Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Content Marketing: How Sales-Oriented Should Your Content Be?

Content Marketing - How Sales OrientedIn the world of online marketing, two very different crafts are often confused: content writing, and copy writing. Although they are mostly confused in name only, sometimes the actual text gets mixed up too. One especially guilty group when it comes to this mistake is article marketers who often introduce unnecessary sales copy into their content writing. On the flip side, generic content is frequently put into sales copy by accident, drastically reducing its effectiveness.

Online marketing success demands an ability to differentiate between the two. While copy and content both have their proper places, it is rare that they go together, and it can be quite detrimental to a promotional article if they are used improperly. This simple guide explains how to balance sales copy and promotional content, and where to use each of them in your marketing efforts.

Incorporating Sales Content into Articles

It is best to keep direct sales, and sales related talk to a minimal throughout any promotional article. Although the purpose of a promotional article is not necessarily to inform the reader, it is certainly not to sell to them straight away either. If the reader is sold on a product right there in the article, where will they click to buy the product?

Save the sales copy for your landing or sales page. You can always incorporate pre-sales copy into a promotional article, but even then it shouldn't have an overwhelming presence. The purpose of a promotional article is to achieve one thing – get the reader to your landing page with a slight intention to buy in their minds. If your articles are not accomplishing this, you need to work on flow and content, not sales copy.

Where to Start the Pre-Selling:

The basic structure of any article, or really any written text, is introduction-discussion-conclusion. The first section of your promotional article should introduce a problem, a situation, or an opportunity to your reader. Once you have established this, move on to the body of the text. What is going on in this situation? How could this opportunity translate to the life of the reader? Where are the best places to find these opportunities?

Once you have established and discussed all that you can, introduce a potential solution for the reader; your solution. Do not jump to selling the idea straight away -- that is the job of your sales copy -- but push the reader slightly so they feel like moving towards it. It is not your job to sell them in the article, only to get them to click on your link.

The Transition from Pre-Sell to Actual Selling:

Your content should work in tandem with your copy to make the sale. Before you start marketing any product through a promotional article, familiarize yourself with the sales page and landing pages that you will be leading readings to, to the point where you can seamlessly incorporate their points into your writing.

People generally love familiarity and trust, not unknown situations. When you can design an article to convince a potential customer into moving to your sales page, and have them arrive there full of confidence and intrigue, you have found article marketing success.

Click here for your copy of my ebook "Straightforward Strategies for E-commerce Success" a great guide full of ideas and practical tips to get you started and on the path to e-commerce success!

Things to Consider When Creating a Content Plan for Your Blog

Things to consider when creating a content plan for your blogCarefully preparing the content for your blog will put you ahead of others in your industry in a huge way. Many bloggers will only blog when inspiration strikes them instead of having a regular content plan. Those who are serious however and want to create a money-making, high value blog, will always start with a plan. Here are some important things to keep in mind when creating your plan.

Understand Who Your Audience Is

Part of running a great blog with compelling content is to really know your audience inside and out. You need to know what words will make an impact with them and which ones they will respond to. Also, you need to know their general worries, fears, loves, and interests, and how they relate to your products and/or services. The more you can speak their language, the more drawn to your products they will be.

Know Your Industry

The niche you’re involved in has a past, present, and future. It’s important to understand the history of your niche as well as who has been making an impact. Knowing about your industry will keep you on the forefront of everything which can help you improve the content you create and that will take you to a whole new level.

What Seasons, News, and Events Impact Your Niche?

Keeping an eye on upcoming events and being aware enough to jump on things that have just happened are important components in creating an excellent content plan. Whether you blog about events, accomplishments and happenings in your own life, or about a business industry, it doesn’t matter. Keep it relevant by matching it to things your audience cares about that are currently taking place.

Consider the Impact of Newsletters, Email, and Social Media

In order to be successful today, your blogging content has to work in concert with newsletters, email, and social media content. You cannot plan your blog content without thinking about how you will promote the complimentary content. It’s no longer good enough to just write it and assume people will come – instead, it’s important to understand how it all works together.

What Other Pages Will Your Blog Have?

Your blog needs to have more than just a blog page. There are important pages that you will need also in order to look very professional. Potential pages to choose from may be:

      • About
      • Contact
      • Guest posting information
      • Advertising information
      • Media
      • Services/product
      • Archived posts
      • Tools and resources
      • Subscribe
      • Start here
      • Privacy policy
      • Terms of service
      • Disclosures page

Not only are these pages important, but they also provide more room to add in copy that is needed to attract search engine traffic. Decide in advance what pages you’ll have so that you can plan the content for each page before everything goes online.

Categories Are Important But Don’t Have Too Many

Once you’ve determined the pages you need outside of the main blog page, it’s important to determine which categories you’ll have on your blog. Limiting the number of categories for your blog is also important; stick with somewhere between 9 and 15. The more you can narrow down your subject matter and categories, the more focused your blog posts will be and the easier they will be to find for your readers.

What Type of Content Schedule Will You Choose?

When creating the content plan for your blog, be sure to choose how often you will be posting content. This is very important to know ahead of time as you can then create an editorial calendar based on the products and services you want to promote at certain times.

What Are the Major and Minor Keywords That Define Your Niche?

Studying keywords within your niche can help you come up with categories as well as subjects which you plan on blogging about. These subjects can also help determine what forms the content will appear in. For example, you may want to interview big names within your niche. These interviews could be suited for a podcast while a “how to” post might be better to appear as a video on your blog.

Without a plan of action to move your blog forward, it’s easy to get stuck only blogging when the whim strikes. This is one of the biggest reasons why most blogs do not produce an income or lead to much success. Blogging with purpose and focus will make all the difference, and that starts with a content plan.

Common Mobile Marketing Mistakes

Common mobile marketing mistakesThe landscape of internet use is dramatically changing. Mobile sales are outstripping PC sales, over half of social media users are doing so from mobile devices, and approximately half of your audience is using mobile devices to read their emails. Because of this rapid and substantial change many marketers are making serious mistakes when approaching their mobile audience. Thankfully, you can avoid these issues if you just think ahead.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Creating Complicated Opt-in Processes

You can always get more information from customers later, but creating an easy and streamlined opt-in process greatly appeals to mobile users. When a customer is using a finger instead of a keyboard to click boxes and type in information, they will become frustrated if the procedure is too complicated or lengthy. Make it easy; remember that less is more.

Not Ensuring Links Work for Mobile

When you send any email link it needs to be able to be read on a mobile device because you need to assume that’s where readers will be viewing it. Can the user click through easily? Does the website work well using any device? Can the user get around the navigation?

Not Being Targeted in Your Actions

When you send out a message or put out content, know why you’re doing it and who will be seeing it. You can use your email and website metrics to determine which devices your audience uses so that you can ensure that any device can access your info.

Not Understanding Laws, Rules, and Regulations

Like with most things to do with marketing, there are laws, rules, and regulations that need to be followed. Ensure that you become familiar with these laws so that you don’t break any of them and make things more difficult for yourself than they need to be. Opt-in regulations and privacy concerns are important to most people so they should be to you too.

Using Too Much Text for the Space

Remember the size of most mobile devices is about 3.3 inches of space. If that small space is overrun with text and your user has to scroll sideways forever to read all the content, they’re going to get frustrated and give up fast. There are ways to optimize your content within the code to ensure that it automatically adjusts based on the device your audience is using.

Not Creating Ongoing Value for Customers

As important as access is, creating value is equally essential. If you’ve created an app for example, if you don’t want to lose your customer, one way or another you’ll need to remind them about the app by offering updates, extensions, and more. The value of a long-term customer cannot be underestimated so keep them engaged with your product.

Building an App without a Plan for Marketing

Apps are a great way to get involved in the mobile marketing landscape. That being said however, creating an app is like creating a whole other business and it comes with new responsibilities. You not only need to create the app in a way that people enjoy using it, but you also need a marketing plan if you want it to be successful.

Not Having Clear Calls to Action

Once you know the purpose of a message that you want to send out, it’s imperative that you craft clear calls to action. Sometimes you may need to test different CTAs to find out which ones work best for your audience.

Treating Mobile as a Separate Entity

While mobile is a huge platform and should be considered by anyone who wants to market online today, it’s also important to remember that mobile devices are simply tools for users to access your content. Much like different browsers, different devices have different code requirements. Thankfully though, by using HTML5 and responsive coding, you can make your websites work for all devices seamlessly.

Avoiding these common mobile marketing mistakes will help you become a winner in the online marketing game. Don’t ignore the statistics of a changing environment when bringing your marketing campaigns into the present. Gear yourself towards mobile or you’re going to be leaving money on the table.