Content Marketing Is a Marketing Tool Like No Other
Today, content is more important than ever before. More brands are investing in content creation now than ever before because they recognize that creating content that appeals to their intended audience is a marketing tool like no other.
Not only does content allow brands to be visible on multiple platforms where their target market already spends time; great content builds trust with the audience. When trust is established between a target market and a brand, the possibility of readers becoming customers shoots way up.
According to Demand Metric, content marketing produces more leads than other forms of marketing, despite being cheaper.
However, building trust is easier said than done. For one thing, careful planning and proper strategy are required. You can’t just create any old thing or post sporadically and expect that a strong bond of trust will be formed. Instead, you must create valuable content regularly. Valuable content is content that meets your target audience’s needs and is interesting or memorable in some way. It takes skill and effort to create this type of content.
Additionally, content must be created and published strategically to meet your performance goals. Whether your goal is more traffic, more sales, or more repeat customers, think about how to include content into campaigns that will produce these results. More about content marketing goals here.
While, in the beginning, content marketing can seem like a serious investment of time and effort, the good news is that great content is a gift that keeps on giving. Once you’ve established a solid foundation of core content, your audience will easily be able to find your brand, learn more about you, and decide if they want to do business with you. Then, it simply becomes a matter of making sure you maintain your excellent results.
This Christmas, we decided to remake a classic Christmas story to help wrap up a great year of content creation. Enjoy!
Ready for Christmas? These 10 wordplays, handpicked by our copywriters, will put you in the mood. Save and share — around the office, Christmas dinner table, or with your favorite grammar-lovin’ friend!
10 Best Christmas Wordplays
1. Heard on the roof, the prancing and pawing of each little hoof
On Christmas eve, one of Santa’s reindeer asks Mr. Claus why Dasher and Dancer are always taking coffee breaks. Santa’s response? “They’re my star bucks!”
2. The coziest season
Why do dogs love the tradition of a Christmas tree? Because they get to enjoy an indoor bathroom when you bring it home.
3. The hustle and bustle of the holidays
Red, white, red, white…what’s that? It’s Santa Claus, rolling down a hill!
4. Tasty treats everywhere!
What do snowmen like to eat for breakfast? Snowflakes.
5. The perfect gift beneath the tree
Last year, I wrote a letter to Santa asking him to bring me the sexiest person in the world. On Christmas morning, I woke up in a box.
6. New lessons to be learned from loved ones near and far
What do elves learn at elf school? The elfabet!
7. A holly-jolly season
Who says “oh oh oh?” Santa walking backwards.
8. Winter sports to enjoy and share!
What do you call a snowman wearing ice skates? A snowmobile!
9. A chilling situation
How do you know if the economy is in trouble on Christmas? The snowmen are selling themselves on the streets.
10. The most wonderful time of the year
The most wonderful thing about Christmas is it’s the only time of the year when you can gather around a dead tree and eat chocolate from a sock.
With the holiday season upon us, brands in every industry are putting together their holiday editorial calendar. It’s important to adjust your blog content, your email marketing, and even your social media presence to target the holidays your audience is celebrating.
We recently shared five tips to help you create “irresistibly tasty” content for your readers this holiday, but today we have some new inspiration for you. We are sharing six brands that consistently do a great job with their holiday content year after year.
6 Brands That Win at Fantastic Holiday Content
These brands may create festive content for their blogs and social media or they might give their product a fun twist around the holidays to get you feeling jolly.
Whether you’re in need of some inspiration for your own brand’s holiday editorial calendar or you just want to get in the holiday spirit, look to these brands for some help!
Starbucks: The Yearly Tradition
It wouldn’t be possible to have a round-up of brands that do the holidays right without mentioning Starbucks, would it? Although Starbucks isn’t exactly known for festive blog posts around the holidays, they are known for those classic red cups. And you know what? It works for them!
Each and every year, the coffee chain releases a brand new red cup design (or even multiple red cup designs, like they did this year). Their customers get excited to see what they have come up with, looking forward not just to the seasonal lattes, but the seasonal red cups as well.
Not only do people get to enjoy their delicious drink in a decorative cup, but Starbucks also encourages customers to share photos of the popular red cups on social media. For the past few years, Starbucks has run an Instagram contest where they ask people to share photos of their red cups. Customers are encouraged to snap a photo of their red cup with the hashtag #RedCupContest for a chance to win prizes.
This motivates customers to head to Starbucks and share photos, which likely prompts others to do the same when they see the images in their Instagram feed. It’s effective marketing for Starbucks and gets people in the holiday spirit!
The Takeaway: Create something your audience can look forward to every single year. Then, get people involved! Create a challenge of your own and encourage your audience to participate. You can even take it up a notch by giving back through giveaways people are sure to love. If you choose to do a photo challenge like Starbucks, it provides amazing user-generated content you can share on your own profile, too.
Target: Masters of Storytelling
The Christmas season is a pretty big deal for Target. Because many parents are shopping for presents to put underneath the tree and children are adding to their Christmas lists, Target is a popular destination for gift shopping. So, it should come as no surprise that the nationwide retailer puts a lot of effort into their Christmas ads each and every year.
In 2015, Target used their television commercials to tell a story of children and the store mascot, Bullseye the dog, as they set out to light up a giant Christmas tree. Throughout the commercials, you would see famous characters children are familiar with, such as the Minions. People would pay attention to the commercials so they could see what would happen in the end.
While it may seem the commercials were designed with only children in mind, Target slipped in details parents would want to know, too! They would add pitches about some of their holiday offers, such as free shipping for online purchases until Christmas.
Their goal is always to take the viewer on a journey, so it’s no surprise they plan to do the same thing for 2016. This year’s advertisements are said to be a Broadway-style marketing campaign that will feature some celebrity guests.
Target doesn’t just put a lot of effort into their advertisements every year. They also have the Kids’ Wish List App, which children a way to save all of the items on their Christmas wish list. And it gives parents a list of exactly what to buy! You’ll likely see pitches for this app in the commercials as well.
The Takeaway: Create a holiday marketing campaign that tells a story. Draw your audience in with a captivating story that leaves them wanting to know more.
J.Crew: Embracing Social Advertisements
Fashion retailer, J.Crew, is pretty savvy when it comes to their social media marketing, especially around the holidays. Last year, the company ran a few ads on both Instagram and Facebook. Now, it’s no secret that social media ads can be a great way to increase sales for your product and build brand awareness. So, what’s the big deal?
J.Crew knew what they were doing with the ads they created. They took advantage of the “Shop Now” button that can be placed on ads, which would encourage people to click over to the website and immediately start shopping straight from the ad.
The Takeaway: If you’re looking to boost sales this holiday season, don’t be afraid to experiment with social media advertisements. They can be a great way to reach your audience. Figure out which platform your audience is most active on and start building an ad. Promote your product and send people over to your website to encourage them to make a purchase.
Tone It Up: Cooking Up a Great Holiday
The mission of the Tone It Up girls is to help you get fit and healthy, no matter what time of the year it is. However, it’s not surprising that can be difficult this time of year. We often indulge in large meals and lots of sweets during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up show that it doesn’t have to be that way!
Because the ladies also share healthy recipes on their website, they keep holiday dinners in mind when cooking up new recipes in the kitchen. They provide readers with recipes for healthy side dishes and pumpkin treats (which are perfect this time of year). The ladies even share their tips for hosting a fabulous dinner event in your own home!
The Takeaway: Keep the holidays in mind when planning your blog’s editorial calendar. Find ways you can work the desired holiday into your content. If you’re a food blogger, share seasonal recipes. If you’re a lifestyle blogger, share decor tips. If you’re a business blogger, you can even offer advice on how to manage your business during this busy season and tips for boosting sales. It’s as simple as that!
Kate Spade: Teaming Up With an Influencer
If you’re familiar with the Kate Spade brand, you know they are all about bright colors and having fun throughout the year. It’s basically the go-to brand for the classy party girl, which makes it perfect during the holiday season.
A quick scroll through their Instagram feed will reveal perfectly styled posts and images that will have you feeling festive and ready to dance, drink, and be merry in no time at all. Kate Spade has also enlisted the help of celebrities over the years to be the face of their brand, including for their holiday campaigns.
Back in 2014, Anna Kendrick starred in the brand’s first ever “Miss Adventure” episode. It shows the fun side of Kate Spade, as the two-minute video features Kendrick being locked out of her New York City apartment. Instead of freaking out, Kendrick makes the most of it, like any Kate Spade girl would! She chats on the phone, plays with an adorable puppy, tries on the clothes she just purchased, and even pops some champagne! All of this goes on while Anna is surrounded by the Christmas decorations on her front stoop.
This year, things are a little different for Kate Spade. While they are teaming up with an influencer, it’s not Anna Kendrick. Nor is it even a human! Miss Piggy is the star of this year’s Kate Spade campaign, which is quite an unconventional choice, but is sure to get people talking.
The Takeaway: Consider teaming up with an influencer for your holiday marketing campaigns. The key is to choose someone who resonates with your audience for maximum impact. If an influencer isn’t right for you, you could also consider a collaboration with another brand as a way to spread the holiday cheer!
Apple: Tugging at Your Heartstrings
Apple is pretty well known for doing a great job with their marketing campaigns. The company has had major success with their Mac versus PC television commercials from years back. (Who remembers those?) And more recently, they have created the ultimate user-generated campaign with their “Shot on an iPhone” advertisements. It’s pretty clear they have some smart people working behind-the-scenes on the brand’s marketing.
This year’s holiday commercial is no exception. At a time where the United States has become rather divided after a rocky election and the world remains on edge due to terrorism and other issues, Apple is promoting unity with their new ad entitled, “Frankie’s Holiday.” After all, that’s what the holiday season is all about. It isn’t about the gifts underneath the tree. It’s about bringing family and friends together while spreading love and holiday cheer.
The bigger message of this commercial is heard loud and clear, but Apple does still use it as a way to subtly promote their product without being in-your-face. It’s an ad that is sure to resonate with many people worldwide and tug at a few heartstrings.
The Takeaway: A great holiday marketing campaign has some emotion behind it. It’s the best way to draw in your audience and inspire them to take action, no matter what your message may be.
Wrapping Up Your Holiday Content
Now that we’ve given you tips for creating your holiday content and you have some brands to turn to for inspiration, it’s time to get started with your holiday editorial calendar (if you haven’t already).
Tweaking your content to fit with the holiday season, whether it’s blog posts, emails, social media posts, or even your product descriptions, can really boost brand awareness and increase sales this time of year!
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a fun giveaway from Express Writers, now would it? Of course not! And you’re in luck because we have a fantastic giveaway planned for the month of December, with a winner every single week!
The best part? All you have to do to be eligible to win is participate in #ContentWritingChat on Twitter. Keep reading to get the full scoop and find out exactly what you could win this month.
What is #ContentWritingChat?
#ContentWritingChat is our weekly Twitter chat that we have been running since January of this year. We chat every Tuesday from 10-11 AM Central Time and are lucky enough to welcome so many new faces to the chat each week. It really has grown into an amazing community that has become a go-to place to learn and develop connections online.
In our chats, we primarily talk about copywriting, content marketing, SEO, and social media. We make sure these chats are jam-packed with value by inviting guest hosts to join and sharing the questions we know our audience is asking. If you join us throughout December, you just might want to bring a notepad to take a few notes.
If you aren’t able to take notes, never fear – I post weekly recaps in the #ContentWritingChat section!
To visit the recaps, click Learn from the menu:
Hover and then click Twitter chat. You can see all our recaps posted there.
Join Us for 4 Weeks of Giveaways!
What can you win this month and what do you have to do?
Each week, one lucky participant will win one free blog written by the talented team right here at Express Writers. This blog will be written by our general writers, made-to-order around the keywords/topic of your choice, and tailored to your online presence and brand. This also includes one custom branded visual to go along with the post.
So, is this exactly what your blog needs? Here’s what you need to do if you want to win: All you have to do is join us during the live #ContentWritingChat hour on Tuesdays from 10-11 AM Central Time. You can also refer your friends to the chat and let us know you invited them to join the fun.
It’s as simple as that and it’s happening every week in December. That means you have four chances to win a top-notch post to share on your blog.
Best of luck to everyone who comes and joins us to enter – we can’t wait to see you in the chat! Mark your calendars for Tuesdays at 10 AM CST, and join us on @ExpWriters or @writingchat with our hashtag #ContentWritingChat.
Christmas is almost upon us, and you can bet that your audience is feeling festive and frisky.
But is your content set up to match?
The holidays are the best time to alter your content in the name of engagement and celebration, and many site owners find that adding a bit of holiday flair and seasonal content to their web pages is an efficient way to draw attention and promote more conversions and sales during the holiday season.
What’s more: there are dozens of places to do this! From product descriptions to blogs, bios, and social media updates, creating festive copy is a fantastic way to make your company more approachable and keep your readers happier than a group of hard-working elves on their day off.
Bring Compelling Copy Home for the Holidays: How to Create Your Best Seasonal Content
As Christmas draws near, people dive headfirst into purchasing mode, and they’re looking for things to buy, companies to engage with, and new brands to discover.
What a perfect time to be a marketer! By rewriting your blogs, descriptions, and social updates to provide a bit more of the holiday spirit, you can create content with a seasonal appeal that will leave your readers wanting more.
Holiday Content on the “Nice” List: 3 Examples of Companies that win at Seasonal Content
For three examples of businesses that are great models to follow in seasonal content that wins every holiday, check out these three businesses:
ModCloth is one company I always reference when we start talking about great product descriptions, and rightfully so. The clothing company is the queen of wildly creative copy, and the names of their clothing alone is enough to make you want to buy.
Sweet, reliable, and decidedly festive, these product descriptions add a festive feel to shopping for clothing, which may otherwise be a mundane process.
PooPourri is famous for its decidedly raunchy but very (um…) honest product descriptions. For an example of some of their more recent holiday-focused content, check out last year’s “Even Santa Poops” commercial, which has earned more than 15 million views on YouTube.
While you may not want to get this gross with your holiday content, this commercial just goes to show that ‘tis the time of year for creative copy to take hold.
Backcountry.com is a “Gearhead’s paradise” that offers outdoor clothing and accessories for people who ski, run, hike, climb, and camp. Every year, the site puts together one massive product description. It calls this its “Holiday Gift Guide,” and it features curated gear for both men and women.
As a user, you click the guide and wind up on a page featuring dozens of drool-worthy gifts for men or women. While the products are exciting enough, Backcountry got it right by compiling some of its most festive offerings into one convenient platform for its users. While the holiday marketing isn’t over-the-top, there’s no denying that this is a downright festive experience:
How to Write High-Performing Holiday & Seasonal Copy: 10 Timely Tips
When it comes to writing high-performing holiday copy, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Keep your choice of holidays broad
Because there are several holidays throughout December, it’s smart to avoid putting all of your focus on one of them. Unless, of course, your company sells Christmas trees, Thanksgiving turkeys, or something else that is decidedly singular.
For everyone else, keep your holiday options open, or opt to choose a few holidays and work around them. In addition to allowing you to appeal to the broadest segment of the audience, this also gives you a framework for keeping your content fresh and ensuring that you’re not getting too wrapped up in a single holiday and neglecting the others.
This can make it difficult to create useful topics, and people who keep things open-ended commonly have an easier time staying creative.
2. Offer surprises, discounts, or contests
To make the most of the festivity of the season, provide your readers with the occasional holiday surprise, giveaway, or offer. Because the holidays are a season when people shop till they drop, now is a fantastic time to give things away and draw new customers through unique offers and surprises.
If you’re not sure what to give away, don’t worry. Free downloads are a fantastic option, as are eBooks and other types of digital content. If you’d prefer to give away a product, run a holiday contest on a social media platform of your choice. In addition to spreading the word about your goods and services, this is also a fantastic way to keep your customers happy, festive, and engaged.
3. Add holiday graphics to your site
If you look more closely at the Backcountry screenshot above, you’ll see that the company has developed a unique little Christmas logo to jazz up their holiday content.
While you don’t need to go over the top with neon elves and light-up monstrosities, adding some festive holiday visuals to your site is an excellent way to get people into the Christmas spirit and ensure that your content is the one gift that truly keeps on giving.
To maintain your brand identity in the process, work to make sure that your holiday additions stay in-line with your company colors, voice, and approach. Additionally, work to find areas in your existing brand strategy where you can add some Christmas flair like Moz did last year with a dog named Lettie Pickles, the company’s resident brand ambassador:
4. Revisit your older holiday content
If you’ve ever created holiday-focused content before, now is an excellent time to bring it out to play once more. Consider recycling holiday content from previous years by breaking an old blog post into Tweets, turning a blog into a visual presentation, or featuring a timeline of your holiday content through the years.
While there are dozens of ways to address this recycling of old material, there’s no question that the decision to do it is an excellent way to get the most traction out of your older content, without breaking your back in the process. Holiday copy doesn’t limit itself to just blog posts or product descriptions, and getting creative with your holiday copy is an excellent way to win the game.
5. Make the most of the less-known holidays
While Christmas and Thanksgiving may be captivating your attention, don’t forget about the following, lesser-known holidays:
Free shipping day
In addition to these events, remember all of the various post-holiday sales dates. These can be major cash cows for your company and are far too valuable to overlook.
6. Make your holiday content as visual as possible
If Pinterest were any indication, the holiday season is an incredibly visual time. People love content they can drool over: think mouth-watering sugar cookie pictures, festive red and green housewares, a welcoming holiday table dressed with turkey and gravy boats. To make your holiday content as viral and shareable as possible, be sure to make it visual.
For an example, check out some of the pins on Martha Stewart Living’s Pinterest board “DIY Holiday Decorations.” While the board is curated by the Martha Stewart staff, you’ll notice it features pins from Minted, Target, and other such companies that have done a great job of making their holiday content visual enough to earn a place on such a curated and involved board.
7. Extend the holiday cheer all the way to your email lists
If you think the season of well-wishing stops with your website and product descriptions, you’re crazy. For best results, take it all the way through to your email list, where you’ll have the freedom to offer a heartfelt sentiment of love and good cheer as the holiday season draws closer.
For an example of someone who does this well, consider Tim Ferriss’s holiday edition of the weekly “Five Bullet Friday” email from last year.
While it’s true that this email is a bit bare on festive design, it features a nice opening line about the holidays, and a heartfelt thank-you at the end, which he addresses to his followers in the spirit of the holiday season.
Although many marketers believe that emails aren’t the place to share content they hope to go viral, such as a product description or offer, it’s important to remember that, as long as you make it easy for readers to share the email with their friends, they’re very likely to do exactly that.
With this in mind, don’t hesitate to provide tidbits of holiday-specific information, special offers, or insider deals in your emails. Your followers will thank you, and you may even enjoy a larger audience, as a result.
8. Use an editorial calendar
Content creation is enough of a bear at the easiest times of the year, and it can become downright stressful as the holidays roll around. With this in mind, use an editorial calendar to schedule your holiday posts in advance.
In addition to allowing you to forget about the burden of being sure you’re posting all of your content on time, this simple approach will also enable you to ensure you’re hitting all of the important targets of the holiday season and that there aren’t any “gaps” in your content strategy.
A good editorial calendar will help you plan content around important dates and will allow you to schedule your content more effectively for the business of the holiday season.
9. Write a retrospective in honor of the holiday season
Most readers love retrospectives – pieces of content within which the writer looks back at the year that’s just passed and defines the best or worst changes in a given industry. In addition to being relevant to your readers (since most of them will have lived through it right alongside you), a retrospective like this is also a great way to provide a summation about the year behind you, and look forward, collectively, to the year ahead.
Ideal for companies in the tech, marketing, or services industries, blogs with headlines like “The X Best Changes to X Industry this Year” or “Our 10 Top Predictions for X in 2017” will perform very well.
Keep in mind that emails that fit this structure are also a fantastic tool for any company looking to pitch a new product or showcase a new offering, which could easily fit into one of the “predictions” for the coming year.
10. Have fun with your copy!
While there are several smart things you can do to prepare yourself and your copy for the holiday season, keep it at the forefront of your mind that the holidays are a celebratory time, and having fun with the content you create for them is one of the best ways to make sure it goes off without a hitch.
With this in mind, don’t be afraid to get silly, poke fun at things like ugly sweaters and too-full family members after holiday dinners. As long as you’re keeping it kind and respectful, it’s all in good fun and your readers will appreciate you for it!
It’s a Jolly Good… Seasonal Content Campaign
As the holidays draw near, people everywhere are brainstorming how to make their holiday copy as viral and shared as possible. Fortunately, these ten smart tips can help.
When you bring some playfulness into your holiday copy, schedule it accordingly, and take some notes from the best content creators in the biz, it gets incredibly easy to develop quality seasonal content material that your readers will love.
10 Reasons to Be a Thankful Content Marketer As You Gather Round the Table
1. Writing elite content is something we take pride in. So’s eating three slices of pumpkin pie.
2. Two rules to live by: save room for dessert & make time to relax. We can help with the latter.
3. Feel like your copy looks more like a snood than something with swag? Invite us to your table.
4. Content marketing can be as easy as sweet potato pie, with the right resources.
5. Gobble, gobble, gobble! (That’s called onomatopoeia.)
6. Only the best ingredients for our copy make it to the table!
7. While you’re stuffing turkey, we’ll roast your copy.
8. Sweet potato pie vs. pumpkin pie. Quality vs. quantity. Find the right team, you get someone that perfects all the flavors.
9. Turkeys CAN fly — so can your content when it goes viral with the right content touch!
10. A thankful content marketer is one that’s found a content creator they can trust.
Happy Thanksgiving from Your Friends at Express Writers!
This Thanksgiving, we hope you get to spend some time with loved ones gathered around the table, relishing good food, fun, and making memories. (For the Friendsgiving goers among us—I’m in your group this year!—enjoy your special day of gratitude, good food and companionship, too!)
Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Express Writers!
We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, …And a Happy New Year!
Merry Christmas From Express Writers!
It’s already the end of 2015. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are upon us!
I hope that you’re not spending too much time in front of the work screen, but if you are, you should read this one blog. (Insert brazen-faced winky emoticon.) I hope it’ll inspire you and that you’ll leave with some content marketing tips you can start using right now – and bring into your New Year.
First: Why Christmas Doesn’t Have To (Ever) Be Your “Slow” Season
I’m even more excited to bring you this holiday post and hereby “blog,” or “work,” on the holidays, because, well, December is becoming our hottest month of the entire year!
I couldn’t believe it myself, but we broke records and had over 1,000 pages of content ordered in 48 hours, our first week of December. This is the most we’ve had ordered in 48 hours since I created the company, in 2011.
Our financial graph for the entire year looks like this:
(The lowest point, in January, looks lower than it was because we actually started our online Content Shop then and had all our clients begin placing orders online.)
We still have one more half-week in December, and our team is in the office throughout this month still – so we expect the year to end with our busiest month yet!
That’s my reason directly to you why December doesn’t need to be your slowest month. We actually saw it become our best month for 2015 – which means anyone can, too, provided they never let go of the hustle and effort it takes to get a best foot forward and put in some real work and passion.
Copywriting Tips for the Holidays (and Beyond)
Even as the holidays are quickly whizzing past us, there’s still plenty of time to hone your skills for your holiday campaigns and start converting readers into buyers. But before you do, let’s take a look at the top copywriting tips to get your writing into shape.
8 Top Copywriting Hacks
1. 90% Of Your Time Should Be Spent Crafting Killer Headlines
There’s a lot to be said on the topic of headlines. Strong conversion copywriters spend at least 90 percent of their time crafting one, or two… or three for every piece.
It’s important not to stuff your headlines with keywords. And while you’re at it, throw out everything you were taught by those old-school SEO dictators on how to craft those headers. Make them attention-grabbing, borrow from winning formulas, do what you got to, to reel readers in.
Here’s an important tip to remember: great headlines are very often incarnations of the value proposition of the very thing you’re trying to sell.
Here’s another tip: ask yourself this about the prospect you’re writing for: “what was going on in their life that brought them to you today?”
2. Write Amazing Headlines Using “Without”, “Even If” and “Data”
There’s so much to be said about headlines and that’s because they really are THAT important. Here are a few things you could include to help make your headers stand out:
Use an “even if” clause to overcome hesitation
Add a little data about the outcome
Replace “even with” with “without” – what don’t your readers have to do to get the result?
3. Stay Away From Positioning Statements – Use Value Propositions
At its very core, a value proposition needs to express what’s desirable and unique about your offer. Never confuse it with a positioning statement. You should state something about that your product does. You can include an end benefit. But don’t make your value proposition a laundry list of benefits.
4. Get To Know Different Types of Awareness
There are a couple of different kinds of awareness your readers will have during the sales process. Depending on the stage of awareness they’re at, they’re going to need different messaging and content:
Pain Aware – in this stage people respond to seeing solutions to their pain, or even their own pain.
Solution Aware – this is where people respond to high-level benefits, so avoid thinking of the problem and think of the solution.
Problem Aware – during this phase, people realize they actually have a problem but don’t know how to solve it.
Product/Brand Aware – here people want to know what best and biggest benefit your product has to offer before they’re introduced to the benefits. People love the phrase, “but wait! There’s more!”
Completely Unaware – during this phrase, people are completely clueless about their problems.
5. Embracing Similarities Between Taglines and Value Propositions
Sometimes the very best taglines are actually your value propositions (as discussed above), just whittled down smaller while being specific.
6. Keeping Swipe Files for Inspiration
Never heard of a swipe file? It’s a collection of content that you can use for ideas – all that memorable stuff that’s resonated with you. Save everything you love so when the well runs dry, you have a file full of inspiration.
7. To Write Content That Shocks and Generates Shares, Go Ahead and Pick a Fight!
Take a completely accepted way of doing things and go and turn it on its head. Don’t be insulting, though, just provocative.
8. Top X Lists Can Still Work
These lists can work well, provided they add something meaningful to the conversation. Try to be better. Aim to be different.
5 Tips for Effective Holiday Content You Can Do Now
Here are 5 bonus tips for crafting effective holiday content as you leave my blog today (and go eat chocolates, or open gifts, and enjoy your holiday – in short, get away from the computer :D).
1. What Are Your Customer’s Holiday Needs?
One of the best things about the holiday rush is you get to offer your customers great value when you create content that will help them cross something off their to-do list, saves them time or makes the holidays more fun. Consider what your readers are trying to accomplish this holiday season and help them achieve their objectives.
This Christmas, we decided to give back and create the ultimate giveaway of five free days of gifts – for five total gifts. We created landing pages for each of the products after we finished creating the actual product (which ranged from a 10-day email course to eBooks and PDF resources), then wrote a blog and landing page for the entire campaign. We then socialized this like crazy–pinning to our Twitter, posting it on Instagram, highlighting on our Facebook business page, and more. We’ll probably even make a few Twitter ads for it, and we’ve already scheduled an email campaign for it.
2. Target Specific Audiences to Improve Performance
While the bigger brands and media organizations tend to create content that appeals to a wider audience, one of the best ways to drive performance for a holiday campaign is to determine the audience who is most likely to purchase your products and then create content catering to their interests and needs.
Let’s say you are a sports apparel brand, a very general holiday gift guide with products ranging from home décor to high-tech gadgets is far too wide-ranging to capture a particular audience’s attention. Rather create specific posts like “10 Perfect Gifts for The Sports Woman In Your Life.”
3. Make Sure the Subject Matter Fits Your Brand
Here’s another thing to keep in mind: your content needs to address a subject that you and your brand actually have the authority to speak about. Even if someone who purchases a state-of-the-art television set is likely to indulge in a fancy cocktail this holiday season, I highly doubt that customer is going to take much note of a post titled “5 Great Champagnes To Try This New Year’s Eve” that’s been put together by a tech company!
Discussing topics that fall naturally under your brand’s preview means you can give consumers a reason to trust your content and want to read it all the way through to the end.
For a cool example of what does work, take a look at Verizon’s post. In their post they perfectly targeted gift-givers who were in the market for those under-the-radar tech accessories, and the subject matter is perfectly aligned with what the tech company have to offer.
4. A Sense of Urgency Is Key. Your Customers Are Expecting It
One of the main challenges of marketing during holiday time is that you only have a short period of time. If people don’t make their purchase before the end of the year, they’re not likely to return to your brand in January, are they? What’s more, if you fail to be aggressive about converting readers into paying customers, there’s a big chance they will make that purchase from a competitor.
While more blatant sales pitches could turn people off any other time of the year, customers tend to be more receptive to them at holiday time as they’re actively shopping and in fact, they are expecting companies to promote featured product items. So it’s easier to create a sense of urgency with your customers by presenting them with exclusive sales offers that expire within a certain amount of days or hours, enticing them to buy from you before even bothering to see what your competitors are selling.
Even if you don’t wish to use calls to action in your content, you can still create a robust retargeting plan that will resonate with your most engaged audience with a tailored sales pitch later on in the holiday season.
5. Launch Your Content Early and Start Testing It
It’s really never too late to start laying out your holiday content campaigns. Of course you want to get a head start so that you can optimize exactly how you’re going to promote your work in order to reach out to your audience. So let’s say you have five pieces of Cyber Monday content, be sure to give yourself enough time to see which articles perform best in order to allocate more budget towards those winners in the days leading up to your sale.
You can run a range of similar experiments, both on social media and in content recommendations, with your thumbnail images and headlines to see which combinations will drive engagement and therefore conversions.
One of the best things about holiday campaigns is that you know they’re going to come around, so you can give yourself loads of time to create amazing campaigns that will get you the results you want.
Does the idea of creating any kind of content campaign terrify you? Don’t worry, at Express Writers we know how to create and deliver on expert content that says all the right things for your audience, just in time for the holidays!
It’s the first full week of December, and at Express Writers, we’ve cooked up something special for all our fans, friends and followers! We’re calling it 5 days of content giveaways. We’re giving back to you—thankful for our community of clients, friends and fans this holiday season! Each and everyone who signs up will get one free content gift every single day for five days.
My team and I have stayed up late nights together finalizing each and every one, and I’m really excited about all the useful content we’re giving away over these five days of giveaways. I’m not going to spoil the surprise by naming each and every one of the gifts, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis of the surprises on the way:
Day 1: For day 1 and our first free holiday gift to you, we’re releasing Express Writers’ first free eBook to the public. It’s about blogging, and I won’t share the full title, but it’s really informational and we spent months putting this together!
Day 2, 3 & 4: We’re giving a series of PDFs away over these next few days, sharing some informational resources that you’ll love to have in your back pocket. Perfect for the content marketer, writer, blogger, and creator!
Day 5: I’ve recently finished writing an email course, and I’m giving it away for free as your last gift in our giveaway series. I’m showing you the ropes of blogging for your business, from getting started to writing and creating great content, visuals and getting your content ready for rankings. Plus more! You won’t want to miss this.
I’m thrilled that you’re here reading this post and a part of Express Writers. And don’t be the Christmas Grinch—if you have friends who would love a free eBook, blogging guide and other related resources, please share! Over the next five days, everyone who signs up for our gifts will get a special something from us, delivered straight to their inbox!