The Writer's Resource: Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Becoming a Better Writer

Want to Make Boring Content Less Yawn Worthy? Mastering the Art of Storytelling

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_175052972Every day, users are bombarded with content, consisting, on average, of more than 100,000 words in total, says Digital Marketing Philippines. If you want to stick in your readers’ minds, your content needs to stand out — and one of the best ways do this is to tell a story. People love hearing stories as it allows them to relate and connect to the content, something that is difficult to do with statistics and data. However, to be successful, you need to master the art of telling stories.

1. Talk About Something Important to You

If you want readers to care about your story, you need to give them a reason; for instance, may like to start off by explaining why you decided to write the piece. HubSpot has these ideas for content:

  • News from your industry or on a matter that affects your target audience.
  • A case study detailing a customer experience (real or fictional).
  • A real-life story from you company talking about a mistake you made or how you overcame a challenge.

2. Help Readers Identify

To be memorable and sharable and to incentivize your audience to take action, a great story should have the power to amaze, inspire, and spark an emotion in your readers. To achieve this, you must create relatable characters, perhaps based on buyer personas and experiencing similar problems as those your audience face. This will allow you to connect to readers on a level that goes beyond simply being a customer.

Your characters should pass through a struggle or tension of some kind, which they resolve at the end of the story. Avoid being too obvious about the lesson learned; it is much better to allow readers to interpret the story on their own. This will show them that you respect their intelligence and will lead them to make their own decisions about how to engage with your company, without feeling coerced into a sale.

3. Relate Your Stories Directly to Your Brand

Whether you choose talk about about a real event or something completely fictional, you need to relate your story back to your brand to give value to this content and to gain the trust of your readers. If you use the perspective of someone in your company, use the story to reflect your core values. If you tell the story through the eyes of a consumer, write about how your products or services impacted this person.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Elements of Fiction Writing

Just as important as the story itself is your style of writing. This comprises of your choice of words, the structure and buildup of the story, and your personality and tone of voice. You can best understand the importance of style by reading fiction and studying what makes a great story.

Unfortunately, simply knowing the elements of fiction writing does not mean you will be able to utilize them effectively yourself. Storytelling is a creative writing skill that many marketers lack. If you want to grip your readers throughout your story, it is almost always better to hire a professional writer for the job.

There are many different ways to create content, of which storytelling is just one. Whereas it is unnecessary to turn all your pieces into stories, it can be highly beneficial for your content marketing efforts to use at least some of your posts to tell stories, avoiding boring content that loses your readers’ attention before they have had time to convert.

6 Tips for Writing Good Blog Titles That Your Increase Open Rates

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_49287250Research has discovered that although 80 percent of users read the titles of blog posts, only 20 percent read the content that follows, reports Wishpond. To increase the readership of your content, therefore, good blog titles are key. Rather than relying on your intuition to create engaging headlines, base your titles around concepts that have been proven to work.

1. Offer New Information or a Fresh Perspective

Everyone is looking to learn something new and expand their knowledge. Use your headlines to express excitement and interest, such as breaking news, to offer exclusive advice from industry experts, or to challenge common beliefs and spark controversy.

2. Catch Attention with Numbers

People enjoy reading numbered lists: they are easy to follow and store to memory. If you want people to remember all the points in your post, stick to no more than 10. However, an alternative strategy is to use obscure numbers to grab attention.

3. Tell Readers How They Will Benefit from Your Content

It should be clear from the title that your content has your audience’s needs in mind and that users will discover something interesting and useful if read on. You can achieve this, for instance, by using trigger words, such as “tips,” “how,” “essential,” “why,” and “easy,” by framing an intriguing question, or by promising to solve a pressing issue. Plus, you can heighten the impact of your title by addressing your audience directly including at least one “you” or “your.”

4. Keep Titles Short and Concise

For social sharing purposes, number of characters is more important than number of words. Try to keep to 117 characters or less, as in Twitter, the 23 characters of your 140 allowance is taken up by the URL and space between the title and link, explains HubSpot. Google calculates by pixels rather than characters, meaning that if you want your title to appear in full on results pages, you need to consider the size of characters rather than the number.

5. Avoid Being Pure Clickbait

Content that leads conversions needs to do far more than simply procure clicks. Good blog titles accurately represent content. This ensures that those who click links are actually interested in what you have to say and will read all the way down to your call-to-action.

6. Include Keywords

It is beneficial to use at least one keyword in your title to improve SEO, therefore improving the chances that your audience even find you content. However, you must use keywords in moderation. Remember, you are writing for your audience, not search engines, and titles that are unclear, longwinded, or lack proper grammar will probably receive very few clicks, even if they do succeed in reaching the top of search engine results.

It is often easier to write good blog titles once you have finished creating your content. However, just because you leave writing headlines until last by no means makes titles unimportant. Spend plenty of time thinking about what title will fit your content, and you will improve both your open rates and conversions.

5 Copywriting Tips That Result in Conversions

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_75199219Many marketers are stuck in the mindset that copywriting is about selling products, services, or their business as a whole by using descriptive language and plenty of fluff. With so many alternatives available at the click of a button, readers dismiss companies that are only interested in making sales and increasing profits. Prospects want to see that businesses have their needs in mind and are able to offer a unique experience. Good copywriting embodies these ideas, and you can achieve the same by following these tips.

1. Elicit Strong Emotions

Storytelling and copywriting go hand in hand. It is much easier to maintain prospects’ attention by telling them a story than by offering a sales pitch. When you write about people that customers can relate to, you activate mirror neurons in the brain that enable readers to experience the same sensations for themselves. However, for this to work, you need to know your audience and what they feel strongly about, which you can discover through psychographic research.

2. Consider Your Readers’ Point of View

Pushing your own needs or spending a long time talking about yourself in your copy is unproductive. Readers soon become bored and navigate away from your site. Instead, think about why a particular course of action could benefit your readers and how your solutions could solve their problems or generally make their life better. Think about what your audience want, and write about how you can give this to them.

3. Emphasize Experience Over Monetary Savings

Most businesses find it more effective to sell an experience than financial savings, found researchers at Stanford University. Experiences help consumers enhance their connection with your product or service, which subsequently leads to a higher number of sales than simply the knowledge that buyers will be cutting costs. Use your copy to demonstrate the value consumers gain and what they can achieve by making a purchase.

4. Be Specific and Concise

To persuade readers and ensure they take action, the meaning of ever sentence needs to be instantly obvious. For instance, “hundreds” or “thousands” sounds exaggerated, whereas an exact number provides you with credibility, says Enchanting Marketing.

The same principles apply to your call-to-action. A CTA is no place to be subtle — it should be obvious exactly what you want your audience to do next. Cut “ifs,” “whens,” and other forms of politeness that leave cause to doubt and dive straight in with actionable verbs.

5. Focus on Your Word Choices

Omit all flowery adjectives and superlatives from your copywriting — these mean little and lack persuasive. It is far better to focus on strong verbs backed up with facts and statistics. In addition, try to naturally insert what Copyblogger names as the five most persuasive words in the English language: you, free, because, instantly, and new.

Even the smallest change to phrases can make a huge difference to conversions. To find ideal phrasing, you need to measure the success of your copy and repeat only what proves to work.

Keep your customers and prospects in mind when copywriting and you will see results. Through trial and error, practice with the above tips until you develop the perfect formula for your business.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock 

Picking the Right Tone and Style For Your Content

shutterstock 216810679Creating content involves much more than simply putting words in the empty space.  For some, it's a craft or art form, while others consider it to be just another part of their daily routine.  If you really want to create content that delivers your message in a way that strikes the right chord within your audience, it's important to mold and shape it like it really is a work of art.

Two of the most important components of any written content are tone and style.  These are often misunderstood by writers who are either just starting out or who haven't taken the time to research their craft thoroughly before leaping into the writers' pool with both feet.  Style doesn't mean that you are dotting your i's and crossing your t's to conform with a Manual of Style or set of writer's guidelines, and the tone of your content isn't defined by a "tone of voice" like an emphatic, emotional, or indifferent way of speaking.

Tone: What It Is & How to Choose It

The tone of your writing sets the stage for your content.  Similar to the style, tone can give the impression of informal, highly technical, businesslike, or casually conversational communication.  Consistency in tone (and style) can help you establish a "voice" for your brand, company, and overall image, and this consistency is invaluable in connecting with your audience because it gives them a familiar voice of authority once they've identified with and acclimated to the tone you use in your content.

The tone you choose should be distinctive and set your brand apart from others, singularly associating you with the rhythm and flow of your written words.  When you develop a tone for your writing that readers can easily recognize, it enables them to feel connected to you on a more personal level, which aids in trust building and establishing stronger relationships with those you are attempting to reach.

When choosing your tone, you will want to first figure out what you want to say, the impression you want to convey, and the image you want to present.  You can incorporate your mission, values, purpose, or goals in your tone to make it more singular and unique, and you should also imbue your tone with personality to give it life and individuality.  Another key to choosing tone is to remember that your readers don't speak the same language you do when it comes to formality, technical jargon, and industry terminology.  Keep your communications simple, straightforward, and easy to read and comprehend.

Style: How Formal Do You Want to Be?

Formal writing styles are generally defined by the point of view used, such as first, second, or third person.  First person is delivered from the writer's personal perspective, using "I" and "we."  An example of this would be, "I am thrilled to be able to share what we've done over the past six weeks, and we know you'll be looking forward to our innovative changes.  I can't wait to share my accomplishments!."

Second person is less personal and uses the pronoun "you" to identify to whom the content is directed.  Second person is illustrated in this way, "You will be excited to see the changes accomplished over the past six weeks, and the innovative changes will make a huge difference in your understanding of our company's accomplishments."

Third person is the least formal of the three styles, and creates the most distance between the writer and reader.  An example of third person is, "The changes accomplished by the company in the past six weeks are innovative and have a far-reaching impact.  For a start-up, it has become a dominant company in the industry in a short period of time."

When you choose the tone and style of your content, you will want to pick the ones that are best suited for the image your are attempting to convey and that will deliver your message to your audience in a way that enables you to create a strong connection and lasting impression almost immediately.  Maya Angelou once said that people may not remember exactly what was written, but they do remember exactly how it made them feel.  You want to evoke that feeling in your audience because emotion is the driving force behind most decisions we make on a daily basis, whether they are what to read, what to wear, where to eat, or what to purchase.  Capture and conquer those emotions by drawing them out with your content.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock 

Mastering the Call-to-Action: How to Write Content That Converts

shutterstock 80577727If your content doesn't include a call-to-action, you are leaving lots of money on the table that will never make it into your pocket until those CTAs are put into place. Simply put, a call-to-action tells your readers to do exactly what you'd like them to. And if your copy is intriguing enough, your readers will have no problem taking action. While focusing on conversions during CTA creation is essential, your copy doesn't need to be "salesy" in order to be effective. Here's how to create balanced calls-to-action that result in new customers, newsletter subscribers, and even brand ambassadors for your business:

Create a Personable Experience

Let's say that you're promoting an eBook about do-it-yourself oil changes and you've written an article about the importance of regular oil changes for a vehicle. Instead of ending your piece with "Those interested in learning more can click here buy this eBook," it's better to say something like "Click here to buy this eBook and become a master oil changer!"

Unlike the first instance, the second instance speaks directly to the reader as if they're a personal friend. It also tells a small story that tells readers exactly what they can expect after buying and reading the eBook. And in the end, this personable experience takes readers beyond a basic pitch and creates an engaging and compelling reason for them to buy.

Provide Directions

Most people on the Internet are busy doing things like checking their email, surfing websites, and participating in social networks all at the same time, so chances are that they won't want to spend the time trying to figure out how to actually take advantage of your offer after they have read about it. Telling your readers where to click, explaining when to join a live session, and providing links to in-depth instructions when necessary can noticeably increase your conversion rates.

Go Big and Stand Out

Make sure that your call-to-actions stand out from the rest of your content so there isn't a chance that it will be missed by readers just skimming your page. In fact, a good CTA that catches the eye of readers as soon as they reach the page may find themselves more intrigued by the content that precedes it.

You can simply increase the text size or change its font to create a unique vibe, or design a button to go underneath your content that displays your call-to-action. The idea is to ensure that it's seen as an enhancement to your written content so it doesn't get eaten up by all the other words on the page.

Keep it Short and Simple

To avoid giving your CTAs a salesy feel, it's important to keep them short and simple. Tell just enough of a story to spark interest and get straight to the point by following up with an actionable demand. By simply saying "click here to buy" instead of "check out all the benefits" ensures that readers know what to expect when they do click your link, and it gives all the power to your landing page so it can do the job of selling for you. Each call-to-action you create shouldn't be any longer than just a line or two – this will ensure that you don't leave any room for fluff or desperation.

When creating your CTAs, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers and imagination living a day in their life before you start typing. This should help you identify and include specific attributes that will interest your readers and make them want to click on your offers.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock  

5 Tools to Take Your Writing to the Next Level

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock 230722495When you are writing content for the web, there is no reason that you should not turn to the web for a little help. From apps to browser plug-ins, there are tons of tools out there to help you stay focused and write top-notch content. Here are our five favorites.

1. Cliche Finder

If you write about the same topic a lot, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of language that includes way too many buzz words and tired cliches. The result is boring, unoriginal content that doesn't inspire much from your readers. To use this tool, just copy and paste your text into the box on the website, and click "Find Cliches." Any offending text will be highlighted--simple and easy.

2. Zen Writer

If distractions are causing you trouble, Zen Writer takes away all opportunities to wander away and get caught up with something other than your writing. It is an app that you install on your computer, and when it is running, it takes up your entire screen so you see nothing other than your work. It also removes all editing and formatting tools so you will not get caught up monkeying around with looks instead of words. This tool is not right for everyone, but it is excellent for procrastinators and dawdlers.

3. StayFocusd

This is a plug-in for Google Chrome that limits the amount of time you can spend on troublesome websites like YouTube, Facebook, and BuzzFeed. This is a great tool for writers who need web access to research topics (so a tool like Zen Writer is too totalitarian) but find themselves mindlessly scrolling through Top 10 lists about kittens instead of working. You set all the parameters including domains and pages and then set a limit for how much time to allow for those locations. When your designated amount of free time is up, all your specified off-limits sites will be blocked. That way, you can still take a break from time to time while not getting carried away for too long.

4. Grammarly

If you have strong ideas and great organization in your writing, but struggle with irritating things like commas, homophones, and other important but frustrating areas, Grammarly can quickly become your best friend. It will scour your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors and offer suggestions to improve your vocabulary usage and sentence structure. There are many ways to use Grammarly. It is available as a Google Chrome extension, as an add-in for Microsoft Office, or as a stand-alone online tool. Just be sure to review the suggested changes as they are all done using an algorithm and are not always accurate. 

5. The Readability Test Tool

When you have to write for a specific audience--and all marketing content demands that you do--knowing the readability of your writing is essential. Readability refers to how easily your content can be understood based on vocabulary, sentence length and structure, and syntax. Some audiences prefer content that is considered more difficult (e.g. B2B medical or legal content), while others need content to be crystal clear and simple (e.g. doctor to patient, lawyer to client). This tool gives you a score for the five most common readability indicators. This tool is great because it not only provides you with the various scores, but also what those scores mean. 

Great Content, Only Better

While tools to help you focus and refine your craft are great ways to help polish your content, remember that you still have to start with great ideas and a solid draft. Plus, none of these tools will ever replace a human eye, especially when it comes to the complexities of the English language. Use these tools to hone your writing and to learn tricky grammar rules, just do not rely on them as a substitute for careful proofreading and editing.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock  

How to Structure a Winning E-Book

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock 142681183According to a compilation of predictions from the Content Marketing Institute, "fat" content will be the focus of marketers in 2015. What, exactly, is "fat" content? Anything that is lengthy and meaty is considered fat, including white papers and e-books. If you are thinking about putting together an e-book as part of your marketing strategy this year, here are a few things you need to know to develop a winning e-book.

Choose Your Topic Carefully

When people download an e-book, they are looking for an in-depth look at a particular subject, problem, or idea. You do not want your topic to be so general that you are unable to get into detail, or so thin that you cannot justify dedicating an entire e-book to it. Consider splitting broad ideas up into more than one e-book or converting skimpy topics into a white paper or blog post. Topics can come from a variety of sources although the best always come from the readers themselves. What are they talking about on various social media feeds? What is the chatter in the blog comments? Listen carefully, and the readers will tell you exactly what information to cover.

Structure Matters

An e-book is different from most other forms of content in that it is structured in multiple chapters. Each of these chapters should be organized fairly similarly to one another to avoid a disjointed, disorganized flow of ideas. For example, you may want to start each chapter with a quote or an interesting statistic. If you do, be sure that each chapter has one and that they are formatted with the same font, color, and indentation. An e-book should also have a clickable table of contents to help readers jump around the book and easily return to parts of the book they would like to reread. 

Keep the Energy Up

Depending on the length of your e-book, your readers may not consume the entire book all in one sitting. Still, you need to keep the energy level high throughout the entire book to keep readers interested to the very end. Here are a few ways to inject enthusiasm throughout your book.

  • One Idea Per Page. HubSpot recommends sticking to one message per page to help readers focus on your content. By sticking to a single idea or message, it will be easy to understand what each page is about and decide whether or not to read it.
  • Use Headings. Just like blog posts, e-books need to be skimmable. Even though e-book readers tend to read more of the actual content than blog readers, they still want to be able to jump around and decide which sections matter the most to them.
  • Use Images. The difference between using images on blog posts and using them in e-books is that e-book images need to be more than just eye candy. Choose graphics, charts, diagrams, and photos that complement your words and help readers understand the points you are trying to make.
  • Ask Questions. People are naturally curious. When we hear a question, we have to stick around long enough to learn the answer. Copyblogger suggests using questions to pique reader interest and to get a reader's train of thought moving. 
  • Make it Meaty. Copyblogger also suggests using a lot of specific details to hold reader attention. Vague and abstract discussions can be confusing and tiresome. Instead, support your content with statistics, specific steps to completing a task, and detailed narratives about an unusual situation.

Stay Focused

Throughout the entire writing process, make sure you stay focused on your goals. You want to give readers an in-depth look at a topic while also solving their problems. At the same time, an e-book is usually part of a larger plan to draw in more qualified leads or to get more customers. Make sure the information you are providing is helpful to both the reader and the end goal, and you will have the winning formula.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock  

Creating B2C Content: 3 Things You Must Know

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock 167696645According to a study posted by the Content Marketing Institute, the top three initiatives that B2C marketers are working on are converting more website visitors, creating higher-quality content, and becoming better storytellers. These goals all point to being able to write more effectively for the Business-to-Consumer market. Here are three ways to help you connect with consumers.

1. Put the Customer First

The goal of all B2C content is, of course, to convert more website visitors into paying customers. On the other hand, if the content is just a bunch of sales pitches, nobody is going to bother reading it. Instead, the content must work to establish trust for the company or brand and to help the customer feel confident about buying from them. To do this, the content has to be useful to the reader. It has to first acknowledge some problem that a potential customer has, and then provide a solution for it.

For example, a company that sells window treatments might discover that their customers worry about choosing the right type of treatments, wonder about energy efficiency, and lack the necessary skills to do their own installations. The content could then focus on topics like tips for choosing between blinds and curtains, explaining how window treatments contribute to reducing energy costs, or the benefits of hiring a professional installer over doing it yourself. These helpful posts will show the reader that the company is knowledgeable about their trade and willing to help. It will also capture potential buyers while they are researching different products for their windows so they can be guided towards a sale.

2. Use the Right Language

In order to reach consumers, you have to choose your words carefully. Focusing on a topic like "reducing energy costs" is a good idea, but you might want to choose "reducing heating bills" or "lowering electric bills" instead because this is how most homeowners think about their energy costs. While businesses like to cut expenses, homeowners like to save money. 

You also want to be careful about how much industry jargon you use. You have to walk a fine line between explaining enough so that readers understand and not dumbing-down the content so much that people get annoyed. For example, if you are writing for an industry like heating and cooling equipment, consumers will want to make an educated purchase. However, they probably don't make purchases often enough to be familiar with all the terminology. In this case, you would probably want to take the time to explain features and components in more detail. 

On the other hand, if you are writing for an industry where people make regular and frequent purchases, they are probably already familiar with most of the complex terminology. Too many explanations will bog down the content and bore the reader. For example, most people are familiar with the different features of mobile phones, so you don't have to waste time explaining what GPS stands for or what a megapixel is.

3. Tap Into Emotions

When writing for consumers, tapping into their emotions is the key to conversions. Consumers want to hear that your products are a good fit for their lifestyle and that they are getting value for their money. Consumers also tend to make decisions alone so, unlike B2B content, you only need to capture the attention and emotions of one reader and your job is done. 

So, how can you accomplish this? Storytelling is a great way to draw in readers, especially if they can identify with the person in your story. Another great tool is humor. Making someone laugh will help the reader identify with the company or brand in a positive way. Addressing the reader's fears is another good way to get an emotional response, just be sure you then ease those fears so you look like the hero.

Know Your Reader

The fundamental message when crafting content for the B2C market is to understand the reader and how they interact with the industry. Start by showing that you understand the problems that they face and that you know how to solve them. Do this by choosing the right words for the situation and trying to make an emotional connection with the reader. If you can accomplish this, then your content will be high quality and useful, and convert more casual readers into paying customers.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock  

3 Keys for Writing Compelling White Papers

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock 109980299According to HubSpot, a white paper is an authoritative report on a particular topic that presents a problem and then supplies a solution. The white paper's role in your inbound strategy is to generate leads by offering them as free downloads in exchange for valuable contact information. From there you can market directly to the individual or place a call-to-action within the white paper to continue the process of qualifying the lead.

When packaged neatly like that, white papers sound like a quick and easy way to boost the number of qualified leads you get. They can, in fact, do just that--if you know how to make them compelling.

1. Be Really Useful

Following most inbound strategies, a prospective lead will take an interest in a bit of information you put on the web, and then follow a trail to learn more. When they reach the landing page for your white paper, they have to take a second and choose to enter their information in exchange for that white paper, and that is not a small decision to make. 

In fact, a study has shown that the average conversion rate for landing pages is about 2 percent. You, however, have found someone who made the leap. They entered their information and downloaded the white paper to get the information you have promised. After all that, you had better deliver. 

A white paper is not an opportunity to market your services or sell your products. If you provide nothing but another sales pitch, the prospective lead will feel duped, and you have lost a valuable opportunity to establish trust. Instead, focus on the reader. Find their pain points and identify their questions. Then, start providing actionable solutions.

2. Present a Distinct Point of View

If you are following a solid inbound strategy, you probably have a lot of content that is readily available including blog posts, articles, and infographics. Your white paper should be more than just a conglomeration of existing content. Instead, it should be distinguished from everything else. Here are some ideas for developing a distinct message:

  • Focus. A white paper should be an in-depth look at a problem and a detailed, thorough presentation of solutions. The only way to really dig deep is to focus on a single question or problem. If you have multiple problems to solve, write multiple white papers.
  • Make it Meaty. Blog posts and articles are made for skimming. White papers are made for reading and re-reading. Do your homework and find statistics, case studies, and other examples to make your message convincing. Then, instead of simply presenting the evidence, pick it apart and evaluate it and talk about why it matters. That way, you can become an authoritative voice with the latest research and fresh insights instead of just another reporter.
  • Make it Long Enough. There is no magic number for how long a white paper should be. When backed into a corner, most industry experts will say that a white paper should be about ten pages. One study claims seven pages to be the maximum. The bottom line is that two or three pages are not going to cut the mustard.

3. Black Tie Only, Please

Blog posts can be light and conversational. Articles may be a bit more serious in tone, but they are still usually dressed in business casual. Your white papers need to be a black tie affair. Your writing style and tone should be professional and formal--without being too stuffy. After all, black tie events can still be fun as long as everyone is behaving appropriately.

Your white paper also needs to look the part. Have a professionally designed cover page made that includes your company's logo. Get professional page layouts that include images, thoughtful fonts and colors, and a finished appearance. In other words, your white paper should not be a simple Word doc run through a PDF converter; it should be a professionally created document.

Take Your Time

A hastily-produced white paper will waste your time and cost you valuable leads. In your overall content marketing plan, you might have hundreds of blog posts, but you will only have a handful of white papers. Take the time to give them the attention they deserve. Create an outline, do your research, and make sure a professional designer is involved in the production phase. If you follow these steps, your white papers will become the lead-generating machines that you need them to be.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock  

5 Keys for Writing Successful Email Content

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock 98508836When you think about your content marketing strategy, your mind probably turns to blog posts and other web content. However, email marketing is also an important digital channel and, when effective, can be a major contributor of conversions.

Email enables better communication between you and your leads or customers. It goes beyond allowing you to send messages to individuals, by providing you with the chance to target your content to select groups according to factors such as position in the sales funnel, needs, and interests. Secondly, email is a great way to build trust with leads and can increase the number of people reading your content.

However, your email marketing strategy will likely fall flat unless you deliver compelling content. You need to create emails that consumers will open, read, and, finally, act upon. Here are a few tips to ensure that you achieve just that.

1. Start with the Subject Line

Possibly the most important element of an email is not the content itself but the subject line. Without an intriguing subject line to draw readers in, most people will never even open your message, and all the hard work you did on creating the copy will go to waste.

Use your subject line to explain to readers what they can expect from the email, considering why people joined your mail list in the first place. Actionable language is particularly useful, as it gives readers an idea of what to expect to achieve once they have finished. If there is too much explanation to fit into the subject line alone, you may like to start the body with a brief introductory paragraph that summarizes the content.

2. Focus on Structure

No one has time to read a long, detailed email. Keep your content short and to the point, perhaps with links to other content for readers who want to find out more about a particular subject.

Above all, ensure that your content easy to scan. Concise paragraphs centered on a single idea, plenty of white space, bullet points, and a lack of jargon can all help you to achieve this, advises FulcrumTech.

3. Write for Your Prospects

To gain the trust of consumers, and to later gain conversions, you need to provide your leads with the information they want, not the information that you want them to have. Use the second person “you” more than the first person “we,” limit what you say about your company, products, and services, but write plenty about how your readers can solve your prospects’ problems.

4. End with a Call-to-Action

Your readers need to finish your email knowing exactly what action they should take next. Your call-to-action (CTA) should consist of actionable language in as few words as possible. In addition, make sure that your CTA stands out from the rest of your content by turning it into a large, bright-colored button. You should also ensure that your CTA is clearly noticeable as an anchor text in plain text format for readers who choose to view your email without images, recommends HubSpot.

5. Proofread

It should be obvious that you need to proofread any content you write, no matter how short, but it may surprise you how often marketers neglect this step. Even the slightest error in your content will dilute your credibility and make you appear unprofessional, reducing the chance that leads will want to do business with you in the future.

The aim of any type of content is to convert leads into customers. If you bear the above in mind whenever you create email content, you will see a greater number of click-throughs and a higher number of conversions.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock