Step 4: Produce and optimize your content. If you’re starting with original, high-quality content that you’ve invested real time and money to create, you’ll want to get the most out of every asset. You’ll also want to be sure your content stays fresh—out-of-date, no longer relevant content hurts your brand’s credibility. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your content marketing, remember the three Rs:
John is a copywriting boss. The ideas and education I've received through John and the McMethod, have directly contributed to a 300% monthly revenue increase in my consulting business in the last 12 months. But the expertise runs much deeper than setting up a basic autoresponder: I've learned sharp ways to research the customer psychology, how to think about the macro-level strategy of segmenting buyers, what kind of tone to use for different mediums/buyer profiles, and how to craft kickass cold emails to drum up new business out of thin air. The cool thing about John is: his curiosity is like a vacuum machine sucking in ideas from his own tested marketing, and those of the world's veteran marketers/copywriters on the podcast...and I just get to sit back, listen, and get the concentrated insights of the world's top business players. As a direct response marketer, I can't recommend highly enough.
What a great list. I always enjoy your examples and the way you illuminate them with your analysis. I just went to check out Mailchimp’s T&Cs and you’re right, they’re strangely pleasurable. So clear and engaging (!) – their use of “we” and “you” instead of “company/client” makes such a difference to the explanation. Who’d have thought it of T&Cs? I ended up reading the entire page. (I should probably get out more – but I have to go swipe another two or three of these sites first.)
Part of transitioning to a media publishing mindset requires a change in structure and process to create content at the speed of culture. The old model you see on shows like Mad Men is too slow and cumbersome. By the time an idea becomes an ad, it is out of date. Marketers are increasingly co-locating insights, creative, production, legal approval, and placement to increase interaction and speed in producing and distributing content. Marketing content production is transforming from an advertising agency model to a newsroom model.
Use a newspaper article from a local publication or an online publication and break it down based on the upside triangle structure of a typical newspaper article. Does the article conform to the traditional structure or does it use a different structure or form? Does the writer seem credible and believable? Does the article use reputable sources and quotes to support any arguments in the article?
Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O'Brien of Contently wrote on Mashable, "The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story." Content marketing requires continuous delivery of large amounts of content, preferably within a content marketing strategy.
Get familiar with the content writer pay scale. Many content writers starting out in their careers are not sure how much they should be paid per word. Most publications pay by word, or by hour, with a certain word count expectation. On average, content writers should be paid no less than $0.02 per a word, but may not reach more than $1 a word. Salaried positions are different, as you will be paid a yearly rate for a certain amount of work. It can be difficult to get a salaried position fresh out of graduation or when you're just starting out. Most content writers will start out working per word, or per hour.
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.
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.
Add value. That’s the secret. It’s not really a secret at all. We've already talked about it throughout this piece. Although when you look at some of the marketing companies engage in you wonder if they’re purposely avoiding the obvious. We skip advertising when it provides little to no value. If you want to learn about advertising that doesn’t get skipped, find a skateboarder and ask him if you can watch him look through a skateboard magazine. You’ll see that he spends as much time looking at the ads as he does looking at the articles and photos. Or check out The Berrics website. Much of the content is advertisements, but skaters don’t skip these videos, they watch them just like they watch the other videos, because they’re getting the value they want--good skating. As a skater I’d like to say skateboard companies pioneered content marketing decades ago, but I know they were only doing what came naturally, and selling more product was secondary to the fun of creating videos and magazines. If you want to hire someone onto your marketing team who understands content marketing intuitively, hiring a skateboarder might not be a bad step.
Do you have a content style guide? Setting some style guidelines saves time in the long-run and clears up any disparaging thoughts on writing styles. Our content style guide here at SendGrid includes sections on brand voice, grammar/punctuation reminders, common word confusion, frequently used terms, product notes, spelling and capitalization, and proofing.
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Starting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don't have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of podcast listeners is growing -- in 2018, nearly one-third of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast in the last month. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.
By 2014, Forbes Magazine's website had written about the seven most popular ways companies use content marketing. In it, the columnist points out that by 2013, use of content marketing had jumped across corporations from 60% a year or so before, to 93% as part of their overall marketing strategy. Despite the fact that 70% of organizations are creating more content, only 21% of marketers think they are successful at tracking return on investment.
What about official titles and Latin terms, you say? Again, if the purpose of italics is to emphasize text, this is accomplished through the capitalization of principle words, which already distinguishes names and titles from the surrounding text. Italics should be reserved for print products only. Why exclude a portion of your audience from accessing your web content effectively?