I have been doing content marketing for around a decade now, and I have learned a few things that I would like to share with you all. I have written copy for my business and for clients businesses as well as hired writers for all of the above (as I do very often because it is hard to keep up with the 20 companies that I am currently handling content for.)
As every business is different, the main thing someone needs to know about content marketing is what to write, and how to format it.
There are two major categories that you should be considering when writing copy for a content marketing campaign. The first should be obvious: write about the company in question. Write about new products. Write about new hires. Tell potential and returning customers about big projects and successes within your business. This humanizes your business. Articles about you help endear your clients to your business.
Articles about you and your business help your clients feel like you are a part of their circle of friends. As a result, they want you to succeed. This is great for customer retention, and can also do wonders for being the deciding factor between you and your competitor when a new customer is looking for who to do business with. However, it is not great at bringing you to the attention of potential clients.
For clients that may not know your business yet, you need to write content that is not specifically about your business, but is about the services or products you offer. These articles should be informative for an individual considering purchasing that product or service. You want to think of what a potential customer would have questions about before making a purchase. Then you want to try to answer those questions. This is what brings new customers to your website, while the articles about you is what makes them decide to choose your business.
I am very surprised that so many people don’t understand the basic principles of writing copy. Maybe it is because I have always been a writer and an avid reader. Or maybe it is because I took courses on creative writing in college, but I feel most of the basics should be common knowledge. The more difficult stuff is keeping up with the ever changing algorithms from the search engines.
There are two basic parts to a content marketing article. The content and the meta tags. Your content consists of your article and supporting images. The Meta tags consist of what usually shows up in search results.
First, let us start with basic writing format. There is an old saying that goes “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell it to them, and then tell them what you just told them.”. There is a lot of truth to this.
Every article should open with a summary of what the article is going to be about. This should give your reader a fast overview of what they can expect from the rest of the article. Your keyword should be in the first paragraph of this section.
Next is your main body. This section should be at least 300 words. Most marketers will tell you the longer the better. However, longer articles take longer to write. When you are contracting for these articles it should be noted that longer costs more.
This section should explain your concept in detail and link to an outside source. Be careful not to link to a competitor, but to something still relevant.
Your last section should be a summary. This is where you tell them what you just told them. I find it best to explain in this section how your business can help them with what you just told them. Here is where I usually link to an internal page on your own website. This can be of great help if some other site “scrapes” your content. They will end up providing a backlink for you.
Each of these sections should be divided by a headline (although you can use more headlines if necessary). At least one of your headlines should contain your keyword.
Where appropriate, add images to your article. You should have the keyword in your image name as well as the alt tag for the image.
On a web page, Meta Tags are lines that are in the page code to explain to search engines what is on the page. These will be a title tag, a meta description tag and a keyword tag. This is usually what comes up in the search engine results page when someone searches for information on the web.
Now I did say “usually” that is because Google has been known to replace the description with the first or last paragraph of your main text from time to time. This is another reason why it is good to say what you are going to say, then say it, then say what you just said. This way, your description on the search engine results page (SERP) will always be a summary of the article.
Google has also changed the number of characters that it displays on the SERP for that description several times this year. (At the time of writing, 180 characters is what is being used).
For your title, you should write a title that is under 70 characters (but close to 70) and should have your keyword in the title, (preferably near the beginning, but that is not necessary).
The last meta tag you will use is the keyword tag. Keywords are not necessarily one word. Many people promote “long tail keywords”. These are more of a phrase that you think your potential client will search for (like: Low Cost Southwest Florida Tile Roof Repairs) Using a long tail keyword may limit the amount of views you get, but the views you do get will have much higher value as they are people looking for exactly what you offer.
Whether you outsource your content marketing or do it in house, these tips will help you understand what you should be aiming for with each bit of copy you produce. My last tip for this article is this: write your own articles about things happening with your business as they will come off more genuine if you do it. Then outsource the other articles to a marketing firm like M&M Multimedia in Southwest Florida. They can handle the heavy lifting of your content marketing campaign while being able to track the progress and adjust the campaign as it moves forward. An outsourced marketing company will even edit your in house posts to make sure they are performing properly with the latest search engine algorithms giving you the best of both worlds..