Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Smart Ways to Repurpose Your Blog Content

Let's face it, blogging is hard work. Not only do you need to craft relevant, entertaining content that compels your target audience to action, but you have to do it again and again, cranking out posts like clockwork, to reap the full benefits of this form of content marketing. If you're going to put that much effort into the task, you might as well get as much out of your labor as possible -- and that means finding lucrative ways to repurpose that content. Take a look at a few smart ways to make your blog the gift that keeps on giving.

Compile Your Blog Posts Into a Book (or Speech)

One of the simplest and most popular ways to repurpose blog content involves dropping them together into one longer manuscript, "massaging" them until you have an honest-to-goodness eBook or printed book. Go back through your previous posts and look for an overall theme that might lend itself to this treatment. You can even blog with this end goal in mind, posting a series of related articles that naturally come together to convey a single major point. Are looking to put together a speech you can deliver to groups and associations? Look no further than your blog for source material -- or sell your blog-derived book at your presentation.

Turn Your Blog Posts Into a Course

Do you regularly dispense guidance, advice, or educational content in your blog posts? If so, you just might have the bones of an online course that you can upload to one of the major online education platforms. This strategy doesn't just open up a new potential income stream for you; it also reinforces your reputation as a problem-solver and an expert in your field. You can expand on the source material as much as you like to turn it into a series of valuable lessons.

Turn Blog Posts Into Videos

Everybody's consuming online video on a massive scale these days, with youTube serving as the most obvious example. Uploading useful, entertaining videos to your company's YouTube channel can boost your online footprint, reputation, and visibility. Since that's also the goal of regular blogging, why not use one to produce the other? Simply read your blog text into a microphone, add that audio to some relevant images, and presto -- you just made a Youtube video that's just as meaningful to your target audience as the original blog post. Why bother with this kind of redundancy? because some people are primarily readers, while others are primarily viewers. You want to grab the attention of both camps, right?

Of course, you have to have the original blog content before you can morph it into something else. If writing those original posts still stands in your way as a bottleneck to successful marketing, why not enlist the aid of a skilled freelance copywriter? Contact me today to get the creative ball rolling -- and then watch where it takes your business!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

How to Make Your Blog Posts More Interesting

You may already understand that blogging can boost your business in many ways, from increasing your online authority and raising brand visibility to directing potential customers toward your website. So you have every right to feel frustrated when the hours of work you put into blog content creation yields nothing but the sound of crickets chirping. What went wrong? Sometimes you can trace the lack of interest to an erratic posting schedule, faulty SEO practices, or other strategic goofs. But you must also consider another possibility: blog content that simply doesn't grab your intended readers. If you think your blog articles lack that special something, take a look at some things you can to spiff them up.

Write for Your Audience, Not Yourself

You might be thinking, "I don't get why my audience doesn't love this blog content. i wrote it myself, and I think it's fascinating!" That's great, but you're forgetting one crucial fact: You're not your target audience. Your blog posts might convey compelling or even brilliant information that you and your peers would gladly lap up, but your customer base probably doesn't care about the specific technologies you employ, trends affecting your industry, or detailed explanations of how your products work. They may not even understand the buzzwords you're using, leaving them feeling bored, confused, or feeling like you're talking to somebody else -- which you are, unfortunately. Always ask yourself what your readers want to read and need to know before writing Word One of anything.

Let the Readers Into Your World

Even if your target audience doesn't care that much about the particulars of your industry, they can (and should) still feel a bond with you through the blog content you create. Look for exciting inside news that might spark their interest and build a blog post around it. Have you hired a brilliant new team member who has a lot to offer your customers? Write a post focused on that person. Did you recently solve a huge problem for a client? Create a little case history that explains how you came to the rescue, implying (of course) that you can do the same for the reader. Are you poised to release an amazing new product or service? Release a series of teaser posts that spark public interest and get your audience ready to buy. Do you need to address a recent challenge that potentially damages your image? Blog about it openly, stating your plan for correcting course and regaining trust.

Leverage Hot Topics

These days it seems like everybody in the world has their eyes glued to a favorite news feed, faithfully following the latest breaking headlines on everything from politics to fashion. You might find it all but impossible to compete against those hot topics. Luckily, you don't have to. Ever hear the saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em?" Hop on the bandwagon by thinking up ways to bring those topics into your blog posts, either as a passing reference that segues into your real topic or as a subject that directly affects your audience's need for what you do. When you consider the immense flood of breaking news that seems to surround us every day, you can see how your potential for grabbing your audience's interest is equally endless.

Give Advice

Many of the individuals who land on a blog page may have done so as the result of Googling a specific concern or question, a problem that they need to figure out pronto. Since they clearly have a strong, immediate interest in that subject, you want their query to lead them to your blog post on that very subject, right? Think about what kinds of challenges your target market faces regularly and what kinds of advice you commonly dispense. Then create blog posts offering simple explanations and helpful tips for one challenge after another -- not neglecting to include your own products or services as one potential solution. Once you've built up a formidable arsenal of such posts, they should continue to pay off for weeks, months, or years to come by directing a stream of new and repeat traffic to your business.

Now that you know how to make your blog posts more interesting, you're ready to start dreaming up those compelling topics. Would you like some help from a creative professional with decades of blogging and marketing content creation experience? Contact me today so I can help you light that fire under your audience!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

How Is Content Creation Like Moving?

I'm in the process of picking up and relocating -- a process you've almost certainly dealt with at least once in your life. You know the drill: purchasing boxes, loading some items, discarding others, figuring out where everything will go and how to get it there, scheduling utility connections et cetera. While moving can seem tiring, boring, or annoying, it can also prove illuminating in some respects. In fact, as I was going through all these steps, I couldn't help but notice some striking similarities between the moving process and the content creation process. Take a look at some of the things these two activities have in common.

They Both Require Planning

Sure, you might throw everything you own into a van at random and set off for your new digs -- that is, if you don't mind opening the van to see a pile of jumbled boxes and broken valuables. Smart moving requires smart planning, from what order those boxes should be loaded and unloaded to what they should contain and what packing materials you'll need to ensure those items' safety. You also need to know that the electricity will be on when you arrive, your mail will go to the right place, and that you haven't left anything critical behind. 

Marketing content creation also requires planning, and not just in terms of organizing text and images. Ideally, you want to create an editorial calendar to coordinate and schedule your stream of content throughout the year. You must also select and nurture the right mix of social media channels to host that content and direct it at your target audience.

They Both Reward Efficiency

I've moved several times over the years, and every time I do, I manage to perform the move that much more efficiently. A move that once took several stages now only takes one or two. That's partly because I discovered the value of throwing stuff out. Where I used to simply pack up everything I owned without a second thought, I now start by asking myself, "How much of this do I need, and how much of it can I lose to streamline this project?" In the process, I've come to embrace a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle. 

Of course, that choice won't work for everyone -- but its equivalent in the world of content creation will. I'm talking about scrutinizing each and every line of copy you write. Are you using two words where one would do, or a four-syllable word where one syllable would make the point? the "slimmer" your content, the more powerful and readable it becomes. Less is more!

They Both Benefit From Outsourcing

Do you recall how you felt during and after your last move? It wasn't exactly a picnic, was it? Now matter how carefully you plan it and how efficiently you execute it, a move requires time and effort. The more of the work you do yourself, the harder it gets. (I've moved myself entirely without aid enough times to know.) At some point, you realize that you can save a lot of sweat, pain, and exhaustion by hiring a moving company for at least some of the labor involved. 

Well, you can take the same approach to content creation. Brainstorming ideas and polishing them into little jewels of persuasion can eat up a ton of time, keeping you from other necessary work while leaving you with double vision and a headache. A freelance copywriter can produce much of the content you need at a professional skill level. You know where I'm going with this, right? If you want to enjoy a speedier, less stressful, more successful marketing campaign, contact me today and move that content creation burden in my direction!

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

How to Get the Best Results From Your Freelance Copywriter

So you've finally decided to outsource your marketing content creation headaches to a freelance copywriter. Maybe you don't feel confident in your own skills in this area, or maybe you'd rather focus on what you do best in your business. Whatever the reason, you'll probably be glad you offloaded this time-consuming, brain-draining, expertise-requiring task. But you can't assume that simply engaging a copywriter's services will guarantee satisfaction with the final result, regardless of the writer's skill, experience, and reputation. Let's look at some important steps you can take to put yourself and your freelance talent on the same page, so to speak.

Make Sure Your Copywriter Understands Your Brand

The most brilliant marketing content in. the world may not suit your brand, like a stunning dress that simply can't be made to fit you properly. Your content needs to speak in a particular voice that matches your brand voice. What should your brand voice sound like? You and your marketing strategy team need to figure that out before you ask a writer to produce content. If you've already got a firm grip on your brand persona, you must communicate that persona to your writer during those initial conversations. Don't assume that your writer possesses some magical telepathic ability to convey your brand voice. Even the content you currently use for your marketing materials may not fit that voice all that well, potentially sending your writer down the wrong road as a reference source. The two of you need to discuss your brand, audience, style, and tone to eliminate any potential for confusion.

Take Advantage of Your Copywriter's Insights

Despite my 26 years as a professional writer, I occasionally land a client who wants to treat me as a glorified stenographer. They know exactly what they want and how they want it, with little interest in listening to outside opinions or insights. This is a mistake. When you hire an experienced copywriter, you're buying a lot more than just words -- you're also paying for that individual's industry knowledge, original ideas, and creative suggestions.  Hiring a copywriting veteran and then simply dictating to that expert is like engaging Wolfgang Puck and then forcing him to cook your own recipes. If you're buying expertise, make as much use of it as you can if you want value for money. Exchange ideas with your copywriter, be open to recommendations, and rely on that specialist's knowledge wherever possible.

Let Your Copywriter Start From Scratch

I once had a client who hired me for website content but not for blog content because "our web development company includes free blogging services." A couple of months later, this client sent me a pile of incomprehensible word salad from the company in question -- article after article that made little sense or had little to do with the client's business. The client asked me whether at least some of this junk could be salvaged, and if so, how much it would cost me to fix it. I replied that I could indeed save some of it, and it would cost him exactly as much for me to fix it as it would've cost to pay me for perfect content right out of the chute.

In many cases, editing disastrous content takes more time and effort than drafting fresh content from scratch. As a result, even if your writer charges less for editing than original writing, you may still end up with a higher bill than if you'd simply let your writer start over. The only exception to this rule applies to re-concepting, of course. If you tell your writer, "This content is fine but I've decided to make this post about something completely different," you'll pay the second full fee because you're requesting a second original article. but you can avoid that frustration by making sure you know what you want before you ask for it.

Once you've taken these suggestions to heart, you should enjoy a happier, more productive working relationship with your chosen copywriter. If you haven't chosen a copywriter yet, look no further. Contact me today so we can build your company's success as a team!

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Struggling to Write That Marketing Content? Try These Productivity Joggers

Writing is hard -- and I say that as a professional writer with a quarter-century's experience under my belt. Some of the world's greatest wordsmiths have found themselves paralyzed by writer's block or otherwise unable to produce the material they need in a timely manner. Why do we struggle with this particular problem? I mean, you don't hear about people experiencing accountant's block or insurance agent's block. (Plumbers, of course, must deal with blocks of a different nature.) I think it's a combination of intimidation and time management trouble. Writing requires focused creativity for a specific period. If you don't do it regularly and efficiently, you may feel overwhelmed by its demands while also falling behind in your marketing content production quota, which only increases the perceived burden.

Fortunately, you can employ a variety of clever tricks to get yourself pumping out that materials for your website, blog, newsletter, or email marketing campaign. You don't have to resort to the drastic antics of a Friedrich Schiller, who kept stinky rotten apples in his desk drawer to inspire his creative mind. you may benefit from the following smart strategies to turbocharge your productivity.

Optimize Your Workspace

A cluttered desk area is like a cluttered mind: It makes finding specific things impossible. Those bills and tax forms only distract you from the job at hand, while constant incoming emails and online news updates help to ensure that your word processor screen remains blank. Clear all that paperwork away until you've completed your writing session. Look into "minimalist" writing apps that fill the whole screen, banishing all other electronic distractions.

Give Yourself 25 Minutes

Don't beat yourself up if you can't create for hour after hour. Research indicates that most of us can only focus on concentrated mental efforts for about 25 minutes at a time before we run out of steam. Franscesco Cirillo responded to this challenge by creating the Pomodoro technique, named after the tomato-shaped timer he sells as part of his online productivity program. But you can try a basic version of this technique using any handy timer that will alert you at the 25-minute mark. Set the timer, think and work as hard as you can for 25 minutes, and then stop and take a break when the alarm goes off. You'll keep your mind refreshed and feel less intimidated by that next session.

Set Yourself Free

Many writers and non-writers alike feel as if every sentence they set down must be a shining jewel. But if you've ever seen gems in the natural form, they're pretty rough; they need plenty of cutting and polishing before they make their way into fine jewelry. if you insist on creating a perfect phrase before you can move on to the next phrase, you'll probably just get stuck. So stop worrying about spelling, grammar, or flow. Just bang out a draft that you can polish later so at least you'll have something to polish. (Ray Bradbury famously posted a note above his typewriter that read DON'T THINK.) If the beginning of that blog post stumps you, then don't start at the beginning -- write any part of the article that you've got rattling around in your head. That bit will help you figure out the earlier and later bits, and before you know it you'll be done.

I hope these tips prove useful for you. If you still can't muster the time, energy, or creativity to produce a steady stream of marketing content on your own, you can always enlist my services. Contact me today so we can get started!

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Celebrate Independence Day by Building Your Personal Brand

Independence day, a.k.a. the Fourth of July, can mean more than just the date of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. You might see it as a day to celebrate everything America stands for, a time to bring friends and family members together, and/or a welcome day off for fun and sun. (If you're a pet owner or someone who values a good night's sleep, you may view it as a time for shaking your fist angrily at the fireworks-illuminated clouds.) 

If you've stopped working for someone else to establish and run your own business, Independence day may have its own special meaning for you. In fact, I first started working as a full-time freelancer so close to the Fourth that I traditionally celebrate my anniversary as an independent contractor on this date. Even if you work with a national or international franchise, you may take pride in your status as an independent representative. But ask yourself this question: How much effort does that mega-corporation spend marketing you as opposed to marketing their enterprise?

I've worked with many independent representatives of major brands, from the leading insurance providers and realty firms to janitorial services and long-term care companies. They come to me with pretty much the same complaint along the general lines of, "The company I represent has all the marketing it'll ever need, and none of it helps me differentiate myself from the thousands of other reps selling the same products or services." The blog posts, print marketing collateral, and other materials the franchise gives them are all cookie-cutter templates with maybe a small corner dedicated to the "independent" rep. 

If this frustration applies to you, what's the solution I usually suggest? You need to create your own personal brand -- for instance, "John Doe, Your Healthcare Concierge" instead of "John doe, Your Local ABC Insurance rep." ABC insurance has all the visibility it could ever need and want. What you need and want is to promote your own business, not theirs. You also want to build a whole marketing platform around this personal brand, including a website, blog, social media array, and print marketing strategy.

This approach offers a ton of advantages. For starters, you don't have to get approval from Big Brother, Inc. on every little piece of personal marketing you want to implement. It's your brand, and you can market it however you like. Additionally, by throwing the focus on you and your own brand, you relegate the franchise to your line of products and services -- which means that if you want to add more products, services, and referrals from multiple providers under the umbrella of your personal brand, who's to stop you? You're now free to offer a wider range of solutions to your target market than ever before. That's independence!

I can't think of a more fitting holiday to embark on this exciting new career phase. Best of all, you already know a skilled, experienced professional copywriter who can help you craft the content for your personal brand. In addition to creating that written content for you, I can also connect you with top-quality webmasters, digital marketing providers, logo designers, and other marketing experts. Contact me so we can make your personal Independence Day a reality!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Two Smartest Ways to Pay for Marketing Content

At some point or other, many of us see the value in offloading a difficult or time-consuming task to a professional who specializes in that task. I could do my taxes (for better or for worse), but I don't -- I let a CPA do it so I can enjoy an optimal outcome with no sweat. I could learn how to fix my car, but I'd rather let a skilled technician do it so I can feel confident about taking that car on the road. 

My copywriting clients come to me for similar reasons. They don't feel good about their own writing skills, or they can't spare the time to write their own content, or they simply can't stand writing at all. You might have the same struggles, leading you to ponder the prospect of hiring a professional to handle your written marketing content creation. But if you want to make sure you get what you're paying for, you need to understand which payment processes will give you the best bang for your buck. Allow me to suggest the following two smart options.

Per-Project Rates

You've probably seen freelance creative types who charge by the hour for their services. On the surface, this method seems sensible enough. The freelancer gets paid for the amount of time they put in, no more and no less. The problem is: How do you know what the final price tag will be? Your freelancer might toss out a vague estimate, only to break the bad news that they spent more time on the project than anticipated so would you mind forking over some more dough? Additionally, if you've never worked with a particular writer before, you have no idea how quickly or slowly that writer works -- in which case, you could receive some nasty sticker shock at the end of the day.

A writer who charges flat per-project rates can give you exactly what you want at exactly the price originally quoted, with no monkey business. A sales letter will cost you a flat $X, while writing for a five-page website will cost you $Y and a set of blog articles will cost you $Z. This approach offers three major benefits. First, you can actually budget for what you need. Second, your payment amount has nothing to do with how fast or efficient your writer happens to be that week. Third, if you're a marketing agency, you can simply roll that number into a larger bid, marking it up to suit your preferences, and know that your copywriter will deliver the goods at that set price.

Monthly Retainers

Flat per-project rates may make infinite sense when you know exactly what kind of marketing content you need. But what if your needs vary unpredictably from month to month? What if you suddenly decide you need some kind of writing that wasn't listed on the per-project "menu?" What if you'd rather just drop X amount of money each month to keep a writer on call instead of processing a fresh invoice for each and every job that comes up?

That's where a monthly retainer can come to your rescue. In a typical monthly retainer agreement, you might pony up one lump sum at the beginning of the month to lock in your copywriter's availability for any combination of marketing content jobs, including items that don't quite fit the standard list of fare. Yes, you'll be paying your writer by the hour, but the number of hours is capped right from the beginning, with only one invoice to mess with. If you need more work than that retainer covers, you can then purchase more.

Anyway, those are the two marketing content payment methods that make the most sense to me. Not coincidentally, they're also the two payment methods I offer as a professional freelance copywriter. Contact me today to learn more about how you can get top-quality content without paying top dollar!