What do you want readers to do with the content you create? If your only answer is, “Well, read it, I guess,” you need to go back to the drawing board. Before you even start writing, you need to know what your call to action will be, and you need to make it compelling enough that readers can’t help but click. That’s how you connect content writing to marketing goals and prove ROI.
For example, I once got an email from TicketMaster with the subject line "Don't Miss Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band." They didn't order me to purchase tickets by saying "Purchase Tickets Tomorrow for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," though such a subject line may have performed just as well. The original subject line worked well because it was clear what I could do with the information in that email -- ensure I'm prepared for the 10:00 AM sale time so I could snag my tickets. (Which I did, thanks to that email!)
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.
New York University is a global university. Writing on the website should address to the university community while knowing that the outside is viewing. Prospective students do not want to read marketing spin, and they consistently ignore content specifically aimed at them. Instead, they seek content that is addressed at our current students in the hopes they find out "what it’s really like." Thus, we endeavor to put our best content forward to our current students while keeping the writing accessible for prospective students.
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. 
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.[9]
Ebooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process: After reading a blog post (such as this one), visitors might want more information. This is where calls-to-action (CTAs) come into play, directing people to a landing page where they can submit their contact information and download an ebook to learn more valuable information for their business. In turn, the business producing the ebook has a new lead for the sales team to contact.
We have the team. We have the technology. Now we have to actually start "doing" the content marketing. In this blog post, we can't cover every manner of sin when it comes to creating content, but we can go over 1) the types of content assets a content marketing team could be creating to demonstrate the breadth of the opportunities available to the content marketing team, and 2) who should be involved in creating those assets.
If you guessed email B, you're right. Email A throws a 30% off discount directly in your face, but doesn't explain the value behind it. What does 30% off a GoDaddy product do for my goals? Will it let me adjust a small business' expenditures on infrastructure costs, freeing up money for a new hire? That benefit is far more tangible than 30% off an undisclosed cost.
By 2014, Forbes Magazine's website had written about the seven most popular ways companies use content marketing.[14] 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%[15] 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.
I am the head email marketing manager at a social media traffic company and the company was looking to up our current email tactics. I have been through many courses, podcasts, and read multiple ebooks to expand my knowledge in email marketing. Although, the best way I learned was through someone who already does it and does an amazing job; through John of course.
We know this is a lot of information, but the work has just begun. It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage your content, setting up your strategy for the new year won't be a hassle if you follow the steps and explore the resources here.
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.

Read Joe Pulizzi's excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt's Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won't take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.
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 easiest way to get started is to apply to write content for a content writing service or freelance job board. Content writing services create business relationships with companies that need content and provide writers to write that content. Freelance job boards are sites that allow writers to make individual profiles and vie for jobs posted directly by the client.
This one’s incredibly difficult to answer, as every day can be different for web content writers. When I was working as a solo freelancer, for instance, my days looked very different than when I worked for a single employer. Right now, I manage a content team, so my days have changed yet again in order to balance the administrative demands of my company with its content needs.
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.

What do you want readers to do with the content you create? If your only answer is, “Well, read it, I guess,” you need to go back to the drawing board. Before you even start writing, you need to know what your call to action will be, and you need to make it compelling enough that readers can’t help but click. That’s how you connect content writing to marketing goals and prove ROI.
Now, if you're just sitting down to write an effective sales letter, you're probably wondering what some of the best copywriting tips might be for getting the point across and clinching the sale. While there are hundreds of potential tips, there are only about 15 that matter the most. However, these tips don't come from me. I've garnered them from two legends in the copywriting game.
Avoid pictures of buildings without people. You may know that a picture of the exterior of FPH fits well for a page, but to most people, and especially to those who are not familiar with our campus, it is meaningless. Remember your users do not have your insider knowledge. Give them pictures of people interacting instead of abstract building pics whenever possible.
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.
Avoid pictures of buildings without people. You may know that a picture of the exterior of FPH fits well for a page, but to most people, and especially to those who are not familiar with our campus, it is meaningless. Remember your users do not have your insider knowledge. Give them pictures of people interacting instead of abstract building pics whenever possible.
But it's also crucial to spend some time optimizing your plain-text emails for clear calls-to-action. No matter how fancy your HTML email are, not all email clients will render your images, and not all email recipients will choose to display your images. In fact, we studied whether HTML emails or plain-text emails performed best and found that, while people say they prefer HTML-based and image-based emails, in reality, simpler emails perform best -- and plain-text emails perform best of all.

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. 
Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast--all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.
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