16 Content Marketing Improvements We Can Learn From Journalists

16 Content Marketing Improvements We Can Learn From Journalists

Want people to read your post? Write a better headline. To become a better writer, you have to read what you hope to emulate. You need to give readers a reason to care if you want them to act. That means telling them better stories, and giving them more valuable information. Spelling and grammar count. Mistake-riddled posts erode trust. Always be on the lookout for what will make a great post. Ideas strike where you least expect. Want more sales? Write engaging content that your audience is looking for. If you don’t know what they’re looking for, ask them. You can also dig through your analytics and use the Google keyword tool to see what works. Your readers will give you 2-3 seconds at most, to see if you meet their needs. Include more detail. People want to feel part of the scene you’re setting. People can find industry news anywhere. Understand what makes your blog different. Want people to comment, share, or buy? Give them the necessary info, and ask. Your readers have a problem. You hold the solution. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. It’s how you find a better way. Don’t just spin numbers and tell half truths. Accuracy and honesty are the foundations of trust. Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy...
What ‘Quality Content’ Really Means

What ‘Quality Content’ Really Means

You don’t have to look hard to find blogs stressing the importance of quality content if you want to see your marketing come to fruition. You’ve probably all seen the posts that contain 10 great tips for developing an audience, and it ends with a disclaimer like this: “Of course, none of this will work without first having quality content.” First off, the posts are common because it’s true. You do need quality content. You need content your readers will want to share with their readers.  Second, what the heck does it mean for you? What is it that your readers are looking for? They’re looking for you. There’s no shortage of tips and advice online. What there is a shortage of is you. What’s your take on this issue? How does what you did or what you watched or what you read over the weekend apply to your business? What’s an uncommon connection that will make people think? The trick is to write some things that they’re not going to find in other places. Write stories. Why do your customers turn to you? What problems do they have that you can solve? This is a natural place to capture conflict and end with the resolution. Everybody’s a sucker for a good story. The trick is to get out of the way and make your customer the hero. Not you. Develop a strong command of language. This means knowing your spelling and grammar. It also means an artful implementation with word choice. Strong action verbs should rule the piece. You’ll also want to keep the vocabulary adjusted to your audience. When they...
How To Increase Your Content Productivity

How To Increase Your Content Productivity

As a new dad, new homeowner, and the owner of a growing business, I’m constantly looking for ways to be more productive. I’m looking for ways to get twice as much work done, in a shorter amount of time. I’m weaning off the long evening and weekend hours in an effort to work on other things. I’ve been able to do this and keep up with my workload by becoming more productive. It’s not easy, but sometimes we just need to work a little smarter. Here’s how to keep up with your content in a world of distractions: Close your social media and email tabs. You can go back to them periodically between projects. But as you write about your business and work to complete your own agenda, you don’t need to be distracted by the outside world. Write down ideas as they come. Your best blogging ideas don’t necessarily come while you’re sitting in front of the computer. Carry a notebook or use Evernote. Just make sure that as your most productive thoughts pop into your head, you’re equipped to deal with them. Know what projects take priority. You’ll often start the day with a pre-conceived idea of what the day will look like. As that changes, the trick is to maintain flexibility where you need to, and stick to YOUR agenda when needed. It’s a fine line you walk to stay productive. Clear your head. Sometimes you just need to clear your head. When you finish one task, go ahead and take the garbage out. When you finish another task, go for a walk. This will give you more productive “bursts”...
20 Ways To Maintain Your Creativity

20 Ways To Maintain Your Creativity

Blogging on a regular basis can be time consuming, and require a lot of work. The trick is not to think of it as work at all, however. Each time you write a post, you’re creating something. You’re adding value. You’re an artist. Here are 20 tips for lessening the burnout. Some are good ways to find ideas. Some are ways to enrich your life. All of them are ways to maintain your creativity: Listen to new music – Google + Spotify = No Excuses. Find something that looks appealing and listen.  Personalize your workspace – There’s nothing more boring than looking at plain white walls. Hang a picture or two. Block out distractions – Don’t be afraid to close Facebook, shut your door and get to work.  Stay active – You’d be amazed at how well a little physical activity clears your head. Take breaks – Don’t be afraid to step away from the computer. Go ahead, take out the garbage or unload the dishwasher. These little moments bring big ideas. Work in a new medium – If you’re a writer, take pictures. If you take pictures, paint. If you paint, write. You get the idea. Stretch your brain a bit. It’s good for you. Pay attention to the detail – It’s easy to get bogged down in the daily grind. Stop for a minute and appreciate the intricacies of a painting, or the beauty in a flower. Pay attention to what an author is trying to say. You’ll gain a greater appreciation, and potentially more ideas. Play – Block out some time for pure enjoyment. Play with your kids. Find a new hobby. Do something completely...
Don’t Let Sloppy Writing Cost You Business

Don’t Let Sloppy Writing Cost You Business

As content marketing continues to increase in importance for businesses, writing becomes just another skill set that’s absolutely necessary to do business. You need to publish content that’s awesome. It needs to provide value and distinguish you from the others in the search results, news feeds and Twitter streams of your readers. Part of this is knowing how to write well, and that means grammar and spelling. Are you wishing for a blog with more comments? Misspell something. Readers will notice you, and not in a good way. At best, these kinds of errors distract from your message. They also erode trust with your readership. Your audience may begin to wonder what you really know about your subject matter. Lots of businesses hire an accountant to keep their books. They may want to hire a marketing writer or content editor to help distinguish them from the competition. For the DIY business owners out there, you have a few options. Read before you publish. Do a quick cursory read in your head to ensure things make sense. Make sure all of your its, theirs, ours and yours are in the correct form. If you don’t know, that means learning the difference. Read your work out loud. You’d be surprised what your eyes miss and your ears catch. This is a great way to do a final copy edit for web content or blog posts. It can also help you set the tempo of your writing. Show your writing to someone else. The more you edit your own piece the more familiar you are with it. Someone else may immediately see the error that you’ve...
Five SEO Mistakes Bloggers Should Avoid

Five SEO Mistakes Bloggers Should Avoid

Regularly blogging awesome material does so much for your business. It provides a reason for your readers to return. It establishes new connections, and strengthens older ones. It brings you exposure in front of a new audience.  Achieving the right level of SEO for your blog is like walking a tightrope. Not enough or too much, and you’ll fall over on either side. Here are five SEO mistakes to avoid as you continue to write: Overreliance On Keywords People are done hiring plumbers in Chicago who sell their plumbing services to people interested in plumbing. That sentence was probably as painful for you to read as it was for me to write. Instead, why not focus on actually solving one of your readers’ problems? They may be looking for how to fix a leaky pipe, or tips for hiring a plumber, or the best strategies for avoiding a plumbing emergency. People want to know about this stuff too. You’ll be providing more value. The danger to this one is alienating the very people you’re working to attract. Infrequent Posting The whole idea with a blog is to keep your customers returning. When you blog once a month or less, how are people supposed to remember that you’re out there? You have a lot of competition, and they’re working hard to differentiate themselves from YOU. So keep posting the right kinds of material, and work as hard as you can to stay in front of them. Exposure is still key in marketing your business, but it has to be informative, entertaining and valuable. Not Maintaining True Control Of Your Site...