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Importance of content writing throughout the sales funnel

Content writing is not just about improving SEO – although without content writing there can be no SEO, but that’s another matter.

Throughout your sales funnel, high-quality content plays an important role. Even small oversights can send your prospects away to your competitor.

Read Content matters at every layer of your marketing funnel.

Typically, a sales funnel looks like this:

importance-of-content-writing-throughout-the-sales-funnel

As you can see in the image, normally there are four stages in your sales funnel:

  1. Awareness and education
  2. Interest
  3. Decision
  4. Sale

Actually, there should also be an after-sale section in the sales funnel but normally it is not included (it should be).

The need to make your customers and clients aware and educate them about the benefits of your product or service underpins the essence of content marketing.

These days I’m working with a client who is planning to launch his service. He believes that most of his clients are unaware of the benefits of the services he is planning to offer. Hence, in the beginning, he wants to focus on the “awareness and education” part of the sales funnel through his content. For that he is hiring my content writing services.

Content writing for awareness and education

awareness-and-education-with-content-writing

In this phase of the sales funnel, you may be targeting, typically, two types of customers (or clients):

  1. Those who are totally unaware that they need your product.
  2. Those who know what they need but don’t know how to find a solution and where to find it.

The first type of customers under this stage of your sales funnel, those who are unaware that they need your product, need to be educated. They have no idea what they are missing.

Suppose, there is a company that is going through work-management chaos, but it has never crossed their minds that a tool like Slack or Asana can help them streamline their operations. They might not even be aware of the concept of some “project management” tool.

Since they don’t know that such a tool exists, they may not even look for it. Although, day by day it’s becoming very difficult to manage their projects.

You need to make these people aware. You need to educate them through targeted content writing.

Again using the project-management-problem scenario, one of the managers may search for “how to solve project management problems”, or “cannot manage projects properly”, or “project management tips”, and such.

If you are selling a project management software, wouldn’t it be nice if people searching for such solutions come to your website?

A good example is Open Forum by American Express. The blog provides hard-core business advice. People don’t even have to be American Express customers. They may not even know what sort of services American Express provides. But they have business-related problems and solutions to these problems exist on Open Forum. When they visit Open Forum, when they visit it regularly, they begin to realize that many of the business problems that they face can be solved by using some of the American Express financial solutions.

You can apply the same content writing technique to make people aware of your product or service and educate them about its benefits.

During this phase, it is also important that you capture email addresses of your prospective customers so that you can send them regular updates. It is only due to the strength of your content writing that people subscribe to your mailing list.

Content writing during the “interest”phase of the sales funnel

the-customer-is-interested

In the interest phase of the sales funnel people are interested in a solution. They need to be convinced. They have different options in front of them. Through consistent and quality content writing you must convey to them there is a great solution to your problem that exists and it exists with you.

This is the phase when they know that (referring to the above project management problem) there are various project management software solutions available for their particular problem.

You need to keep in touch but not in the conventional sense.

Provide them valuable content on an ongoing basis. Keep their interest alive by providing them quality content on a consistent basis. Without being pushy, constantly, subtly, keep communicating to them how your solution can solve their problem.

He or she may explore other options available in the market. All the more reason you stand out by continuously publishing quality content on your own website as well as using other platforms. You should be visible and your content writing should be relatable to your business.

The decision-making stage of your sales funnel

the-customer-is-ready-to-buy

At this stage, your customer is ready to buy from you. This is a crucial stage. Often the customer develops cold feet (because he or she finally must shell out money). At this stage, you should reassure him or her that he or she is making the right choice.

Your existing content plays a very important role. Your content writing needs to hook your customer who is about to buy from you so that he or she is not distracted or, there is no confusing information on your website to change his or her decision.

You must have noticed that above I have continuously used the expression “phase”, but suddenly I started using “stage”.

I did that purposely.

A phase can last for a long time, in many instances, even years. A stage, on the other hand, is short and hence, more crucial.

The importance of content writing when the sale has happened

content writing for existing customers

Your job is not done as soon as the sale has taken place. Through high-value content writing you can always keep in touch with your existing customers. The chance of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the chance of selling to a new customer is 5-20% (source).

Many companies claim that 40% of their business comes from existing clients so, feeding high quality content to existing customers – customers who have already purchased from you – is as important as, and in many cases, even more important than, writing content for completely new customers.

How can your content writing help you keep in touch with your existing customers?

  1. Provide answers to all their after-sale questions so that they don’t have to depend on your support team.
  2. Create a comprehensive FAQs section and regularly update it.
  3. Send email updates solely to your existing customers with new offers or complimentary offers or related offers (based on their past purchase decisions). Cross selling, for example, and up-selling.
  4. Create an online community through your blog and bulletin board where your existing customers can interact with their fellow customers and interact with you and fellow customers.

The importance of content writing throughout your sales funnel needs to be well defined and recognized. Optimizing and publishing high-quality content throughout your sales funnel can help you create a tightly packed, high-performance sales-funnel that turns casual visitors into hot leads and hot leads into paying customers and paying customers into repeat customers, on an ongoing basis.

10 Reasons You Need to Hire a Content Writing Service for Your Small Business

10-reasons-you-need-to-hire-a-content-writing-service-for-your-small-business

Are you still wondering whether your small business needs to hire a content writing service or not?

When it comes to expense such questions are understandable. After all, there are very few people who actually grasp the importance of quality content. It is very difficult to spend money on something you don’t get.

I have personally seen that people don’t want to spend as much money on content writing as they spend on a typical weekend outing. This is primarily because they don’t realize how important professional content writing is for their small business.

Why is effective content writing important for your small business?

Despite the fact that everybody wants well-written content for his or her website, very few give a serious thought to its effectiveness. Very subtle things in your content writing can motivate people to do business with you, or send them away to one of your competitors.

What makes people do business with you after coming to your website? It’s your content. If your content writing cannot convince your visitors, they’re not going to do business with you.

A small business does not have a brand presence like a big business. All you have is, your ability to convince people.

This is why, it is very important that your website has engaging content that informs people, educates them and eventually, convinces them into doing business with you.

You need to convince people, and you need to be in front of them all the time.

If you haven’t been living in a cave, you must have noticed that people these days spend more time on social networking websites. They exchange views. They post updates on what they are buying and what they are eating. They share opinions with each other. They access timely information. Even when they are interacting with companies and businesses, they prefer to do so using social platforms.

Most of the news these days comes to you from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

But timelines move fast. If you post something on Facebook, let’s say, within seconds your Facebook contacts may miss your update because lots of people are updating their timelines with great speed. So, you need to post regularly.

But then, nobody wants to incessantly see your promotional offers. They’re either going to block you, or mute your updates. People have also developed ad blindness.

People are looking for valuable content. People want something that can inform them, update them, make them more knowledgeable, help them improve their lives, enrich their lives, or generally entertain them. They don’t want to know about your latest menu unless they want food. They don’t want to know about the shoes you are selling in your shop unless they want to buy shoes.

People want to know about your business only when they actually need your business.

The paradox is, at the time of need, they forget that you can give what they want. Despite being in your contacts list, they end up buying a product or a service for someone else because it slips out of their mind that you offer the very same product or service.

It’s like people in my contacts list are looking for a content writing service and they don’t realize that I provide such a service.

This is where a professional content writing service can help your small business. It can help you publish highly engaging content that doesn’t put off people but at the same time, keeps them informed.

Read The importance of content writing for small business.

As a small business, you can improve your SEO with the help of a content writing service

It makes more sense these days to improve your SEO by hiring a content writing service rather than hiring a plain old SEO service. In fact, most of the genuine SEO services these days improve your rankings through high-quality, engaging content.

With every new ranking algorithm update Google is giving more importance to quality content. Long gone are the days when putting your keywords here and there and getting a few backlinks could get you good search engine rankings.

Of course, keywords and backlinks still matter, and they matter a lot, but eventually, it’s the quality of your content that decides your rankings.

There are 3 attributes that Google these days considers in order to rank your content:

  1. The quality of your content
  2. The frequency with which you publish new content and update existing content
  3. The formatting and keyword arrangement of your content

Again, quality backlinks matter and you cannot get good search engine rankings without quality backlinks. But backlinks won’t help you if you don’t regularly publish quality content.

If you can devote enough time writing high quality content on an ongoing basis, then good for you. But if you want to focus on your primary small business and let a professional content writing service handle your content, it is always better to hire an agency.

Engaging content can improve your website conversion rate

Better search engine rankings are of no use if your content doesn’t convert well. Your content should be able to reduce your bounce rate. This can only happen with professional writing.

As I have mentioned above, your text should be able to convince people into doing business with you. It should be reassuring. The language should be friendly and conversational. People should be able to trust you. The tone should be casual but professional. No grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. The writing should be genuine. It should neither be very long nor very short. It should be precise. It should make an impact.

If you are a seasoned, talented writer, great! If you have a knack for publishing great content on an ongoing basis, good for you.

Otherwise, hire a content writing service for your small business.

Now we finally come to 10 reasons why your small business should hire a content writing service rather than hiring an in-house team of writers.

1. A content writing service can help your small business bring marketing costs down, drastically

Are you spending lots of money on advertising and marketing? What about PPC campaigns like AdWords?

Although conventional advertising cannot be completely discounted, it comes with its own set of cons.

First of all, for a small business it can be very expensive. Just imagine, if you are using AdWords, or Facebook advertising, or LinkedIn advertising, you are paying for every click.

You can never be sure whether people who actually want to do business with you are clicking your ads, or all sorts of people.

On the other hand, if you create a presence for yourself through the strength of your content people recognize you for the value you provide. You create a presence on various channels and when people click your links, you are not paying for every click.

With targeted content writing you also improve your search engine rankings. Your small business links begin to appear in search results and you don’t have to pay for every click.

When people are using search engines, they pay less attention to advertisements and paid links, and more attention to links that appear naturally and organically, on the strength of their worthiness.

Wondering how qualified content writing drastically brings down your advertising and marketing costs? I will give you an example using my own current blog writing rates.

Currently I charge $25 for a blog post. Every week you want me to write 3 blog posts for you.

So, every month you are spending $300 on 12 highly optimized and engaging blog posts that are continuously improving your search engine rankings.

Due to your blog posts that are regularly published you begin to create a presence on social media too. People start coming to your website without clicking your PPC campaigns. You begin to generate free traffic.

Have you ever noticed your conversion rate? How much do you spend per conversion? How much are you spending every month on your PPC campaigns?

In your PPC campaign your cost will increase as your traffic increases.

With content marketing, your cost remains the same while your traffic increases. Suddenly, even if a single blog post sends you 10,000 visitors everyday, aside from that measly $25 that you paid me, you’re not going to spend anything else.

2. You get high-quality, engaging content non-stop

If you want to switch to content marketing from conventional advertising and marketing, you need to publish high-quality content non-stop.

This is because everybody is publishing high-quality content. All your small business competitors.

Sometimes, even those who are not directly your competitors, might be publishing content that can take traffic away from your website.

This is why you need to cover all your bases with all possible case scenarios, and do it on an ongoing basis.

Only a professional content writing service can provide you professional quality content week after week, month after month, without mitigating the overall quality.

When you hire a content writing service for your small business, can focus on your business rather than worrying about access to good quality content.

3. You don’t need to hire people and give them employment benefits

Hiring an in-house team of content writers can be expensive. You will have to provide them all the employment benefits you are bound to provide by the law of the land.

If you hire a content writing service you are not bound by such laws. You don’t have to pay for anything else.

4. You don’t need to get into legal troubles in case you need to fire your content writing team

The success of your content marketing efforts depends on the quality of your content and if your content writing team cannot provide you quality content that is engaging and effective, and also search engine optimized, you are wasting your small business resources.

You have no choice but to fire your content writing team so that you can try out other content writers. This can get you into legal troubles. You can’t just fire people. Small businesses are more vulnerable to such cases.

On the other hand, if you hire an outside content writing service, there are no such obligations. Don’t like the work? No sweat. Just switch your content writing service. It’s as simple as that.

5. You save on precious office resources

Office resources can cost you money. With your employees you will have to provide them both hardware and software. They will also take up your office space. There will be wear-and-tear. They will be using your stationery, electricity, heating or air-conditioning and furniture. They will be using your telephone and Internet connection. Basically, they will be using all your office resources.

A separate content writing service will be placed somewhere else and people working over there will be using their own resources.

6. You spend money on just content writing

This point is just an extension of the points above. When you hire a content writing service for your small business, you are just paying for content writing and nothing else. Isn’t it wonderful?

7. You don’t need to monitor the activities of your content writing team

Monitoring your employees can be a big problem. How are they spending time in your office? Are they checking their personal emails? Are they wasting their time on Facebook and Twitter? Are they seeking out new employment opportunities using your Internet connection, computers and laptops? Are they distracting or harassing other employees?

There can be scores of such things you will need to monitor if you hire an in-house team of content writers.

With an outside agency, there are no such headaches. All you are bothered about is whether you are getting your quality content on a regular basis or not.

8. You can easily change your content writing service if you are not satisfied

Changing a content writing service is very easy. All you have to do is, stop paying and then contact another agency. Unless you have signed a legal document that strongly binds your small business to your current content writing agency, there is nothing to hold you back.

9. Quality control is not your headache

For a successful content marketing strategy, there should be no compromise on quality. Even if you don’t have a well-defined content marketing strategy and you need a content writing service to improve your SEO, quality is non-negotiable.

Read What is quality content and how does Google recognize it?

A professional content writing service like Credible Content has an inbuilt mechanism to ensure quality. I make sure that

  • Your content is well-written, factual and without errors.
  • Your content is optimized for the selected keywords.
  • There exists no plagiarism and duplicated information.
  • Your content is engaging, conversational and topical.

If I don’t provide you quality content, you will no longer like to work with me. It is as simple as that. So, I have to ensure quality.

10. You have easy access to subject matter experts

Sometimes you need subject matter experts – people who really know their stuff – to write expert-level content.

Being an established content writing service, I am in touch with writers from various fields of expertise almost from all over the world.

Even if right now I don’t have a writer specifically for your needs (it rarely happens) I can arrange such a writer.

On your own, getting a good writer as well as a subject matter expert would be a great problem.

Successful content writing is personality-based, to be frank. Only an experienced content writer can get under your skin and then directly address your audience. Your content writer should be able to empathize with your customers and clients because they are the targets. You’re not getting content for your website or blog to make yourself happy; you want to make your prospective customers and clients happy.

If you can do it on your own and write engaging content for your small business, well and good, otherwise, I suggest that you hire a professional and experienced content writing service to carry out your SEO and marketing campaign.

What effect is AI going to have on your content marketing?

effect of IA on content marketingDo you know last year a Japanese AI program wrote a novel and almost won a literary price? So if AI can write a novel or solve cosmic problems (and even take over the world after the state of singularity) or beat a chess Grandmaster, what effect is it going to have on your content marketing?

Actually, AI don’t always have to be Transformers type robots. If you are using Siri, it’s AI. If you are using Amazon Echo or Google Voice, that’s also AI. Facebook Messenger uses chatbots that are mini versions of AI. Any program that takes an action after analyzing the language of the input, contextually, is using AI. Artificial intelligence is supposed to have cognitive powers as close to humans as technologically and biologically possible.

Coming back to content marketing, how can AI empower content marketing?

This post on Entrepreneur throws some light on how AI can have an impact on content marketing, or at least the way you create and publish your content. Most of the stuff that I am discussing in this post is not discussed on the above Entrepreneur update but it gave me an idea of the topic.

Take for instance creating content based on natural language used by people. These days most of the people use voice search, that is, they don’t type in their queries, they speak their queries and when they speak their queries they use normal language as if they are speaking to someone. What does this mean? It means that when you are creating content use normal language instead of using jargons that very few people use. Try to answer questions because people are mostly inputting questions when they use voice search.

AI programs have already been creating content (soon, no content writers like yours truly may be required). This Curata post says that news publications like Associated Press, Yahoo and Fox News have already been using AI for “generating” news content based on the information it gathers, or the information that is fed into it.

It may surprise you that the following opening sentence is a sports story written solely by an algorithm: “Tuesday was a great day for W. Roberts, as the junior pitcher threw a perfect game to carry Virginia to a 2-0 victory over George Washington at Davenport Field.”

Looks like a sentence you’ve read before, right? That’s because machines have been automatically generating content for years. Companies such as the Associated Press, Yahoo, and Fox have been using them for quite some time.

Then there are chatbots that generate real time responses immediately to users’ queries.

Facebook and Twitter are using automatic News Feed generators that decide what news feeds users must see, according to their preexisting behavior.

I think right now the best use of AI would be to curate content according to the latest buzz going on on the Internet.

Automation and artificial intelligence cannot be avoided; the trick is to use them to our advantage as many businesses are already using. For example, Facebook Messenger allows you to carry out business transactions: you can order Pizzas using their chatbot.

order pizza using Facebook Messenger chatbot

Right now, I see the following immediate benefits of AI for content marketing:

  • Automatically generating or curating content
  • Creating custom news feeds from information from the Internet and social media and social networking websites
  • Customizing and repurposing existing content according to user behavior
  • Better search engine optimization

Boost your content marketing with hashtags

Hashtags are everywhere may it be Twitter, Google Plus or Instagram. Hashtags are a great way to boost your content marketing effort because it helps you focus target audience on social networking websites. According to this infographic on Quick Sprout, tweets with hashtags generate two times more responses than those with no hashtags.

Screenshot of the hashtag infographic

What is the sense behind using hashtags? They are like the keywords on search engines. Social networking websites use hashtags to organize information under various, preferably, main topics. For example, when I’m posting content on content marketing I use the hashtag #ContentMarketing so whoever is following this hashtag will be able to see my update.

This is the main strength of using hashtags. Many people follow relevant hashtags so if they happen to be following the hashtag that you have just used in your update, they will be able to see your update which, otherwise, they wouldn’t have seen without having followed you. When you use the hashtag even those people who are not following you will be able to see your updates provided they are tracking that particular hashtag.

But don’t over use them. As you can see in the above graphic, the effectiveness begins to decrease as you use more of them. Preferably, vvv v vv use a single hashtag in one update.

Here is a humorous video on the use of hashtags:

How to create content your market will love

A few weeks ago I wrote about knowing your audience before writing content and starting your content marketing campaign. This can help you save lots of time and effort. But how do you know what sort of content your market is looking for? This Marketing Land blog post explains 8 ways you can create content your market will love. These eight ways are:

  1. Develop your strategy keeping the big picture in mind – what you eventually want to achieve with the content you’re planning to produce.
  2. Interview people as well as other stakeholders to get ideas about what sort of content you should create. You can invite the employees of the company. You can carry out surveys on your website. You can talk to people on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. You can directly talk to your customers and clients. Ask them what they want. Note down the questions they raise while talking to you.
  3. Create your content according to the preferred format. Not everybody wants written content. Not everybody wants slides and presentations. Not everybody wants to see videos. Every business has its own type of audience that prefers its own type of content format.
  4. Optimize your content for search engines and social media. In order to love your content people need to first find it and how do they find it? They will use the search engines as well as social media and social networking websites to come across your content.
  5. Measure the effectiveness of your content. Unless you know that your content is really working, how can you improve it? Improving your content means streamlining it according to your target audience’s preferences. By closely analysing your content and audience behaviour you will be able to make out exactly what attracts people to your content and hooks them to it.
  6. Maintain constant contact with people who access your content. You can maintain a mailing list. You can encourage people to follow you on Facebook and Twitter. You can use various online forums.

Some of these points are not included in the above-mentioned link and they should have been, so I have added them on my own. Instead of focusing on creating content that is loved by your audience, they have focused on how to make your content more effective and how to streamline it. That is different from creating content your audience loves.