This September, I’m taking the stage at one of the biggest conferences in my industry of content marketing — Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio!
Founded by Joe Pulizzi, who is one of the most authentic and real influencers in (as well as the “godfather” of) content marketing, CMWorld is my all-time favorite conference.
Thousands of marketers getting together around content marketing — what could be better? This will be my third year in a row attending CMWorld, and my first year speaking!
The last time I attended CMWorld, in 2018, I lost count of how many people suggested I should speak this year.
One of those persons? Joe Pulizzi himself. When the godfather of content marketing himself recommends a next step for you, well… you should do what he says.
My session is very unique. I’m co-presenting with a funny, awesome, genuine content marketer Jason Schemmel, who’s been my friend in the space for a while. I’m super excited to take the stage with a good friend.
Over the past weeks, I’ve been structuring and creating all the content for this session.
It’s going to be one-of-a-kind and unique because I’ve formulated it like an intensive, yet easy-to-follow, masterclass!
I will be teaching you how to create and publish authority-building content — and inspiring you along the way to get it done! You’ll learn what growth-focused content looks like, you’ll hear from top content marketers that we’ve interviewed for exclusive insights on what it takes to put together a high-converting content marketing campaign. You’ll see the difference between “sexy” vs. “high-ROI” content in real-life. You’ll learn what drives real content growth, the right KPIs to track, what content tools I use every day and what metrics to look for, and how to get executive buy-in for your content campaign.
I’ve spent weeks working on this session. It’s going to be one of my best educational masterclasses on authority-building content, ever!
Come join me at CMWorld. Learn more at ContentMarketingWorld.com, and use code MCCOY to save $100 if you decide to join me. We could meet at the opening party at the Rock ‘ N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio! 😁
Don’t forget to subscribe and catch new videos that hit my YouTube channel.
Till fall, I’ll publish less frequently while I focus on my new book and this massive speaking gig; but I plan to get back on consistent video creation after September. And don’t forget to stay up to date with my new projects! Follow me on Twitter @JuliaEMcCoy.
After a ton of work, it finally went live on Friday, June 28.
This was a project that came after eight years of hard work in content marketing, leading my content agency Express Writers, writing two books, teaching and leading two courses, not to mention writing over a thousand blog posts!
I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this adventure with you.
In today’s video, walk with me down memory lane a minute and listen as I share the full story behind this new brand I’m launching.
I watched my mom connect to the internet, and saw her send an email to someone online for the first time. That person emailed her back in minutes. I was blown away at the power of the internet. Ever since then, I’ve pretty much loved the internet. I figured out how to make money online at 12 years old.
Today, finding an avenue to connect “making money online” to “writing content online” simply delights me.
It’s a wonder that I can get online, craft thoughtful words or teach others to, and make more in a month than my parents did in a year back in the ’90s.
Online content has been my favorite realm–a creativity outlet, and a full-time living–ever since I dropped out of college and a nursing degree back in 2011 at 19 years old to seek my passion.
My Competitive Edge in Content: How It Was My Only Financial Means Out of a Cult
Here’s the thing about how I learned to create content.
When I started diving into following my dreams and building my writing agency, Express Writers, at 19 years old, every single dollar I earned had to go towards paying my way. Otherwise, I was broke.
And in 2012, at 20 years old, I used those hard-earned dollars to help get out and escape my dad’s religious cult.
I escaped and finally built the life I always dreamed of by growing my company Express Writers to over $4.5 million in sales in the past 8 years.
(This is a story I’m telling in a book I just finished writing. I can’t wait to share when that comes out. If you follow me on social media, you’ll hear all about it!)
So, there’s no doubt.
I’m a hard-knocks, bottom-line focused, reality-checking content creator.
My success comes from the hard work I put in.
Nothing I do comes from luck.
I have zero time or patience for what doesn’t work, and I’m motivated by results.
It helps that I have a passion for what I do. I love the science of the internet, and I love making magic with words.
Where Does ‘Content Hacker’ Come From?
When I first heard the term content hacker, it was from Garrett Moon at CoSchedule. He coined it in 2014, simply defining it as a ‘growth-focused content marketer’ and taking inspiration from Sean Ellis’ term, growth hacking, originally coined in 2010.
I can’t think of a better term than content hacking to describe my day-to-day content lifestyle.
Ever since I began my journey in content creation in 2011, I’ve worked hard to create and execute content in a lean way that directly relates to bottom-line growth.
We have over 16,000 organic keyword positions and a million yearly site visitors at Express Writers. Plus, the clients we’ve written for have also seen incredible success with our content.
But, here’s the thing.
My content wasn’t always successful.
In fact, many of my best life lessons have come from the “Ph.D. in Failure” university. But, as I’ve worked in content for the past eight years, I’ve noticed a truth.
There is a serious lack of true growth-focused content in the enormous efforts and investments by marketers and brands in content marketing today.
Backlinko did a study revealing that 94% of content doesn’t get noticed enough to earn even a single backlink.
I see a ton of same-old, same-old.
I see marketers trying a few tricks here and there, hoping to tape-and-glue it — and content efforts failing, time and time again.
I see content falling flat. Budgets fizzling out. No profits earned.
But here’s the thing.
I believe our broken content marketing is fixable.
Because it is.
Content marketing, done right, is magical.
And that’s why it’s time for Content Hacker.
Elite, proven, working content marketing methodologies are needed — more than ever.
Our standards in marketing, both as practitioners and in the education arena, need to be guided to a new level.
I’m thankful and honored to know more than a few brands, marketers, and agencies that are breaking the mold.
But there are far too many today that still aren’t.
And that’s why Content Hacker™ is here.
What Content Hacker Will Be All About
My new brand serves several purposes.
First, Content Hacker is a resource for elite content marketing education. From our graduates in high school considering a marketing degree, to the marketer, agency, or freelancer that desperately needs this kind of help, to the entrepreneur growing their brand from scratch — this education will be offered to all who need it.
Secondly, Content Hacker is the community I never had when I was a hard-knocks content creator, learning to build strong content the hard way. I want to inspire and bring in others besides myself who will help shine the light on the way forward. And that’s why I’ve invited over 20 leading marketers to be interviewed in a special blog category we’re showcasing, Content Hacker Spotlights, telling the stories of those truly making a difference in marketing. I cannot wait to unveil and share who we have that’s said an emphatic “yes” to these upcoming blog interviews. Prepare to have your mind blown. 🎉
Thirdly, Content Hacker is my new “personal brand.” This will be a resource-heavy, inspiration-heavy site, first and foremost: never built to simply spam or sell you. But, alongside a schedule that includes over 50 amazing content pieces launching in the first six months, I’ve put together some great offerings with this brand, bringing you the best of my training, offerings, mentoring, consulting, and books within fingertips’ reach.
Did you get your FREE copy of my launch freebie, The Content Hacker Starter Kit? If not, go grab it on our beautiful new site now (credits to Jill Lynn Design for such an amazing site!).
And, don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new brand.
Here’s what Townsend actually wrote in his book in 1924, which gave us our first usage of this “sales funnel” as associated today with the AIDA model:
“The salesman should visualize his whole problem of developing the sales steps as the forcing by compression of a broad and general concept of facts through a funnel which produces the specific and favorable consideration of one fact. The process is continually from the general to the specific, and the visualizing of the funnel has helped many salesmen to lead a customer from Attention to Interest, and beyond.”
Does that sound like something our customers actually want from us today?
John Hall, co-founder of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that has made the Inc 500 list, has said on Forbes:
“Right now, the marketing funnel as we know it accepts just about anyone and everyone, filters them through qualification processes, then spits them out at the end without much of a parting word. Too many companies see customers as gatekeepers to wallets; meanwhile, customers feel ignored at best – and insulted at worst – when the journey ends.”
In my article from last December, I drew a new marketing flowchart I’ve called The Marketing Lifecycle, which represents a more modern visualization of today’s buyer journey. This concept has started to go far and wide, re-published on MarketingProfs, MarTech Advisor, Content Marketing Institute, to name a few places.
The term “marketing lifecycle” itself isn’t new. Ardath Albee, an industry leader in content marketing, talked about a lifecycle on the Marketo blog. In the post, titled “B2B Tech Marketers Make the Shift From Funnels to Lifecycles,” she says:
“…Marketers [must] shift their focus from buying journey funnels to full-on customer lifecycle management.”
What’s important to remember is that today’s typical customer journey is far more unpredictable than the customer from just a decade ago.
47% of B2B buyers read 3-5 blog posts or content pieces prior to talking with a salesperson (DemandGen).
77% of Twitter users (Twitter) feel more positive about a brand when their tweet has been replied to.
That means that a typical buyer’s journey could look a lot more like this, and there could be a lot longer of a time period between the first and the last stage — or even shorter, depending on trust! — than a funnel even represents.
The sales funnel really gives companies, and executive teams, the wrong idea of who is buying from them. A human is buying from us, in the end. I think sometimes many of us forget that simple fact. And as marketers, it shouldn’t be our focus to “grab” the attention of people who aren’t in our audience, for numbers’ sake. We should never only focus on “dumping people” at the end of a funnel.
It’s time to quit looking at our customers as if they are numbers, a metric in our system, a “wallet.”
Our customers are so much more than their wallets. They are our friends, the people we want to help the most if we’re truly in business to make a difference. Let’s take a more nurturing stance that encourages people to stay in our circle: to join our community of readers, buyers, and evangelists.
4 Stages in a Modern-Day Marketing Lifecycle
Stage 1. Awareness
Lead is: In awareness
Brands need to focus on: Authority building in the industry with high-quality content on a key site “house,” in a variety of formats. Consistency, quality, and quantity all play in.
This is the traffic and awareness stage when someone first hears about you and has a potential need for what you might offer.
Your content and work here should be value-focused, first and foremost. Don’t be promotional or you risk turning leads off. Comprehensive, high-quality blogs are huge winners to build on your site for attracting more leads in the awareness stage.
Trust-building content is the Queen, and the Queen rules the house. Instead of just publishing any content to fill a schedule for pushing your brand forward in the industry with momentum, marketers will need to push themselves further to create content that earns that love and trust – stuff with deep originality, fresh angles on old topics, imaginative ideas, and a big dose of fun.
This trend is already reflected in the data. The majority of marketers (56%) are reporting that content creation is the one area where they have overwhelmingly increased spending, according to CMI’s Benchmark report for 2019.
What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:
High-quality, comprehensive, SEO optimized blogs for inbound site traffic
Focus on building a community feel with your brand — create intimacy with your niche, again, through content
Original research studies
Web pages & site guides
Social media content, videos & copy
Published books by executive team leaders/CEOs (see mine for an example)
Lead magnets and ebooks & building list size and leads to nurture with opt-ins
Ad campaigns (cold audience)
Fourth-stage tie in: Maintain relationships at the fourth stage for more word-of-mouth referrals
Stage 2. Interest & Intent
Lead is: Interested and has potential intent to buy
Brands need to focus on: Conversational marketing. Holding live calls with strongest team members, offering client-specific or seasonal coupons.
In the sales funnel, this is usually broken up into two stages: Interest and Desire. However, the pattern with smart buyers today, especially those buying online (digital and physical services), is that a lead can go from interest to desire very quickly. Never write off your leads too early. We’ve seen clients come back out of the blue months or even years later time and time again.
And guess what the #1 factor is in moving someone from interest to a decision? A real, live human conversation.
After 8 years and $4+ million in sales, all conducted not in person and over the “internet” virtually with clients using our website, we consistently see conversations as the #1 factor in moving someone from interest and intent to decision. Yet, this is a metric left out of ALL KPIs and ALL sales funnels!
Since our leads at Express Writers are 100% inbound and already warm, getting them on a call is easy – and once they have a conversation with one of our capable staff members, 60-80% of the time, they buy.
Allowing the lead to choose phone, chat or email, and then being quick to take initiative, pick up the phone and call is the #1 component of all of our sales. (We’ve never used a single webinar to sell our services at Express Writers.)
Also, our top salesperson is not a salesperson. We stopped doing commissioned sales back in 2015! Instead, our top salesperson is someone who has a ton of experience in client support and serious hand-holding chops, because that’s what it takes. You have to have someone that enjoys this process and loves working with clients.
I can’t recommend this enough: Have more conversations with your leads. Talk about the conversations you’ve had in your boardroom with executives and team members.
Another powerful factor in moving a client through this stage is by using coupons and offering them more.
Remember your email marketing efforts here too. Emailing your content marketing pieces generates a 38x return for every 1$ spent (CampaignMonitor).
What brands should do at this stage:
Conversational marketing (live chat, phone appointments with leads & best company representatives)
Messenger bots & live chat apps
Have your best (human!) representatives at the end of the app & booking live calls with leads
An easy-to-navigate site with clear contact forms
Lead magnets around your core message
Ebooks to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise
Whitepapers and case studies showing off client success stories
Email marketing and list building efforts (write and send great emails consistently)
Ad campaigns (retargeting)
Stage 3. Decision
Lead is: Ready to buy
Brands need to focus on: Having samples, previous happy client reviews, and quotes ready to go. Booking sales calls.
This is the action stage. The main action here is sales. If the other stages are done correctly, and your content has built a great presence, you offer a solid service and products, and you or your team has answered every question; the prospect should buy.
What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:
Conversational marketing (live chat, calls, prompt follow-ups with clients to answer every question)
Have a team that acts fast on sales quotes. The recommended time to get back to someone who contacts you online now is 0 minutes – 4 hours, max.
Have work samples ready to show at request for new clients making a decision
Testimonials and reviews from prior happy clients help new clients buy with confidence
Optional, based on specific company time: Demos (a complex SaaS, for example, could benefit from offering demos)
Stage 4. Loyalty
Lead is: Delighted and willing to send referrals
Brands need to focus on: Great service, delivering a great product, following up and checking on client happiness levels, fixing or repairing any reason for dissatisfaction
This is where you connect with and delight your customers on a regular basis. They become advocates for your brand at this point.
This is one of the most important parts to building a long-term presence and profitability as a business, yet it is so often left off of the sales funnel! Your customers’ loyalty reflects the strength of your brand. You should be reaching out and making sure your customers are happy, checking in with them, and sending them occasional gifts or thank-yous to maintain that relationship and loyalty. It’s up to you as the brand to make sure the customer is delighted. If at any point they’ve been dissatisfied, it’s also imperative to find out why and repair whatever could be broken.
What brands should create or do to encourage customer activity at this stage:
Followups and seasonal check-ins: build relationships with customers without being pushy
Send gifts and thank-yous — I send a handwritten note with the books I publish
Email marketing: Nurture buyers’ loyalty by sending them your new guides, blogs and customer stories/team stories
New products, books, etc. can also build loyalty and reoccurring interest
Good service and strong products are #1: Revise and maintain your offerings and team to ensure strength in the market
There are a few things I’ve noticed that consistently happen around the sales journey that really does not match up to today’s sales funnel at all (see AIDA model, above).
1. Predicting where a lead is at is almost impossible.
In short: we can’t read a human buyer’s mind. Software can’t heat-map a lead’s “brain,” even though it’ll promise you that it can try. Your lead could be ready to buy, or they could be months away from buying. It’s their decision, not yours, on how and where they should spend their money. In the end, we let our customers know the decision is theirs, and we simply work to stay top of mind.
2. Loyalty is a stage that’s often forgotten, and best built through great internal service.
This stage is when our biggest sales happen! Not at the first close. And the loyalty stage happens AFTER the interest, decision, and action stages. If we’ve served our customers well enough, and maintain that relationship in a way that encourages them to tell others about how much they love us, this pays off.
3. Conventional KPIs can actually pull focus away from a real path to sales.
For example, one of the biggest “metrics” for actual sales from content is the conversations we have with our leads. If our team isn’t having calls, live chats, email conversations every DAY with our leads, then we revise and improve our inbound strategy. We work on our chat popups. We add or remove questions to our forms. Conversations are by far our biggest metric that leads to a sale. Yet I never see “conversations” factored as a KPI in the sales funnel! Instead, it’s open rates, follower counts, bounce rates.
None of that matters half as much as the conversations you’re actually having with your people.
I hope this inspired you and shed some light on the very difficult topic of our customer sales journey.
If you have questions or thoughts, you know what to do — leave a comment!
After 8 years of content creation, and writing thousands of blogs, I’ve learned that multiple process and draft stages are everything to staying ahead of content, producing great quality, and never risking burnout. (I’m 3 or 4 weeks ahead now on more than 20 individual long-form content pieces per month.)
When it comes to stages in content creation, this is the secret to success. And this includes stages for your headlines!
Here’s the three stages I use.
Headline Writing Stage 1: Draft a headline that reflects the idea or keyword you’re writing about. My draft for the blog example would look like: How to promote a new blog post: # techniques (because that’s the keyword and the idea). It should not be perfect at this point. Don’t worry about that yet!
Headline Writing Stage 2: After you write the blog, come back to the headline. How many steps or techniques do you have? You’ll know after writing the article. This is super important: Let the content guide your headline. This will mean accuracy to the topic for the reader, if you match the headline to what you’ve written, after you write it. You want to refine and craft a headline you like.
Headline Writing Stage 3: Run the headline through a scoring tool. I like the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. It’s a fantastic tool that gives you a rating for how much emotion your headline will impact, and what emotions you’ll bring up in your reader. Intellectual, Empathetic, Spiritual are the three emotions the AMI tool scores for. 40-80 is a high score. Another good tool is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, which rates your headline from 1-100, dependent on word choices used in the headline, length, etc.
Now that you know the stages of how to write a good headline, which I’d say is the most important part of this video, let’s talk about a few other headline rules of thumb.
Headline Writing Tip #2. Never, ever, ever, clickbait.
Don’t sacrifice accuracy for sensation.
The best wait to avoid this is with accuracy from headline to topic.
Never disguise your topic or be unclear about it. Be upfront and 100% accurate. Accuracy of your headline to the content also impacts Google rankings. Google looks for headlines that sum up the topic of the content. The topic of your content is what ranks well in Google, if the whole piece is topically accurate. This is because of how semantic search algorithm works. We can get all nerdy here — that’s just a summary. For more, I have a guide on semantic and topical search optimization.
Headline Writing Tip #3. Your starter words matter.
BuzzSumo did a study of over 50,000 articles in B2B content. They found that these starter words performed better than other headline starter phrases:
“The Future of”
“How to use”
“Need to” (without “Know”)
“How to Create”
“You Need to Know”
Brainstorm topic ideas with these phrases in mind. For example, “what does my audience need to know?” or “what is the future of my industry and how does it affect my audience?”
You can even go back and optimize content that’s not performing well on your blog and add in these header phrases. I go back and optimize my old icky headlines all the time and see more results from doing so!
Go Forth and Write Headlines that Work
Hope these tips helped you.
Here’s to writing catchy headlines that work and earn our readers’ attention — and don’t add to the noise and clickbait crap out there!
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In the same Hubspot study, it was found that an accumulation of more content brings more leads: companies that have published 401+ blog posts get 2x as much traffic as those that have less than 400.
The current ROA (return of advertising) is .6x, down from 11.8x in 2016. You’re losing money, most of the time, on ads. The ROI (return of investment) of organic content is anywhere from 14-16% of traffic (conversion into sales). (Ad Strategist)
But here’s the thing.
The average time span to see content marketing results can be 12-18 months.
After building up a repertoire of content, we’re seeing results – like ranking in the top 3 of Google results for “digital content strategy” in as little as 30 days.
So, faster results can happen, only if you build up the right foundations.
And here’s the secret about content marketing.
It doesn’t work if you don’t set it up to work.
Watch today’s video for three ways to set up your content marketing foundations to start earning (and seeing) real results online. ⬇️
Video Summary: How to Build a Strong Content Strategy for Your Content Marketing
Hi, I’m Julia McCoy. You can call me the content hacker. That’s the name of my new personal brand launching in June. I’m a growth-focused content marketer, the CEO of Express Writers, blogger, and author.
Thanks so much for joining me on today’s video!
Content Works – But It Doesn’t Work If You Don’t Set It Up to Work
I’ve been sharing those statistics that I shared with you at the beginning of this video for years now.
I’m here today, creating a video just for those still in the rut of zero action in their content marketing.
I’m calling you out because I care about you. Your success can happen — you might just a few feet away from content marketing greatness.
But here’s the thing.
If you’re not getting the fundamentals of great copy right, and you’re not stepping into consistency and greatness in content production.
All the while, complaining about the things you don’t have.
Not enough leads.
Not enough sales.
Not enough people on my website.
I can tell you, if you just sat down and fixed the content marketing problems staring you in the face —
The problem with most content marketers is that marketers think of content as a quick fix, instead of thinking of it as a fundamental, like building a house.
And they complain about all the things they wish they could have, while they’re ignoring this big, glaring situation of ignoring the fundamentals.
Which they could have — if they fixed their content.
If they stopped being absent on the company blog. If they got the broken areas of their website rebuilt. If they took another look at and fixed all that icky content written more than two years ago.
It’s time for content marketers to stop complaining about the leads, traffic, and sales they don’t have. And it’s time to start doing something about it.
Content marketing action-takers are the content marketing winners.
My story is proof this can happen — and I’m a college dropout that learned all this by a ton of trial and error!
For 8 years, I haven’t missed a week in blogging. Guess what our results are? Over 90,000 monthly visitors and an income built 99% through our on-site traffic. Our traffic converts at 14-16%.
We’re not the only story of success after content done right — we’re just one of many brands, completely built through content marketing! (See a case study of four marketers and teams that have built huge presences with content marketing.)
3 Ways to Start Turning Things Around and Seeing Real Success From Your Content Marketing
If you’re not seeing success from your content, here are three ways to immediately step it up and start seeing results. All of these three things require some time and effort, but they’re going to be worth it.
1. If your site isn’t fast, user-friendly, stable, well-built, or built at all — this is your first step.
Site speed and quality is everything.
Google has said that conversions drop by 12% per second of load time. The more time it takes to load your site, the less your lead, your human, will even stick around. Website time is money! A study done in 2017 showed that one full second can decrease conversion rates by 70%.
Use a tool like Pingdom to test your website speed.
Hire a good WordPress designer from platforms like Upwork to fix, clean or build your site, make it lightning-fast, Google-friendly, reader-friendly and beautiful.
You don’t need to spend more than $30-50/hour to get a great WordPress developer, and you can by the hour and work done. If you need a brand new site, expect to spend a minimum of $500 or $1000 for a solid, well-built 3-page website. More if you want them to build more content.
Get a great website. (Build one if you don’t have one. Rebuild one if yours is crap. Seriously. You’ll thank me later.)
2. Research and put together a keyword report. I do this weekly.
Think of finding the right SEO keywords like paving a driveway to your house and adding your house number on your mailbox. Without a house number, mail couldn’t get to you! Your friends wouldn’t be able to find your house! Without a driveway, people would have trouble getting to your house.
The same is true of building a site without doing keyword research. After 8 years of doing consistent SEO keyword research, I still find untapped keyword opportunities that no competitor or major industry publication has found yet! There are so many opportunities for low-hanging fruit that you can create great content around that will help your ideal audience member or even buyer find you and your site.
Remember, once you have SEO keywords researched, it will do you no good without great content formed around them. Get a writer to help re-haul all your content if it’s icky, or hire a writer to create some content for you! You wouldn’t leave remodeling the kitchen up to yourself and a friend, would you?
Maybe if you’re a professional contractor, you would. Don’t leave writing up to you and add it to your long to-do list, if it’s hard to make a priority OR if you’re not a professional writer by trade. Trust me — Google puts heavy emphasis on your content quality to rank your content.
3. Plan and set a consistent amount of content to happen on your site regularly.
The best way and easiest way to do this is through a blog. I have a goal of a minimum of one blog per week at the Write Blog. I’ve been able to commit to that for 8 years and running. Other marketers besides me have committed even longer!
Think about great images you can add to your blogs. You can even go for custom illustrations and have a designer create header sets for each blog in a branded color that matches your brand and logo. This is what we do at the Write Blog.
You’ll need to get your social media going, too. Share the posts you publish on your site.
That’s it! Three ways to see success from content marketing. Like I said, it’s a lot like building a house, not a cheap or fast trick to get traffic and sales. It’s a long-term commitment to see long-term success. But isn’t everything good in life like that? A marriage — you have to put in daily effort to love that person! Parenting — you have to spend time with your kid every day! Writing a book, building a business, on and on. So why are we trying to do anything different with our content marketing?
By the way, if you need content help, this is what we do every day at Express Writers. We write blogs, research keywords for our clients, plan out consistent content, design beautiful, custom imagery.
That’s it for today’s video! Want more content marketing real talk? Hit that subscribe button and tap the bell so you get notified right away when my new videos are out. Let me know what you thought of today’s video in the comments – I’d love to hear from you! See you next time.
With over 78 million people in the US alone blocking ads, garnering the term “adlergic,” creating smart content that reaches our target consumers has gotten more critical than ever.
Content marketing is smart marketing in an age where our consumers are looking for what they want, when they want it.
Content marketing WORKS tremendously well.
But, it doesn’t hit those HUGE return numbers without a smart content strategy.
The best content marketers use a strong content strategy. It’s true – Content Marketing Institute’s benchmark study says the most successful content marketers are far more likely than their less successful peers to have a documented content marketing strategy (65% vs. 14%)!
So, you have to know your content strategy to achieve real content marketing success.
Not sure how to do that? You’re in luck! Learn how to put together an effective content strategy for powerful marketing, in my new video.
How to Create a Content Strategy for Your Content Marketing (Video)
Video Transcription: How to Build a Strong Content Strategy for Your Content Marketing
If you know me, you already know how much I LOVE content marketing. I’ve been preaching it, writing books about content strategy and marketing, and practicing it since 2011.
Heck, I’ve got ‘serial content marketer’ and ‘content hacker’ in all my social media bios.
I believe in content marketing and a smart content strategy because, simply put, it WORKS to build a real audience today. Content is one of the LOWEST-COST, highest-ROI marketing efforts you could be doing, especially if you focus on your onsite presence. SEO content leads have a 14.6% close rate, as opposed to outbound leads (1.7% close rate!)
Through a smart content strategy and content marketing, inside eight years, I’ve built a seven-figure digital agency. I haven’t had to show up to any office – at all – in those seven years. I haven’t had to cold call. I fired my commission sales rep over three years ago because content marketing works so well! Our story of growth through content has gone around town. Neil Patel has featured it on his site (this study is fairly old – we’re at 2,500 visitors/day organically now), and we were even interviewed and featured on Forbes.
BUT – before I got smart on my content marketing strategy, let me tell you, my content was a HOT MESS! I was publishing with no results, just hitting publish, publish, and in a hamster wheel of content efforts.
After figuring out our content strategy, I almost TRIPLED our agency’s monthly income!
Keep watching for the full story, and the lowdown on the six content strategy cores I still use today for powerful results.
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The Backstory: Before I Put a Content Strategy In Place, Here’s What My Content Marketing Results Looked Like
Okay, so quick backstory before I go into the six content strategy cores you should be putting into practice for real content marketing results.
From my beginning year of 2011 all the way up until about 2015, I was a stressed-out, struggling marketer.
I was producing content in a whirlwind of deadlines, just to keep my “online presence” afloat.
My agency made money, and we got leads… but not enough. It always seemed we’d ride by with nothing to show for it each month.
Why can’t my marketing WORK? I’m creating content daily! I was thinking to myself.
Fast-forward to 2016. After working for five years in my agency, I decided a “spray-and-pray” approach just wasn’t good enough. I settled in, stood back, and taught myself how to be strategic. I tested, analyzed, and surveyed. Then, I applied a series of strategic moves to my content marketing, started publishing less, and focused on the right things.
And it paid off…
In less than 18 months, I reached 150% MONTHLY revenue growth.
Our team and client base grew by 25%, we now have almost 90 team members, and we have new clients coming in every week after finding us through our content.
Getting strategic with our content has truly paid off.
We don’t have to sell ourselves anymore — our content does the selling.
These six content strategy cores are the reason our marketing is so successful. Let’s get into them.
The 6 Cores of a Successful Content Strategy
At a birds-eye, here are all six:
Your Content Marketing Fundamentals
Your Audience and The Sales Cycle
Know Your SEO
Build Online Authority Consistently
Create Content that Actually Works to Build Your Audience, Presence, and Revenue
Budget, Promote, and Maintain for Consistent Success
Did I mention that these aren’t quick overnight hacks? They truly aren’t. Let’s get into a bit more detail.
First, fundamentals. Everything you create in content marketing is stronger with a good foundation. You should spend a minimum of one week just planning before you create.
Here are a few fundamentals to know. First, know your topic area to build content inside of. Or, if this is for a client, this is their topic area. Center this around your expertise, and then branch out to what your audience wants to hear from you about. So if you sell shoes, don’t talk about shoes. Talk about health and fitness apps, knee health maintenance, and warmup exercises for runners.
Secondly, get to know your audience and be able to connect them to the sales cycle. Build a real audience persona by conducting market research surveys. Get to know your audience like you would a friend. Then, find out what interests them at the three stages in the sales cycle, from awareness to intent, evaluation, purchase, and loyalty.
Thirdly, get to know your SEO. Know how to research for a great keyword. Know how to write well-optimized SEO content. This is the fundamental knowledge you have to have to build incredible onsite content that brings traffic and growth in your future months. Set up your tools and time to consistently research keywords. Look for long tail keywords instead of broad keywords.
Fourthly, build your online authority consistently by focusing on a strong content house, where everything you create will live. This is your website, not another publisher’s platform that can take away publishing rights or reach. Everything you create on your house is lasting and will domino to more results over time.
Fifthly, learn how to create content that works. Delegate and get support at this stage. My agency, Express Writers, writes for hundreds of marketers and agencies. Maybe you need a writing team to craft high-quality blogs and website pages. You need to get consistent to see results, and you need to create worthwhile, valuable content.
Sixth and finally, set a content budget, promote the content on your house to your email list and social media, and maintain (clean, take care of) your content for ongoing success.
Now, this was just a bird’s-eye view of all six cores. I do have a 60-minute training that goes over each one of these content strategy cores, which you can access immediately here. Just put in your email address and you’ll instantly receive an email with the video file to watch on demand. You don’t have to show up at a certain time or day.
P.S. Did you see our new intro in today’s video? My husband got that footage with me with a drone right here in Austin, Texas. The bridge is called the Pennybacker Bridge, over the Loop 360 highway. If you’re ever in Austin, give me a shout! And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, and the little bell to get notified for my new videos. See you around!
Need Help in the Content Creation Side of Content Marketing, Without Quality Loss?
Our team of writing experts at Express Writers is here to support your content creation!
I had the honor of teaching a half-day content writing workshop for NextGen Healthcare in Irvine, California in March, 2019.
I walked in armed with principles, ‘how-tos,’ recommended tools, writing standards, custom techniques for their B2B marketing, and more…
And as I walked out to enjoy the sun and California beach for an extra day, I had a HUGE realization.
The playbook to ‘good content’ is dead.
In a world where 3.8 billion emails are sent daily, 5 million blogs are published daily, and 1.5 BILLION websites exist…
We’ve hit a content peak. ⛰The mountain of content we’ve created online (much of it, bad) is unbelievable.
And now is the time to stop creating the same old, same old.
We have no excuses anymore. We’ve got to stop fitting in ‘best practices’ boxes, and allow room for innovation.
In today’s video, I’m covering some of the most important takeaways after walking out of my workshop and conversations with the amazing team of content creators at NextGen. Watch, and then let me know in the comments on YouTube what your #1 action will be today to stop creating same old, same old. Let’s inspire each other!
Seriously! I believe that level 10 has become our new Level 1. It is now the Basics.
So, know your basics. Get strategic, and never guess when creating topics – ever! Use data-backed insights on REAL searches they’re doing in Google and questions they’re already asking online, using tools like BuzzSumo (content discovery) and SEMrush (SEO analysis).
Here’s a crazy statistic about the state of video:
More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years. (Insivia)
And: 147 million Americans watch video on the internet, according to Nielsen.
Well, you might ask… But does this mean video content is being consumed by our audience?
Glad you asked.
Yes, yes it does.
46% of users take some sort of action after viewing a video ad (Online Publishers Association)
After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online (ComScore).
96% of B2B organizations use video in their marketing campaigns, and 73% of those organizations report positive results to their ROI (ReelSEO).
Real estate listings that include a video receive 403% more inquiries than those without.
1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video.
59% of executives would rather watch video than read text (Forbes).
Let’s be honest – if you’re ignoring video, you’re missing out.
Words are great and all, but in written form they can be a little overwhelming at times. Even if text is broken up by spaces and cool pictures, our consumers want a different way to digest information.
Videos are a trending content type because of a fundamentally human element that makes them much more relatable. Plus, it’s easy to consume them. Click play, sit back, enjoy.
It’s as easy as that – no wonder people enjoy video content. It’s why people flock to sites like YouTube, whether they want to be entertained, informed, or both. About 1.9 billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month.
Last September, I started focusing on growing my YouTube channel, and have remained committed to a minimum of publishing two new videos/monthly. (We publish 1-2 blogs per week, so those continue to take precedence.) I’ve seen incredibly great organic reach from it, solid traffic and even leads come our way – and even better returns after getting more strategic with my script and strategy. I’ll cover some of the strategies I use on a regular basis in today’s guide.
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably looked to master most of the popular content types out there. Blogs, news articles, and web pages are all important. However, knowing how to write a great video script is also valuable. Think of it this way – a video isn’t an alternative to a written content piece. Instead, it’s a creation based off a well-written video script.
Today we’ll go over how to write a great video script. Planning, creation, promotion – we’ll cover everything from beginning to end.
1. Defining Marketing Explainer Videos (and Their Benefits)
2. How to Ideate Your Video – Matching Ideas to Goals
3. How to Create Your Script – Drafting an Outline and Beyond
4. Producing and Publishing Your Video
5. Final Thoughts to Make Your Video a Success
What is a Marketing Explainer Video? Why Should You Make One?
“You want me to buy this? Well, why should I?”
“Uh, well, let me explain that…”
We’ve all been on one side of this dialogue at some point – maybe both. If you’re the person who is trying to explain how your good or service could benefit a potential buyer, hopefully your explanation is organized well enough so you don’t start the answer with “uh.”
Sometimes we’re told the answer to this question should be organic – and in a way, that’s right.
Yet, when we’re making a video, we want to sound like we’re reading from a script. The script is the key to a good video, especially one detailing a product or service.
A good explainer video uses time efficiently – saying exactly what the listener is looking to hear by tackling the important points in direct succession.
Consider these tips when you want to make an explainer video:
Be Concise: You can be descriptive, but try to start with a simple 1-2 sentence pitch that summarizes your product and what it does.
Know Your Audience: Focus on who you are writing to – but more importantly, focus on what problem you can solve. People watch explainer videos to find out how you can help them. Be specific, and cut to the chase quick.
Consider Consulting Outsiders: Sometimes it helps to have a fresh perspective when writing your script. When in doubt, ask previous customers for feedback.
When you’re looking to create a great script, you have a few options. You can look for a sample video script to fill in, or use it as inspiration for your own template.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we start writing the script, let’s talk about the research portion.
Step One: Ideate Your Video – Matching Ideas to Goals
Follow this format, and your script will always serve one of three purposes. The first is to help your video appear higher in search results – yes, SEO matters in videos, but more on that later.
The second is to make sales or build connections that can facilitate sales. The final one is to build awareness about your brand and what it can offer. If you’re really talented, you can translate your ideas into a script that accomplishing two or even all of these goals.
Your ideas should hit at least one of these goals. If it doesn’t, it may be time to rethink it. Luckily, if you’re going for an explainer video based on a product or service, you’re likely to hit one of these goals with relative ease.
As with any content you write, your goal is to coordinate your creative efforts in a way that drives real results:
You want your video to rank higher in search results
You want your video to increase sales and lead generation
You want your video to grow your brand’s reputation
Think about what someone searching for your video would type into YouTube or Google. Concentrate on how your video’s topic can solve the viewer’s problem. And last, but not least, make sure your brand’s values are represented when you’re scripting the video.
Speaking of which – let’s move on to tips for starting your killer video script.
Step Two: How to Write a Great Video Script for YouTube & Other Platforms Based Off an Outline
I did say that strategy should precede a video script just as it should any other content type. There’s another familiar tactic that translates as well to script writing as it does to blogging, social media marketing, and anything else – formatting and creating an outline.
Check out this opening to one of my own personal video scripts:
Here’s how the content translated to video. I don’t read an actual script, so I simply read and re-review and commit to memory before getting on camera.
This sample video script excerpt uses a simple but strong opening. As soon as you click play, you find out who I am, what I do, and how I can help you.
Then, directly after, you find out the seven specific content types you’ll be learning about. Viewers appreciate when you get things going quickly, and give them an overview of what they’ll be learning about if they continue watching.
Knowing how to write an explainer video script with a strong start is critical for keeping your viewers around. YouTube’s algorithm is smart – if it sees people are sticking around, you’ll have higher retention rates and thus your video will rank higher.
While we’re mentioning YouTube specifically, it’s good to mention why we’re optimizing the script for this platform. YouTube’s numbers speak for themselves – over 5 billion videos are watched on the site each day. There’s no danger of running out of original content either, as over 300 hours of videos are uploaded to the site every minute.
This is a double-edged stat, though. While it means you have a big audience to appeal to, they need to find you first. This brings us to the first sub-topic of discussion when you’re writing your script.
Question: Does SEO Matter for Video Scripts?
It’s easy to think that since your words will be spoken rather than written by the time they make it to YouTube that keywords don’t matter. But, think again – SEO matters in your script, your headline, your tags, and your video description.
Not sure how to find the right keywords for your YouTube video? You could always go with the tried and tested keyword research tools like KWFinder and SEMrush. However, there are more video-specific tools out there you can use.
I recommend VidIQ – there’s even a free version you can try.
VidIQ on my channel. The insights are amazing!
This tool works as an extension for Chrome, automatically giving you insights about the best keywords. While there is a free version, the lowest-priced paid plan is a great deal. Known as the Pro version, it offers more analytics and research tools for only $7.50/month. I pay for the Pro. The insights you get in keywords and YouTube SEO alone is worth it.
The video example in our template above shown ranking #4 in YouTube! The VidIQ insights are awesome.
While you still only have room for one user and one channel, you get double the competitor tracking (6) and additional features like a keyword research tool, historical analysis, and stats on trending videos.
SEO is important for video scripts for the same reason it is important in any other type of content. If you know what your audience members are inputting into the search engine, you make it easier for them to find your video.
Additional Tips for Fleshing Out Your Video and Script Pre-Publishing
You have your format, your intro, and your keywords – but that doesn’t mean you’re finished. When you’re fleshing out the script, there are a few critical things to remember.
For starters, consider length. You want to keep the length at around 8-10 minutes MAX. If you can say what you need to with less, feel free. Some companies like to keep their explainer marketing videos around 2 minutes. However, when you go up to the 6 minute mark, you gain more opportunities to connect with your audience.
If your video is creeping up to the high end of this frame, you want to make sure you have plenty of supporting graphics to keep things interesting.
Here’s an example of what my editing process looks like, before my video goes to my producer. I love Camtasia TechSmith for this process. So easy and simple to use!
You’ll notice the main track is peppered throughout with graphic overlays, which ensure the visuals are not changing too sporadically, but not remaining so constant the viewer becomes disengaged.
Use pictures and animations, as this is the fun of videos. Remember, you’re treating your viewer to a visual and auditory presentation. Get creative, and let your artistic side shine when it comes to choosing what graphics you’ll feature throughout the video.
Even something as simple as supporting images and charts can do the trick for making your video memorable and keeping your viewer engaged until the very end.
There’s even room to be creative with your soundtrack. Granted, knowing how to write a music video script requires a bit of a different skillset than when you’re writing an explainer script – but a good audio backing track or smartly placed sound-cues can still be great additions.
Reminder: Simplicity Over Flare, Benefits Over Features
The final point to cover for script writing involves the KISS method.
Keep it short and simple – we already talked about the value of being concise, but don’t get so focused on flare that your video’s effects overshadow its substance.
Simplicity isn’t just good for video scripts – it’s good for marketing in general. Over the past decade, publicly traded brands in the Global Brand Simplicity Index top 10 have outperformed major indexes by a whopping 433%. More consumers (62%) are prepared to pay more for a simple experience.
Images, effects, and any creative elements should be secondary to the message itself. The message should always be focused on benefits – not features. Viewers don’t want to hear you explain how many thing your product can do. They want to know how it can help them.
Ten fancy product features won’t be as impactful as one user-focused benefit as the focal point of your presentation.
Step Three: Production and Publishing Tips for Finalizing Your Video
Your marketing explainer video should be concise, punchy, and based off a well-researched format. This can greatly increase its chances of being successful.
We’ve got one more critical area to discuss – production and publishing. Let’s start with the importance of having the right people around you. I use the same producer, a wonderful video expert Renata Franco, for all my videos. She does an amazing job on my final production with music, on-screen text, an intro, and combining any B-roll that I have. And that’s why I recommend just as you may consider hiring a video script writer, you should put as much thought into hiring a producer.
Producing a video is a very involved task. The process has many steps, including:
Formatting: Formatting your video for production means setting the aspect ratio and FPS, as well as making sure all your audio tracks are leveled properly.
Effects: You can add effects during the mixing and export process – this is a great time to give the video that final polish, such as using a mastering toolkit to boost the audio, or adding captions during each of your main talking points.
Trimming: In some cases, you may need to eliminate small parts at the beginning or end of your clips. You may even have to get rid of some altogether if it means keeping the video within a specific time limit.
Even if you don’t hire a producer to do all these things for you, you can hire them for their oversight. You can be the one at the controls, and use their expert input as a guiding point. You can also do the opposite – have them do the production work with your input being the guiding force behind the decisions.
What about tools? We already discussed a great tool for finding keywords as part of the scripting process, but which tools are most helpful for producing the video itself? Let’s talk about three main tools you should consider:
Camtasia: TechSmith’s Camtasia is a video tool that can do almost everything. It’s an easy way to record your screen, and it can also be used for editing videos on both Windows and Mac. There’s a free trial available, and the software is intuitive enough that even newcomers can pick up on it quick. It’s also loaded with other features video creators will love.
YouTube Beta Studio: Touted as the new home for creators, this platform lets you manage your channel and observe insights all from one place. It replaces the long-running Creator Studio, and gives you plenty of features to use for both research and publishing.
Ahrefs: This handy SEO tool is great for writing video descriptions. Before you hit that publish button, make sure you have a stunning description. It may seem like a small amount of text, but it has a big impact on your video’s ranking potential.
These are just a few of the popular tools you can use for the publishing process. Publishing may not be exactly what you think of when you’re looking to learn how to write a great video script. However, it’s an integral part of the process for making your video a success.
Final Thoughts: Scripts Are the Foundation of a Winning Video
When you see those videos that pull in millions of views, tens of thousands of likes, and hundreds of shares each day, you know a lot of work went into them.
But it isn’t just about sitting in front of a camera and being great at improv. It’s about taking the time to write a script – one that speaks to your viewer and gives them valuable information.
Learning how to write an explainer video script takes time. You’ll also learn what works and what doesn’t as you go along, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself for the first time – or even the first few times.
Like any other content type, video scripts require research, formatting, a focus on SEO, and an ability to mix creativity with technical insight.
Knowing how to write a script for an explainer video that takes YouTube by storm takes study and practice. But when your video starts bringing in those views, likes, and subscriptions, you’ll know it was all worth it.
When it starts bringing in brand awareness, search engine rankings, and sales potential, you may feel like writing scripts for an entire series.
Need help writing an engaging video script? That’s a creative writing task our team of 90+ expert writers can handle. We’ve written video scripts for insurance companies and many more. See our pricing here!
In today’s video, I’m covering a critical content type — the email!
In this guide, complete with a demo of how I craft emails in ConvertKit, I’ll cover how you can construct emails that will nurture and build real trust with your audience, as well as elicit action and encourage them to take next steps.
As I was preparing the topic and material for today’s video, I thought what better way to actually show you emails that work than to go into my email campaigns and talk about the ones that have really done well. So, that’s what we’re going to do! Ready? Let’s get into it.
How to Write Awesome Emails that Get Opened and Nurture Trust (Video)
Video Transcription: How to Write Awesome Emails that Get Opened and Nurture Trust
In today’s video, I’m really excited to cover a critical content type – the email!
I use ConvertKit. It starts around $29 a month for 1,000 subscribers and I highly recommend it if you’re considering email marketing, and you want a software that’s super easy to use. Now there are other alternatives like Active Campaign, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp. Full disclosure: this is an affiliate link to ConvertKit. But, if you use that link you’re helping support me so I can continue to create free information like this. This is a tool I personally use, so I can tell you it works!
There are two main types of emails I like to send:
The blog and video share (Useful Email)
The promotion share (Sales Email)
80% of the time I’m sending useful content to my list, and 20% or less of the time I’m sending promotional sales emails that have an offer attached.
Now I find that promotional emails work best when they’re sent to a segmented audience and in sequential order. That means a one-off offer that you send to your list while that can drive results, doesn’t work as well as if you segment your list and target the right offer to them at the right time. Much of this is just learning as I go. So what you’re looking at here are all the emails I sent, you can see that I send them on a regular basis. They’re spread apart by a few days.
My rule is at least one useful email a week and I usually send more than that, so whenever I send videos this is what an informational or useful email looks like, I keep it really short and I’ll include an image to the video and then a link. Now for my blog content I don’t include images, it seems to work better whenever I keep my content super light and that just means not a ton of links, not a ton of images. Over time emails have grown to masses. There are so many emails that are sent out by marketers on a regular basis, so you really don’t have a lot of time to get and hold the attention of your audience.
Experts like Brian Dean, Joanna Wiebe, I see them sending shorter and shorter emails. It seems like our shorter emails are doing well as well, so this is what a useful email looks like and what I do to keep these super simple, I’ll give you a little secret, I actually pull the intro of my blog, the first six or seven sentences. Seriously, that’s my email. So it takes no time at all to plug it in, add a link, add a little footer and then this little P.S. which I like to add to relevant blogs, I keep it out if it’s really not relevant, but I’ll add a P.S. to our services or one of the courses I teach as long as it relates to the topic right here in my useful piece of content. So something like this out of 5,400 subscribers it got 75 clicks and the open rate was almost 14%, that’s pretty good for an email to get 75 people clicking on our link for us.
All lists are different, if you’re building yours organically from the start you’re probably going to see better results. Over time you want to clean up your email, you want to just delete people that aren’t even reading it. We did that a few months ago and our open rate skyrocketed, it was as bad as 5%, now it’s as high as like 14% and here 21%. What you’re seeing here, I’ll just walk you through some more techniques that we use, this is resending something to people that do not click and you can actually do that in ConvertKit by resending to the people that haven’t opened it, so here’s what you can do. You click on the broadcast, resend to un-opens, you can edit the content and then just hit schedule and it’ll actually send your email to everyone that didn’t open it the first time.
When it comes to a sales email I’ve noticed that Saturday and Sunday nights do really well for open rates on offers. We try to be really straightforward with our offers. So a link to it, here’s another link and here’s a third link, and we add this little thing if you don’t want to hear from us anymore you can actually click here and what this does is as soon as they click, this is just a really simple page we set up on our site, as soon as they click on that there is a little trigger in the automation section that unenrolled or that adds everyone that clicks on this to a tag.
Remember, short and sweet for informative videos, keep it super light, if you do use an image try to only use one and with offers definitely experiment, experiment on times to send, try to segment your list, try to tag people in your email software and only send your offers to people that are actually interested.
Sales emails should be sent 20% of the time, send your useful emails a lot more often. Remember consistency is key. When you’re sending content you really want to send something to your list at least once a week and continue to build it over time. You need to know how to write a useful email that all comes down to keeping things short, sweet and simple, because people don’t really have a lot of time to go through a long email anymore. They have a very short amount of time, so you want to get them interested and then give them whatever you want to give them right away. And remember lead magnets are such a great way to build your list, we have consistent growth organically now every single day from our lead magnets.
These still apply today, and in the next few minutes, I’m going to explain what these content types are and how they apply specifically to an online business presence today, as well as writers looking to grow their experience and offerings by learning these content formats.
1. Web content
Think of content writing like building a house. In this analogy, web content is the foundation. Web content, which includes the content on your home page, landing page, about us page, contact page, and more is the foundational content that every company needs to build an online presence. Without this, readers can’t find the information they’re seeking about your company, and the rest of your content strategy has nothing to build on. These pages are critical to develop.
The skills a writer needs to write solid web page copy are SEO writing knowledge, to use those important keywords well in the copy, as well as engaging and conversion-friendly writing skills. Good web page copy should be about the customer, never just about the brand or product.
If web content is the foundation, blogging is the structure and rooms of the house.
Blogging is a primary category of content that provides context for an audience, helps build SEO presence, and gives businesses a way to nurture their leads with a source of fresh, consistent content.
Did you know… Companies that blog 11 or more times per month gain more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only four-five times a month (Source: Hubspot)
Not only do blogs showcase your brand personality, but it also helps readers get a sense of who you are, what you care about, which topics to cover, and how much value you can provide for them, or not.
Blogging is an essential type of online content writing, and when it’s done correctly, it can dramatically increase your views, your return on investment, and your overall success. There is no one-size-fits-all format for a blog. Instead, there are multiple styles of blogs including list blogs, “how to” blogs, “what to avoid” blogs, and more. By mixing and matching your blog goals and formats, you can build brand awareness as well as achieve SEO ranking goals. Read more about content goals here.
3. Social Media
Think of social media as a supporting content player: it’s not enough for a company to only have a social media presence, but companies without any social media presence whatsoever typically do not make it very far in today’s social dominated culture.
A lot of people finding brands online for the first time are going to go click on their Twitter icon, their Facebook page, to see what that company is ‘really’ like on social media. And that can really play into their purchasing decisions.
Social media works! A good social media writer will blend fun, engaging copy, emojis, and short sentences to promote a brand’s blog posts, events, or message.
Some social media managers can even be paid to write captions. There is software that exists to discover trending hashtags.
The world of content in social media alone is so much! Finding the right platform and staying on a consistent schedule with copy and visuals is key.
4. Advertising & Sales Copy
Ad and sales copy bring the curb appeal to your products and services. This kind of copy is created to showcase the unique attributes of your brand “home” to people on the outside. Advertising and sales copy applies to companies in all industries, and takes many forms, from a long-form Facebook ad to a promoted tweet on Twitter or a paid campaign on LinkedIn.
One of my sales pages that has brought in thousands of dollars in sales is this one. However, when it comes to sales copy, remember that building an audience and trust comes first. Today’s advertising and sales copy that brings in real revenue is also written in less of a ‘pushy’ sales tone. Instead, it should read like an approachable message for a friend. Good ads are segmented to the right audience at the right time; they are not manipulative, and they’re not misleading.
A writer learning to write good sales copy should study the best. Joanna Wiebe and Copyhackers.com is a great resource for learning more about sales copywriting.
5. Expert Copy
Think of expert copy like the fine art collection inside the home. At some point or another, all companies need expert writing. This is the higher level writing you encounter on the web. Specific industries, for example, may need a high-level ghostwriter that knows the nuances of their niche. Authorities in marketing need a writer that can ghostwrite for them, in their voice, for their blog. Without expert writing, companies place their authority and relevance at risk, and may even be walking out onto thin ice with Google, which now looks for expert quality in content as a ranking standard.
Writers looking to get hired as expert writers can absolutely charge higher rates than a generalist, and should have a specific industry they can speak with knowledge in–example, a former attorney writing legal blogs, or a former chiropractor writing holistic blogs about chiropractor care.
6. Journalism & PR Writing
Critical for any company that wants to get the word out about newsworthy events, brand new products, or company changes, journalism and PR writing serves the essential purpose of sharing company news.
Think about building a new house: if you never invited anybody over, nobody would be able to see the hard work you put into the home. Your artwork, furnishings, paint job, construction would go unnoticed by everybody but you. This is where journalism and PR writing comes in. Through press releases, for example, companies of all sizes and shapes can “invite people in.”
Some say that press releases are dead. They are, if you’re using them for SEO. Just trying to get a PR to rank for a keyword doesn’t work anymore. If you’re trying to spread the news of something newsworthy, they do work, and so they really aren’t dead or dying. See the description for a link to a press release we published just last year that did really well.
7. Creative Writing
Creative writing is a genre that encompasses the super creative projects companies do, and it serves to enhance and support virtually every other type of content on this list. Marketing copy, for example, can be creative. Social media, blogs, web content, and even advertisements can be creative, as well. There’s no limit here. From a tweet to a blog, creative writing can be woven in anywhere.
Creative writing is blending the best of a writers’ talents such as writing stories, humorous and appropriate jokes, puns, etc. and using that in one of the other formats. For example, here’s a creative pun our social media copywriter, Krystal, wrote for our social media content. This is creative content, but it was used for social media.
In my agency, at Express Writers, we’ve seen a growing need for creativity among all the projects we take on. While clear and customer-focused copy beats trying to be too clever without a purpose, there is a real demand for writers that can tastefully create colorful, creative content.