How to Tackle the B2B Content Challenge

Quite a number of B2B marketers struggle with the challenge of producing enough content. Since engaging content is such a vital part of B2B marketing, what can be done to tackle this challenge?

The Content Marketing Institute asked consultants Carla Johnson, Michael Weiss, Ardath Albee, and Jay Baer for their take on the matter. Check out the discussion and their conclusions here: Why Producing Enough B2B Content is Hard and 3 Tips to Help

Understanding Business Structures

When you’re launching a business for the first time, you’ll need to decide on your business structure – and that can be a bit intimidating for the uninitiated.

Susan Napper, a small business bookkeeper and consultant, offered a clear explanation of terms and some great advice for the new business owner.

Click through to find out whether you should be operating as a sole trader, partnership, company, or discretionary trust: Choosing the right business structure

How Content Marketing is Like Photography

Clay Delk, Senior Content Strategist at Volusion, Inc. is not only a leader in the world of online marketing, interface content and e-commerce, he’s also something of a photography buff.

In a recent article, he applied photography tips to the skill of content marketing. Some of his comparisons:

  • Get in close to your subjects
  • Experiment with new angles
  • Keep an eye out for great material

Content Marketing and Design How-To’s

The importance of content for the success of a website or a marketing campaign is undoubted. The design of content blocks, however, tends to remain underestimated.

Content design is the focus of an article by Aaliyah Madadi on the Content Marketing Institute website. Layout and the hierarchy of information will affect the manner in which people read, thus increasing or decreasing the attractiveness of the text.

All of the design secrets are listed in the article entitled 5 Content Marketing Best Practices to Drive Your Design.

Build Your Website Around Your Most Wanted Response

The single most important element of your website is the “most wanted response”.

The term “most wanted response” or MWR was coined by e-commerce guru Ken Evoy. It refers to the one action you most want website visitors to do.

Examples of MWRs include order a product, subscribe to an e-newsletter, call you to arrange a consultation, fill out a form, or send you an email.

What do you want visitors to do?

Determining your MWR should be the very first task when you plan your website. Just ask yourself, “What is the ONE thing I want my website visitors to do?” You need to be very clear on this.

Once you’ve set your MWR you should design your entire site around encouraging visitors to take that one action.

Leads or sales?

For some companies making a direct sale from their website is their MWR. Especially if they’re selling products that are commonly bought online such as computer hardware and software, travel and accommodation, clothing and accessories or information products.

However, most businesses don’t want to make sales online.

The goal of most business websites is to generate customer enquiries and/or qualified leads that the sales team can follow up. If this is the case a sensible MWR is to get visitors to register their email addresses.

Getting customers to put their hands up

Ideally you’d love people to pick up the phone after they’re viewed your website. But most buyers use the web when they’re in research mode. Usually they’re not ready to pick up the phone yet. But they’re often willing to exchange their email address for some useful information.

So you should encourage visitors to register their contact details in exchange for a valuable freebie such as a report, newsletter or trial. Once you have prospects’ email addresses, you can follow them up to maximise sales conversions.

A well thought out MWR is the NUMBER ONE tactic for creating a profitable website.

Magic Mike’s Guide to Content and Better About Us Pages: The Web Content Roundup

WebContentRoundupThis week in The Web Content Roundup:

  • Why Content Quality Matters: The 7 Hallmarks of Compelling Content
  • So What About You?
  • Magic Mike’s Guide to Seducing Your Audience (and Leave Them Panting for More)

If you want more useful links on on creating effective web content follow @thatcontentguy on Twitter.

Why Content Quality Matters: The 7 Hallmarks of Compelling Content

Want to know whether your content is crap or gold? This article includes a simple set of criteria – the “seven hallmarks of compelling content” – that you can use to evaluate the quality of your website content, white papers, articles and other marketing materials.

So What About You?

Here’s David Meerman Scott’s take on how to write an “about us” page for your blog. Your about page is a vital piece of content for building credibility. You should always include your contact details too, because you never know when a journalist or prospective client may want to get in touch.

Magic Mike’s Guide to Seducing Your Audience (and Leave Them Panting for More)

What can a movie about a male stripper teach you about engaging your audience? Plenty according to this article on Copyblogger. Like Magic Mike your content must demand attention, give your audience what they’re looking for, and reward loyal fans.

Building Social Influence & Old Hat SEO: The Web Content Roundup

WebContentRoundup21 (1)Here are this week’s top seven stories on web content and online marketing as voted by my Twitter followers:

1). Old Hat SEO That Should be kicked into Touch

2). 3 Ways Your Website is Losing Readers

3). A Short Guide to Writing Good Copy

4). ”How To Write Fast” by Veteran Copywriter Steve Slaunwhite

5). What Happens When You Get Twitter Followers? Worth thinking about!

6). Respond to People When They Connect With You

7). 10 Vital Steps to Building Social Influence

For more of the freshest tips and tactics on web copywriting, SEO, social media and online marketing be sure to follow me on Twitter.

How to Make Catchy Facebook Ads

Have you ever wondered why companies use certain images in their Facebook ads? Some pictures may seem completely irrelevant to the company being advertised; but when you think about it, that “weird” image sure caught your eye, didn’t it?

Stephen Croome recently talked about this topic in a post on the SEOmoz blog. If you’re new to Facebook advertising, you’ll definitely want to check out his suggestions. Get the goodness here: How To Cheat Your Way To Eye-Catching Facebook Ads

6 Inspiring Definitions of “Marketing” to Get You Motivated to Grow Your Business

“I hate marketing,” a friend of mine told me recently.

Selective focus on the word "marketing". Many more word photos in my portfolio...
Selective focus on the word “marketing”. Many more word photos in my portfolio…

Despite owning two successful businesses my friend has a vehement distaste for marketing. I’ve found this attitude is quite common amongst small business owners. Many of them think marketing is either sleazy and dishonest, or ineffective and a waste of money.

I think these attitudes arise because there’s a misunderstanding of what marketing is. Hopefully this article will help set the record straight.

Here are six inspirational definitions of marketing from some of the world’s foremost experts on the topic:

1. Authenticity + Value

“Marketing is sharing with authenticity about the value that you offer to the world”.

By Robert Middleton, the creator of InfoGuru marketing.

2. Making the Best Case for Your Product

“My definition of ‘marketing’ is putting your product or service in its best light so that it persuades others to investigate and hopefully buy it.

“I think that marketing is basically a replacement for door-to-door selling. If we could all afford to knock on everyone’s door and put forward the best case for our product then we would, because one-on-one conversation is pretty hard to beat.

“But because that’s not possible, we come up with marketing that will, at the end of the day, be a replacement for what we would have said if we were having a chat.”

By Australia’s most respect advertising expert, Siimon Reynolds, from the book Secrets of Male Entrepreneurs Exposed!

3. An End-to-End Process

“Marketing is everything you do to promote your business, from the moment you conceive of it to the point at which customers buy your product or service and begin to patronize your business on a regular basis.

“The key words to remember are everything and regular basis.”

By marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson from his seminal book Guerrilla Marketing.

4. Making the Sale Easier

“Marketing is everything you do that makes the sale easier.”

By Stephen Fairley, small business coach and author of Getting Started in Personal and Executive Coaching.

5. It’s Not Just About Spending Money

“Marketing is not about spending money on such things as advertising, direct mail and PR. Those are just tools. Marketing is about growing your business – its revenues, profit and valuation.”

By Mark Stevens, from his provocative book Your marketing sucks.

6. The Circle of Marketing

“Marketing is a circle that starts with your idea for generating revenue and completes itself when you have the patronage of repeat and referral business.”

From The Guerrilla Marketing Toolkit by Mitch Meyerson and Jay Conrad Levinson.

How to Write a Brochure Your Customers Will Want to Read – The Brochure Copywriting Cheat Sheet

brochure1Brochures are a very popular marketing weapon for SMEs and corporates alike – even in this internet age.

The trouble with brochures is they’re expensive to produce and distribute, go out of date quickly, and are easy to ignore.

Worst of all, they often fail to make an impact on the bottom line. The reasons for this are many and varied, but include:

  • They’re used for selling rather than supporting the sale.
  • They’re used as a standalone tactic rather than as part of a complete sales strategy.
  • The marketing messages are vague and the copy is weak.
  • There’s no offer or call to action.

The end result is often a carton of dud brochures gathering dust in your storeroom.

To help you avoid this fate I have compiled a list of my favourite brochure copywriting resources from the best brochure copywriters in the business. These tips and tactics will help you create a brochure that not only will your customer will want to read, but will increase sales too:

Brochure theory

Q: What do you think of my brochure?
Seth Godin reveals the hard truths about marketing brochures.

The Gloria Gaynor Guide to Print Collateral Marketing
This 3-part blog post explains where print marketing collateral fits in an online world.

Planning your brochure

Five Types of Brochures
Choose the best brochure format for your sales and marketing goals.

Five Essentials for Planning an Effective Brochure
Set up a solid foundation before you start writing your brochure.

Brochure Marketing: 12 Tips on How to Do it Effectively
12 tips on writing a brochure that will support your online marketing efforts and increase your sales.

Brochure copywriting tips & tactics

60-Minute Naked Truth Salesletter Formula
Create the important copy points you need for your sales letter brochure in just one hour.

How to Write More Effective Brochures
6 vital tips from Jonathan Kranz, author of Writing Copy for Dummies.

How to write a brochure: advice from an advertising copywriter
John Kuraoka distills 26 years’ of  copywriting experience in this pithy article.

The Brochure Bible
This free 44-page e-book by Lorraine Thompson is a must-have brochure copywriting reference.

The Perfect Sales Piece: A Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Creating Brochures, Catalogs, Fliers, and Pamphlets
Bob Bly’s book covers all aspects of brochure creation from scheduling and budgeting, to copywriting and design.

Trifold brochures

Trifold Brochure Writing Tips
Trifolds are the marketing workhorses of many small businesses. Learn how to make every panel count.

Corporate brochures

Classy outfit…classy brochure?
Bob Bly explains what a corporate capabilities brochure is, and what it is intended to accomplish.

How to write a corporate image brochure people will truly want to read
A case study of a successful corporate brochure written with an “expository writing attitude”.

Direct mail brochures

How to Create a Tell-All Direct Mail Brochure
Master DM copywriter Dean Rieck’s best advice on creating a kick-ass brochure to accompany your sales letter.

Technical product brochures

How to write more effective technical product brochures
B2B copywriting virtuoso, Bob Bly, explains how to translate engineer-speak into compelling benefits.

Brochure design

Beautiful Brochures and Booklets
Now you’ve got the copy sorted you’ll need a few design ideas. Here’s some inspriation courtesy of Smashing Magazine.

Need help writing your next brochure?

Let’s face it: writing a brochure is plain ol’ hard work. If you don’t have the time, skills or inclination to do it yourself, why don’t you hire me, an experienced brochure copywriter? Check out my brochure copywriting samples.