As a freelancer, I know the one habit nearly all writers can’t resist, no matter how hard they try, is seeing life through a series of story ideas.
And when a talented journalist or reporter decides to extend their services to other areas of writing, like content marketing, the light bulb above their noggin flicks on in a different way. Suddenly, companies aren’t merely ads on Facebook or your go-tos when shopping at Amazon.
Rather, they are ripe with opportunities to tell stories, to improve their goal and their mission, and to use search terms to elevate their brand.
The only issue is helping these brands understand how much they can grow and expand their current customer base and general level of awareness among the public with the help of content marketing.
While some brands understand that great content improves visibility and frankly, makes for a smarter, more thoughtful website, it isn’t always easy to convince those in the hiring seat.
However, savvy content marketing executives who lead effective teams know just how important writing is to their overall strategy and success.
Three industry leaders explain the importance of content marketing.
It’s one of the most effective ways to build a business in modern day.
A decade ago, there was a strict line between advertising and journalism. And while ethics are still vital to the reputation of any journalist, the emergence of sponsored content has changed the game for many publications and brands. Earned media still has value, but there are other ways to tell your story — especially on your own domain.
To remain relevant and modern, Tasia Duske, the CEO of Museum Hack and The Great Guac Off, says investing in content marketing is a no-brainer. Not only does this help brands reach current and potential clients or customers, but it raises the bar of their brand, allowing them to reach folks in a natural, easy way.
This is especially true for younger generations who don’t quite respond to traditional methods of advertising anymore.
Increasingly, consumers have ‘ad blindness,’ which means they see that the area is blocked off but aren’t paying attention to the content. Other consumers simply aren’t interested in ads and their content. Companies can easily spend tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads that are ineffective.
But with the use of smart content marketing creations on their blog, homepage and beyond, Duske says companies can filter through the noise and make an impact.
It can touch a customer at every point in their journey.
When Kelly Chase, the director of content marketing at Fracture thinks about this sector of business, it all comes down to relationship building. Though many brands may discount how vital it is to touch a customer at every step of their journey (or a potential customer), the more hands-on and specific a company is, their conversion rates will be that much higher.
Unlike other ways of selling or developing a voice, Chase says content marketing provides a more personal and detailed way to make a connection:
Whether it’s someone unfamiliar with your brand who is just beginning their search for a product or service like yours, or it’s an existing customer who has returned to you many times, content marketing is the best way to reach those people and provide them real value at the time and in the ways that are most convenient for them.
Because solid writing can entice someone to read more, keep them interested and make them more likely to return for more information, it also provides an outlet for brands to tell their own stories.
With a generation that’s curious about the ‘why’ and the ‘how,’ this is paramount. As Chase puts it, allowing brands to engage in more meaningful storytelling with content marketing sets them apart from the noise.
It helps with every medium — and lasts.
There’s a difference between hiring someone who only has a business background to pen your content — and giving the gig to a talented writer. As Duske explains, well-written, insightful content is genuinely useful to consumers. This means they won’t avoid it and may even seek it out, giving endless legs to a single piece of work.
With a long-term contract with a writer they can trust, Duske says content makes sense across nearly every modern medium, including social media, search engines and newsletters.
While there may be a call to action at the end of the piece, if the rest of the work is dependable and approachable, customers won’t be turned off by the minor selling:
“None of this feels like advertising or promotion, and instead you are raising the profile of your company and brand to that consumer,” she explains. Another way it’s valuable is found in its lack of an expiration date. While advertisements are often seasonal and based on sales or trends, good work can last, well, forever, as Duske points out:
A great piece of content can exist online and stay relevant for years or even decades, which gives it a very high potential return on investment.
It allows brands to break through the chatter.
Duske says it may sound generic, but when she hires writers to develop content, it’s only the ones who go above and beyond who break through the chatter. Though this can mean all sorts of things, for Duske, it’s more about a partnership between the brand and the wordsmith to develop content that’s optimized for performance and for effectiveness.
More than anything, she hopes a writer can show how their articles, blogs or site can be more than a few paragraphs and a spell check:
Content that stands out includes elements that take time and effort. This effort could be shown with including interviews from insightful sources or other deep research, doing analysis of a data set and presenting it in a unique way or similar.
It’s an opportunity for brands to reach consumers everywhere, from social media to their inboxes.
As Chase explains, writers who demonstrate they aren’t only a great writer, but they have a strong understanding of how copy is used and optimized across different channels and touch points are the ones who receive offers:
I’m looking for someone who can do much more than just churn out some compelling, error-free copy — I’m looking for someone who knows how to craft everything from blog posts to landing pages to email campaigns in a way that actually generates results.
Chase recommends asking writers to not only share clips, but provide prime examples of every way they’ve contributed to the advancement of brands.
When she’s looking for a new writer to add to the team, she considers these questions:
- Do they have relevant marketing experience or experience working as part of a marketing team?
- Do they have any SEO background and knowledge?
- Do they have any content marketing certifications?
- And perhaps most importantly, do they have any case studies that show that they know how to drive tangible results?
“All of those things help paint a picture of a well-rounded copywriter.” she shares.
It sends a more authentic message and gives a unique voice.
Take a minute and think about those companies who you give your hard-earned buckaroos to time and time again. What words would you use to describe how you feel toward them? These adjectives are important since it can make or break a customer’s loyalty.
For Jessica Kranz, the vice president of content at Bombas, content marketing helps companies to land these type of descriptors: authentic, genuine and relatable. As a softer form of advertising, she says this medium goes beyond a quick discount or deal, and provides education, background and well, content.
“In this age where brands are marketing so heavily across every possible medium, it’s essential that the assets they put out grab consumers’ attention and make them stop to watch, engage, read and ultimately, connect to a brand,” she explains. When content marketing is successful, she says it leads to a more loyal — and often vocal — customer base.
Look for writers with a unique voice to get the most out of content marketing, says Kranz:
Writers who are witty, fun, clever and quirky always stand out the most to me. If [they] have something to say and can put a spin on it that’s unique and clever, it will resonate and be memorable. I think the writers who can give readers a reason to smile, are the ones that end up standing out the most.