Many smaller B2B companies these days are starting to implement content marketing, but are they getting the most out of it? As a Marketing Manager or content person for your company, you’ve already probably realised the general usefulness of creating ‘shareable’ content. E.g:
* Infographics, original pics, videos, and useful reports or tool lists get shared on social media.
* Your brand and company is associated with free gifts — inducing the ‘reciprocity’ effect.
* It’s a way of building up your prospect list if you exchange it for an email address
People go to Internet search to find information to help them making better buying decisions. Nevertheless, the flow-on effect of helping someone find that useful information is that he/she will give your author or brand all the credibility for giving it to them.
In the case of a business purchase, the time spent researching information is much longer… hours, not minutes… and the need for evidence and value even more crucial. Sometimes a potential buyer wants to download a report or study to view ‘offline’ or even in print.
Compelling content is a big challenge in content marketing (see statistic below). What is compelling to one person, is plain dull to another. That is where buyer personas can come in handy… putting a content idea to the specific persona can help form a more engaging ‘white paper’, report or case study. You can also watch what target market people are engaged in within online forums and social groups, because this gives you clues to where their interest lies. (For B2B – LinkedIn Groups could be used).
Another time to implement Content Marketing in a small business-to-business company is when you’ve just upgraded your website to WordPress or another CMS. The section ‘posts’ looks quite empty, but how do you decide what to write?
Should it be industry news, company news, a viewpoint, or educational material? This forms a large part of the Content Strategy.
And will someone help you get the most out of the new writing, optimising it for long search terms and sharing it to your social media accounts?
Will they also edit it so that no embarrassing typos make their way to all your public updates?
How about easily emailing the new articles to prospects who signified interest?
At this point, anxiety might be setting in, but all of these things I take care of in one easy Article Writing and Social Package.
Starfleet Media’s 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content and Lead Generation found:
- Almost 3/4 of marketers reported that the most utilized types of B2B content marketing are in the form of case studies and white papers.
- 81% of marketers cite the ability to create compelling content as one of the biggest challenges of content marketing.
- 91% of B2B companies use content marketing to find new customers, while only 36% use it to retain existing customers.
It’s not that difficult to publish your content in a local print magazine, a good digital magazine, or community guide. There, thousands of browsers / business owners will see what you do, and read about your ‘inside view’ or expert opinion. The best thing is, you can have a little help to make it perfect… (using an editor) and no-one will ever know!
One of my clients has a specialist knowledge of US tax for investors here, but the major property magazines are fairly fussy. So, a couple of times he utilised my editing services to get the structure and meaning flowing, before they employed their own sub-editing.
You can see a couple of pages below where my writing appeared in Business Matters magazine, Sunshine Coast. Local and regional magazines and online guides are more reasonable with editorial fees, and you can try to get free publication in specialist digital mags like ROOAR (for women entrepreneurs). (Paying for a little advertising always greases the wheels though).
Jennifer Lancaster has been writing for Business Matters Magazine since January 2010. We have always been impressed with Jennifer’s creative content and level of expertise. She is extremely articulate and we often get great feedback from our readers on her articles. Jennifer always ensures her articles come in before our deadline. She is a pleasure to work with. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone looking for a freelance writer with creative flair.
– Vickie Magic, Editor of Business Matters magazine, 2010
Many businesses today are seeking ways to capitalise on social media networking and viral marketing before ensuring their basic website copy and content is right. So what is copywriting?
Copywriting is sometimes called “the silent salesman” as it can do much of the warming up from a cold lead.
What are the basic elements of copywriting? Headlines aimed at piquing curiousity and answering a common problem have proven the most effective, so when I write headlines I try to do both. Body copy that starts with the most important point first (similar to journalistic writing) are more likely to get read. Calls to Action that prompts the user to do what you want them to do right away, is a key part of copywriting.
What else do we do in copywriting? I guess you could call it finding your niche. If it’s online, copywriters research and identify keywords (i.e. search strings people type into search engines), so that content can be optimised for a search engine. This enables the page to be more easily found by searchers of that particular information.
We also should find out about your customer profiles. The first step towards this is ask yourself: “What motivates Jane Blogg to read my content?” Read forum comments and blog comments in hot industry blogs… you might find your answer there.
Connect better with your customers… use personality. The conversation that you have with your users needs to have a positive voice. To maintain a consistent, authentic voice, you should employ one person to write all of your copy. That person should work with your website developer/designer. Before you try to impress your audience with all your knowledge, remember, to engage everyday people it is best to use a conversational tone and don’t assume any prior knowledge.
Pay attention to the details. I prefer to write all the page titles and metatag descriptions myself, as this writing is going to be seen by the end user in a search. I have seen too many errors or omissions by website designers to believe that it’s their area! Another reason is search engines use these metatags, plus the actual page URL, to help give users relevant results.
Remember, to engage customers and ensure you are being understood, use direct conversational voice.
Is it time to put your name in print? Many solo entrepreneurs I have met lately have expressed an interest in writing and producing a book that helps people. Some have even got to the writing and self-publishing stages, but they need some ideas. Reasons to write your own book range from “expressing my knowledge and personal passions” to “building my reputation in this space”.
(If you’re not much of a writer or just far too busy, enquire with PoW for tailored ghost writing services.)
As someone who has written, edited and formatted three books (self-publishing in various ways), I won’t fool you… it’s a long hard slog and it doesn’t stop once you’ve written and proofed it, oh no that’s where the fun begins. Follow my advice and reach out wherever you can if you need help.
A successful book for business use must be planned well from the start. You must know your audience; so identify their needs and core values as well as their willingness to read (why write 300 pages when your audience wants to read 150 simplified pages?).
Prepare for giving out your message. What is the core message of the book you want to get out? Brendon Burchard had a burning desire to tell people about his ‘accidental’ realisation of what life’s all about, and he put that message into “Life’s Golden Ticket”, which became a bestseller. You also may prepare a speech or spiel for radio/podcast use, around your message. Never expect the general public to know anything about your niche topic, instead aim your message at a layman’s level. (Rather than “lotus flower infusions” say “natural healing with lotus flowers”).
Get support. You may need some editing help, some support with ebook publishing and some general feedback on what other authors have done. For Australian females, I suggest joining the community Women’s Publishing Network for many kinds of support, especially posting your book-related events or asking a question of an expert.
Promoting your own book is almost a full-time enterprise, whether you have a publisher or not. Not many of us are lucky enough to have a talent for Publicity and Self-promotion, e.g. radio talks, book talks, book fairs, and so on, and that’s why Book Publicists are still necessary within self-publishing.
Yet, there are also many online avenues which can be travelled, at lesser expense:
Sometimes the road can be hard and with a few stumbles. Always remember why you started on this journey – to share your knowledge with a wider audience. Even if that audience is only 50 people, they might just became your best fan and pass that reputation on to 100 other people. Side note: Try to capture new readers’ email or mailing address so you can keep in touch for future launches!
Allow one-third of your overall book budget for marketing, or plenty of your time, and your book will be a winner. You are already a winner for embarking on the journey of sharing your knowledge and experience.
See more about Author-Entrepreneur Book Publishing in Australia, including personal branding, editing, typesetting, design, and other news.
Continuing on from my article on Packaging Your Knowledge… (into a course), another way to attract a good market is by learning how to write a blog.
Over the past four years I have written many blog articles, both for our business Red Planet Design Marketing Blog, and for clients who want to build their business’s online presence. It’s also been my pleasure to read some top blogs, like Copyblogger and SEOCopywriting Blog.
I’ve noticed that there are four types of blog writing:
Topical – timely feature stories on latest news events (not just a rehash of some news)
Educational – ‘how to’ articles, comparisons, directories listings, insider information
Opinion – reviews, rants, editorials, personal style journals
SEO – writing just for search engine popularity, with links to your main website pages.
My favourite style of blog writing is “insider information” style or “how to” articles, especially with a focus on providing top level niche content to a hungry crowd. To do this, yes a bit of keyword research is needed – but not to SPAM the hell out of your articles!
When first setting up your Blog, whether it is hosted by a Domain of yours or on WordPress.com, Blogger, etc, the key is to ensure you have a useable, updated theme, a functional subscribe form, and if possible, also install an SEO plugin.
An SEO plugin (e.g. SEO Yoast for WordPress) gives you a ‘shortcut’ when writing your post to ensure your Title Tags, Description, Robots tag, and number of words will all ‘past muster’ for best search engine visibility.
Another thing to consider in writing a Blog, is… should you be writing it? Seems obvious, but sometimes a CEO, MD or Technical person will aim slightly too high for their actual readership. Let’s look at who is doing it right and who is not hitting their market.
Thumbs up to Simon Dell of Two Cents Blog… interesting marketing blog – well-aimed at target market.
Thumbs down to Lyris blog… no-one seems to be reading it except spammers and me, and although the content seems helpful it does talk at a high level. (A no-no is to let any comments go through without moderation – this is found in Settings:Discussion in the WordPress platform).
Thumbs up to The Fortune Institute’s – Siimon’s Blog, comments of which are read by head honcho/Australian Siimon Reynolds. There are nice simple topics written for their entrepreneur audience. Improvements to the Categories could be made though, so that Readers can quickly see which posts interest them.
I laugh when I see blogs with categories like “industry news” and “company news”… surely company writers know about searching and how it works? You need to help those interested find the info they want by including the niche topic in a Category. It’s so simple my cat could do it. She would put all the articles about napping, sleeping and cat beds in “cat naps and beds”, and she would put all the articles about feeding kitty, fussy cat food, nibbles, etc in “feeding fussy cats”. Tired, she’d then head off to have a nap.
Select “Add new category” every time you want to group a new set of articles under a common sense heading. Ensure you spell the topic correctly.
Some people also use Categories as months/years for a chronological blog, but I find this less helpful for the average reader.
Tags are used in another way, to group articles under various “keyword phrases”. Matt Cutts of Google has said in the past that tags make no difference in search. Tags are a way for users on the site to find articles of interest. Tag clouds may up your on-page repeating keywords – so ‘careful does it’ if including a tag cloud on all pages. If you’ve found “how to write a blog” of interest to you, please share it below.
Say you’re a specialist in your industry (you don’t just sell stuff to people). Did you realise that often you are giving away great information to people whenever you talk about your business or industry…information that people of a certain need would pay for! Sometimes you might do a speaking event, so that is partly leveraged. But what about all those times you just wish your clients knew more… had a ‘mini-education’ in the field? And what about all those people overseas who would enjoy learning more about your field?
Well there is a way you can package your knowledge in varied formats, particularly video, and either sell this course or give it away as a ‘premium bonus’ to valued clients.
Udemy.com and OpenSesame are learning platforms that make it easy to put your course online, without having course (or LMS) software. You just sign in as an expert, but then the planning begins. With your course you need to carefully plan and make space and time for recording helpful lessons.
The good part is, with Udemy you only need a minimum of one Section and five Lectures, and 60%+ video content. The bad news is, once you have reviewed all the stuff you want to teach, you’ll end up having 3-4 sections and 20+ lectures, and hours of content to record or write!
So why not make your first course a very defined one. Start from the point of: What do clients ask you most about? What do your friends want to know about? What insights are completely missing when people purchase XYZ services from you.. that could save them heaps of dollars or time?
My Strategy. I have piles of material about money, mindset and budgeting, so I am creating a course that gets over the mental barriers, encourages the participant to get more income, and also helps with practical money management. (Called New Money Life!)
Extra value. The Udemy platform also allows for immediate questions, plus you can arrange ‘live sessions’ if you want to give more value and background information to course participants.
How to Promote it? For the promotion, it is partly up to you and your online efforts. But once you’re active in your course “space”, you can apply for the Affiliate program, so hundreds of other people can start promoting Your course. You can also set up a discount code yourself, if you want to offer special discounts to your email readers, for example.
Another way to promote your course is by offering ‘tasters’ on YouTube… just don’t make them full versions.
Perhaps create a colour bookmark or postcard promoting the course, for all those times when you go to a meeting or seminar and you meet someone interested in your field. I’ve done this for my Power Marketing book, and it’s bold colours and bookmark style really make it stand out in a sea of business cards.
Website copy editing for Hugh Thompson, a local counsellor, mediator and consultant. After keyword research, all titles, descriptions, subheads and internal links were manually written. Also co-ordinated with Red Planet Design on the placement of text. See the website, Hugh Thompson Consulting.
“Many thanks for your portrayal on the website. We are impressed.” – Hugh & Mary
For Raw Beetroot Professional Organising in Brisbane, I did keyword research and edited all the website copy, with keyword insertion. I also wrote the home page brief intros.
“Jen was able to take my ideas from paper and put them into a form which made sense and flowed. Her attention to detail, helpful suggestions and proactive approach made this process much quicker and easier for me.
Jen was able to add words and phrases to my draft and condense a lot of the writing to make reading easier. This is the first time I have created a website and used copywriter services. I would definitely recommend Jen and would use her myself for anything else I may need. Thanks Jen”
Since I often talk about the benefits of case studies, here is a little story of how our website design studio Red Planet Design, teamed with Power of Words, helped a Counsellor with no technical or website understanding.
Hugh Thompson is a qualified Relationships Counsellor and Mediator in Scarborough, Brisbane. He has a lot of experience in mediation and working with families. Hugh has a framework that helps groups or couples listen and see the other side more easily, and is a jolly nice fellow as well.
So, when he acknowledged that he needed a little help with websites, Gino and I happily agreed. The Yellow Pages is all very fine, but it does not give you much ‘credibility’. Hugh tended to agree and was miffed about how much it costs for what terrible service is received.
My job was to research and then heavily edit the copy until it sounded convincing and also not forgetting the main keyword phrases. My tools were Market Samurai for keyword research and SEO Yoast for aiding my optimisation (though that’s not strictly necessary it all helps).
One of the things my editing helped with was cutting down the number of questions we ask the reader. If having more than two in a row at the start of the page, it starts to feel like an inquisition. Similarly, recommending a new page for Workplace Mediation will help the reader, and it also keeps that topic to its own page (an SEO good practice).
Once the wonderful website was online, that was not the end of this story. After installing Analytics and ensuring indexing of all pages, Hugh and Mary wanted me to regularly explain how to interpret Analytics visitor patterns and the like. I do this via video tutorial with Jing. It records my voice and the screen too. What a wonderful world of online tools we have at our fingertips – completely free.
1. When self-publishing your book through Lightning Source, give yourself a long lead-up time to do the formatting, cover design and administration. Stay calm. “Power Marketing” the book, due out soon…
2. How to thank and remember anyone, anywhere with a greeting card – it’s fun, it’s easy, and it feels good. Read more about Following Up with Gratitude at my sister site, Power Marketing Tips.
3. You don’t have to hold on to old and limiting beliefs like a baby to their rattle. After discovering Access Consciousness through a book at the library (Right Body for You), I did an Access BARS workshop with lovely Shauna Teakan, and very relaxingly learned how to let go of unconscious judgements. If you are in constant judgement of yourself or situations, I highly recommend it. Using tools found in Gary Douglas & Dr. Dain Heer’s books, involving saying certain words, are helping with daily stress triggers. I also seem to be garnering more positive energy from others. (Facebook search for Shauna Teakan).
4. Through my clients I have learned again the motto “Assume makes an ass out of you and me”. Never assume that someone wants the same style as what you’ve been trained to do. If clients wants bullet points, then let it be.
5. And the biggest thing I have learned this year is to “Ask for help (in business)”. You never know what amazing things will happen.
Authentic Connecting Tip
Like me, you’ve probably spent much time building up a great network on LinkedIn or in real life by attending meetings. What is the point of all that if you never connect with them again? If you have a conversation about something, anything really, and then come across a good article or book about the topic – then send it to that person, even if you need to hunt out their postal address. People really appreciate the fact that you are not “always selling”.
“All of Life comes to me with ease, joy and glory” – Access Consciousness