Marketers need to have teasing and effective content on their web sites and blogs to attract visitors and customers. They need persuasive content in their emails. And, after all, that’s what search engine marketing is about as well: getting visitors to your website or to a specific landing page by offering consistent and relevant content. Blog marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, content marketing, they all have one thing in common: they aim to attract, be found and persuade. But is it any different than in email marketing and what skills do we need?
We all know that content is crucial in SEO and that the words in a search engine ad are key to conversion. We also know that content is essential in the post-click process, email marketing and in social media.
Valuable and relevant content is what makes people click a link, take action, download something, further discover your site or blog and share information with others over social networks. The content that matters, however, is the content you need for your – prospective – customers and business goals.
Writing engaging and efficient search engine ads is an art. Making the connection between the words in the ad and the content on the landing page as well. As a matter of fact, writing compelling content is probably one of the most important skills conversion specialists should have and of course it plays a crucial role in email marketing too.
Many companies still simply publish their print marketing or other forms of content on their web pages, thinking that online content is the same as offline and reducing the importance of well-written words in the format that corresponds to the way people “read” online.
Often, businesses even still look at online content as a cost that they prefer to keep as low as possible, while investing in all kinds of flashy online applications.
For those that understand the true value of online content, there are other challenges. A good SEO writer, online copywriter, content marketer or email writer is not the same thing as a good copywriter. All media have their own rules and, again, writing engaging content for online media, email, search engine ads, etc. is an art.
Clearly, words sell more than any fancy logo or picture (which are also important), so you want your message to be stated correctly. So, in a way, it would make sense to have a good online copywriter in your company, of course if you use a lot of interactive marketing and have the means.
However, there are not thousands of online copywriters out there, certainly not having the skills they should have besides “simply” writing: the rules of usability, SEO and much more. Can you learn that to someone? Sure but the question is if that time and investment couldn’t be better spent elsewhere.
Online content in the age of social media and customer-centricity
Search engine optimized content requires the help of a professional. SEO copywriters are not always cheap, but they can correctly optimize all your content so it’s search engine friendly. However, that is not enough anymore. If you want your content to be shared via social media, bookmarked and result in optimal conversion, you need a partner that understands more than keywords and SEO. Email marketing content and good email headlines are an art as well, in the end. The principles are the same but the tactics and their specific characteristics differ.
So, he or she needs to be able to write with the needs of the readers in mind, knows how to write a call-to-action, understands what determines if your content will be shared on social media or bookmarked on social bookmarking sites, knows how to write good emails and understands that content is part of a broader exercise where your web site, blog, emails, social media presences and whatever you do, are part of another conversion process.
Not that from content to click and online conversion. But that from lead to loyal customer by offering content as a way of lead nurturing. SEM is part of a broader marketing strategy and that’s why many agencies are extending their offering with social media optimization, conversion strategies, web analytics, online copywriting, email marketing, the new kid on the block called content marketing and sometimes even marketing automation and lead management (because it’s all about the multi-channel journey).
The same goes for the skills of an online copywriter: he or she must acquire new skills. This type of online copywriting is something that, according to me, cannot just be done in house but often must be outsourced to a highly specialized expert, a conversion agency, an SEO firm that has an integrated approach or a communication agency that has that same integrated approach but also a customer-centric and holistic view interactive marketing.
In the end, all that matters in marketing is the bottom-line and the value that is created for the business and the customer. And content is key in every micro-conversion, acquisition effort, lead nurturing step and word-of-mouth conversation. In the end, the lessons we have learned as email marketers with a customer-centric mindset and knowing the principles of relevant and effective online content, good copy and effective subject lines (replace by blog headlines, search engine ad titles, etc.) still apply.
What do you think?