Your website today is truly your virtual office. It’s the place where a prospect is first introduced to your business and your product or service. Your content can make or break that first impression.
Here are certain key skills to look for in your content marketing advocate. Your content writer’s main job is to:
- Be your brand advocate and promote your business with fresh content.
- Write compelling copy that convinces and converts prospects and retains existing customers.
- Increase your sales with messaging that motivates your customers to buy from you.
- Ensure that your content is easily indexed by search engines.
- Help you find new clients, new leads with effective lead generation techniques through content marketing. A good content marketer will be thinking of new ways to generate business, attract leads, prospects with the help of excellent content be it in the form of a webinar, the right eBook or whitepaper.
Your content writer should be versatile enough to able to write for different audiences and prepare different types of content marketing collateral such as:
- Email newsletters
- Lead generation collateral such as eBooks, webinars
#1. Passion for Writing and Selling
Your ideal content writer should be able to get into the mind of your customer and know their key motivators.
Here are some essential areas that an excellent content writer will have mastered:
- The art of crafting a powerful headline.
- The skill of creating perfect calls to actions as well as the skill of knowing to avoid content mistakes that cost valuable conversions.
- The skill to create kick-ass landing pages that convert every time.
- They should know how to speak to what the copywriting world calls “key motivators”. A good copywriter is one who can identify and speak to the key motivators such as fear, greed, guilt and pain.
- It’s a no-brainer that your content writer needs to have the language skills to write error-free copy and these days it’s important from the seo perspective as well. Copy that has a lot of grammatical errors is instantly pulled out by the Panda filter as spam. Of-course the main reason is to have a professional looking site that is not sloppy.
#2. SEO Copywriting Techniques
In these days, you might as well be a dinosaur if your content is not easily searchable. With Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, the last thing you want to do is to have your content banished from the online world! it’s as important to know what works as it is to know what doesn’t. An ideal content writer will have thorough SEO knowledge and will also keep abreast of future SEO trends. Search engine optimization is a rapidly evolving field and your writer should be able to:
- Create fresh content that search engines haven’t indexed before.
- Research effective long-tail as well as head keywords and synonyms.
- Have metadata knowledge so that each page has the appropriate title, description and keywords.
- Know and use seo tools that enhance rankings.
- Know basic html tags, especially the tags that help with increasing a site’s visibility such as alt tags for images and creating the right anchor text.
- Keep up with the latest search engine updates, various filters such as Panda, Penguin and other algorithm changes that Google comes up with to enforce content standards.
#3. Social Media Strategies and Community Building Skills
Web content and social media these days go hand-in-hand and having a content writer that knows how to incorporate social media into your content marketing mix is crucial. The ideal writer should know how to:
- Write content that engages your audience so that they are compelled to share with their network for added exposure.
- Engage prospects and customers alike so they come back for more, subscribe, sign up for that eBook or webinar
- Encourage a dialogue and build a community with lots of interaction in the form of comments, tweets, email feedback.
The days of passive marketing are over and we’ve entered the golden age of customer interaction, social media and community building.
#4. Site Architect and Content Strategist Role
Unless you are a large corporate site, the chances are that your web content writer is also going to double up as your site architect. A good writer should be your content strategist and should prepare your site with the user in mind for optimum ease of access and navigability. Content strategists need to have the big picture in mind and an in-depth understanding of how content can be exploited to it’s fullest potential. They also advise their clients on all content matters including identifying gaps in content, identifying the key overall messaging, the UX vision for your site and taxonomies.
#5. Knowledge of Analytics
Your site metrics are an important indicator of how well your content is being received. Your metrics will inform you of everything content related such as:
- Content popularity
- Search terms that are most popular
- Shared content
- Content value
- Page views and bounce rate for your top content
- Which content is ranking well and driving traffic through search engines
Good content writers know how to interpret site metrics so that:
- they create more of the content that’s converting, optimizing and getting your business more leads.
- they use Analytics tools to split test different versions of a page or call to action to see which version is better at converting or gaining more leads.
Other nice-to-haves include:
- Image editing knowledge
- CSS and site layout code
- Knowledge and experience with different content management systems
- Basic web design skills
In this market, what you pay for is what you get and although a content marketer with all these skills doesn’t come cheap you are guaranteed rich dividends in the form of better ROI and ultimately better cost per sale metrics, more business, more leads and of-course more prosperity.
Frederic Gonzalo says
Great post, Gazalla.
Did you attend the recent “Content Marketing Success Summit” that was put on by the folks at Social Media Examiner? You certainly summarized in this post some of the gems that were shared in various presentations.
I think all your five points are extremely valid, but I particularly focus on #2 which is ensuring there is a SEO emphasis. Knowing the right keywords is akin to knowing what triggers appeal to your target audience while helping the site getting found naturally by search engines. And that, after all, is was any good copywriting is all about, because if people can’t find your content, then what was the point to begin with, right?
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Gazalla Gaya says
No, Frederic. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend this summit. Since it was hosted by Social Media Examiner, I’m sure it must have been well attended especially since SME is so well supported by the content marketing and social media communities.
I agree that SEO skills are key to increasing traffic and business. Thanks for your feedback and support.
Adi Gaskell says
Thought provoking post as always Gazalla. One to put out there for you and other readers.
Do you think it’s enough for content producers to just produce the content now?
I ask because I have given a few talks to journalists recently and the crux of the talk has been the importance of building brands and communities around your content.
So in other words, the content producer has a content of people that regularly engage with their content. That must be much more valuable to a company than a great writer with no audience.
What do you think?
Adi Gaskell recently posted..The Palchinsky rules of social business
Gazalla Gaya says
Yes, Adi. I think that community building is crucial and that’s why skill #3 of someone who can build a community is essential. In today’s climate of social media and constant interaction it’s all about having a conversation with your customer and you cannot push your brand anymore. Engagement is the key force that drives sales. Thanks for your constant support and feedback
You made me thoughtful, Gazalla, thanks 😉 I’m no full time content writer but I do have a blog so I am kinda creating and curating content for a specific audience. With your ideas here I found some inspiration of how to improve my writing.
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Gazalla Gaya says
Thanks for stopping by! All the best with your blog.
Frampton Martin says
Content’s kingship seems to have increased to a more sustainable extend and so with it it doesn’t matter how well you know about content writing, unless there will passion for writing you cannot come up with something actually engaging. Passion is neither an art nor a subject or process to learn but an inner will which many even has to find out. In latest SEO trends content has a important role to play with information and even with search engine ranking.
Great post and good points you have mentioned Gazalla.
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Ruth Zive says
I agree with all of your points – I would add one more. The ability to use a versatile ‘voice’ or point of view to accommodate the particular client’s interests and brand. Some writers don’t have that ability to shift gears and adapt their copy to the tone of the industry or vertical they are representing. The entertainment space, for instance, uses a much different tone than the technology space.
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Gazalla Gaya says
That’s an excellent point – thanks for adding this in – I actually get that a lot when I go from client to client. They want to know if I can write in a style that best represents their brand. I also have to use a different approach when I’m writing for a large corporate site vs. a small business.
Lianne-carla Savage says
Great article with loads to take away. Thank you for sharing. When it comes to content marketing there’s a lot you need to keep in mind and this is great to refer back to to make sure things are on track.
Maruf Ahmed says
I am from Bangladesh. I read your article and this is very helpful for me. Thank you Gazalla.