Event Wrap-Up: Content Marketing – Writing the Message to Pull Your Market

Sohini Bhattacharya talks about content marketing at our November 2015 seminar.
As defined by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Increasingly, content marketing also provides an additional outlet and outstanding opportunity for savvy content creators. Strong content attracts the right target market not only to your freelance writing business but to your clients’ business too.

On November 2, 2015, PWAC hosted a content marketing seminar with a broad range of industry experts who shared the following insights and tips:

James Loftus, partner and vice president, strategic communications, Coop Advertising

  • The perceived value of content has been diminished by the availability of free content, so outlets are finding new ways to generate revenue.
  • Content includes: press kits, snack-size content, top 10 lists for newswires, social media content, whitepapers, contributed articles, background research for companies, advertising collateral and web content.
  • Content writers are strong storytellers. Powerful storytelling, a public relations prerequisite, leads to audience engagement and content sharing across platforms.
  • When planning campaigns, consider whether people will share. Consumers are a communication medium with their social shares.
  • Trust, entertainment and engagement are among the most important considerations when developing a campaign.
  • Coop Advertising relies on outside writers for its projects and hires writers with industry-specific expertise.
  • Coop uses Creative Circle and Working Not Working to source writers as required.
  • Don’t be shy! Introduce agencies like Coop to your work by crafting relevant writing samples and showcasing a strong portfolio.
  • Pay rates vary depending on the project as well as the skills required.

 

Katherine Scarrow, digital content strategist,The Globe and Mail

  • The Globe and Mail launched an in-house content marketing studio.
  • At the Globe, freelancers can write content and editorial, but Globe editorial staff is exclusively editorial.
  • The Globe has four types of content: editorial, custom content/advertorial, native advertising (i.e. sponsored content) and branded content for companies.
  • “Good writers are gold.” The Globe has its regular content creators, but is always looking for strong, reliable writers, particularly those with financial industry expertise. If writers meet the quality expectations and deadlines, the Globe will use them consistently.
  • Globe content writers must have a solid network of contacts and the ability to source the data required to develop credible content.
  • When writing portfolio samples, consider the publication’s style and format, such as the Globe’s use of three sources/interviews.
  • “Think headline. The headline is your sales pitch. Always think of at least two headlines that will get someone to click… without being sensational.”
  • Check Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to see what will best pull traffic in headlines and content.
  • The Globe’s native content is the most lucrative from the writer’s perspective.

Kara Kuryllowicz, principal, Bizwrite, B2BCaseStudyExpert

 

  • A case study is a magazine- or newspaper-style article that looks at how a product or service solved a problem(s) for a consumer or more typically, a business.
  • B2B case studies are credible because they’re written in a journalistic style that avoids over-the-top adjectives. They also name names, for example, Company ABC and Operations Manager, Jon Johns, and present the specific, detailed benefits delivered by that product/service. 
  •  Case study writers have to ask the right questions and push for answers to the 5 Ws: who, what, why, when, where.
  • Every case study tells a story. Make that case with hard facts and specific numbers. Vague claims are at best ineffective.
  • Length varies depending on the product/service, the audience and the final format.
  • The information collected for the case study can be repurposed to maximize its value: press releases, brochures, speeches, websites, white papers, blog posts, newsletters.
  • Rates vary! Be prepared to negotiate a flat or hourly that works for you.

Sohini Bhattacharya, co-founder & managing partner, Allegoro Communications

  • “Clients want writing that is conversational. Step out of the structured, formal writing. Make it short, fun, engaging and interactive.”
  • As a writer, find a way to talk honestly about the reader’s experiences, feelings, expectations, pain points and fears. Make it visceral to build a connection and trust with your audience.
  • Answer the questions you know your customers or readers will ask to help you identify the value.
  • Content is becoming video and picture heavy, particularly with “v-elfies” or video blogging. Nothing brings a story to life better than pictures, particularly moving pictures.  
  • Networking and professional development events can help you find clients.
  •  http://coschedule.com/ is a great tool for headline writing and analysis and managing your editorial schedule.
  • Other good resources: http://www.hubspot.com/ https://www.portent.com/ http://buzzsumo.com/

Our next seminar, Productivity Tools for Freelancers, is coming up on January 11. Register today!

Apryl Boomhour is a freelance arts writer, screenwriter, creative advisor and arts market specialist who helps creators thrive.