You run an accounting firm that specializes in tax preparation, and business was lagging this year. You want to do better next year, so you start a blog on your website and publish posts about some of the common tax-related issues your target customer faces. You write a few posts a week, and eventually those blog posts start to rank in Google and other search engines.
Books. Like movies, people often think of books as selling themselves, but savvy marketers don’t sell books just to sell books, they sell books as marketing tools. Michael Port’s sales manual Book Yourself Solid is a great read for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, and while I’m sure Port enjoys selling his book, the book is a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Although with self-publishing it’s easier than ever to publish a book, there is still the perception that it’s difficult and that only reputable professionals can publish a business book. Publish your own, and even if people don’t read it you can still use it as a form of content marketing every time you’re introduced as “Author of…”

There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content--far too many to cover here. My intent is to give you an introduction to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you’ll see the opportunities all around you. Soon you’ll be coming up with 50 content marketing ideas every day. You won’t be able to stop seeing opportunities to create content. Here are five examples to help your mind start percolating.
You run an accounting firm that specializes in tax preparation, and business was lagging this year. You want to do better next year, so you start a blog on your website and publish posts about some of the common tax-related issues your target customer faces. You write a few posts a week, and eventually those blog posts start to rank in Google and other search engines. 

I just wanted to say thanks so much to Sonia and the whole Copyblogger team for throwing my little blog on this list with so many folks I’ve looked up to for so long. James over at MWP gave me my very first guest posting gig and a lot of inspiration before and since. Carol Tice’s timely articles gave me what I needed to believe I really could make a living doing this stuff. Peter Bowerman got me started on the freelance writing idea years ago, and continues to provide tremendous value with his blog too. And no list like this would be complete without a huge mention of the granddaddy of writing blogs, Copyblogger! I’ve learned so much here, and it’s only just begun!
Red Bull, which sells a high-energy beverage, has published YouTube videos, hosted experiences, and sponsored events around extreme sports and activities like mountain biking, BMX, motocross, snowboarding, skateboarding, cliff-diving, freestyle motocross, and Formula 1 racing. Red Bull Media House is a unit of Red Bull that "produces full-length feature films for cinema and downstream channels (DVD, VOD, TV)."[17] The Red Bulletin is an international monthly magazine Red Bull publishes with a focus on men's sports, culture, and lifestyle.

I won't pull any punches: I started, and it took a while to stop. That is to say you're about to dive into a pretty in-depth post (that's a nice way of saying "long") about content marketing, one which you may want to bookmark to read later. But I think it covers most of the aspects of content marketing that modern inbound marketers need to consider, beyond the basics of simply writing content optimized for the web.


Great stuff Neville! I love what you’ve posted here; I have been searching for information on freelance and copywriting for some time now. Everyone has done an awesome job posting on your site, it only motivates me to keep going. I’m aware of some of the obstacles and aware there will be more for me to cross, but its sites like this that encourage beginners, such as myself, to dive right into the writing world. You pointed out key points: “just start writing”, join groups that are already writing, and read material pertaining to writing. I only did one of the 3, read about copywriting, lol, I know what your thinking, “this guy must have JUST started”, yes, and thankfully, your site has opened a new portal for me. I’ll join a writing group or some writing groups after this post, and I’m taken your advice today by just start writing on your site. I know its a long way up the latter, but I’m determined to use my skills that has been repressed for sometime now. I actually have a great paying job, but, like most writers, I want more time for me; I spend entirely to much time doing someone else work making them rich, when I can use my own skills to make a decent living and have fun while doing it, its a no brainer for me now. Although, I know it will take dedication and consistency, which I know I have, I’m eager and filled with writer passion. Again, thanks to everyone and good luck to all, including myself. “Here we go”!

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I won't pull any punches: I started, and it took a while to stop. That is to say you're about to dive into a pretty in-depth post (that's a nice way of saying "long") about content marketing, one which you may want to bookmark to read later. But I think it covers most of the aspects of content marketing that modern inbound marketers need to consider, beyond the basics of simply writing content optimized for the web.
Visual content plays a big role in the success of a content marketing strategy. We've found that The Adobe Creative Suite will set content marketers up with everything they need to lay out ebooks, design infographics, create social images, etc. The team will find themselves in InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat pretty frequently. For a free alternative, try Canva. This lightweight software makes it easy for designers of all levels to create quality visual content -- things like presentations, cover photos, ads etc. 
Your social media manager should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Consider the amplification of a piece of content shared on a Facebook page with 100,000 fans, versus 1,000 fans. The fans' networks work to help your content spread -- so the larger their networks, the better your content's distribution. 
Let's say you're using PPC as your primary means of generating leads for your business. You need more leads, and decide to bid on the term "infographic generator" for $2 a click. At the end of your month-long campaign, you generated 1,000 leads and spent $10,000. Not bad. But what about next month? You have to spend $10,000 again. And again. And again. That is, if you want the leads to keep coming. In other words, when you turn the faucet of money off, leads stop coming out. The same concept applies with list purchasing, tradeshow marketing -- anything where you don't own the property from which leads are generated. Now let's contrast that experience against, say, blogging.
After all, if you don’t really understand the product and why it’s so good, what makes you think you can write compelling copy for others to read? In advertising, they stress that you need to sell benefits, not features. Features are what the product has, but benefits are what the product will do for you. In other words, sell the sizzle, not the steak.
I got my first writing gigs by responding to a craigslist ad for a blog post writer. The pay was horrible, like $5 per post, but they only took about 15 minutes to write so that is $20/hour which according to one of Neville’s posts that is about average pay for a freelance copywriter. Good experience in that it showed me what companies were looking for in word counts, topics, SEO. It also forced me to work quickly.

Obviously there are dozens of very large companies offering home insurance, and so differentiating yourself in this particular market could be pretty tricky. However, EverQuote has done a pretty good job of making this ad compelling. Note that the very first copy in the headline—a price—is “$97," which helps overcome prospects’ fear of being gouged for insurance.


Here, because I was using my desktop, Google served me all three of KAYAK’s headlines. Nonetheless, the KAYAK copywriters came prepared for smaller screens. Although the inclusion of the branded website in the third headline does help from a recognition standpoint, it’s certainly not essential information. The first two headlines, on the other hand, are much more important to the ad.
3. If you’re ghost writing, make sure you pay a lot of attention to the way your client speaks. You don’t want to depart too far from that, even if your job is to sell. Remember, you should inject the sales skills, but the tone of voice needs to remain authentic, otherwise once you’re gone, the illusion will break and you will have failed your client.

Because we live in an over-stimulated world, those in advertising copywriting must employ both creativity and uniqueness in order to successfully draw in the consumer. The challenge is to produce creative copy while also remaining factual. Creative advertising copy that is based on client or market research and works well with the visual portion of a campaign can be invaluable to the marketing of a particular product.
An advertising copywriter is a professional writer who creates marketing campaigns and advertisements. A copywriter might create content for websites, physical publications, billboards, or commercial scripts. Clients depend on copywriters to come up with clever, funny, or informative ads that customers will find interesting. Some large corporations staff full- or part-time writers to work on multiple marketing campaigns, though many advertising copywriters are self-employed contractors, offering freelance services to different clients.

With the pace of social media and the frequency of blogging, not to mention that many of your content assets will be used across multiple campaigns and teams, a lightweight project management tool is critical. I recommend using a free software called Trello, which helps you organize your content, set deadlines, attach files, and collaborate with multiple teammates. Another great tool for keeping content projects organized from planning to publishing is Zerys -- a content marketing tool with a built-in marketplace of professional writers. 

Webpages. What’s the difference between a normal webpage and a webpage that is content marketing? Consider The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, a provider of SEO related tools and resources. This resource, offered for free, has been viewed millions of times, bringing in countless customers who otherwise might never have stumbled across Moz and the services they offer. Or take a look at a case study from the design firm Teehan+Lax. Most case studies are boring. Their case studies are fascinating. That’s the difference between simply putting content on your website, and content marketing.
Your specific needs might vary -- for instance, perhaps you need subject matter expertise in your writers, or coding experience from your long-form content creators. Or perhaps your titles differ, and your "content creators" are actually "content strategists", or your "social media manager" is really a "specialist." Make edits as you see fit, but these frameworks should be helpful in getting you started if this is your first time hiring for any of these positions.
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