August 13, 2019 By Matt Zentz
I will openly admit, I don't feel like I'm a great writer. I enjoy writing and I've read some great copywriting books like The Copywriter's Handbook by Robert W. Bly and Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, but I do struggle with creating consistent, engaging, and sometimes entertaining works.
Yet I still write. And this is one of the core tenets of writing—Just write. Because if you don't, you're always stuck where you are now. You don't improve and you don't grow. A lot of your writing may be just okay (or even bad), but you will get some winners if you keep at it.
The Content Marketing Institute found that content, such as a blog, white paper, case study, or other informative work, yields 3X as many leads per dollar spent than paid search and costs 62% less (Content Marketing Institute).
Additionally, 95% of B2B buyers trust content when evaluating a company (DemandGen).
Do your own search on "content marketing stats" and you'll find an enormous number of supporting studies and articles.
The focus of your writing should revolve around your target audience and defined personas, that is, the personalities and characteristics of the real people that makeup your prospects and customers. Writing should engage with them on some emotional level and establish your expertise. You want the reader to believe you know the subject matter well.
Seth Godin suggests writing for the smallest possible audience. Don't write for everyone, because chances are your content will be boring and generic. If you were a comedian, would you rather have the entire audience give courtesy chuckles during the show or five people in front doubling over and crying with laughter? In which of these two scenarios would people be more likely to share their experience?
If you're in the service business, I recommend providing snippets of advice in your area of expertise. Corporate attorneys often frown upon this, but don't let them hinder your ability to grow and market your business. You can effectively provide limited information and advice that leads the reader to engage with you. Again, establish that you're the expert by providing information of value.
For products-based businesses, you can write about standard uses of your product, fringe use cases, customer success stories, competitor comparisons, and so on.
Getting eyeballs should be tightly intertwined with your content in several ways. First, and most important, is being found on search engines. If you own a concrete company, wouldn't it be nice if one of your blog posts showed up on the first page of search results for the phrase "chicago decorative concrete"? This is search engine optimization (or SEO).
Content marketing and search engine optimization belong together (Neil Patel). The more content you write with effective keyword usage and the more engaging and shareable it is, the better you'll perform in search rankings. Targeted keywords are what visitors use when they search for you. Content sharing is how your search rankings grow. The better you are at achieving both, the more likely you are to appear on page one of search results.
You can also reuse your content in email newsletters. At Marketpath, we compile the top 2 or 3 recent blog posts, provide a summary of each, and insert a link back to the original post. You don't have to use your original post titles for the headlines, you can create something more targeted. Same for the summary. The goal is getting more people to click-through and read the full post.
Certain newsworthy content can be posted to free PR channels like PRLog.com, PR.com, NewsWireToday.com. Or, you can maintain lists of people at local newspapers, TV, or radio stations, and send directly to them.
You should write as often as you can without impacting your job or company. Content marketing has a long tail effect, so don't expect immediate results. For every piece of content you post, you create a new potential entry point for visitors via search engines or social sharing.
Don't expect each piece to be your best work and don't expect many (or any) to be home run viral sensations. Just write.
Matt Zentz launched Marketpath from a small Broad Ripple bungalow in February 2001 with a focus on custom web application development. He built the first, basic version of a hosted CMS called Webtools and shortly afterward expanded his team and created the first version of Marketpath CMS.
Matt has worked for a national consulting firm, taught computer programming to high school juniors and seniors , and led the information technology arm of the auxiliary business units at Indiana University.
Matt graduated from Indiana University in 1999 with a B.S. in Computer Science and has built custom web applications since 1995. Matt is husband to an amazing & supportive wife, has three beautiful children, and supreme master to Archimedes (Archie) the dog. He coaches various kid sports, enjoys building furniture, and plays guitar and piano. Matt is very active within his church community and several area not-for-profits.