Monthly Archives: July 2016

Why do content articles fail?

To be Better on the blackboard with chalk writing.

For anyone who does it, you’ll know that content marketing is a time-consuming task and as such it can be incredibly demoralising when you’re not getting the results you’d hoped to see.  Before you start believing you’re the worst content writer ever, it’s important to remember there are many, many reasons for it to crash and burn; so chin up and let’s look at some of those first.

 

  1. Strategy – Do you have one? Do you stick to it? If you’ve answered no to either of these questions then this could be one of the main reasons why your content is flopping. Although its findings are based on businesses in North America, there are many interesting figures in Content Marketing Institute’s annual research papers. Their research identifies that those B2B and B2C businesses who view themselves as being successful at content marketing are more likely to have a content marketing strategy and clear vision of what it looks like. From the B2B side, 79% of those organisations who view their content marketing to be ‘effective’ are ‘clear on what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like’ compared to only 23% of those whose view the content marketing to be ineffective. Likewise, 53% of the ‘effective’ respondents have a documented content marketing strategy in place whilst the figure is only 13% for the ineffective respondents. These figures speak volumes!So, get yourself a clear vision and strategy and stick to it.  Then don’t forget to revisit it periodically just to check what’s working and what’s not. What format and platforms are working best for you and what content topics are driving high interest? Focus on these and learn from the areas that are underperforming.  If, for example, your Twitter activity isn’t as strong as your blog, don’t automatically rule it out; your approach and content for this channel may just need some tweaking.  At the same time, don’t flog a dead horse. If over time you’re able to identify a channel that isn’t working for you then don’t invest your time and money in it.
  1. Resources – It’s typical for content marketing strategies to fail if they aren’t given the time and resources needed to succeed. Those businesses that see success tend to be those that see its worth and are prepared to invest a significant chunk of their marketing budget.   Going back to the research, the ‘effective’ camp invest a whopping 42% of their marketing budget compared to only 15% for the ‘ineffective’.  That being said, simply throwing money at it isn’t the answer.  If your budget allows, investing in an in-house dedicated and experienced resource to drive your content is a great move and often works better than investing in expensive agencies.
  2. Marketing – it’s called Content Marketing for a reason and you can’t simply rely on it being in cyberspace for it to be seen; it needs to be promoted. If you’ve spent time writing a blog article, then for goodness sake tell people it’s there. Use your social media platforms, newsletters and website to inform and direct. Likewise, let people know you’re on social media by making your SM buttons highly visible on your website and blog pages.  If you have a good social media following then encourage them to sign up to your newsletter.
  1. Patience – Good things come to those who wait. You won’t see results overnight so make sure you’re tracking your results carefully so that you can see the improvements you’re making overtime. As with all marketing a steady release of content works best.
  1. Content – If you’re happy you’ve done all of the above and even Googled some more ideas behind any unfavourable results, then maybe, just maybe you need to take a long hard look at your content and style. But don’t dismay, even this area is normally an easy one to fix, just ask yourself the following questions: Is it what your audience wants? Does it answer their questions? Does it inspire? Does it strengthen your relationship and their trust in your brand? Is the style appropriate to the platform? No amount of content will result in leads if it doesn’t meet the needs of your audience, no matter how hard you try.

So you want to become a freelance content copywriter…

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Well, good on you, for a start, and welcome to the world of freelance copywriting; a job where you can work as much or as little as you like, wherever you like, so long as you have a computer and an internet connection to hand. It’s a strange little world that us copywriters live in; one where you develop a community of friends/associates locally, nationally and internationally, who you never actually meet. Nevertheless, this strange little world suits most of us down to the ground and can be hugely rewarding. Not only can you be your own boss, you can fit the work around family commitments, you never have to deal with rush hour traffic again, and (I like this one best) you don’t have to answer to anyone!

Current demand

 The big question before embarking on a freelance career is how much work is available for the taking? Well, I’m pleased to say that demand for high quality, original content could not be greater right now as more and more businesses take advantage of online platforms to reach and engage with their target audience. Not only do web visitors like to see fresh content, Google also rewards regularly updated websites with higher rankings, so for businesses the generation of unique content on a regular basis is a no brainer.

Skills

 To become a successful freelance content copywriter, it goes without saying that your writing ability must be pretty awesome. However, to stand out from the crowd the best content writers are often those who are knowledgeable and skilled in other areas such as coding, SEO writing and social media marketing. With a broader range of skills, writers can take advantage of greater opportunities.

Self-motivation is also crucial for this line of work. It’s all too easy (and I talk from experience) to open the door to a neighbour for a chinwag, make a cup of tea, have a quick look on Facebook, ring your nan, make an appointment with the dentist…you catch my drift.  

 Finding work

 This can be tricky to begin with, however, websites that bring jobs together in one place, like Odesk, Elance, Guru and Peopleperhour, are a great place to start. With these websites you can browse, bid and apply for jobs that you are interested in and start building your confidence and credibility as a freelance writer.

You can also target magazines, newspapers and other publications directly with your pitches. Remember to keep pitches short and sweet for the best chance of response. If you hit a stumbling block, remember that persistence is key. Your good ideas will eventually get noticed and once you’ve got your foot in the door, chances are it will open wider.

Market yourself

 Think about creating a business website and/or blog to showcase your services and examples of your work. By marketing yourself online and creating a strong web presence, potential clients can find you, rather than you having to find them.

Another way of showcasing your work is to create an online portfolio. There’s a really cool website called Carbonmade which allows you to create multiple portfolios online for a small monthly fee. Genius idea! With various themes and tools to work with you can create portfolios to suit your style. Once you have created your portfolio/s you can direct potential clients to the appropriate one. Take a look at these examples for inspiration: https://carbonmade.com/examples/copywriters

Final thought

Speaking from experience I can say that freelance content copywriting is a satisfying career. When I set out some years back, I had a clear objective which was to be able to work from home where I could drink lots of tea and earn money while raising a family (I’m quite a simple being). I’m pleased to say this objective has been met in all areas. High five! With the right determination you too can earn a decent living and enjoy a great work/life balance. Good luck!