The Point

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Feb

12 Word Power Pointers for the Marketing Content Writer

 

Word Power (1)

If it’s “word power” you’re hoping to achieve, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, by the late Gary Provost, is the ultimate manual. It’s the best writing guide I’ve ever read.

If you read my stuff, you know the subject is near and dear to me. If I can give you pointers to improve your writing, you know I will. It’s my job to improve your word power. I can do if for you, with you, or consult you on it.

Provost’s book, published in 1985, includes a chapter titled. “12 Ways to Give your Words Power.” Who doesn’t want that? Here they are:

  1. Use short words
  2. Use dense words
  3. Use familiar words
  4. Use active verbs
  5. Use strong verbs
  6. Use specific nouns
  7. Use the active voice
  8. Say things in a positive way
  9. Be specific
  10. Use statistics
  11. Provide facts
  12. Put emphatic words at the end
    Word Power list

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Feb

How to Edit Copy [Content Matters Episode 22]

Content Matters Ep 22

A ton of content creators make one, or two, big mistakes when they write copy:

  1. They publish first drafts
  2. They edit as they write

In this edition of Content Matters, Andy and Barry make a case why these two mistakes compromise the quality of your content and slow your production.

Listen to “How to Edit Copy [22]” on Spreaker.

In this (highly stereophonic) episode we cover:

  • When’s the right time in the writing process to edit?
  • Why the first paragraph is often disposable
  • How to edit online copy to appeal to scanners
  • The value of “incubation”
  • A long list of things to axe
  • Our copywriting pet peeves
  • How to inject energy into your copy
  • Why you should “cut that out”

In the cheese & mousetrap segment:

  • Barry explains why to not write like a journalist
  • Andy makes a case for writing your call to action in first person

Resources mentioned in this epsidode:

On the next episode of Content Matters:
The power of collaborative content

Listen to any or all of the Content Matters podcast episodes and share your thoughts about the program on iTunes. 

Jan

Website Navigation Matters [Content Matters Episode 21]

Content Matters 21

Could something as basic as your website’s menu bar actually have a meaningful effect on your visitor’s experience? .

Listen to this edition of Content Matters as Andy and Barry discuss how website navigation can effect traffic, conversion and user experience.

Listen to “Website Navigation Matters [21]” on Spreaker.

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Jan

Lead Magnet Ideas, Titles and Templates to Capture More Leads

 

Lead magnet ideas titles and templates

I’ve been bringing you lessons about lead magnets because they’re critical for growing your email list.

I’m not done yet. I’m going to bring it in this one by offering a litany of ideas for lead magnets with titles and templates you can easily adapt to capture more leads from your website.

A quick review, if you missed the prior posts (and offers)…

I’m putting all this effort into helping you create and promote lead magnets because I feel so strong about the need to grow your email list and put the power of email marketing to work. Let’s face it: social media’s a bit slippery to rely on for lead generation and ranking on search is damn difficult for most—especially if you’re an early stage content creator.

Should either search, social, advertising, or any channel succeed in driving traffic to your site, you still lose the battle when visitors come and go without joining your list, getting in touch, trying or buying your product.

The bottom line is you need to give your visitors a reason to give you the keys to their inbox.

And that reason is…? Ultra-strength content… the keeper kind.

You need to offer content that beams from the screen the magic power it takes to get people to type their email address.

This is an exercise to help you crank out killer lead magnets

Our lead magnet creation class shall now commence. I’m glad you’re here. You’ll want to take notes, brainstorm with me, and definitely download the free Lead Magnets Template Kit.

The goal is to inspire powerful lead magnet ideas—featuring compelling titles and attractive covers—that go from being mine to being yours, in a short span of time.

The session will feature:

  • Lead magnet titles that have converted at a high rate for my company and clients.
  • Additional great lead magnet ideas from around the web.
  • Variations on the ideas to help kick start your next lead magnet.
  • And little in-article workshops or brainstorms to ignite the creative process.

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Dec

32 Ways a Digital Marketing Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

A lot of clients—marketing professionals and business owners—get in touch and ask me to help plan, write, and create websites, eBooks, and blog posts. That’s far from a complete list, but three common requests.

On the other hand, a lot of clients reach out to me without a specific task list in mind. They know they want to grow their business. They know they want to produce traffic, leads and sales. And they think they need the help of digital marketing consultant.

They’re right, but their question is often oh-so-broad: “How can you help me?”

Shwew. My answer could be any number of things and at that point, not having the benefit of knowing where their digital marketing currently stands, I’m seldom able to quickly deliver a perfect answer.

I certainly don’t want to blurt out a specific digital marketing tactic… “YouTube is the answer” or “An email campaign will make rain for you.” That’d be reckless.

A digital marketing consultant should recommend tactics based on needs identified from a carefully considered audit. I’m a strategist. I’m a copywriter. But I’ve been doing digital marketing since it existed, so there are a substantial number of ways I can help you grow your business through digital marketing.

Here they are.

The list won’t magically nail an effective strategy, but my hope is it’ll provide some answers to the “How can you help me?” question and give us lots to talk about.

 

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Nov

Copywriter vs. Content Writer: Skills, Writing Fees and Expectations

copywriter-vs-content-writer-1

Need content? You could enlist the services of a content writer. It probably won’t hurt a bit. But it probably won’t help either.

Given the immense demand for content, millions of freelancers, small agencies and writer brokerages have crawled out of the woodwork to offer cheap, quick-turn content writing services.

The writing they deliver seldom accomplishes much as measured by marketing objectives, but no one’s guilty of anything. The client placed an order for content. The vendor delivered it. End of story?

Yes, usually that’s the story in its entirety. However, it’s just the beginning of this one. You see, I wrote this article to answer questions I often get when asked to quote writing fees by prospects and new clients for creating content.

To simplify, it usually amounts to: copywriter vs. content writer—what’s the difference? However, it may not be quite that simple. A number of posts have been written as attempts to tackle the question. Usually, they say something like:

  • A copywriter writes ads or marketing material to sell products and services or raise brand awareness.
  • A content writer writes educational content without promotional messages.

I’m not close to satisfied with this overly polarized answer. You might have some noble goals in mind for your content marketing, but it’s not a public service. You do it for the reasons listed above in the copywriter definition. Those reasons are marketing objectives and to accomplish them you need a copywriter—and more—someone with marketing skills.

What an average web content writer does

An average content writer for the web writes content, usually blog posts. As you might expect, the writing’s usually average.

Average content writing fees: < $100.

Average research: 10 – 20 minutes.

Average marketing experience: Minimal.

Average results: Words on a page. Zero links. Zero traffic generation. Zero conversion. Zero sales. (Read more about how most content badly underperforms in research published by Buzzsumo and Moz.)

You can probably guess the number of reasons I can think of to hire an average content writer.

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Oct

Digital Marketing Failure: Why the Glass is Half Empty

digital marketing failure

Creating content is a huge part of your digital marketing, yet most of it’s a waste of time.

Ouch. Why?

Did you catch the “Content, Shares and Links” study from Buzzsumo and Moz? It examined 1-million blog posts. Two alarming findings include:

  • Over 50% of posts earned 2 or less Facebook interactions
  • Over 75% achieved zero external links

The report’s author, Steve Rayson, writes, “The majority of content published on the Internet is simply ignored when it comes to shares and links. The data suggests most content is simply not worthy of sharing or linking, and also that people are very poor at amplifying content. It may sound harsh but it seems most people are wasting their time either producing poor content or failing to amplify it.”

Once more for emphasis: most people are wasting their time.

That is harsh—and definitely worth trouble-shooting. It seems safe to say the factors behind unsuccessful digital marketing campaigns can be vast. In this post, I’m going to explore the reasons that stand out to me, especially on the content marketing frontier where so much time is invested. (more…)

Aug

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices

50 best practices

I must admit: I’m a latecomer to business blogging. I joined the party in 2011 and got off to a rocky start. Nearly all bloggers do.

Five years later, I know what works. I’m working the strategies to great effect—on my website, for a long list of top marketing blogs, and for many clients. And regardless of where you are in your business blogging journey, I believe this collection of ideas will help you publish an even more effective business blog.

Here, now, are my top ideas organized as 50 best practices. But first…

I present a quick history of business blogging from the historical point of view of yours truly. And then… Grabba’ cuppa’ something tasty and enjoy The Business Blogging Plan.

a brief history of business blogging

Here you go… 
The Business Blogging Plan:  50 Best Practices

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Aug

The Ingredients of Great Written Content [Content Matters Episode 16]

Great Written Content Content Matters

If your written content isn’t great, it accomplishes very little, or nothing.

In this episode, Andy and Barry talk you through the 14 ingredients you need to pour into your content, so it hits the mark and accomplishes your marketing objectives.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Each of the 14 important ingredients in the nutritional label below
  • Ways to apply the ingredient in your written content
  • How to make your written content original—even when it’s about a common topic

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Jun

Want to Know How to Make Your Written Content Great?

Great written content
You would think everyone and every company would want to know how to create great written content. You’d be wrong. They don’t.

I believe most companies simply want to create written content—blogs, for the most part—and don’t care whether or not it’s great. And I submit, as evidence:

  • The Internet at large: It’s polluted with dreadful blogs.
  • The blog graveyard: A shocking percentage of bloggers pull the plug.
  • The proliferation of content farms: Low-cost writer brokerages continue to thrive because marketers want more pages, posts, URLs, emails… Essentially, they want more web real estate.
  • The atrophy of writing fees: Now that everyone and their cousin-in-law provide content writing services, it’s become Walmart.
  • The bell curve: As interest, and activity, in content marketing continues climbing, a normal distribution curve suggests only a small percentage will achieve excellence.

Content marketing google trendsGoogle Trends data indicates interest in content marketing has risen steadily since 2011.
I suspect a line charting content quality would look different.

It not great, then why?

I wonder if the masses that produce low or mediocre quality content understand content marketing, and in particular, the purpose of written content. It’s hard to deny many companies simply feel it’s an obligation of doing business, perhaps like getting listed in the yellow pages once was.

“The competition has a blog, so we should too.” That sort of thing.

I may fail to deliver new revelations here, but I’m going to reiterate what you can accomplish with content marketing. Understand, first and foremost, the purpose is to help get and keep customers. (more…)