If you’re a regular Copyblogger reader, you know that content marketing is the most effective way to promote your business.
Great content can find new customers, help prospects understand why you’re the best choice for them, and can even make your existing customers feel brilliant for choosing you.
It’s the most cost-effective marketing you can do, and can truly transform your business.
So that’s all good — but how do you get all this great content?
You have two choices when it comes to creating content for your business:
- Pay someone to write it for you
- Write it yourself
Now if you’re partial to the first option, feel free to get in touch with me. I’ll write you words that nearly sell themselves.
If you’re in the second group, though, and have to write your own content to support your business, then I have some words of advice for you:
Never underestimate the power of writing well.
By writing well, I don’t mean perfect grammar or snazzy spelling ability. Most people can avoid the mistakes that make them look dumb, but that’s just the start.
Writing well means writing in an effective way that gets results
The problem is that most business owners who write their own content have no idea how to write well. They may be able to get the words to sound all right, but they lack crucial knowledge on how to get those words to produce results.
That’s another story entirely.
People’s first attempts and trying to write for results often look something like this:
- The writing is boring and lacks personality, and it reads like a textbook
- The content is all about the company and how great it is … which comes off as boasting
- The copy isn’t emotionally compelling to someone who’d be a perfect customer
Everything just falls flat and the business limps along.
To be fair, they don’t teach you how to write for results in school … they teach you how to write for grades.
And they don’t teach you how to write effectively when you hit the workforce, either. You’re busy working — there’s no time to study the art of article structure!
They don’t even teach you how to write well when you decide you’re going to be a writer. (Which is why you should be careful about hiring unknown, unproven people off the internet.)
It’s a big problem. Almost everyone knows the basics of how to write … but very few know how to write effectively for business, for marketing campaigns, for newsletters, for blog posts, for results.
So where do we go from here?
There’s always option 1: hire a professional writer to do the work for you. Sometimes hiring a professional copywriter is your best move.
But great content marketing programs need a steady flow of terrific content, and paying a writer for that kind of volume might not be in your budget right now.
Here’s the solution
Decide that your business is worth it, and commit to improving your writing skills with an eye to creating results.
Brian Clark has often said that copywriting is the most important skill for any businessperson to learn … even if you don’t end up writing all your own content. Studying content and copywriting will teach you about the psychology of your customers, about how to craft products people want to buy, and about how to structure your business for success.
Here’s how you can start right now.
Step one is to spend some time in the Copyblogger archives. Copyblogger has more than five years’ worth of advice and tutorials on the essentials of marketing online.
And if you want to take it further, take a course that focuses on business writing that gets results.
The key to getting results from all this studying
Don’t just skim through the material.
Apply the knowledge. Practice the skills right away, the second you finish reading the post, lesson, or book.
In other words, if you read about writing more effective headlines, go to your own blog and start tweaking headlines of old posts you wrote.
If you read a tip for writing better landing pages, go spruce yours up immediately.
If you read about article structure, start creating some structures for your next piece.
Most people skip that hands-on step. They read, nod, and think they’ve stored away the knowledge for instant retrieval when they need it. They’ve learned something new! And it will all come magically back to mind the next time they write.
Yeah, no. The brain doesn’t work that way. Read to learn — and make sure it sticks by reading carefully, rereading, and immediately applying what you read to some hands-on practice.
Not just today, but tomorrow, for the rest of this month, and for as long as it takes to master that technique.
Stick with a technique until you master it. If someone tried to teach you to drive a train one day and moved on to operating cranes the next, you’d forget 90% of all of it.
(That’s why, fortunately for the rest of us, the people who operate trains spend enough time learning until they’re sure they have it down pat.)
So don’t skip around doing headlines one minute and calls to action the next and editing blog posts after that.
It’s great that you’re eager to learn. But learning too much all at once can backfire badly, and you don’t want to do that when the results will affect your income.
This isn’t a game, here — this is business.
What’s your motivation?
Learning to write for your business definitely involves work, so let’s talk about motivation.
Think about something you want from your business. Is it more money? More freedom? More vacation time?
Get really specific. Take a sheet of paper and write down exactly what you want in big letters. If you want $1,000, write “$1,000.” If you want more freedom, write, “24 hours of peace.” If you want more vacation, write, “2 weeks in Tahiti next winter” (I hear it’s nice.)
Tack that paper where you can see it, all the time. Look at it often, especially when you’re tired of practicing your writing skills. Remind yourself why you’re making yourself a better writer in the first place.
That goal you want? Writing can make it happen.