Put Your Content To Work.

write-on-contentContent. There’s that all-important word again. If you aren’t content with your content, it’s time to examine the lifecycle of the words, images and multimedia features that appear on your website and social media accounts.

A few weeks ago, I saw a post from marketing guru Heidi Cohen. She prepared an infographic that outlines seven content forms that are made for social media promotion. This got me thinking about how businesses can get the most out of their content by recycling, re-purposing and promoting it across different channels.

Hiring a professional copywriter to craft your web content is an investment. Once you have the content, your marketing strategy must promote your message, get your words out and reach your audience. Here are a few ideas for enhancing the longevity of your content’s lifecycle.

1. Promote Your Blog

Your blog is the perfect place to promote your services, establish trust and answer questions. Valuable blog content will build your brand and generate leads. These posts can be promoted through many other channels. Some developers even have us pre-write brief questions to promote each post through Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

2. Work It on Your Social Media Accounts

Interactive platforms like Facebook and Twitter are ideal for connecting with your customers and cross-promoting blog posts, special offers and industry news. If your blog is your home base, everything that starts there must be promoted on your social media accounts as well.

3. Make a Video

Videos are true multi-purpose features. Embed informative videos on your website, share them on Twitter, write about them on your blog and post them on YouTube. Videos are great for establishing and enhancing credibility while reaching your target market. You’ve invested in a video. Now, it’s time to cross-promote it and generate a buzz.

4. Promote Slideshows and Multimedia Presentations

If you don’t have the budget for a full-blown video, develop an interactive slideshow presentation. Services like Slideshare allow businesses to upload and promote existing PDFs, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations in an enhanced visual format that can be promoted anywhere.

5. Jazz up Your Newsletter

This is a great place to promote special offers as well as news-related content, podcasts, PowerPoint presentations and so much more. Newsletters must have the perfect combination of informative and readable text along with images or graphics that capture the reader’s attention. Content in newsletters should include blog posts and anything that can be promoted on social media sites. Feature a newsletter archive on your website that gives visitors access to this wealth of information.

6. Get Arty with Infographics!

These snazzy yet informational images have gained popularity rapidly. In addition to featuring infographics in your newsletter and blog posts, they can also be promoted through social media channels. Some companies specialize in designing infographics, but you can’t promote them if you don’t have them!

7. Distribute E-books and White Papers

Establish credibility and promote your services using free e-books or white papers. Offering a free download to visitors who submit their email address is one highly effective marketing strategy. White papers can be anywhere from three to five pages long, and e-books may have as many as 12 chapters. Plus, some of your existing content can be repurposed or re-imagined in these informational publications, but you still have to cross-promote them.

Each of these seven items can and should be promoted across multiple channels. Follow these two steps to put your content to work.

1. Identify top-performing documents, and promote them through channels that you haven’t used. If you got an overwhelming response to one newsletter feature, promote it again on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or your favorite social network.

2. Think back about a feature or promotion that you loved but didn’t perform as well as expected. Alternately, find two under-performing pages, and look for new ways to tweak the content and promote it. This is the formula for raising the bar. By focusing on what drives the success of your best pages and what needs improvement, you’ll build a better, stronger brand. Here’s to success!

Developing a Style and Voice For your Web Content

Got Tone? Tips for Developing a Writing Style

Developing a writing style that appeals to your readers is an art. The tone of your copy is the key to the success of your marketing strategies. Your returns rest largely on the quality and style of your text. For companies in the healthcare, legal and financial industries, this means their text needs to be clean, clear, concise and competent. In fact, the four Cs are favored by most if not all Fortune 1000 companies. For a company that sells sports tickets or toys, a much lighter, conversational tone is the better option. We’ve had clients express concern about matching their tone when their website is completely toneless. This goes to show that tone is a sensitive and important topic. Here are a few tips for developing a voice for your web content.

Who is your target audience? This is the most important factor. A personal injury attorney who is targeting people who have been injured or lost a loved one needs to use a voice that is strong, compassionate and effectively illustrates their strengths. For example, “Contact us today to speak with a compassionate personal injury attorney who can protect your rights and act as a legal advocate.”

Now, let’s consider a restaurant that makes the best barbeque in the city. Restaurants are part of a leisure market. People dine in their free time using disposable income. To appeal to consumers, we must create a tone that actively promotes their delicious food and the lively ambiance.

“At Judge Bean’s Bar-B-Q, we make the meanest barbeque sauce east of the Mississippi and the best pulled pork ya’ll will ever taste. Stop by for a plate-clearing, finger-licking good time.”

On the other side of the spectrum, a gourmet catering company that uses local produce might need a more conservative tone. For a high-end caterer, we might use a more sophisticated, erudite tone.

“From fresh, tender arugula to locally produced cheese, we partner with local farmers to procure the finest and freshest ingredients. We use the highest-quality products and artisan cooking techniques to produce slow-food for large events.”

There is an entire spectrum of literary tones. I like to think of it like a rainbow. On one end, we have a straight-ahead, no-nonsense corporate tone. On the other, we have zany, edgy, off-the-wall. This means that there are subtle differences in tone that are comparable to the visual differences between teal and blue-green. Once you have the right tone, you’ll know it.

You wouldn’t believe how many content mills suggest the most banal and generic tones. Informative and interesting, sales driven and promotional, light and conversational or educational and informative. These are the options that a mass-market content mill will give you. They might as well as say meaningless and bland, boring and stale or light and fluffy. We’re not talking about comfort food or ice cream. Let’s get real. Don’t be tone deaf. The success of your website depends on the quality and style of your content, so you’ve got to make it good. As up-market copywriters, we collaborate, we work with clients, and we infuse our writing with creativity to match our customers’ goals. That’s why our copy is effective.

To develop the right style and tone, consider who your target market is, what you’re selling and what your goals are. Words represent your company, its personality and its products. That’s why it’s important to have a tone that accurately portrays your company’s strengths. On our own website, we like to have a little bit on fun on your text. For clients, we develop a tone based on their individual needs and goals, which are rarely the same from company to company.

You’re welcome to share your perspective on the challenges of developing the right style and tone for your web content.