You run an accounting firm that specializes in tax preparation, and business was lagging this year. You want to do better next year, so you start a blog on your website and publish posts about some of the common tax-related issues your target customer faces. You write a few posts a week, and eventually those blog posts start to rank in Google and other search engines.


I've thought long about this. As an agile writer, I'm often tasked with writing in different capacities. Sometimes I'll write product descriptions for my ecommerce businesses. Sometimes I'll write articles to help drive organic search traffic. And other times, I'll write email sequences and sales letters. Stepping back, I had to look at it all and think about the best tips that have helped me write killer and persuasive copy.
Content writers typically create content for the Web. This content can include sales copy, e-books, podcasts, and text for graphics. Content writers use various Web formatting tools, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and content management systems to help create their work. Content writers produce the content for many different types of websites, including blogs, social networks, e-commerce sites, news aggregators, and college websites.
Imagine this like mining for gold. You need to drill and excavate and blast through a tremendous amount of rock before you can find veins of gold. Once found, you chip away, uncovering more and more. Do this until you have carts full of fine gold you can polish and present to your audience. The more tenacious you are as a researcher, the better you'll get at copywriting.
The reason is that each form of writing has its own style. News is delivered AP style, in short, informational paragraphs with the meat of the story at the top. Blogging is personable, friendly and often opinionated. Ad copy is short and persuasive. White papers are long; they describe a problem and provide the solution. But, regardless, each and every category is content, and each style writers master makes them more valuable and in demand.
When businesses pursue content marketing, the main focus should be the needs of the prospect or customer. Once a business has identified the customer's need, information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs, etc.[5] Most of these formats belong to the digital channel.
Today, 41% of B2B marketers focus on content tied to the buying journey of a customer, yet many businesses fail to produce personalized content dedicated to each stage of the buying cycle. Personalized messaging doesn’t just mean targeting by demographic or filmographic criteria, it means proactively producing content that is suitable for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Eighty-five percent of consumers trust solutions that take the time to walk them through various paths toward decisions rather than just attempting to make that choice for them. This type of content shows consumers that you acknowledge and value their ability to evaluate and make decisions for themselves. 

"Ideation" is a marketing industry buzzword that describes the creative process of finding a subject, title and angle to write about; and ideation begins with analytics. Most ideation is done in a team setting, but freelance writers are usually on their own. Which is why it's helpful to know how professional marketing teams generate ideas. Before doing that, successful content writers need to: 
Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.
Step 4: Produce and optimize your content. If you’re starting with original, high-quality content that you’ve invested real time and money to create, you’ll want to get the most out of every asset. You’ll also want to be sure your content stays fresh—out-of-date, no longer relevant content hurts your brand’s credibility. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your content marketing, remember the three Rs: 

Another reason? People are just not that into ads. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust In Advertising report, people trust text ads less than any other content medium, especially on mobile. What’s more, on the list of trusted mediums, editorial content outranked ads on all traditional channels, including TV, radio, billboards, newspapers and magazines. Bottom line: editorial, informational, entertaining content works best.

Unlike other forms of online marketing, content marketing relies on anticipating and meeting an existing customer need for information, as opposed to creating demand for a new need. As James O'Brien of Contently wrote on Mashable, "The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story."[3] Content marketing requires continuous delivery of large amounts of content, preferably within a content marketing strategy.[4]
Email marketing is one of the most important forms of customer (and potential customer) communication on the planet. It’s cheap and extremely intimate. The only problem is that most people have no idea how to write mass marketing emails that are effective in selling your products. ScriptDoll makes it easy by writing your emails for you. You simply tell the ScriptDoll Engine a few things about your product and audience and it spits out emails that convert.
People come to your website with a specific task in mind. When developing your site’s content, keep your users’ tasks in mind and write to ensure you are helping them accomplish those tasks.  If your website doesn’t help them complete that task, they’ll leave. Conduct market research, perform a task analysis and other types of user research, and analyze metrics to better understand what users are looking to accomplish.
With email subject lines, using actionable language doesn't necessarily mean using verbs, although it certainly helps. OpenTable, for example, sent me an email that said "Take Mom to Brunch" in the subject line. This is one way to use actionable language effectively in email subject lines: by incorporating a verb (like "take," "download," "reserve," "ask," "buy," etc.), the reader knows exactly what they can do in the email.
I hired Chris Orzechowski to write copy for our latest Kickstarter project. The first 5 emails he wrote for us generated over $100,000 of sales in the first three hours of our launch. After 30 days, we made a grand total of $5,170,445 of sales. And as a result, we added 18,550 new buyers to our house list. Chris’s copy is clear, engaging, and fun to read. And most importantly… it will make you a fortune. If you’re looking for a professional copywriter who can transform your business… then hire Chris immediately before your competition does.
I won't pull any punches: I started, and it took a while to stop. That is to say you're about to dive into a pretty in-depth post (that's a nice way of saying "long") about content marketing, one which you may want to bookmark to read later. But I think it covers most of the aspects of content marketing that modern inbound marketers need to consider, beyond the basics of simply writing content optimized for the web.
You may also want to consider doing an internship at a publication you hope to work for full time in the future to make connections with editors and other writers at the publication. Many of these internships will likely not be paid, at least not at first. Be prepared to receive compensation in the form of connections and contacts. But be wary of being taken advantage of as free labor. If you feel uncomfortable working for free, try to find internships that pay.[9]

So, whenever someone asks me what I do, I reply that I’m a content writer. Quite often, they aren’t sure what that means, and for good reason.  It’s not the most descriptive job title in the world, but that’s because content writing has to remain as open and flexible as it can; content writers wear a lot of hats.  Ask 10 different content writers what they do during the day, and you’ll most likely get 10 different answers.  The truth is the job of a content writer is about much more than just churning out articles or blog posts.  Let’s take a moment to break down the job of the content writer, and see if we can develop a more thorough understanding of just what we content writers do – and why you probably need one.
Content marketing requires manpower, so the first step is figuring out who is going to head up the program. There's no one-size-fits-all for team structure -- it depends largely on the size of your company, your marketing team, and your budget. But if we assume that those three things are interlinked, as they often are, I can provide you with some frameworks based off of other content marketing-focused companies' structures. These should help you hire the right people, and have them "sitting" in the right spot in your organization.
Add value. That’s the secret. It’s not really a secret at all. We've already talked about it throughout this piece. Although when you look at some of the marketing companies engage in you wonder if they’re purposely avoiding the obvious. We skip advertising when it provides little to no value. If you want to learn about advertising that doesn’t get skipped, find a skateboarder and ask him if you can watch him look through a skateboard magazine. You’ll see that he spends as much time looking at the ads as he does looking at the articles and photos. Or check out The Berrics website. Much of the content is advertisements, but skaters don’t skip these videos, they watch them just like they watch the other videos, because they’re getting the value they want--good skating. As a skater I’d like to say skateboard companies pioneered content marketing decades ago, but I know they were only doing what came naturally, and selling more product was secondary to the fun of creating videos and magazines. If you want to hire someone onto your marketing team who understands content marketing intuitively, hiring a skateboarder might not be a bad step.
For instance, blog writers may have to keep the content conversational and relaxed, finance writers will have to be more somber in tone, while writers creating content for a sales page will have to subtly prod the reader to buy or at least consider your product or service. We match the writer to the task, so that the final custom output meets your expectations and adheres to the nature of the writing task perfectly.

Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.
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