A content article is a well written editorial type article that generally sits between 700 and 1200 words and is often in written in the third person.
As it is often commissioned by a commercial client, it does inherently contain bias and is used as a soft sales tool but is written in a way that still retains credibility, resources and can be mistaken for
A good content article will contain quality pull quotes, statistics, links, sources and genuine information and is relevant and employees a number of best practice SEO techniques. It also uses impeccable grammar and spelling and follows an editorial style. I also take the liberty of highlighting a few HTML/formatting tags including headings, sub headings, pull quotes, call to actions and so forth.
Content articles will be written to a specific content plan/strategy that has been created by your marketing department/consultant that adheres to the customer buyer journey or your SEO research and keyword/search term list.
Content writers ‘...produce content to entice and engage visitors so they continue browsing the current website. The longer a visitor stays on a particular site, the greater the likelihood they will eventually become clients or customers,’ Wikipedia.
It’s unwise to engage a content writer that has no SEO training and doesn’t keep abreast of SEO updates and changes.
Email marketing campaign packages could include kickbacks, autoresponders, automated campaign emails and prompters.
Automated emails are set up via specialised platform (such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Campaign Monitor etc) that are sequential and have their own trigger.
Check out my email marketing campaign template here.
Stay tuned... more to follow.
As we’ve looked at previously, writing well is a key player in drawing in more customers and leads via organic searches.
If you’re not getting the organic traffic that you expect, it’s likely time to start including better written content on your site. To do this, it’s essential to know what Google determines as good content. You'll need to know what to avoid, how to make it engaging and readable to your target audience with an insight to the importance of setting business goals in order for marketing success!
72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015).
In this article we’re discussing great content. Content can mean a number of things in marketing but in this article I am focusing on discussing content articles, which are online articles that are informative and well written but as they are often commissioned by a business an organisation, they play a part in the sales process. They are not as obvious and glaring as advertorials, they are more closely related to editorial. Although not overtly “salesy” they can occasionally contain bias and will avoid mentioning competitors. We’ll also touch on static website copy (all the other text that sits on your website) and the part that plays in sales and conversions.
Before you consider creating exciting features or content for your website, brainstorm your business goals and what you want to happen when people visit your website. To get the results you desire, set marketing goals from the outset in order to develop an effective marketing strategy that is easy to follow and execute. Identifying clear goals and your “why” will help you understand the motivation behind every marketing activity and help you simplify your decisions.
If your goal is to increase sales, you might consider in your plan to focus on having a user friendly site with clear calls to action to increase conversion rate. Conversion rates indicate the amount of people who visit your site who then follow your call to action which include making a purchase on your site, subscribing to your enewsletter or contacting your business. Find out more about calls to action here.
Other goals include becoming an authoritative resource in your industry or on your area of expertise, improving interaction with your customers and nurturing new leads to eventually convert them into new customers or sales. To achieve these goals you'll want to establish trust on your website with the content you provide and way you present your knowledge. You’ll particularly want to give your customers a reason to come back to your site.
‘On average, consumers visited at least three online stores before making their purchase.’ Minewhat and 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase.
And in the travel industry, 'buyers can visit up to thirty eight sites to plan their holiday.'
To capture those people who are ready to make a purchase upon first viewing of your site or to increase the chances of people coming back, it’s imperative that you foster a sense of trust and knowledge on your product or services. Having compelling content articles and static website copy will instil confidence and security in your potential buyer.
Kissmetrics tells us that ‘Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.’ Give them a reason to come back!
If you're looking to establish your brand and its credibility, you'll also need to look at producing great content.
Keywords: the base of your content articles
Good content is optimised content (SEO stands for search engine optimised), which uses intentional keywords in your content. Keywords are the words or phrases people typically search for whilst using a search engine. For example, if you've set up a business selling BMX bikes in Sydney, ensure that you use these keywords and variations of in your content. Avoid overusing the terms, make it readable and enjoyable and importantly informative for your audience, as Google’s ranking system is hyper savvy and will know when you are “keyword stuffing”. Keyword stuffing is the practice of throwing in a bunch of keywords in your content at the expense of good writing.
You can research the top keywords on sites such as Google Adwords, Google Trends, Keyword Tool, Hubspot’s guide to keyword research to find the best key words to attract your audience to your site. To get a good idea of which key words will work, check out your high ranking competitors and the type of content and keywords that they use.
Tip: don’t forget to include locations in your keywords, particularly if you are a location based service. For example, one of my search terms is “Adelaide copywriter”, given that I am based in Adelaide.
Once you've figured out your key words, get a feel for what people like to read about and care about. Using our BMX shop example, you might want to write about competitions and races that are taking place in the local area, or you might want to write about exciting new and upcoming products that you'll be stocking. Never pad out or over use keywords as this will detract from the quality of your writing and as we’ve discussed here, Google search rankings favours well written material.
‘Sixty percent begin by using a search engine to find the products they want’.
If you want anyone to find you through an organic search on the web and want optimal reach, it’s not enough to have a great website; you need to employ SEO tactics even if you only start with the basics.
Incorporating effective SEO techniques is a precarious balance between pleasing the robots and pleasing the people. I’ve always thought our modern world would come to this!
Following on from my post How to top Google’s search results here are some additional tips to that you can easily implement over a weekend to vastly improve how people find your site.
'Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about partnering with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users,' Phil Frost, Main Street ROI.
According to Raven Tools, 78% of all SEO issues are related to images.
Include images where possible. An image or two per blog post and page is not only visually appealing but will help the bots that crawl your site and see how user friendly your site is.
Ensure all images are labelled/named clearly and relevant to your text and insert a suitable keyword or phrase into “alt text” section. Keep images at a reasonable size so it doesn’t hamper website loading time.
Google has even told us that it factors in site loading speed into how your site ranks.
‘You may have heard that here at Google, we’re obsessed with speed in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.’
Keep the image size between 100kb and 400kb and your site needs to load within one to two seconds or you have potentially lost most of your site visitors. Sorry to be the one to tell you that. Check your site load speed here.
As you can see from this image, I’ve got a bucket load of work to do to get mine up to scratch. Another item for my “to do” list.
Write terrific content
Make sure it is written well (as if you were a journalist or professional writer). That means that sentences should be cohesive and not "waffley". Standard writing best practices apply throughout your whole website, from blog posts to static web copy to behind the scenes in your meta data description. Maybe now you finally have a legitimate excuse to sign up for those writing classes you always wanted to take?
Spelling and grammar should be faultless. Believe it or not, Google now judges you based on your grammar and spelling (Hallelujah, the writers cry). This pleases me as we’re seeing a lot more credible and well written content on the web, rather than just anyone with a blog and some time on their hands.
Ensure your meta descriptions are up to date, well written and contain your keyword/s. Each web page values from having its own meta data descriptions written well, not forgetting they have to be interesting enough for someone to want to click through to your website, when they read the short blurb on Google. Put simply, these descriptions will need a sales flair that entices people to click, without sacrificing good writing and sentence structure.
SEO leaders, Moz, provide a clear definition of what meta descriptions are:
'Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise summaries of webpages. They commonly appear underneath the blue clickable links in a search engine results page (SERP).'
Write compelling and keyword rich meta data descriptions. Make sure the meta data description reads really well and has a sales flair that entices people to click, without sacrificing good writing and sentence structure.
And of course, we’ve discussed that it’s imperative to keep your content fresh. You need to be posting new content super regularly (ideally, more than once a week) to appease the spiders.
Stay tuned as this post will be updated regularly with more helpful SEO information.
You may also like to have a look at online writing.
A call to action [CTA] is a concise phrase that you include in your copywriting and marketing material that not only encourage your readers to do something but it demands it! The term itself gives it away – it’s a strong directive that ensures action. The action that you want taken are practical steps that will ultimately lead to a sale, a booking or a purchase.
Examples of call to actions include:
An effective call to action offers urgency. Create urgency to play up to the natural instinct that humans have – the fear of time running out or missing out on something (also known as the scarcity principle). Tell your audience exactly what to do and when – words like today, now, straight away, before too late…
Pick one of your benefits (not a feature) to the consumer and use that as a call to action. For example, a benefit of good copywriting would be that it improves your SEO ranking. Therefore, I could use this benefit in my CTA like this:
Check out this video from Marketing Experiments on the power of a "micro yes" when it comes to call to actions.
Where do you include call to actions?
Include them on each page of your website, each blog post or content article, videos, social media posts, enewsletters and direct email campaigns and in person. Each of your webpages and marketing emails should have between one and three call to actions.
Place one within the first half of your webpage/email/marketing collateral but not directly at the top, as your readers will want to read some credible information first. It's also wise to place one at the end of your copy, to remind and instil your message.
Tips on writing a great call to action:
Don’t forget to include your call to action on your webinars, infographics and presentations or slide shows. You can also verbalise one if you are giving a talk but don’t give more than one. It will most likely be ‘go to my website for more details’.
Here are two clear call to action examples on big business's landing pages:
A copywriter is a professional writer that will write your marketing material (whether that be for your website, blog posts, brochures, social media marketing, enewsletters, media releases, adverts and a whole range of things). A copywriter is an expert in writing and will pen persuasive words in a way that is potent for your marketing plan.
Why hire a copywriter?
I’m going to be straight up here: almost everybody thinks they can write. This isn’t the truth. Let’s get real about this so you don’t do your business a disservice. An exceptional copywriter can position your business, services and products as memorable and leading the way, outshining your competitors and as something that people just MUST HAVE. With the art of the persuasive word, professionally written copy can increase sales.
The beauty of a copywriter is that they are able to step back from you and see the best in what you offer and know how to tell the world about it. Often, you can be too close to your own offerings to effectively describe what you do.
Copywriters are more than just writers. I come from a marketing background, so I know how to effectively promote something – whether it’s yoga classes, property or balsa wood – directly to your potential or existing customers, influence their decisions. I also have a genuine understanding of SEO, making you more easily discoverable online.
An awesome copywriter can make anything – and everything – sound thrilling.
Perhaps best of all, in my view, a copywriter will write with great grammar and spelling, giving you more credibility and readability. If the first contact new customers have with you is a poorly written website or Facebook page, how can they expect you to be professional when delivering your services? Go on – choose three websites at random and you will easily be able to tell which has been professionally written and which has been written in haste by the business owner.
Although this may not be the case for all copywriters (and is certainly not a requirement), I am also an award winning creative writer (having written many short stories, poems and a novel), so the art of storytelling is in my veins. And as customers become more and more saturated by content these days, they are craving authenticity and genuine storytelling. See also: how to keep your content crispy.
Most of what we are commissioned to write is written to sell. We believe in and live the “art of the sell” using only so much as our words.
When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it “creative”. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product,’ David Ogilvy.
This may vary mildly depending on what you want written but the most likely process will go like this:
Then you can relax as I squirrel away for a time and work on the copy to the deadline we’ve agreed upon. This is the “go time” for me and where I spend hours researching, taking notes, writing and rewriting, proofreading and editing and maybe, just maybe, watching Netflix (some of my best ideas have come from television shows!)
You’ll be emailed the work (usually in a Word document) to review. I offer a revision with all quotes but I rarely, if ever, have to do it but I want you to know that the option is there because there’s no point with you being unhappy with the copy.
Then you can do whatever you need to do with the writing – upload it to your website, email merger, letterhead, social media platforms. It's then time to enjoy the benefits of meticulously crafted copy.
Now be honest, that was a lot less painful than you thought, right? Certainly a lot less painful than agonising for weeks or months over writing your homepage or blog posts. There we have it – the mysteries of working with a copywriter solved! If you have any more questions, drop a comment below or send me an email.
‘Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling,’ William Bernbach.
Copywriting and business writing is markedly different to writing a poem or writing something sweet in your grandmother's birthday card. It has a specific focus and uses a particular set of skills to increase sales, draw in new customers or clients or set you apart from your competition by demonstrating that you really know what you're talking about.
We've already looked at why content writing (and blogging) is excruciatingly important for your marketing plan, so now we're going to discuss how you can write really well in all your professional marketing communications (such as your website, blog posts, enewsletters, social media posts etc, because you're doing these all regularly… right?)
Writing well to promote your business is crucial to its success. In a digital era of fast paced communications, you need to get your message "bang on" immediately or clients will drift elsewhere along the fast paced current of the online communications river. Below are some starter guidelines for both online and off line writing. Keep these in mind the next time you write something that the public will see.
Use persuasive words
Ideally, you want people to do be doing something, to take action. Even clicking on a link is taking action. Use words as your triggers and cues.
According to Copyblogger, the top five most persuasive words in the English language are:
Here's a really comprehensive list of influential words you can use.
Correct grammar and spelling enhances your credibility and affords trust in what you are saying, ensuring a smooth read that will not distract readers from absorbing your message. If you neglect to take care of your proofreading, potential and current clients may wonder where else you neglect attention to detail.
Let it breathe
Put your writing aside for at least twenty four hours – a week if you can afford the time. Putting distance between you and your writing only improves its quality. You may learn something new that is pertinent to the topic at hand in that time- especially since it will be the forefront of the mind. And you will easily identify errors and poor structure once you've had a chance to have some distance from it.
Write in the second person
Write as if you are directly speaking to one person/client, rather than a group of people or nobody. Direct what you're saying by using terms such as "you", "your" etc, which will not only personalise your message but give the reader the ability to "try on" what you are saying to them and they will be more readily willing to absorb your message – particularly if you are persuading them to invest in your product or service.
Use confidence in your language. Replace terms such as ‘you may' with ‘you will' or ‘why not try' with ‘invest now'. Refer to the list of persuasive words above if you get stuck.
If you're not completely (three hundred and twenty per cent) sold on your product or service and the results that it will deliver, how can you expect a potential customer to be?
Twitter is a charming tool for this as it forces you to convey a message in less than 140 characters. To enhance your brevity, imagine how you would turn any message you are writing into a tweet.
Be clear, get to the point immediately and ensure you cap off your communications with a short summary of what you have written.
Be clear with yourself throughout the process - from the start (or before) of writing until releasing it into the world. What is the exact purpose of what you are writing? Be excruciatingly clear with yourself. Is it to attract another ten clients? Is it to be recognised in your field of expertise? Is it to voice your opinion on a current issue? Write this purpose at the top of your page or on a sticky note where you can see it and keep referring back to it as you write. Clarity = better results.
If you incorporate all these tips into your business writing and copywriting, you'll soon see more success than you thought possible!
You can write the most epic blog content that could set off a bunch of life changing insights for your readership but without a tantalising headline, few people will bother to click through and read it.
Ensure you have a compelling heading for each blog post. Make sure it’s a bit of a tease and that people will want to click on it and read more. Include why someone absolutely must read this post; explain why it will change their life/business/mind etc. The headline must be about the reader and how it can benefit them. For example, How Garlic Will Make You Lose Weight.
‘With [blog post] titles, it's best to under promise and over deliver. So if you're choosing between uber-compelling and accurate, choose accuracy every time,’ Corey Eridon, Hubspot Marketing Blog.
Here are some things to add that will create punch in your headline:
A great headline should make a reader curious and want more. Here are some types of headlines that have proven themselves to work time and time again:
'Most people will share content based on the headline alone.'
How many words should your headline be?
There's been many different discoveries when it comes to the ultimate headline length for maximum readers. The platform you are sharing on does make a difference but to summarise, Outbrain has found that seven words is an ideal length.
Coschedule similarly suggests that 60-100 characters is ideal.
Do you want to know whether your headline hits the mark? This is my favourite tool when deciding between headlines to use. Try this headline analyser.
Here's how I decided on the headline for this post:
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You know when you type in a Google search term up pops literally hundreds of thousands of pages? How many pages do you actually scroll through to find what you are looking for? Most people only take notice of the first three links; maybe if you have the time, you’ll scroll through two or three pages. So if you want people to find your business, products or services through a standard Google search, you need to be as high up on that search list as possible.
The better you have optimised your website, the more likely it will show up higher (closer to the top of the list) in the search rankings and the more discoverable you are in the world wide web. That’s what SEO means: search engine optimisation.
How does Google decide who gets to go at the top? It has an algorithm that it uses to rank pages, which contains a plethora of factors to ascertain where your site should fall and how interested people will be in reading it.
This week, Mumbrella has summed up the three things are that are vital to get in those vied after top three spots. Those three things can be summed up as:
Here are some really basic and practical guidelines that you can start to implement straight away:
Use other social media platforms to send people to your website. The more people that look at your website; the more that search engines recognise that it’s a well trafficked site and thus rank you higher.
'B2C [business to customer] companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month,' (HubSpot, 2015).
Search Engine Journal
If you want your business to succeed – that means a lot of sales or high end sales to companies with deep pockets, then you already know you need to be marketing online. But it’s certainly not enough to just have a website and some social media marketing anymore. You need to incorporate content marketing and content writing in your marketing plan – namely content writing or articles.
Online, thе written wоrd drives a lаrgе сhunk оf аnу business's mаrkеting ѕtrаtеgу. Whеthеr you’re ѕеlling jаm frоm hоmе оr a multinаtiоnаl соmраnу ѕеlling branded ѕроrtѕwеаr, the right kind оf wеb соntеnt iѕ imреrаtivе to nоt juѕt driving nеw buѕinеѕѕ, but аlѕо to keep your current buѕinеѕѕ rоаring.
So what are content articles? They are professionally written articles that sit mainly in the digital space, on your website, blog, or ezines. The articles are not only well written but add credibility by incorporating thorough research, quotes, statistics and expert commentary about topics or trends that are relevant to the modern consumer, in particular your audience or current or potential customer base.
‘Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them,’ Doug Kessler.
Why content articles are vital for your marketing arsenal:
My 2017 prediction:
My prediction for content writing and marketing in 2017? Content will start to get more personalised and - thanks to the advances in data mining and programmatic advertising – will really speak to audiences in alignment with their preferences, lifestyle, hobbies and personality.
Brands will replace traditional advertising processes with high quality content to satisfy a content hungry audience.
And from Jason Demers via Soap Media:
'...in 2017, we’re going to see the rise of ‘dense’ content. Dense content isn’t necessarily long or short, but it packs as much valuable info into as small of a space as possible. Users are tired of fluff content and their attention spans are continuing to decline, which will lead to a preference for denser content, which provides value while eating up as little time as possible.' Read more SEO predictions from Soap Media here.
‘To be momentous, create content with purpose,’ Russell Sparkman.