manager breathing down my neck. I’m definitely going to make more time to knock up fabulous blog posts in the near future and distant future. So watch this space 🙂
Traditional marketers have long used content to disseminate information about a brand and build a brand's reputation. Taking advantage of technological advances in transportation and communication, business owners started to apply content marketing techniques in the late 19th century. They also attempted to build connections with their customers. For example:
To explain how content marketing works, we first have to agree on a definition. Unfortunately, I might've sent myself on a fool's errand -- I went through dozens of different iterations of a content marketing definition (including the somewhat flippant "content marketing is using content for marketing") and found none of them totally satisfactory. But I hate to let perfection get in the way of progress, so let's just get something down on paper so we have a basis for discussion:
When tax season rolls around and people are Googling answers to their tax preparation questions, they stumble upon your blog posts, and realize you offer tax preparation services. Some of them keep doing their own tax preparation, but perhaps keep you in mind for next year; others throw their hands up in the air, decide to rid themselves of tax preparation headaches for good, and hire you -- because you're clearly way more qualified to do this than they are.
After all, if you don’t really understand the product and why it’s so good, what makes you think you can write compelling copy for others to read? In advertising, they stress that you need to sell benefits, not features. Features are what the product has, but benefits are what the product will do for you. In other words, sell the sizzle, not the steak.
Usually, businesses don't completely cease all other marketing activities and switch to content marketing cold turkey. In fact, most veteran content marketing programs typically incorporate other marketing techniques to complement their content initiatives. But the impetus for most of the companies I've worked with to initiate a content marketing program has been the need for a more cost-effective, predictable, and scalable source of traffic and leads than what they've been receiving from their current marketing programs.
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.
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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.