If you have a website, a blog, send emails, publish articles and press releases or use a social media channel such as Twitter then you are already doing some kind of content marketing. The trick is to create a coherent strategy that unifies all these different aspects of your copywriting so you get maximum results. What those results are, the different channels you use and the kind of copywriting you need is defined in your content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is about using valuable, free content to generate new business leads and engage with existing customers resulting in more profits. It’s the future of online marketing and it’s happening right now.
It’s more than just putting a sales pitch on your website or sending out a press release whenever you get a new client. It’s about sharing useful information for free in an open and authentic way. Practically that could mean giving people a 20-page white paper on your industry if they sign up to your newsletter; it could be a series of 100 handy hints and tips that you publish daily on your blog or it could even be a 200 page paperback book that you send out to valued clients. Increasingly content marketing integrates mobile and tablet content too.
Why content marketing?
The search marketing mix needs a lot of content to succeed – your SEO copywriter needs to produce lots and lots of web pages or targeted landing pages as food for the search engine spiders or hundreds and hundreds of blogs or articles to give those nice juicy back-links to your site. Consequently there has been a huge demand for high volume, low cost copywriting where keyword density more often than not takes precedence over readability as a measure of success.
Until recently, copywriters were seen by some as a necessary evil, an outsourced part of the search marketing mix, with some search agencies assessing their SEO copywriting for the keywords and too often ignoring the “filler” that goes around them i.e. the stuff that people (rather than search engines) actually read.
The online marketing landscape is changing rapidly
In the last couple of years, there has been a fundamental shift that has put copywriting and copywriters right at the heart of the marketing agenda. Why?
01. Your copywriting needs to be valuable
Firstly, search engines are becoming better at assessing the value of your SEO copywriting. What’s most important in this mix is that search engines are looking for high-value, high-relevance links back to your site as a major factor in determining your page rank.
To get those high value links you need to publish high value, high relevance content off site. That means blog copywriting, guest blogs, tweets, SEO articles, press releases, news stories etc. If they’re low value, people won’t read them and you may as well not have bothered. If they are well written and well-optimised people will read your content, share it, bookmark it, tweet it, blog about it and otherwise keep it in circulation. As a result, your copywriting will generate lots of link juice to boost your search ranking.
02. Your copywriting generates business through referrals
The second point here is that people are using content to find the products and services they want without using search engines. What businesses sometimes miss is that if you are publishing valuable content that’s generating lots of link juice it means lots of people who are interested in your product are reading your content and clicking through to find out about your business.
That means they’re not arriving directly from a search engine. They’re looking for information and coming to you because you’ve proved to be the business most relevant or useful to what they’re looking for – or at the very least the one with the best copywriter. It’s a whole new marketing channel, a stream of qualified referrals.
03. Your copywriting needs to useful and authentic
Finally social media has allowed people to demand a two-way interaction with companies, brands and organisations. Increasingly consumers need to establish trust with a business or brand before they buy. They do that by reading web copywriting either on their site or from third party sites, receiving recommendations (links, mentions, reviews etc) via other content creators or they establish a direct, personal relationship with the company through social media.
Consumers are increasingly assessing the value of online businesses through the usefulness of their content, their copywriting – is there information on how to use the product? Added value information that you won’t find elsewhere? Expertise related to the product or service?
A sales pitch is no longer sufficient. Customers want information about your product, your team, your history, your business sector and what you know about your world. They want you to answer questions and to share your expertise. Most importantly they want to know WHO you are, literally, by creating a personal relationship with you through social media.
That requires not just that the information is useful but that you are communicating in a way that is authentic and appropriate to your business. If you run a blog answering property law questions, does your customer want to know what you’re having for dinner? Probably not, but they might want your opinion on the new series of Location, Location, Location. It’s about finding that careful balance of being personable and human with being relevant and useful.