The Point

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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…)

May

Writing Fear (A Written List of Fears)

writing fear

Scribophobia? Keyboard petrification syndrome (aka KPS)? That’s stupid. For lack of a better name, we’ll call it “writing fear.”

Who cares what you call it. If you write, you get it. It’s frightening. Right?

What isn’t?

Quick back story…

I got to know this guy.

Jon Nastor

Jon Nastor. Good guy. Love him. He’s the host and co-host of two podcasts on Copyblogger’s Rainmaker.FM and I was asked to guest on an episode of the Hack the Entrepreneur program. Jon sent me his book, Hack the Entrepreneur.

The book’s essentially entreprenuerial smarties that were also on his show sharing their insights. I know many of them. One of them is this guy.

Jay Baer

Jay Baer. Love him too. Author of Youtility and more. CEO of Convince and Convert. Big-time in-demand speaker. And straight-up good guy. Also a friend. Jay’s quoted in Jon’s book:

“I tell entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs this all the time…
If I can give you any piece of advice, it’s to write down your fears.
People always tell you to write down your goals, and, yeah, I get that.
I don’t do that, actually. I think it’s limiting, but I do write down my fears.”

~ Jay Baer

I felt the need to try it. I did so months ago. You’ll never guess why I haven’t published it until now. Right. Scared. This little trip into my psyche is unlike anything I’ve ever shared.

WTF. Here goes Jon, Jay, Joe, Jack, Jill, Jane, or whatever your name is 😉

Sometimes I fear…

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Mar

How to Write a Presentation that Converts

Write presentations

Have you ever wondered how to write a presentation?

I’m not talking about your obligatory reviewing-the-numbers or previewing-the-game-plan decks where you may be able to get away with a set of snoozer slides. I’m talking about the presentation that stands on its own as a piece of clickass content created to inform and entertain your audience.

In large part, I’m talking about SlideShare, that is LinkedIn SlideShare, one of the world’s premier content communities. And by talking about SlideShare, I mean to also include the idea of expanding your digital footprint with modern visual marketing. See, the content you publish on SlideShare can be embedded all over the place. If it’s great, it will be.

You may have read content from me about SlideShare in the past.

I like SlideShare. It likes me. I’m happy to tell you I’ve been dubbed a “Keynote Author” there thanks to my steady stream of presentations and infographics. Thanks to the appointment, my posts often land on the highly trafficked SlideShare home page, pick up a nice boost from their social media efforts and then often get viewed tens of thousands of times.

You’ll find my entire, ever-expanding heap of SlideShare content here. 

And now for a lesson on writing presentations

I put a lot of thought into this lesson because I was asked to present it as a live webinar as part of the free Virtual SlideShare Summit.

You can join me for this presentation Tuesday, March 22, 9:00 a.m. Eastern. REGISTER HERE.

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Mar

The Best Copywriters Offer Great Copywriting Secrets

great copywriting ingredient (1)
I was reviewing an essay by my daughter, a high school junior, when we got to talking about what makes for great writing. It was an interesting discussion.

At least I felt that way. She probably just wanted to get the thing done and turned in. I call writing my profession. She calls it a pain in the butt.

In any case, I got to thinking—after tapping on a keyboard for 25-plus years in the interest of inspiring readers to try, buy, attend, register, write, call, download, donate, share, care, click here and put your email right there…

What is the essential ingredient of great copywriting?

I’ve been doing this awhile. I know a lot of great copywriters. And they know a lot of great copywriting secrets, as do many of my peers who are journalists and content marketers that wordsmith with the best of ‘em. So I asked them this one question.

This post reveals their answers: the secrets to great copywriting from many of the professionals I consider to be amongst the best at the craft.

Work’s required

Doug Kessler

Hard work
Doug Kessler, co-founder and creative director of Velocity Partners, is the best copywriter I know.
@dougkessler

“The essential ingredient to great copywriting—and as a card-carrying lazy bastard I hate to admit this—is hard work.

The hard work of really, really, really understanding your subject, your audience and the building blocks of your story… The hard work of listening, asking questions and doing your research… The hard work of structuring, of building your case… The hard work of rewriting to improve clarity… The hard work of finding what really matters.

The final ‘wordsmithing’ is just the veneer on top of a solid table made with hardwood and nails and saws.”  (more…)

Jan

125 Quick Tips to Sharpen Your Copywriting Skills

 

125 copywriting skills and tips

I’ve been sharpening my copywriting skills as a pro for nearly 30 years. How’s it done? Much like any art, or any craft, perpetual improvement calls for:

  • Studying how the best do what they do
  • Practicing
  • Developing your own style and work habits

I’m going to share with you many of the lessons I’ve learned about copywriting. I suspect you’ve heard a good deal of them before. I can’t claim these ideas are all mine. Most of the tips come from the best—accomplished copywriters who chose to share the secrets of their success.

I’m just making them mine. That’s what writers do.

coffee (1)You might grab a cup of coffee for this one.

 

 

Copywriting Bonus

> Click Here to Download Your Bonus eBook

 

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