As an entrepreneur, many things are pulling your attention – growing your team, serving your clients, keeping your books in order, and so on.
But what about your marketing?
You’re told to write a blog, send an email newsletter, create SEO content, post on social media, create video content, learn all the algorithms, paid advertising, speaking engagements, and the list doesn’t stop there.
But through the noise, do you feel like marketing experts think about you and your capacity (brainwidth) as a small business owner?
Here are some things you can do to start prioritizing marketing tasks.
Get Organized And Start Prioritizing Marketing Tasks
A great place to start is by making your dream list. Come on, let’s brainstorm together!
Ask yourself, what is your all-the-bells-and-whistles checklist? You know, the whole laundry list of marketing ideas you’ve ever wanted to implement. If you’re stuck or need some suggestions, you can:
Review your website copy. Does it still fit you and your company’s vision? Find a copywriter who can spice it up.
Are you getting any traffic? Use a writer who knows SEO to help.
Do you have social media followers? Work on a social media strategy that can boost sales for your business.
Now look at your list and ask, what is your more sensible barebones checklist?
This checklist is what you need to begin and get going on building your marketing strategy.
Whether you’re running the show or you have a team of helpful employees, there are some small things you can do to be productive and get organized.
ClickUp is an online task management tool that you can use to plugin projects you need to get done, set deadlines, assign tasks to staff, and so much more. Because it’s such a user-friendly system, prioritizing your laundry list of marketing to-dos is that much easier.
A Breakdown Of Marketing Strategies
Let’s talk about several marketing strategies you may have seen over time. Let’s determine if it’s something that you want to focus on and use for your business.
If you don’t have an SEO strategy or you don’t have a lot of website traffic, blogging could be a useful channel. With blogs, you can kick up your ranking through SEO best-practices. Doing so gives your prime audience helpful information and a sneak peek into your industry.
Your traffic rate is reasonable, but you don’t have a substantial email list of current and potential customers interested in your services. Lead magnets can get you into your customers’ minds to find out what their pain points are and what’s important to them in a solution.
It’s okay to put your customers on the spot. Ask them for their email or create other ways to encourage them to take an action on your page. Use phrases like:
A useful landing page is an engaging and easy-to-read snapshot of your business and its services. It helps to lead a viewer to click and take them to the next step. Whether the page leads them to a phone number, email address, or order form – you want your customer to take action here.
Cheat Sheet Or Guide
Post a simple cheat sheet or guide informing others of your business model or the way you produce a product. This is a quick way to get them to understand more of what you do. Again, you want them to take action and reach out to you.
Video Or Audio
Think of a video or audio bite as a more modern version of a cheat sheet. Not only can you show off a bit of your personality here, but you’re also giving your audience a way to interact. By doing so, they are more likely to make an action on your page and seek your services.
There’s nothing like a fun quiz to get an audience engaged and interested in signing up for future emails (check out this fantastic example here). Quizzes are an interactive way to get your audience to question themselves and realize they may need your help. Whether you want to lead them to make a purchase or sign up for your emails to reveal their answers, you really can’t go wrong with a winning quiz.
Some lively and informative email marketing can help you turn your traffic into leads and eventually into buyers. A good email marketing strategy keeps subscribers in-the-know and consistently aware of your brand.
It’s okay to start small with social media. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with the idea of posting on all outlets every day. It’s better to create a stable community of advocates and promoters for your business little by little.
Paid ads can kickstart awareness of your business. This can help grow your following, traffic, regular subscribers, etc. It pays to invest in yourself.
What Are Your Marketing Priorities?
Keep in mind that you can do it without feeling like you need to do it all.
For this upcoming quarter, make a list of 3 things you’re going to do well. It could even be cross-sections of a topic (i.e. send one newsletter a week instead of full email marketing campaigns). Then determine whether it genuinely looks doable to you.
Check Us Out & Check Off Your Marketing To-Do List
We’ve listed some insights into what you should really focus on between all of the agencies, consultants, and experts so you don’t skip the important stuff. Make reasonable requests for yourself. Can you put out one email a month? One blog a month? What about one social media post a week?
As a small business owner, it’s important to be true to yourself, your capabilities, and your budget.
Need some help with your prioritizing marketing tasks or creating content? Give us a shout, and we’ll get you where you want to be – operating in a timeframe that works for you.
When Was The Last Time You Updated Your Home Page?
Answer these 6 questions and spruce up your home page in 15 minutes (or less).
Blogging is certainly not dead – especially when it comes to B2B blogging. Some 700 million blog posts are published each month on WordPress alone.
Today’s web users can hop online and find a blog on pretty much any topic you can imagine.
Searching for a step-by-step guide on how to perform an oil change? There’s a blog for that.
What about finding the perfect chocolate cake recipe? Yep, there’s a blog for that, too.
More often than not, the blogs with sufficient information may eventually lead you to an expert within the field of what you’re searching for.
This is excellent news for businesses – boasting numerous benefits for writing business blog posts.
5 Benefits for Writing Business Blog Posts
We could go on for hours listing the benefits for writing business blog posts, but we picked these 5 benefits because they directly impact your bottom line. At FocusCopy, we would never recommend anything that doesn’t produce sales or makes your company more efficient (and thereby more profitable).
1. Blog Posts Provide Social Media and Email Content
You want to keep your audience engaged, right? If you’re like us, you’ve been subject to opening a marketing email only to hit close as soon as you scan it (even if you get that far). One way to positively use the blogs you’ve written is to include them in your marketing emails paired with a catchy headline or phrase to draw your audience in. By doing so, you keep readers engaged with relevant content to your business, boost your click rate, and improve website traffic…. Ultimately generating more qualified leads for your business (paired with a few other things).
Plus, with so many tools available like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and so on, you can use these platforms to help monitor your email marketing performance, making it easy to see which emails featuring your blogs tend to outshine one another. You can then plan and strategize additional content to work better for you and your business in the future.
In line with sharing blogs to your email efforts, you can pad your social media calendar with shareable posts featuring your blog. All it takes is a simple graphic, engaging copy, and a link to your blog to quickly get better engagement on your social media platforms. With almost half of the world’s population using social media, you really can’t go wrong by creating some buzz around your blog posts using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social-sharing software.
2. Blog Posts Boost Search Engine Optimization
According to OptinMonster, “Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites.” That statistic alone should be convincing enough to start blogging.
The bottom line is that more traffic to your website means more potential sales. Writing a blog and sharing its content any way you can help build the number of visitors who end up on your site. As you consistently continue producing relevant content written with SEO in mind, you’ll see your SEO performance build and improve over time.
Chances are, someone who conducts a search on Google looking for a how-to on best business practices during COVID will likely run into a few high-ranking blogs covering this topic. As a result, the business blogs that appear on the first or second page are likely to see improved engagement and viewers on their website.
As long as you have an individual or team member regularly creating, publishing content, and monitoring your results, there is no reason your SEO and, in turn, your business shouldn’t see some improved engagement.
Case Study: Publish Consistently Now
As a new business, we consistently published weekly blogs from August 2019 to April 2020. This was a critical step to start building the SEO snowball.
Then between April 2020 and September 2020, our blogging became a little more inconsistent because… Well, we were too busy writing for our clients. Yet, our traffic was still growing.
In October 2020, our blogging became non-existent through the remainder of 2020. We were simply too busy to even schedule posts on social media! All our focus was on our client’s copy and their marketing.
Yet, our traffic grew and grew. This is the power of publishing business blog posts. This is what we refer to as the SEO snowball effect.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
3. Blog Posts Educate Your Target Audience
There is a ton of information out there online. But you’re the one who knows your business best, so who better to talk about it than yourself? People want to know accurate and readable information that will help them. Don’t be afraid to give your blogs everything you’ve got and go into as much detail as you can in an organized format that flows with ease.
A simple benefit you can add to your blogs includes graphics, videos, and photography to help users visualize the discussion topic. It’s not entirely necessary, but for businesses who offer intricate services or products, these elements can break down some more technical content in a digestible way.
As the expert, you want to let others know that they can turn to you for the information they need now or might need in the future. With each blog post, you build brand authority for yourself and become a reliable resource for your audience to turn to.
One way of serving as a brand authority lies in sharing information backed by reliable resources, data, or reports. You can also rely on the professionals around you to get the latest industry updates and material to improve your content. Finally, you can answer some FAQs in depth through blogs that are both requested and informative. Each of these factors sets the tone for your blog and provides a safe space for others to turn to when they need trustworthy information.
5. Blog Posts Create More Opportunities to Sell
If you have your sales process down, blog writing may be the solution you need to pour more leads into your funnel. You see, the more content you produce backed by appropriate facts and figures, the more people will be geared towards your website and brand. As users get to know your brand better and become more familiar with who you are, the more likely they are to use your product or service.
According to Hubspot, “Marketers who prioritized blogging received 13X more ROI than companies that did not in 2019.” Hubspot’s findings make blogging one of the most useful marketing tools out there on top of creating other inviting digital content.
How to Start Writing Blog Posts for Business
If you’re tired of being left behind in a digital world, get started today on setting up a blog for your business with just a few quick steps.
Figure Out What You’re Going To Write About
Where do you start? Understandably, you may have a lot to say but don’t know where to begin. Whether you use your smartphone, laptop, or pen and paper, you should kick off your blogging venture by jotting down your best blog ideas. Some components to think about include:
Timeliness. Is what you want to write about pertinent to right now?
Substance. Is there enough to talk about when discussing a specific topic?
Benefits. Will your blog be able to highlight something that your business has to offer to help its readers?
Content. Is the content being discussed relevant to your business?
If you’ve answered “No,” to any of these questions, it may be time to discuss more openly with your team about what would work when it comes to blogging for your business.
Decide How Frequently You’re Going to Write Blog Posts
Some websites will tell you you should blog twice a week, once a week, or once a month. Depending on your business, you may want to post more or less. If you don’t have the bandwidth to start posting numerous times a day, work on getting your posts written and provide yourself with a bank of blogs you can rely on when you’re ready to start publishing.
“Blogging frequency has a direct and significant impact on lead generation.”
We take a little different approach when it comes to choosing frequency. At FocusCopy, we want to see consistency in your marketing. If that’s every week, go for it! But if you can only manage one blog a month, that’s great. Start building that rhythm so you can produce more content down the line.
Determine Who Is Writing Your Blog Posts
I you are considering starting a blog, think no more. Get your blog up and running with a content writer who knows the ins and outs of blogging, wordplay, and adapting to your company’s work model, style, voice, tone, and attitude.
We get it! You may not have the time for blogging. Lucky for you, we’re the experts you need in that department. FocusCopy offers content writing for your business – bringing your brand to center stage for the audience you crave.
Whenever you publish content, you’re putting your name on the line. And there’s no guarantee that your audience will love it.
For your business to thrive, you must improve your visibility and audience engagement through content creation and publication. Digital marketing is more effective now than ever, and there are many, many types of content you can create and use.
But how can you ease your anxiety during content production so you’ll be excited to create more?
Let’s start by facing the fears head-on.
Why Content Production Can Increase Anxiety
Has this ever happened to you? You’re talking with a business associate or friend, on your morning jog, or in the shower, when suddenly inspiration strikes. You arrive at the perfect idea for a new piece of content. You’re excited! You keep the idea swirling in your thoughts, but soon… weeks pass, and you still haven’t published yet.
If this sounds familiar, you might be grappling with content production anxiety.
Producing content is really exciting. But on the other hand, it can also be anxiety-inducing (maybe even a little frightening) – making it difficult to hit “publish”.
When producing content, anxiety can increase for any of the following reasons:
Getting started. For some, there is nothing more intimidating than staring at a blank page. When our content ideas are big, just getting started can be daunting.
Finding the time. If you’re like most business leaders and entrepreneurs, your schedule is packed to the brim with meetings and urgent tasks. It can feel overwhelming to have another huge item added onto your list.
Making mistakes. What if you say something in your content by mistake? It can be scary to make a mistake that will be online for everyone to see.
Judgement or criticism. After you put all the work into finally putting your content out there, what if nobody likes it?
If you’ve had any of these anxious feelings around content production, you’re not alone. So many content creators struggle with these things all the time.
7 Ways to Ease Anxiety During Content Production
The good news is, there are ways you can ease anxiety during content production. Here are 7 different strategies to try out:
Exercise your content production muscle
Voice record your stream of thoughts
Break up your content production in smaller subtasks
Hire an editor
Schedule the content to auto-publish
Focus on the end goal
Celebrate your wins
1. Exercise Your Content Production Muscle
Getting started on something new can feel daunting. When you start a hard workout or a new sport, your body needs to get used to that exercise. Writing is the same. You need to train your brain to produce content every single day.
Here are some training exercises that you can implement in your daily routine:
Write for 30 minutes a day – everyday
Read blogs (or whatever type of content you are producing) for 20 minutes a day
Carry a notebook with you to jot down any ideas, sentences, or phrases that come to you spontaneously
Most people can talk faster than they can type. If you want to make even more use of your 30 minutes of content creation a day, speak your ideas instead of typing them. You can record your thoughts on a voice memo or brainstorm about them with someone on your team.
In an hour, I can crank out content for about five full blogs when I’m talking about my ideas instead of typing them. And then, it’s time to finally put thoughts on paper, you’ll be able to listen back on every detail.
3. Break Up Your Content Into Subtasks
If you’re anxious about finding time to create content, you don’t have to stress any further. It can be easy for an entrepreneur, business owner, or marketer to keep up with a weekly content creation schedule!
Break up the content production into subtasks. For example, here are subtasks we use to create our blogs:
These 6 simple subtasks can even be done on different days. This allows the content production process to happen in bite-sized pieces, not overwhelming the writer at any point in time.
The next way to ease your anxiety during content production is to hire an editor – whether that’s someone on your team or someone like us that you outsource.
An editor can take on 3 of the 6 subtasks listed in the previous strategy. That way you can create your content quicker with less stress.
If you can, have not just one, but two other people review your content before publishing. They can check for the overall quality and value of your content. You’ll be able to avoid anxiety around errors or audience scrutiny when your content has already faced constructive feedback from an editorial team.
5. Schedule The Content to Auto-Publish
Once you have the content written and edited, it’s time to press “publish”. This is where we commonly see authority leaders pause. They begin to question if it’s valuable enough, clear enough, fill in the blank enough. That’s why we schedule our content and our client’s content out. It takes the anxiety out of seeing it go live immediately. If you use WordPress, learn how to schedule a post on WordPress here.
6. Focus On The End Goal
If you don’t know where you’re going to end up, it’s difficult to know when you’ve got there and how to tie a bow on the content. You need to define an end goal before you start to write the content.
For this blog in particular, we know that our clients experience anxiety when producing content. Some of our clients have told us that they spend over8 hours on a single blog (and are still not pleased with the content). So, it never gets published.
We help our clients skip through that by ensuring that every piece of content we write for our clients is valuable, and we both know the end goal before we start writing.
7. Celebrate Your Wins
Finally, you need to celebrate your wins! A mentor told me when I started FocusCopy that I needed to celebrate every win – somehow. The first dollar, the first hundred dollars, and so on. We even celebrated the first blog, the first comment, and the traffic that we’ve gotten from our most popular blogs. You, too, need to celebrate your wins – including publishing content. Instead of it being a fearful task, it becomes an exciting task that you want to complete.
Ease Your Content Production Anxiety About Outsourcing
Like we previewed in strategy #6, we encounter a lot of stress when we talk with prospective clients. Producing content can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. FocusCopy partners with entrepreneurial companies, just like yours, to produce your content and save your time. This allows you to stay on top of your content schedule while managing a more-balanced workload. Learn more about our copywriting services here.
If you have any questions, drop them in the comments section. We are here to make content production a more joyful and beneficial process.
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for content marketing.
The type of content your website should provide to your customers should depend on what they want to buy and how much time they want to spend reading your site before they buy or move on.
In today’s digital age, the opportunities to sell are endless. There are so many different types of content that you can create and offer to your audience. In this blog, we’ll focus on the content that targets individuals or businesses that…
May not be aware of their need for your product or service
Need to engage more with your brand before they click “buy”
But first, let’s talk about how this audience is different from others you market to and why they require different kinds of content.
Why Offer Different Types of Content For Each Stage of the Sales Funnel
Each customer that will eventually buy your service or product has their own journey that starts at awareness of your brand and moves to being an active promoter of your brand.
In marketing, this customer journey is called the sales funnel. It has three stages:
Top of funnel
Middle of funnel
Bottom of funnel
Top of Funnel (TOFU)
Top of funnel (or TOFU for short) is the stage where prospects become aware of their problem and your solution.
They must become aware that you exist.
You want them to engage with your content.
And to get them to do that at this stage, your content should be freely available.
In other words, it should be ungated – while still havingthe option to provide their email for more information.
Middle of Funnel (MOFU)
Middle of the funnel (or MOFU for short) is the stage where prospects become customers. It’s all about conversion here! At this stage, content might look like providing a free resource in exchange for your customer’s email or selling your customer a product or service.
Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)
Bottom of funnel (or BOFU for short) is the stage where customers become excited about working with you. By this time, they will:
Ascend through your different offerings
Be ready to buy higher-value content
Advocate/promote your brand to their network
The Purpose of Top of Funnel Content
The value and purpose of content needs to change at each stage. And the first stage, TOFU has the widest audience. The goal of top of funnel content is to build, connect, and interact with your audience.
In dating terms, this is making eye contact and asking that person out for coffee. It’s safe and non-committal. It’s just expressing interest and seeing where it takes you!
Different Types of Top of Funnel Content To Offer
Here are some different types of top funnel content that will help you make a great first impression with your audience.
Your company is accomplishing amazing things that set you apart from your competitors. Blogs are the place to show that off! Celebrate your hard work, explain difficult decisions, and discuss your growth and major milestones.
If your audience is captivated by your story, they’ll want to learn more, engage, and cheer your company on.
2. Product Announcements
Speaking of company news, blogs are a great way to announce the launch of new products. This might include:
Added service offerings
A blog post lets you go beyond a general product description. It gives space for you to tell a story with more detail. How did you identify the need? What inspired its design? How will/have customers’ lives changed because of the new product?
3. Cornerstone Blogs
Cornerstone blogs are articles your audience will want to refer back to time and time again. Just like we pin important posts to the top of our Facebook pages, cornerstone blogs are substantial and noteworthy.
A great cornerstone blog will be:
All-inclusive of your entire process
Approximately 3 times the length of a normal blog (2,500 or more words)
Filled with crosslinks that lead customers to your other content
Everyone wants to use the best products and services possible. But the average person will not have time to do all the research themselves to find the right solution for them. Save your audience time (which they’ll appreciate) by doing a comparison blog.
For example, to write about “what’s the best project management software?”, you could:
Pick 2 of the most popular contenders
Compare and contrast product features
Note their reviews
Talk about ease of use and customer support
This is extremely common for software.
Comparison blogs aren’t the only way to save people time. How-tos are also really valuable for this! Give a quick and easy tutorial on how to do something. To make your post even more valuable, include screenshots or photos of the process and mention anything your company offers that can make it even easier.
6. Quiz or Survey
Nothing says engagement like an interactive blog post. Include a quiz or survey in your next blog. Here are some ideas for making it fun and useful:
Keep it short and sweet with 10 questions or less and 3-6 options per question
Include a text box on surveys where your audience can ask questions
Make it easy to read by pairing text responses with images
Provide a next step by including a call to action at the end
With a quiz, you’ll increase engagement and learn more about your target audience. It’s a win-win!
Another type of blog that has lots of value is a Question and Answer (Q&A) post. This is where you go over questions your customer asks (or what you think they’ll ask). Here are a few ideas:
After you’ve collected survey results, duplicate that content by turning the responses into a Q&A blog
Create a Q&A blog from frequently asked questions about products or services – “6 Questions We Get About [Your Product]”
Conduct an interview-style Q&A with an expert from your team
Q&As help resolve common questions and draw awareness to your products and services.
Every email on your email list is not created equal. Some people who are in the top of your sales funnel might not make it to the middle. Email content helps you rebuild your targeting list by pulling in possible leads.
10. Email Newsletters
Keep your company visible by showing up regularly in your audience’s inbox with a roundup of content. Here are some best practices for making an email newsletter your audience will look forward to:
Don’t spam their inbox
Have an eye-catching subject line
Highlight your other recent content
Give email-exclusive offers
Well-crafted email newsletters have the power to bring people from TOFU through MOFU to BOFU.
You know what they say… “An image is worth a thousand words”. Image content can communicate so much about your company with just one glance. Plus, get double the visibility by reposting images from your blog onto Pinterest. Here are a few kinds of image content.
It’s time for a brand photoshoot! Photo content can give your audience greater insight into the personality of your company. Take photos to:
Try overlaying an image with an inspiring quote – especially ones from your own brand! Your audience will start to picture you as an authority figure and leader. If you’ve been quoted, you’re legit and on a fast path to becoming an authority leader.
Reading through a long detailed process description or trying to visualize complex stats is confusing and boring. Don’t be boring. Keep your audience’s attention with clear infographics instead. They’ll be engaged and ready to learn more. Here is an example of an infographic we created.
Does your company have expert knowledge that your audience will benefit from? Turn it into learning content through webinars or a video series.
14. Video Series
Create a company YouTube channel! There, you can post a series of videos where you teach your audience. To get the most out of a YouTube video series, include links to your other content in the video’s description and embed those videos into blog posts.
Webinars are a more interactive type of learning content. Your audience will be able to tune in live, ask questions, and get specific feedback. Increased engagement means more opportunities for you to show the value of your products or services.
Aside from learning content, video can also do so much more for your marketing strategy. Here are some different types of top of funnel content to create from videos.
Use videos that run longer than 10 minutes for more detailed story-telling like:
Vlogs (video blogs)
A case study or success story
Behind the scenes footage
To keep your audience’s attention, your video should get more interesting as it gets longer. Introduce at the start that something exciting will be revealed at the end. And then deliver on that promise.
Channel your collaborative side by recording an interview with a team member or someone from your business network. Also look out for opportunities to be interviewed by other companies to get even more visibility.
Diversify your reach with outside content like magazine articles, press releases, and Q&A forums.
19. Magazine Articles
Being featured in a magazine article will build trust and recognition for your brand. Identify some popular magazines that get a lot of traffic, and then pitch your story!
Need some help pitching your story to magazines? Press releases can help grab the attention of journalists and media outlets so you’ll be more likely to get on their radar. Press releases spark curiosity in a broad audience and give them a reason to visit your website, find your other content, or try out your products.
(We’ve recently partnered with an incredible boutique PR agency that customizes solutions for each of their clients. If you’d like a warm introduction, reach out to us here.)
21. Q&A Forums
Establish your credibility as an expert and grow your community by answering questions in Q&A forums. Try out these 2 forums: Quora and Alignable.
Now more than ever, people are spending an unprecedented amount of time on their social media. Take advantage of their undivided attention by showing up regularly with awesome content in their feeds.
22. Social Media Posts
Each social network has their own content style. With all that variety, you can post about the same topics on different platforms while still making it look like different content.
23. Facebook Group
Leverage Facebook groups to engage with your audience on a whole new level. Being part of a Facebook group helps people feel more connected to your brand and each other – making them one step closer to reaching the BOFU.
24. Facebook or Instagram Live
Interaction gets even better when the experience is happening live. Your audience doesn’t even need to leave their home to have face-to-face access to you. Show a live demo, interview, or Q&A! Host the live content with collaborators in your network to reach an even broader audience.
24. IGTV (< 5 minutes)
Instagram introduced IGTV last year, making it a hot new avenue to post your content. The best part is, you don’t need expensive professional equipment to shoot your content. The platform is meant to be made right from your phone.
26. Social Media Advertising
What most people don’t know is that when you do social media advertising, your ads can appear outside of social media networks. When you take out a Facebook ad, it can appear in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Take advantage of this extra visibility!
Finally, there are different types of top of funnel content that can exist right on your website and require little to no updating. These are things like online calculators, product or services pages, and microsites.
One kind of TOFU website content is a calculator – like the calculators found here. Many mortgage lenders have calculators on their websites. If done well, it can act as a lead generator to get a mortgage quote.
28. Product / Service Pages
Does your website have seperate pages for each of its products or services? This is a great way to expand your content and make it easier for your customers to find you online. Check out FocusCopy’s tips for updating your website copy to make your products and services pages work well at the top of your marketing funnel.
Microsites are great ways to capture more attention and direct them to your website. It’s usually a single page or cluster of pages meant to complement a specific activity.
One of our favorite recent use of microsites is Tulsa advocating to Tesla to build a plant in their city. So they created TulsaSaysYes.com.
While that’s enough to at least put a case together for Tesla to consider Tulsa, they took it one step further. They created AustinSaysNo.com.
While this campaign only had a target audience of one, it was extremely effective and targeted.
What Types of Content Are You Working On?
These 29 different types of top of funnel content are just the start. There are so many varieties of content for different stages of the sales funnel. What kinds of content is your company working on now? Creating content consistently can be a lot to keep up with. If your team is looking to grow your visibility by outsourcing your content writing, FocusCopy can help.
Focus Your Copy On
Conversation & Conversion
Let’s Grab A Virtual Coffee With Us To Discover How To Boost Your Words
Blogging isn’t just for beauty influencers and foodies. It’s 2020, and the most competitive companies in all industries have blogs associated with their businesses.
Never considered blogging before? Well, you might be missing out on some major growth opportunities!
If you feel behind in the blogging scene, don’t worry. I’ll go over the 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging, so you can start blogging like a pro.
PLUS right now is an optimal time to invest in a blog for your business.
Because many of us are at home, tuned into our preferred devices. Your audience is at attention. Strategically, if you’re looking for growth in the next 6 months, you need to start working now by investing in and increasing your organic traffic.
What is Blogging?
Before we get into the 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging, let’s break down what blogging entails.
A blog is a collection of content available on a website or social media profile (like LinkedIn). It’s a log of a company’s insights, knowledge, experience, and tips for readers.
Encourages your customers to realize that you have something valuable to offer – Value-Added Information
Drives new customers to your company without paid advertising – Organic Traffic
Why is Blogging Important for Your Overall Marketing Strategy?
Whether it’s a written, video, or visual log, a blog is important for your overall marketing strategy. At its core, marketing is a way to warm up your prospects in order to convert them into sales. In the digital world, marketing is also what converts leads into customers.
A strong marketing strategy cultivates a relationship between your customers and your company. And this is essentially what blogs are built to do! They create trust and familiarity through consistent and valuable communication.
And it’s not just a one-way street. Blogging doesn’t just create an opportunity for your company to share insights and stories with prospects; it also allows your customers to share their stories and experiences too – through comments. In other words, you have the ability to advertise and conduct market research, all in one place.
8 Major Oversights Content Writers Should Avoid When Blogging
Now that you understand the value blogging will have for your business, let’s talk about how you can approach it like a professional. Here are 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging.
1. Not Breaking Through Your Writer’s Block
Most clients come to us for 1 of 2 reasons:
They hate writing. Writing well can take time, and not everyone has the patience for it.
They take forever to write. Some people get stuck staring at a blank page or writing and rewriting things to no end.
To start a blog, you’ll have to write regularly. Many content writers don’t expect to run into writer’s block. If and when it hits, they’re stuck! Don’t give up. Breaking through writer’s block is a key skill for successful content writing.
Some writers just write in a flow. That’s alright, but if you want to write strategically, always start with an outline.
Creating an outline before you start writing will help you…
Write faster. Once the structure of your blog is there, it’s easier to fill in the blanks.
Organize your thoughts. You’ll avoid veering off course from your intended topic and ensure you’re not covering too much in one post.
Increase your SEO. When you have structured headings and subheadings for your blog posts that use similar keywords or SEO synonyms, it’s easier for search engines to detect the topic of your blog and direct people to it based on their search.
Here’s an example of what an organized outline can do for your final product.
The final product:
4. Not Showing Some Personality
A blog post isn’t a formal document. People don’t want to read something dry– even if the topic is “boring”. They want to read something entertaining!
In the past, I’ve written blogs for CFOs about financial forecasting using an example of Hooters girls. Show some personality in your writing. It breaks the ice.
5. Not Narrowing Down Your Focus
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, a single blog post cannot be all-encompassing. Don’t try to solve every problem or address every topic in your individual blog posts. Pick one small topic and cover it extremely well. This will have more value for your audience and encourage them to come back and read more…
If you envision your company’s blog covering several topics, you can create a tagging system. This lets you cover a range of topics across several blog posts in an organized way.
First, identify one major-topic. Narrow down that topic even more. Then get even more specific. You cannot provide real value on a given major-topic with just one blog – there’s simply too much information for a reader to digest at once; therefore, you need to get specific. Remember, blogs are not novels or dissertations, they are intended to be relatively small, quick to read, and easily absorbed by their audience.
Here are a couple of topic progressions to get you started.
Key Areas in Major Topic
Sub-Topic of Key Area
Specific Detail Related to Sub-Topic
Ways to make delicious coffee
French Press Best Practices
Launching a Blog
Oversights Content Writers Make When Blogging
6. Not Using Research To Defend Your Claims
An entertaining blog on its own might give your company some visibility. But when it comes to converting to sales, you’ll want to leverage some research in your writing.
As the saying goes, people tend to buy on emotion and justify the buy with logic. Compelling evidence to support your claims will underscore both the emotional and logical aspects of your pitch.
These can include…
Easy-to-read charts and graphs
7. Flat Out Plagiarizing
This goes without saying – don’t plagiarize. Cite all quotes and sources. No one wants to come off as unoriginal or deceiving. Your company will lower its credibility when your plagiarism is discovered (and it will be!).
Giving others credit where credit is due is the right thing to do and can be really helpful for your SEO! Include outbound links to sources in your blog posts.
8. Perfecting It So Much It Never Gets Published
A “perfect” blog post is never published because it’s never done. At some point, you just need to press “publish”. If you ever want to change anything, all you have to do is edit that content and update it.
Put yourself out there and see how your audience responds. Remember, your audience is looking for consistent and regular communication. Don’t trade perfectionism for building a relationship with your customers. They’ll be happier to hear from you regularly. If you don’t include something in your current blog, you can always write about it in the next blog. Just keep the content and communications flowing to your followers and customers.
Picture this. You sit down at your computer, knowing you have to produce a 1,500 word blog for your marketing team. A blank page stares back at you with the blinking cursor taunting you. Nothing.
The time ticks by… It feels like it’s been at least 20 minutes.
Nope, only 30 seconds.
Writer’s block is a real thing that destroys productivity and confidence. When we experience this, we start to believe that we are not the experts in our field, we don’t have anything valuable to say, or our story is not worth hearing.
No, no, and no.
The #2 reason why people come to us is because they love to write, but it takes them an entire day to write that same 1,500 word blog post. Or sometimes, it just never gets done. They are plagued with imposter syndrome and don’t believe that others will see them as the experts they really are.
The main reason for this is… Writer’s block.
What is Writer’s Block?
Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something in your mind prevents you from doing it”.
Writer’s block occurs when you have this overwhelming amount of work to do but the motivation or inspiration isn’t there. Nothing happens when you sit down to write. It’s largely defeating and can destroy the momentum you once had for a project, a goal, or to complete a given task.
It’s a creative slowdown.
Why We Get Writer’s Block
So, why do we get writer’s block? There are many reasons why we get writer’s block.
Often, the biggest reason for writer’s block is the lack of inspiration or distractions in other areas of your life. When a person is experiencing a life-altering event (i.e. marriage and wedding planning, death of a loved one, physical illness, lawsuit, etc.), it can stunt our ability to process and be creative. We are in the fight or flight mode – just trying to get through the day. If that’s you, give yourself grace. Try some of the tips below to help you overcome your writer’s block and improve your overall headspace.
In addition, the pressure to produce content or copy can often result in writer’s block. We get fearful that we’ll never accomplish it, so we submit to that fear and give up.
Mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, makes it difficult to form complete thoughts in writing. Producing written material – even as short as a blog – is stressful to some. When that stress reaches a particular level, the brain goes back into that fight or flight mode.
Sometimes, we experience physical damage (i.e. a stroke, brain injury) that results in writer’s block. This extreme version of writer’s block – agraphia – makes it almost impossible for the brain to translate thoughts into writing.
11 Tips on How To Overcome Your Writer’s Block
When I get writer’s block (even a writer gets this), here are a few things that I do to move past it and overcome writer’s block.
1. Sit Down When You’re Most Creative
Sit down at your desk (or wherever you type) at your most creative time – for me, it’s in the morning (preferably before 8am). I love love love to write even before the sun comes up because everything is still, and my productivity is at its highest.
If I have a big writing day, I’ll try to wake up between 4-5am to start writing. When you know you’re going to write early in the morning, your brain actually prepares to write.
If the keyboard isn’t inspiring you, get a notepad and sit in a comfy chair. Then write on that notepad.
You can refine your ideas when you type them back into the computer. There’s something magical about putting a pen to paper. Plus, you get away from that blue light emitted by your computer screen, phone, or tablet for just a little while. Again, it helps to break up your regular pattern – and consequently, improves your creativity.
3. Get Outside
Get outside and in nature – even in a city environment. There are so many benefits to getting outside, including the following:
It boosts your energy
You are more likely to move your body – increasing blood flow to your brain
The sun gives you Vitamin D which is essential for your bones, immune system, and blood cells
It reduces any anxiety that you may have over the writing process
It improves your sleep, helping you to wake up early easier
You focus more easily as greenness is proven to help improve your concentration on any given task
We could go on and on… But if you’ve been locked up in a room for days trying to write, get outside.
4. Change The Scenery
Change the scenery that you’ve been surrounding yourself as you’ve built up your writer’s block. For me, coffee shops give my spirit so much energy, and I’ll type up several blogs in a few hours. Additionally, I’ll change what I’m sitting on and what I’m writing on (see tip #2 on putting pen to paper).
Can’t change actual locations? Then it’s time to change up the mood.
At a marketing internship, we often would pour a glass of red wine before writing the weekly blog. That was our creativity session!
When I am writing a lot of deliverables for clients later in the day, I’ll even light a candle, put on some cool jazz music, and put on my favorite sweater (as long as it isn’t a 100 degrees outside).
5. Play Some Music
Put some music on in the background. You can search for writing or coffee shop playlists. Those are usually chiller playlists that don’t distract you with fun lyrics. Instead, they’ll inspire you and keep a rhythm for your writing pace.
Often, I’ll listen to movie scores as they have an ebb and flow – allowing for my brain to breathe during slower sections then speed up during the quicker sections. In college, I learned this practice very well; I listened to the Interstellar film soundtrack on repeat for hours and hours.
6. Walk Around And Talk
Walk around and talk into a voice memo. You’ve got the content in your head; it just needs to come out.
When I used to ghostwrite for an entrepreneur, the “author” used to get in his most creative moments after lunch when he was sucking on a Starburst. He’d walk around the office talking, while I madly wrote down notes. I also recorded his 5-minute brain dumps – many of which you can hear the smacking of the Starburst.
The act of walking helps improve blood flow to your brain, gets the oxygen where it needs to be, and often lets you essentially walk through and overcome your writer’s block.
7. Skip and Keep Writing
If you get stuck on a section, make a note of it then move on. It’s better to keep the flow going then get stuck on a particular section. When you’re out of the writing flow, that’s when you can come back to work on that section.
Most of the time, the reason you are stuck is because you’re missing a fact or point. Be sure to read tip #9 to solve that issue.
8. Drink That Water
Be sure to drink that water. This seems so simple, but I’ve learned that when I’m hydrated, and my body has the things it needs to operate, I write more efficiently and effectively.
Did you know you should be drinking half your bodyweight in ounces? It sounds like a lot, but your body needs that amount of water to operate effectively. Sure, you may have to visit the restroom a couple of extra times a day, but that too gives you much needed time away from “the screen”.
9. Do Your Research Before You Write
To overcome your writer’s block, you must do your research before you write. If you research while you write, it’s so easy to get distracted. Eventually, you’ll end up on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, and you’ll have no clue why or how you even got there.
Do the research beforehand.
Like planning your day or for a big client meeting, you need to have a game plan with everything you need before you start the day or meeting. Likewise, you must have your research completed and organized before you start writing.
10. Put The Phone Away
Simply put, put the dang phone away. Phones, to say the least, are largely distracting.
Put on the Do Not Disturb setting on your phone and your computer. You don’t need to hear the dinging or vibrating of your phone while you work. Your spouse or kids need to reach you? You can allow them to reach you even with the Do Not Disturb setting on.
Employees need to reach you? Send automated emails and/or texts that let them know you’re in a writing session. They will only have to wait for a couple hours (if that) for you to return their message.
11. Ask Questions
Finally, one of the best ways to overcome your writer’s block is to flip the script. Instead, ask questions about what your intended audience is asking. What do they want to know most? What are their big questions? Write a whole list of questions, then start answering them.
How did we come up with this blog? A client had a bad case of writer’s block, so I answered them with my biggest tips.
Overcoming Writer’s Block Is More About Unblocking Your Brain
Listen closely. Writer’s block isn’t a physical block; your brain unconsciously applied the brakes to your creative thinking. Often, it’s because you are not creating an environment that will facilitate creativity and productivity. Your brain needs you to take care of it well so it can release the brakes for you – that’s why much of this blog wasn’t about writing; it was about taking care of your body.
We have to do what’s best for our brains for it to produce our most creative and inspiring work.
Other Blogs You May Be Interested In Reading…
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Have you ever seen a company whose copy was just all over the place? Better question… Have you ever seen a big brand publish something that seemed entirely off-brand with the voice they used?
Because those companies have developed what we call a brand voice. But you don’t need to be a Fortune 1000 company to have a brand voice! You can start it now. Today.
In this blog, we’re revealing 4 reasons why developing a brand voice is critical to business growth.
What is a Brand Voice?
A brand voice a set of emotions, tones, and descriptions that describe how you want to communicate to everyone who comes into contact with your company. It’s like an external culture.
We help craft brand voices for companies in what we call a Brand Voice Guide. This guide allows for anyone to read and use to write for the brand itself.
It’s not what you say… It’s how you say it.
Why Companies Needs a Brand Voice
Often, the CEO or the founder is the face of the company – meaning their time becomes more limited as their company grows. They cannot spend the time they used to commit to writing blogs, articles, website copy, or social media posts.
There are two options here:
Wait until the CEO or founder of the company has time to write
Hire someone else to write in place of the CEO or founder
The problem with option #1 is that the copy or content that needs to be written almost never gets done in a timely manner, or at all. It also sometimes creates friction within the organization because the marketing department is trying to adhere to a content schedule. The marketing department then finds themself in a catch-22 – following a schedule vs. annoying their employer (which is something that we do not suggest doing).
Option #2 can go one of two ways.
First, it can look sporadic, unprofessional, and messy because the ghostwriter doesn’t fully understand the voice they are mimicking. Additionally, the customer or subscriber will immediately be able to tell that it’s a different writer – losing trust and credibility. No one wants that.
The other way option #2 can go is…
The CEO or founder appears to be active, personal, and trustworthy to their customers without ever touching a keyboard. How can you accomplish this? By documenting your brand voice guidelines.
4 Reasons Why Developing a Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth
Not convinced enough that you need to develop a brand voice? Here are 4 reasons why developing a brand voice is critical to business growth and your success.
#1 It Streamlines Your Editing Process
Who doesn’t need more time? Oftentimes, the most time is spent in the editing and proofreading stages of copywriting and content production.
If we take an average blog length (1000-1500 words or 2-4 pages) with a light edit, it will take approximately 30 minutes. This of course assumes that the writer is an excellent writer and nailed down the brand voice.
Using the same number of pages or words for a heavy edit, it will take over an hour to edit the same exact blog.
And that’s just an average technicality.
If your blog is significantly technical, you’re going to find the editing process is a lot longer. The most common reason for this increased time is not because the writer is trying to perfect the copy. It’s mostly because they have to completely rewrite the piece because they didn’t get the brand voice across originally.
When you create a brand voice, it streamlines your editing process by removing one less thing you want to worry about when editing. A brand voice guide decreases the number of edits or complete rewrites.
#2 Your Customers Need to Recognize and Remember Your Voice
A consistent voice builds a recognizable voice that your customers will remember. The goal is for your customers to think of you as many times as possible. How do you accomplish that? You make it easy for your customers to remember you – even if they are just scrolling through Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
Examples of Memorable Brand Voices
Let’s take a couple of examples… Can you guess who they are before checking out the link?
“We know men have thicker skin and luxurious facial hairs to grow classy mustaches and thick beards if they so choose. We built our products uniquely for your face, the face of man.” (Hint: men’s grooming.)
Did you guess it right?
“A top-shelf grooming routine. Personalized for you. No two people are the same. Tell us what you like so we can pick the right products.” (Hint: they changed this industry.)
“For a pop of color to brighten any palate, go floral. Our in-house artists hand-painted a variety of beautiful floral prints for this collection, and we think you’ll agree—they’re the perfect nod to spring. (These amazing vases start at just $14.) And for an even more lush look, layer in faux greenery or delicate dried stems.” (Hint: a girl’s favorite hangout.)
“It’s finally happening. Buy one [burger] and get another for just $1 when you place a mobile order. This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the first—because this sequel has six more strips of bacon for one dollar more. So good you’re gonna wanna see it again and again.” (Hint: we’re big fans of their social media team!)
How’d you do? A brand voice helps your customers remember you and think of you the next time they’re looking to buy.
#3 It Improves Customer Engagement and Conversion.
People don’t change overnight – they evolve over time. So when a prospect feels like they know your brand like the person in the cubicle next to them, their best friend, or even their family, they are more likely to engage.
The higher engagement rate, the higher conversion rate.
Think about the coffee giant Starbucks. When you look at its 18.4 million followers on Instagram, you see at least 110,000 likes and comments – translating to an average 0.78% engagement rate (last 3 posts as of January 5, 2020). While that rate seems low in our brains, it’s consistent with their social presence and they are engaging hundreds of thousands of people every single day – even if they don’t like or comment.
Top of mind.
How does social media engagement translate to conversion?
Go run by a Starbucks sometime today. Every table is taken, the drive thru line is long, and the baristas are pushing our drinks as fast as possible.
While Houston’s coffee scene is on fire right now, many people often go for the easy route when scheduling a coffee meeting – Starbucks. They will always know what to expect from a Starbucks. That starts with the very foundation – the brand.
#4 More Writing Projects Can Get Done
Because your company writing process has already been streamlined because of the brand voice, your writers can work on more writing projects. Thus creating more opportunities to increase revenue.
Additionally, the company’s founder or face doesn’t have to write everything. No one would ever know unless you revealed that yourself.
What type of writing projects can you get done with a brand voice guide?
I want to let you on a little secret… That bam-effect is the result of a well-executed golden thread.
One of my favorite TED talks is below… Be prepared to laugh!
Besides this talk being absolutely hysterical and discussing something that we’ve all been tempted to do – reply to your spam emails – it’s a perfect example of a golden thread.
You see, James Veitch begins acknowledging that we want to respond to those ridiculous spam emails but don’t. He actually does. Then he spends several minutes covering the correspondence between him and “Solomon”. Finally, he comes back to the thread – we all want to respond to those spam emails.
So he gives another, much shorter, and slightly less funny example of spam emails.
Besides the Giant Gummy Lizard and hilarity, he continually weaves back in the problem (we receive ridiculous spam messages) and the desire to respond.
Let’s get into what a golden thread is and how to write a golden thread into your copy.
The Golden Thread
A golden thread is an idea or feature that is present throughout a company’s messaging or a single piece of copy that holds it together and ultimately is what makes the copy so valuable. We define it as a promise or central theme that is threaded through the promotion and keeps the reader interested.
“The manner in which a copywriter connects core desires to the sales pitch throughout a promotion. Usually, it’s in the form of a promise or central theme that runs through the entire promotion and keeps the reader from losing interest by reminding him or her of the benefits offered by the product or service.”
The goal of copy is to get the reader to take the intended action on a specific webpage, video, sales letter, etc. When you break that goal down into smaller chunks, you’ll find that how you meet that goal is to engage the reader and get them to move from the first line to the second to the third and so on…
If the copy isn’t engaging, then your prospective customer isn’t going to be prompted to do business with you. They will move on to the next potential partner.
As you weave a golden thread throughout your copy, it reengages them and reminds them of the promise you are making. The golden thread is what gets your prospects to nod their heads as they track with you. Then clicking the “buy” button becomes a no-brainer to them.
With the TED talk above, that promise is to show you what happens when you respond to a spam email. You can see the audience nodding their heads, laughing in agreement, and ultimately cheering James Veitch as he closes his talk. This is exactly what every piece of copy should be doing for you.
How to Write a Golden Thread
In 3 simple steps, you’ll learn how to write a golden thread that converts your prospects into customers.
1. Write Your Big Promise
First, you need to figure out your one big promise or one big idea. Ask some of the following questions to see if the promise or idea is big enough:
Does this idea expire or is it evergreen?
Does it fit into your marketing strategy?
Is this big promise unique and special to your company?
Does it hit the nail on the head?
In the TED talk, James Veitch’s big promise is to show you what happens when you respond to a spam email. It’s evergreen – we’re always going to have spam emails unfortunately. It fits into the TED Talks’ agenda to “make great ideas accessible and spark conversation”. This talk is very unique to Veitch and special to what he’s done over the last couple years. Has anyone else invested weeks of their time corresponding with spammers? And it hits the nail on the head.
2. Focus on Your Major Benefit
Then you need to figure out the major benefit for that big promise. Now, a big benefit is basically the benefit of the benefit of the benefit. It’s BIG!
For example, we work with a lot of professional services that offer leadership coaching. A benefit for leadership coaching may be feeling more confident in leadership coaching. But what’s the benefit of that? Perhaps, it may be no second guessing yourself in your decision making or leaving the office everyday knowing that the company is growing in the right direction.
There may be a ton of benefits that you can list, but the golden thread is all about one BIG promise and its BIG benefit. You can sprinkle in a couple other benefits; however, don’t let them distract your reader from the golden benefit.
Need help to develop the big promise and big benefit of your product or service? Our copywriters are standing by to help you convert your prospects into customers. Click here to contact us.
3. Weave Golden Thread Throughout Copy
Weave in the golden thread throughout the case for the product or service. People buy with emotion but need logic to back up their decision.
That being said, tie the emotional tugs into the logical side (i.e. features or logistics).
Example of Leadership Coaching Program:
Feature: Weekly Check-Ins with Coach & Participants Emotional Tug: Develop relationships with your coach and other participants so that you’re never alone as your lead your organization
Where the Golden Thread Goes Wrong
Like all threads, the golden thread FAILS when you forget to tie it off. Don’t leave it hanging in the middle of your copy! You must continue to weave it through the copy, the call to action, guarantee, offer, upsell, and order form. In a longer piece of copy, it’s easier to break the golden thread. That’s why it’s super important to read know what your golden thread is before you start writing so you can identify where and if it breaks in your copy.
We freely admit that writing with a golden thread does not always come easily. If that’s you, go back and weave it through again.
Don’t overlook headings, subheadings, and the call to action. These are generally known as beads throughout your thread. Remember that while many people use logic to back their decisions, most buying decisions are still made on emotion.
(Even if you are selling something not emotional like an O-ring, you can make the copy emotional! For example, you could write trust that our O-rings are malfunction proof because our quality inspection ensures each O-ring is perfect.)
Your prospects will ask these questions…
Can I trust this company?
Do I know this company and their product?
Do I even like what I’m buying and who I’m buying from?
It goes back to the age-old rule: people do business with people they like, know and trust.
Over the last couple weeks on the FocusCopy blog, we’ve talked a lot about this one fact… There is an obscene amount of information and competition out there fighting for your prospective customer’s attention. It’s tough. We get it. We see it.
So how do you make your content stand out and become the authority for that topic? The strategy all comes down to content splintering.
What is Content Splintering?
So what is content splintering?
Often when we talk about blogging, the intended author says something along the lines of “there is too much to unpack in just 1000 words” or “there’s no way I can write all about this topic in one blog.”
The answer is similar to that given for the question,
“How do you eat an elephant?”
One bite at a time.
It’s too large to eat in one mouthful!
Cue content splintering.
This is when you take a big topic and splinter it into smaller, bite-sized topics that you can actually tackle. It also helps you get super specific on your post and create solutions that your readers can implement.
For example, you own a coworking space where you lease offices to companies. Coworking space is a really big topic to cover… So break it down into the following:
Benefits of coworking
When to move into coworking
Warning signs to look out for when signing for an office
Difference between coworking and office space
Then take those big topics and either write in a series (i.e. 5 benefits for non-profits, 5 benefits for SMB, etc.) OR splinter it even more (i.e. moving from a remote work environment to coworking, moving from an office to coworking space, etc.).
Hopefully, you get the picture. If not, comment on this blog, and we’ll answer you right here.
How Does Content Splintering Maximize Content ROI?
Content splintering maximizes content ROI because…
It’s simply taking a bigger piece of content, slicing it up into smaller chunks, refreshing it, then republishing it. When companies create a cornerstone post (i.e. a massive piece of content that everything else derives from), it becomes so easy to take any topic discussed and blow that up into a standalone piece.
You are also stretching the amount of times you can discuss any given topic. There’s so many angles that you could take to produce a brand new piece of content – making your time go that much further.
One company that I worked with was in the financial consulting space. One of the topics we wanted to write about was accounts receivable. Whoa! That’s a mighty big topic. 2/10 net 30, collections, reconciling, etc. Obviously, you can’t cover everything about accounts receivable in one blog or even in one book (unless it’s going to be 1000 pages long). But did you see what I did a sentence ago?
Yep, that’s right. I splintered a massive topic into small topics. I would even argue that those topics were too big for a blog or piece of content, so I continued to break it down even further to – you guessed it – bite-sized pieces.
More variations or angles on a given topic allows your company to grasp a larger share of the market.
Content Splintering Methodologies
One of the books in our current stack is Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. We love it because it talks about getting more done in less time AND how to use your brain to its full potential. Hello creativity! In this book Pang claims that “new ideas are created in a two-step process: first, the brain generates lots of ideas, and second, it evaluates them” (page 44). So how does your brain, creativity, and rest relate to content splintering methodologies?
Glad you asked! All the methodologies that we mention follow this 2-prong approach. Brain dumping first then sorting through the chaos later. This is by far the most effective way to find the best content for your readers. They need what you have to say. You need to get access that creative zone to answer their request
Splintering Methodology #1: Mind Maps
I’ll start with this content splintering methodology first because it is my FAVORITE! You see I wasn’t the best student… I studied all the time and worked into all hours of the night; however, when it came to take the test, I wouldn’t be successful.
My co-founder, Stuart Broderick, introduced me to mind mapping (invented by the late Professor Tony Buzan in the 1960’s) when nothing else was working. Whether you are a visual person or an analytical person, this simply works.
Start by putting your big topic in the middle of a blank page. It can be anything – vague, specific, etc. Whatever. Just write it down.
Hint: This works for more than just content splintering. If fact, we used a mind map when founding this company, FocusCopy, to gain clarity on what we wanted to accomplish. Oh, there I go again. Clarity, Focus, Execution – our company mantra.
Then write down topics that are related. Again, it doesn’t need to be super specific, but it needs to be big enough to “splinter”.
For example, if my topic is content marketing… I’ll write publishing, types of content, scheduling, splintering, etc. Those are all related to content marketing. You may offer executive coaching, so some of your branches may be: how to reach your audience, what makes your audience tick, who is your audience, what times you should send topics… The key is to just start writing subtopics.
After you have those big topics, start breaking apart those topics. This is where the real magic happens. Do not worry about if it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Just write it down! You can make that decision later. This is your brain dump!
Once you’ve finished mind mapping, it’s time to filter it and create valuable content around those splinters. I promise you there is enough content for each of those subtopics.
Now, on to the next content splintering methodology!
Splintering Methodology #2: Excel Spreadsheets OR Word Documents
Beyond mind maps, we love lists and organizing lists. We’re weird, but those frameworks (like our CFE Framework) help us maintain quality, pump out high-quality content/copy quicker, and please our clients. So it’s a no-brainer than our second content splintering methodology uses excel spreadsheets or word documents.
First, write a list of topics in one column. Keep writing until you cannot write anymore.
Finally, you need to identify what you’re actually going to talk about in that piece of content. So write those subtopics!
Now here is where this methodology may be better than #1…
You can schedule out the blogs or pieces of content. In the same spreadsheet, literally put dates in. This will help you to create series (i.e. a month of landing page copy) or create variety.
On the other hand, sometimes working with technology can mean more work than good. It’ll slow down your creative thought process.
Improving Your Content ROI
The key to improving your content ROI is to make it super specific and highly valuable. If you are writing about a big topic (i.e. water consumption), you aren’t going to be able to reveal secrets, how-tos, or specifics in a blog post. But if you write about a splinter of that big topic (i.e. how increased water consumption helps your gut), then you are more likely to see a return on that piece.
Remember, specificity is key to improving your content’s ROI.
Focus Your Copy On
Conversation & Conversion
Let’s Grab A Virtual Coffee With Us To Discover How To Boost Your Words
In accounting, we hear the phrase “cash is king”. And in marketing, we hear “content is king.”
I’d like to challenge that premise with content is NOT king in marketing.
Okay, that’s a pretty big claim, but I have reasoning!
You see there will be more pieces of information produced in 2020 than in all history before (TechJury). Consequently, there will be so much content that competition for eyes to read it will become increasingly more difficult. Marketing should not just be about content marketing or producing content.
But digital marketers are continuing to advise companies to work on their content marketing strategies to reach more leads. Let’s get into why content is NOT king in marketing.
Why Content Is NOT King in Marketing
Content is not king in marketing because content alone does not address this one thing… Your customer!
In fact, your content is just information clutter in the space of overwhelming data. It’s absolutely useless, time-consuming, and a waste of money… if it isn’t about your customer.
Your customer is and must be king.
Customer centricity in your business is the difference between a flourishing business and a bankrupt business.
Making Your Customer King In Your Content Marketing
If your customer isn’t the center of your business, then you have no business – or at least it won’t last much longer. They have to be the center of your business life – marketing, processes, accounting, sales, operations, etc.
If one area of your business does not serve your customer, then you are either not making it easy for your customer to do business with you, or you are not adding the value you should be. The customer, more than likely, has dozens or hundreds of other options to choose from. If they realize this, they’ll leave you high and dry.
We are a firm believer of putting the customer first. Before we even start discussing the product, we talk about the customer. Your product must solve your customer’s problem.
Examples of Companies Making Their Customer King
I could tell you over and over again that you need to be customer centric, but what does it actually mean?
We’ve compiled a few examples of companies or organizations that are in completely different industries with different products. I’m a fan of all these organizations because they make their customer king!
Every year, Google makes approximately 300 adjustments to their algorithm. Heck, SEO companies have a completely different job every two years because the algorithm is completely different. Why does Google do that? They listen to their customers.
They act as a thought leader and standardize what is quality, relevant and trustworthy. Why do you think that Google is an adjective, noun, and a verb?
In the same way, you cannot remain the same. Your customer sure doesn’t stay the same. If you haven’t changed, then you need to adjust yourself.
Costco – the member warehouse club – scores big on being all about the customer. heir mantra for operations is: “keep costs down and pass the savings on to our members” (Costco). If that doesn’t scream customer is king, then nothing does!
Facebook has recently changed their algorithms to put more posts and groups in front of users. Although this may hurt advertisers, Facebook is putting their users first – even if they aren’t spending money on the platform. If Facebook doesn’t have users, they offer zero value to their advertisers.
“My pleasure.” This organization has a product so simple that it should be so easy to sell – chicken sandwiches. But Chick-fil-A takes their customer service to a whole other level. They greet you, thank you, serve you faithfully, and make your experience top notch. There’s been stories of team members jumping out of the drive through window to help a choking patron, restaurants opening outside of business hours to serve communities destroyed in natural disasters, and going above and beyond.
“We should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.”
S. TRUETT CATHY
That’s customer focus.
Houston Astros Baseball Team
I once heard Reid Ryan, the President of Business Operations for the Astros, speak at a luncheon. He said something that spoke to the very customer-centric culture built in to their organization. They take all their analytics and have crafted specific “nights” for their different customer personas. As a result, they have…
Tuesday Dollar Dog Nights ($1 hot dogs)
Friday Night Fireworks
Saturday Kroger Family Nights (with food specials)
Faith and Family Nights
And that’s just them serving their ticket holders! The players add to the customer experience by going out into the community, interacting with fans, and creating an experience for fans (hello World Series!).