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Content without copywriting is a waste of good content
There are some blogs out there with seriously good content — and only a few readers. (Maybe yours is one of them.)
If you’re writing great articles that people would love to read, but you’re not getting the traffic you want, the problem may be ineffective copywriting:
- Your headlines might be too dull. When your headlines are boring, they don’t give people any reason to click through to the rest of your writing.
- Your headlines might be too cute and clever. If this is the case, you’re simply showing how smart you are without communicating any reader benefits. If your headlines are too dull or too clever, learn how to write magnetic headlines.
- You haven’t explicitly thought about how your content benefits readers.Just like a product has to have a benefit to the buyer, your content has to be inherently rewarding to readers or they won’t come back to your website.
- Your content isn’t building any rapport or trust. You can always get social media attention by being a brat, a pest, or a train wreck, but attention doesn’t translate into subscribers or customers.
- You haven’t leveraged any social proof. It’s tricky to show readers your blog is a cool place to hang out when you don’t have lots of readers yet, but we have a few tips for you.
- You don’t have a clear, specific call to action. A call to action lets people know what you want them to do next.
Remember, copywriting is the art of convincing your reader to take a specific action. And yes, it’s still copywriting if it takes place in a podcast or video … if you’re doing it well.
How important is copywriting?
Today, content marketing is a vast industry. Writers are only one part of the composite marketing force that successful content marketing requires.
CMI’s definition of content marketing gives you a sense of the industry’s breadth:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
See? It’s not about writing alone. It’s broad. It’s about creating and distributing content for the end-goal of marketing: to drive profitable customer action.
As big as it is, content marketing still requires copywriters. In fact, some would argue that the role of the copywriter is more important than ever. (Note: 19% of B2B content marketers surveyed cited “becoming stronger writers” as a top five priority in 2016 research.)
But creating really good content is harder than ever. Why? Because the sheer amount of content has proliferated like never before.
The Vesuvius eruption of content has caused some marketers to declare that we’re now in a state of content shock – the idea that content marketing has reached its saturation point, and is no longer going to be effective.
The myth of content shock is parallel to that of “information overload” – the idea that a consumer is exposed to too much information, thereby preventing profitable action instead of driving it.
Content marketing has more than enough reasons to keep going. As the field of content marketing has broadened, it also has deepened. Marketers have discovered that the consumers aren’t motivated by popular, general-appeal content but by narrow, niche content.
There is still a need for content that reaches the niche needs of more consumers.
And who produces that content? Copywriters. But not your standard off-the-rack freelance writers. Instead, today’s content marketing copywriters must possess the awareness and skills to survive in the brave world of content marketing.
What skills are necessary? I’ve assembled this list of five copywriter skills that I consider to be essential for a successful content marketing approach.
The seven types of B2B copywriter: which one is best for you?
We list seven different types of B2B marketing copywriter, with advice on which type you need for which kind of project.
Here are the seven types of writer I think are out there:
1. The Creative Copywriter: Creative copywriters have the magical gift of being able to communicate an idea in a short, pithy, punchy, snappy, memorable phrase. Their main habitat is consumer ad-land, where they’re paid vast sums to come up with things like “Simples” and “Should have gone to Specsavers”. As the consumerisation of enterprise IT gathers pace, expect to see more of these rare beasts on our B2B shores. Creative copywriters are brilliant at coming up with attention-grabbing concepts, but you might think twice about asking one to write your next ebook. (Also, tragically, they don’t charge by the word.)
What they’re good at: campaign concepts, headlines, straplines, ad copy.
Business value: they create the ideas and phrases that get your brand noticed and remembered.
2. The Digital Copywriter: Digital copywriters are responsible for all the largely-unsung microcopy that gets website visitors and app users to click on the right things and enter the right information. If you’ve ever wondered whether your CTA button should say “Start your free trial” or “Start my free trial”, ask a digital copywriter. (And yes, that single word change can have a huge impact – a 90% increase in conversions, according to this experiment by Michael Aagard of ContentVerve.)
What they’re good at: on-page navigation copy, microcopy, button copy, calls-to-action, social media copy.
Business value: they write the copy that gets people to try, buy or sign up for what you’re offering.
3. The Marketing Copywriter: Part writer, part psychologist, the marketing copywriter knows not just how to get the attention of the target buyer, but how to make them feel that your widget is the one true thing their lives are desperately missing. A good marketing copywriter will immerse him or herself in buyer personas until they understand the target audience better than they understand themselves. They’ll use that insight to write copy that inspires, educates, empathises, terrifies and/or just gently guides the prospect towards your product or service. Crucially, this kind of writer can set up, develop, and sustain an argument, in an appropriate tone and voice, over a long-form piece.
What they’re good at: email campaigns, ebooks, video scripts.
Business value: they develop a strong emotional bond between your brand and your target buyer.
4. The Explainer Copywriter: There’s a current school of thought in B2B that the fusty white paper is dead, and that the way forward is to use lively, engaging copy to appeal to the buyer’s emotional side. But not every brand wants to appear puppyish, and some conservative buyers are reassured by a writing style that reflects the gravitas of the investment decision and the quality and reliability of the brand. This style of writing doesn’t have to be boring or jargon-filled – in the same way that The Economist or the Financial Times aren’t boring or jargon-filled – but it does need a skilled writer to make it simultaneously serious *and* engaging. The Explainer Copywriter is someone who knows how to present the logical and rational case for investment in a product or technology, in a way that’s clear, digestible and easy to read.