It’s that, for most of us, the idea of selling something is already unnerving. Who wants to come across as a slimy salesperson? Plus, with writing, there’s a delay between copy being created and the other person reading it. You’re vulnerable without the luxury of self-correcting based on that person’s body language. You have to release your words into the ether and hope that someone receives it and acts upon it.
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.
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.
I got my first client from a freelancing site in the Netherlands. It’s something like Upwork – I tried that too – but here, clients are actually willing to pay you good money. So I received 100 euro for some creative web copy around 600 words. And actually I think I could have charged more. The client said it was a decent price. Maybe I could have charged double!

Another way I use to write copy is write down headlines from my swipe file on little 3 x 5 cue cards and shuffle them. Then I ask myself 10 questions about who my target market is, like what keeps them up at night? What are their biggest frustrations, what are their biggest fears, what do they secretly desire the most… etc. what makes them tick. And also shuffle that with the headlines.
I noticed that they have a 8 1/2 by 11′ paper printed and taped on 10 different locations inside and outside the gym that read “$0 down” in plain text. I felt that this was such a waste because it assumes that people’s numbers one incentive for going to the gym would be that it’s “affordable”. I talked with my personal trainer manager and told him that they should put pictures of testimonials (before and after pictures), as well as other messages like “finally get that beach body you’ve always wanted”, “don’t wait until January 1st to start living a healthy life. Request a free consultation at the front desk”. The manager told me new members were attracted by the testimonials on the Mirrors and the messages. He even offered me a job (but I turned it down of course. They won’t let me work in my pajamas)
I have just started a business writing resumés and job applications and doing interview coaching. I got my first client through a friend at work who is also my hairdresser. I helped her with some job applications and she recommended me to a customer (cut, foils, blow dry!) who paid me $200 to write responses to selection criteria for a government job. It took me ages to do this but I learned a lot and it gave me the confidence to keep going.
Load that baby up into your “Canned Responses” and send it out whenever you need.  Oh, and those blue [purchase] links are just links to PayPal buttons. Don’t get distracted with being over-fancy with shopping carts and merchant accounts and all that jazz. Wait until you’re a baller copywriter bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars before fiddling with that.
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.
Simply master short form copy before you learn long form copy. Long form copy could be a 5-page landing page, or writing the script for a long webinar, or crafting a lengthy direct-mail piece. It often takes years to hone in on your craft and learn how to write really great long form copy. That’s why it’s best to start by learning short form copy, especially when you’re first starting out.
Read Joe Pulizzi's excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt's Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won't take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.

Traditionally, marketers have had to “rent attention” from other people’s media through display ads on websites, booths at trade shows, or emails sent to third-party lists. For example, when a brand pays out millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad, they are renting the attention that the TV networks have built. Content marketing, on the other hand, allows marketers to become publishers by building their own audiences and attracting their own attention. By creating and distributing content that buyers find useful, marketers increase their brand awareness and preference by establishing a relationship of trust with consumers as they move through the sales funnel. Additionally, content marketing is considered a less costly strategy than some others. It can have a bit of a slower start while your content library grows and reaches a larger audience.
Content marketing also provides additional benefits in that it supports other digital marketing channels. It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.
Businesses focused on expanding their reach to more customers will want to pay attention to the increase in the volume of visitors, as well as the quality of those interactions. Traditional measures of volume include the number of visitors to a page and number of emails collected, while time spent on page and click-through to other pages/ photos are good indicators for engagement.
This may sound like preying on the selfishness of your prospects—because it is. Without inadvertently sounding like a grumpy old man yelling at kids to get off my lawn, we live in an increasingly selfish society in which many people exhibit a blatant sense of entitlement. As unpleasant as this can be, it can prove a valuable opportunity for advertisers savvy enough to take advantage of it.
Very nice article. I’ve been writing and traveling the world, full-time now, for three years. I can’t think of an easier way to make money than writing. No costly inventory, no expensive website, and little investment needed. When I started all I had was a gmail address, and a small portfolio. I would cold contact 10-15 websites a day offering my services. Three years later I’m farming out the small jobs, and still have repeat business from when I first started. It’s a great way to live.

I got my first client from a freelancing site in the Netherlands. It’s something like Upwork – I tried that too – but here, clients are actually willing to pay you good money. So I received 100 euro for some creative web copy around 600 words. And actually I think I could have charged more. The client said it was a decent price. Maybe I could have charged double!


Simply master short form copy before you learn long form copy. Long form copy could be a 5-page landing page, or writing the script for a long webinar, or crafting a lengthy direct-mail piece. It often takes years to hone in on your craft and learn how to write really great long form copy. That’s why it’s best to start by learning short form copy, especially when you’re first starting out.
Great post! In case it hasn’t been pointed out though, AdWords headlines are limited to 25 characters, so your example rewrites wouldn’t fit. This is a really great exercise to do with a character counting tool – fitting everything into so few characters is a real challenge, especially when you sometimes have to include specific keywords that are super long. An added level of complexity are the two 35 character long description lines. If the first line ends in a “.” or “?”, it can be added to the end of the title after a dash (provided the ad isn’t on the sidebar where horizontal space is limited). The second line on the other hand can be dropped entirely on mobile, so anything crucial has to be headline or description 1. A real copy puzzle!
You've written a blog post that has wide appeal beyond just your target audience. You test promotion of that blog post via a paid Facebook ad, and find that the CPC is lower than your typical paid expenditures, and is driving 40% more site traffic than those typical expenditures. Even so, when you turn off that budget you lose that traffic ... right? Right. But you still received a huge influx of traffic that, even if none of them convert to leads, might have spurred either inbound links or social shares -- both of which will help bolster your SEO.
This is an amazing article! When I started maternity leave I decided to start a blog and to my surprise I discovered that I love writing. I’m now attempting to make writing pay before I return to work so that I can stay home with my beautiful baby. Your article is the most helpful thing I have read so far and I’m sure that your tips and pointers will help me achieve my goal. Thank you!
2. I also read a lot about SEO, CRO, and marketing in general, so I do my best to be a triple, or even a quadruple threat. Very recently I’ve done a 30-minute CRO consult with a client that *tripled* her checkout conversion (like, actually increased sales 3x), taking her from 5 figures per month to six figures per month in revenue. It definitely pays off to know how to do things that are related to copywriting. :)
Go back and read the content marketing definition one more time, but this time remove the relevant and valuable. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?). That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.
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