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7 Reasons Your Conversation Sucks

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Marketing is an important part of business, but all too often promotional materials such as leaflets and brochures end up in the bin while company emails get sent straight to the trash folder. The questions is, why? On the whole, marketing messages are characterless, bland and generic. They make us cringe, lack any kind of personality or charm and could, quite frankly, have been written by robots trained to string words together in the most soul destroying way possible.

This is a great shame, however, as readers enjoy copy that’s engaging, uplifting, and connects with them on a one-to-one level. They want to feel valued, appreciated, and respected while simultaneously holding onto the belief that you’re talking with no other customer than them – and that’s where conversational writing skills come into play.

Now, writing in a conversational manner doesn’t simply involve recording yourself and typing what you said – after all, people rarely speak proper English when they talk. In fact, most conversations are littered with grammatical mistakes, nonsensical or vague words, and unfinished sentences. The key to conversational text is editing it so it no longer sounds like writing.

Confused? Check out the following unmissable tips:

1. Don’t make it sound like you’re writing to everyone

As a company, you probably don’t have time to write a personal email to every single client. Mass email sends are common, but it’s important to not to sound like you’re addressing a crowd as this is what makes most marketing messages sound monotonous and unoriginal.

So how can you nail that conversational tone?

Firstly, imagine you’re speaking to your favourite subscriber rather than 100,000 faceless individuals on your email list. Speak to them casually, yet professionally and in an upbeat manner. For instance, rather than saying: “thank you to those of you who’ve donated to our charity,” you might prefer to say something like “donated to our charity already? Thank you so much.”

2. Make sure your marketing materials are easy to read

Highly sophisticated sentences packed with industry-related jargon is far from conversational. Complicated, unfamiliar words can make people feel intimidated, so make sure your marketing materials are straightforward and easy to read. Leave out anything that can only be found in a degree-level book and instead write to engage and help.

3. Forget self-importance: make it a two-way conversation

If a person talks on and on about themselves without letting you speak, how does it make you feel? Bored? Frustrated? Angry? Well, remember this when writing marketing copy. Readers will quickly switch off if you literature is self-important gobbledygook, so try to have a two-way conversation – talking a little about “me” or “us” and a little about “you”. You can look out for self-centred sentenced by searching for words such as “I” and “we”, but don’t feel like you’ve to edit all these out as you still want to make your mark on the reader – it’s a fine balance.

4. Don’t hide your personality

Before you begin writing any kind of marketing material, think carefully about your friends. This may sound a little odd, but ask yourself why you like them. What makes you want to hang out together time and time again? And what sort of conversations do you have? Chances are, you discuss a wide range of topics and don’t just stick to one subject matter. This makes life more interesting and allows for some pretty fun and unique conversations, so why not learn from this and make your content equally as engaging?

You can do this by:

  • Using personal anecdotes to illustrate a point
  • Sharing stories and past mistakes with readers
  • Creating your own style of metaphors
  • Talking about wider business-related issues (perhaps in an email, or on your blog), not just about company-specific matters
  • Sharing interesting content such as infographics that will get people interested and talking

5. Ask your reader a host of questions

One of your main goals when writing content is to keep your reader interested. While there are many stylistic things you can do to engage with your audience such as spacing out copy, bolding text, using italics and making the most of bullet points, you should also ask your reader a host of questions. Not only will this get them thinking about the subject at hand and what they really want or need, but it’ll actively involve them with the content helping them to stay focussed.

6. Avoid using long, complicated sentences

Long sentences can be tiring for someone to read. So, try to write shorter sentences. This will make your content more manageable to digest. Breaking copy down in such a way can be more difficult than you might think, however, as all through school and university we are rewarded for expressing ourselves in an in-depth way using big, clever words. To write simply and for the reader is often a foreign concept, but it’s one that works.

7. Be a rebel when it comes to grammar

We all know that good grammar is important helping us to communicate in an accurate and respectable way. That said, certain grammar rules can sometimes hamper readability, so don’t be afraid to break them now and again for content clarity.

For example, you could perhaps:

  • Use broken sentences to make your content more readable
  • Start a sentence with “and,” “but,” or “or” to prevent your work from becoming monotonous
  • Create a one-sentence paragraph to stress a particular point
  • Use colloquial language here and there (don’t overdo it) to help make your writing more relaxed and conversational. Note, this is best done in a humorous manner

Conversational writing is not always easy. It’s somewhere between professionalism and casual chatter, but the above tips will help you find the perfect tone. Contact Minerva Copywriting today to learn more or to take advantage of professional copywriting services to support your business.

10 Editing Secrets Professional Writers Don’t Want You to Know

Expressing yourself with words is a wonderful ability, but it can also be highly frustrating – particularly if you experience a bout of writer’s block or simply struggle to see obvious mistakes time and time again. It’s not always easy to spot errors in your own work, but thankfully there are many things you can do to not only improve your overall writing skills, but to continuously communicate in the most articulate way possible.

Concentration, alongside a selection of super-specific editing tricks, will stand you in good stead to write poetry, novels, web copy, articles, blog posts, and many other kinds of literature, so take a look at the following tips:

1. Get the reader onside and ask questions which make them say “yes”

First impressions count, so be sure to draw the reader in from the start by asking questions which make them say “yes.” The more they say “yes”, the more your product or service will be relevant to their needs, meaning they’ll be more likely to invest. This kind of persuasive and emotive writing is a call-to-action and is particularly important if you’re trying to market a product, as what you are offering needs to appeal to your target audience – instantly.

This kind of persuasive and emotive writing is a call-to-action and is particularly important

Unfortunately, it’s a rather dog-eat-dog world and, if the consumer can’t see what you’re offering straight away, they might close your brochure, throw your leaflet in the bin, bounce of your webpage, and simply go elsewhere. Sound harsh? Well, it’s reality, so make them feel like you know what they need and help them.

2. Space your content out

In order to catch and maintain the interest of readers, you need to make your content as easy to absorb as possible. Large blocks of text can seem intimidating and overwhelming, so be sure to tap the enter button every one-to-three sentences. This is particularly important when writing for the web, as users spend an average of 15 seconds on a webpage so there isn’t long to keep them engaged.

Negative – or blank – space is a common trick used by both photographers and designers to create a focal point, but it can also be used by writers to draw attention to something important. It also gives readers a time to digest what they’ve read, gather their thoughts, and take a breath before carrying on the reading process.

3. Make the most of in-text formatting

To prevent all words from running into one another and to ensure a reader doesn’t miss anything important, why not make the most if in-text formatting? Everything from italicising and CAPITALISING, to backlinking and bolding your key benefits will help capture a reader’s attention and make certain points stand out. As humans, we are wired to detect things that are different or new, so stylistic changes can help people to focus.

4. Help your readers out by using bullet points

After a hard day at work, would you rather scan a large block of text for the information you’re looking for, or casually browse a list of bullet points containing all the essential text you need? The latter is, of course, more appealing, as not only are bullet points easy to read but they can help to:

  • Organise your text and make it more readable
  • Highlight key points and things you really shouldn’t miss
  • Summarise surrounding text in a clear, concise way
  • Offer a stylistic change encouraging readers to focus

5. Start sentences with trigger words

No matter what you write, try to keep the magic of literature alive

People download books to their Kindle or flick through pages of a novel because the stories they read excite them in many different ways. Reading is, ultimately, an enjoyable experience, so no matter what you write, try to keep the magic of literature alive. In other words, don’t just drone on and on, but instead think carefully about how your copy is arranged, and start sentences with trigger words which will evoke feelings of nostalgia or spark the imagination.

Words such as “imagine”, “remember”, or “picture this” let readers know that you’re about to tell them a story or jog their memory in some way, and this will encourage them to read on and find out more about what you have to say.

6. Try to use the word “because” as often as you can – without sounding strange

Think carefully and you’ll see that the word “because” is used to justify an action. It explains why you should (or shouldn’t) be doing something, and is an excellent word to incorporate into all kinds of persuasive copy (particularly sales related) as it gives people a reason to act.

Imagine you’re a mum looking to buy the latest computer game for her son, for instance. You might not be overly convinced that your boy needs another distraction, but that important word “because” in the sales copy might just tempt you and convince you to do so.

7. Speak confidently in the active voice

As mentioned above, you’ve mere seconds to catch people’s attention, so it’s a good idea to speak in the active voice rather than the passive. This will make your statements sound more lively and confident, helping readers stay alert.

  • Active voice = the subject is doing the action
  • Passive voice = the subject is receiving the action

Example:

  • Mo Farah won the 5,000m gold medal in 2012 – active
  • The 5,000m gold medal was won by Mo Farah in 2012 – passive

In order to spice up your copy, you can press CTRL-F to find passive words like “by” and work to make the sentence more interesting.

8. Rewrite your copy using the second person

One of the best ways to connect with a reader on a personal level is to use pronouns like “you”, “your”, and “yours” as this instantly makes people feel like you are talking to them on a one-to-one basis. Getting into the hearts and minds of people you’ve never met before is an incredibly difficult thing to do, but by knowing your target audience and simply writing in the second person will make it a whole lot easier.

9. Make the most of punchy verbs rather than adverbs

Want your writing to be outstanding rather than average?

Want your writing to be outstanding rather than average? Avoid the wishy-washy adverb-verb combo and instead opt for a punchy verb. For example, instead of writing, “She’s very cross”, you could write, “she’s irate” as this gets to the point quicker and is sharper. It’s far too easy to bulk your copy out with unnecessary adverbs, so scan what you’ve written and make the relevant tweaks.

10. Make sure your call to action is up to scratch

Before you print a batch of leaflets or do a mass email send, make sure your call-to-action is up to scratch. Not only should it be worded properly (and spelt correctly), but it must also be clear, concise, bold, visible, urgent, and compelling. In other words, it should not be generic or boring such as “call now to find out more”, but engaging and exciting such as “make a booking now for an adventure you’ll never forget.”

Writing is one thing, but ordering words in such a way that they are interesting, intriguing and inspiring is a more challenging prospect altogether, but the above ten tips should certainly help. To find out more about effective copywriting, you can speak to the team at Minerva Copywriting today. Simply submit an online enquiry or call FREE on 0800 180 4085 to transform the effectiveness of your content and boost online success.

Content Marketing For Travel Companies

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Minerva Copywriting in Kent provides a range of content marketing and copywriting services for travel companies. From providing new copy for your website or travel brochures, compelling blogs posts to high-conversing email newsletters, our team of experienced copywriters will create content that is engaging and informative, and which helps build and develop your travel brand into an industry leader. Below you can take a closer look at some of the content marketing for travel companies we provide, and you can find out more by getting in touch with our team today.

Travel Brochure Content Writing

Travel and holiday brochures represent a key requirement for any travel company. As such, it’s vital that the quality of your copywriting is of the highest standard. Employing professional writers to craft your content ensures consistent tone and style, helping customers develop and affinity to your brand and your company to communicate effectively and concisely. Our travel copywriting services ensure your content adheres to brand guidelines, highlights your USPs, and converts your customers into buyers.

Travel Press Releases

Press releases are fundamental to communicating your company messages to a wider audience, but need to engage with journalists and bloggers that are part of your mailing list. Our copywriters will develop press releases that present all the key information in a way that is engaging and easy to repurpose for an article. All-too often, press releases will go unnoticed, so knowing what works and what doesn’t will prove invaluable to achieving the media coverage you deserve.

Blog Posts and News

Keeping your website up-to-date and populated with fresh content on a regular basis is invaluable for the development of your online presence. Among the easiest ways to keep relevant is to produce news and blog posts on a consistent basis. At Minerva Copywriting, we will work alongside you in the development of the right tone of voice and the right form of content to produce; whether it’s commentary on recent travel industry events, or extensive blog posts talking about your range of travel destinations, we can help produce the content marketing material that you need to stay connected to your audience.

SEO Content Writing

SEO content writing is essential to ensuring your travel company is able to achieve the best-possible rankings in search engines. In order to be effective, however, you need to know which keywords to target and how to use them effectively in your travel copy. Thanks to our extensive experience in content marketing for travel companies, we can help you develop an editorial schedule that optimises web pages, integrating the right terms into your copy to maximise user experience.

Social Media Content Writing

Generating social media posts isn’t as straightforward as it seems, with tone, style and content usually differing significantly from other forms of content your travel company creates. For example, many travel companies need their social media content to be more conversational and personable in tone. Our travel content writers will help you produce such content regularly and effectively, helping you reach your target audience with the tone-of-voice that is necessary for the social media platform being used.

Travel Emails

Email copywriting and email newsletters play an essential role in retention marketing, reminding past travellers about the quality services you offer, updating them on the latest deals, and even just keeping them informed of company developments. The copywriters at Minerva Copywriting will help you compile a schedule for your email newsletters and will develop the content needed to stay connected with your customers via email.

Travel Content Marketing Services

To find out more about the travel content marketing services available from Minerva Copywriting, you can contact our friendly and experienced team today. We’ll be happy to provide you with a complete overview of the services we provide, as well as help you develop the content necessary to achieve your business goals. Simply submit an online enquiry form today or contact us on 0800 180 4085.

5 Reasons to Invest in Content Writing Services

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For businesses large and small, new and old, an effective digital marketing strategy is essential. Without investment in marketing, raising awareness of a brand, reaching out to new customers, and converting potential leads into guaranteed sales would be impossible. As such, investment in marketing should never be overlooked.

Of course, digital marketing is a multifaceted discipline. From search engine optimisation to paid advertising, there are a number of considerations to bear in mind when it comes to spending your marketing budget. One of the most effective and enduring options for marketing investment, however, lies in content writing services. Below we take a look at five reasons why content writing services should form a major part of any marketing campaign.

1. Exceptional ROI

When it comes to looking for great value for money, content marketing has few peers. While many companies my baulk at the thought of having to invest in content, the enduring value of effective, quality work cannot be overstated. Imagine investing in a 1,000-word article that attracts 50 links. Those links will prove invaluable to your search rankings, and will have a lasting effect on your website, attracting traffic and boosting sales for months and years to come. When compared to the short-term gains achieved through such activities as PPC, the ROI afforded by content is clear to all.

2. Support the buying cycle

Here at Minerva Copywriting, we’re huge advocates of the customer buying cycle and, when it comes to content creation, we like to ensure that the work we create plays an important role in the journey a customer makes. By investing in content writing services, you are able to generate the necessary marketing messages that push an audience towards a sale. From brand awareness and regular blog posts, email copywriting to social media content, every piece of content work plays an integral role in a successful conversion.

3. Engagement

Establishing a rapport and lasting relationship with a customer is essential for any company. While customer service represents one means of creating an enduring relationship, content marketing is another. Engaging with an audience is never easy, but with professional copywriting services, you can generate the marketing messages necessary to foster a rapport with your target marketing. Whether it’s through informative blog posts or detailed product descriptions, content can connect with an audience in a manner that last for years to come.

4. Get noticed

Social media has become integral to online and business success – no form of marketing can be quite as powerful as word of mouth. As such, you should look to invest in content writing services that promote the sharing and dissemination of your content. Invest in work that is engaging and interactive, informative and entertaining, and it will soon be shared on social networks. As a major SEO signal and playing an important role in your search rankings, can you afford not to have content that is shared socially?

5. Fresh content keeps things interesting

It’s worth remembering that much of the content you see online is time sensitive. Unless you’re able to establish yourself with evergreen content (how to guides, in-depth reports, etc.) you will need to keep posting new and interesting content in order to attract attention. What’s more, search engines place great value on the regular production of content, with publication alerting search engine bots to crawl your site more often and improving your SEO performance.

To find out more about how investing in content writing services can help your business achieve greater levels of online success, contact Minerva Copywriting today on 0800 180 4085 or by submitting an online enquiry form. Our team of experienced copywriters and content marketing professionals will be delighted to offer you the guidance you need to achieve more online through content marketing.

Travel Copywriting

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Here at Minerva Copywriting, we know how important is it to be fully immersed in a subject matter in order to truly bring it to life. When it comes to generating marketing material for our clients, we’ve always found one topic to be far simpler than any other to get excited about: travel.

The world is a wonderfully diverse place, with so many unforgettable sights and sounds to savour; as such, being able to delve into the culture and history of some of the world’s most compelling destinations makes our job as exciting and fascinating as can be. And, if we’re working on travel copywriting for your company, we like to think that the excitement we feel about our work shines through.

Recent travel copywriting projects

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to work on a number of travel copywriting projects. Those completed recently include engaging travel blog posts for the multi-award winning travel company, Holiday Extras, as well as extensive content work for the new Belle France website. Throughout both projects, we were able to thoroughly research and investigate the charms of chosen destinations, and provide a unique angle on what to see, do, and experience.

What’s more, the different audience types for the two projects meant we had the opportunity to diversify the tone of voice and type of content featured in the work. Such variation in terms of tone and content ensured that the projects were as challenging as they were fascinating – something which enabled us to keep content fresh and engaging.

Best of all, we received fantastic feedback from the clients regarding our travel copywriting work – what could be better?

Quality travel copywriting

At Minerva Copywriting, we enjoy working across all subject matters, but travel copywriting is undoubtedly among our favourites. By being able to focus our attention on some of the world’s most compelling travel locations – and dream that we ourselves were there – is as rewarding for us as it is for our clients.

If you’re a travel company looking to expand your target audience, reach out to existing customers, or even boost brand awareness, we have the travel copywriting expertise to help drive new levels of online success. Simply get in touch with us today by submitting an online enquiry form, or by calling our friendly, knowledgeable team FREE on 0800 180 4085.

16 Free Online Business Promotion Sites

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There’s no satisfaction like knowing you’ve got a good deal. And, when you can secure something for nothing, the satisfaction is even sweeter. For businesses new to the online environment, and those that have been around for some time, being able to get free online business promotion provides a sense of achievement that you’re getting your name known among audiences. But how and where can you achieve free online business promotion?

Promoting your business online for free isn’t easy. In this era of quick start-ups and endless opportunity, standing out from the crowd with little-to-no investment is all but impossible. Or is it? We take a look at some of the most popular means of free online business promotion to help boost your performance in search engines, reach a wider audience, and capture the customers you need for success.

Online directories

We know exactly what you’re thinking and you’re right. Directory submissions as an SEO technique died a death a long time ago. Like so many online services, the directory market had become saturated and, quite frankly, pointless. Thankfully, Google’s algorithm updates have all but eliminated the worst offenders of directory submissions.

That said, there remain a few services that can help you achieve free online business promotion. SEO experts will tell you that a focus on local SEO is vital, and such directories as Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Yell thus prove invaluable. It takes only a few minutes to sign up and create a presence for your business, many of which enable you to link back to your own site.

Social networks

If you don’t realise the value of social networks for your business, you probably never will. Developing social media accounts enables you to establish a rapport with your audience; these are the forums upon which you’re able to interact directly with your customer base, ask questions, seek feedback, and discover how and where your service can improve.

Advertising great Bill Bernbach one said, “word of mouth is the best medium of all,” and social networks represent the latest incarnation of word of mouth media. Get yourself a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, YouTube, Foursquare, etc., as soon as possible and start connecting with your audience.

Photo sharing sites

We mentioned Pinterest in the social networking section, and we could so easily have included it here. Photo sharing websites provide you with the opportunity for free online business promotion through one of the best forms of communication: imagery. Whether it’s on Instagram or Flickr, Photobucket or Picasa, you can create a repository for your business imagery which showcases your products or services in a compelling manner.

It’s been said that a picture speaks a thousands words, so why not take the time to develop photography catalogues that do the hard work of selling for you?

Blogging

Companies that blog generate up to three times more leads than those that don’t. With it taking just a few minutes on sites such as WordPress and Blogger to create a blog for your company, it’s almost inconceivable that many businesses still fail to create an area specifically for blogging purposes. While it is hard work to maintain an effective blog, the potential for free online business promotion is huge, with effective outreach strategies and guest blogging available to help generate interest in your company and its products.

Find out more

There’s very little in this world that you can get for free. But, with a little bit of hard work and investigation, there are options available. Of course, almost every channel we’ve detailed needs to be driven by killer content, which is why we’re here to offer our expert content marketing services. Whether you’re a small company or a large, multinational corporation, we have a content marketing package to suit you.

Contact Minerva Copywriting today on 0800 180 4085 to find out more.

5 ways content boosts new business

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One of my favourite scenes in recent cinema comes from Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street (and no, it doesn’t involve nudity or drug use). It’s the scene, towards the beginning of the movie, where DiCaprio’s character – Jordan Belfort – asks his motley crew of investors to, “sell me this pen.” Aside from one, they all fail to secure the sale. Why? The answer lies in poor communication. Poor communication and failing to connect the product to a purchaser’s needs. Sound familiar?

Content marketing is this communication; it’s that link between product and purchaser. It’s what influences the sales you need to make and how to boost new business. Are you able to sell the pen? Or are you left simply holding it? We take a look at how content helps boost new business and helps you:

  • Find new leads
  • Close sales
  • Generate higher income

1. Content drives awareness

To sell your product (or even your service or expertise), you need an audience – someone to target. Without a particular target in mind, you’re wasting your time. And, even if you know the target audience, you need to raise enough awareness of your brand to capture attention. The earliest stage of the customer buying cycle is awareness, so investing in content and publishing in the right places can help raise the profile of your organisation. Of course, this is only the first step in the customer journey but, if done right, it can be the launch point for bigger successes further down the line.

2. Content refines your business

Did you know that, through clever use of content marketing, you can refine the success of your business? Good content engages with an audience, and it prompts a response. If you’re active on social media channels – regularly posting content that asks the opinions of your customers – you can use the information collected to help gather feedback on those products that sell best, or how customer service can be improved. Put a little thought behind the statuses and blogs you post, and you could find your audience soon helping tailor your offering for the better.

3. Content converts

As we’ve already touched upon, content is essential to raising awareness of your brand and its products. But, of course, it does much, much more than just attract interest. Positioning content in the right place, at the right time, with the right message can help transform speculators into leads, and leads into sales. Remember the “sell me this pen” scenario from earlier? This is the moment you need to sell. Don’t simply tell your audience what’s great about the product. Tell them how it helps and empowers them. Don’t make them just want the product, make them need it. It’s your content and your communication that will push through this sale.

4. Content creates relationships

How many businesses can truly get away of selling to a customer just once? You’d be hard pressed to find any industry that can survive on one sale per customer alone. So, generating a lasting relationship is essential to continued success. With effective, structured content marketing, maintaining a relationship with your target audience is significantly easier. Think about how companies such as Amazon keep in touch with you once you’ve bought. You most likely receive regular emails or targeted advertising. These techniques are nothing new, but they serve to keep you engaged with your audience when it’s time to buy once more.

5. Content is king

I know. We recently declared the death of the saying ‘content is king‘ but, in this context, it will always remain the most vital part of any marketing or advertising process. People remember the content that is served to them; otherwise, how else did they know about the company/product/service? Content is – and always will be – key to your business success, so embrace content marketing today and make sure you’re able to “sell me this pen.”

Content marketing 2015: our expectations

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It’s safe to say that 2014 was a busy year in the world of content marketing. Search volume experienced growth that, a few years ago, would’ve been beyond the wildest dreams of content editors and copywriters around the globe, while the demand for quality content has meant that SEO experts have quickly had to rebrand themselves as master of the art of content generation.

But what about content marketing in 2015? How can we expect the discipline to evolve? Are there likely to be any significant shifts in the mindset of digital marketers that see the demand for content diminish? Below we take a look at some expected developments for content marketing in 2015.

Sort the wheat from the chaff

Something we witnessed throughout 2014 was that more and more companies have entered the digital marketplace to offer content marketing services. Many of these companies have evolved from offering standard SEO services, revising what they offer to encompass more content-orientated services. While a large proportion have made this transition effectively, there remains a number of operators that have ‘missed the point’ of content marketing.

There has never been a shortcut to developing quality content – it’s a time-consuming process that demands the input of copywriters, designers, marketers, and more. For those that simply look to create page after page after page of keyword-led content, they will soon realise that the online environment has left them behind and their time in the industry is limited.

The rise of specialist content creators

As already identified, the process of content creation is one that takes skill and time. Copywriters possess the expertise necessary to craft the messages that connect with an audience and promote sales and conversions; graphic designers create visual elements that play a part in successful digital operations; user experience professionals understand the mechanics behind what works and what doesn’t; and video content editors can craft a compelling video that engages with a customer base.

As such, we can expect 2015 to witness the specialist content creators to thrive in the industry, with more and more companies investing in the services of professionals to engage with their audience and drive traffic, sales, and revenue.

A focus on audience

Too often, companies and brands look inwards to their own wants and needs when trying to communicate. This tendency needs to be eliminated in 2015. There has already been an acceptance among industry professionals that creating content that only meets the needs of search engines has run its course. Similarly, content that focuses solely on the interests of the brand will decline in the coming years, while the need to focus on the wants and needs of customers comes to the fore. It’s always worth remembering that, in any marketing promotion, the most important word to use is ‘you’ and not ‘us’.

Analysis of effective content

Measuring the efficacy of content is never easy, with the available metrics not always fulfilling the needs you have. Traffic and bounce rate, for example, may not tell you everything you need to know about the content you create; similarly, calculating a traditional AVE for online public relations is not always an effective means of determining how successful you’ve been. Throughout 2015, we hope to see companies invest the time to consider precisely what constitutes effective content without necessarily demanding traditional metrics.

Have your say

Where do you see content heading in 2015? Perhaps you’ve noticed some trends throughout 2014 that you see developing further in the coming year? Let us know your thoughts and expectations for what content marketing holds in the near future.

20 Content Marketing Myths

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As the year draws to a close and we all get ready to settle in for the festive season, there seems no better time to take stock and review the year’s events in the world of content marketing. We’ve experienced significant growth within the industry, both in terms of search volume and production, and more and more businesses are latching on to the need to revise their current standing online through embracing investment in high-quality content. This, of course, is fantastic news for content marketing specialists, and 2015 will undoubtedly see a further increase in production.

It’s not all positive news, however. While those within the industry have become familiar with the benefits of content marketing, many key stakeholders remain cautious about whether or not to invest in the discipline. Worse still, some proponents of content marketing pursue practices that are far from ideal, expecting quick wins and little effort. As such, content marketing myths continue to give the discipline a bad name. Through suitable education, however, debunking some of these myths is essential in order for content marketing to continue to develop.

Below we take a look at 20 of the most common myths about content marketing and look to resolve any confusion for those still unsure of its value.

Myth 1: Content marketing and copywriting are easy

Let’s get this one out the way first shall we? For content marketing to be effective and engaging, it’s vital to have the input from a number of experts, most notably designers, UX experts, developers and, of course, copywriters. Putting some words onto paper may seem like the easiest thing in the world, but doing it well is something altogether different. Hiring a professional may prove to be slightly more expensive to begin with, but the results will far outweigh the cost; after all, you wouldn’t have an amateur build you a house, so why let an amateur write your content? Which leads us to…

Myth 2: Copywriters do nothing but write

A professional copywriter in the modern era is responsible for far more than just penning words. As already identified above, content creation demands collaboration, but it also demands an investment of time and discipline. A copywriter is required to conduct a number of tasks when generating a piece of content. For example, for every piece of content created, more often than not the copywriter will be responsible for:

  • Competitor research
  • Customer profiling and demographics
  • Keyword research
  • Content writing
  • Content optimisation (meta descriptions, header tags, internal linking)
  • Proofreading
  • Image sourcing and optimisation
  • Uploading (CMS, HTML, etc.)

And that’s for just a simple article! When it comes to preparing videos, slide decks, infographics, etc., the extent of the work is accentuated significantly. Sometimes paying a little bit more for a decent copywriter or copywriting agency leads to far greater ROI in far less time.

Myth 3: Text content is enough

Copywriting and content marketing are about far more than just words. Everything that appears before an audience’s eyes constitutes content, and demands that care and attention is given to every element. Yes, search engines crawl the text found on a page, but the online experience is about far more than simply appeasing Google robots. The user experience is fundamental to the success of your website, so investing in the right text, the right images, the right videos, etc. is of utmost importance. Of course, each asset appearing should complement the other, so having a guiding hand and an experienced content editor to approve the content before going live should is also required.

Myth 4: Content marketing is just flavour of the month

When it comes to content marketing, the theory behind the discipline will never change. Content will always be required. How content is delivered and the type of content required is undoubtedly certain to change, but be required it will. For those working in the industry, it’s about moving with times and embracing evolution. While the term ‘content marketing’ may well become less prominent in the years to come, everything about the discipline will remain relevant. That does not, however, mean that…

Myth 5: More content means greater reach

For a long time, it was a common policy among SEO ‘experts’ that creating page after page after page after page was the most effective means of capturing traffic. The amount of websites now featuring redundant, low-quality pages built purely for the benefit of capturing long-tail and miscellaneous keywords is alarming, not least because some SEO advocates still believe this to be a valuable use of time and resource. While it’s vital to have content relevant to your keywords, the most fundamental issue is that just that: relevance. Weak, poorly crafted content won’t endear you to search engines, let alone customers. Make sure that it’s a case of quality over quantity; it’ll prove far more effective for your digital strategy.

That’s not to say that…

Myth 6: If you build it, they will come

(We know, we know. The actual quote is ‘he’ and not ‘they’. Calm down)

As may be apparent from the article thus far, we’re huge advocates of quality over quantity. Less is most definitely more. That said, don’t expect to generate a huge audience and great levels of engagement if you simply build yourself a blog/website and post once in a blue moon. While that one post may be truly exceptional, you need regular communication with your audience to ensure complete engagement. Too often we see clients invest the money in developing a blog, only to neglect its very existence. Put time and effort into the content you create so as not to neglect quality, but ensure you still post regularly enough to maintain readership. It’s a fine line between too little and too much but, as a consumer of content yourself, it should soon become apparent where the happy medium lies.

Myth 7: Blogging is a waste of time

Investing in a blog is far from a waste of time, but only if it’s done correctly. Something we see all-too often is that businesses feel the need to deliver blog content only if it produces a measurable return i.e. sales. In some industries, affiliate marketing, say, this may be perfectly viable; for others, however, it should be viewed as completely irrelevant. The purpose of a blog differs vastly from the purpose of your actual website; whereas everything on your site has been carefully considered to drive sales and conversions, your blog should be used to promote engagement and foster a relationship with your audience that is altruistic and asks for nothing in return. Your communication via blogs should be informative and entertaining, resolving problems and interacting. Done well, your blog will positively influence sales indirectly. Just don’t expect it to sell off the page.

Myth 8: Content marketing doesn’t influence sales

One of the greatest misunderstandings when it comes to content marketing is the assumption that it plays no role in influencing sales. That this myth still requires refuting speaks volumes about the level of education still required for those in charge of promoting their business. Content marketing pervades every part of your sales strategy, regardless of what and to whom you’re selling. Content marketing plays an integral role in the entire customer buying cycle, and is essential in supporting a potential customer’s need during the five distinct stages:

  • Awareness
  • Research
  • Comparison
  • Purchase
  • Retention

Without content marketing, guiding customers to the next stage of the purchase cycle is all but impossible. Use content marketing appropriately at each milestone and you can help support customers before, during, and after they purchase. Of course, there’s another myth which isn’t too dissimilar…

Myth 9: Content marketing has failed if it isn’t traced to sales

This can be a tough argument for even the most seasoned content marketing professional. In business, knowing precisely where each pound is being spent, and what you’re getting in return, is important; and without a clear trail from source to sale (sorry for the rhyming), it can be difficult to justify investment, none more so than when it comes to content marketing. While it is often possible to measure the effects of a particular advertising campaign, or determine how much revenue came from a certain promotion, being able to put a definitive figure on a strategy that is so multifaceted (or should be) is a logistical nightmare.

The purpose of content marketing includes raising brand awareness and maintaining a healthy relationship with your audience, so putting a tangible figure on such a strategy is far from simple. Instead, why not think about the effect having no new content would’ve had on the business? It can become easy for a business and a business’ website to stagnate and, without fresh content as part of a strategy, that’s precisely what will happen. The value in content marketing is there, it’s just not always that easy to measure.

Myth 10: Content marketing is just SEO rebranded

It would be easy to think that content marketing and SEO are one-and-the-same. But, while they are definitely related, to claim that one has simply evolved into the other is nonsense. Yes, there are certain companies out there that were once SEO specialists and are now content marketing specialists (and all without having really been one or the other), but those SEO specialists and those specialising in content should work together and not in place of one another. In its simplest form, SEO entails an understanding of search engines; content marketing entails an understanding of marketing and the audience. Two very separate, very distinct, skill sets.

Myth 11: Does that mean SEO is dead?

Far from it. Search engines are evolving all the time, and staying abreast of the latest developments, updates, and changes is a full-time role. It’s just that SEO and content should work side-by-side in developing a structured strategy as opposed to in isolation. It’s no longer the case of an SEO expert identifying a few long-tail keywords that needs copy optimising for; it’s about shaping the marketing messages to best work within the digital environment. And, to best achieve this aim, it’s important to have the right people working the right jobs. As such, SEO is far from dead; yes, it’s evolved and the role is changing, but that’s what makes the industry such an exciting and compelling one in which to work.

Myth 12: Social media can replace your blog

As delightful as it might be to think that you can effectively sustain your business presence through social media alone, the simple truth is that your blog and your website are requirements you cannot do without. For starters, your blog belongs to you and you alone; regardless of whether you bought shares in Facebook, it’s not the same as having ownership of your own platform. What’s more, the content on the site is under your full control, and there are few restrictions in place with what you can decide to promote. Social media is essential to engaging with your audience and should be used to boost brand awareness, promote your business, and interact with your customer base. But don’t neglect your blog or your website – doing so could well prove disastrous.

Myth 13: Tweet and watch your followers grow

Being effective on social media is about so much more than the occasional post, using the right hashtag, and retweeting the best-known celebrities – it’s about interaction. If you hope to see a return on your social media investment, you need to be proactive and get involved in discussions. It can often be difficult for a corporate voice to be viewed as anything other than an entity that is devoid of personality, and that’s because it’s so often the case. Don’t simply tweet your latest special offers and URLs haphazardly; put together a coherent strategy for reaching out to the right audience and delivering the social media content they want to see. Word of mouth is the more effective form of marketing there is.

Myth 14: Be on every social network

Quite how often it needs to be said but, in any facet of life, quality is better than quantity. In social media, there are hundreds of networks with which you are able to sign up, but is it worth it? Let’s just look at the most popular: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube… we could go on. The more social networks you sign up to, the more work you’re creating for yourself and the less time you have to focus on what’s important: creating quality content to post on social media. Identify those channels best-suited to your business and product, and deliver the right content at the right time.

Myth 15: Posting the most valuable content on another’s blog

This myth is a little tricky to dispel, purely because you can sit in one of two camps: first, there are those that believe that providing high-quality content for others will do wonders for brand awareness and help you reach a wider, more varied, audience; second, there’s the line of thought that your best content should stay on your own domain, generating the traffic and attention it deserves in a location that’s most beneficial to you. Of course, each side of the coin has its benefits, so it’s really up to you to judge what you believe is best. For us, we take pride in the content we produce and aim to retain ownership on our site. After all, we can always repurpose that content for use elsewhere.

Myth 16: Republish your content to reach the biggest audience

You’ll notice above that we mentioned that, ‘we can always repurpose that content’ and post on others’ blog. What we didn’t say – what we definitely, definitely didn’t say – was that you should republish your content on other sites. Rework so that it’s an original piece, by all means, but do not simply copy and paste elsewhere. Doing so runs the risk of incurring penalties from search engines and could present a number of problems to your website and your business.

Myth 17: One size fits all

Few business terms are quite as effective at getting the blood boiling as ‘quick win’ and ‘scalability’. When it comes to delivering a content marketing strategy, assuming that you can simply adopt the exact same tactics each and every time is a recipe for failure. This is particularly true when comparing B2C and B2B content marketing strategies. The purpose and audience differ hugely and demand that due care and attention is paid to their needs. Consumers, for example, are often in search of bitesize information that is easily digestible, while businesses will often want to see in-depth analysis and evidence of your expertise. That’s not to say that there aren’t common threads within a content marketing strategy, just no quick wins that are scalable to meet any need!

Myth 18: More content = More success

You can probably guess from this sub-head that we’re going to touch on the whole ‘quality over quantity’ issue again. And you’d be right. Content has to add value to the user experience. If you can deliver 10,000 pages of truly exceptional content that answers every possible query in a way that is informative, engaging, and entertaining, we tip our hat to you. If, however, you’re churning out page after page quickly in an effort to broaden your reach, you’re going to fail. As much as it pains us to say it, there’s a lot of terrible content on the internet, and simply adding to it with poor-quality irrelevant material is doing nobody any favours.

Myth 19: Outsource content to the lowest bidder – anyone can write

You may or may not be aware that you’re reading this article on a website by Minerva Copywriting. We’re a team of experienced copywriters that has done pretty much everything there is to do in terms of professional writing. As such, we know what constitutes good writing and what doesn’t, and can only implore you to use decent, professional writers and content editors when investing in your content marketing. The assumption that ‘anyone can write’ could not be further from the truth, so don’t scrimp on your investment and look for the cheapest option – you’ll only be rewarded with the content you deserve.

And finally…

Myth 20: Content should be long and extensive

Oh, right. Sorry.

If websites and services such as Twitter, Buzzfeed and Upworthy have taught us anything, it’s that brevity is not a hindrance to digital performance. Quite the opposite, in fact. If the content is good enough, it’s long enough. It’s that simple.

Did we mention quality over quantity?

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