97% of consumers surveyed by @Pardot said bad #content negatively has impacted their trust in brands. #marketing Click To TweetMost businesses understand that they need to up their content game — that’s why our last post about web content writing tips was one of the most popular we’ve ever written. But just wanting to do better won’t make you a great website content writer, and the differences between strong and weak content marketers can make a significant difference in brand perception, web traffic and conversions.
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.
Email copywriting is a mixture of art and science. There is a formula that will position you to succeed, but just following it won’t cut it in today’s noisy email marketing ecosystem. Bring in your own nuanced touch and perspective and appreciate that writing takes time—when you let yourself commit to and dedicate time to improve, you will usually find the words you’ve been looking for in the end.
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!)

Problem: I need to increase the volume of my organic search. Your audience can’t buy from you if they can’t find you, and today up to 93% of buying cycles start from a search engine. Additionally, according to Kuno Creative, 51% of content consumption derives from organic search, so content marketing is a great way to build organic awareness. When your valuable content ranks highly on search engines, or is shared widely on social networks, you’re building brand awareness at no cost, and since your content will only be shared when it’s relevant, your audience will be less inclined to tune it out. 

I hired Chris Orzechowski to write copy for our latest Kickstarter project. The first 5 emails he wrote for us generated over $100,000 of sales in the first three hours of our launch. After 30 days, we made a grand total of $5,170,445 of sales. And as a result, we added 18,550 new buyers to our house list. Chris’s copy is clear, engaging, and fun to read. And most importantly… it will make you a fortune. If you’re looking for a professional copywriter who can transform your business… then hire Chris immediately before your competition does.
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.
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. 
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.
There are a host of metrics to look at when you have a robust analytics solution, but having too many goals to live up to tends to result in prioritization difficulties. I recommend content marketing teams have 2-3 metrics they measure, and perhaps some secondary metrics each sub-team can measure to help understand when there are different levers to pull. Here are my recommendations:
97% of consumers surveyed by @Pardot said bad #content negatively has impacted their trust in brands. #marketing Click To TweetMost businesses understand that they need to up their content game — that’s why our last post about web content writing tips was one of the most popular we’ve ever written. But just wanting to do better won’t make you a great website content writer, and the differences between strong and weak content marketers can make a significant difference in brand perception, web traffic and conversions.
You can choose to apply for assignments on various content writing platforms to receive work. This isn’t the most profitable way to become a freelance content writer, but it can be less stressful and give you more time to focus on writing instead of sales. When you find your own companies for which to write content, you’ll be responsible for finding the client, organizing the contract and payment terms, and doing all the customer service tasks, including delivering the assignment and follow up. Content writing platforms take care of this for you and pay you a portion of what they charge their clients to write the work.
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.)
I've thought long about this. As an agile writer, I'm often tasked with writing in different capacities. Sometimes I'll write product descriptions for my ecommerce businesses. Sometimes I'll write articles to help drive organic search traffic. And other times, I'll write email sequences and sales letters. Stepping back, I had to look at it all and think about the best tips that have helped me write killer and persuasive copy.

Some companies may have marketing teams of far more than 18. Here at HubSpot, for example, we have a team of nearly 100. Even so, we stick to a team structure quite similar to the structure an 18-person marketing team might use -- with one modification. Design is broken off of the Content Team, and relegated to a separate team. This might make sense for your organization, too, if you find that:
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. 
Red Bull, which sells a high-energy beverage, has published YouTube videos, hosted experiences, and sponsored events around extreme sports and activities like mountain biking, BMX, motocross, snowboarding, skateboarding, cliff-diving, freestyle motocross, and Formula 1 racing. Red Bull Media House is a unit of Red Bull that "produces full-length feature films for cinema and downstream channels (DVD, VOD, TV)."[17] The Red Bulletin is an international monthly magazine Red Bull publishes with a focus on men's sports, culture, and lifestyle.
Step 2: Understand their buyer’s journey. A buying journey maps a buyer’s decision-making process during a purchase and will help you determine what content you need. Different kinds of content appeal to different buyers in different stages of their journey. By mapping your buying stages, you’ll better understand the process buyers go through when considering your product or service. As a result, you’ll be able to develop a content strategy that speaks directly to buyers,  no matter what stage they’re in.
Email copywriting is a mixture of art and science. There is a formula that will position you to succeed, but just following it won’t cut it in today’s noisy email marketing ecosystem. Bring in your own nuanced touch and perspective and appreciate that writing takes time—when you let yourself commit to and dedicate time to improve, you will usually find the words you’ve been looking for in the end.
Let's say you're using PPC as your primary means of generating leads for your business. You need more leads, and decide to bid on the term "infographic generator" for $2 a click. At the end of your month-long campaign, you generated 1,000 leads and spent $10,000. Not bad. But what about next month? You have to spend $10,000 again. And again. And again. That is, if you want the leads to keep coming. In other words, when you turn the faucet of money off, leads stop coming out. The same concept applies with list purchasing, tradeshow marketing -- anything where you don't own the property from which leads are generated. Now let's contrast that experience against, say, blogging.
Regardless of team size, it's common for visual content to be created by nearly everyone except, perhaps, the SEO specialist. While designers will do the bulk of the advanced creative work, bloggers, content creators, and social media managers will all get involved in lighter-weight design. Often, designers will also create templates for the writers on the team so they can be more independent -- like creating ebook templates so premium content can be laid out by just about anyone with an InDesign license.
Traditionally, marketers have had to “rent attention” from other people’s media through display ads on websites, booths at trade shows, or emails sent to third-party lists. For example, when a brand pays out millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad, they are renting the attention that the TV networks have built. Content marketing, on the other hand, allows marketers to become publishers by building their own audiences and attracting their own attention. By creating and distributing content that buyers find useful, marketers increase their brand awareness and preference by establishing a relationship of trust with consumers as they move through the sales funnel. Additionally, content marketing is considered a less costly strategy than some others. It can have a bit of a slower start while your content library grows and reaches a larger audience.

Premium or gated assets are typically longer form, and/or more time-intensive pieces that don't exist on a blog. They might be used to generate leads or contacts, or for brand-building purposes. These are typically created by the dedicated long-form content creator if your team is large enough to have one, but sometimes bloggers get involved too, as blog posts are good testing grounds for what performs well and is thus worth investing in.
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.
"The best way to help your sales team is to build brand awareness and create content that generates a lot of leads over time. An increase of twice as many leads means twice as many quality leads -- as long as you have software that lets you filter those incoming leads efficiently. That's how you build a successful sales and marketing machine," explains Mike Volpe.
People come to your website with a specific task in mind. When developing your site’s content, keep your users’ tasks in mind and write to ensure you are helping them accomplish those tasks.  If your website doesn’t help them complete that task, they’ll leave. Conduct market research, perform a task analysis and other types of user research, and analyze metrics to better understand what users are looking to accomplish.

“Is it just us, or do some people talk about gay dating like it’s an elaborate magic trick? Even unexperienced gay or queer persons may approach the idea of dating with the kind of abject fear one feels when opening the instructions for a new piece of IKEA furniture. ‘Am I doing this right?’ they may ask themselves, months, years and even decades into their dating careers.”


The proxy for content marketing in the following charts is "Attract", since content marketing is the top-of-the-funnel activity that attracts people to your business. "Convert" and "Close" refer to middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel marketing activities, like email marketing, nurturing, sales enablement, marketing ops, conversion rate optimization, etc.

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. 
Premium or gated assets are typically longer form, and/or more time-intensive pieces that don't exist on a blog. They might be used to generate leads or contacts, or for brand-building purposes. These are typically created by the dedicated long-form content creator if your team is large enough to have one, but sometimes bloggers get involved too, as blog posts are good testing grounds for what performs well and is thus worth investing in.
There are a host of metrics to look at when you have a robust analytics solution, but having too many goals to live up to tends to result in prioritization difficulties. I recommend content marketing teams have 2-3 metrics they measure, and perhaps some secondary metrics each sub-team can measure to help understand when there are different levers to pull. Here are my recommendations:
The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product."[18] Content on the blog included how-to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interviews and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." The popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content."[19]

Videos are a highly engaging content medium that are shareable across social media platforms and websites alike. Videos require a bigger investment of time and resources than written content, but as visual marketing increases in popularity -- after all, it's 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content -- it's a medium worth experimenting with.


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.
You're Director of Marketing for an agency that specializes in design solutions for small businesses. You're having trouble attracting customers, though, because keeping an agency on retainer seems like a luxury for a small business. So you decide to create some DIY design tools to help them, you know, DIY. You do some keyword research and notice about 2,000 people are searching for an "infographic generator" every month, so you decide to build one that people can use for free once -- and if they like it, they can create more infographics for free if they provide a name and email address.

Content writers may need a bachelor's degree or higher. Many employers hire writers with degrees in English, journalism, communications, or creative writing. Depending on the subject matter, content writers might need a degree in a particular field. For example, a content writer creating content for an online math course might need a degree in math in addition to demonstrating solid writing skills.


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.
Content writers typically create content for the Web. This content can include sales copy, e-books, podcasts, and text for graphics. Content writers use various Web formatting tools, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and content management systems to help create their work. Content writers produce the content for many different types of websites, including blogs, social networks, e-commerce sites, news aggregators, and college websites.
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.
Content writers typically create content for the Web. This content can include sales copy, e-books, podcasts, and text for graphics. Content writers use various Web formatting tools, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and content management systems to help create their work. Content writers produce the content for many different types of websites, including blogs, social networks, e-commerce sites, news aggregators, and college websites.
Content writers typically create content for the Web. This content can include sales copy, e-books, podcasts, and text for graphics. Content writers use various Web formatting tools, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and content management systems to help create their work. Content writers produce the content for many different types of websites, including blogs, social networks, e-commerce sites, news aggregators, and college websites.
With a marketing team size of around 18, your content marketing team will be staffed with all the same roles -- bloggers, long-form content creators, SEO specialists, designers -- just multiplied. Aim to have three bloggers on staff, and two employees for each of the other roles. It's wise to have one of those bloggers have expertise in editing, too, so there's someone dedicated to maintaining content quality as output increases.
What does your reader fear the most? Is it bed bugs? Maybe it's the IRS? Maybe it's some other calamity like being in debt or having their house foreclosed or dissapearing from Google's search engine? Maybe something else? Figure it out. To do that, you need to implicitly understand your audience. What keeps them up at night and what drives them during the day?
Keep your content up to date. Out-of-date content reflects poorly on the user's overall opinion of the website and the College. It also degrades the trust of the user to later find information on the website. If you put up info that needs to be updated later, mark it on your calendar with a reminder so you don't forget. Give yourself the time necessary for the page to get through workflow (24 hours).
Predictably, blog posts are typically written by the bloggers. However, if your team is large enough to have someone dedicated to creating gated assets and premium content -- things like ebooks and tools -- they should also write blog posts to help promote those assets. SEO specialists will also work closely with bloggers, as blog posts are often a company's best opportunity to improve organic search rankings. As such, bloggers should be writing posts that help improve the site's SEO, and drive organic traffic and leads. Their editorial should be informed by keyword research, and optimized for SEO.
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