Not everyone knows this, but content marketing is itself an entire marketing strategy. And it works — really well.
Content marketing simultaneously increases profits and decreases costs. Those that use the strategy experience six times more conversions than those who don’t. And compared to traditional outbound marketing (TV and radio ads, print advertisements, cold calling, etc.), it’s 62% less expensive.
Content marketing incorporates a lot, and content writing is one (vital) piece of the puzzle. If you’re starting from scratch with content marketing, your best bet is to grasp the entire strategy’s concept but focus on how content writing can support it.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that aims to attract your target audience with valuable, engaging, high-quality, and relevant content. As a brand and a business, you want to position yourself as an expert in your field — someone people (and shoppers) can trust. Content marketing allows you to do this by regularly publishing a variety of content that gives your readers, buyers, and supporters value.
This strategy incites interest in your business and products, encouraging customers to buy from you.
Types of Content in Content Marketing
The beauty of content marketing as a marketing strategy is that it never gets old. There are so many ways to reach your target audience and keep them engaged and interested. Some of the most common forms of communication within content marketing are:
- Blogs & Website Copy: Everyone has a blog these days, right? That’s because blogs are an excellent way to give your audience that super valuable information. But don’t write a blog for the sake of it. *Value* is the key here. Make sure you’re providing your readers with information that helps them in some way. Same for website copy. Keep it concise and informative, and add all those important keywords into the mix.
- Videos: Not everyone learns from reading — don’t forget about your audience’s visual learners! Videos offer the same information but visually, and often with higher engagement.
- Graphics: These are key for any social media content. It’s best to use high-quality imagery. And believe it or not, there’s a science behind why we love infographics so much. They’re easy to absorb, and colorful imagery increases the chance people will read your post by 80%.
- Email: Email is still the highest converting form of content marketing. For every one dollar you spend, you can expect a return of $42. Plus, you can segment your audience and target groups more specifically (first-time shoppers, returning customers, empty carters, etc.).
There are other forms of content marketing communications, including podcasts, eBooks, webinars, white papers, guest posting, slide decks (presentations), etc. But, the ones listed above are the core four and a great place to start.
What is Content Writing?
Content writing is the foundation of content marketing. What do all those examples above have in common? The written word. Every single piece of content you create requires writing in one way or another. Even videos on Youtube need a caption that attracts and engages viewers.
Blog writing, article writing, eBooks, infographics, social media posts, etc., all rely on highly engaging content writing to draw your audience in and convert them into buyers or supporters. This progression is called the customer journey. Content writing helps you lead your target audience through their journey with you, from start (brand awareness and interest) to finish (purchasing your products or services).
Steps of Content Marketing Within Content Writing
Eighty-seven percent of marketers use content writing to help them engage their audience throughout their marketing funnel, meaning through their customers’ journey. A marketing funnel typically includes three critical zones with distinct goals:
- Top: Build brand awareness and attract attention from your target audience.
- Middle: Engage your audience and get them interested in potentially buying your product.
- Bottom: Get your target audience to buy your product.
All three zones have different goals and, therefore, should have slightly different content marketing approaches.
Here are the steps you can take to build a content marketing strategy for your business while using content writing.
- Set Your Goals: You can’t start any marketing without knowing the why behind your actions. What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to gain more followers, convert blog readers into buying customers, or encourage returning customers to make another purchase? When you understand your goals, you can better focus your content writing.
- Choose a Content Type & Channel: Based on your goals, choose a content type (blog posts, videos, podcasts, email campaign, social media, etc.) and channel (website, blog, Facebook post, Instagram reel, YouTube, etc.).
- Determine the Marketing Funnel Zone: With each piece of content, where are you in the marketing funnel? Are you just trying to increase brand awareness with fun social media posts, or are you trying to get buyers on your website with an informative graphic? Cater your content to match your goals.
- Create a Content Calendar: Keep a separate calendar for each channel and schedule content throughout the month. Try to add variety and interconnect channels. Maybe an Instagram post leads followers to a blog post about a product. What’s most important here is sticking to your schedule and posting consistently.
- Produce Content: Now that you have your schedule, start writing. See below for tips to craft and create better content.
- Analyze: You won’t know if something is working until you look at the metrics. Analyzing your data will help you determine what to focus on and what your audience likes. You can narrow down posting times, topics, colors, length, products, etc.
Content Writing Tips to Write Better Content
Did you know that the average time someone spends reading an article is 37 seconds? Yea, ouch. As a writer, that hurts my little heart, but it also gives me a challenge! I know I have 37 seconds to accomplish two things:
- Hook my reader.
- Make my article scannable.
To hook the reader, start your blogs, articles, posts, videos, etc., with something highly engaging or exciting. Maybe it’s a crazy statistic, a captivating story, or a revealing fact. Once you have your reader hooked, make the rest of the content interesting and valuable, so they keep reading.
Not everyone will read everything you write, so the other goal is to make it equally scannable. Use headlines, lists, bullet points, images, or anything else that breaks up blocks of texts. Put something interesting or important in each paragraph’s first sentence so your reader can get the gist quickly.
General Tips for Better Writing
Not everyone is a “good” writer — and to become better, it takes a lot of practice. In the end, you may want to hire a professional copywriter to help you tackle your content marketing strategy. But if you want to give it a go yourself, here are some general tips for better writing.
- Use Active Voice: Passive voice adds a lot of extra meh to your writing. It also makes it more challenging to read. You can always, always change passive voice to active voice. And before you know it, you’ll start doing it naturally.
- Break Grammar Rules: Some rules are meant to be broken. (See what I did there? Two passive voices in a row?! The horror!) Sure, try to avoid spelling mistakes, but don’t be afraid to write incomplete sentences or use the passive voice here and there. You want to hook or relate to your reader. Sometimes that involves breaking the rules.
- Be Concise: Try to say what you want to say as quickly as possible. No, wait. Say what you want to say fast. Hold on, say what you want quickly. No. Write concisely. Ah-ha, there it is! But, seriously, shorten those thoughts.
- Vary Sentence Length: Nothing is more boring to read than one long sentence after another. Add sentence variety to help your writing flow. It maintains your reader’s attention, and it’s more fun to read.
- Appeal to All Reading Levels: Choose strong verbs and adjectives that engage the reader, but don’t go overboard with the thesaurus. Hopefully, you have a large target audience, so not everyone will be at the same reading level. Always include simple language when you can.
Engage Your Audience with Content Writing
Content marketing works and should be at the forefront of your current marketing strategy. At its core is content writing, so as you start to plan your communications, don’t forget the importance of the written word. Use it to reel your reader in and engage them. Establish yourself as an expert. And, most importantly, have fun with it!
If you need to hire a professional to take over, feel free to reach out to us! We produce zeal-icious content. Too punny? Sorry. But in the meantime, use this article to help you get started.