Picking The ‘Write’ Partner for Your Business

All businesses, particularly those which operate on an online platform, produce some kind of content. When content production isn’t your game; who do you get to write it?

The choice between content agency and freelancer can seem incredibly daunting. With an almost infinite number of companies and writers to choose from, how do you see the wood for the trees? The right solution for you is context-specific and depends largely on your business, management style, and budget.

Here are some of the key factors you should consider before choosing a partner to generate content for your business.

1. To hire the lone wolf or the pack?

When you hire a content agency, you are hiring a team of individuals who have experience in generating relevant, good quality content in a wide variety of fields. When you hire a freelancer, you are hiring one individual. Although that individual may be experienced, you are still hiring one lone wolf. The freelancer becomes author, editor, and project manager all rolled into one person. Essentially this means that there are limited quality control and support systems in place to ensure that your content is of high quality and delivered in a timeous fashion.

2. Time?

The freelancing community has grown exponentially, with millions of people available for hire. The benefit of using a content agency as compared to a freelancer is that the talent hunt is done for you. As a business, you may not have time to sift through millions of CVs and writing samples. This process of finding a freelancer is time and labour intensive, however, it does have the added benefit of finding a writer with expertise well-suited to your field. Generally, content agencies will have a variety of different writers, each with their own unique skill set, thus allowing them to pick the best team to suit your needs.

3. Reliability

Hiring a freelancer can be a risky business, as there is only one individual who is producing content for an unknown number of clients. There is no way of knowing that your project is on top of their to-do list. Additionally, if there is an issue with the freelancer, finding a replacement can be difficult. When dealing with a content agency, there is a team dedicated to your project to ensure the continuity and success of the work. Furthermore, a content agency is likely to have a list of clients for whom they do work, thus allowing you to see their online content in action. It may be more difficult to source reliable references and samples from one individual.

4. The Project Manager

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a reputable content agency is that there is a project manager in charge of your portfolio. This person is tasked with client communication and ensuring the content is delivered according to the brief and deadlines you provide. This saves the client from having to coordinate the efforts of more than one freelancer. The benefit of working with the writer directly is that you get to be a part of the creative process. However, a good project manager is able to include in the parts of the process that you want to be apart of and deal with the parts that you would ignore.

5. Cost

On the surface, a freelancer seems cheaper, because they are able to bill per hour or per word, due to not their not needing to pay for overheads or a team. Alarm bells should go off if the price seems too good to be true. In most situations, you get what you pay for and a low rate may result in low quality. On the other hand, you may land up having several hidden expenses associated with the management of the content. A content agency, however, offers an all-inclusive package eliminating last minute hidden costs.

If you feel a content agency is the ‘write’ choice for your company, Goodman Lantern offers a wide range of professional writing services to suit any business.

How to Outsource Content Writing

Outsourcing your content writing can often seem treacherous. How do you trust someone that you don’t know with something as important as this? Content writers have similar nervousness about taking on new clients, as experience has shown that not every client is willing to pay for quality.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. Finding the right fit for your business outsourcing needs often brings about the best possible results. The right content creators produce high quality work, within a fraction of the time, while doing what they love. As it stands, content creation is the top activity outsourced by B2B marketers. With the increase in need for content marketing, businesses must publish consistently high-quality and long-form content in order to remain relevant in the market.

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The most important thing to remember when it comes to content is, if you are looking to scale your business, you can’t do all the work yourself. There is no shame in hiring help, especially if that help will provide high-quality content more quickly than you are able to do alone. The second most important thing to remember is that cheaper is not always better. When it comes to content writing, you really do get what you pay for. But no need to worry, here are some simple things to remember when outsourcing your content writing.

How Can I Successfully Outsource my Content Writing?

The question of how to outsource content creation does not have to have a scary answer. In fact, it is rather simple once you understand the fundamentals. You need to develop a clear plan for your business that includes detailed descriptions on what you are looking for in a content creator, and what you are wanting to avoid. So let’s look into it:

Let Go of Your Fears

Do you have a fear of miscommunication? Does general distrust and the desire for control prevent you from reaching out? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. This is something we like to refer to as “Post Traumatic Outsourcing Disorder,” and it’s a more common affliction than you might think. Outsourcing content creation can keep your business growing and your profits increasing, but you need to have a proper strategy if you want to avoid PTOD. Many businesses who have had poor dealings in the past with content creators, no longer know how to outsource content creation. But don’t worry, you will heal from this.

The best approach to outsourcing is prevention. Although that may sound counterintuitive, avoiding certain pitfalls will ensure that you don’t have a repeat of previous disappointments. Websites that offer fast, cheap, and high quality content sound too good to be true, and this is often the case. High quality content should be your biggest priority, and you should be willing to invest in it.

Make Wise Choices

Some content writers will offer inexpensive services while claiming to work with clients ‘across every major vertical service.’ This is all well and good, until you start to consider their work in horizontal services. Always pay attention to grammar and spelling mistakes in their posts. Professional content writers make very few mistakes, as they should have a thorough checking and editing process. Posts and applicant responses are a guide to the level of service you will be receiving if you hire them.

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing Content Writing

In trying to understand how to outsource content creation, there are some common mistakes that can be avoided to make the process smoother. So pay attention to the following:

  1.  Have a Strategy

The quality of your application process will dictate the quality of your content later on.  Having a proper strategy in place when you approach the process will ensure a better outcome. Consider what type of content you need; what voice your brand has; who your target audience is; what your goals are regarding content marketing; and how you prefer to communicate.

  1. Don’t Make a Decision Too Quickly

Do not rush to find a content creator. As with everything, making the right decision requires careful consideration. Make a list of qualities you want in a content creator, and hire based on them. Putting in a little extra effort will ensure better results.

  1. You Get What You Pay For

As mentioned previously, cheaper does not mean better. You should never be looking to score a deal when it comes to outsourcing content writing. You should definitely have a budget in mind, but you should not compromise on content quality in order to keep costs low.

Some Advice on Successfully Outsourcing Content Writing

When it comes to outsourcing content creation, communication is key. Not only should you have a clear strategy within your business, you should communicate this to your potential content creators. You should include in your strategy: a definitive budget, set deadlines, and a clear and well thought out vetting process for potential writers. Evaluate your writers based on prior writing samples, or test their skills by asking them to complete a small trial task. A good content writer should always be willing to prove their abilities.

Another good option for outsourcing is to hire a content writing agency. Agencies provide professionalism, experience and flexibility that may often be lacking in freelancers. Agencies take care of the vetting process for you, so you know that you will likely be receiving quality content. However, you still have, and should definitely use, the option of asking for a trial task.

Go Ahead, Get Started

A better understanding of how to outsource content creation can make the process smoother and more stress free. The key is to go into the process with a clear strategy and a deep understanding of what your intentions are, and what you are looking for in a content writer. While the budget is important, you should never lower your standards to save money, as this is a short road to losing brand value. If you are still a bit confused about the process, maybe we can help.

The Importance of Case Studies

In recent times, businesses have started to invest in case studies more frequently. This strategy has been implemented in order to increase conversion rates from website visitors to clients. These case studies are usually posted on company websites for the page visitors perusal. However, it is important to understand what the value of case studies is, and how effective they can be at increasing your company’s conversion rates.

The following blog explains how and why case studies are able to increase your company’s conversion rates and how they can be used to increase your company’s sales.

The Value of Case Studies

Everyone loves a good story, and as such, case studies are a way to present information to potential clients from the perspective of people who have already used your services. Through a story, the potential client’s emotions can be evoked, giving them the opportunity to understand the brand and their offerings from a previous clients perspective. Stories can allow the potential client to see your brand through a more personalised perspective, allowing them to understand what they can expect once they use your company’s services.

How to Structure Your Case Studies

Most good case studies consist of three main components. The first is a section which outlines the problem that was experienced by the client. The second section highlights the possible solutions that were identified in order to resolve the problem. Finally, the last section discusses the solution that was used to resolve the problem most efficiently and effectively. A well written case study allows the potential client to understand the benefits of using your company through the well-documented experience of a previous client.

Why are Case Studies Important?

The following section highlights the importance of case studies and how they can increase your conversion rates for your business.

Niche-specificity

Well-written case studies are very targeted and niche-specific. This meant that when your potential client reads the case study, they understand that specific goal that was set to be achieved and how your company was able to achieve the goal through the various strategies that you implemented. Furthermore, your case study should resonate with your target market and provide information to them that they can relate to and that is relevant to them.

Building brand trust and reputation

Case studies are a demonstration of the work that your company has done for other clients in the past. As such, this can be used to your company’s advantage by showing potential clients your vast experience within the industry and demonstrate what your company is able to do for its clients. This can allow for potential clients to develop trust in your brand and increases that chances of them wanting to use your services. Furthermore, enhancing the case studies that you have presented with figures and data can allow the potential client to see the success rates of your work and how your company has been able to help your previous clients achieve their goals.

Explaining the problem solving process

Case studies should ideally be oriented around problem identification and problem solving. As such, it is important to ensure that the problem and solutions are clearly outlined and explained in the case study. Although potential clients may already be looking to use your services, they need a compelling reason to opt for your services as opposed to those of your competition. As such, through understanding your company’s problem solving process, they can understand what to expect once they become your client, determine whether your team has the capabilities and competencies required to solve their problem and make the decision to then use your services based on the experiences of your previous clients.

The power of referrals

Prior to the evolution of technology, consumers accepted the benefits of products at face value, as there weren’t many accessible ways to conduct independent research on a product. We currently live in the information age, and as such, potential clients are most likely to want verification for the services that you provide. This can be acquired through platforms such as social media platforms. As such, using case studies can be an effective way for potential clients to understand the experiences of other clients and determine whether they are looking for the expertise that your team is able to provide. Case studies can provide potential clients with proof of the services that you provide and evidence that you are able to deliver on the services that you offer.

The creation of additional content

Some companies may be hesitant about using case studies as they often require an initial capital investment and a time commitment. However, once the structure for your case studies has been finalised, it can be used to develop future case studies. additionally, case studies can be more efficient at conveying your team’s capabilities and competencies, and explaining your customer’s experiences.

How To Increase Your Case Study Conversions

The development of case studies can be a time consuming process and as such, it is important to ensure that it is done correctly, so as to not waste the resources that you have invested in their development. However, publishing the case study on its own may not be enough to convert clients. As such, you can ask visitors to your page to join your email marketing list so that you have their contact details and are able to send them information about the services that you provide. Additionally, you can track the progress of your case studies and understand how successful they have been at converting page visitors into clients.

Case Studies and the Role They Play in Your Business Marketing Goals

Most successful companies in the business sector are no strangers to the power and potential of proactive marketing. Whether using video footage, infographics, ebooks or testimonials, content marketing has many pronounced benefits to offer.

Effectively opening a mode of communication with consumers, content marketing is able to directly improve business output in relation to client response, through highlighting important aspects including product popularity, sale rates and needed solutions.  In conjunction with this, case studies can also be seen as a very beneficial form of content marketing.

They provide an element of storytelling that can better share your product or company information in a less aggressive manner, and because of this, statistics have shown that as much as 92% of consumers prefer a story based form of advertising. It all comes down to how your case studies are created.

Fundamental Components to Consider in Your Case Studies

An important fact to keep in mind is that your marketing campaigns will only be as successful as the amount of effort you put into them. Be it the style in which you write your content, your marketing elements or the subjects you choose. Doing a little research and ensuring your provided information is as beneficial to your audience as possible is vital in creating a proactive output instead of a waste of space.

A few important aspects to consider include:

Your Chosen Title 

Being the first thing readers see, your title will effectively set the pace for the rest of your offered information. Titles should be short and catchy, to the point and can even include the success you want to discuss. For example – Global Outsourcing Company Slashes Data Editing Costs.

They are meant to grab public attention and make readers want to know more.

Subject Summary and Overviews

Subject overviews and summaries are the very point of a case study. By including a well written subject summary you can effectively showcase what the difficulty was and how your company successfully addressed it while improving your client’s end goals in the process.

In essence this is what your readers want to know about, how did you help others and can you effectively help them as well.

Highlighting the Problem

By providing an in-depth view into the difficulties the client was facing, your case studies can provide a form of relatability. Most business problems are common, and no one enjoys feeling alone in their crisis.

Making sure the difficulties are present also allows for a more exciting final solution reveal, which can greatly improve your marketing reaction.

Providing Solutions 

This is it, the part all of your readers have been waiting for. A realistic fact of marketing is that the majority of your consumers only really care about what they can get out of the product or service you’re offering. A sad reality but one that can be used as a marketing advantage.

By blatantly revealing the solutions you provided and the benefits involved in that, more of your readers could find themselves comparing your services to other services they have gotten. Make it sound extremely beneficial and you could find more clients turning to you when they need something done.

Results

Getting results is what content marketing is all about, and when you provide well written case studies that is exactly what you can achieve. Case studies can provide concrete evidence that your services work and investing resources into your company can be a worthwhile endeavor.

Metrics and statistics are very well used in this section because they provide a greater level of believability to your claims. For example: statistics have shown that  47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

Successful Marketing Comes Down to the Quality of your Choices

While providing well written case studies can assist in many of your marketing needs, choosing the right content and client type is just as important. There are numerous ways to achieve this but getting down to basics to determine where and how you can achieve your best impact comes down to a few simple details:

Selecting the Right Target Audience

The larger your chosen audience is, the better your marketing chances will be. As said before many business difficulties are common, so whether you want to assist with workload, costs, legal matters or brand growth. Chances are there will be businesses needing your assistance.

The trick is in making sure your case studies and other forms of content marketing is accessible to the right people, namely business owners, CEOs and other marketing teams.

Providing a Sense of Reliability

Case studies can be seen as a marketing success story when used well. It’s understandable that companies are less likely to share their less successful stories, however in the same way that testimonials provide a sense of customer satisfaction.

Case studies can effectively provide the same topic information while also highlighting the experiences other clients have had. Helping newer client feel more assured as well as informed.

Including your Client

It’s important to remember that as helpful as case studies can be to your marketing goals, they are in fact not only about you. Keeping your client involved in this process is vital and can have severe consequences if not properly handled.

By ensuring your client is comfortable with you discussing the details of your assistance and how it affected them, you will be better prepared and could even benefit from their direct input which will add even more credit to the final product.

The Power of Case Studies and Defining the Sense in Your Business Marketing

Whether used as a means to elaborate on specific findings or to better reach and educate your audience, case studies are a powerful marketing tool that provide numerous benefits when used correctly. When publishing a case study on your website, LinkedIn profile or local newspapers or magazines take the time to ensure it not only describes what took place but effectively showcases what your business is all about and more importantly what you’re capable of.

Why You Should Hire Native English Writers

For any business, deciding on the best writers to tackle your content needs can be daunting. There are so many factors to consider, and even more questions that arise from these factors. The biggest dilemma stems from choosing between native English writers and second-language English writers.

While it may seem an obvious choice to some, second-language English writers present a tempting offer, as they are usually less expensive. However, there is a strong argument for avoiding this temptation and choosing a native English writer instead. After all, you get what you pay for, and sometimes cheaper ends up costing you more than money.

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Why Choose Native English Writers Over Second-Language English Writers

Native English writers offer many benefits that second-language English writers simply lack. These benefits outweigh the difference in price. From better grammar to a true love for the language, these benefits include:

Better Grammar and Spelling

While it is true that both native English writers and second-language writers learn the same school curriculum, native English writers have been exposed to the basics of grammar and spelling from a young age. Children learn from their surroundings. When you are immersed in a language from a young age, you are far more likely to pick up grammar and language use faster, and more effectively. Simply put, native speakers understand the language itself far better.

When reading a document written by a non-native English writer, there is a higher chance of grammatical and sentence structure errors. This makes the piece less reader-friendly and far more awkward. Second-language English writers tend to make more mistakes and are often less likely to pick up on these mistakes as they go.

Better at Research

Added to the fact that native English writers have a better mastery of the English language, they are also able to conduct proper research. They are able to find and interpret research effectively. So there is a greater chance of the research being relevant and reliable.

Furthermore, fewer instances of plagiarism occur with native English writers. They do not have to rely on the words of others in order to bring a point across to a reader.  They are capable of understanding a piece and interpreting it in their own words. Simply put: they don’t rely on translations in order to fully understand.

Often, second-language English writers rely too heavily on source material. This makes the chance of plagiarism much higher. If a writer does not understand the research they are doing, they won’t be able to interpret and relay the information correctly. This leads to clumsy writing and unreliable information.

More Able to Communicate Effectively

One thing that is immediately noticeable about native English writers is their ability to communicate. Whether corresponding with a client or getting a point across in an article, English writers do it best. This stems from the fact that they have settled into their language. They aren’t intimidated by big words, complex sentences, or multiple requests at once. They are able to use their language in a way that is easy to understand and effective in conveying meaning.

Second-language English writers often find it difficult to convey a point that they themselves struggle to understand. Try as they might, some things are lost in translation. They require more time spent on conveying instruction and explaining what is required of them. This can be time-consuming, which ultimately costs more in the end.

Fewer Revisions and More Initiative

Another benefit of using native English writers is the fact that they develop content with little to no revisions. They are able to receive instruction from a client and present a final piece, even when the client is a non-English speaker. They are able to use the information given and extrapolate from it, ensuring that there is very little need for clarification.

Second-language English writers, on the other hand, tend to require very strict guidelines. They are not likely to be able to take a topic and run with it. You end up having to do half the work for them, as their creativity and extrapolation skills are not of the same standard as native English writers.

A Better Understanding of the Culture

The English language is more than just grammar and sentence structure. There is an entire culture that comes along with it and it can change from region to region. Native English writers understand regional language use, and how it can impact the meaning of the piece. For example, in Britain, the word ‘tea’ has multiple meanings, from a hot beverage to an evening meal. This kind of regional understanding can be lost on non-English writers, and it can be difficult to learn along the way.

Second-language English writers come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. They often lack the proper understanding of the English culture, and specifically where it changes regionally. This leaves large gaps in interpreting information and being able to understand audience appeal.

Able to Use Nuances

Along with regional English come the nuances of the language. Native English writers are far better equipped to understand the little things that make the language, and its users, tick. These small nuances are seldom able to be learned, as they are so entrenched within the culture. This is particularly relevant when appealing to an audience. Native English writers use inside jokes, puns, and wordplay to keep the reader engaged and entertained.

Second-language English writers lack this cultural understanding. This makes them less likely to engage playfully with the reader. In terms of content, it is much better for a reader to be entertained whilst being informed, as they will be more likely to return for more or to recommend content that they have enjoyed.

More Passionate About Writing

Not all English speakers are good writers. As with any language, it takes someone who is passionate to turn words into art. And writing truly is an art. Native English writers have a great love for the language, and writing is their way of expressing this love. It goes beyond a mere job. They find inspiration and creativity in every task. Because native English writers have such a command over the language, they are better able to use their imagination to create unique and inspiring content. They are not limited in terms of creativity, as they are not as concerned that their writing will not be up to standard. Passion is difficult to imitate, and most native English writers write for more than the fact that they are good at it.

For second-language English writers, on the other hand, content writing is often just a job. They churn out piece after piece, working to a tried and tested formula, and with little regard for uniqueness and finesse. Second-language English writers often end up writing English content because the job requires it, not because they are particularly fond of the language itself.

It is better to hire someone who wants to showcase their passion and talent as they are more likely to do a good job. It is clear to readers when a writer has put time and effort into a piece. The more the reader feels as though the content is special, the greater the chance of them returning for more.

These are just a few of the reasons as to why native English writers outperform second-language English writers, and why they are the better choice.

Native English Writers are the Best Choice

Giving a task to a native English writer ensures that you will receive content that is of the highest standard, with little to no mistakes. You won’t need to send the piece back for multiple revisions, and you won’t need to sit and correct it yourself.

While native English writers may seem more expensive, you always get what you pay for. Choose a native writer and you won’t have to waste money on revisions. You also won’t have to send it to another writer to make up for discrepancies.

Native English writers understand the finer aspects of effective communication. They are able to keep readers engaged and excited about the content they are reading. They are able to use their cultural understanding to give a sense of familiarity to their writing, with little effort and to great effect. Content creation is an investment, and finding the perfect writer should be a priority for any business.

Native English writers exceed the job requirements, as they love writing, and want you to hire them for other projects.

The choice is no longer up for debate. Native English writers are the way to go.

Bad Grammar and Spelling Mistakes Could Be Hurting Your Content

To write, or not to right, that is the question:

Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the consequences of poorly edited content, or whether to take up arms against bad grammar and oppose spelling mistakes, should not be a complicated matter. The power of the written word is affirmed by the belief that content is king.

Since evergreen content still gets a resounding green light from all technology, online and social media companies the world over, content generation will be a never-ending quest. This is where the copywriter comes into play. They are the ones who will write what you want to say, and they will write it the right way, so that Google and other search engines will be able to find it easier.

So, there will always be a need to write, but why the pedantic focus on doing it right?

The Ultimate User Experience

While Google and other search engines have admitted to not having an exact algorithm to assess bad grammar and incorrect spelling, they certainly have algorithms that can detect a bad user experience. Unfortunately, having a sleek and sexy website with great visual content does not even get you halfway there. Your visitors should be actively engaged with your website, whether that means reading the latest blog, watching a video or partaking in a user poll.

The overall user experience (UX) of your website has become a far more valuable digital commodity than ever before. While Google still fights a furious battle to sniff out black hat techniques and tactics like keyword stuffing or cloaking, their focus has shifted to a more encompassing way of differentiating good sites from bad sites.

The ideal scenario is to create a unique, or at the very least, pleasant user experience that makes them enjoy some of your content. This has led to many advertising and marketing agencies believing that UX is the new SEO.

Realise your limitations

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In digital marketing, as in life, we have to know what we are able to do and what is outside of our capabilities. If you simply do not possess the creative flair to word a marketing campaign while incorporating SEO implementation, then you should let someone else do it. If you are preparing a blog post in a language that is not your native language, then have someone with a firmer grasp of the language give the piece a once-over.

Sometimes it is difficult to let go. Especially if it’s your own business and you are passionate about your products or services, it is absolutely vital that you distance yourself from the things you are not good at. That little bit of distance might mean outsourcing your content writing or marketing efforts.

However, have no fear, in sending it off to someone else, you will be able to have a clear head when the content arrives at your desk for approval.

Avoid confusion

Try to avoid confusing your visitor at all costs. Besides the aesthetic appearance of the site, be clear and concise throughout your site as best as you can. The last thing you want is for the reader to feel like a mouse stuck in a maze. If they don’t know where to go or where to click, Google will pick up on it. And how will they know?

If your visitor dislikes the confusion, or finds the site unclear, then they will probably bounce somewhere else. Meaning, they will click a bit here, click a bit there, but they will not engage with any call to action on your site. At the same time, if your landing page is filled with errors and your visitor leaves without going to any other pages, this will spike up your bounce rate. And Google pounces on a high bounce rate like a hungry chicken on a juicy grub. This, again, will decrease your SEO ranking.

If you have finished composing your next post or your new product launch, you have to sit down in a quiet space and read it aloud to yourself. If it doesn’t make sense or is just mildly confusing, the reader will be lost. Either rewrite it or fix it, or get it to someone else who can.

What Are Your Options?

Those naughty mistakes and grammar gremlins usually sneak in because you did not read or check your own work, which is just inexcusable. More often than not, bad grammar and other oopsies appear because you are simply unaware it is an oopsie. If editors need degrees and content specialists only improve with experience, it is unfair to expect an entrepreneur to specialize in anything other than his current trade. He does not need to have superior understanding of SEO implementation, layout and design, the creation of great marketing content, or a comprehensive insight into grammatical correctness.

How can an entrepreneur fix something if he doesn’t even know that it is broken?

We have established that there will always be a need for informative and engaging content. We have further clarified that bad grammar and spelling mistakes can direct traffic away from your site, which will cause your site and all your amazing products and services to shift back to the results on page 12.

It is important to find for your spot in the sun. As bad grammar and spelling errors can be avoided, dedicate yourself to finding a solution. More often than not, the solution will be having to outsource the editing or rewriting of your content, or just to outsource the entire content generation component altogether. You will still have the final say whether to use it or not.

The four main purposes of good content are to entertain, to inspire, to educate and to convince. If your website spelling and grammar errors are hindering the reader from obtaining any of these four gratifying experiences, then you urgently need to relook the writing processes you currently have in place.

How Whitepapers Can Help Your Content Marketing Strategy

Along with the big shift toward social media and digital marketing, there came a long list of additional adjustments to modern day content marketing strategies: the mad scramble to make all content mobile-friendly, the haphazard Facebook promotions, not to mention the weekly or monthly email campaigns. In the process of chasing after the likes of Instagram and continuous attempts at pushing for viral marketing initiatives, we often overlook the value of the humble whitepaper.

In an age where content is king, whitepapers are essential to establishing a brand in an overpopulated space. But before understanding how whitepapers can aid your content marketing efforts, it is best to understand exactly what a whitepaper is and how to write one better.

Blog vs Whitepaper

While whitepapers are not blog posts, there is often confusion about the differences between the two. For starters, if you are compiling or writing a whitepaper for a particular project, you immediately become aware that you are writing something entirely different than a normal blog post.

No matter the trade or scope of practice, you have to treat it as a well-researched article for an industry journal. So, do your homework thoroughly. The reader expects cold, hard facts and logical arguments, not conjecture. Be prepared to be taken to tsk on your sources or your figures.

Whereas a blog is very much about the individual, their thoughts, their experiences or just their day at the beach, whitepapers are solely about the topic. Think of it as Twitter vs LinkedIn. One would be more informal, while the other would be noticeably more professional. A good white paper is driven by factual content that should be referenced and it should serve as a platform where industry professionals can engage with one another.

Style & Tone

Think about sitting at the big boy table of the industry you are writing about. Better yet, it is a symposium for industry specialists and you are the lead speaker. You are surrounded by experts, leaders and qualified professionals on all sides. You are there to deliver a presentation on the topic you are writing about. What would that presentation look like?

If your answer omits the words concise, clear, to-the-point or brief, then go back and reread the paragraph again. When you are talking to professionals, you should adjust your tone accordingly. Unless you are the sole influencer in your industry and everyone looks to you for guidance, you will probably have someone higher up the ladder reading your white paper. Make sure they don’t find something to fault you on.

Layout

Again, think about your presentation to the big boys. There should be a beginning, a middle, and an end. Oh yes, definitely an end. The worst thing you can do is to leave an open-ended presentation without a conclusion or a closing argument.

Usually your beginning will be your introduction, the middle will be the body of the content and the end will be your final point-making paragraph. There are deviations from this format, but they are exceptions to the norm.

If your introduction highlights the problem areas or the core of your topic, then the body of the content should offer solutions to these problems or expand on the topic, while the conclusion will tie both the introduction and the content together as a final clarifying point.

No Selling

This is probably the defining and most challenging point. It is the one thing that could rob your content of its white paper status in a flash. Never, ever, sell yourself in a white paper. While the aim is to inform and to share insight, it should never be to sell or showcase your brand, or, for that matter, even favour any particular brand to the point of it sounding like paid-for content.

Don’t get me wrong, you have to leave your signature or your credentials after the conclusion. The reader needs to know who you are, but it is best to make them want to know who you are and what you do. A white paper is not a fruit stall with random bits of information, and you are not the street vendor looking for hapless hopefuls who you can peddle your services to.

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How Exactly Can White Papers Boost My Content Marketing Strategy?

If you are still unsure how this ties into your content marketing strategy, then try to see it from a digital perspective. Thousands of businesses are looking for high quality content to share through their channels. In so doing, they offer their clients, customers or patrons, effective solutions to their problems or concerns. You have just provided a detailed solution to their problem or an insightful feature about a current matter.

The validity of the post gives you validity. Every hyperlink to your white paper provides a positive effect on your SEO ranking and it brings a new customer from a previously unexplored marketing avenue. With a great distribution plan for your white paper, you will not only expand your reach but you will generate a better online presence.

While your in-depth research material offers other businesses with a tailor-made problem solving kit, your white paper also creates an atmosphere of collaboration and inclusion with other businesses or brands.

Conclusion

The most important point to remember is the power of the content you opted to write about. A moving or informative white paper is often made up of strong factual content, based on extensive research exercises and referencing industry leaders or influential entrepreneurs with the relevant experience. Incorporating that knowledge into your content marketing strategy, will establish you as a reliable source within the industry. And that will give you a powerful advantage over most of your competitors.

You Need a Content Strategy that Works

Here’s a throwback for you:

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Let your mind wander back in time to a world where a blog was nothing more than an electronic journal for the chronically narcissistic, consistently bored teenager or desperate housewife.

Aren’t you glad you don’t exist in that particular space any more?

Flash forward a decade or so, and you’ll see that what started out as nothing more than a mere collection of diary entries has become an integral part of every business’ online marketing strategy. Ain’t technology grand?

At least 90% of B2B buyers have stated that online content has an effect on their purchasing behaviour. The fact of the matter is this: if you’re not on the content marketing bandwagon, you’re rapidly falling behind.

A few years ago, content marketing involved nothing more than churning out bulk collections of mediocre text. It didn’t really matter what you were saying, as long as you were actively posting something, your business was in the clear. With the growth of the Internet, however, that particular landscape has changed. Now, more than ever, the competition is intense. In order to take your business to the next level, you have to create content that is educational, insightful, and engaging.

In short, you need a goal. And in order to achieve that goal, you need a content strategy that works.

Set Your Goals and Start Planning

You can’t possibly begin a content marketing campaign without defining what your goals are. How will you know that you’ve been successful if you don’t have an idea of what you’re hoping to achieve?

Quite obviously, each goal will require a different approach. Your desired outcome will greatly influence the way you tackle each stage of the planning process.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to build brand awareness?

  • Are you looking to instill trust?

  • Do you want to increase traffic to a particular website or landing page?

  • Are you aiming to attract new prospects?

  • Is your major goal to convert leads into sales?

  • Do you want to increase customer retention?

Once you’ve figured out precisely what your goals are, you’ll need to establish your KPIs. You need something solid to aim for in order to keep your efforts on the right track:

  • Increase website traffic to 100k visitors by a specific date.

  • Generate a certain number of new leads per month.

  • Convert a specific percentage of leads into sales by a particular date.

By creating KPIs, you’ll keep yourself (and your team) accountable. The idea here is to work backwards to develop strategies that help you achieve your goals.

Develop A Detailed Strategy

When developing your content strategy, you need to focus on a few key factors. Take the time to lay down some groundwork before diving straight in. This will prevent you from doubling back and trying to figure out what went wrong when you’re too far down the rabbit hole.

First and foremost, you need to figure out who you’re targeting. Invest some time in creating customer personas. You need to be able to successfully connect with your readers in order to generate the kind of results you want.

Keywords are another all-important aspect of any content marketing strategy. You need to choose keywords that are highly searched for in your specific industry. Take the time to figure out which topics are in high demand, and build your content around that. Give your potential audience the information they so desperately seek. Try to find a way to spin these keywords into something original and exciting; often a simple change in tone is all you really need.

You’ll also need to pay attention to where your prospects are in the buying cycle. If, for example, you’re communicating with potential customers who have no idea who you are or what you offer, you’ll need to create content that is focused on education rather than sales. On the other hand, if you’re trying to connect with someone who is already familiar with your brand, you need to deliver valuable content (case studies are a good bet) that will help you close a sale.

Finally, you need to consider which channels are important for dispersing your content. Take some time to figure out the platforms that are most likely to be useful to you, and what your goals are for each of them.

Produce High-Quality Content

As soon as you’ve ironed out your objectives and strategies, you need to start curating your content. You have two options here:

1. Work with your in-house team.

2. Hire professional content writers to help you get the job done.

Quite obviously, the path you choose will depend entirely on your in-house team’s expertise and the availability of time. If your team members are too swamped with their own regular tasks, it’s not a good idea to drown them in additional work that isn’t necessarily in their wheelhouse. Remember, you need quality content, not something slapdash you’ve cobbled together at the last minute.

If you choose to outsource your content development, invest in writers who truly understand the principles of content marketing. Make sure they’ll be able to embody your brand message. A trial task never hurt anybody, so perhaps consider asking them to write a short sample related to a topic of your choice and see if they’re a good fit.

Market, Promote, and Measure

You can create amazing content until you’re blue in the face but it won’t help you if no one sees it. Make sure to promote each and every piece of writing on all of your platforms and leverage them as much as possible. If you have to add in a small advertising budget to boost those posts, do it. A small investment can make a huge difference.

While you’re churning out content, it’s too easy to forget that you actually need to measure the performance of your posts. Circle back at least once a month to see how your content is performing. Check if you’re meeting your KPIs. If you don’t see any progress, make some adjustments. If you do see progress, keep on doing what you’re doing.

In the end, it’s all about trying new things and seeing what works for your business. Be inventive, be innovative, and above all, keep measuring your progress.

you need a content strategy that works