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!

 

Content Marketing v Paid Advertising – Which is best?

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Content marketing is a relatively new addition to the business world, but one that has made a huge impact and is likely here to stay. With content becoming king, many people are asking whether paid advertising still has a place within online marketing. Whilst some believe that content should be the way forward, others would rather stick with tried and tested methods such as banner ads. The truth is that the issue is more complex than a simple decision between the two and there is no one right answer. With this in mind, we will take a look at both types of marketing and their respective strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to make an informed decision based on your own circumstances.

Paid Advertising

There are many forms of paid advertising, across a wide range of platforms. The general idea is that the company pays a fee in order for their advertisement to appear, either on Google, social networking sites or just general websites. One of the main forms of paid advertising is PPC or pay per click, in which businesses only have to pay for the advert if a person clicks on it. The amount that the company has to pay varies but it’s usually based off of the keywords that are utilised and how valuable they are within the general marketplace.

PPC advertising is very useful when you want to create a direct link between potential customers and a particular product or service. It can also be somewhat cost effective as you are only paying for clicks as opposed to the ad itself. PPC and paid advertising in general is also really easy to track in terms of metrics. This allows businesses to collect invaluable data on factors such as which ads perform the best and how often clicks lead to sales.

Another type of paid advertisement which is less well known but still extremely prevalent is retargeting. When a person visits a website or blog, a cookie attaches itself to the user and follows them around the web. Utilising this cookie, providers such as Adroll can display targeted advertisements to this user, on different websites. Retargeting can be particularly successful because it’s more of a personalised approach. It also allows companies to target their ads at specific users, rather than waiting for consumers to come to them

Although paid advertising has many benefits, there are also many drawbacks to consider. For example, customers are much savvier and prefer a more passive approach to marketing. Some consumers may be put off by such a direct interaction and could even assume that the banner ad is some sort of scam. Customers are also very aware of the value of their personal information and would rather it be kept private. Therefore, the method of retargeting is often seen by online users, as untrustworthy and in some cases, data theft.

In terms of finance, PPC advertising doesn’t always deliver a return on investment because a click does not guarantee a sale. Another problem is the sheer volume of companies online who are all competing for the same traffic. This competition can inflate the price of clicks on your adverts, in some cases to a figure that would be too high to justify.

Content Marketing

Thanks to the popularity of the online world and the prevalence of smart devices, content has become more relevant than ever before. The business sphere has recognised this trend and there has been a very noticeable shift from traditional advertising to content marketing. This type of marketing involves the creation of some sort of content, whether it be blogs, articles, videos or even gifs or posts on social media. Consumers interact with this content and are made aware of a certain company or product, with the overall goal being the conversion from a consumer to a customer.

The overall process of content marketing follows a more natural approach when compared with paid advertising. Consumers aren’t told what to buy but they are given the information needed so they can make the decision themselves. This type of marketing is much more suited to the world we live in today. There is so much mistrust of corporations and content allows businesses to create meaningful relationships with consumers which are no solely based on sales. Successful content marketing can also facilitate a higher placement within Google’s search engine results, which can have a substantial effect on business.

The main downside of utilising content marketing is that it isn’t quick and easy. It can take a while to build up a strong portfolio of material and therefore you may not start seeing results for a long time. In order to connect with consumers, content needs to be high quality and this means investing in creative people, whether in-house or freelance. Therefore, the time and expense involved should also be factored in to your overall decision.

Verdict

The truth is, content marketing and paid advertising both work and the argument of which is better isn’t really that relevant. Companies who are looking for a quick turnover on their investment, without any hard work, should look in to paid advertisement. It may be expensive at times but it’s a sure fire way of streaming users to your website.

Those who would rather play the long game should look into content marketing. It often requires a greater investment of time, resources and in some cases money but it will provide a much larger payoff. Whereas paid advertising may boost the visibility of a single product or service, content marketing has the potential to showcase your company as whole.

It should also be pointed out that it is possible to utilise both content creation and paid advertising, at the same time. In fact this could be an incredibly powerful marketing strategy as they can counteract each other’s weaknesses.

When choosing the best way to market your company, there is no standard right or wrong answer, only what is right for you.

Improving the ROI of Content Marketing

 

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Improving the ROI of Content Marketing

Content marketing has become one of the most lucrative forms of advertisement in recent years. This is due to a variety of different things, the popularity of social media, the advent and success of vlogging and of course, the proliferation of smart devices. Although content marketing can be an invaluable tool, it can also be an expensive one. Depending on the type of material that you are creating, there can be many costs to consider, as well as manpower and resources. With this in mind, it makes sense to get as much out of your content as possible. Here are just some of the ways in which you can improve the ROI of your content marketing.

Content Type

The type of content that you upload is going to dictate the reaction you get from consumers. It seems like more and more creators are choosing video over written content and this trend isn’t going away any time soon. Video has become the medium of choice due to a shift in the way we interact with media- many consumers prefer short, easy to absorb chunks of content, which lends itself well to videos. The more appealing your output is, the more people will view it and the greater the chance of converting them into customers. This doesn’t mean you should turn your back on the written word but it does illustrate the benefits of a multi-faceted approach.

When deciding on what type of content to create, medium is not the only factor to consider. For example, what are you trying to say? Do you want to be informative, educational, entertaining or shocking? Design is also an important consideration, with many creators opting for lists or countdowns as opposed to more traditional approaches.

Build a Foundation

One of the downsides of the rise of content marketing is that everyone is doing it and this means it’s even harder to stand out. Consumers are savvy and are easily put off by companies who create material which is low quality or transparent in its goal of creating sales. The way to combat this problem is to base your marketing plan on high quality, stimulating content and use this to build a trusting relationship with your consumers. Try not to scare away potential customers by showcasing yourself as single minded and profit driven. Once you have a decent viewership, then you can develop content which is more sales focused, without alienating consumers.

Analytics

Every aspect of your content marketing should be continually reviewed in order to avoid wasting money. This means all aspects of your marketing infrastructure, including blogs, articles, banners, videos, emails and social media. You should also look in to how prominent your website and social networking channels are on the larger search engines.

When thinking of analytics, many people focus on view counts but this only tells you half the story. For a fuller picture of how your consumers are interacting with your brand, you need more detailed information, for example how long they spent on your site or channel, when they left, why they left, which adverts had the most clicks and which content led to the most conversions. This is another area where it can be more beneficial to utilise video content, as you can gather much more meaningful information about your consumers, as opposed to simple view counts on blogs.

Recycle

When thinking of ROI, any way in which you can save money is going to help. One such method which is often overlooked is reusing old content. This allows you to benefit from content which already exists and therefore saves you the time and money of creating new material. Reusing old content may sound counterproductive but it doesn’t have to mean simply posting it again. For example, you could group similar videos/articles together in order to create a series and then promote the series as something new. You could also consider translating your content into another language as this will allow you to interact with a whole new section of people, utilising material you already have.

Feedback

Feedback from customers is paramount within the business world and this also applies to content marketing. Instead of trying to guess at what topics or styles will be popular, you could cut out the middle man and just ask your consumers directly. Use your social media channels, email or the content itself as a way of delivering surveys to your audience. Try to keep these surveys short and to the point in order to guarantee a high response rate. The information that you acquire from this should prove invaluable and allow you to construct content which is not only engaging but also appealing to your base.

 

 

Why do most blog sites fail?

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Creating a blog may seem like a daunting task, but with tools and platforms available online such as WordPress, Blogger, Joomla, TypePad and Tumblr, the process has never been simpler. BUT, bloggers BEWARE, creating a successful blog is no picnic. Millions of blogs are published every day, yet only a small percentage of them are successful. So, why do most blogs fail? Please read on:

Blog Content

It’s all well and good, in theory, to write about a subject you are passionate and knowledgeable about, but what many bloggers fail to recognise is that their interests aren’t always the same as those of their audience. Successful blogging comes from content that is engaging and valuable to the reader in some way. For example, the focus may be to expand the readers’ knowledge, provide inspiration, or provide a solution to a problem. Whatever direction the content takes, it should be focussed on the reader and what the reader can gain from reading your blog.

Time

Creating lots of content is great if you already have a successful blog, but if you are struggling to get readers it just doesn’t make sense to spend the majority of your time and effort creating frequent blogs only for them to be read by a small group of people. Writing content, however amazing it may be, will not attract readers on a large scale. Time must be dedicated to promoting the blogs you have already written. As readership grows, the number of blogs you write should grow in proportion. This will keep your existing and new readers interested.

Promotion

It is true, to an extent, that posting your blog on social media platforms will increase your audience figures. However, if this is your only form of blog promotion I would hazard a guess that you haven’t got the audience figures you were expecting. Finding the best ways to promote your material is key. If you haven’t already, add relevant sharing buttons on your blog to enable your readers to share your blog content with their friends. You can also promote your material by guest blogging on popular blogs that target your ideal audience already. Also, be sure to embrace outside experts. Alliances with experts can help build blog credibility and also bring value to your audience. For more information on blog promotion, please take a look at ‘How to get my first 1,000 blog readers’.

 Strategy

So, we’ve established that creating a blog is fairly straightforward, but there is a snag. Most bloggers intending to create a blog as a business don’t actually know much about business and overlook the important step of creating a strategy. This can be fatal for your blog. It’s imperative to create a business strategy that covers all of the marketing steps you need to take to make sure you are creating credible content that your audience wants to read and share, and promoting it effectively so as to gain new readers. A quarterly marketing plan is very effective.

 To sum up

Millions of blogs are being posted on line every day, so if you want yours to count you need to create a blog that is out of this world in terms of content and promotional strategy. Evaluate your business against some of the best to get an idea of how far you need to go to meet your target. One thing is for sure, you will need to put in a serious amount of hours if you want to see results. Creating a blog is definitely not for the fainthearted.