For small businesses marketers, there isn’t always enough time or resources to hand off each element of your marketing strategy to an expert. Instead, you often find yourself wearing multiple hats at once. And when it comes to crafting content for a variety of mediums – including email, SMS, and blogging – it can be a challenge to master each.
Why Content Still Matters
For decades, people have confused the concepts of marketing and advertising – often using them interchangeably. And while it may seem like a simple slip up in semantics, the truth is that these are separate terms.
“If you think of marketing as a pie, the whole marketing pie can be divided into advertising, market research, media planning, public relations, community relations, customer support, and sales strategy,” consultant Laura Lake writes. “Advertising, while the most in-your-face slice of the pie, is still only one slice of the marketing pie.”
Advertising is promotional, commercialized, and (often) forced. Whether they’re consciously aware of it or not, consumers feel this. They’re constantly surrounded by advertisements and become fatigued of seeing a brand logo slapped onto everything.
Marketing, while partially consisting of advertising, is much more organic, natural, and enveloping. It’s how a brand naturally engages people and moves them to action over time. And at the heart of all marketing is quality content.
“Content marketing helps to improve conversions because it allows you to connect with and educate your leads and customers,” digital marketing professional Karen Smith writes. “Not only are you working to build trust and relationships, but you are also encouraging conversions by giving consumers the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision.”
In a world where the average person is exposed to 5,000 ads per day, quality content cuts through the clutter and allows brands to enjoy genuine, meaningful engagement with customers. But unless you know how to create compelling content, you’ll fail to maximize your ROI.
Excel With Content in 4 Key Mediums
When it comes to content marketing, there are four key mediums that you need to get right. And assuming that you don’t have the budget to go out and hire a bunch of full-time writers or specialized contractors, you’ll need to do some of the writing yourself.
Let’s check out some helpful writing tips for each of the following four content marketing mediums:
Email is a staple of just about every content marketing strategy. If you’re going to make a commitment to improving your content writing, it starts with email.
The first step to writing compelling marketing emails is to come up with an engaging subject line that grabs recipients’ attention.
“Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and write your subject lines to address their needs,” marketer Ginny Mineo suggests. “How do they talk about products and industries like yours? What are their biggest fears – and how can you solve them? What language gets them fired up, and what makes them start to snooze?”
Personalize your subject line, use action-oriented verbs, and try to introduce some time-bound element that drives readers to action.
As important as it is, the subject line is only one component of effective email marketing. The email itself should be specific, relevant, and concise. It’s also wise to write in the second person, which comes off as more engaging than self-serving.
Most people don’t realize this, but SMS – or text messaging – features a 98 percent read rate. In fact, 90 percent are opened within the first three seconds! For perspective, email open rates tend to hover in the 20 to 30 percent range.
Having your text messages opened up by a customer doesn’t guarantee success, however. You need to be strategic with how you write these messages.
According to this infographic from TextMarks, a copy should be concise, crisp, and professional. With limited space, you want to shorten links, leave out frivolous language, and get straight to the point. However, avoid using abbreviations and “text-speak,” which comes across as amateurish.
Many business owners and marketers find blogging to be intimidating. They may have ideas, but as soon as they sit down to write, all of these ideas fly out the window. In regards to having trouble bringing your ideas to life, the best thing you can do is get in the habit of writing outlines for your posts.
“The purpose of this outline is to make sure I know what I plan to cover, in what order the various sections will appear, and some bare-bones details of what each section will include,” web content specialist Dan Shewan writes. “Outlines keep you honest. They stop you from indulging in poorly thought-out metaphors about driving and keep you focused on the overall structure of your post.”
With an outline in hand, writing blog posts become much easier. You can sit down and write, take a break, return to writing, and never lose your flow. It keeps you honest and gives you a structure to follow.
4. Social Media
Social media content writing is an art form. It takes time and experience to learn what works and what doesn’t. But at the heart of it all is consistency. You must use a consistent brand voice or risk watering down your image.
It’s also important to be careful with what you post and to proof and edit everything. And the best way to do this is to read everything aloud before hitting the “publish” button.
“You can read from the computer screen over and over, and you can still keep missing the same mistake over and over again,” editor Mary Walton explains. “If you read the piece aloud though, you’re forcing your brain to look at it differently. That way, you’re sure to find any errors that you’ve made.”
Let Quality Content Take You Higher
At the heart of a strong, effective marketing strategy is quality content. From email and SMS to blogging and social media, you need to make sure you’re crafting superior content that helps your brand rise above the noise and find success.