Content marketing is fast becoming the marketing currency of the digital age.
Customers are getting increasingly savvy to manipulative marketing tactics, and it’s turning them off. At root, they want content that provides them with value – not an endless stream of annoying banner ads and email spam.
But this new wave of content marketing has created new problems for businesses: namely, how to write engaging, compelling content that people will actually love. Though it might sound like a straightforward task, it’s not nearly as easy as you might imagine. Actually engaging people on the internet – an environment which pulls their attention in so many directions – is no easy task.
So what is content marketing 101? How do you use it to grow a business? Check out these article writing principles used by professional copywriting services.
Digital storytelling has become a bit of a buzzword of late. But what does it actually mean?
Essentially, digitally storytelling is the process of using digital tools – things like web-based stories, interactive texts, narrative computer games and so on – to create an experience that people remember. Digital storytelling was originally something used by bloggers with interesting life stories to better engage their audiences. But the tools of digital storytelling have since been picked up by marketing experts in innovative firms. They see it as the next frontier in business: a way by which they can thrill and entertain their audience base and get them more interested in their brand.
The primary way in which businesses have used digital storytelling through user generated content. Take the Enterprise Center, for instance. Instead of writing its own run-of-the-mill articles, it decided to engage students at the Salem State University, organizing a competition where they submitted a 60-second pitch for a unique business or charitable cause. The students then got to vote on which idea they thought was best.
Companies are also using digital storytelling to promote products to customers based on customer feedback. It is an effective way of marketing because it shifts focus away from the company and onto an audience’s peers. Given that research shows that people are as likely to trust what other customers say as much as they are word-of-mouth recommendations, digital storytelling should be a core approach to your digital marketing efforts.
You might think that to create great content, you need to somehow sneak in a pitch for your product. In fact, many so-called marketing gurus recommend this approach, reminding business bloggers to always include some call to action or selling technique into the post itself.
This kind of strategy simply doesn’t work anymore. When people search for your content, they want to be educated and entertained. What they don’t want is a bunch of marketing propaganda which doesn’t help them solve their immediate problem.
It’s important for companies to shift their thinking on writing articles. Rather than seeing them as a way to sell directly, they need to be viewed as just another stage in the buying process – a way to pique someone’s interest.
This is what professional copywriting services, like Fat Joe, do all the time. Their writers are trained to produce content which provides valuable information to customers, not sell a product. This is because they know that given the current content marketing landscape, this is the most effective way to entice customers to your website and ultimately get them to convert.
If you’re a business, especially a B2B business, you might be tempted to choose a bland, corporate writing style. But this kind of approach can get boring very quickly. Just because you’re a professional services business or only deal with other companies directly, doesn’t mean that you’re not still trying to communicate with individual people. That’s why it’s essential to add a bit of personality and flavor to your writing: you want to be able to draw people in.
What do top professionals do? In short, a couple of things. First, they spice up their content by telling stories that put their brand into a narrative. Every business has a story to tell – a struggle its customers can relate to. Tell these stories whenever possible.
Secondly, professional copywriters add media to their blogs: things like personalized videos, testimonials, and images. Take a look at any top professional services website today, and you’ll find a host of different media formats designed to complement traditional articles.
One of the biggest challenges of content writing is finding new and exciting topics your audience is interested in. If a simple Google search yields an answer to their question, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to provide any additional value. That’s why top content creators and professionals are in research mode all the time. As soon as they get an idea for an article, they write it down and then immediately start the research process, making sure that they’re bringing their customers something original.
You might imagine that what you actually say in the bowels of your article is more important than the title. But, as many professional copywriting services know, that’s not the case at all. The first thing that people see is the title, and if it’s boring or doesn’t accurately reflect the content within, they’ll quickly move on. Article titles which perform particularly well are those concerning “breaking news,” top lists of [X], how-to articles, best-of posts and so on. For business writers, helping customers solve a problem should always be at the back of your mind when creating a title.
Research shows that most people don’t read articles from start to finish. Instead, their interest quickly wanes after the first few sentences, especially if a post doesn’t have a strong lead.
Grabbing attention in those first few lines is essential. Try opening an article with things like little-known facts, interesting stories, breaking news or the promise that they won’t be able to find the information contained in your article anywhere else.