Posts tagged content writing
Article submitted by: Swati Swayamprava
As an Internet marketer, what is the first step you need to take to get your business offerings noticed? Many of you will definitely emphasize on providing useful, value added content because nothing draws audience (and future clients) better than content. And with this content are built certain connections or relationships, which may last long enough to lead to a financial transaction or short enough to make a good impact (to say the least). The time-span of the relationship also depends on your actions. To go by industrial statistics, 70-80% of the cases who consistently provided good content have had their efforts paid off, quite richly.
Building those great relationships is not rocket science either! It is surprising, how simply certain taken-for-granted human rules can be nurtured to bear the fruit of successful sales or even referrals for your business, recommendations for your products or retweets to your events. Here are some insights into those human attributes:
1. Connections Through Reciprocation
Conversation – an ingrained human trait. A good marketer believes in taking advantage of this and offers worth, which in future forms something as colossal as a large profit margin. Experts call it, “the fine art of reciprocation”. Start and encourage dialogues, participate in ongoing conversations, offer and accept advice through all online and offline channels.
In today’s marketing parlance, content that rewards its readers with profits even before they know that a sale is in the picture, is called value addition. The content provider who makes a mark gets a due return. So if your reader knows a lot about how the use of blue tooth technology can help him, from the content he has read on your blog, he will make sure to buy that blue-tooth enabled handset you are offering.
2. Connections Through Comparison
Evaluation against a competitor is not the only comparison that is made in the marketing arena. Sometimes the buyer compares himself with the successful role model that the seller flaunts in order to grab attention! It is fairly common that the buyer compares himself with that winner and wonders if he has a similar streak.
It is here that a marketer must pitch in, and set right that comparison. During marketing to a large organization, the seller must have a larger and more successful firm as the example whereas selling to a startup does not require that elaborate a case study. For the latter, some morale boosting supplemented with a good pitch will suffice to make the required impact.
3. Connections Through Attention
Most humans crave for it and some successful ones are able to actually get it. A thriving marketer consistently needs to be in the latter category for making sales happen. After all, successful brands are those who have grabbed the much required eyeballs at the right time and managed to stay in the limelight for years together. Paying attention to customer needs and offering valuable content is essential.
4. Connections Through Recurrence
After getting the vital publicity, the usual tendency to bask in the glory of the achievement could be fatal. During building a relationship that blossoms from valuable content, a marketer must ensure that he nurtures it through steady, constant follow-up with literature that continues to add value and make sense. Be it a webinar, a podcast, a free email newsletter, blog feeds – the prospect should get used to your subject matter and start looking forward to the difference your content makes in his life even before he has paid you anything.
This builds trust and reliability that is definitely not going away anywhere.
5. Connections Through Expression
Extremely essential as well as delicate is the science of expression, especially when it comes to promotional literature. The tremendous importance of maintaining the thin line, between problem sharing and cribbing; transparency and over-sharing; describing and boasting; scrutinizing and criticizing in your content cannot be over emphasized. A tad gone wrong and all those carefully cultivated relationships go down the drain, instantaneously. Your content must give out the right message in the right way.
By reminiscing over these aspects of human relationships and building your content upon any one (your forte) or even all of them, could make a significant difference in your business. All said and done, haven’t these age old societal connections met with successes time and again?
Take case study writing as a serious business. It gives a lot of credibility to your organization in the eyes of your prospects. The major problem occurs when the technical guys are unable to explain the technicalities to the content writer, or the writer is unable to bring out the finer details with a marketing twist. Take help of professional writers who have experience in writing for your industry, or give a comprehensive brief.
The 10 most important elements of a compelling case study
A case study should start with a powerful headline highlighting the major result or benefit of the project. Important elements include:
1. A short summary of two lines that could act as a link to the main case study on the website
2. Client overview and major business problems faced
3. Reason why the client selected you for this project and not any of your competitors
4. Solutions provided by you
5. Process followed in the project execution along with diagrams and illustrations
6. Challenges faced while working on the project
7. Benefits of the solution
8. Results or benefits that the client had
9. Client testimonial
10. A powerful design that highlights all important points
Make your case studies realistic
Elaborate the problems faced by the client in a realistic manner and explain the logical solution. Your readers should be able to relate to the case study and feel that – “Yes, I am also facing the same problems with my business.”
Boost credibility by adding client testimonials and quantifiable results
Providing real testimonials adds more credibility than any other content in the case study. High bandwidth has also enables use of video testimonials. Ask the right questions to your clients to get the right answers that you can use in your case studies. To make your results and benefits more attractive, attach a number to it.
Incorporate power words in the case study
There’s a wide list of powerful marketing words available across the web. Some of them are – boost, enhance, guarantee, free, what’s in it for you, transform, secret, new, the top 10, save, increase, reduce, profits, strategies, double, explode, key, and many more. Incorporating such words in your case study will make it powerful without much effort.
Make two versions
Case studies should be created for two types of audiences – the internal team and the external clients and prospects. Professional help should be taken for client-facing case study. You may also make a detailed version and a shorter version. The ideal length of an online case study ranges from 300-500 words.
Back your case study with a powerful design
Your client-facing case study should be designed for higher impact. A good designer will put the most important point and triggers at the most powerful positions.
Provide date for the case study
Always mention the date of creation of the case study. Also include the project start date and project end date. Update the document if it’s too old.
As is the case with any kind of advertising, online advertising aids you in:
- Selling more of your product/service
- Notifying buyers of your new product/service, or promotional offer
- Spreading your ideas about a certain topic
- To increase brand awareness
And unlike any other form of advertising, online advertising is highly measurable. There are several ways through which you can measure ad success:
- Click-through rate: the number of visitors who clicked on the banner ad linking to your web site. Some sites sell banner ad space on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis.
- Page impressions: this is the number of times a particular web page has been requested from the server. Advertisers are interested in page views because they indicate the number of visitors who could have seen the banner ad, this tells them how many visitors were exposed to it. The most common way to sell banner ad space is cost per thousand impressions, or CPM.
- Click-through rate (CTR): the ratio of page views to clicks. The typical click-through-rate is something under 2 percent.
- Cost per sale: this is the measure of how much advertising money is spent on making one sale. Many advertisers keep track of visitor activity using Internet cookies. This technology allows the site to combine shopping history with information about how the visitor originally came to the site.
Ideally, all these elements are used together to assess campaign effectiveness.
You will usually need to buy space in the high-traffic websites, to post your ad. You can also do ad-exchange with some websites. Online major types of online ads include:
Banner advertising was the first kind of advertising ever done on the net. A banner can highlight your product/service/offer and by clicking on it the user will be taken to your website, where you can create a suitable landing page to provide his further information.
The most common type of banner advertising is where the graphic banner appears at the top of the web page. You can also get small square-shaped banners at the right/left hand sides or at the bottom of the page. There are various shapes and sizes you can choose from based on your need and budget. These types of banner spaces are usually sold by impressions, or banner views, but it is sometimes sold by click-thru, when you pay only when the user clicks on the banner.
Because of its graphical elements, a banner ad is somewhat similar to a traditional ad you would see in a printed publication such as a newspaper or magazine, but it has the added ability to bring a potential customer directly to the advertiser’s web site. A banner has the power to present multiple images, include animation and change appearance in a number of ways. It could be a static (where only your one ad comes) or dynamically-rotated (where different ads come at different time.)
To post a banner ad, you can do either or all of the following:
- Banner exchange where another website displays your ad in exchange of you displaying for them
- Pay publisher sites to post your banner
- Pay a banner network to post the banner ad on a number of publisher sites
It includes placement of sponsor’s name or logo in the target website. It is usually done for enhancing brand awareness.
It’s the thing of the past now. With a variety of pop-up blockers available freely, it makes no sense in investing in this form of advertising as it irritates the viewer.
These are ads appear when you first go to a webpage, and they “float” over the page for five to 30 seconds. While they are on the screen, they obscure your view of the page you are trying to read, and they often block mouse input as well. These ads appear each time that page is refreshed.
Floating ads are popular for several reasons:
- They grab the viewer’s attention
- They are animated
- They have audio/video content like TV ads
- They can take up the entire screen, therefore from a branding standpoint, they are much more powerful than a banner ad or a sidebar ad
- They cannot be ignored
- They have a high click-through rate of about 3 percent
However, many users get highly irritated because of these ads.
Interstitial pages are a form of advertisement on the web that appears between web pages that the user requests. Thus when a user elects to enter or exit a website, a page appears with its advertisement, in place of the requested page, the user then needs to select from that page to receive the page requested (or the advertisement page will disappear after a fixed time). This is a form of interruption advertising but as the user had a certain set of expectation when making the page selection he will hang on to watch the ad, as he is waiting for his desired page to load.
Because interstitials load in the background, they are a preferred way of delivering ads that contain large graphics, streaming media, or applets.
A unicast ad is basically a TV commercial that runs in a pop-up window. It has enriched audio/video content. The ads can last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. These ads have similar branding power as a TV commercial. However, a unicast ad offers something that TV ads cannot — the ability to click on the ad for more information. These ads are getting very effective, as the average click-through rate is 5%.
Viewers visiting the website will see a large ad when they first come, and then the continuity is maintained by reiterating the same message throughout the site in the form of banners, side bars or buttons. The approach works very well for branding because the brand is visible to viewers throughout their entire visit to the site. Click-through rates are also high.
There are many other ways in which you can advertise like embedding your ad/brand in online games, chat rooms, etc. Rich media interactive ads can also be creatively used in a lot of different ways. Once you get started – you’ll be able to explore great opportunities in this are.
Tips to make your online advertising more effective
- Make them relevant – post your ads on pages with related web content – the more related, the better.
- Be specific – advertise just one particular product/service in your ad, rather than your site generally.
- Place ads based on day of the week and time of the day – ads should be placed based on the amount of traffic on the website in the week or in the day.
- Right linking – your ad should directly link to the relevant product/service you’ve highlighted. You can even create a new landing page to give them the right experience and to know exactly how many people came through the ad.
- Position them right – put your ads at the high-visibility place in the webpage, better as top, rather than farther down.
- Be creative – use animated ads rather than static ones. Your graphic content should pique visitor curiosity, without being too obscure.
- Keep them small – the graphic size should not be too large, as it will take time to load, and by that time your visitor might leave.
Advantages of online advertising
- Much more measurable than any other form of advertising
- Cost effective
- Global reach
- Extensive coverage
- Quicker results
- Easy to execute
- Can provide detailed information to the interested viewer
- Easy to monitor and control
- 24X7 advertising
Problems with online advertising
- Advertisements on the Internet tend to be quite intrusive
- Difficult to decide where to place the ad
- Some forms have got so common that most people ignore the ads
- They take viewers away or distract attention from the website where they wanted to be in the first place
- Ads annoy the viewers and may harm brand image
- Low click-through rates
- No way to determine how may viewers saw the ad when you pay for every 1000 impressions
Newsletter is a great way to maintain constant contact with your target audience and at the same time enhance brand awareness. This entices every marketer to jump into newsletter or ezine marketing, but if attention is not paid, it might have a negative impact on you brand image.
The most important elements of a newsletter are:
- Relevant information
- Standardized format
- Pre-defined frequency
- Option to change preferences
- Company info or offers for subscribers
At the moment of subscription, make sure that the subscribers know what they will get and at what frequency. Encourage them to view some samples of your old newsletters. Let them choose the frequency and format of the newsletter.
Your newsletter must provide relevant information
Give the readers what they subscribed for. Be it latest industry information, current trends in your domain, news/alerts, product reviews or anything else. Your newsletter should provide fresh, quality info and not just yada yada. Your information should give a reason to the subscriber to wait for the next newsletter.
Maintain consistency — don’t be too creative with your newsletter
Usually marketers put a lot of efforts in making the first few newsletters, but later on they find it difficult to maintain the same momentum. Moreover different styles may confuse the reader. Make a standard format that represents your brand and present your information in the same manner in all the newsletters. The “from line” and the “subject line” should also have a standard format.
Prepare in advance and maintain the frequency
Be punctual in sending you letters. If it’s the first of every month, then it should reach the recipient on that day and time. Just like newspapers – keep the basic newsletter ready and add only the latest news in the end.
Give the subscribers the power to select and change
Make it easy for your subscribers to change preferences such as – frequency, content, format, subject line, email address, etc. Apart from preferences, you must also honor unsubscribe requests. All opt-outs should be removed from your database promptly. You can do a small survey before people leave to find out the reasons.
Provide company info in a subtle way
Put information before anything else. Your subscribers know about your company and that’s why they subscribed in the first place. It is important to have a brief about your company at the end, but don’t overdo it. Nobody will read it anyways. Promote your products or services in terms of special offers only for newsletter subscribers. Make them feel special about being a member of your online community.