How do you write content for email marketing campaigns that people will actually read?
This is majorly important. Maybe more than you’d think.
Email marketing can change the game for your business if you do it right.
Think invested and engaged subscribers. More conversions. More sales. More trust. It’s all possible with good email. (That explains why email earns a GIANT return on investment. For every $1 spent on email marketing, expect to earn about $55 back.)
Not to mention, it’s one of the most popular types of marketing out there. It’s not only effective — it’s also an easy, accessible, personal way to stay connected to your growing audience.
So, I’d say learning how to write content for email is really, really important, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Wouldn’t you?
Hence: this guide. Keep reading for 10 tips to improve your email content game.
Email Marketing by the Numbers
Email as a technology is nearly 60 years old (!), but it’s still most consumers’ favorite way to get information online:
The average open rate for emails across industries is 22.86%.
45% of email subscribers say they open emails based on who they’re from. 33% say they open emails based on the subject line.
The most popular email clients are Apple iPhone (with 34.2% of market share) followed by Gmail (30.7% market share).
During the 2020 pandemic, the most popular way to read email was on a computer.
Using call-to-action buttons in your emails versus just text links may increase click-throughs by as much as 28%.
How to Write Content for Email Marketing: 10 Timely Tips
Email marketing is different than social media. It’s more personal, more targeted, and, as a result, higher-stakes. With this in mind, consider these practical tips for how to write content for email marketing.
1. Write a Good Subject Line
The subject line is the gatekeeper in the world of email marketing. Write a good one and you’ll see a satisfying open rate. Write a poor one and you’ll suffer the sound of crickets in the background of your campaign.
While there are dozens of great ways to write a compelling subject line, the best ones all have a few things in common: They revolve around grabbing a reader’s interest and keeping it. With this in mind, follow all of the standard rules that come with writing any great email subject line: include action words; address the reader directly; make it unique, succinct, and short; and differentiate it from anything else they’ll see that day.
For an example of an email subject line done right, check out this example from Mark Manson:
2. Personalize Your Emails
Personalized email copy performs better than general email copy. With this in mind, input your customer’s name into your email subject lines and be sure to target the body of your email so that it speaks directly to your audience and nobody else’s.
While it can be easy to worry that your emails will be lost in the fray, the only way to ensure that they won’t be overlooked is to personalize them fully and differentiate them from anything else out there.
3. Make Your Emails Clear First, Catchy Second
Catchy emails are great, but only if they’re also clear enough to make your audience want to click on them. With this in mind, focus on making your emails clear and descriptive first, catchy second.
This ensure that your audience will understand the purpose of your emails, and that you won’t be going out of your way to develop email campaigns that don’t draw real results.
What’s more, emails that are clear boost your authority as a company, since they promise only what they can deliver, and help readers develop realistic their expectations.
Even if your subject line is clear and catchy, it’s all for naught if it doesn’t also align with your body copy. Keep in mind that delivering what you promise is critical in the world of email, and only people who can truly do this succeed in the long run.
With this in mind, keep your subject text in-line with your body copy. In addition to providing better value for readers, this will also go a long way toward enhancing your reputation as a company and making sure that customers want to click your material in the days to come.
Need some inspiration for writing email subject lines? Check out our free resource: 25 Proven Email Subject Lines for Your Email Marketing.
5. Keep It Relevant
Relevance is critical for a good email, so be sure to tie the content of your email in with something that will ground it as relevant and in-demand. Current events work well, as does some personal detail about the audience. By showcasing your relevance, you stand a better chance of grabbing the reader’s attention and keeping it.
6. Write Emails in the Second Person
Second person is the best voice for email because its personal and unique. When you reach out and speak directly to your customers, it’s easier for them to relate to the voice and content of your email.
This, in turn, also makes it easier for them to connect with your emails, and enhances the likelihood that they’ll open your emails in the future – which is a good thing for everyone involved.
7. Showcase Benefits Over Features
If you’re making an offer via email, be sure to showcase the benefits of said offer rather than the features. In addition to being more valuable for readers, this also helps present a realistic picture of your product, which goes a long way toward helping people understand what to expect from it.
While most people focus on the features in an attempt to sell a product, focusing on the benefits can go much further toward helping the reader understand what’s unique and special about the product.
8. Keep It Short but Sweet
Email marketing is not the place to get long-winded and verbose. Instead, keep your emails as short and to-the-point as possible. This enhances the likelihood that you’ll keep your audience’s interest and also serves to keep you on track and on topic throughout the duration of your email campaign.
9. Let Your Personality Shine Through
Your personality should show through in the emails you write, and it will benefit your company and your personal brand if you follow this tip. While you always want to be professional, allowing your personality to shine through your email copy is an effective way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
10. Don’t Spam
Spamming your readers is the cardinal sin of email marketing. With this in mind, only send out posts when you have things to say and don’t ever, ever send out an email just to send out an email. Customers are quick to unsubscribe, and you could be landing yourself in hot water as a result.
The right words, whether in the form of copy or content, can make a huge difference for your marketing.
In fact, good copywriting can change everything. ✨
If you speak to your audience in a way that moves them, inspires them, informs them, or clarifies complicated ideas for them, you’re far more likely to be successful (read: more of everything — more traffic, leads, sales, the works).
Good writing serves as a foundation for any brand voice. Without that foundation in place, you’ll never move leads to become loyal customers.
Here’s the question: Do you even have TIME to pull off that kind of writing consistently?
Most marketers don’t – and that’s okay. Instead, they rely on copywriting services and expert talent. They delegate and outsource to people who write for all types of audiences in all types of industries persuasively, day in, day out.
Don’t put your hands in too many pots at once. Don’t forfeit writing quality in favor of just “getting it done.” Your entire content marketing strategy will suffer. ❌
Social media content forms the base of any promotion plan. It’s a key part of a content strategy because it helps you connect, engage, and build relationships with your audience and followers.
While you can and should hand the social media copy reins to an expert, one aspect you should never outsource or automate is personal engagement with your audience.
When it comes time for interacting, building relationships, networking, and engaging, this should always be personal. Whether you’re responding to comments, taking part in a Twitter chat, or commenting on someone else’s post, your personal interaction is essential. Don’t rely on a copywriting service to do this for you.
The basic tasks of writing solid social posts, however, can and should be delegated. Here are the main types you need as a marketer:
1. Social Media Copy for Each Platform
Average price per post: $12 – $14+
For promoting content and building brand awareness, social media copy is essential. You not only need to post regularly on each platform you invest in, but also create social content that uses your brand voice and tone to connect with your target audience.
Of course, writing for each platform requires different standards, types of posts, and copy. All of this can be a headache and a half to juggle, which is why it’s a fantastic idea to invest in copywriting services.
Here are just a few basic, current standards for the top platforms:
On Facebook, short posts with cleaner copy (think: 0-1 hashtags and 0-1 emojis) are proven to work well, according to data from CoSchedule. Including an image or link with your posts is a given, and video content is huge for engagement. Too many overly promotional posts are a no-no.
On Instagram, you’d think the emphasis would be on the photo you post, but the caption actually matters a ton, too. The written copy here is a great place to tell stories, engage with your followers, and generally provide added value with your images.
Example: Tagging other accounts related to your post, especially influencers/brands, as well as using relevant hashtags both encourages discovery and helps your followers find more content like yours. (A good copywriting service will know and use all the current best practices.)
On Twitter, your post copy should be engaging but strategic. Each post should include an image for 150% more engagement, according to data Buffer collected, not to mention a few well-chosen hashtags. When relevant, you should also tag partners, influencers, and related accounts.
On LinkedIn, a slightly more professional tone is needed, but posts can still retain your brand voice – just dialed back a little. Longer posts and articles about industry news, events, and developments are great fodder for engagement.
On Pinterest, much like Instagram, it isn’t necessarily all about the images. Captions will help users find your pins, not to mention give your pins more context. In particular, writing captions that will stay relevant for the life of a pin (which can be a long time!) helps encourage pinning and re-pinning, not to mention continued clicks to your content from that pin.
Express Writers offers copywriting services for ongoing social media posts on the platform(s) of your choice. Our social media writers are up-to-date with best practices for every type of post and know how to create engaging copy that wins.
As you may have noticed, images play a huge role in your social media posts. You need a corresponding image for posts on almost every platform, in most cases.
Here’s an example of a branded image from one of our own blogs:
Express Writers offers custom branded images along with our social media posts so you get the best of both worlds. Find this add-on option for social media copywriting services on our social media posts page.
Onsite Copywriting Services: Blogging
Blogging is the cornerstone of content marketing. In fact, blogs are now the 5th most trusted source of information on the internet! However, to earn your place among the cream of the crop, your blogs need to be consistent, high-quality, and authoritative in tone to build trust and rankings.
Can you honestly say you have the time to devote to this kind of blogging? It can get pretty rigorous without help, and many marketers throw in the towel far too soon to see the type of ROI that can and will happen with consistency.
Bottom line: If you can’t commit to blogging with your heart and soul, you won’t see results – unless you outsource.
These are the major blogging tasks and copywriting services to invest in for stronger results.
1. Keyword Research
Average price for one keyword research report (one keyword & one blog topic): $60+
Reaching your SEO goals is a lot harder without strategic keyword research. The right keywords targeted in an expert, thought-leadership-style blog can mean the difference between content success (traffic, page views, engagement, backlinks) and content failure (cue crickets chirping).
Generally, keyword research for your brand (or your client’s brand) involves:
Searching for broad industry terms related to what you do/sell
Finding long-tail keyword variations of those broad terms that hit the right balance for three metrics:
Keyword difficulty (KD, or the competitiveness of that keyword)
Relevancy (to your brand, industry, products, or services)
Search volume (high numbers are not necessarily better)
Keyword research requires some knowledge of your industry, an understanding of what high-ROI keywords look like, and an ability to analyze keyword data to find the richest opportunities for rankings.
Needless to say, keyword research is a valuable copywriting service, but lots of writers simply don’t offer it.
At Express Writers, that’s not the case. We offer done-for-you keyword research and strategy that includes comprehensive keyword and topic reports using top tools like SEMrush and BuzzSumo. We analyze the data for you and come up with the top keyword opportunities to use in your content.
2. Audience & Topic Research
For brand awareness and audience reach, you need the double-whammy of audience and topic research. These actions help solidify the direction of your onsite blogging, giving it the power it needs to reach your ideal buyer on a personal level.
Without these types of research, you’ll have no clear idea of who you’re writing for, not to mention what you should write about.
Audience research is a process that helps you figure out your main target audience as well as what moves them, their pain points, where they come from, where they want to go, and who they want to be.
Topic research is how you find blog and content topics your audience actually wants to read. Instead of pulling random ideas out of thin air, you start with what you know about your industry, your brand, and your audience. You work outward from there to find relevant topics that connect to your brand goals.
Writing content that uses both audience and topic research as a foundation ensures two things:
You’re always writing to the right people.
You’re always writing about topics that move you closer to your success benchmarks.
Average price for four 500-word blogs per month: $500 – $700
The blogs you publish, whether on your website or your clients’, are fundamental to content marketing. Onsite blogging is the #1 way to build authority, trust, and backlinks. Continuously and consistently publishing great content drives more traffic and brings in more leads.
In specialized industries, expert knowledge behind your content matters. To be high-quality and high-authority, written blogs and articles need the most cutting-edge, up-to-date knowledge behind them. That should include current strategies, statistics, and studies.
In short, industry expert blogs need writers who can:
Slip into different brand voices seamlessly
Speak on a personal level to different target audiences
Write with authority and accuracy about in-depth industry topics
Great expert blogs are readable, informative, useful, and speak to your readers’ most pressing pain points. The right copywriting service should cover all of that.
Express Writers offers industry expert blog packages for niches across the board including health & wellness, technology, finance, real estate, SaaS, SEO/digital marketing, and more. We also offer ongoing topic research as an add-on service so you’re never left scratching your head wondering what to publish next.
4. Authority Blogs – Skyscraper Pieces
Average price for a long-form, 2,000-word blog: $750 – $1,000
Authority behind your content matters more than ever in this age of information overload. People often don’t know who to trust or which sources are legit, just because there are so many scams, tricks, and fake news cycles out there.
In fact, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer report, trust in most online information sources has declined across the board, which includes search engines, traditional media, owned media, and social media.
Authoritative, long-form blogs are therefore essential trust-builders that help shape your online gravitas positively. These aren’t just blogs; they’re MEGA blogs:
Content is written by an authority in your industry
Content aligns with your brand voice, tone, and style
Content is backed up with compelling facts, studies, and current research
Content is written around a high-opportunity, long-tail keyword that will rocket you into the search engine rankings
Long-form content provides depth and breadth on a relevant industry topic
In short, authority blogs aren’t just content pieces – they’re content assets. These powerful blogs will work to draw in traffic and leads for months, maybe even YEARS, after they’re published. Even more importantly, they will help build trust and loyalty with your audience.
Express Writers offers authority content for entrepreneurs, marketers, and agencies who want to level up their content. You KNOW what authority blogs can do if you invest in this level of content creation.
I created this copywriting service after a year spent listening, watching, and studying content trends. I saw a winning formula emerge, and I wanted to offer that to our clients – the BEST content possible that will stand tall in a swamp of billions of blog posts.
Think of your onsite content – your web pages, about pages, service pages, landing pages, etc. – as bridges and roads.
Each of these pages has the potential to lead your audience to that ultimate destination, the conversion. Of course, if you build your roads and bridges with weak materials and shaky foundations, fewer people will want to cross them.
Here are the copywriting services you need to invest in to build the best web pages possible, ones that will serve to welcome your audience and guide them to action.
1. SEO Keywords for Your Web Pages
Average price for one keyword research report: $60
You don’t just need the right keywords in your blogs. You also need web pages optimized for industry terms and phrases that your ideal customers are typing into Google. This is how you get organic traffic and leads from search to land on your main site pages.
Average price for one optimized, 800-word web page: $150 – $250
Web page content is one of those copywriting services most marketers can’t do without, as each page must be unique and persuasive to pass muster with Google AND users. Web pages can run the gamut from home pages to “about us” pages to service pages optimized for local SEO.
Much like blogs, industry expert web pages need to be consistent with brand voice and tone, convey authority, help your audience find the information they need, and use keywords strategically for high search engine rankings. The best copywriting services should deliver all of the above.
Whether you need unique, keyword-optimized web pages for your site or you have a lot of service pages that need local SEO and/or some fantastic copy, Express Writers can help with our custom industry expert web pages.
3. Service-Specific SEO Landing Pages
Average price for one 500-600-word page: $90 – $125
SEO landing pages are simply designated places where your visitors land after they click one of your links. Service-specific landing pages usually direct traffic to your site from local search. Here’s how that works:
A user opens Google and types in a keyword for a local service they want to find (i.e. “dentists in Austin”).
On the results page, your webpage pops up as an option because it’s optimized for that location-specific keyword.
The user clicks your link and is taken to your local service landing page, where they can learn more and potentially book an appointment/hire you. Here’s an example of a service landing page in action:
For best results with service landing pages, it’s essential to hire an expert writer who knows your industry. Express Writers hires specific field experts for this exact purpose from industries like legal, finance, marketing, and more. When you order copywriting services like web page copy, we match you up with one of these experts to write your pages.
Average just doesn’t cut it anymore when it comes to web content. Every single page on your site needs to be optimized for search and expertly written to stand out from the pack.
However, these results only happen when your emails are targeted, well-written, persuasive, and valuable to your user base. To hit all of these bullseyes, these are the types of email copywriting services to delegate to the experts.
1. Email Sequences
Average price for an email sequence of 5 emails: $400 – $500
Launching new products? You need an email sequence. This is a series of targeted emails sent out at specific times over the course of a few days or a few weeks. Usually, the sequence is triggered by a customer action:
Signing up for your newsletter
Downloading a PDF
Abandoning a shopping cart
Browsing your site
An email sequence tells a continuing story. Each email builds upon the last email sent, culminating in a whammy-punch that ultimately moves the reader to follow your call-to-action (whether you want them to download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, or buy your new product).
This is an example of an email from a sequence I sent to my own list:
Only an expert writer who truly understands persuasive, conversion-focused copy has the chops to create a successful, conversion-driving email sequence.
Express Writers’ copywriting services include done-for-you email sequences. Our email experts will write your sequence to appeal to your readers and gear them up for that all-important CTA.
2. Single Emails to Your List
Average price for short single emails (200-400 words): $75 – $200 (The American Writers and Artists Inc. copywriting price guide also mentions average pricing for standalone sales emails, which can run as high as $2,000 – but that’s because they’re conversion-focused and expected to be high-performing.)
For email marketing, single emails can be just as effective as email sequences, but for different reasons.
Single emails are a fantastic way to build trust and rapport with your audience. Think of it as another way to connect with them and build a relationship. Additionally, single emails are perfect for sharing new content. Who better to appreciate your new blog post than your list?
Here is an example of a single email promoting a new blog post for the Write Blog:
EW’s writing staff includes email experts who can take care of this copywriting service for you. Whether you need on-brand single emails or irresistible email sequences, we have you covered.
Ad Copy/Sales Pages
To nab the sale or ace the conversion, not just any kind of copywriting will do. Instead, you need expert copy written by a pro who understands the sales process. Enter conversion copywriting.
Average price for one conversion-oriented sales page: Industry experts rate this copywriting service as extremely high-value – $0.50 – $1 per word is the going rate.
Conversion copywriting is all about creating copy that engages a specific audience and pulls in the buyer’s interest. Conversion copy can be found on web pages, Facebook/social ad copy, and emails. Most of all, it has the potential to make you serious $$$.
With that in mind, not just anybody can write conversion copy that actually delivers. Only a serious copywriter will do, one who understands buyer awareness, the marketing lifecycle, and how to appeal to the decision-making process.
For a good example of conversion copy, take a look at this landing page from Grove Collaborative. Every sentence is aimed at making their offer irresistible:
What types of marketing copy should you delegate, and which types can you write yourself?
In general, these are the copywriting services you can hand off for excellent ROI.
1. Ebooks & Lead Magnets
Average price for one designed ebook, 3-5 pages: $415 – $650
Lead magnets are high-value content pieces that you offer exclusively to your audience in exchange for a few personal details, such as their name and email address. Lead magnets are often created in the form of ebooks to pack in a lot of useful information – bonus points if they’re beautifully designed.
Much like blog content, ebooks and lead magnets build your authority and expertise in your industry, not to mention trust with your audience.
Watch me explain lead magnets and ideas for lead magnets in this video:
We offer both ebook copy and design at Express Writers. Let one of our industry expert writers whip up a high-value ebook for your brand that will help build your clout AND your email list.
Average price per page:$100 – $200 (not including design)
Whitepapers are great content assets to have on hand for any brand. These in-depth reports provide thorough information about specific problems and step-by-step information about how you solved it.
The most common types of whitepapers showcase client testimonials. For example, a good whitepaper will present the client’s problem clearly and effectively, then show how your brand (or your client’s brand) solved that problem and went above and beyond for the customer. Most importantly, these types of whitepapers showcase client satisfaction and serve as powerful social proof for other potential buyers.
Another type of whitepaper that’s pretty common: thorough, well-researched guides to industry problems. HubSpot has a good example of this type:
Whitepapers can be incredible authority-builders for any brand. EW offers this copywriting service, whether you just want whitepaper copy or a fully designed product.
Average price for one slide: $25 – $30 (not including design)
Slides for PowerPoint or SlideShare can be surprisingly difficult to write and create. Which key points about your topic should you include? How do you make slides attention-grabbing yet easy to read and understand?
Include this type of content in your list of copywriting services to delegate and you’ll get high-quality, expertly written slides that accomplish all of these goals.
To drive home how effective slides can be, check out this example of a SlideShare created from one of our blogs here at EW:
Average price per 400-500 words: $120 (not including design)
If you’ll be advertising your brand locally (think tradeshows, events, etc.), flyers and brochures are a great print marketing asset. They are:
Easy and fast to distribute
Effective for in-person marketing events
The most successful flyers and brochures will have copy that’s succinct, to the point, and impactful. They will clearly explain your products/services/offers in a way that appeals to your target audience.
If you want an expert creating your flyer/brochure copy, add that to the long list of copywriting services we have available at Express Writers.
5. Press Releases
Average price for one press release: $175 – $250
For announcing key news and happenings at your company, nothing does the job better than a professionally written press release.
Of course, when we say “professionally written,” we mean written by a professional journalist. With this kind of expertise behind your press releases, your news is more likely to be distributed through a network or picked up by a news outlet.
For expert, journalist-written press releases, check out this copywriting service from Express Writers.
6. Video Scripts
Average price for a 2-3-minute script: $450
Video is huge these days online. According to Wyzowl, 87% of marketers say video brings them positive ROI.
The secret to producing successful, attention-grabbing videos? A clear message conveyed with confidence. How can you do that? With a well-written video script.
It’s true: Even though video is hot, hot, hot. You won’t get anywhere by pushing out low-quality videos with lots of awkward pauses and stammering. Your video production will be much smoother with a script.
Average price for one 200-word product description: $38
Product descriptions are an essential copywriting service for ecommerce businesses selling their wares. These descriptions not only persuasively sell the online product, they also describe it in a way that answers customer questions and overcomes any objections to clicking “add to cart”.
A worthy product description is both visceral (i.e. you get a good feel of what it would be like to use/wear/try the product) and practical (including dimensions, settings, features, etc.). Ideally, it should also be optimized for search so buyers can find that product when searching on Google.
For a tried-and-true example of product descriptions that fit all of these criteria, look at ModCloth, the online women’s clothing store. This PD for a hooded yellow coat includes both fanciful details that will appeal directly to its young target audience, not to mention practical details about the coat material, fit, and sizing.
If you need product descriptions that both tell and sell, let our writing team at Express Writers take care of them for you with our copywriting service for product descriptions.
How to Work with Copywriting Services to Produce Content That Wins
A huge part of winning marketing has to include winning copy. To put it bluntly, there’s so much to write and so little time. As you can see, copywriting services can lift a lot of that pressure off your shoulders.
Whether you’re a time-crunched marketer, an entrepreneur striking out with a new product/business, or an agency strapped for good writers, getting help is always a good idea. It WILL 10x your marketing!
To wrap up, here are a few tips to make your copywriting services go the extra mile:
1. Invest in Quality
Expert, amazing writers charge more for their services because they’re good. Their work gets consistent results and ROI. Period. If you want those results, you need to invest in expertise.
2. Provide Instructions, Guidelines, Ideas, Etc.
For copywriting services, you can’t provide too many details. Give your writer the best starting point by giving them all the information you can about what you need. Examples, style guides, links to content you want to emulate – all of it will help your writer produce a better end product.
While working on your content or copy, your writer might have questions pop up. They might need you to clarify an instruction or help them refine the voice and tone you want them to use, for example. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep communication lines open. Be responsive and work with your writer if you want the best from them.
Copywriting services can lighten your to-do list, but more importantly, they can improve your marketing by leaps and bounds.
On average, people see anywhere between 6,500 and 11,000 ads per day. It’s no surprise that most of us have gone “ad blind” and rarely pay attention to them anymore.
Cold calls are also outdated. Only 27% of sales reps believe cold calling is still effective, and the practice has a low 2% success rate.
What about PPC and social media?
They still work, but studies have shown that content marketing consistently outperforms them by a wide margin. SEO drives a whopping 1,000% more traffic than organic social media, and even Google admits that SEO traffic is 5x greater than PPC.
Ebooks can be immensely profitable because they don’t cost you any printing materials or shipping costs to get the product to the customer. Once someone downloads your ebook, it’s immediately accessible.
When it comes to business, an ebook is usually written for one of two goals:
Revenue: Charging a fee to download your ebook can create a side stream of extra income
Conversions & Leads: Offering your ebook for free allows you to share information about your products and services, seasonal offers, and educational information about your industry.
There’s a lot that goes into an ebook. Let’s look at the creation steps, starting with…
1. Select a Topic People WANT to Read
You might be a brilliant writer, but if you write your ebook on a subject your audience couldn’t care less about, nobody is ever going to read it.
Be cognizant of your market niche. You can take a more methodical approach to coming up with your ebook topic by:
Using analytical data: Look at the insights from past content you’ve published on your website and social media. Do you notice any themes? Does your audience seem to respond to certain topics better than others?
Checking out your competition: What subjects are your competitors writing about? Are people engaging with their content, or not?
Sending out surveys: Not sure what your audience is most interested in? Ask them! Run a poll on social media or set up a quick survey that goes out to your email subscribers. SurveyMonkey is a great free tool for this, or you can use Google Forms.
Testing the market: Before committing to a full ebook, release the first chapter to your audience and see how they respond. Keep track of the number of downloads and be open to any feedback from beta readers.
It’s important to find a balance between what people want to read and what you know how to write.
By that, I mean don’t follow the fads and write an ebook about losing weight or making money just because that’s what you think is trending. Chances are, those markets are oversaturated, and your book will be a tiny, unnoticed drop in an ocean dominated by established big names.
Stick to your market and expertise. Write what you know.
Pro tip: Make sure you choose a topic that has a limited focus but plenty of flexibility for you to address different (but relevant) points. You want to make sure every section ties together, but you don’t want to trap yourself in box and repeat the same information over and over again.
2. Research Before You Write
It’s tempting to dive right in and start writing, but the research process is an important phase that needs to happen first.
Even if you’re an expert on your chosen topic, you’ll still want to include outside sources such as case studies, statistics, and research. Plus, it’s a good idea to double-check your facts.
Read other ebooks within your industry niche and topic to see how you can put a personal spin on information that’s already available for consumers. Making it personal is the best way to help your ebook stand out from the crowd.
3. Create a Clear Outline
A word to the wise – without an outline to follow, many writers get stuck within the first few chapters of their ebook.
First, decide how you want to format your ebook. Is it going to be a step-by-step solution to a problem? Or will you present your information like a case study, or a research paper?
It’s also a good idea to determine the page orientation so you can plan your chapters accordingly for a vertical versus horizontal layout.
From there, create the structural base of your ebook with headings and subheadings. Doing this step before you start writing is the easiest way to ensure each section flows smoothly into the next one and your content stays on topic.
4. Find a Quiet, Distraction-Free Place to Write
Even seasoned authors can be easily distracted. The best way to make sure you see your ebook through from start to finish without losing your concentration and motivation is to eliminate as many interruptions as possible.
Mute your phone and close your open Facebook tab. Over time, you’ll learn your own preferences. Maybe you like to write with music playing, or perhaps you prefer silence.
Every writer’s ideal setting for maximum productivity is going to be different.
5. Write Your First Draft, Then Come Back for Editing
A first draft isn’t meant to be perfect.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down trying to edit and chase perfection while you’re writing. That’s only going to lead to frustration and a case of writer’s block when you lose track of your thoughts.
Get your words down on the page first. Then, go back and edit your work.
6. Enlist the Help of an Editor
Ideally, if you want the highest quality ebook, you’ll hire a freelance editor who has the experience, knowledge, and expertise to give your work the same editing attention a traditional publishing house would.
But be advised – that is an additional cost that you may not have factored into the project.
At the very least, if you don’t invest in a professional editor, ask multiple friends, colleagues, and/or family members to proofread your work. The more eyes, the better.
You absolutely do NOT want to publish an ebook full of typos, grammar mistakes, poor research, no citations, and punctuation errors. That’s a quick way to destroy your credibility.
Self-Publishing Your Ebook
A wide variety of publishing resources are available to authors these days. Before you start looking at your publication options, think about how you want readers to find and download your ebook.
If you have your own website, the quickest way to distribute your ebook is to make it a downloadable PDF that people can access through your site.
If you want your ebook to be available on Amazon, you can upload your .mobi file to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and publish it for free.
Amazon is definitely a big player worth looking at for distribution. Analysts estimate that Amazon’s share of the ebook market is between 68% and 83%, although it’s hard to pinpoint an exact number since Amazon doesn’t openly share this information.
KDP authors have the option of making their books exclusive to Amazon for higher royalties and extra perks, or opting for expanded distribution to reach more retailers but pocket lower royalties.
Other self-publishing platforms such as IngramSpark and Draft2Digital can distribute to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and other retailers and may be viable options depending on your publication and distribution goals.
Your publishing method will determine what kind of file type you will need:
Portable Document Format (PDF): The most basic and widely known type of file, PDFs are meant to be read on the screen for which they were created. Your ebook formatting will be fixed in place, meaning the text and layout won’t be adjusted for desktop vs. tablet vs. smartphone use.
Electronic Publication (EPUB): This format is more flexible and widely accepted by different devices and e-readers. An epub file will adapt based on the size of the screen for best readability.
MOBI: These types of files are similar to epubs but have a few extra limitations such as the inability to support audio or video. KDP uses mobi files, and most other e-readers can read them with the exception of Nook.
AZW: Another ebook file type that was originally designed for Kindle but can also be read on most smartphones, tablets, and computers.
OpenDocument Format (ODF): This type of file is optimized for OpenOffice.
IBA: An Apple-only ebook format that supports text, video, audio, images, and interactive elements within an ebook but is compatible only with books that were written in iBooks.
Struggling to Make Your Ebook a Reality? Hire an Expert to Help!
We covered a lot, and it can be overwhelming for business owners who might have assumed writing an ebook was as simple as uploading a Word document.
If you have a topic in mind but don’t have the time to write an ebook, you should seriously consider outsourcing the project to an expert who knows exactly how to create a highly effective ebook that flows well, feels professional, and inspires your readers to action.
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Content marketing is a complex subject with many different aspects across multiple channels. We’re talking instructional and educational articles, blogs, social media content, ebooks, videos, webinars, whitepapers… and the list goes on.
We’ll focus on whitepapers in this article, but this is only a fraction of content marketing and should be one piece of your strategy that includes many other working parts.
Need a high-quality whitepaper written for your business? Our done-for-you content services from expert-level writers include whitepapers, starting around $105/page.
What Is a Whitepaper?
Whitepapers are informational documents that are usually written in an academic style.
On average, most whitepapers are approximately 2,500 words. Their primary purpose is to highlight a problem and propose solution(s) while promoting a product or service.
A whitepaper is often designed for business-to-business (B2B) marketing, but it can also apply to B2C marketing strategies as well.
However, in the case of B2C, this form of content marketing is best suited for prospective customers who are searching for an educational, unbiased publication, not a quirky listicle or typical advertisement.
A whitepaper is NOT a:
Flashy, image-heavy brochure
Technical support document
Whitepapers are designed to inform and persuade using facts, statistics, research, studies, and evidence. They aren’t likely to be trending on Facebook, but they can still be a powerful piece of your content marketing strategy to give your business an edge.
How to Write a Business Whitepaper in 5 Basic Steps
Whitepapers serve a specific marketing need for businesses. They raise awareness, educate consumers and clients, demonstrate a need within a specific industry, and help to establish your business as a leading authority on the subject matter.
Also noteworthy – the high quality, relevancy, and usefulness of whitepapers are a plus for SEO.
But writing a whitepaper is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of preparation, time, motivation, and determination, as well as strong writing skills.
After all, you don’t stand out as an expert in your field simply by cranking out an unresearched piece of content in 30 minutes. There’s serious work that goes into a whitepaper.
1. Choose the Right Topic
Just like any other piece of content in your marketing strategy, it all starts with selecting a topic that people will want to read.
When you’re considering the right subject matter, there are three primary factors that should influence your decision:
Audience: Who will be reading your whitepaper? Is it targeting a B2B client, such as a wholesaler partnering with a retailer? Or, if you’re writing for a B2C audience, are you reaching out to established customers who are already familiar with your business and industry, or prospective leads who presumably have little knowledge about the subject?
Expertise: A whitepaper can help to establish you as an authority in your industry, so make sure you’re sticking to your strong suits. Your content should be able to offer both internal knowledge as well as external research. Keep your whitepaper focused on your target niche.
Solution-Focused Problem: Successful whitepapers identify a timely, relevant problem, and then they also provide a solution to said problem. Even though the format is academic and informational, a whitepaper is still a marketing asset. You need to point out and examine an issue, then propose how you can solve it.
Before you dive into the hard work of writing a whitepaper, make sure you read other whitepapers first.
In addition to giving you an idea of what to expect, you can also identify knowledge gaps and different angles to build on existing content rather than publishing a redundant whitepaper that rehashes the same ideas already being discussed.
2. Conduct Thorough and Comprehensive Research
A high-quality whitepaper is data-focused and supported by credible research.
Just like other forms of content you publish, make sure you’re using reliable sources and including citations. Using information from dubious sources is one of the fastest ways to lose your credibility.
If possible, include your own internal documents and studies in addition to industry resources, case studies, research, and recent statistics.
3. Draft an Outline that Follows Proper Whitepaper Formatting
Unlike a typical business report, which usually summarizes the findings at the top and then dives into greater detail, a whitepaper will feature the conclusion at the end of the document.
The beginning should include a well-defined problem statement.
Your goal is to take the reader on a journey that starts with examining a problem, then shifts into solutions, and ideally concludes by proving that your product or service is the best option to solve the problem.
Think of your outline as the skeleton of your whitepaper. Organizing the points you want to make, as well as your chapters or sections, will help you stay on track so you can escort your reader with a clear, logical flow.
4. Write First, Edit Later
Once you have your basic outline, start writing without reservations. It’s easier to dive right in, record all of your thoughts and research, and then go back later to fix errors and rearrange sections if the flow doesn’t feel quite right.
It’s tempting to try to edit while you write, but try to resist. It will slow down your process and can even lead to writer’s block.
5. Hook Your Readers with a Strong, Accurate Title
A good title needs to be interesting but also informative so a reader knows what to expect. Choosing your title after the whitepaper has been written is a good way to look at the piece as a whole and decide on a title that best suits the content.
Depending on your audience, you may want to include or exclude the word “whitepaper” from your title. Some readers could be drawn to that extra indication of authority, whereas others might have the opposite reaction and shy away from content that seems too formal upfront.
8 Whitepaper Style Tips for Success
You should now have a basic idea to begin writing your whitepaper, but don’t forget about style.
From formatting and design, to tone, to word count, and everything in between, the style of your whitepaper can transform it into an expert authority piece or a laughable waste of time and effort.
Use a professional, informative tone. This isn’t the place to be using slang and hashtags. Think of your whitepaper as an academic essay, and the tone needs to reflect that. Educate your readers without belittling them.
Format to match your brand. There aren’t hard-and-fast rules about how to format a whitepaper, but make sure it looks professional and represents your brand. No funky fonts and colors. As long as you took time and care to follow your outline, the whitepaper should be well organized and flow smoothly.
Edit, edit, edit. Publishing a whitepaper filled with typos and poor grammar is a fast way to destroy the credibility you’re trying to build as an expert. Even if you feel somewhat confident in your writing skills, it’s always a good idea to have at least one other pair of eyes read over your work prior to publishing. Even great writers rely on editors to catch typos that the creator’s brain automatically skips over.
Avoid information overload. Data is good, but don’t get lost in the technical details that drag on and on until your reader loses interest. The goal is not only to educate people, but also to persuade them. In order to do that, you’ll need to strike a comfortable balance between factual information a more human narrative.
Keep your word count in check. You’re not writing a novel. Most likely, your audience has a hectic schedule and limited attention span, so cut the fluff and get to the point quickly.
Showcase the benefits. Part of your whitepaper should be dedicated to the product or service you’re offering as a solution. Elaborate on why your solution is the best one. What does it offer that other companies can’t replicate? What are the perks? Why should consumers choose you over your competitors?
Establish your authority. Google rewards content that embodies E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). If you do your homework, stick to the facts, and discuss your experience as a veteran within your given industry, readers will view you as a credible authority.
Use examples and illustrations. Don’t get so bogged down in the facts that you forget to paint a picture for your audience. Use case studies, real-life success stories, engaging descriptions, and illustrations when appropriate.
Like I said, writing a whitepaper is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of work that goes into the process to do it the right way, and it’s a major time commitment.
Is it worth all of that effort?
Consumers have been responding better to valuable content than generic ad campaigns and loud sales pitches. An SEO-driven content strategy that focuses on establishing authority and providing readers with high-quality, educational content is currently dominating the marketing game.
But not everyone is a natural-born writer, and many business owners simply don’t have the time or confidence to do a deep dive into the research and academic writing that makes up a whitepaper.
Publishing a whitepaper is a good investment. If you aren’t able to invest the time and research yourself, regardless of the reason, you should seriously consider outsourcing the work instead so you can add this valuable asset into your overall marketing game plan.
Ready to give your content marketing strategy an upgrade? Visit our Content Shop and order custom content written by an experienced writer with SEO in mind.
There’s a lot more at stake for the business, including a meaningful impact on the brand’s perceived authority, its reach to potential new consumers, engagement rates, and more.
Globally, as of July 2021, there are an estimated 4.48 billion social media users (almost 57% of the world’s population). Facebook still reigns supreme with an estimated 2.853 million users, followed by YouTube in second place.
When done correctly, a marketing strategy on social media can reach a lot of people to bring in leads, raise brand awareness, and create conversion opportunities.
Here’s where it gets tricky – each social media platform has its own tips, tricks, algorithms, and best practices. Content that performs well on LinkedIn isn’t likely to see that same success on Twitter or Pinterest if posts are simply copied and pasted uniformly across every channel.
Not to worry… we’re here to share the best advice for each social outlet so your content performs no matter where it’s posted.
Need some help writing content for social media? Our experienced, social-media-savvy writers are just a few clicks away with social media content packages.
The good news is, you don’t have to rely on too much trial and error to nail down the best methods for the various social media channels.
Because a lot of other people have already done it for you!
You can (and should) still monitor your social media analytics to see which posts engage with your unique audience the most, but as far as coming up with a tried-and-true formula, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Follow these tips to rule your social media campaigns.
1. How to Write Facebook Posts That Get Liked and Shared
The #1 social media platform isn’t exactly a one-and-done content formula because it handles multiple types of media, and different posting techniques can work well depending on the goal you’re hoping to accomplish.
To find success on Facebook, you need to “read the room” and respond to your audience. These guidelines with help you do just that:
Video is the best performing content. However, Facebook campaigns are most effective when you vary your types of posts, so mix it up with photos, infographics, text, gifs, memes, blog posts, press releases, links, et cetera.
The ideal length for a post is around 40-80 characters. As a general rule, short posts on social media perform better than long ones.
End with a question. People are more likely to engage when you reach out to them for their opinions or feedback.
Post interesting content, even if it doesn’t pertain directly to your brand. Facebook’s audience has a limited tolerance for self-promotion, which means if you want to keep your followers engaged, it doesn’t hurt to post about more than just your business. Be sure to keep your topics related to your niche, though.
Make it visual. Text is easy to scroll past, but graphics help to make people pause while they’re skimming through their newsfeed. Even if you’re publishing a post that’s strictly text, Facebook makes it easy to transform it into a visual graphic.
2. How to Write Effective Tweets on Twitter
Posting on Twitter requires smart, concise word choices to convey your message within a limited space. It can take a little extra practice, but once you get the hang of it, your tweets will take off.
When posting on Twitter, take this advice into account:
Front-load your tweet. Most people on Twitter are skimming through a massive amount of content. Put the most important information at the beginning of your tweet to catch their attention.
The ideal length for a tweet is 240+ characters. Twitter increased its character limit from 140 to 280 in 2017, and users seem to appreciate the extra room to express themselves. If you need more than 280 characters, create a thread or add a link to a blog post. Tip: Use a free tool like Bitly to shorten your url and maximize your space.
Don’t go overboard with hashtags. Real estate for your tweet is limited – you can’t afford to spend it all on hashtags rather than your actual message. Limit yourself to 1-3 relevant hashtags.
Tweet shareable content. Twitter’s audience loves to retweet breaking news, statistics, quotes, jokes, and gifs. Timing is important on Twitter – you don’t want to be the last one to share yesterday’s news.
3. How to Write Engaging Instagram Captions
Instagram is all about visual content, but that doesn’t mean you can skate by with insufficient captions. If you want your audience to interact with your content, your words do matter.
Start with a bang. Instagram allows up to 2,200 characters. However, it’s important to keep in mind that no more than 125 characters will show beneath your photo. If you want your audience to read your full post, you need to entice them to click “more.”
Use emojis. Instagram + emojis = ? For real, though, emojis have proven to be incredibly effective on Instagram.
Use relevant hashtags. You’re allowed up to 30 hashtags, but don’t just pick the ones that are currently trending (especially if they don’t really pertain to your media). Instead, try to vary your hashtag use. Select a few broad, popular ones but also mix in some niche-specific hashtags, plus one or two branded ones. For example, Coca-Cola created the branded hashtag #ShareACoke for an Instagram campaign.
Break up long text into paragraphs. Instagram is still a bit tricky about this. If you want to have paragraphs with white space in between them, you have to hit Enter, then add a space on the blank line before you tap Enter again. But the extra step is worth it, because big blocks of text are difficult to read.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is treating LinkedIn like a clone of Facebook.
While the two do share some similarities, even a blue logo, the type of content is very different.
LinkedIn is primarily a networking platform where business professionals and brands share industry insights, news, and updates. The latest “epic fail” video going viral on Facebook isn’t going to fit in with what LinkedIn’s audience expects.
When posting on LinkedIn, keep in mind that:
Long-form content works well. Don’t hesitate to share articles and blog posts on LinkedIn. This audience is more likely to take their time and read what you have to say, so you can also type longer posts than you normally would on other platforms that are meant to be skimmed. Just be sure to stay organized and professional.
Add a handful of hashtags. While hashtags dominate Instagram and Twitter, they fell flat when it came to Facebook. LinkedIn falls somewhere in between. Relevant hashtags are good to include, but in moderation and preferably tucked at the end of your post.
Brand your content and graphics. Professionals are likely to share studies, research, infographics, statistics, and industry updates. If you’re posting content, make sure it’s branded so you get the credit when it’s shared. For example, Gary Vaynerchuk always includes his signature and Instagram/Twitter handle on his content.
Much like Instagram, the focus on Pinterest will be on the picture rather than the text.
That being said, the right description can give your post a major boost! Try these tips the next time you post a pin:
The ideal length for a post is around 150-300 characters. You’re allowed up to 500 characters, but try not to go overboard. It’s a good idea to be detailed and use relevant keywords in the description.
Have a professional tone. Slang and acronyms don’t give a great impression on Pinterest. Be mindful of your grammar and punctuation. Try to keep your tone informal but professional.
Hashtags are optional (but useful). A few years ago, hashtags were a big NO on Pinterest. But now, hashtags are searchable and will appear in chronological order. However, Pinterest is still primarily driven by keywords, not hashtags, which means the feed will display results that have the keyword even without the hashtag. Since a hashtag usually doubles as a keyword, it doesn’t hurt to use them on your pins.
Tackle Social Media with a Can-Do Attitude!
The most important piece of advice when it comes to social media is to BE AUTHETIC.
That, more than anything else, is what will help your content connect with your audience. When in doubt, remember that short and sweet tends to perform better than long-form content on most platforms.
Experiment with your posts to find what you audience responds to best. Try posting different lengths and forms of content at different times of the day.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! Social media can be difficult to navigate, but with persistence and a methodical approach, you’ll find what works.
Need some help? Our expert writers are here for any content-related project from social media and beyond. Visit our Content Shop to see what types of custom content we can create for you.