In a cyber-world dominated by dancing cat videos, celebrity melt-downs and Google knows what else, how is a modern digital marketer to win the battle for attention? You need more than just a well-written article in this game. Here are five simple yet wonderfully effective steps to writing and marketing the best copy for your brand…
1. Use your headline words wisely
A headline that doesn’t sum up what a piece is about has the same effect as a letter that’s addressed to someone else: it’s quickly forgotten about. You only have a few keywords to draw your reader in with, so make them count by being selective and keeping the headline as punchy as possible. While clever puns and artsy sentences may sound good, it’s pretty futile if the reader doesn’t, well… read it. Plus, with a whole internet’s-worth of hilarious ‘memes’ to laugh at, rarely do web-surfers have the patience to work out the semantics of a complicated – albeit clever – pun before reading an article. Keep your headline short, simple and to the point.
2. Be engaging
Just like tweets and Facebook statuses, rarely do blog posts, articles or infographics have a long shelf life. In fact, “a tweet generally has a lifespan of only a few minutes, and the average Facebook post has a lifespan of just a few hours”, says David Devore from the Content Marketing Institute. The key to crafting noticeable content with a longer life span is to make it highly engaging and, in turn, shareable. If you can create interesting copy that demands to be shared, you’re onto a winner. The result? Boosted brand awareness, more traffic and a better search engine ranking.
3. Optimise your content
Get your website onto the coveted page one of search engine results pages (SERPs) and your content will draw in more traffic. Search engine giant, Google, has rolled out all sorts of animal-related search engine optimisation (SEO) algorithms over the years. Indeed, 2011 saw the launch of ‘Panda’, which demoted ‘spammy’, keyword-stuffed content; then along waddled ‘Penguin’ in 2012 to zap the websites that used unnatural backlinks to crawl their way up SERPs. Finally, 2013 welcomed the arrival of ‘Hummingbird’. In short, Hummingbird produces search results that reflect the full semantic meaning of long-tail, more conversational queries and demotes websites that don’t provide much value to readers. In summary, to please this zoo of animal algorithms, write informative copy that is primarily tailored to the needs of the reader, and then pepper it with a few naturally-placed keywords as a secondary objective.
4. Spice up your content
Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for your content too. Present your information using an eclectic mix of infographics, blog posts, news pieces and product reviews and you’re more likely to keep your readers hooked. Additionally, showcasing your content on different platforms will open it up to wider audiences. Marketing professional Heidi Cohen, picks up on both of these points, saying that the “most effective B2B content marketers use an average of 15 content marketing tactics and 7 social media platforms”. Indeed, not everyone likes to look at infographics, for example, to view information online, nor do they all like to use the same social media platform to track down material that interests them. Spice up how and where you display your content for your best shot at boosting your traffic and awareness of your brand.
5. Share it
Once you’ve crafted the copy you’d like to showcase to the world, start sharing it on social media sites. Too many brands/people fall flat at this stage by acting like robots, spamming the internet with random links. Instead, focus on building your brand’s presence by interacting with social media users who fall into your target audience; get involved in conversations and share relevant, interesting content with them. A couple of hours of social networking per month aren’t likely to make much of a difference to your traffic; you should set aside a couple of hours each day to share your content and your brand with other social media users. Once you’ve done this, you should notice a steady incline in your traffic.
Now watch that bad-boy copywriting project go viral…