Posts

What is copywriting?

If you’re in the world of marketing, you might not understand this because we are so familiar with copywriting and its function. But, for the outsider looking in, there’s a general haze of confusion that surrounds copywriting.

Before I jump into my tips, let’s clear the air and focus solely on the definition and the ins and outs of this marketing function.

Essentially, copywriting can be defined as the technique of writing persuasive content that compels people to take action whether it’s to buy something,  request more information for a service, download a piece of content, etc.

Copywriting adds value to your content.

To put this idea into motion, here’s an example. Let’s pretend that you sell noise-canceling headphones that are meant for people who work in offices (very random and specific but let’s roll with it).

Your goal is to reach out to at least five people a day to promote your product in an effort to get them to buy it.

So, you decide to slide into the DMs and give it a whirl. Here’s a cliff’s notes version of the message:

“Hi, @idontwantobebothered – I think you should buy our noise-canceling headphones. They’re great and they get rid of the noise. Here’s a link to make your purchase: xyz.com.”

If you send a message like that, you’ll have people clamoring for a chance to make a purchase…not!

That message was likely met with a scoff and an eye-roll from the user and in the end did not translate into anything more than a missed opportunity.

Let’s switch gears and say that that same salesperson decides to get a little crafty. They’ve done their research and took the time to engage and build a relationship (context) with a user PRIOR to sending the message.

The new re-vamped message goes a little something like this:

Hi, @iminterested­ – After learning a little bit more about you and your work environment, I can only imagine how loud it can get at times (There’s always that one Chatty Cathy. Every office has one!). I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but I work for a company that makes noise-canceling headphones that are perfect for people like you who work in an office. Here’s a fun infographic that’ll tell you a little bit more about what sets us apart from the other headphones on the market. If you have any questions, let me know!”

Now THAT’S a message that’ll pack a bigger punch and increase the likelihood of engagement with that user.

Why? Because that message was personalized to that specific user, there was personality, and the goal of that interaction wasn’t a sale on-the-spot. Instead, the goal was to provide that user with value as to why the product could provide that user with value.

That’s the long and the short but you get the idea…Copywriting is used to tell a story and form connections!

Alright, now that we have a better understanding of copywriting, let’s get to the meat of this article and the reason you landed on this blog in the first place. Here we go…

Three Copywriting Tips to Give Your Content a Boost

Get emotional

Grab a tissue, solidify their laugh lines, or get their blood pressure pumping. Whatever the case may be, an important part of copywriting is evoking emotion in your audience.

The whole idea here is to flex your empathy muscles. You’ll want to take a walk in your consumers’ shoes and then create content that’ll have them feeling something because they can relate to the story that you’re telling.

When you can convey through your words a narrative that’s steeped in emotion, you’ll create content that packs a punch and resonates with your target audience and, in turn, is more likely to be shared.

Hit the nail on the head

The only time fluff is OK is if you’re making a recipe that calls for Marshmallow Fluff, other than that, save it. The rule is even more applicable when it comes to your content.

Nowadays, consumers are predominately skimmers. They want to get to the point and they want to get there quickly. Verbose content like I’m writing right now in this section isn’t going to cut it.

The lesson here is to write content that focuses on one messaging point at a time. The more focused you can become with your content the better off you’ll be.

Ditch the pitch

As consumers, we’re more or less numb to sales pitches. They essentially go in one ear and out the other because they’re not engaging and usually, the goal is to push a sale rather than form a bond between the brand and its consumer.

Your customers don’t want to be outwardly sold on something. Instead, they want to be told a story. Something that’ll strike a chord and make them feel something (refer back to copywriting tip number one).

Compelling stories help make your content become more relatable in that if done correctly, the user can actually see themselves in the situation that you’re describing. The better that you understand your audience, the better you’ll be at writing copy that speaks to their questions, pain points, interests, etc.

How do you do that? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  1. Imagery: Have you ever read something and you could practically picture the scene that’s unfolding in your mind? That’s the work of imagery at hand that helps paint the picture of your story and transports your reader into the scene that you’ve created with your words.
  2. Metaphors: Sometimes to create a level of commonality between your brand and your reader, you have to provide them with an example that helps them understand the correlation that you’re trying to create with your content. Metaphors help us compare one thing to another in an effort to explain something better and create that “Aha!” moment in our readers’ minds.
  3. Anticipation: A good story has us feverishly reading to find out what happens next. The same goes for your copywriting. The goal of any piece of content that you write is to get your audience to read it from start-to-finish. Lead with something interesting and exciting to catch your audience’s attention and take them on a journey to find a resolution.

Making your readers feel something, keeping your content concise, and telling a story rather than making a sales pitch are three ways to leverage persuasive copywriting to help you better serve your target audience, build brand awareness and ultimately generate quality leads.

If you think your copy is missing the mark and you need help crafting compelling content, contact us today!

Content marketing is the foundation to which everything else is built. Think of it this way: without content, SEOs would have nothing to analyze and optimize, emails wouldn’t be sent out and social media posts wouldn’t be published. I could go on forever but for the sake of your sanity and in respect of your time, I’ll stop. You get the picture – the list goes on and on.

Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.

I think Seth Godin sums it up in that single sentence. Content marketing is the axis on which our efforts turn. Without it, we as marketers would be out of a job.

But while we’re grateful for content and how it allows us to make a living, there’s more to it than just words. The success lies in the creation and implementation of your content marketing strategy.

If you haven’t put a lot of thought into content marketing or are doing your due diligence just to have a presence and need a nudge in the write (see what I did there?) direction, this post outlines three ways that content marketing (when done correctly) can help your business.

But, before we dive in, let’s talk about what content marketing is. The long and the short is that content marketing is basically using content to meet your marketing goals. Content helps us articulate our overall brand message, connects us with our consumers, and provides our target audience with value that converts them into customers, and nurtures existing ones.

Content is king!

It’s a popular saying that you’ve more than likely heard more times than you can count and while everyone is putting a press on the importance of content marketing, you won’t fully be able to understand its power unless you break it down to the potential benefits that it can offer you and your brand.

That being said, let’s take a look.

Three Ways Content Marketing Can Help Your Business

Traffic & SEO

This is the kind of traffic you’ll love (not that bumper-to-bumper rush hour type of traffic). When you create and implement a sound content marketing strategy, your site traffic will reap the benefits. Think of it this way: great content is like a magnet. The more you write the more people you’ll attract to your site.

To that point, as I mentioned before, you can’t do SEO without content. But that doesn’t mean that you should string some sentences together and throw it onto a page on your website and hope a miracle happens. Instead, you need to create content that’s relevant to your brand and more importantly, your audience. Search engines are constantly crawling the internet to better serve their users with relevant queries. Good content is the thread that pulls your brand and search engines closer together.

Brand Awareness

If you have a brand, you want your customers to be aware of that…Hence, brand awareness. But it’s more than that. Content that educates, entertains, or informs will strike a chord with your target audience. Brand awareness is more than just seeing a checkmark and associating it with Nike. Brand awareness through content marketing is all about building your authority in your niche in a way that your customers understand who you are and what you represent. This can be done by producing content (onsite, social media, etc.) that’s fresh and unique and that’s also valuable and relevant to your target audience.

Increase Followers

If you build it, they will come.  No, this isn’t the Field of Dreams, per se. But when it comes to the world of marketing, it’s pretty close. Marketing, no matter how you look at it, is cyclical. What I mean by that is that the various cogs in the wheel all work together to move the needle. That being said, if your target audience finds your content valuable, they’ll share it to their circle of friends on social. This pulls in the connection between content marketing and social media (see, the cogs in the wheel). Content that stirs emotion is more likely to be shared and when that happens, you cast a wider net and in turn, can gain more followers on social media who are interested in your brand and what you have to offer.

Let it be known that these are only three of the benefits of content marketing, there are plenty more tangible and intangible advantages that you can gain from creating and implementing a sound strategy.

How has content marketing helped you reach your overall marketing objectives?

Content marketing is more than just a term that’s thrown around in the industry; it’s the line of communication that can connect businesses both small and large to their target audience.

In a world where we’re inundated with content, it takes a smart and savvy marketer to break through the noise and get their content out there and in front of the consumers’ eyes.

How can content marketing help you and your business stand out?

Here are five tips to help you refocus your attention on content marketing so that you can create and execute a well thought-out strategy to bolster your business.

Tip #1: Stay Consumer Focused.

Perhaps the biggest problem that I’ve noticed is that brands are focusing more on the microgame than they are the macro. What do I mean? They’re putting all their chips behind advertising and pushing their product instead of focusing on what matters most: the consumer. The best piece of advice that I can offer you today is to focus more on the long run, the end game, rather than obsessing over your short-term goals. When you switch your focus from your business to the consumer, you’ll start to see a change in how your audience perceives your brand and interacts with the content that you’re creating.

When writing content, you want to take a “consumer first” approach and work to slowly build your audience. First, you’ll want to form relationships and nurture them. Once you’ve done this, you can then start to shift your content to a more sales-focused approach to monetize your work.

Your content cadence should be: give, give, give, give, get.

Give them content that’s valuable and that solves a problem. After you’ve provided them with relevant information time and time again, only then can you ask for and get what you want from your audience in return.

In short, you never want to lead off by asking your consumers for something when you haven’t even taken the time to build your voice, position your brand in the industry, gain their trust, and give your target audience some semblance of value.

Tip #2: Find Your Sweet Spot.

One way to make content marketing work for you and your business is to find your sweet spot – your niche. If you’re a little unsure as to where exactly you fit in your industry’s spectrum, it’s time to do a little digging. If you have a shovel but don’t know where to break ground, let me point you in the right direction.

  • Pinpoint your purpose – What exactly is the goal of your content? Have you taken note of what the community is talking about? Their pain points? Their frequently asked questions? Once you’re in tune with the current events in your industry, you can then reassess your messaging and determine exactly what you want to accomplish with your content marketing efforts.
  • Create remarkable content – Anyone can write content, but it takes a skilled marketer to create content that hooks the reader, reels them in and leaves them wanting more. When it comes to content marketing, you can’t simply go through the motions and expect to yield astounding results. Rather, creating remarkable content requires attention to detail and the ability to take your message to the next level.
  • Strengthen your credibility – Your authority and credibility are like a muscle. It takes constant work to strengthen that muscle and keep it in shape. This means that when it comes to your business, you have to continually be exercising your authority and credibility within your industry to stay relevant and in tune with what matters most to your target audience. Once you’ve solidified this credibility it’s up to you to create content around your strengths and continue to build up and off of these assets.

Tip #3: Identify a Difference.

Industry competitors all share commonalities on some level. After all, they are pushing the same type of product and trying to reach the same audience. While there are similarities, you must identify a difference that sets you apart from your competition. When you find this distinction, you can begin to identify your company’s hyper-targeted ideal audience. Your difference will open you and your business up to a plethora of opportunities to tell a different story from your competitors, fixing other problems and in turn reaching out to new audiences. Once you’ve figured out who you are and what your company stands for, you can begin speaking to this notion and driving your point home through your content marketing strategy. All assets, from your website to your social media profiles, should reflect your main selling point and your unique difference from your competitors.

Tip #4: Pick your Content.

As marketers, we have the tendency to want to be firing on all cylinders and have as many irons in the fire as we possibly can. Basically, we could insert any cliché about doing too much into this paragraph and you’d get the picture. While it may seem like we have to dabble in each platform and test every idea, even if it doesn’t make the most sense for our brand, I’m here to tell you to do the exact opposite – for now at least.

Start by identifying a primary platform to distribute content. What platform does your target audience gravitate toward? Once you’ve decided on your focus, it’s time to begin consistently delivering valuable and insightful content. The byproduct of regular, valuable content will be that you build an audience on your chosen platform; over time, you can start to encourage that audience to follow you to another platform, rinse, and repeat across the myriad social platforms.

Tip #5: Be Flexible.

The current climate of digital marketing is always changing. When you feel like you have a grasp on a concept, Google launches a new algorithm, or another company completely throws you for a loop and introduces a brand-new platform or a way to approach your marketing. Rather than resisting and staying with the tried and true methods that have worked for you so far, you have to approach your strategy with an open mind and a willingness to be flexible. You’re probably thinking that the last two points I’m making are contradictory. In my fourth tip, I told you to focus on one platform at a time, master it, and then add another to your repertoire; now, I’m telling you to try new things, be flexible and avoid getting stuck in a rut. But, as is with everything in the digital marketing world, you need the yin and the yang. You need balance in order to see what works best for you and your company. While I’m not telling you to jump head first into a new strategy and completely change gears without any rhyme or reason, I am telling you to do your research, investigate new ideas thoroughly, and gradually implement them into your overall content strategy. I’m a firm believer in trying new things and testing new ideas, but you have to do it in light of your brand and your industry.

Content marketing is more than just a means to get your message out to the masses. It takes a well-rounded strategy, patience and a high caliber of execution to succeed.

This all sounds serious, but it can be done. If you need some help in the content marketing department, drop me a line. I’d love to chat about how Flying Cork can help your efforts.

Confession: I’m a CrossFit® junkie, so I was beyond excited to watch the Reebok CrossFit Games last week. But even as I amped up my personal excitement, I started to view the Games through another lens – as a marketer. There’s no other way to say it: The CrossFit Games’ use of social media to drive engagement and heighten anticipation is masterful.

Grab some bacon. Let’s discuss.

What Did They Do?
As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed on Wednesday morning, I saw posts that athletes were told to be at a designated location at 3 a.m. True Hunger Games-style – the events weren’t supposed to start yet!  If you wanted to know what was happening, you had to watch on Facebook Live.

Over on Facebook, thousands of viewers were watching (many at the crack of dawn or earlier) as athletes sat in a hotel ballroom for close to an hour, where they were eventually given plane tickets. The destination? A surprise event that will be streamed only on Facebook.

Later that morning, 11,000 viewers were watching a live stream of people boarding an airplane. Next to paint drying, there’s nothing more boring than watching people fasten their safety belts and put their tray tables in an upright and locked position. Why are we doing this?

Because we want to be part of the action. Essentially CrossFit harnessed the power of their myriad of social profiles to drive excitement among their loyal fan base. In return, those fans reacted and replied – and those reactions were now on the friends of fans news feeds, and the message spread.

Statistics show that Facebook users have an average of 338 friends. If even 10% of those noticed their friend’s reaction to the video and clicked over to see what was going on, that’s more than 371,000 potential new fans. Those fans get intrigued by the hype, they keep watching and that enters their friends’ newsfeeds, and so on.

Streaming of the live events garnered hundreds of thousands of viewers posting and reacting to the videos. The potential for organic fan growth just from these efforts is exponentially higher than that – much higher than could likely be accomplished through a paid campaign.

Finally, long after events had ended, a video was posted that showcased footage from actual CrossFit gyms, under the title “Now it’s Your Turn.” It included a link to a map to find a local affiliate. That video was seen by more than 60,000 viewers. If only 5% of viewers’ friends considered signing on, that’s more than 1 million new members becoming active in the community.

What Does It All Mean?
Granted, this type of social marketing isn’t right for every company. But what this can show us is the importance of giving the fans you do have what they want—engaging them across your platforms with content you know they’ll enjoy.

When it comes to social media, as long as what you’re saying is on-brand for your company, it’s not really about what you want to say. It’s more about what your audience wants to hear. For the CrossFit Games, fans wanted to see as much of the action in real-time as possible, and the organizers knew it. Every social platform offers insights and analytics on what kind of content is engaging your audience. Do they want Facebook videos? Instagram photos with links to your blog? Maybe they’re driven by sponsored content on LinkedIn? What’s important is that you learn and understand what they like, and incorporate that your content strategy.

Want to learn more about growing your social presence or building a content strategy? You’ve come to the right place. Explore Flying Cork.

Blogs are everywhere. Whether it’s a blog about a popular TV show, pets, recipes, fitness or anything in between, blogs are a platform that’s used by many.

But, just because a lot of people are in the blogosphere, doesn’t mean that people are using them correctly. So, today in my blog, I want to start you off with three important tips to keep in mind for the next time you log on to your company’s blog (with permission from your boss of course).

1. Only the Best

Anything less than your best when publishing a blog is not only a waste of your time but your readers’ time as well. That sounded harsh but, let me explain! When crafting content for your company’s blog keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to be looked at like an expert in your field. You want to put your company in a position that when people have an industry-specific question they turn to your blog for the answer. So, if you’re blogging about irrelevant content that’s for lack of a better term, fluff, people won’t take your company seriously. Always remember to keep your thumb on the pulse of your industry and post current, relevant content, often!

2. Style

No, I’m not referencing Taylor Swift’s latest song, I’m talking about your writing style! At their core, blogs are meant to be informal and gives businesses the chance to humanize their company. Your blog is the perfect platform to add personality and to get rid of the sales-y tone. However, just because a blog is informal doesn’t mean that you can substitute S’s for dollar $igns, it’s still a company blog so keep it professional!

3. Share and Share Alike

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this and it more than likely won’t be the last time either! If you want your message to spread like wildfire, you have to make it easy on the reader to share your blog. Take out the extra step of having to copy and paste your blog’s link by simply adding share icons! This will make it easier for people to share your posts and drive traffic to your site. Need more info? Check out my previous blog about the power of social sharing buttons!

Let’s summarize these three tips: Only post your best blog content that shows a hint of personality but is still professional enough that will make people want to share your blog by simply clicking on the social icons!

If you don’t have your business on Google+ yet, now might be the perfect time. Google recently introduced another update to their search algorithm that aims to make local searches more relevant and helpful than ever before. So if you want to increase your chances of appearing higher in the SERPs, it’s a good idea to get yourself on their maps and social media platform. Like it or not, Google represents the majority of local search traffic, and their algorithm will give you a nice pat on the back for doing things their way.

Enter Google+ Business. It’s marketed as a way to engage your customers, but it has a definite impact on whether or not your business ranks during a local search query (for now, anyway; the algorithms are constantly changing, but that’s a topic for another blog post). Business Pages are designed to be the Yellow Pages of Google, complete with basic business information, customer reviews, and other content that can appear in SERPs even when your main website wouldn’t.

Don’t know how to set up a page? It’s easy!

Creating a Page

It’s free to join and list your business on Google+, but first, you need a Gmail account. Even if you have a personal e-mail through Gmail, it’s best to create another account solely for your business.

Page-Creation.jpg

Next, go to google.com/business and click on “get your page.” There are a few different options here: storefront, service area, or brand; choose the one that’s relevant to you.

Page-Type.png

When you’re taken to the map screen, enter your full business address into the text box in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

Find-Your-Business.jpg

A lot of times, Google is aware of your business and will be able to provide your existing street address. If you see your business’s current data, click on it. If, however, your business data does not appear after entering the full address, click, “No, these are not my businesses,” and a new set of text boxes will appear where you can fill in your business information.

Verifying Your Business

This is probably the most important step you can take with Google+ Business, because if you don’t verify, your page won’t go public. Verifying ensures no one but you can claim your business. To prove to Google that you are, in fact, the owner of your business, you have to obtain a unique code to complete the process. Google does this via postcard.

Code-Verification.jpg

To get the postcard, continue through the prompts after you’ve entered your address and click “Mail me my code.” This signals Google to send out the postcard, which should arrive in 1-2 weeks. Be warned, though: sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes you have to request a postcard more than once. (Word on the street is that we had to request a postcard four times for one client to get verified. It’s Google’s world, and we’re just living in it.)

You can skip this step and verify later if you want, but since there’s a chance for delay, it’s best to request that postcard sent as soon as possible.

While you wait with bated breath, you can get to work setting up that page. You’ll need:

Basic Information: Provide accurate business hours, your address, contact information, and business categories. Google uses categories to index these pages, so choose wisely. Since you can only pick from their pre-populated options, pay attention as you’re typing—relevant categories you may not have thought of could pop up. You can put in as many categories as you’d like, but you should absolutely list a minimum of one, or else Google has no way of knowing what kind of business you have!

An Introduction: Use some of that keyword research data (because you did some keyword research, right?) to craft a conversational description of your business and services. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your personality as a business, so take some time here and think about how you want your potential customers to perceive you.

Introduction.png

Some Photos: To further personalize your page, you can add a cover photo and a profile photo. A cover photo is the largest photo on the page, and it would be the perfect place for a group picture of your staff, the exterior of your store, or an example of your product. The profile photo, on the other hand, would be great for a logo! For more detailed information on photos sizes, visit Google’s support center.

Additional Administrators: You don’t have to be the only one that manages your Google+ Business account. You can add any other administrators you’d like as long as they have a Gmail account, too. One caveat: If they’re admins, keep in mind that they will also be able to make changes to your page.

Google will let you know how complete your profile is, so keep checking the status bar. Until you get your business verified, you’ll only be able to get 90% completion. Potential customers won’t be able to see anything you post yet, so this is a great opportunity to start crafting a content strategy while you wait for that postcard!