Having access to a skilled content writer is extremely important. If your business isn’t taking full advantage of content marketing as part of your inbound marketing campaign, it may be behind the eight ball.
Even before the advent of ad blocking, many consumers were getting disenchanted with blatantly promotional ads that had little relevance to their wants and needs. These days marketers have gotten smarter and are not only customizing ads to individual consumers, but presenting their ad messages more subtly within blogs, whitepapers, e-books, infographics and videos that offer informational and/or entertainment value.
“We can’t serve up the same old ads anymore and expect results similar to 30 or 40 years ago,” writes Julia McCoy on ContentMarketingInstitute.com. “Hence the fundamentals behind content marketing — relationship-building, focusing on the customer versus the brand.”
Further, McCoy points to statistics showing content marketing generates more than three times the leads as outbound marketing, yet costs 62 percent less.
Many businesses, however, are new to content marketing and are unsure how to incorporate it into their inbound marketing. For many, the first step will be hiring a content writer or freelancer who is skilled enough to incorporate your brand messages into materials bound to be of interest to your key audiences. A few tips for getting started in that regard:
- Establish your needs. Think about the types and volumes of content that will serve your company best, then research the going rates and salaries so you can set a reasonable budget. You’ll also want to decide who on your staff will edit the incoming work, since even the best writing may have to be tweaked to meet your exact needs or standards.
- Find them. Writers can be located through classified ads online or offline, through online content platforms, through Craigslist or through content marketing agencies that specialize in such services. Agencies are typically more expensive, but work on your behalf to enact quality control and ensure your deadlines are met. Either way, take time to make your job description as specific as possible, and be sure to ask for writing samples.
- Test them. If you’re working outside of an agency, send potential candidates initial assignments to get a better idea of their skill levels and writing styles — even if they’ve already sent writing clips. Savvy editors can go a long way toward making inadequate work look good, and you want to be sure your candidate can relatively quickly produce the kind of content you’re envisioning. Toward that end, prepare potential writers with as much info as possible about who you are as a company, what your goals are and what you prefer in terms of writing styles.
- Critique them. When reviewing the content, look for writing that follows your directions and is clear, compelling, logical, grammatical and easy to read. However, be wary of rejecting a talented writer just because he can’t read your mind; often some back-and-forth is required before both sides fully understand how to best work with each other.
- Establish a roster. When hiring freelancers, it’s best to identify several so you have multiple options as your workload ebbs and flows. Talented writers tend to have other clients, so you can’t assume they’ll always be available.
- Set contracts. To avoid misunderstandings, it’s best for both sides to have a written record of exactly what’s expected; when deadlines are; how and when the freelancer will be paid; what your termination rights are and what rights to the material the freelancer retains (usually, none).
“Getting the best content writer for your business is worth the investment, especially if you can establish a long-term relationship,” writes Dave Nevogt on Hubstaff.com. “Publishing high-quality, useful information brings readers to your site, shows them the value of your product and helps turn them into loyal customers.
Getting started with content marketing will definitely take some time and effort, but should pay off shortly after you get started. Be sure that your content writer’s strategy includes using effective CTA’s (calls to action) to help turn your readers into prospects. Here’s an example for this article you’re reading right now:
This ad below is relevant to the topic of the article. It’s also placed at, or near the bottom of the post so that you’re not distracting from the content itself. It’s always a good idea to also include a text CTA in addition to a banner ad. Here’s a relevant and helpful (real-life) example:
Content should always include a phone number for instant contact with your Company. Review the DNI feature from Dial800 to see how you can track new inbound calls generated from your content.