The Campaign That Left Me Speechless

'Time Machine' - one of the best pieces of content I've seen

‘Time Machine’ – one of the best pieces of content I’ve seen

Every once in a while, a piece of marketing comes along that is so breathtaking, all you can do is tip your hat and applaud. That’s how I felt watching this commercial from Breast Cancer Now, which is one of the most beautifully emotive pieces of content I’ve ever seen. Titled ‘Time Machine’, it tells the story of a young girl hoping to whisk her sick mother away to the year 2050, a time when there is a cure for breast cancer.

Watch the Ad:

Powerful stuff, right?

Great Campaigns Find A Way To Resonate

Firstly, video is the perfect medium to tell this story. Video is fast becoming one of the most powerful tools in the content marketing repertoire. It’s such an effective medium for storytelling that when executed well it can leave a lasting emotional imprint on its audience.

This effort reminds me of the fundraising campaign from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which shone a spotlight on mistreated animals and to the soundtrack of the Sarah McLachlan song ‘Angel’.  It inspired tears from millions, but also achieved so much more. According to the New York Times, that ad when it aired in 2007 raised more than $30 million in just two years, making it the most successful fundraising initiative in ASPCA history. The subject matter is different, but they share an unshakeable emotional hook. These are great examples of how emotional storytelling can inspire action, persuade an audience and prompt them to open their hearts, minds and wallets.

So, How Did They Do It?

It’s beautiful. It’s emotive. It’s powerful. It inspires action. But how did they do it? Let’s take a closer look at the mechanics of this spellbinding piece of content:

It Tells A Story Beautifully

This story grabs our attention and holds it. Why is this young girl reading about Einstein and complicated mathematics? Did she just circle a complex physics equation? What is she hunting for in the shed? Just why is she doing hoarding all of this junk in her bedroom? Safety goggles? Seriously? We’re immediately thrown into the middle of the action. With no context or preamble, we’re compelled to stay until the end if we want to find out what this all means.

It Captures Our Hearts

There are infinite number of ways Breast Cancer Now could have constructed this story. We could have been bombarded with stats and facts, scientists and case studies and aspirational statements—but they specifically chose to focus the relationship between a child and parent, a relationship immediately familiar to most viewers.

We can’t help but be pulled into this scenario, to empathise with its characters, and find ourselves wishing alongside them that 2050 can hurry up and arrive so they can find their cure. Furthermore, the lengths that this little girl is willing to go to—literally constructing a time machine to save her mother’s life—makes the thought of donating a few dollars seem so simple by comparison.

The story’s particulars, in other words, constitute the vehicle through which the storyteller draws us in. In moving our emotions via the familiar parent/child relationship, the marketer makes us want to become part of the story, and part of the solution.

It Doesn’t Shout—It Whispers

If you want someone to pay closer attention to what you’re saying, sometimes it’s best to whisper. This storyteller, without any dialogue, has done something far more compelling: they’ve forced us to watch more intently, to willingly follow along to the story’s conclusion, and to identify more completely with the characters and the Breast Cancer Now cause.

It Collapses Time

Prompting people to donate to a cause that has a goal more than three decades into the future is a tough ask. Perhaps this story’s greatest achievement is in making the the distant future feel so immediate. Yes, 2050 may seem like a long way away, but breast cancer is an all-too-real reality for people in 2018. We walk away from this story with the sense that although time machines may be the stuff of childhood fantasy, finding a cure for breast cancer is not. The message is subtle yet clear: we can help by donating to the cause. By doing so, maybe we could even find the cure sooner, meaning little girls don’t have to dream of building time machines and we can help save the lives of young mothers like this one.

Marketing achievements of this magnitude don’t just happen, and video storytelling this compelling is rare—it requires the expertise of many content experts, not the least of which are writers with the talent and experience to create stories that resonate with an audience.

What story do you want to tell?

Are you ready to tell the story or your company, product or brand? Contact us and let’s get started on content that will help you connect with your audience.

The 4 Kinds of Customer Loyalty

What kind of 'loyal' are your customers?

What kind of ‘loyal’ are your customers?

The Broadcaster. The Enthusiast. The Lazy Loyal. The Seeker. No, it’s not a band of superheroes. It’s the four kinds ‘customer loyalty’ described in a new report from software giants Oracle. It’s a fascinating insight, and has implications for businesses keen on creating engaging content for their customers.

Retail 2018: The Loyalty Divide details four typologies of consumer loyalty, including: The Broadcaster who may flit between brands but shouts about their experiences good or bad; The Enthusiast an engaged retail brand follower who is loyal but not loud; The Lazy Loyal typically disengaged but tend to be loyal to brands because it’s easy to be; and, The Seeker who likes to shop around for the best value and holds little affinity to retail brands.

Let’s take a look at the four different ‘types’ of consumer loyalty. Which categories do you consumers fit into? And more importantly, do you know how to reach to them?

The Broadcaster

  • 32 percent of consumers will recommend to others the retailers they are most loyal to
  • 41 percent would share photos on social media of great retail experiences in exchange for rewards
  • 47 percent would feature the retailer or its products on their social media accounts in exchange for offers / rewards
  • 42 percent would submit a product review through YouTube in exchange for an offer / reward

 The Enthusiast

  • 43 percent of consumers are most loyal to brands that they have a high opinion of
  • 1 in 5 consumers (20 percent) will follow their favorite brands on social media
  • 71 percent say product quality and 59 percent an enjoyable shopping experience are most important to them
  • 51 percent say it’s important that they can engage with new and exciting products from brands they are loyal to

 The Lazy Loyal

  • 60 percent say convenient store locations are most important to them
  • More than 1 in 3 (40 percent) will typically stick to the brands they like rather than shop around
  • 1 in 4 consumers would not find a loyalty program that can be used across multiple brands appealing
  • 72 percent think an effortless loyalty program where points are automatically redeemed is appealing

 The Seeker

  • 66 percent choose a retailer because of competitive prices / promotions
  • 56 percent would exchange personal details in exchange for a personalized offer or promotion
  • 53 percent of consumers would always ‘shop around’ for different retailers to shop with
  • Almost 1 in 5 (19 percent) would rarely sign up to retailer loyalty programs

Creating content for the different types of ‘Loyal’

One thing is clear, it’s becoming more difficult to paint our audiences with a single, broad stroke. In truth, we are marketing to different segments of people who each have unique needs, attitudes and perspectives. A one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is no longer an effective strategy.

The first step is to know who you’re marketing to. And I’m not talking generic demographics. I mean really know them. Who are they? What are their motivations? At what point in the buying process do they want to speak to a sales rep? Which information sources do they trust? What are their pain points? What are the barriers preventing them from buying your product or using your service?

Understanding this kind of information is critical in tailoring your content. It means you can identify the kind of information different audience segments are looking for. It could be Blogs, eBooks, Videos, LinkedIn Posts, White Papers, Infographics, Brochures or a combination of each.

Building a detailed Buyer Persona is the best place to start. This means talking to your customers and finding out why they bought your product or service. It also means having conversations with your leads and prospects and asking them why they didn’t buy your product or service. They can be tough conversations to have, but they’re vital.

Understanding the true nature of your audience helps you develop a content strategy that can nurture a customer through the sales process, and over time make them a loyal brand ambassador.

Not sure what a Buyer Persona is? Start with this 100-word definition from HubSpot

Want to build a loyal customer base?

Ink Copywriting is here to help. From initial strategy right through to final delivery, we can help develop content that will reach your audience and help build brand and business loyalty. Learn more.

You Might Also Find Helpful

More Than 50% of Businesses Rely on Content Marketing to Engage Customers, study finds

Pedigree’s Cause Marketing Masterclass

5 Reasons Why Blogging Is A Powerful Business Tool

More Than 50% of Businesses Rely on Content Marketing to Engage Customers, study finds

Content Marketing has become crucial to digital marketing strategies

Content Marketing has become crucial to digital marketing strategies

Content marketing is essential to more than half of businesses’ digital marketing strategies, according to a new survey from The Manifest.

More than half (53%) of businesses invest time and money in content marketing, and continued growth in this category is expected, industry experts say.

“Even 10 years ago, content marketing was seen as a new buzzword,” said Lauren Fairbanks, partner and CEO of S&G Content Marketing. “But over the last few years, it’s really moved into the marketing mainstream. Marketers know that content marketing is essential for reaching consumers organically.”

Content Marketing Explained by Edge Media

Most Businesses Publish Content Daily

Fifty-one percent of businesses publish content daily, the survey found, although businesses need to ensure that their content publishing frequency doesn’t sacrifice quality, marketing experts advise.

“It’s all about putting out really good, thoroughly researched content,” said Aylin Cook, head of content marketing at digital marketing agency Single Grain. “If companies can publish that content every day, great. If not, rather than frequency it’s about quality and depth.”

Videos, Blog Posts, and Data Most Popular Content That Businesses Publish

Businesses publish a variety of content types. The most popular are videos (72%), blog posts (69%), and research and original data (60%).

Offering a variety of content helps businesses reach an expanded and diverse customer base.

“There’s a lot of content out there, and it’s good to mix it up a bit and diversify it,” said Jody Birch, director of marketing and communications at digital marketing agency Avalaunch Media. “Diverse content reaches the widest range of consumers.”

Content Improvements Businesses Want to Make

When asked what improvement they would like to make to their content, most businesses said they would create more original content (22%) and include more visual components (22%).

Creating more original content increases brand awareness, and including more visuals keeps consumers engaged.

Overall, the survey indicates that most businesses value and rely on content marketing, and it will continue to be part of an increasing number of companies’ digital marketing strategies.

The Manifest’s 2018 Content Marketing Survey included 501 digital marketers from U.S. companies around the world with more than 100 employees.

Read the full report here

5 Reasons Why Blogging Is A Powerful Business Tool

The blog has become essential to marketing success

The blog has become essential to marketing success

Content marketing is one of the world’s fastest-growing promotional trends. Increased audience cynicism towards traditional advertising has forced companies to look for better ways to engage their potential customers. Simply shouting at them through advertising is no longer a feasible stand-alone strategy.

Publishing content that answers questions, solves problems and adds value to your audience (rather than simply promoting your brand) has emerged as one of the most effective ways to do just that.

Blogging tends to be the backbone of content marketing. It’s an easy (and often free) way to publish content, increase your search rankings, and position your company as an industry expert.

Here are 5 reasons why blogging can be a powerful business tool:

1) Boost Your Google Rankings

Well crafted blog posts can have a significant impact your website’s search engine results. Google’s algorithms favour websites that produce regular, fresh content. A blog is the ideal way to achieve that, creating more indexable pages and links to your website — signals to Google that you’re a reputable and trustworthy operator. Accordingly, regular bloggers are rewarded with higher Google rankings.

2) Drive Traffic to Your Website

Businesses that build a regular blog enjoy a significant increase in relevant web visitors compared to those with a more static website. According to HubSpot, B2B companies that blog 11+ times per month receive almost 3x more traffic to their websites. Meanwhile, B2C companies that post 11+ times per month get 4x as many leads when compared to companies that blog less than 4 times per month. Blogging has become an essential tool in driving web traffic and generating leads.

3) Create a Steady Stream of Content

Social media platforms are hungry beasts, demanding regular and interesting content to keep followers engaged.

But where do you get all that quality content? Your blog is a wonderful source. A single blog article can generate multiple social media posts. You can concentrate on individual elements of your blog article and use them across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, or you can add visuals that your audience might find particularly interesting. In that sense, your blog can be the engine that keeps your social media marketing machine running.

4) Establish Thought Leadership

Small business owners tend to find themselves in a common bind: how can you make your brand and business stand out from its competitors? Why should your audience choose you over larger, well-established brands?

Thought leadership is one way to stand out from the crowd. Through your blog, you can share your own thoughts on news and trends in your industry. You can offer tips, and answer the common questions of your audience. As a result, you begin to establish yourself as a trusted source for potential customers, who will increasingly begin to see you as an expert in your industry.

5) Attract and Convert Leads

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of your business blog to attract and convert new customers. Ideally, your website should serve not just as an online billboard, but as a tool to turn visitors into leads, and convert those leads into paying customers. To attract leads, your blog articles can direct people to a larger piece of long-form content (like an eBook, Webinar or other free resource). At this point, the reader exchanges their contact information for that piece of useful long-form content.

Before you can say ‘qualified lead’, you have a new contact that you can add to your sales and marketing pipeline — someone you know is interested in your products and services.

At the same time, your blog can also keep you fresh in the minds of your existing leads, giving you a natural call to action for your nurturing emails.

Blogging has become increasingly essential for companies looking to increase their online profile, engage their audience, and grow their business. In fact, the majority of both B2B and B2C marketers now view it as their most critical digital marketing tactic for achieving success.

Supercharge your business blog
Need help generating blog ideas and articles? Learn about Ink Copywriting’s monthly blogging packages or bespoke blogging solutions, ideal for B2B and B2C businesses in Albury and Wodonga. Contact us to learn more.

The Fundamentals of Great Web Writing

Writing great web copy is a craft, but it can be done

Writing great web copy is a craft, but it can be done

Want to get the attention of someone visiting your website? Then you have seven seconds.

Yep, that’s it. According to Tribute Media the average website visitor decides whether they want to stay on a website within seven seconds of arriving on a page.

And when you only have seven seconds to capture your buyer’s attention, you need to hit them with something powerful if you want them to take action. That’s why effective web copy is essential.

But writing great web copy is a tricky proposition. People’s ever shortening attention spans coupled with their tendency to scan webpages rather that actually read them makes crafting great web copy an art form. But it is achievable. Here’s how:

Stay in a ‘buyer-centric’ mindset.

When writing about our own businesses or organisations, the natural inclination is to talk about ourselves. How great and trusted and responsive we are. The thing is, people visiting our websites don’t necessarily care about us. Their primary concern is about themselves. They want to know how you’re going to make their lives easier, and they want to know quickly.

The solution? Stop writing about you and start writing about them. First, articulate their problem, then talk about how your business can solve it.

Here’s a fictional example of a company trying to sell their revolutionary shoe insert, the HappyHeel, to a busy professional battling chronic foot inflammation. Let’s take a look at a standard example:

Our soft-sole technology has been scientifically proven to support the heel and surrounding foot tendons, offering relief to the ankle and calf. Perfect for casual and professional wear, the HappyHeel can reduce foot pain by up to 70%.

Yawn. How about this instead:

It’s been a long day. Meetings. Presentations. Running around after the kids. You’re dead on your feet, and you have to do it all again tomorrow. But your feet are blazing and you’re not sure can do it.

We’re here to tell you that you can, with the HappyHeel.

Jab with the problem and right hook with the solution.

Tip: Aim to write as much as possible in the second person (you, your, you are). By doing so, your copy will naturally focus on the audience. The notable exception to this rule would be your ‘About’ page where it’s ok to talk more about yourself and your business.

Sell benefits, not features.

When most businesses write web copy, they focus on the features of their product or service. How many times have we seen examples like these?

  • Our oven heats to 400 degrees in less than 5 minutes.
  • We have 50 hours of online tutorials available.
  • We build the best email marketing strategies.

They’re all great features, but features alone don’t compel your audience to take action. That’s what benefits are for.

When you write web copy, don’t tell your buyers what your product or service does. Instead, show them how it’s going to make their lives easier. Let’s take another look at the examples above, but this time focusing on benefits:

  • Great dinners cooked faster than ever.
  • A learning program with unprecedented versatility and variety.
  • Effective and efficient email marketing solutions, made with precision.

The emphasis is placed on the benefit of your feature, not the feature itself. With this subtle change your visitors are coaxed further into your website, and along the sales funnel.

Address every objection.

Buyers, across every industry, will have a natural objection or barrier stopping them from buying your product or signing up for your service. It’s part of doing business. The role of your website is to help them overcome those barriers, and subtly answer any objections they might be secretly harbouring. Let’s take a look at some common scenarios:

Objection: Are they worried your product is too expensive?

Solution: Show them how another one of your customers saved the purchase price in a short time after buying, or used the extra time your product gave them to finish a long neglected project.

Objection: Do they think your product is unnecessary, and can do it themselves?

Solution: Again, sell the benefits and how it will make their lives easier, and how the finished product would be far superior to anything your prospective customer could do themselves.

Objection: Are they questioning your skills or capabilities?

Solution: Show them testimonials from other customers who have loved your services.

Give your buyers every reason to buy what you’re offering, and help them justify their purchase in every relevant way. If you don’t, your competitor is just a Google listing away.

Another great strategy is to develop a content marketing plan that will allow your business to build relationships with customers over time, and through carefully crafted and planned content, allay any concerns or barriers.

Need Great Web Copy?

Need some help producing web copy that grabs your readers’ attention? Contact Ink Copywriting for help.

You Might Also Find Helpful

4 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018
The Principles of Plain English
Small business websites are more important than ever. Here’s why.

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Kick-Start Your Content Marketing for 2018

Is 2018 the year to take your content marketing efforts to the next level?

Is 2018 the year to take your content marketing efforts to the next level?

2018 is almost here, and with it comes new opportunities to grow your business and tackle the marketing challenges that slipped away in 2017.

If you’re ready to take your content marketing efforts to another level in 2018, these five New Year’s resolutions are the perfect way to get started.

Resolution #1: In 2018, I will invest in my website.

Your website should be your star marketer. It’s the first experience that many potential customers have with your brand. As such, your website is every bit as important as a brick and mortar storefront.

You want customers who visit your website to have a great experience with your brand. This can mean everything from ensuring that you have enough white space to highlight the most important parts of your website, to checking to make sure all of your pages are up-to-date.

But it also means converting your website into a lead generation and conversion powerhouse that works for you 24/7. By committing to producing frequent content, offering free resources like eBooks and creating landing pages that can capture and convert visitors, your website can transform from a static tool to your most effective marketing weapon.

Related: Small business websites are more important than ever. Here’s why.

Resolution #2: In 2018, I will take the time to understand my target audience.

If you haven’t created buyer personas for all the potential customers who could visit your website, 2018 is the time to do it. Buyer personas allow you to understand your customers’ needs, their pain points, and their likes and dislikes. The better you understand your target audience, the better you can craft content that will address their needs and concerns while positioning your business as a trusted industry expert.

Resolution #3: In 2018, I will focus on the social media platforms that work for me.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to sample everything at the social media buffet, but for many businesses­—especially small businesses or those with a tight marketing budget—it’s unrealistic to think that you can have an effective account on every available platform. Instead, choose to focus on the social media platforms that work best for your business and are actually being used by your target audience.

Ask yourself; Where can your clients be found? How can you connect most effectively with your customers? When you focus your social media efforts, you’re able to provide better value for your clients and use your marketing dollars more efficiently.

Related: How To Choose The Best Social Media Platform For Your Business

Resolution #4: In 2018, I will produce engaging, helpful content for my customers and leads.

Your content is the ticket to engaging your customers and letting them know that your business can offer them something that they need. Whether you’re creating regular videos or growing your content library through a weekly blog post, your content should be genuinely useful to your customers. Address their concerns, solve their problems, and walk them through products and services that are genuinely useful to them. The better your content, the more you’ll build trust with your customers and the more leads you will be able to generate.

Resolution #5: In 2018, my marketing tactics will be strategic and measurable.

If you really want to see new marketing success in 2018, you need to be able to define what success looks like to you.

Good marketing isn’t a hit-or-miss strategy that leaves you simply hoping that you’ll be able to build more leads or create more conversions. Instead, it’s a systematic approach that lets you clearly define your goals, measure the effect of your marketing strategy, and discover how you can adjust your efforts to better reach your goals.

2018 is the year to take your content marketing to new heights. If you need some help planning or producing your content for next year, contact Ink Copywriting.

You Might Also Find Helpful

From Sales to Solutions: Content Marketing Explained

10 Topic Ideas For Your Business Blog

4 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

4 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

2018 promises to be a big year in marketing

2018 promises to be a big year in marketing

As we wind up for the 2017, deck the halls and reflect on the year gone by — many of us are already wondering what 2018 will bring. In the world of marketing, it promises to be a big one.

Small business owners and marketers understand this, and each New Year is a chance to find an edge, something that will help them set themselves apart from other businesses or other agencies. That means that they like to experiment, testing out new approaches to see what new trends could drive engagement and sales.

It looks as if 2018 will be no different, with several trends promising to dominate the marketing landscape, including the following 4:

  1. The Move from Brand Promise to Brand Purpose

Every successful brand makes a fundamental promise to its customers, something the brand does — the promise that a product will do what it says it does, or that the business offers stellar customer service.

Brand purpose takes that notion one step further, articulating something your company does that no one else can. As Marketing Tech News explains it:

“Simply put, [brand purpose is] the reason your brand exists – not just what you do, i.e. sell a product, but something you can offer consumers that no one else can.”

Said differently, your company’s brand purpose reveals the ‘why’ of your business. In revealing your purpose you offer insight into what makes you truly unique. A common tactic is highlighting the social good you do, and its increasingly gaining a foothold with marketers. To be effectively leveraged, your brand purpose should be authentic and proactively communicated to everyone in your business.

  1. Marketing Automation for the Masses

Most businesses have less trouble generating leads than nurturing them. Pulling leads through the sales funnel requires sending them useful content, and doing so automatically. In the past, however, automation tools tended to be cost-prohibitive, and for that reason they were more the province of big businesses and industry giants.

Increasingly, however, the tools that enable marketing automation have become more widely available, a trend sometimes referred to as ‘marketing automation 2.0’. Small and medium-size businesses can now afford highly-functional tools, tools like GetResponse, which will automatically push out welcome emails, social media links and newsletters in response to consumer triggers.

  1. From ROI to Customer Lifetime Value

You can’t grow your business and enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts if you don’t measure results. Typically, that includes things like web traffic, lead generation, conversions and return on investment (ROI). While ROI is a reasonable measure of how smart your expenditure of marketing dollars is, it doesn’t generally account for the fact that your customers are different. Some make weekly purchases, while others rarely buy. Some buy expensive products, while others spend less.

Increasingly, marketers are focusing less on ROI and more on customer lifetime value (CLV), which measures the net profit each customer contributes to your business over the long haul. Marketers leverage different formulas to calculate CLV. Most, however (like this one from Shopify), include in their calculation:

  • how recently a customer made their most recent purchase (recency)
  • the number of purchases made within a given amount of time (frequency)
  • the amount each customer has spent within the same timeframe (monetary value)

The adoption of CLV as a key metric is potentially a game changer for marketers, helping them make more informed decisions about the ways they spend their customer retention budgets.

  1. The Ascent of Live Video Streaming

For years, marketers have understood the power of video to move customers through the sales funnel by creating a powerful emotional bond with them. In recent years, for example, they’ve increasingly employed video in email marketing, mobile marketing and on social media sites.

In 2018, live video streaming will gain substantial traction, particularly on social media. For example, Facebook now offers a Live video option, and Instagram is tempting marketers with its Live Stream feature.  The ascendancy of live video rests on its ability to engage and excite your target audience. In 2016, 14% of marketers incorporated live video into their marketing campaigns — expect that number to grow significantly this year.

Make Sure Your Content Is Doing Its Job

Every business is different, and no set of marketing strategies, no matter how well they’re trending, is right for every company. What is consistent from one business to another, however, is the need to inform content with messaging that is informative, helpful, authentic and compelling.

Contact us today to learn more about the ways our services can help you enhance your content, drive sales and grow your business.

You Might Also Find Helpful

Why I’m a Copywriter

From Sales to Solutions: Content Marketing Explained

10 Topic Ideas for Your Business Blog

The Secrets of Successful eBooks

eBooks have become a crucial content marketing tool

eBooks have become a crucial content marketing tool

Over the past few years, eBooks have become a crucial content tool for a wide range of industries. Well crafted eBooks allow you to delve into a topic of interest to your audience, developing your thought leadership and credibility. When used strategically, they can also act as a lead generation tool that moves your potential customers and clients through the sales funnel.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just start writing. To be successful, eBooks have to be strategic. And to accomplish that goal, there are six common rules that most successful eBooks follow.

1) Start With Unique Value

First things first: you have to make sure that your audience wants to read what you’re creating and that there is a genuine need for the information. That requires three components:

  • Value, particularly as it relates to answering your audience’s pain points and questions.
  • Interest, making sure that the content revolves around a topic your readers actually want to consume.
  • Originality, positioning yourself as a leader in the space rather than regurgitating content your audience can get anywhere else.

2) Develop a Clear Structure

Next, it’s time to start working on an outline. eBooks are primarily consumed online, which means that you have to contend with the fact that your readers will have an attention span averaging just 8 seconds.

Structure can help avoid that problem. A wall of text is never a good idea; instead, create an outline that includes several sections and sub-headers, breakout boxes and pull quotes that revolve around your core topic. Breaking up your content and ideas into smaller, more digestible segments will hold your reader’s attention longer.

3) Get the Length Just Right

There is no single perfect length for an eBook. A well-designed and laid out 1,000 word document with plenty of graphics may perform better than a 10,000 word tome with fewer tangible takeaways.

Instead of shooting for a golden word count, ask yourself a simple question: what’s the minimum length I would need to convey everything I want to present? Shorter tends to be better, but only if you can actually fit enough value into the document to satisfy step #1 above. Of course, infographics can be a great way to increase that value without increasing length.

4) Do the Research

eBooks differ from blog posts and other short-form types of content in that your readers expect at least some tangible insights and takeaways. That, in turn, requires thorough research into the topic at hand.

Don’t be afraid to go on the hunt for studies and statistics that support your cause. Articles from experts in your industry might make for great quotes to enhance the content. Rely not just on your own writing, but existing research to provide a new, valuable, and relevant conclusion to your readers.

5) Invest in the Design

We cannot stress this enough: even the most well-intended and well-researched eBook can fall apart if it’s not visually compelling. Value, structure, length, and research matter little if you don’t spend the necessary time to write, proof, and design the actual document in a way that engages your readers.

Avoiding typos and grammar issues is an obvious first step. But every sentence also needs to be engaging, designed for readers on digital and mobile devices. That can be relatively simple for a blog post, but gets more complex for an eBook.

Finally, your design should allow readers to easily skim the content, and still come away with its most important takeaways.

6) eBooks Should Maximise Lead Generation

Finally, have a strategy in place to make your eBook an avenue to generate high-quality leads. eBooks tend to be free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t derive real value from them as a lead generation tool. For instance, simply gating them behind a sign-up form allows you to gather the contact information for anyone who wants to read them. They receive your beautifully crafted eBook and you get their email address – a ready-made lead to add into your sales funnel.

If you’ve followed the above steps and highlight the value that your content can provide, this offer will be attractive enough for relevant members of your target audience to at least hand over their name and email address.

Follow these six steps, and your next eBook could become your most successful content marketing initiative. Of course, you might not have the resources needed to generate a document that truly engages, convinces, and converts your audience to your brand. If you need help with your next eBook, contact Ink Copywriting to find out how we can help you.

From Sales to Solutions: Content Marketing Explained

Content marketing attracts customers, rather than selling to them

Content marketing attracts customers, rather than selling to them

More than a decade ago, marketers realised they had a problem. Consumers were becoming increasingly sceptical of traditional sales pitches delivered via TV and print ads, direct mail and those pesky telemarketers. They were joining ‘do not call’ lists by the millions. They were fast-forwarding through television commercials (and now courtesy of streaming services, they seldom watch them at all). They were quickly losing trust in businesses that seemed more interested in selling than in making their lives better.

Thankfully, forward-thinking marketers developed a solution: inbound marketing, which works to build trust with customers over time before gently leading into sales conversations.

One of the central pillars of the new paradigm was creating trust by offering valuable and engaging content that helped consumers solve their problems and offered helpful advice. The term ‘Content Marketing’ was born.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

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. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”

The ways businesses and organisations do this is incredibly varied. Blogs, Webinars, eBooks, Podcasts, Video Tutorials, How-To Guides, White Papers, Infographics and Free Templates are just some of the common content marketing tools. What will work for you all depends on the preferences of your audience, your specific message and your available resources.

There are probably as many content marketing tactics as there are businesses which employ them, but the following 4 are common to most content marketing campaigns:

  1. Understanding your target audience:  In fact, most businesses will have several target audiences, each with its own problems and needs. To send the most relevant and persuasive content, you need robust data for each market segment and a sound idea of their motivations for buying – and the barriers that might prevent them from purchasing your product.
  1. Create a comprehensive content marketing strategy: content marketing, to be successful, needs to be strategic, aligned with long-term sales objectives and following a step-wise approach which generates qualified leads, nurtures those leads and moves them gently from website visitors to loyal customers.
  1. Build a base of loyal subscribers: although it’s useful to engage prospective customers on social media sites, you also need to persuade them to opt in to future content offers on your website, typically through email marketing. This entails offering valuable content (such as eBooks, white papers and templates) in exchange for their contact information.
  1. Measure results:  successful content marketing is built on constant evolution and improvement. That means understanding which content works, and which doesn’t, typically through a robust analytics package (like Google Analytics).

That Sounds Good, But What Will Content Marketing Do for My Business?

When effectively leveraged, content marketing can help your business build trust and boost sales. Specifically, a well-executed content marketing campaign will:

Increase website traffic:  A well-designed content marketing campaign will send on average 8 times more traffic to your website than other marketing strategies.

Generate more and better leads: content marketing generates more leads than traditional outbound marketing strategies. Those leads are also more qualified, because they have already engaged with your business online and you already know they’ve been searching for your product. Equally important is that the leads you generate through content marketing on average cost 62% less than other kinds of leads.

Boost conversion rates:  according to research from Content Marketing Institute, businesses that use content marketing have conversion rates 6 times higher than businesses that use other strategies.

Conclusion

Content marketing is amongst the most effective ways to engage prospective customers, build trust and increase sales. As with so many good ideas, however, the devil is in the details. It all comes down to how well your content is written, designed and delivered, and how effectively it aligns with your audience’s needs and sensibilities.

To learn how our copywriting services can help you achieve you content marketing goals, contact us.

You Might Also Find Helpful

Ad of the Month: How Heinz Australia Played Our Heartstrings

10 Topic Ideas For Your Business Blog

Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Writing

Ad of the Month: How Heinz Australia Played Our Heartstrings

‘Geoff the Film’, from Heinz Australia and agency Y&R New Zealand, is so evocative and completely charming that one could almost lose sight of how it boldly disregards convention and achieves the near-impossible.

Watch the incredible ad here:

Why Do I Love It?

As a commercial, the three-minute running time is highly unusual. Many advertising experts would say that it’s difficult to hold an audience’s attention for such a long time, and such adverts cost more in airtime and media buys. And yet the running time works perfectly: the audience reacts as they would to a short film, and are drawn in from the beginning. In practice, the three-minute long full film and shorter, topical 15sec cutdowns maximise the mindshare value of the campaign, as well as maximising the investment in the commercial production itself.

As a short film, it’s a bold choice to forego dialogue and allow animated characters to tell the story non-verbally. Dialogue is an easy way to make action and motivation very explicit, and many commercials rely on it, because they expect audiences to not fully commit their attention. To evoke the full range of emotions, and command the attention and empathy of an audience is a challenge for any filmmaker. To omit dialogue, the rigging, animation, and rendering of the characters has to be expertly executed, timing has to be finessed to the frame, and the music cues need to be perfect. It’s an unusually bold decision in advertising, and Geoff’s high production values and skill in execution pay off.

As content, it’s highly effective. It’s watchable, rewatchable, sharable, and engaging in a way that conventional advertising often isn’t. On YouTube alone, Geoff the film has nearly 750,000 views and nearly a thousand upvotes and positive comments, with thousands more views and comments on Vimeo and on the related short films. It’s been praised and linked from a host of marketing and advertising publications, as well as industry blogs and social media channels. Geoff’s universal appeal and charm give it value far beyond the life of any one season or campaign: it’s a piece of content that can be a cornerstone of a brand identity for years to come.

As a brand relaunch, it’s utterly brilliant. Heinz is an institution, with generations of consumers. It can be exceptionally difficult for such an established brand, with a deeply embedded customer base, to change anything at all without negative backlash. A typical rebrand would have had a campaign that addressed the change directly: “the old brand that you know and love is now packaged like this!”. And there would be the typical volley of complaints that the ‘change is unnecessary’, ‘that the old way was better’, etc. However, Geoff the Film makes the emotional case for the rebrand. Through the character of Geoff, Heinz is able to communicate not only what the new packaging looks like, but why this change benefits the consumer and solves a problem for them, without saying a word. Because the viewer likes Geoff and sympathises with him, the rebrand seems genuinely necessary, reflecting Geoff’s ingenuity and innovation in the face of his changing circumstances. By connecting with the consumer emotionally, Heinz appears to have avoided much of the customary grousing that accompanies the typical rebrand.

The Takeaway

The marketing world talks a lot about the value of stories in order to connect with audiences, but often that can seem like a lot of empty jargon. Geoff the Film is a near-perfect example of how expert storytelling and high production values can accomplish marketing objectives in an appealing, harmonious way. This kind of storytelling remains rare, courageous, and remarkable when it happens. But we can change that: contact us to find out how.