Copywriting can be overwhelming. It’s extremely time consuming, and it requires consistency and a solid strategy. Without those three key elements, your content marketing could fail. The most important one—and the one we’ll discuss here—is strategy.
You can find someone on your team to write content for your business, or you can outsource the work to a freelancer relatively easily. However, creating a strategy requires a better understanding of your business, its customers, and its direction. In this article, you’ll find the top six copywriting strategies for content marketing I use, both for myself and for my clients. I hope they can be useful for you, too!
Copywriting Strategies for Content Marketing
1. Understand Who You are Writing For
One of the first things I do to create a content marketing strategy is to identify my personas or readers. Those are the profiles of the people who will be reading your content. Try to define them as much as possible by identifying their demographics, lifestyle, interests, and behaviors.
The idea is that, by understanding who you are writing for, you’ll be able to better tailor your content to specific readers—thus, allowing your content to be more relevant to your readers and, therefore, more impactful.
Notice that I say readers, not reader. Many businesses just focus on one main persona or don’t define personas at all—when chances are, they have more personas they can target. By just focusing on one single persona, you’ll narrow your reach and ranking potential.
For instance, let’s say you sell protein shakes for working out, and everyone in your industry is targeting people who are already fit. By exploring different readers or personas, you may be able to find new untapped targets, such as people who don’t work out but want to lose weight. The content that someone fit would consume would be different from the one someone overweight would consume. See example below:
Jason (fit person)
- Goes to the gym regularly (every day)
- About 25 years old
- Interested in content about improving his workout routine, e.g., How to Perfect a Squat
- Rarely goes to the gym (less than twice a year)
- About 25 years old
- Interested in content about losing weight, or how to start a workout routine, e.g., How to Start Losing Weight
As you can see above, those two targets may have similar demographics but different lifestyles—therefore, different interests in content. Tony would get lost in an advanced article about working out. On the other hand, Jason would not be interested in a basic article about working out since he is more advanced. Make sure to explore all your reader options to tap into as much reach potential as possible.
2. Segment your Content According to the Customer Journey
Now that we know who we are writing for, let’s consider timing. The goal here is to move readers from awareness to the buying phase, using content strategically. This is the content your readers will be exposed to after they find your brand organically or through paid advertising.
Let’s go back to the protein shake example above to better illustrate this point. Jason (the fit guy) found you online while he was looking for an article about bench pressing. He likes the article, so he subscribes to your email list but doesn’t buy your product. That is your chance to nurture him with strategic content to get him to come back to your store and make a purchase.
Maybe, the day after subscribing, you can send him an email about the benefits of protein shakes in a workout routine. Then,in the same week, he gets another article comparing different protein shake brands, and so on.
Finally, if everything goes well, Jason will end up buying your product. When creating your content calendar, keep the customer journey in mind to balance the amount of content in any given phase.
3. Use Sub-Headlines
We’ve been discussing big picture tips; now, let’s delve into more granular ones like formatting. Headlines and sub-headlines play a big part in the whole content structure and formatting. An article without sub-headlines can be difficult to skim through. Readers will usually try to do this to make sure the content is worth reading before investing too much time in it.
Also, sub-headlines help guide readers that are already invested in the article. It sets an expectation on the type of content that will come next. Putting all things aside, sub-headlines also help with search engine optimization or SEO. Having H2s with target keywords will increase the chances of ranking for those keywords.
So, don’t be afraid of using sub-headlines! I try to use them after every 3-4 paragraphs. Find what works best for you to keep your readers engaged.
4. Make your Paragraphs Short and Write in Simple Language
There’s nothing more confusing in an article than reading a convoluted, long paragraph. There is no need to show off your extensive vocabulary with words that may not be easy to understand for most readers. Keep your sentences simple and concise.
According to Purdue, paragraphs should have between three to five sentences, but, thanks to the online and mobile world, you can get by with fewer than that. Many writers use lines with one or two sentences to draw attention to a specific thought. For example, see how Neil Patel uses two lines to draw attention to a point below:
5. Create a Content Series or Chain
Have you ever binged-watched a series on Netflix? Why do you think it’s so addictive? It’s all about the hooks and the anticipation for what is yet to come. Follow a similar structure with your content. Plan it as series or chain to create that addictive effect.
For instance, if you sell wedding rings, you can create a series of articles related to wedding rings:
- Article #1: Wedding Ring Styles
- Article #2: How to Find the Perfect Style of Wedding Ring
- Article #3: How to Save for a Wedding Ring
The series would go on and on. The key is to link these articles together to make sure the reader finds them. Mentioning related content at the beginning, middle, and end of the article works best. The idea is for readers to engage with your brand as much as possible, to gain confidence in your product, and, finally, to make a purchase.
6. Add Calls to Action Across all your Content
Take a step above a simple link to a product page and include a visual that will attract more attention. For example, see how Brilliant Earth does a great job of featuring its products at the bottom of a sapphire education guide:
There is a carousel of jewelry related to sapphires (so the products are relevant to the article), and there is even an additional section to shop differently in case the reader wants to use another path to shop. If you could have something like this built in your platform, a simple banner with a link to a relevant product page would also work! Just try to make sure you use products that are relevant to the article you are talking about.
Have you tried any of these copywriting strategies for content marketing? Comment below!
Photo via Shutterstock
Ronald: As a pundit blogger, I like to write short sentences and paragraphs. I am experimenting with segmentation of the customer journey on my new site and blog on tea and self-publishing. My last (“umbrella”) site, covering all my social media activities and business services, will be inspired by Donald Miller’s StoryBrand script.
Awesome post you’ve got here Ronald. Creating valuable content is truly essential nowadays. These strategies are truly vital. I do believe that it is a must to understand our readers, especially their profiles.