Here are this week’s top seven stories on web content and online marketing as voted by my Twitter followers:
1). Small Businesses Use LinkedIn More Than Facebook http://bit.ly/XaW9va Interesting research
2). Marketing Is a Habit, Not an Event http://bit.ly/YlZ7zA How to avoid binge marketing & other unhealthy habits
3). Small Business Blogging: 17 Actionable Blog Tips http://buff.ly/13r84LZ
4). Blogging: A Business Model for Growth http://bit.ly/14hCeRh Great interview with Joe Pulizzi
5). The Ultimate Guide to Advanced Guest Blogging http://buff.ly/10lltAQ
6). The Advanced Guide to SEO http://bit.ly/WwC442 The gospel according to Neil Patel
7). 96 Quick SEO Wins – What Can You Do With an Hour? http://cfw.bz/UGyeXI
For more of the freshest tips and tactics on web copywriting, SEO, social media and online marketing be sure to follow me on Twitter.
Matt Ridout, Head of SEO at Farfetch.com, recently took a look at building links through strategic offline events.
While offline events are certainly nothing new in the marketing world, companies have started hosting events specifically designed with SEO in mind. Some big brand events have completely flopped, but others have been quite successful.
In Ridout’s case study, he looks at what makes offline online link building effective. Hit the jump to find out why Offline is the New Online Link Building Strategy.
I was once hired to write the web content for an industry marketing organisation.
The advertising agency’s brief to the client said that a large flash animation would be the “hero element” of the site.
The agency poured a huge amount of time and money into the flash animation. It took up about a quarter of the home page – just sitting there looking pretty.
Meanwhile I wasn’t given a brief. There was no content strategy. My two superiors gave conflicting views on the client’s marketing strategy. I was asked to rehash second-rate press releases and scavenge other content off the web. The result: a pretty site with no content of value for the target audience. In short, a waste of money.
Although the site won an industry award for “creativity”, the hero image image was removed shortly afterwards.
All show and no go
Unfortunately this happens all too often. A lot of businesses happily pour a ton of money into slick graphics and the latest technological bells and whistles for their site. But they leave copywriting out of the budget, putting their entire investment at risk.
Words are the most important element of a business website. Why? Because the main activity people do on the web is read. If you took all the images off your website, would it still work? Most likely. If you took all the words off your website, would it still work? I doubt it.
It’s the words that do the selling on your site. The words build relationships, give you a competitive edge, drive actions and keep your customers happy. (Not to mention help you get ranked higher in the search engines.) So if you want to be a success on the web you need to make words the hero of your site.
Business decisions are most often equated with cool-headed thinking. But a recent article challenges that concept and looks at how emotions affect our decisions positively – especially in the field of copywriting and content creation.
Demian Farnworth tackles this topic at Copyblogger, and details the four emotional appeals that every copywriter needs to master.
Whether you’re a copywriter, a content marketer or an analytic guru, you’ll likely find Demian’s insights helpful: Why Emotion-Based Writing is Crucial to Your Business Goals
In an article on A List Apart, content strategy expert Erin Kissane explains the concept of content templates, and how they make creating website content easier.
Content templates are very familiar to me because I got my start in professional writing as the editor of several guidebooks.
Imagine for a moment a guidebook, say a Lonely Planet travel guide. When hotels are listed, each entry will cover the same information, in the same order e.g. name of hotel, rating, description, address and phone number.
A content template ensures that each writer covers all the essential information in each listing, and the listings have a consistent format.
The same process can be use on the web when you need to create classes of pages, such as product or service pages, or bios for the about us page.
A content template is simply a Word document that outlines:
- The information that needs to be covered on the page
- The order it goes in, and
- A description of how the information should be presented (e.g. paragraph, list, table, image), preferably with an example for reference.
Whether you’re using in-house writers or hiring a copywriter, content templates can help you:
- Collect information more quickly, by giving writers a fill-in-the-blank structure
- Speed up and simplify the content development process by producing more uniform first drafts
- Improve the consistency of your content.