After a decade of writing copy for more than 200 client companies, Jon Wuebben, founder of Content Launch, has encapsulated his writing expertise in a software platform.
Using it, you will be able to think of great ideas, and turn them into great stories, says Wuebben, who is presenting a content marketing master class at the ADMA Global Forum on July 28 in Sydney.
“Out there in the marketplace you have all sorts of marketing automation platforms – Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua – and these are all-encompassing digital marketing platform for your business. You can send emails, do social stuff, create landing pages, and write your blog. But you don’t take a deep dive into the content [aspect] of that. Our software plugs into marketing automation platforms, and we become the hub for the content creation, ideation and workflow. You use our app to bring in others in your company; to reach outside influencers. It’s a one-stop shop for all content creation and distribution.” (Software platform will be available in September)
The ingredients of quality
Quality encompasses more than a nice turn of phrase, however. Companies struggle with the idea of independent content, controversy and criticism.
Wuebben says they need to change. “Small companies, and large ones, have their blinders on,” he says. “They think they know it all – they are marketing people, and so they know how customers want them to approach them. That is a misunderstanding of how people shop, buy and build a relationship.”
He likens content marketing to basic social skills. “If you are going to a bar or party, are you going to pitch people all about yourself? No, you are going to ask a few questions. That is how we need to see how we market our products and services. If we can tie into our customers’ needs, then we can supply them with products and services. It is a mind-shift change.”
Content marketers need to confront companies that don’t get it, Wuebben says, with directness, honesty and the facts. “Sit down and say, ‘Look guys, this is what you competitors are doing. They are stealing your customers with great content!’ A lot of times they don’t get it, and we have to tell them four or five times.”
How to find out what your readers want
Most companies write boring stories. “There are a lot of companies and individuals that are blogging or writing about things no one wants to hear about,” Wuebben says.
He advises clients to become the go-to source for all information about their industry, which includes writing stories about competitors.
How can content marketing teams find out what matters to their readers? Ask them, Wuebben advises content marketers. “Have you gone out and asked people what they want to hear about, surveyed your customers, done your keyword research? Google trends tells us what is popular and trending in our industry – are we tying our stories into news event? It is important not to be self-serving, to become that content hub, not a seller of products and services.”
Jon Wuebben’s writing tips
Wubben’s book – Content is Currency: Developing powerful content for web and mobile – tackles the issues of content quality. Here are some of his tips on how to write well.
Write like you speak. Not fluffy, but easy to read. Make it flow.
Do a before and after
Don’t expect your first draft to be the best. Do a before and after, and make improvements.
Show ‘em, don’t tell ‘em
Tell me the story; show me the colours.
Connect with pain points
Traditional marketing leads with the features of products and services; content marketing leads with the benefits first.
Deliver on the promise
A headline is a promise, but the story that follows it must deliver with well-researched, clear and conversational content.
Don’t skimp on headline time
Spend 10 to 15 minutes writing your headline. Try different ideas. Test them on others before you publish.
Be yourself: unique
Try to be original in both your stories and your headlines. Find your “voice”.
Don’t be afraid of long headlines
Don’t worry about SEO rules – write headlines that are interesting even if they are long. After reading your headline, your reader should think: I want to know about that right now!