Tag Archives: Content Publishing

Content writing is just a tiny part of content marketing, but the most important

the-importance-of-content-writingNo, I’m not saying this because basically I’m a content writer. It really is the most important.

Today in the morning I wrote an email marketing content for one of the clients. The kind of message they wanted to convey in a most convenient manner could only be written. They have hundreds of images on their website. They also have many videos on YouTube. But these images and videos wouldn’t have done the trick. Only written content could.

There used to be a time when everything was text. Then came images. Then came video. Then came images and videos. Then images and videos kept on coming. Images and videos are still coming.

While content writing is a potent tool when you want to communicate and strike up a rapport with your prospective customers and clients, images and videos can make a greater impact because everything is presented before you visually. You can just sit back and watch, view or listen.

Besides, in images and videos, you can actually show things happening rather than talking about them happening. As goes the clichéd proverb in the world of writing: show, don’t tell.

So yes, these days, content writing is just a tiny part of content marketing. But this tiny part is still a big part. You see, everything comes down to writing. Whenever you say something, it’s basically writing, its text. Whenever there are words, there is content writing.

Besides, when people come to your website you cannot simply bombard them with videos and images. Videos and images are complementary. Content writing, though, a seemingly tiny part of content marketing these days, takes the centerstage.

Content writing is easier (provided you know how to write convincingly) – you just need a keyboard and a basic text editor or if you prefer, pen and paper – whereas images and videos always require some sort of an extra device. I’m not downplaying them because these days creating a video is just a matter of using your mobile phone but still, if you want to sell your bonsai plant you cannot just click a few photographs or record a video and then upload. You have to describe your bonsai plant. Through your words you have to touch the right chords. You have to explain the process. Your pricing needs to make sense. Your choice of seeds and the species of the plant need to make sense. You do this with content writing.

So yes, this is the age of images and video but still, when it comes to the core of content marketing, content writing still rules the roost. It is not going anywhere. It is here to stay.

How to measure the success of your content

Measuring-success-of-your-contentMany people wonder how to measure the success of their content, especially when they have to spend money and time on getting content for their website or blog.

Just like any other aspect of your life, success can be measured in terms of tangible returns. The success of your content is not as esoteric and vague as it is made out to be by some content writers and content marketers. Solid results can be obtained from your content and the metrics of success can be as clearly defined as in any other marketing field, or for that matter, even better.

Whenever you need to measure the success of an event or an effort, you need “before” and “after” data. If you haven’t yet started your content marketing and you haven’t yet started publishing content on your website or blog, you must make note of your current situation. Gather data on

  1. How much traffic you are getting from search engines
  2. How much traffic you are getting from social media and social networking websites
  3. How much traffic you are getting from your email marketing campaigns
  4. How many people are subscribing to your email updates on a daily basis
  5. What is the engagement level on your website (how many people leave comments on your blog posts and online forums)
  6. How much time people are currently spending on your website
  7. How many back links you have got
  8. How much you are part of conversations happening on other websites and blogs
  9. How your primary and secondary keywords are performing right now
  10. How many business queries you are getting on a daily or weekly basis
  11. How much business you are generating currently

The list can have more attributes but this can give you a fair idea of the data that you should make note of before beginning to publish regular content on your website or blog and initiate your content marketing strategy.

Unless due to some fluke or unless you have got a ton of money to spend on marketing, your content won’t give you success in a few days or even a few weeks. You will have to observe the performance of your content for a few months before you can see the signs of success.

What are the signs?

Content marketing is very scientific whether one realizes it or not. The sort of content that you publish on your website or blog is going to decide how success manifests.

Depending on what sort of content you use in your content marketing strategy you may experience more traffic from search engines, more people talking about your brand on websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, more people clicking the links in your email marketing campaigns, more people linking back to your website or individual webpages, more people spending more time on your website and eventually, more people doing business with you.

The greatest measure of success of your content is that people begin to trust you. They begin to recognize you. People trust you if through your content, you deliver value and they perceived the value of your content.

After publishing content and using the available channels to distribute your content you will need to revisit the 11 metrics mentioned above and see if they have improved or not.

  1. Has your search engine traffic increased?
  2. Has traffic from social media and social networking websites increased?
  3. Are you getting more clicks from your email marketing campaigns?
  4. Are greater number of people subscribing to your email campaigns?
  5. Has engagement on your website or blog increased and its quality improved?
  6. Are people spending more time on your website?
  7. Compared to the time when you had just started your content marketing, has the number of back links to your website or blog increased?
  8. Are more conversations taking place about your website or your brand on other websites and blogs?
  9. Has search engine traffic for your primary and secondary keywords (keywords that you are using in your content) increased?
  10. Are you getting more business queries on daily and weekly basis?
  11. Has your overall business increased ever since you started content marketing?

I would say, if the answers to even 2-3 questions above are yes, it can give you enough data to measure the success of your content.

When everybody is a content publisher, how do you stand out?

Stand out as a content publisher

This is one of the biggest challenges for people looking at content as their main marketing tool. Content is everywhere. While the traditional newspapers and magazines are disappearing left right and center, the new-age publishers are storming the Internet with great force.

According to a Content Marketing Institute report almost 95% B2B enterprise marketers one way or another use content to promote their products and services. 78% of smaller business (100 or less employees) are working with dedicated professional content writers.

Throw a stone and there is a great possibility it will hit a content publisher

(No, I don’t intend to suggest that you start throwing stones at people) On the Internet, everybody is a publisher. I’m not saying this in the bad sense, because if everybody can be a publisher, what stops you from becoming one?

Being a publisher in the context of the Internet doesn’t mean publishing a magazine or a newspaper. You are a publisher if you publish a blog. You are a publisher if you broadcast a newsletter, upload podcasts and videos, or put out a series of ebooks. If people consume the content you publish regularly (with a strictly followed routine) you’re a publisher.

Conventional publishers publish for the sake of publishing. But as a business person, as an entrepreneur, as a content marketer, you publish to build a platform for your business. Building a platform means providing people a place where they can come and access your content at their own discretion.

One can become a content publisher by spending little money

You can become a publisher almost free of cost. If you have a business website then you already have a domain and I can safely assume your website is hosted somewhere. You can use one of the free source content management systems (WordPress, for instance) and with little bit of tweaking you can even make it look decent.

Then you can either write content for your publishing platform yourself or you can hire a content writer for yourself. It’s this easy.

The problem is, if it is this easy for you, it is also this easy for 100s of 1000s of other entrepreneurs like you who want to promote their business by building such publishing platforms. If you are planning on writing that killer blog post or article, rest assured it has already been written by scores of other people. This is true for almost every business.

So how do you stand out? How do you become a peacock in a flock of swans, or if you want to be a bit rude, how do you become a swan in a flock of crows?

How to make your content stand out

A great thing about everybody writing and publishing content is, very few people actually publish useful, quality content. Most of the entrepreneurs and small business owners have no clue how to implement an effective content marketing strategy. In fact most think content marketing means publishing content to improve their search engine rankings. Whereas it’s important to improve your search engine rankings, if you’re publishing content just for that, you’re using just 10% of its power. More than 90% of content marketers, it means, know how to use just 10% power of content marketing.

A big and massive chunk of the remaining 90% power of content marketing is available to you and this can help you stand out.

Listed below are a few things you can do to make your content stand:

  • Write in your own voice: This is one of the most difficult things to achieve while writing content for your website or blog, as very few people can do that. Mostly people are taking ideas from other publishers and writing them as they are. Not everybody can be creative and unique. So this is where you can be totally different. Be yourself. Develop your own unique writing style and if you cannot do it yourself, then work with a content writer who can.
  • Write about the same thing with a different twist: Do you think whatever you want to write about has already been written? That’s all right. But you are in business because you know something that others don’t. Use that unique knowledge to give it a totally different twist to what has already been written.
  • Don’t worry too much about SEO: Of course SEO is good but it begins to affect your writing if you were too much bothered by it. Focus on quality and write content that is actually helpful to your visitors. It will automatically have better search engine rankings.
  • Write content regularly: Regularity is very important. If you think content marketing is your thing, then you should publish a new webpage or a new blog post at least once a day and not just for a couple of weeks, but for a few months in order to see tangible results.
  • Solve people’s problems: They will respect you, trust you and come to your website repeatedly if you solve their real-world problems through your content writing. Give them solutions. Improve their lives in some manner. They should be enriched after going through your content. Provide them something they cannot get elsewhere. Really mean to help.
  • Promote your content using the right channels: Content in itself doesn’t mean anything unless people know about its existence. Once you have created a presence for yourself this is not a problem but if you are in the process of making a name for yourself then you need to promote your content. You need to be selective about where you promote your content. For example, most of my clients are B2B and for this niche, LinkedIn is the best place and then, Twitter. I don’t bother much with Facebook aside from having a page and posting my content there – but my main energies are focused on LinkedIn and then Twitter.
  • Curate content: You don’t always have to create original content. There are many content publishers that are creating awesome content and you can simply share it on your blog or website. You can create a repository of great content centered around a particular topic. Become a resource. Suppose you compile a list of 50 great blog posts and articles on creating compelling content – they encompass practically all the knowledge one may need to succeed on the Internet. It will be a ready reference for people. They will not only share your link, they will also save it somewhere so that whenever they need to refer to it, they can come to your website.

Standing out as a content publisher basically means not becoming one of the herd. Be useful to your audience in a sincere manner.

What is news content marketing and what are its benefits?

News content marketing

News content marketing is writing, publishing and distributing highly interesting and relevant information and updates about your company/organisation or about related events taking place elsewhere. This is something slightly different from publishing content simply to educate your customers and clients and provide them product or service-specific information. A good example of news content would be

  • Your company or organisation has bagged a very big client
  • You are expanding your operations to other cities, states or countries
  • You are branching out into new services or products or adding new features or attributes to your existing services or products
  • Your business has gotten a new website or a new blog
  • Your organisation has won an award
  • Someone new has joined your organisation
  • Your office premises has acquired something new, like computers, new-age furniture, landscaping material or anything interesting you would like to share with your clients and customers
  • A small fire broke out but it was quickly brought under control (or unfortunately, was not)
  • Something interesting happened near the building
  • Your area is going to experience inclement weather
  • There was a power outage where you have your office
  • A stray cat wandered into your office premises and decided to make it its new home

The list can go on and on once you get into the groove.

Do you know people are obsessed about reading news, especially online? While conventional newspapers are winding up, demand for news is rapidly going up. Most of the links you come across on Facebook, Twitter, and even Tumblr, come from one or another news website. How is this tendency of people to consume and share as much news as possible beneficial to someone wanting to leverage content marketing?

What are the main hurdles you face while trying to implement your content marketing strategy?

  • Lack of an audience
  • Lack of enough fresh content
  • Lack of content writing ideas
  • Very low frequency of content publishing
  • Expense of getting the content written or generated is quite high

All these hurdles can be in one way or another taken care of via news-related content marketing. For smaller daily or weekly news you can have a separate section on your website itself (something like “Latest News”) and for more significant news distribution you can use one of the various press release services available on the Internet. You can also spend your time networking with influential journalists working with major news outlets like the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Tech Crunch, Mashable, etc. so that twice or thrice you can get some major news about your organisation published over there.

Is your website content mobile friendly?

Making your content mobile friendly

This issue has got nothing to do with elementary content writing, but with 47% searching for product reviews and 29% obtaining additional information on their mobile phones and 50% mobile users using their phones as primary Internet source (source – 2013 stats), not creating and tailoring your content for mobile users can make a big dent in your bottom line.

Personally – and I’m not sure how many people are doing this – when I come across a link on my mobile phone that I’d like to read properly I save it in Pocket and then later on either read it on my daughter’s iPad or on the computer. As the stats show above, most people don’t mind reading long texts on their mobile phone.

There are two aspects to creating mobile friendly content on your website: having a layout that seamlessly scales according to the screen-size, and content that is easier to read and comprehend on a smaller screen. The design aspect is controlled by your web designer (he/she should keep in mind the content-reading requirement of your visitors). How do you write or create content that is mobile-friendly?

There are three

ways of going about it; it depends on your priority. If not many of your visitors come from their mobile phones (you can find that out from Google Analytics) but still you don’t want to take chances, you can keep the same content for your computer users and mobile users, as long as your design is liquid and quickly scales according to the screen-size. For instance, that is, if you are reading this from your computer or laptop, reduce the width of your browser window and see how this web page turns into a single column layout below a certain width.

The second option is to recreate your content in such a manner that it’s easier to read it on all the devices.

Here are a few things you can consider:

  • Create shorter headlines: Shorter headlines don’t hog the precious real estate on the small screen and your user doesn’t have to scroll up-down or left-right in order to be able to read your headline and figure out what your page is about. Since most of the mobile users are in a highly distracted stage (you never know where they are when they are checking out your website) use clearer, smaller expressions so that they don’t have to use their minds much.
  • Use smaller paragraphs: If possible, just use one sentence per paragraph. This way it is easier to read text without straining the eyes and even if the font size is increased, the person doesn’t have to scroll up-down much in order to read the message confined within that paragraph.
  • Use bulleted points whenever possible:
    Bulleted points enable you to write in a concise manner without having to bother about complete sentences and other grammatical necessities. Due to smaller sentences (sometimes just a couple of words) it’s also easier for your readers.
  • Don’t make visitors click through multiple links: Linking is good, especially when you already have a webpage/blog post dealing with a particular subject and it doesn’t make sense to write about it again, but too much of it can create problems for your visitors. It’s not very easy to tap on hyperlinks on small screen and even when they tap on the links, coming back to the original page can be a great hassle. How do you avoid this hassle?
  • Create highly focused, vertical pages:
    When you create highly focused pages you don’t have to use many links. You are dealing with just a single topic. SEO experts advise you to link to as many pages from your website/blog from your current webpage/blog post as possible and if you want to follow such guidelines, go ahead, but make sure the message of your webpage/blog post doesn’t remain incomplete without having to tap those links.

The third option, a bit more time-consuming, is to create multiple versions of your content. This way you can serve all the segments of your visitors, whether they are accessing your website from their computers and laptops, tablets PCs or mobile phones. Just make sure you don’t end up creating lots of duplicate content.