When you create web pages, aim for a unified tone, look and feel throughout your site. Aim for the right tone to suit your audience group and your subject matter. Keep the tone of your website unrelentingly positive. Use multi-media cautiously – it should enhance the page, not distract the user. Develop an appropriate identifying brand if you do not already have one, and include it on every page and communication. Color, images and the ‘tone’ of your conversation with the user all help to create a psychological impact on your users, and help to communicate a subtle message about who you are.
There are lots of ways to survey your customers, and one of the most popular and effective ones is via survey emails. Among the largest benefits of sending a survey email invitation is scale – you’re just one click away from gaining insight into potentially your entire customer base! However, this requires that your respondents actually open, read, and click your email.
When tax season rolls around and people are Googling answers to their tax preparation questions, they stumble upon your blog posts, and realize you offer tax preparation services. Some of them keep doing their own tax preparation, but perhaps keep you in mind for next year; others throw their hands up in the air, decide to rid themselves of tax preparation headaches for good, and hire you -- because you're clearly way more qualified to do this than they are.
Finally, a great content writer should not be “just another” contractor or employee. We are your allies in the quest for online success. We do what we do because we want you to succeed – because your success is also our success. As long as there are businesses thriving with a content writer on their staff, we know that it is all thanks to our relationships with our employers. If you need an ally who understands how to use research, good editing, attractive design, and proper SEO techniques to take your web content to the masses, then you need a content writer.
Read Joe Pulizzi's excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt's Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won't take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.
Web content writing is nearly always done on a “ghostwritten” basis. That means that you’re producing content that will be published under other peoples’ names. Since your name won’t usually be attached to the final live version of your work – and since you’ll be expected to edit your “brilliant” work to your client’s specifications – anyone with an ego need not apply.
Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast--all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.
Practice article writing. Learn how to write a newspaper article and how to write a wikiHow article. As a professional content writer, you may find a position that focuses on journalistic article style writing, or more educational how to writing. Study the form, structure, voice, and tone of each type of article so you are familiar with both types.
Emails that are highly segmented tend to have higher performance levels -- such as open rate and clickthrough rate -- than emails that aren't personalized. According to a study by Direct Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails generated 58% of all revenue for the marketers surveyed, and 36% of revenues were driven by emails sent to specific target selections.
Web content writers must play well with others. I’ve hired writers of my own in the past, and you’d be amazed at how many people flake out on assignments, turn in sub-par work or simply fall of the face of the planet. If you want a shot at the jobs that pay well, you need to present yourself as a responsible, easy-to-work-with writer who meets his obligations without requiring a lot of paper-chasing on the part of the client.
There are a host of metrics to look at when you have a robust analytics solution, but having too many goals to live up to tends to result in prioritization difficulties. I recommend content marketing teams have 2-3 metrics they measure, and perhaps some secondary metrics each sub-team can measure to help understand when there are different levers to pull. Here are my recommendations:
No matter who we’re writing for, or what sort of material it is, every content writer is a researcher first and a writer second. In nearly every case, the content writer will be dealing with a subject that he or she is not familiar with, and must do adequate research to ensure that all the information presented in his or her article is accurate, current, and doesn’t contradict the company’s existing messaging. Good research is the foundation of good content writing. And for those of you wondering, yes, this article is the rare exception to that rule – I actually knew this stuff already.