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!
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!