While AI can share the workspace with a traditional writer and editor for content marketing, there is one thing it cannot do – SME content creation.
The only genuine SME (subject matter expert) out there in your niche is, well, you – and the talented freelance writers out there that know your field just as well as you.
More importantly, Google knows it and expects to see that in your content.
What is AI Content Generation?
It seems like almost daily another AI content generation tool is launching.
Some are free, others are paid, but are any of these tools able to truly replace a genuine expert? TechTarget lists 36 AI generation tools in their 2023 guide, and while there are loads of tools to choose from, they are all based on the GPT-3 model.
AI content generation is content that is created by a platform utilizing the GPT-3 model. The content is generated and while marketed to be “new,” it really is not. Think about how AI generators work.
Generative AI tools take keywords, themes, and even voice/tone preferences, and it works to generate a blog, web page, or even a social media post, but it is not creating them out of thin air or using any expertise in the field to offer unique opinions and insights.
Instead, AI generates your content by pulling information from the internet. It searches and scours the thousands of web pages and blogs already out there to piece together information and generate copy.
But, AI Doesn’t Understand What it is Creating….
While it is fascinating to watch AI work, AI has no clue what it is writing. It is solely based on an algorithm pulling data based on your input.
Only a Genuine Industry Expert Knows the Content for their Industry
AI is incredibly fast and can write a blog post quicker than any writer, but because of its limitations in terms of understanding and having any expertise in the niche, it is not a specialist.
Here is where you may hit a speed bump or two, if you are using AI generation for your content marketing:
Let’s Talk about E-E-A-T and How AI Falls Short for Industry Professionals Seeking SME Content Creation
In Google’s February release, they mention guidelines for using AI generation in your content, and make it clear that they reward high quality regardless of how it is produced (whether human-made or AI-generated).
Many took that as a green light to go ahead with AI, but that is not what Google conveyed.
Let’s go back to the double update released in December 2022 when the extra “E” was added to the E-A-T standard, making it now E-E-A-T.
Image Source: Google Update, December 2022, Page 26
What was that extra “E” for?
Trust is crucial with Google. Some websites may fall short of the bar, no matter how experienced, professional, or even authoritative they are if they don’t have the reader’s trust, and one example given from Google within their update reveals the most consequential sentence that websites need to pay attention to:
“…the content creator lacks adequate experience” means they will have a low E-E-A-T score.
For example, if the content creator reviews a restaurant, but never ate at the restaurant, they are not experienced or trustworthy, which means they have a low E-E-A-T to Google.
Let’s break it down further by looking at each component of E-E-A-T.
Experience, in Google’s eyes, offers another level of dimension they can use when evaluating content. Content must demonstrate it was assembled with a degree of experience – after all, a reader will value a person’s content more if they have life experiences on the topic and they are not basing it exclusively on research.
AI has no experience with your topic. Let’s take a look at divorce law, for example.
You want to write a blog for your law firm on the latest guideline changes for calculating child support, but you will find a few speed bumps along the way using AI to do so:
AI typically doesn’t access the latest data – so it may not even know or find the latest guidelines for calculating child support. Worse, it could create a blog on outdated guidelines that it notes as “updated.”
AI has no actual understanding of handling child support cases. AI hasn’t had to calculate what a child support payment would be based on your state, the local laws, or the parent’s income. It has definitely never filled out the child support worksheets – but you have.
If you go off the premise of why “experience” was added by Google, you can see why AI might not meet the mark. AI is not an attorney or a financial expert, and therefore, there is no SME content creation happening when you use AI to draft your blogs.
SME content creation comes down to one important factor: credibility. A person without qualifications should not be writing a topic out of their realm of expertise. Period.
Google is unlikely to rank a website with content not written by a credible source over a website they know has content written by a believable source.
In areas where a subject matter expert is required, such as healthcare, Google has a higher level of scrutiny than things based more on personal opinion and less on facts.
Authority means you have proven you belong in the niche your website represents.
Sure, backlinks to relevant and authoritative sources will help build that authority, but only so far. If you only have quality backlinks, but don’t meet the other areas of E-E-A-T – well, you don’t have much to go on.
There’s not much more to say there. Authority is a building block, and it requires more than one block to finish your foundation.
Now, we’ve already covered where AI falls short for SME content creation, but the biggest area you are going to see harmed by the use of AI is “trust.”
Readers need to trust the content they read, and the website publishing that content, and Google has made it clear what they expect.
In fact, Google has made it evident that a website should have a clear owner, and that owner is responsible for that site.
When you are in industries that require an expert, such as legal, finance, technology, etc., the reader needs to know that a genuine SME is writing that content – not AI.
In Google’s policies update (modified March 14, 2023), they made this clearer.
In Section 2, Google notes that content distributed online cannot misrepresent the provenance of where it was developed. Meaning, if your content is AI generated, but you claim it was written by an SME, you’ve violated that AI use policy.
Likewise, impersonating an individual that is respected in the industry can be equally detrimental to your rankings. Such as using AI to create fake author bylines or even entire author profiles.
One area to pay particular attention to is Section 2c, which states that any misleading claims of “expertise” in sensitive areas, such as finance, legal, healthcare, etc., is a direct violation of of the AI use policy.
No one is going to trust content that is not written by a genuine expert in these delicate fields. While it is tempting to skirt that and just create an expert to back up AI-generated content, Google has made it abundantly clear it will not be tolerated.
Bottom Line: Flaunt Your Expertise with Genuine SME Content Creation
If you don’t have the knack for the written (typed?) word, that’s okay.
Just don’t turn to AI to create it for you.
Instead, seek out content agencies that hire genuine subject matter experts in those unique industries so that you are receiving content from a person that knows what they are talking about. They have degrees, work experience, and years of expertise writing in those niches.
While AI is permitted, Google has made it abundantly clear that they expect E-E-A-T to rule over it all, and that means if even one component of it is missing, you are risking your website’s rankings.
Let’s face it – after all of this time, we all know how hard it is to bounce back once Google has lost interest in your website. So, it is best to avoid ever reaching that point.
The team at Express Writers understands the importance of genuine SME content. We have a team of subject matter experts ranging from medical to healthcare to finance to legal and more. When you have a distinct niche, you need a team of writers that can provide your website with high-quality content and meet the demands of Google. Reach out to our team today and check out our SME content creation options, or visit the shop and order your first piece of SME content.
However, compared to its benefits, knowing how much your content marketing budget should be is often harder to pinpoint. Beyond setting an amount, you also must choose what to spend your money on and where.
Unfortunately, there is no magical one-size-fits-all formula for calculating the ideal content marketing budget for every business. Still, there are some good guidelines that can get you pointed in the right direction.
Keep reading to learn how much your business should invest in your content marketing.
Why You Need a Content Marketing Budget
There are no simple solutions in today’s complicated online world. That includes your content marketing budget. With the ever-changing economics of today’s world, the content marketing budget can seem like an easy thing for business executives to cut.
However, with a solid understanding of why your business needs a strong content marketing budget, you can hopefully avoid budget cuts and maintain, or even grow, your resources.
A well-structured content marketing strategy and budget can show higher-ups how much of an impact this money has and why it is in the best interest of the brand to fully invest in content.
Here are some powerful statistics that show the importance of a content marketing budget:
Without a solid content marketing budget, you could potentially be throwing money toward ineffective mediums or channels. Knowing how much to spend and where to spend is crucial to your content marketing success.
What Should a Content Marketing Budget Cover?
According to the Deloitte annual CMO Survey, marketing expenses increased to 13.8% of businesses’ overall budgets as of September 2022. This is the highest amount in the history of the CMO survey (since 2008).
While a marketing budget will include more than just content marketing, content marketing could be a significant portion of the overall marketing budget. This is especially relevant with the decline of traditional marketing mediums like television and radio ads.
The typical content marketing budget includes funding for a variety of things, including:
Content marketing strategy: You need a structured plan for your content marketing to succeed. This typically requires time, money, and effort to create.
Content creation: Whether you use an in-house team or outsource your content creation, you must pay someone to create your content.
Content distribution: Once your content is published, the chances of someone reading or viewing it are somewhat low unless you distribute or promote it. This typically includes paid ads, promoted social media posts, and sponsored content.
Labor costs: You need to pay professionals to create, publish, and distribute your content.
Equipment costs: Along with standard business hardware, like computers, you also need to invest in quality software like a content management system (CMS) and social media management tools.
How to Build a Content Marketing Budget
The ideal content marketing budget for your business is going to look different than the content marketing budget for another business. This means it may take some trial and error to find the best combination for your content marketing strategy.
To help you create the most cost-effective budget, here are a few things you should consider:
The size of your company
The effect content can have on your brand
Who you want to target with your content
What content channels will be the most effective for your brand
The average content marketing budgets for similar businesses
There are three key steps in determining the ideal content marketing budget for your business.
1. Set Your Budget
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the average B2B business allocates 26% of its marketing budget to content marketing. For B2C businesses, that number was only 22%. However, CMI suggests that the businesses with the best content marketing outcomes reserve about 40% of their marketing budgets for content marketing.
This means if your overall marketing budget is $50,000, you should spend between $11,000 and $20,000 on content marketing.
If you are just starting out, consider setting your budget at the lower end of that range to avoid overextending yourself in the beginning. This gives you room to grow instead of feeling like you wasted money on something that didn’t work.
2. Distribute Your Budget
Once you have settled on a content marketing budget that everyone is comfortable with, you must shift your focus to distributing the funds. Before you start handing over money, consider the following:
What goals do you want to achieve with your content?
What is my distribution plan?
How will I measure the performance of my content marketing?
What tools do I need to help me be successful?
Answering these questions can give you some direction in your budget allocation and help you choose your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Now, you can move on to content considerations. There are a wide range of content types to choose from, each with its own unique costs and benefits.
For example, blogs are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be a good source for lead generation. More attention-grabbing, high-value content, like videos and infographics, costs more and quickly exhausts your budget. However, that does not mean you should ignore them. A high-quality video that costs significantly more to produce than a blog may bring you more leads and new customers than any blog.
Your business must decide which channels and types of content are most valuable for your target audience. If they show little interest in video, it might not be worth it for you to produce many.
In the end, you should offer various types of content that fit within your budget while staying focused on your goals and the needs of your audience.
3. Track Your Performance
To make your content marketing budget work effectively, you should continually monitor the performance of your campaigns. This can show you where you might be spending too much or too little.
For example, if you produce a blog that gets a lot of engagement on Facebook and other social media sites, you might think it is a success. However, if those likes and comments don’t turn into conversions, something isn’t working. Make sure you are tracking and paying attention to the right metrics to optimize your content marketing budget and strategy.
For businesses that are small or just getting started with content marketing, you should focus on a few KPIs until your brand recognition has grown enough. Once you are more established and comfortable with content marketing, you can branch out with a more vigorous strategy.
Content Marketing Budgets Based on Business Size
One of the largest factors in determining a content marketing budget is the size of your business.
Here are a few example budgets broken down by business size.
Content Marketing Budget for Solopreneurs
If you are a one-person business, your content marketing budget and strategy will be unique to you. If you are just starting your business, you will likely have to do nearly everything on your own because you have limited resources to pay anyone else.
An example of a marketing budget for solopreneurs is $1,000 per month. With this budget, you can spend:
$200 on graphic design
$600 on paid social media posts and ads
$200 on retargeted ads for Facebook and Google
With a budget this small, you will likely need to create your own content. You should plan to spend at least an hour writing each blog post.
Your total time investment will depend on how much content you want to share each month. Are you planning a weekly blog? How much will you post on social media? What about eye-catching graphics and videos?
Content Marketing Budget for Small Businesses
If your business is categorized as a small business, you will have more resources than a solopreneur. You may have a small team of trusted associates and a more reliable budget for your content marketing needs.
As a small business, you might be able to afford $5,000 a month for content marketing. Of this money, you could spend:
Your time investment in content marketing should decrease at this stage. However, you will still need to spend some time working with either your in-house marketer or your chosen content marketing agency.
With a budget like this, you could get 2-3 blogs a week with an in-house person or 2-3 blogs per month with an agency. There might also be room for one or two larger-scale projects and social media management.
Content Marketing Budget for Mid-Market Enterprises
If your business has grown to be a mid-market enterprise, you should have more flexibility in the resources and money you put toward content marketing. You may have your own full-time marketing team that includes writers and designers.
An example of a content marketing budget for a mid-market enterprise is $15,000 a month. At this level, you may spend:
$8,000 on a content marketing manager and/or graphic designer
$4,000 for a full-time content marketing specialist
$2,000 on paid ads and retargeting
$1,000 on content creation assets (images and videos)
At this stage, your content marketing should include small projects like blogs and social media posts and more large-scale projects like deep dives into your products and more extensive video production. You should expect an output of 2-4 blogs each week and 1-2 larger projects each month.
Content Marketing Budget for Large Enterprises
By the time your business reaches this stage, you are likely a well-recognized, well-established brand. You have a lot more resources available to you. However, your marketing efforts might be subject to more oversight and strict rules.
Many large-scale enterprises have a content marketing budget of at least $50,000 a month. This may cover costs for the following:
$7,000 on a content marketing manager
$8,000 on full-time writers
$8,000 on graphic designers and video specialists
$8,000 on paid content promotion
$1,000 on miscellaneous needs
$8,000+ on additional content specialists, agency costs, content production, and media management
With a larger budget, you can spend more on multiple content specialists with expertise in various areas. You might also consider more automated tools that take over many of the menial tasks your marketing team usually takes on.
At this stage, your content team should produce 2-5 blogs a week and a few large-scale multimedia projects a month.
3 Quick Tips to Stretch Your Content Marketing Budget
No matter how big or small your company is, you don’t want to let any of your content marketing budget go to waste. Here are a few tips on how to use your budget more effectively.
1. Create an Omnichannel Experience
With omnichannel marketing, as opposed to multichannel marketing, your content will tell a similar story across all channels and should seamlessly lead from one channel to the next. This creates a user-friendly experience and helps establish your brand identity.
2. Reject Content Marketing Channels
There may be times when even after a lot of hard work, a marketing channel isn’t working for your brand. Perhaps you don’t have a big enough audience, or you just don’t like the channel. Whatever the reason, save your marketing budget and remove channels that aren’t a good fit.
3. Use Evergreen Content
Creating content is hard work, so it can feel defeating when it seems to quickly become forgotten and outdated. Evergreen content is a type of content that avoids this problem and nearly always seems relevant. These broad topics are not tied to a specific timeframe or event and can be popular for years with few updates required.
Put Your Content Marketing Budget to Good Use with Express Writers
Outsourcing some or all of your content marketing can be a smart use of your budget. Outsourcing gives you numerous, versatile options backed by professionals who may have content marketing skills your company does not.
At Express Writers, we love working with other businesses. We know what it takes to create high-quality, SEO-optimized content that gets results.
Our team of expert writers has extensive experience in a wide range of industries, and we take pride in matching the best writer to each content request.
If you’re ready to put your content marketing budget to work, check out the Content Shop at Express Writers today.
Infographics are an incredibly popular online resource. According to HubSpot, they are the fourth most popular type of content used by marketers.
The popularity of infographics comes from several factors:
They’re visual and textual, making them a powerful vehicle for education.
They’re easy to share and simple to skim, so they’re perfect for our instant-gratification digital world.
If you haven’t used an infographic in your marketing before, now is the perfect time to get started.
Today, we’re breaking down how to write great content for your infographics, so you can start developing custom visuals your readers will love to share.
What Is an Infographic?
Infographics are a visually appealing way to share interesting information. While their use has grown exponentially in recent years, it might surprise you to learn that infographics have been in use for hundreds of years. One of the earliest infographics appeared in 1626 and illustrated the movement of the sun.
Today, infographics are used as a marketing resource to generate leads and build site credibility with backlinks.
Consider this example below from a recent email we sent about Express Writers University
While it might seem like an infographic is just an alternative way to deliver information, imagine how this information would look if it were simple text. It would be dense and wordy, and people might skip reading it. The addition of images makes the information much more effective and accessible.
Researchers have found that about 65% of the population are visual learners. Beyond that, content with visuals is 40 times more likely to be shared than content without images.
With these statistics, it just makes sense to add infographics as a resource in your content marketing strategy.
Types of Infographics
As infographics have increased in popularity, so has their versatility. With a graphic layout, there are near-infinite ways to present your information.
Here are some of the most popular types of infographics:
Timeline: A timeline infographic shares key moments from your subject in chronological order.
List: This infographic shares important points about your topic. You should include some context to tie each point together.
Flowchart: In a flowchart infographic, each point leads directly to the next. These charts often use arrows or other types of images to show the flow of information.
Mixed Chart: A mixed chart infographic includes multiple types of charts like pie charts, bar graphs, and density maps. Your copy should concisely describe the data for each chart.
How-To: This type of infographic explains a process in detail with as few words as possible.
Hierarchical: A hierarchical infographic stacks information into defined categories. The information is commonly presented in a pyramid shape. If you use this type of infographic, make sure you organize your information correctly. 10 Steps to Writing Winning Content for Your InfographicsEven if you’re not a visual design expert, you can still write attention-grabbing text for your infographics. Here’s how:
Strike a Balance Between Text and Visuals
There are two parts to an infographic – data (information) and design (graphics). Both are important, so striking a balance between the two is imperative. If you have excellent text and boring design, or vice versa, your infographic won’t work.
Creating a cohesive experience gives your infographic the chance to perform as well as possible, so make sure your visuals and text work together.
Keep It Concise
While infographics can be long, the independent elements within them don’t offer a lot of room for text. As such, you need to be careful with your choice of language. Writing copy for Infographics is a great way to learn to say complicated things in simple terms. Aim for small sections of copy that are no more than 100 words. Anything longer and your readers might lose interest.
Be sure all the language you choose supports your main points and helps readers understand the “meat” of your infographic.
Improving your concision is easier said than done. Here are two ways you can try eliminating unnecessary words:
Rewrite your copy: Doing your work twice might seem unappealing but working through it again can offer impressive results. Once you finish your initial copy, walk away and come back later. Wait at least two hours or even overnight to give yourself a fresh perspective. You will likely notice small errors and make improvements in the clarity.
Check each sentence individually: Every sentence in an infographic carries a lot of weight. Read each sentence separately and look for any words you can eliminate without affecting the meaning. These will be fluff words, like ‘really,’ ‘in order to,’ ‘very,’ and ‘that.’
Create a Narrative Arc
Although an infographic might just look like random bits of information stuck together in a graphic, it’s anything but. In fact, all the best infographics have a narrative arc that helps the reader make their way through the information. This narrative arc may rely on sections, a series of chronological events, or a storyline. As you write, keep this narrative arc in mind.
Start with the Data
When creating an infographic, don’t overwhelm yourself with design and text at the same time. Instead, start by gathering data. Look for high-quality, reputable sources, and compile a high-quality list of statistics, attention-grabbing facts, and pointers.
Again, you don’t have much room for text, so be sure each piece of information you include is impactful and meaningful. Remember: your data is the foundation of your infographic. Build this strong foundation and your readers will love it. If it’s shaky and weak, the infographic won’t get the attention you wanted.
Look at Examples
If you’re new to infographics, it will help to look at examples of great content to get an idea of what you should be doing. For the best results, look at infographics from both your industry and outside of it. The more examples you gather, the better your understanding will be of what it takes to create a share-worthy infographic.
Keep It Relevant
Whatever topic you choose for your infographic, make sure it is relevant to your business and your customers.
If you continually produce infographics that are timely, informative, and relevant to your clients, they’ll start to regard you as an expert resource. They’ll also begin passing your valuable content along to others. This is one of the biggest benefits of infographics – they encourage sharing and lead to more traffic to your site.
Once you know what kind of content you want to put out there, it’s time to search for ideas. This research stage can be a significant portion of the infographic creation process. However, you cannot skip it if you want your infographic to be successful.
Searching for trending industry topics can be a great place to start. What are your customers and prospects currently talking about or interested in? What issues are likely to become popular soon?
Here are a few ways you can find this information:
Do a Google search to look for keywords based on your topic
Look through the Design Portfolio on Visual.ly to view existing infographics in your area of interest
Use Quora, Digg, or Reddit to discover the most popular topics and stories that are being shared online
Keep It Cohesive
The best infographics look and feel consistent. While the look will depend largely on your designer, the feel comes down to the tone of the copy. Keep the language cohesive and predictable, rather than changing it from section to section.
If you start with a humorous tone, continue that tone throughout. This will help your readers understand what’s next and learn to recognize your infographics across the web.
Great content must also be compelling and trigger viewers’ emotions. Choose a data set for your infographic that will create an emotional connection with your audience. This will help readers relate to your content.
You can also add sentiment with stronger words. Try replacing weak verbs with stronger verbs in addition to removing adverbs (words that end with ‘ly’). For example, instead of “grow rapidly,” replace it with “proliferate.” Not only does it use fewer words, but it conveys how rapidly something can expand.
Adding emotive words gives your readers something to be curious about and sparks conversation. This is what leads to content sharing, linking, and brand awareness.
Use Power Words
Infographics and headlines have a lot in common. Both headlines and infographics are short, impactful, and attention-grabbing. Optimizing both accordingly can make a significant difference. One of the best ways to improve your infographic copy is to use power words throughout.
Power words, which are short, punchy, and impactful, will help readers connect with your infographics. They’ll also make your infographics easier for people to share and interact with.
Remember: while some words sell, others make people feel bored and uninspired. Make sure your words fall in the first category.
Here is a quick list of some impactful power words:
Format the Infographic Clearly
The format can play a considerable role in the success of your infographic. Poorly formatted information will quickly confuse and lose your readers. The better formatted your infographic copy, the easier it will be for your designer to create an eye-catching image that follows the narrative arc you created.
Consider this basic format when creating your first infographic:
[Repeat subheadings and bulleted facts as often as needed to flesh out your infographic.]
Including a list of sources for the information you share in your infographic is essential. Since you can’t incorporate live links in a graphic image, we recommend using a bit.ly link so your readers can easily type in the source URL.
Additional Infographic Tips
Those ten tips can help you build a strong foundation for a great infographic. Here are a few additional tips to take your infographic to the next level:
Consider Outsourcing Content
Infographics are brief and to the point, so you’d think they’d be a breeze to write. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Infographics take time and effort to develop and create. If you’ve discovered this yourself and struggle to produce an infographic, consider outsourcing to an expert copywriter who can devote the necessary time to research and produce your content.
Give the copywriter your topic selection and a basic outline or project brief to let them know your expectations.
Use a Knockout Headline and Subheadings
Headlines should be short, direct, and filled with keywords. More importantly, they should grab your readers’ attention immediately. Good headlines always have at least one strong word that adds an emotional hook. The goal is to create compelling headlines that pose intriguing questions or promise to share useful information.
Addressing the viewer directly in your headline through the use of the second person and numbers are other ways to draw attention. In addition to your main headline, use subheadings to highlight the sections of your infographic. Include relevant keywords and power words throughout your subheadings for greater impact.
Your headline offers a glimpse of what your infographic has to offer and why someone should read it. For example, if your infographic is about how to improve conversion rates on a website, your headline could be, “10 Ways You Can Increase Conversions with Paid Search.”
To really make your headlines shine, consider using something like the headline analyzer tool from CoSchedule.
Branding is important when creating an infographic, but too much will kill it. Of course, you want to brand your infographic to let viewers know your company created it, but doing it subtly is best. Remember: an infographic isn’t explicitly promotional material.
Don’t be tempted to stuff your content with mentions of your brand name or product/service names. If you do, you’ll come off as “sales,” which is a big turnoff for viewers. If you have engaging, exciting content, people will be interested in learning more, so you don’t have to sell yourself constantly.
With an emphasis on conciseness and clarity, you want to remove repetition in your infographic copy. Spotting repeated words may be easy for you, but you may not recognize redundancy when the words aren’t exactly the same. Use grammar-checking tools like Grammarly to filter out repetition.
Consider Negative Space
While this is more of a design element, be aware while writing the copy. Every infographic should have some negative space. This is the empty space around the words and other visual elements.
As you write each section, try imagining where the blank spaces will be. Consider where you should put line breaks and what font size would work well to leave the appropriate amount of space.
Use Accurate Information
Most of the value of an infographic is the information it contains. In fact, this is an infographic’s purpose. You want to develop content that people can use, so it must be accurate. Whether you’re supplying the data or gathering facts from another source, you need to do some serious fact-checking.
Check your data and check it again. Use only trustworthy sources and cross-reference them to verify facts. Including incorrect facts and statistics in your infographic makes your brand seem lazy and negates all the work you put in.
Don’t forget to include a list of sources at the bottom of the infographic to establish credibility. Additionally, going back to periodically update your existing infographics will ensure any statistics you included are still relevant and correct.
In addition to your data, you want grammatically correct sentences. With such a small amount of copy, any errors are loud and obvious. Proofread your copy multiple times, then check it again after it has been transformed into the visual infographic. There may be times when the designer accidentally added a mistake.
End With a Bang
Wrap up your infographic the same way you started it – with impact! Whether it’s a question or statement, end with something thought-provoking and exciting to the reader.
Bottom Line: More Compelling Infographics Start Here
A great infographic can substantially boost your traffic and organic web search rankings. For your infographic to succeed, you’ll need to choose an idea that matters to your audience – then make sure the actual content is informative, compelling, and concise. Follow this with a unique design and distribution strategy, and you’ll have a winner on your hands.
If the creation of content to match your infographic seems like more than your company can handle, Express Writers can help.
Ready to earn the recognition your brand needs with professional & customized content to match your infographic? Contact Express Writers today.
Being a successful copywriter requires a specific set of skills. Understanding those copywriting skills is important when you’re a business trying to hire a writer. Your goal should be finding a copywriter that can go beyond the basics of strong writing, creativity, and excellent English language skills.
The Express Writers team knows what it takes to be a successful copywriter because we work with them every day. That’s why we’re sharing 12 crucial copywriting skills you should look for when hiring your next copywriter.
With these 12 abilities, a copywriter can deliver creative, high-performing writing that can improve your conversion rates and keep your customers coming back for more.
12 Copywriting Skills Businesses Need When Hiring Writers
The best copywriters work hard to turn their raw talent into incredible writing, earning money for every word they produce. A copywriter with these 12 skills will deliver the superior writing that your business needs.
1. Stellar Research Skills
Most copywriters are writing experts first and may have one or two other areas of expertise. However, with stellar research skills, a copywriter can quickly learn the information they need to knowledgeably write about a variety of subjects as they navigate between clients and industries.
To establish your business as an expert in your industry, you need a writer that knows how to find credible, reliable resources. Good copywriters can tell the difference between a high-quality, authoritative resource and an unreliable one. Plus, they know how to cite trustworthy studies and statistics to back up their claims.
So look for copywriters that know where they need to look to find the right information, whether online resources or somewhere else. If you regularly interview subject matter experts, you’ll also want dedicated copywriters willing to interview them to improve their content.
2. A Good Understanding of the Target Audience
Knowing the intended audience for a piece of writing can have a major impact on how it is written. For example, an article written for experts in your field will look very different than one written for beginners.
When choosing your copywriter, make sure they know who your intended audience is. A good copywriter should have no problems adjusting the tone and language of their writing to fit your industry and audience.
Consider the words of renowned copywriter David Ogilvy: “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.”
3. Adaptable Writing Skills
Frequently, a copywriter has clients from multiple industries with vastly different content requirements. Being able to quickly adapt their writing style and voice for different clients and audiences is a crucial skill for any successful copywriter.
Writers who lack this skill will find themselves frustrated with continually changing demands and strategies. The best writers can quickly pivot to new requests without breaking a sweat.
4. Knows When to Stop
When a copywriter is unfamiliar with a topic, they can use their expert research skills to learn more. However, some writers may inadvertently research too much. They get caught up in learning every detail instead of focusing on what they need to know now.
The best copywriters understand their limits and know when they have gleaned enough information to effectively write about your products for your audience. If you have tight turnaround times for your copy, you need a writer who knows when they’ve done enough.
Knowing when to stop also applies to perfectionists. If a copywriter is solely focused on creating perfectly finished copy before submitting it to a client, they risk missing deadlines and losing a lot of sleep. You want a writer who takes pride in their work but doesn’t get lost in the minutia of creating industry-focused content.
While most professional copywriters seek to create a career-defining, perfect piece, the best copywriters understand that the pursuit of perfection is fruitless.
5. Knowledge of Modern Marketing Principles
Copywriting, unlike creative writing, is solely meant for selling or promoting something else. Some copywriters, especially when they are first starting out, may make the mistake of trying to add their own personality and unique style to their copywriting. They may try to add extravagant language or unnecessary creativity to their copy to make it seem more literary. This kind of writing distracts from the purpose of copywriting.
On the other hand, copywriters have a firm grasp of modern content marketing best practices. They understand the short attention spans of readers, have a handle on SEO concepts, and realize their writing targets specific audiences who need a product. This allows them to save their creative efforts for projects outside of work.
6. Can Take Criticism Well
To write is to create. When the times come to edit your creation, many writers struggle with the idea of “killing your darlings.” Doing this eliminates potentially self-serving language with the goal of improving the overall message.
In the copywriting field, copywriters need thick skin to accept feedback from editors and clients. If a writer continually rejects criticism, their productivity will likely suffer and they won’t get repeat clients.
The best copywriters understand that everyone thinks about ideas differently and know it’s important to work with your client to create a piece that matches their vision. Plus, keeping an open mind means leaving space to improve your own writing. Sometimes critiques can sting, but it’s part of being a successful team player and brand copywriter.
Express Writers, for example, believes that feedback from our clients is the only way to improve and align writing style and brand vision. We don’t think it’s a negative and train our writers to be open when someone else has a different idea.
7. Is Confident but Not Driven by Ego
While copywriters should be open to accepting criticism, you want them to know when their ideas are worth sticking up for. There are times when your writer will have a different way of thinking than you do, and it might end up better for your marketing content.
Of course, you want them to take their time and have the ability to clearly and calmly explain why a specific word choice or change in direction or tone is important. But if you do that, you could find yourself agreeing with their direction.
If you hire a knowledgeable copywriter, be sure you take the time to listen to their ideas as they may have some inspiration that will change your vision but help your content be even stronger.
8. Find Ways to Improve
Copywriting can be a lonely profession. While you can collaborate on ideas and work with others to edit and improve the copy, the actual writing can only be done by one person. This can cause some copywriters to become stagnant.
Instead, excellent copywriters are always on the lookout for ways to improve their writing skills. They may seek mentors, editors, former professors, or colleagues to help guide them throughout their careers.
Copywriters can also look for classes, workshops, and seminars that offer more hands-on skill-building.
Another educational option is reading. While reading anything can help someone maintain or improve their mastery of the English language, the best copywriters want to stay on top of any industry changes.
They may enjoy reading popular marketing blogs to catch up on the latest marketing trends. There are also numerous highly-rated books written by writing and marketing experts that include some time-tested strategies.
If you are interested in hiring a copywriter, you can ask them how they improve their skills and stay on top of the latest marketing best practices.
Many copywriters are freelancers or work remotely through agencies. With this mostly solitary work environment, copywriters should be self-motivated to succeed. They likely don’t have a supervisor or other coworkers encouraging them to keep working.
Good copywriters have the willpower to keep writing even when distractions pop up. The best copywriters have likely also figured out what they need to keep themselves motivated and on-task.
Without this self-sustaining motivation, a copywriter may find themselves falling behind, missing deadlines, and feeling overwhelmed.
When interviewing potential copywriters, ask them what they do to keep themselves motivated.
10. The Ability to Create Something New
While the rules of content marketing change regularly, one thing that will never change is needing your copywriter to create new content.
One of the biggest challenges writers have today is coming up with these new ideas. Take almost any idea, and it has most likely been done and rehashed 500 times already. Trying to break out and do something unexpected can create serious writer’s block.
However, successful copywriters understand conquering unfamiliar topics and know how to create something unique from pre-existing ideas. They can take your requests, add a big dose of research, and create something fresh and exciting.
If they do get stuck, they know what to do to get unstuck, like interviewing a subject matter expert in your industry or exploring trending topics that pair well with your chosen topic.
11. Puts the Needs of the Reader First
When a copywriter writes a piece, they shouldn’t be writing it to make themselves, or even you, happy. The end goal of any copywriting should be to please your target audience and meet their needs.
You will likely find some copywriters so thoroughly entrenched in the SEO principles they first learned that they practically forget that a person exists on the other end of the internet. When this happens, the writing comes out optimized for a search engine instead of a real person.
The most effective copywriters are up to date on the continual evolution of SEO, which means prioritizing the needs and intent of your readers and customers. These copywriters know how to naturally use keywords while delivering a user-friendly piece of copy that is exactly what your customers need to answer their questions.
12. Writes with Empathy
To write something that sells, you need to touch a reader on an emotional level. You explore their feelings of happiness, sadness, and failure. Sometimes, you’re even touching on their beliefs.
Excellent copywriters use the power of empathy to prime the reader for the sales pitch without being pushy. This increases the likelihood that they will follow through with the call to action at the end.
According to Peter Noel Murry, Ph.D. at Psychology Today, empathy can enhance the effectiveness of copy threefold.
To add empathy to their writing, copywriters must view their writing from the reader’s perspective. They could consider:
Any objections the reader might raise
An important motivation for the reader
The benefits a product has for the reader
How the competition has lost the trust of their customers
Explore new approaches to the content (storytelling vs. salesy language)
When looking for a copywriter for your business, you can ask them how they would write about a topic they don’t necessarily agree with.
Being able to predict how readers will respond to the copy is a crucial skill for any copywriter to have. It requires them to separate themselves from their own thoughts, desires, and preconceptions and focus solely on the needs of the reader, even if they don’t agree with them.
Centering your readers and customers this way prioritizes their needs over simply making a sale. By humanizing your content this way, a trained copywriter establishes you as a solution to a pain point, not just a product you sell.
Choose the Expertise of Express Writers for your Copywriting Needs
At Express Writers, we fully vet our writers before hiring them, so you don’t have to. We ensure they have these crucial skills to give our clients the best possible content.
By choosing Express Writers, you don’t have to worry about the quality of writing you’ll get because we manage it internally. We constantly motivate our writers to be their best with ongoing skill-building training and resources.
Our copywriters have the essential skills and personal talents to create the high-performing content you need. We work hard to match each client’s content needs with the skills and expertise of our writers.
Ready to see your results firsthand? Explore our Content Shop to get started.
While press releases are an essential part of online marketing and digital communications, they’re tough to write, and few people understand their structure. Because of this, many companies and marketers hire expert writers or journalists to write press releases for them. However, understanding the format and how to write a press release important so you can recognize a good press release when you see it.
Then you can always evaluate your press release content and be more successful when promoting your brand image and new products.
While press releases can feel foreign, they all contain specific elements that should be present in every press release you issue.
In the words of Robert Wyne, a prominent Forbes contributor, press releases “are formulaic, by nature, but so are poetry, tweets, columns, and other written communications. Everyone has constraints. Chefs work within an 8-inch pan to create an omelet, and the great ones know how to pick the best ingredients and mix them to create a savory sensation. Writers can season their sentences within the confines of a release.”
When you know what to include in your press release and how to structure it, your PR material will be more official, credible, and useful for readers. This is true whether you plan to write your press releases yourself or hire someone else to do it for you.
Follow along as we share the 11 steps required to create an expertly crafted press release.
What Is a Press Release?
A press release is an official statement from a business or organization that shares news with media outlets and the public. It is a formal document used to distribute relevant information in a simple, one-page format. The goal of a press release is to attract attention from the media and the public.
When Should You Use a Press Release?
As an official media document, press releases should be reserved for newsworthy events. If used too often for insignificant updates, your releases might get ignored.
Press releases are commonly used for the following types of announcements or events:
Significant service changes
Hiring or leaving of company executives
Public and private events
Grand openings and groundbreakings
Press Releases vs. Company Announcements
To the untrained reader, a press release might just seem like a fancy term for a company announcement. While a press release is technically an announcement, from a journalistic perspective, it’s viewed as a primary source that can be cited.
Press releases are the source of official information. If a company shares the same news in another way, like a tweet or a blog, it will likely link back to the official press release.
Since they are structured more formally, press releases also differ from other types of announcements because they are meant to be shared by media outlets.
11 Steps to Writing a Press Release
No matter what kind of business you run, press releases are critical. They are an ideal medium for telling the media, Google, and your readers when something new and exciting has happened within your company. Use press releases to announce partnerships, product launches, new hires, and more.
If your business has never written a press release before, don’t worry. Our 11 foundational tips will guide you through the process.
1. Use the Correct Release Language
When submitting a press release to a news outlet, you must tell them when you would like it published. If you’re ready for your press release to go out to the public right now, use the words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top.
However, if you need to hold the release until a certain date (this is common with product launches), put “HOLD RELEASE UNTIL” along with your specified date.
This is an important piece of your press release article because it tells readers and journalists when you want to see your article on the web or in print. It also gives you control over when the press release hits the media, which can have a massive impact on the success of your press release efforts.
2. Use Your Company Logo and Colors
Branding in a press release is crucial if you want your readers to know what your brand represents. To make your press releases more impactful and recognizable, use your company’s logos and colors in the headline section.
Check out how the autonomous driving company Motional added their logo to the top of a recent press release:
3. Include Keywords in Your Press Release Headlines
Just like in other types of online content, you should include SEO keywords in your press release headlines. This makes it easier for search engines to find and rank your press release while ensuring that the media and your readers understand what your press release is about.
Remember: you don’t want to go overboard with keywords – just include them naturally throughout like you do with other content.
Check out how Apple does this in a press release published on December 6, 2022. In this case, you could safely assume the keywords Apple targeted include “App Store pricing:”
Another consideration is the capitalization of your headlines. If you are following official AP Style capitalization, all the words in your headline should be capitalized except for prepositions and words shorter than four letters.
As you can see in the example above, Apple only capitalized proper nouns. However, they published the press release on their website. If they had published the press release on an official news website, choosing title case capitalization would be the better option.
For best results, keep your headlines under 160 characters. Longer than that and readers may lose interest, and you risk having your headline truncated by Google.
Your headline must pique the interest of a very limited demographic – journalists. While you might want to write for your customers, a press release is for the press. Make sure your headline is factual, informative, and attention-grabbing.
Here are a few tips to help you write more effective press release headlines:
Use Numbers: Numbers are easier to understand than vague descriptions. For example, would you rather read: “Sales Increase in the Fourth Quarter” or “Sales Increase by 40% in the Fourth Quarter”?
Think of a Press Release Like a Newspaper Article: If you read through a list of newspaper article headlines and press release headlines, you likely wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. When writing your press release headline, think like a journalist and make the biggest impact you can with limited space.
Use the Present Tense: Even if something has already happened, a press release should talk about it in the present tense, especially in the headline. Instead of “Company X Hired New CEO,” change it to “Company X Hires New CEO.”
Avoid Sales Language: It can be tempting to encourage people to buy something from your business in a press release. However, press releases are for sharing information, not promoting products. If you are sharing information on a new product launch, your headline should talk about why the product is important, not why someone should buy it.
4. Write a Summary Paragraph
Every press release includes a summary paragraph positioned after the headline. This briefly summarizes your announcement. Additionally, most of these summary paragraphs stick between one and five sentences. Some are even formatted as bullet points.
This little paragraph is critical because it helps readers understand immediately whether to interact with the press release or move on to find something that better suits their needs. It can also help busy journalists understand why your press release matters and decide if they want to cover it.
Here’s an example of what a good summary paragraph looks like, from a recent Ford press release:
You’ll note that Ford includes a one-sentence summary in italics to help it stand out.
Consider writing this paragraph last to ensure that it remains a summary. That way you do not include any new information.
Adding a keyword or two in this paragraph could also be helpful, depending on the length of your summary. It’s easy to forget your company name in a headline, so make sure it’s in the summary if you do leave it out.
Finally, with a limited amount of information to include, make sure each sentence is as clear and concise as possible. You only have a few sentences to convince your readers that your press release is worth their time.
5. Include the City, State, Month, Day, and Year
While press releases are meant for wide audiences, it’s also important to tie them into your geographical location. This means including your location information. As you write your press release, add the city, state, month, day, and year of publication.
Here’s an example of that from the same Ford press release:
This information adds context to your press release and will help orient the reader about when the information came out. What’s more, the current city and publication date help readers recognize the press release as recent and relevant.
6. Craft Your First Paragraph
The first paragraph, also known as the “lead” of the press release should contain the primary purpose of your press release.
There are six elements that you need to include here:
Who: Who is the press release about? Who is the company, or the main players involved in this document?
What: What is the topic of the press release? Why should readers care?
Why: Why are you sending out the press release? How does it affect your customers or readers?
When: When is the subject of the press release taking place?
Where: Where is your company located? If there’s an event people need to know about, where is it taking place?
How: How does the subject of your press release provide value? How does it help your readers?
Including this information will better orient the reader and help them understand the purpose of your press release.
Check out how NASA includes all these elements in a press release issued on December 11, 2022:
Nasa answers each question:
Who? NASA’s Orion spacecraft
What? Splashdown of the Orion spacecraft
Why? Shows the progression of the mission to return to the Moon
When? December 11, 2022, at 9:40 a.m. PST
Where? Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California
How? Announces record-breaking space mission
7. Develop the Body of the Press Release
The body of your press release should expand the content of the first paragraph. Each paragraph should be no more than three or four sentences. Break up the body accordingly, but make sure that each paragraph is cohesive and flows well from the preceding paragraph.
In these paragraphs, you will share facts about your press release topic. For example, if you are announcing a new product, you would share details about its features. However, if you are hiring a new CEO, you would share some background information on the new person.
The body of a press release should include a quote, if possible. If there is someone significant who can offer a relevant, valuable comment, you should add it. This will give your readers an objective view of your press release, and, if you quote experts, make your press release stand out as credible.
Consider this example from an American Airlines press release. The airline moved to a new terminal at JFK airport and got a quote from the governor of New York:
You can also consider adding additional media content like photos or videos. However, you should limit this to two pieces of content. In some instances, like if you are emailing your press release, it might be better to include a link to the source instead of inserting it into the press release. For example, include a link to a video the reader can find on YouTube instead of increasing the size of your press release.
8. Wrap It Up with a Compelling Last Paragraph
Consider your last paragraph as a space for your closing remarks. If you are launching a new product, place the products available here. You can also put the product’s trademark and any pertinent information you may have that doesn’t fit into the body.
This paragraph should give your reader all the information he or she needs to understand the “next steps.” Even if those details are where to find your upcoming event or how to contact your new HR manager.
9. About the Company (Boilerplate Information)
After your body paragraphs, you should add your company information, called a boilerplate. This is where you can share some of your company’s merits and achievements, but don’t make it too long, since this will put you at risk of sounding like you’re hard-selling your company.
Boilerplate information is designed to give journalists general information they can include in their writing about your company. This will give their readers more context and will help make your company more professional and recognizable. Boilerplate information rarely changes, so you can use the same text over and over. Just double-check its accuracy each time in case something has changed.
Here is an example from the same American Airlines press release:
Notice how it includes company information for both American Airlines and British Airways. This is because the press release is about both companies. If you write a press release about a business partnership, you should include boilerplate information for all the companies involved.
10. Add Your Current Contact Information
After reading your press release, journalists or potential customers may want to know how to contact you. That’s why it’s crucial to include your current contact information in your press release.
For best results, include your email address, telephone number, and a link to your company’s website and social profiles. Make sure the information you include is current so people never have trouble getting in touch with you.
11. Tie It Up with a Bow
At the end of your press release, you should include the word END or three pound signs (###). This will tell your readers they’ve reached the end and nothing else is coming.
Fast Tips for Better Press Releases
With an understanding of the overall structure of the press release, you will be better equipped to recognize a good press release when you see one. To make your press releases even better, here are a few more tips:
Write in Third Person: Unless you’re using a direct quote, the words “I,” “we,” and “you” don’t have a place in press releases. A professional voice is critical and will make your press release feel more authoritative.
Write to Your Readers: Press releases are meant for readers. Put yourself in their shoes to better understand their perspective and concerns.
Keep It Brief: Press releases should be one page or between 400-500 words.
Don’t Beat Around the Bush: A press release is not the place for inefficient communication. You’re your point clearly and remove any words, phrases, or approaches that don’t immediately clarify your point.
Keep the Adjectives to a Minimum: Adjectives are distracting and difficult to read. Limit them for clearer and more efficient press releases.
Keep It Objective: Readers respond better to a press release that gives the necessary details of a product/event without overhyping it. The more objective and neutral your press release can be, the better.
Get Rid of Jargon: Jargon makes your press release difficult to understand and inaccessible to many readers. Cut it out whenever possible.
Proofread and Edit Carefully: Read your press release carefully to help avoid costly mistakes. Spelling, grammar, or factual errors can make your press release look unprofessional. Before publishing, read the press release out loud to make sure it sounds correct.
Don’t Syndicate: Once the preferred method of press release distribution, syndication is now dead. While some brands use to spend thousands of dollars each month to distribute their press releases, experts like Time Grice have since come to say that there is “no value in press release syndication for SEO purposes.” Instead of staking this approach, share your press release with local media outlets. You’ll enjoy a better ROI, and your press releases will get more traction.
Follow-up by Phone or Email: Once you’ve sent your press releases out to your local media outlets, follow up with a phone call or email. This personal touch can help cement your press release on a journalist’s radar and make it easier for them to remember.
Post On Your Website: While sharing with public media outlets is the purpose of press releases, you should also publish them on your own site. Many businesses create a dedicated “news” page for all their newsworthy information or adapt their press releases to publish on their blog.
Include Relevant Keywords: These keywords should be searchable and relevant to your press release.
Don’t Overstuff: Going overboard on keywords will give your press release a spammy, dense feeling, which you don’t want. Don’t overstuff or you risk turning your readers off.
Use Multimedia: Multimedia elements, like videos or images, can be fantastic for enhancing your press release. Use them sparingly, though, so you don’t overwhelm the text.
Better Press Releases Start Here
Knowing what it takes to write a great press release can give you better control over your brand image. Whether you write them in-house or hire something else to do it, understanding what you’re looking for can lead to more success.
Need a great press release? Trust our copywriting and PR experts at Express Writers to create high-quality PR for you. Explore our content shop to see what we can offer you.