25 Freelance Writing Jobs Sites In 2018

Believe it or not, freelance writing can be considered one of the BEST methods available to the people in today’s world to make money online. But where do you find these writing jobs? Apart from the regular Problogger and Blogging Pro job boards and constant LinkedIn outreach, following are a few best places to find freelance writing jobs. Then you will be able to put your writing skills to work and keep on making money.

freelance writing sites in 2018

Below mentioned are some of the most effective places available for you to discover freelancing writing jobs.

iWriter – iWriter can be considered as one of the most popular platforms that offer freelancing writing jobs online. On this platform, you can write cover letters, press releases, blog posts and articles. You get paid a chump change in return of regular flow of jobs.

Hire Writers – All people who sign up with Hire Writers will be provided with the opportunity to write articles and get paid on a weekly basis. There is a joining bonus of $20 as well.

Green Light Articles – If you wonder where to find freelance writing jobs for beginners, you can take a look at Green Light Articles because they have taken all necessary steps to organize the instructions and provide to you.

Great Content – Thousands of clients are on Great Content, looking for content writers who can submit the best quality articles for their needs. Hence, all people who search for online freelance writing jobs can take a look at it.

EssayTown – EssayTown.com is more focused towards academic writing. If you are good at academic writing, you can join EssayTown.com and earn as high as $21 per page.

Content Gather – A large number of customized content writing gigs are available at Content Gather. Hence, any person who searches for freelance writing jobs from home will be able to take a look at what’s available.

Contently – On Contently, all content writers are provided with the ability to develop their own writing portfolio and then proceed with looking for writing work under any preferred niche.

Constant Content – Some of the biggest brands that are looking forward to outsourcing their content writing work have signed up with Constant Content. Therefore, you will be exposed to excellent content writing opportunities online.

ClearVoice – If you are capable of writing articles based on your interests and experiences, ClearVoice is the most appropriate platform available to take a look at.

Cha Cha – You will have to write answers to questions asked on Cha Cha. The best thing about this content writing platform is that you will be paid on an hourly basis.

Boost CTR – On Boost CTR, content writers are being hired to create content for the advertisements on Microsoft and Google AdWords.

Blue Mountain Arts – This is a company that manufactures greeting cards. If you are looking for freelance writing jobs with the ability to write poems, you can sign up with them.

BlogMutt – BlogMutt offers excellent freelancing writing jobs for the individuals who are familiar with writing content for marketing and business.

DotDash – Dotdash.com is in the process of recruiting people in order to come up with online content on a wide variety of topics. You will be paid based on the number of articles that you have written.

Content Mills – This freelance writing jobs site is primarily for beginners. It pays low in comparison to others and is more appropriate towards the people who don’t have previous experience with content writing.

Writers Weekly – Tons of content writing work is available at Writers Weekly for the interested people to take a look at. In addition, you will be exposed to some excellent tips on content writing as well.

WriteJobs – Content writing work under a large number of niches are available for you to try out at WriteJobs. On WriteJobs, you will be writing stories for magazines as well.

Work at Home Adventures – Work at Home Adventures doesn’t just offer freelance writing jobs online. However, there is an excellent demand for content writers on this platform.

We Work Remotely – People who search for online freelancing jobs can use We Work Remotely. A large number of writers are currently working on this platform to offer their skills and make a decent amount of money.

Work hoppers – Work hoppers is a platform that is dedicated towards clients who are looking to get hands-on talented freelancers.

Writer Bay – Upon signing up, you will be exposed to a large number of content writing opportunities at Writer Bay. There is a possibility to look for a steady flow of work at Writer Bay as well.

Task Army – Task Army may seem like another platform available for the people to sign up and keep on making money. However, there is an excellent demand for the people who work as content writers on this platform.

The Write Life – Among the websites that offer online freelance writing jobs, The Write Life has received a lot of attention. On this website, you will be able to discover writing opportunities, which span across a large number of topics.

Fiverr – Fiverr can be considered as one of the most popular freelance marketplaces that you can find out there on the Internet. On this platform, it is possible to look for a large amount of writing work. They span across multiple topics such as blog posts, legal writing and press releases. You can set your base price for an article as $5 and keep on making money.

Fourerr – Fourerr is one of the up and coming micro job websites. People who are looking for freelance writing jobs from home will be able to take a look at this website. That’s because the website exposes you to a large number of customized writing projects. There is an excellent community of writers on this platform as well.

Honestly speaking, this is just a list of freelance writing job sites (and not all sites that I personally prefer!) I do focus primarily on Problogger, Blogging Pro and Contently. But it’s just my opinion. If you ask my opinion, I would always say, reach out to prospective clients via email and convert them. Time-consuming and highly profitable!

I would not deter anyone from joining any site and working as a freelance writer if it suits them. Asking someone not to go for content farms just because it pays $15 for 1,000 words is foolish if it suits their financial lifestyle. To each their own.

What Is Branding? How Is It Related To Marketing?

Dear Reader,

What is branding, anyway? It is regularly tossed around by both amateurs and veterans in the marketing and advertising field as if it was some hot, sexy stuff right out of Hollywood and carried with it a glitter of its own. Branding sounds so glamorous, right?

Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s cold and hard, and extremely precious to the minutest details possible. But it would be hard to deny that there is a touch of humanity to the branding concept. Guess what? That makes defining the B-word almost impossible to people who don’t understand it yet.

However, I aim to achieve the impossible in this letter. So let’s get on with it.

A Few Branding Definitions...

The question is tricky, and I would like to start with Cheryl Burgess’ quote from Blue Focus Marketing: “A brand is a reason to choose.” That’s trite and cute, but no novice will probably be able to understand the concept of Branding from that little quote.

Okay, let’s hear what Mr Leo Burnett has to say: “A brand symbol is anything that leaves a mental picture of the brand’s identity.” Ah! Now we got a far more concrete answer this time.

So, a brand is formed with one or more ‘props’ that instantly help a prospect to recall the personality of a company. The symbols can be anything and everything starting from name, term, design, symbol or anything whatsoever—as per the American Marketing Institute.

Fair enough.

Let’s hear what one of my most favourite marketing authors need to say about it.

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. Seth Godin

As we can understand from the definitions above, a brand is not tangible in nature. So, don’t think you have a brand just because you paid that Fiverr designer $25 to design a cool logo for your website. Brand is all about perception.

Al Ries says, “A brand is a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of a prospect.” In Ze Frank’s words, it’s the “emotional aftertaste” that comes after an experience (even a second-hand one) with a product, service or company. More like the hot iron mark on a steer’s hindquarters. Just remember, the business, and not the customer, is the steer here.

branding marketing

My Perception of Brand (Pun Intended)

If you were to ask me, an insignificant marketing copywriter, I would say:

Your brand, in essence, is akin to a living being: it has an identity and personality, name, culture, vision, emotion and intelligence. Or let’s say, your brand is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  Your brand name brings back a complete snapshot of everything he thinks he knows about you—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s innovative and professional). Your brand name, which lives in reality, activates the essence of your brand, which lives in imagination.

I agree with the remark made by Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding that branding is forming an emotional connection with your customer. That relationship resides in your customer’s mind.

Mr Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” I say EVERYTHING.

Now comes the far more important question. Marketers, adjust your glasses, grab a cup of coffee and pay attention now.

How Branding Relates To Marketing

To answer this question, I will have to start by quoting a TSL Marketing article:

“Successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity.”

That being said, let us go over the objectives of marketing once.

Objective  #1. Engage with target audience

Look, let me put this straight for you.

Nobody does business with a robot.

Even when a consumer is buying a product or service from a business, which is essentially an artificial person, they are still buying from a “person”.

And to prove that a business is human, it needs to act human. It needs to engage with its audience like a human.

By staying engaged with your target audience, you effectively humanise your brand and also set yourself up as an ideal person to buy from or do business with.

And who achieve this purpose?

Of course, the marketing team—because it’s the numero uno objective of marketing.

Objective #2. Prove industry leadership

When some random Mr Smith opens shop in your niche, the only way to stand out of the crowd is to get on top of the ladder.

This is the second biggest challenge of marketing—to become the first name in the customer’s mind in a particular industry.

Your marketing process including content marketing, that is, content, blog articles, offers, client communications, and social media engagement, should all focus on setting yourself and your company aside as industry thought leaders because when it comes time to open the wallet, people want to do business with them.

Once you are an industry leader, not only will your competitors but also prospects will follow you. They will listen to what you have to say. They will buy everything you say. They will follow you like little-lost puppies (well, maybe not so but still somewhat).

But for that to happen...

Your business needs to come to the front bench of the class.

You need to speak up a lot more than you already do.

You need to be present every day, even when it rains heavily.

Be proactive and participate in every event you can.

That’s when you get that much-coveted attention from both your class teacher and that special blue-eyed blonde you like.

Understood?

Objective #3. Building a loyal following

I didn’t use the word “leads” or “traffic”.

Do you think it sounds too harsh to your prospects?

Suppose, you go over to your favourite cafe, and the waiter standing beside you flatly shouts out to the barista, “Hey Mack, another existing customer arrived. Generate as much revenue from him as possible.” Would you visit that cafe again? I guess no.

That is exactly why I hate business terminology.

Forget about building a pile of leads.

Start building a community.

You don’t need customers. You need loyal supporters of the WHY of your business as suggested by Simon Sinek.

And I hate repeating it. It’s again a part of marketing.

Now speaking of supporters—and loyalty—we have finally reached to the most important objective of marketing.

Objective #4. Establish a brand that your target audience “falls in love” with.

If you have read so far, you are in for a treat.

Because I am finally going to answer one of the most baffling marketing questions now.

Is branding actually marketing? Yes, a resounding yes.

You see, marketing aims towards determining and laying the foundation of your business brand.

But actually, the whole process of marketing is in essence brand building.

Yes, that’s right.

It’s not just the one of the objectives of marketing. It is the ONLY objective of marketing.

Whether you market a product or a whole company, you are essentially moving towards entrenching the brand of the business.

Let me tell you from my own experience and from what most marketing folks will tell you, the very first step is to define the end goal, that is, the brand to be established.

Who are we as a company?

What keywords do people search to find our products/service?

Who are our buyer personas?

What makes us different?

How do we convey our expertise through content and graphics?

What value are we providing?

What makes customers buy from us? What makes them return?

Then, all forms of marketing get executed to make the brand a ‘reality’ in the mind of the customers.

A complete paradox this article has been, hasn’t it? Reality-imagination, beginning-end, branding-marketing...whew!

Your takeaway of the letter:

The brand is the perception someone holds in their head about you, a product, a service, an organisation, a cause, or an idea.  Brand building is the deliberate and skilful application of effort to create the desired perception in someone else’s mind. That’s the first and last goal of marketing.

How marketing does that?

Moving the prospect through various stages to converting them into customers, and finally, into brand evangelists. It starts with Branding, and it ends with Branding. This one sentence pretty much sums it all up.

That’s the reason why David Packard of Hewlett-Packard fame once ironically observed that “marketing is too important to be left to the marketing people.” Because a brand is almost...forever. Many a company became giants and many withered away—all because of one word: branding.

By the way, if you are still confused about what branding is, just go by what David Meerman Scott says:

“Branding is what lazy and ineffective marketing people do to occupy their time and look busy.”

Can’t argue with that.

As ever,
Ron C
Founder, CopyeWriting

P. S. Take the How Strong Is Your Brand Personality? Test here and see where you stand in the Branding game.

The Greatest Sin Of A Content Marketer

Dear Reader,

I tell you...

If you are doing this, you are committing a GREAT SIN as a content marketer.

Be honest.

Are you following the herd?

What I mean is, are you doing something just for the sake of doing it?

Because others (maybe influencers) are doing it?

Have you mistakenly fallen prey to The Tipping Point theory of Malcolm Gladwell?

If you said yes, I don’t blame you.

“Let's face it. We live in a command-based system, where we have been programmed since our earliest school years to become followers, not individuals. We have been conditioned to embrace teams, the herd, the masses, popular opinion -- and to reject what is different, eccentric or stands alone. We are so programmed that all it takes for any business or authority to condition our minds to follow or buy something is to simply repeat a statement more than three or four times until we repeat it ourselves and follow it as truth or the best trendiest thing. This is called "programming" -- the frequent repetition of words to condition us how to think, what to like or dislike, and who to follow.”

― Suzy KassemRise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

So yes, you are just being human. I am not that different either.

However, let me put it out to you as bluntly as I can.

You are doing it WRONG!

Why?

The sole reason is that you are a “marketer”.

Why do you think they always ask for ‘creative bent of mind’ when they post that ad on Monster? It’s not for the sake of including it because it sounds so dandy and the company was in lack of better criteria.

It is because...

Your job as a marketer is to disrupt marketing strategies.

You heard that right.

As a marketer, you don’t follow the age-old, outdated strategies on and on. It will diminish business results further over time and you will end up getting handed the pink slip, ouch!

For example, look at the content marketing industry today.

For God’s sake, every Tom, Dick and Harry is writing 2000+ word blog posts. I never knew there were so many “experts” around me—on every possible niche under the sun.

content marketing fallacy

Tell you what, it’s a fallacy.

But I am not going to criticize the industry here. If one likes to pose as an expert in his black suit and speak to a hall room full of audiences, who am I speak against it?

Everyone has right to do what they want to do (at least within restrictions).

However...

If you as a marketer try to follow the herd and spout out long-form pieces one after another, to prove “Who’s your daddy?” theory, you are the Bigger Fool, my friend.

Rather, do something different.

If they are writing 2000+ words articles, write 200 words—but of superior value.

Make it count.

Remember, at the end of the day, your customer desires higher value, he doesn’t go looking for 2000+ words posts or infographics or whatever.

Be different.

Be valuable.

21st Century Marketing Formula: Value + Uniqueness = Success Click To Tweet

As Seth Godin says:

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

Can’t beat that. Love his ideology.

Your Content Marketing Takeaway-of-the-Day:

Go in the opposite direction searching for a higher value to your customers.

As ever,
With my best wishes,
Ron C

Does The Secret Sauce Of B2B Content Marketing Still Elude You?

Because there is no secret sauce in content marketing, my dear friend. Look at my straight face here. I am not joking at all.

In fact, I am going to reveal a profound truth that might have been eluding you for a while.

Digital marketers and entrepreneurs: prick up your ears, as I am going to sprout the century’s most enlightening...

Oh wait! Let me start with a verified truth here.

In life, we tend to chase our tails at times ... in an illusion of the presence of some invisible magical power around us. We like to think or let’s say, we WANT to think in luck—which I totally believe in—that nothing is in our hands. But in reality, a lot remains in our hands. Seldom do we realize that the power is within us.

The magic lies within you as a content marketer.

It’s not by chance that a slight 1 percent of internet entrepreneurs have 100K+ Twitter followers while the rest have a mere hundred. It’s amazing how that little, privileged segment of entrepreneurs are being talked about in almost every other blog in that particular niche. The community admires them, “worships” them and eats out of their palms—even if some of them are selling $2000 ecourses. (Quite a BIG sum, right? Is it worth it? That’s another topic.)

b2b content marketing

First, can you tell me what’s separates these ‘special’ people from the pack?

Can you guess?

It’s the Power of their Brand.

Are you wondering, “Huh! Why are we talking of Branding now?”

Have patience. Let me explain. (Taking a long sip from my coffee mug.)

Come to think about it...

What’s driving that solid brand in the first place? I mean, how do you think these entrepreneurs created one for God’s sake?

Yes, you guessed it correctly, my friend.

By the Power of Grayskull! (I am kidding.)

It’s through their Awesome Content Quality.

Go through each of their blog posts, their reports, their infographics or sometimes even their landing pages.

You will see that they give so much value. Whether through the interactive quizzes, colourful graphs and geeky informative charts, they give, give, GIVE!

CMI’s Chief Content Adviser Robert Rose says, “If we’re truly focused on delivering value through content — value that is separate and distinct from our product or service — then the experience becomes ‘enhanced.’ This enhancement is what will be additive to the customer’s perception of what that brand provides.”

So true. I fully agree. Thumbs up.

Awesome Content Marketing Begets Unbeatable Brands. Click To Tweet

Only with the right content marketing strategy can you build a solid, time-tested brand for your B2B business. A Brand that stands out and shines in its own industry niche. But optimizing for such a content marketing campaign with the highest return potential requires ... umm ... ATTENTION.

I agree with 4 aspects of a great content marketing strategy as suggested by Talia Wolf:

The content: Map the content people actually want and need. Why should people read your article vs. someone else’s? What will you be saying that is new and different?

The influencers: Next, map out influencers who would be interested in this article. You can collect quotes from them, mention them, or simply add them to a list of people you’re going to tweet to or reach out to via email when the article is ready. The more personal you get with them, the more likely they are to share the article.

The media: Map out websites and publishers that would be interested in your article. Many publishers feature articles they find interesting or syndicate content. Reach out to them and let them know you’re writing a specific article they may be interested in. Reaching out beforehand will give you an indication if they’d like to see certain information in that article for them to share it or syndicate it.

The promotion: Writing the content is only 20% of the job. The other 80% is promotion. Don’t just rely on sharing it a couple of times on Twitter and LinkedIn. Have a list of all the sites, communities, and platforms you’re going to promote on.

If we tend to these four factors regularly in your content marketing campaign, you can rest assured that you business graphs—whichever you prefer—will go up.

BUT, BUT, BUT...

There’s one another crucial aspect of a perfect content marketing strategy that we are missing here. Perhaps, that’s the reason why your card house is crumbling down again and again. Or maybe, you are not being able to reap the results you want.

Normally, as soon as we start talking about content marketing, the following objectives begin popping up in our mind from nowhere—it’s become so cliché these days, seriously:

Generate traffic and visibility in social networks

Yes, this one is indeed important. I believe, if nobody gets to see my content, it’s no use creating it. Then...

Improve SEO positioning

Ah, how can we ever forget about the search engine robots, right? With all the hype of automation going on around us, we may as well become robots ourselves. But that’s best kept for another letter.

Promotion of a product or service

Your content needs to sell. Everyone says so. That includes me as well. He he. However, we are still not talking about one particular objective of content marketing.

Getting loyal subscribers

Nopes, this is not the one we are talking about. Yes, getting LOADS of subscribers has never made any marketer unhappy. But guess what, this is still not the one.

Add to this...

Building A Solid, Unbreakable Brand

Seen it and already know how powerful it can be. In fact, all of the above can be accomplished if you manage to succeed at this one only.

(Courtesy to the $2000+ courses! No offence to those entrepreneurs. I know a few and I can tell you, they are a bunch of the most hardworking people on this planet. But frankly speaking, not all those courses are worth it. However, they sell like hotcakes. Brand, my friend, that’s called a Brand. And in case you are wondering, oh, I am damn jealous, you know.)

If you listen to Talia’s advice, you will achieve all of these objectives. However...

I believe we are missing ONE IMPORTANT INGREDIENT from the content success matrix.

Let me add this one.

Want to know about the most consequential, earth-shattering secret sauce to your content marketing strategy?

“Hey, you said there’s no secret sauce at the beginning of this article!”

Well, I lied. Straight face. Can’t I?

The secret sauce of your B2B content marketing strategy is ... wait for it ...

Branding First. Content Second. Click To Tweet

You probably didn’t get it, right? I can see it in your blank face.

Let me say it again ... in a simpler way.

You don’t do content marketing first in order to build a brand as a result.

You focus on branding first for a perfect content marketing campaign.

I think, this has been aptly brought out by Jillian Hillard, director of brand marketing, small appliances, at Electrolux, commented:

“For brands, it’s no longer a question of how you can use content to enhance the consumer’s perception of the brand, it’s a necessity. Content is the gateway into a brand’s soul.” 

You build a brand by focusing on BRANDING at all times. You cannot be telling your copywriter, “Hey, get me an article about the latest industry statistics.” And then, you daydream how it will increase the brand score of your business.

You create branded content to create a brand.

Savvy?

Stop reading right now, and give it a long thought.

Doesn’t that really make sense?

Unfortunately, this is where most marketers and entrepreneurs falter. They lack the right content marketing strategy to start with. Needless to say, it doesn’t fetch you the expected results.

3 Main Essentials Of Branded Content Marketing

branded b2b content marketing

Your B2B content must demonstrate your brand values and principles.

Content marketing is not advertising—bold and direct. As a content marketer, you need to bring forth the essence of your brand in a subtler manner.

Your B2B content must achieve the business priorities.

Are you trying to find new customers? Retain existing customers? Cross-sell? All three? Are you a direct-seller with ecommerce sales goals? Whatever your marketing goals are, your B2B content marketing strategy must cater to your business goals ... always.

Your B2B content must serve your customer needs and desires—a challenge for most businesses.

We live in a selfish world, and as humans, businesses too care about their self-interests. You need to go further. Traditional research, customer surveys or lengthy pitches from sales professionals might not cut it anymore.

Understand what moves your customers, their needs, their desires and their fears. Create content not to advertise your business, but to cater to their personal lives. Make it ‘shareworthy’!

It is the secret sauce that’s been lacking in your B2B content marketing strategy.

Give them more than they expect from you.

Give ‘em value, my friend.

As ever,
Ron C
Copy-e-Writing

Being A Marketer Is Damn Tough BUT…Possible In 9 Simple Ways

Look, whoever said “being a marketer is easy” is the BIGGEST liar of this century. He probably lives in the basement of his parents’ house and could not market his idea to his dad even, because for all I know…

Marketing—I mean, marketing anything, whether it is a new product or rebuilding an old dying brand—can turn out to be the hardest challenge of your life, unless you are eating dinner with the managing director of IBM or recently resigned as a Chief Technology Officer of Twitter.

In the super-competitive market that we live in today, expect to put in all your resources plus at least 80-90 hours per week and still you might find it not to be enough. In short, being a marketer dares you. Being a marketer drains you. Being a marketer punishes you…like you are a pet dog. Whew!

The question is, can you sustain this onslaught on a daily basis? Perhaps not, unless you include some serious productivity hacks in your daily life.

Divide Your Full Day Into Convenient Time Blocks

Whether it’s 15-minutes or as long as an hour, it’s your call. However, you need to segment your whole day and allot each time block to a single task. Read it again, SINGLE task. Do not multitask—it negatively affects your productivity. Do not create a to-do list. Create a schedule instead. You will benefit just like Rebekah Epstein did:

“Not only did this make me feel significantly less stressed, I was getting more done in fewer hours!”

And oh yes, it’s “crucial to make sure you record all your meetings and appointments in one place instead of having them scattered throughout different calendars, notebooks, and apps,” writes Alexandra Weiss, a partner at CA Creative in New York, via email. “Not only will it save time to only have to check one calendar but it will also help ensure that you are not double booking or missing any meetings.”

Keep Distractions Out Of Your Way

If you study some of the most successful marketers in the world, you will find one thing in common: Focus. Stop checking your emails every 10 minutes. Keep your phone on the silent mode or just switch it off altogether when you are working. Take three 15-min breaks to check your emails and voice mails during the day.

Alex Turnbull, CEO-Founder of GrooveHQ writes:

“A sec” probably means a 3-5 minute conversation is about to take place. But the cost of that conversation isn’t just those 3-5 minutes.

Scientific research shows that you need at least 23 minutes to regain attention. Ouch, 23 minutes of non-productively as a marketer—that’s quite a lot!

Preparation Is The Key To Your Marketing Success

Nothing is more than this one. Mr Opportunity might be knocking on the door but if you aren’t there to open it, it’s no use. Mr Opportunity is a fickle-minded and busy person. He won’t wait forever. Prepare beforehand. Start with the end in mind and work on it. So, when the time comes, you are ready to take advantage of it.

As per the words of Eliyahu Goldratt:

“Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.”

And oh, I have to let Will Smith, one of my favourite Hollywood actors speak here. He is massively successful and just plain awesome at his art, and he says:

“I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness [sic] for practice and preparation.”

In the marketing niche, who wins? Not the one with the most talent, but the one who puts in the highest level of effort. Resources matter but only to an extent.

I don’t boast often but I must share this little fact about myself. I became a copywriter long before I even completed my college education. I know a plenty of copywriters who have completed their University education and still haven’t gotten hold of the basics of digital marketing. The problem is, they don’t put in the necessary effort to perfect themselves in their art.

But I did. I spent nights completing the AWAI course and reading the Halbert Letters. Put in the effort, man or woman (I am not a sexist, you see).

Set SMART Goals For Every Quarter Or So

Break down the BIG goal into smaller, achievable and quantifiable goals for the short term. Write them down on index cards and paste them in front of your desk. Not only does it help you to keep focus in your regular endeavours, it ensures that the whole business goes in the right direction.

The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. – Bill Copeland

In his fantastic book, “Delivering Happiness“, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh describes how offering smaller, but more frequent promotions had a measurable increase in employee satisfaction, even though the final accomplishment was the same. Instead of offering one big promotion every 18 months, for example, the management at Zappos found that offering smaller promotions, say every 3 months, would result in increased employee satisfaction and motivation.

You can take this lesson and apply it to your own life. Take the mountains you need to climb and break them up into smaller hills that you can walk. You’ll be happier and more motivated to start working towards that next milestone on your way to marketing greatness.

Work Urgent Tasks First And Delegate As Much As You Can

This is against popular opinion but involves a far more effective strategy. You measure a task on a 2D scale of impact and effort. You finish the “highest impact, highest effort” tasks first and “lowest impact, lowest effort” ones last. What I mean by that is, you should always reward your mini self by finishing off the quick and easy starts, and leave the most complicated tasks to tackle in the end.

And always delegate the tasks you can. As much as you would like to say to your wife, you are not a Superman or even a Batman. You cannot do everything alone. You need help from your in-house associates. You need help from your outsourced staff. In fact, make sure you do only what you cannot delegate to others.

Remember not to work in your business but to work ON your business. (This is mainly applicable to the C-level marketing executives.).

Maintain Daily Routine Of At Least 1 Hour Yoga (Preferably)

If you ask me, yoga has a unique way of rejuvenating your mind and body and strengthens your Self to take on what comes your way. Every successful marketer comes with a strong, resilient spirit, derived from a healthy body and mind. It’s not sitting at a desk for 9 hours after all.

Bonus Tip: Meditate for at least half an hour every day (twice is always advisable).

Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan of Art Of Living Center In California says, ““Meditation is the mind without agitation.” It’s about sustaining “mental hygiene”. Stanford Researcher, Emma Seppälä, who is also the associate director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford, says, “It’s very empowering.”

Personally speaking, I meditate whenever I can. And I recommend it to everyone I come across, sometimes even 5-year-olds! (Their moms always love that BTW. I don’t know why.)

Start Your Day By Writing A Journal

Again, this is not what they (pointing at the pop psychologists) will suggest. They say, write the journal by the end of the night—a great way of letting out your emotions and go to sleep peacefully. But as an entrepreneur, you can only sleep peacefully when you have done your day’s work properly.

That happens when you start your day with a little pep talk via the journal. You are basically talking about yourself. You are the patient and you are the psychologist. You listen to your own questions in your “struggling” marketing life (we all go through this) and you yourself start providing answers for the same.

What’s more? Journals can be a great way to start self-discovering yourself.

Paul Smith and Betty Smith, both fashion designers, keep their creativity alive by regularly writing in a notebook. Great writers like Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Sylvia Path and Alice Walker along with hundreds of writers across time who all kept diaries and journals which has informed their writing and creative productivity.

As the life coach and author, Jackee Holder states:

“Journals are creative portals. Because you’re in dialogue with your inner life when you write in a journal, you solve problems and get creative. Keeping a journal can be both a clearing-house and – in the next word, sentence or page – become an incubator where you tap into your imagination and unleash your creativity and ideas.”

Keep Gathering Daily Lumps Of Gold In Your Knowledge Ville

I cannot stress much on this one. Not only reading stimulates you mentally, keeps you updated with knowledge and builds up your analytical and critical skills, a new study shows that for men, access to books from a young age corresponds to higher earnings over a lifetime.

Now you are listening. It’s not me speaking. It’s Charlie Munger speaking. (If you haven’t heard about his name before, forget reading this letter and Google his name right now.)

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero”.

Take the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, who reads 50 books a year, or Buffett, who spends as much as 80 percent of his day reading.

Eat A Live Frog Every Morning. Seriously!

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” He may not be a young entrepreneur, but his advice still stands over a century later: if there’s something you’ve been dreading doing, don’t let it drag on — just do it and move forward.

Research by Roy Baumeister shows that our willpower starts off high and then depletes throughout the day. Other research shows that starting a goal but not completing it (a.k.a., procrastinating) makes us less effective at the next tasks we perform.

The truth is, being a marketer and watching consumers talk about that old shitty brand in a new light or the sales graph go up every quarter can be a fulfilling life achievement, but only if you make yourself capable of being one.

Or else, know the feeling of drowning? Imagine you are drowning in the middle of the Pacific and nobody is there to save you. That’s how you will feel every day.

You sure don’t want that, do you?

Contently yours,

Ron C, Copy-e-Writing

Eleven Steps To Smart Brand Storytelling

When you want to learn how to describe yourself or your business, people look to storytelling as a way to improve their core message.

But what is storytelling? And how do you actually get better at it?

And what does it matter for businesses today?

“Story” — the word is vague and yet so appealing — so it can be difficult to know where to start, and how to use what you learn in your everyday practice.

If you’re not telling your story, who is telling it for you?

This essay will look at some of the core truths about stories and storytelling in Part I, and then I’ll share a few tools that are practical and easy to implement in Part II. Use these core principles across many communication needs, from a personal biography to the description of your company.

Storytelling is a fundamental human tool that we all do innately. The problem is that over time, we’ve been bombarded with terrible examples of bad messaging, and we don’t know what models to look to. Our brains are wired for storytelling, because stories help us learn, explore, and retain information through second- and third-hand experiences. We know when we’re in the presence of a good story, but do we actually know what’s happening inside of them?

We can recognize when we’re captivated by a great story. The problem is, can you dissect what’s happening into tools you can use to your advantage later?

Stories are innately human. Everyone is a born storyteller.

Case in point: when you recount events that you’ve done, even a simple sentence as you walk through the door, you’re setting up a basic story structure:

“You won’t believe what just happened — first I went to the grocery store, then…” — your ears prick up.

You’ve set up the most basic form of a story: do you know what it is?

Here’s another example —

“The beach was dark and quiet. It was eerie — the moon was dark and someone had turned off all the lights on the boardwalk. Alison felt uneasy as she stepped nervously out into the dark. Who had turned out all the lights?”

Both of these examples use a very specific form of storytelling that we’re all hardwired to understand. Do you know what it is?

I’ll explain it today as we deconstruct storytelling. But first, I want to debunk a few myths about storytelling. Somehow we think that only an elite few can be storytellers, and it’s a skill that we don’t have.

personal brand storytelling

Part I: Common storytelling principles that apply to business and life.

1. Everyone is a storyteller.

Some people say that storytelling is limited to an elite few or a professional clique. In reality, that’s not true. All humans are born storytellers, and we are born to look for, hear, and describe our world in stories.

When someone comes back to us and says, “Avoid Atlantic Avenue, it’s crazy full of traffic,” we select a different route because we got information — in the form of a story — about someone else’s experience.

2. We tell stories to connect, dream and imagine.

We use storytelling to connect inwardly to ourselves, outwardly towards others, and to imagine futures. Humans spend up to four hours per day inside of imaginary landscapes — in daydreams, thoughts, visualizations, and places beyond the present. We live in a world of stories.

We use storytelling to connect inwardly to ourselves, outwardly towards others, and to imagine our futures.

Children are born telling stories — in fact, we play for exactly this reason. Playing is our built-in mode of imagining the future and the past. In telling stories, and playing make-believe, we’re able to learn at a much faster pace than if we had to rely only on our own experience.

We are learning creatures. We learn by experience and through our imagination. When something good happens to us, that’s a reward. When something bad happens, there’s a punishment. These incentives teach us over time.

In stories, we get to pick up and enter into the landscape of someone else’s learning — and learn for ourselves, even though we may be sitting in one place, not moving.

3. Stories are how we are hardwired.

Prior to written language, we had to keep important information about the world around us, somehow. We’ve constructed melodies, songs, and other modes of storing information.

Is it any coincidence that “storing” and “storytelling” are related? We are hardwired to remember cause and effect relationships — “I saw a spider, that spider killed my friend, spiders are bad.” “REMEMBER THIS!” Shouts your brain.

Lisa Cron’s research on the brain science behind storytelling is what prompted her book, Wired For Story, if you’re curious about how it works.

In research in The Storytelling Animal by Jonathan Gottfried, he talks about how we actually make up stories all the time, whenever we see two events happening.

If we see a group of women and they’re all wearing tiny shorts, we might tell as a story to ourselves about how they are all going to the beach. In research on people with their two brain hemispheres segmented or separated, they discover that our brains actually wire stories into our minds when presented two pieces of information.

4. A story is what you take with you.

In any situation or setting, a story is what you take with you.

When giving a presentation or sharing your brand or idea, what someone walks away with is the story. They’ve taken all the information they’ve been given and distilled it into the easiest parts to remember.

Listen to what people catch from your descriptions, and guide your story towards what people naturally keep bringing up!

A story is what you take with you. Listen to how people explain

It’s less about what you want to say, and what people do with what you say. Pay attention to what people respond to, and adjust accordingly.

5. We are surrounded by far too many examples of bad storytelling — powerpoints, inadequacy marketing, and droll presentations have numbed our innate ability to tell stories.

Unfortunately, we’re surrounded by terrible examples of storytelling. In The Story Wars by Jonah Sachs, he talks about all the sins of modern storytelling — from our need for vanity to posing as an authority, and more.

There are far too many bad examples out there — boring presentations, terrible pitches, inadequacy marketing — that we’ve forgotten what great storytelling looks like.

Basically, the last century of mass broadcasting let the leaders in charge of storytelling get lazy. There’s too much talking about yourself, not listening to the audience, and shouting lists. Technology (like powerpoint) even encourages bad storytelling by putting bullets and lists as the mode of operation.

The good news is that once we recognize the bad examples for what they are — boring presentations that put us to sleep — we can stop copying them and start engaging.

6. When you sell anything — yourself, a brand, a business — you tell a story.

When you sell things, you tell a story. It’s not about the thing at hand. And powerpoint lists are terrible ways of communicating.

When you sell things, you’re telling a story.

Think about a toothbrush. You’re not selling a plastic stick with a bunch of flexible bristles on it. Why describe it like that?

When you sell a toothbrush, you’re selling the idea of a cleaner mouth. Why is that clean mouth important?

Think about Listerine: you’re not selling a bottle of alcohol, you’re selling … a date.

The ability to be well-liked.

A possibility.

Advertisements are stories about who you are and who you should be, and great advertisements want to capitalize on something deeper than the physical thing that they are selling.

What do they believe about human nature? What story are they telling you, implied or otherwise?

7. We are naturally curious, and we all want to be smart.

Finding Nemo, the movie, is about a little guy who gets lost and needs to find his dad. Along the way, he goes on adventure after adventure in order to return home.

At the beginning of the movie, we, the audience, know the purpose of the whole movie within the first few minutes: this is a story about a father and son finding each other again.

The same is true in most situations. We interrupt because we want to get to the point faster. When presented with a puzzle, most people work furiously to get it right — first.

People like to be smart, and curious. Stories let us engage our curiosity.

We want to be smart. We like the puzzle of a story, and we want to guess how it will end. Stories entertain us because they keep us in suspense, and they tickle our brains to try to guess how something ends.

Part II: How to improve your business and personal storytelling today.

So how do you take all this and make it applicable to your stories and messages? Here are some concrete ways to improve your storytelling right now.

8. Your English teacher was right — it is about “showing” versus “telling.”

Too often we jump straight to the point. Think about each of these as lead sentences:

“It was the hardest day of my life.”

“The thing is, simplicity matters.”

“Never underestimate the power of a good friend.”

These are all true statements, but it’s not gripping or exciting. Whatever your core philosophical statement, think about leaving it unsaid.

Just like the toothbrush examples before, the point of your story isn’t to beat someone over the head with the idea, but rather to SHOW it through lots of vivid detail and an example that highlights your core philosophy.

We don’t need to be hit over the head with ideas. We want to learn through the experience.

For example —

[It was the hardest day of my life.] vs:

“I’d just finished a fourteen-hour shift in the cement factory. I had no idea what my dad did, so that summer I signed up to join him at work. Three days in, and I could barely lift my hands. My forearms burned, and my calves were shot from jumping in and out of the trucks. I’d probably lifted more than a hundred sacks of cement mix in and out of the truck. When I got home that day, all I wanted was to lie down. Then I discovered…”

[Never underestimate the power of a good friend.] vs:

“I’d just found out that my grandmother had passed, and I couldn’t make it home in time. My job had closed the week before, our office putting up the ‘for sale’ sign after more than eight months in the red. On the bus ride home through the foggy drizzle of Portland’s grey fall days, I wondered how I could pay for groceries for the rest of the week.

As I got off the bus, I saw someone sitting on my stoop. “Probably another homeless person,” I muttered to myself, thinking I’d be one soon myself. As I got closer, I saw that it was actually Andy, holding two bags of Indian food takeout. He wrapped me in a big hug. “I thought that you could use this today,” he explained, pointing to the food.

“Let’s eat.”

Words are the only vehicle someone has to understand your vision.

9. Detail, detail, detail. The environment matters — because it lays the foundation for imagination.

Words are the only vehicle someone has to understand your vision. The more you set the stage for where you are, the easier it is for someone to buy in.

Great storytelling is about detail — but a specific kind of detail. How do you set the stage and the context for what’s happening? What does it feel like to be you?

Stories immerse us in an event far away from where we are, catapulting us into a new time and space. Key descriptions anchor us into this new space through the use of all of the senses — smell, sight, touch, taste, sound, texture, even kinesthetics.

Begin by describing the world around you, in vivid sensory detail. The English language has thousands of words to describe the subtle differences in texture and weight and material. Tell the story of what the world looks like. Great fiction books often begin with these details — take a look at 1984 or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for great opening scenes.

With written narrative, all we have are words. Contrast this to film, where we can show rich detail through visual imagery. In our hyper-visual culture, we sometimes replace describing feelings with posting a quick picture, because it’s easier.

But in writing, all we have are words. Choosing words and describing the scene, in detail, is what brings someone into your story.

10. Introduce conflict — by using the “bait” method.

Here’s a secret about the human brain: we all like to be smart.

We like to figure things out, and know the answers to things. Whenever we are presented with a puzzle, we like seeing if we can figure it out before someone else does.

In storytelling, a great way to engage your audience is to add a teaser at the beginning.

In storytelling, a great way to engage your audience is to add a teaser at the beginning. By using a little bit of bait, you stoke the curiosity in your listener’s mind. Ira Glass talks about this often, and if you introduce a story with an underlying question (like “the house was eerily dark,” or “it was a different night than any other,”) the listener begins to wonder why it was so dark, or why the night was different.

This “curiosity gap” between a piece of information that asks a question, and the story that resolves the question, helps the reader stay engaged and curious about the story. A little bit of conflict introduces a puzzle to be fixed!

11. Shorter is often better. Keep it simple!

At the end of the day, a story is what you take with you — and we don’t remember every detail of every story, but rather, the highlights vividly.

When you’re presenting your idea, biography, or product, start with something short and sweet.

The idea of an elevator pitch is right, but with a twist. It’s not how much you can cram into 1 or 2 minutes, but how easy you can make something that’s understandable and sticky.

At a conference, if you babble and ramble when introducing yourself to people, they’ll forget most of what you said. If you string it into a story, and you keep it simple, people will be able to take that with you.

You don’t need to get all the perfect information into one sentence; in fact, being imperfect can prompt likability and curiosity!

A quick and easy test for how good your story is is to listen in to what’s being said.

Introduce yourself to someone, and then listen to when they introduce you. I’ll often keep it simple — I focus on writing and swimming. I’ll say, “I work as a writer; I teach writing, and I’m also an open-water swimmer.”

Then, when I’m being introduced, Clay leans over and grabs his friend and says, “You gotta meet Sarah, she’s a swimmer!” — I listen to what people hang on to, and what captivates them.

I can’t possibly capture everything about myself (or my business) in a single sentence. But what I can do is find the most interesting part, and start there.

Conclusions and takeaways: journaling and practice.

What did you take away from this introduction to storytelling?

How can you change your story to make it sweeter, simpler, and easier to understand? Is there anything you’re still curious about? Leave a note in the comments, and I’ll be happy to chat with you.

Here are a few ways to take your work forward in your journal and practice:

  1. Practice: how can you write a one-sentence description of who you are that’s super simple? What three keywords or nouns would you use to describe you? Think of it as a gift to your audience — the less you say, the more they can remember.
  2. Writing exercise: describe your environment, in vivid detail. What is the shape of the space that you are in? What does it smell like, taste like, sound like?
  3. Bookmark 10 great “About” pages that you love and highlight what stands out to you. What techniques and styles are used that you particularly admire?
  4. Take a quick look at your email inbox (but don’t get lost in it!). Take a screenshot of your inbox and print it out. Highlight what’s already been read, and what you’ve skipped. Are there any themes? Look at what you click — which email titles are stories? Which ones are boring? What do you skip over? Your inbox is a great case-study for clues to how storytelling works in your everyday life.

Great storytelling, just like anything else, is a learning journey. The best stand-up comics practice their material dozens (if not hundreds) of times to learn what works best.

And remember: a story is what happens between two people. So get out there, practice your story, and use each experience to get a little bit better.

6 Email Marketing Best Practices…Take It Or Leave It

In 2019, the average email user is expected to receive 96 emails per day. How can you make your company’s emails stand out?

Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Look, emails can be a great way to build customer engagement and drive sales, but all too often this potentially powerful resource is misused and overused (as is expected, we marketers were never really known for taking our economics classes seriously! We just don’t know when to draw a line. We beat the best strategy to a pulp…always. But that’s best kept for another discussion.)

Okay, so where were we?

Yeah, abuse of email marketing, right.

Improper use of e-mail campaigns is not just a waste of your time and money, it can also wind up driving away customers. Take it from an email marketer with “almost” a decade of experience.

Here are six tips to help you get started with successful, productive e-mail campaigns.

1. Start with a clear goal in mind

This is not just the starting point of a successful campaign—it’s the most important part of planning. Without a clear goal, how can you make your message to the customer clear? A clear goal will include what action you want your customers to take, how you will motivate them towards this action, and which group of your current or potential customers you are targeting with your message.

2. Target the right audience

It doesn’t matter how well-crafted your message is if it isn’t reaching the right people. The segment of your current or prospective customer base should be directly in line with the goal you set for your campaign.

Example 1:  Opening a new physical store

If you’re planning on opening a new physical store, you will want to make your customers aware of this – but, which customers will care? If you’re opening a new store in Arizona, sending this news to your online customers on the East Coast will not be ideal as the news is irrelevant to them. An effective target group would include online customers with Arizona based addresses.

Example 2:  Offering a new product

If you’re trying to make customers aware of a new product being sold on your online store, you will want to target the customers most likely to not only buy the product, and filter out any customers who would not be valuable targets. You might consider building your target group around customers who have purchased items of the same brand before, but have not purchased a similar product recently.

3. Take steps to avoid spam filters

Unfortunately, the prevalence of junk and scam e-mail means that part of creating an effective campaign is taking steps to ensure that your marketing message is not assumed to be spam and filtered out before it ever reaches your customers’ inboxes.

  • Keep your e-mail lists clean. Lists with a large number of invalid e-mail addresses are more likely to lead to future e-mails being considered spam.
  • Have a clean subject line. The most common junk e-mail subject lines are: “Act Now” and “Limited Time Offer.” Spam filters tend to use these as red flags to determine if a message is spam or legitimate marketing. When in doubt about a particular subject line, check your own junk e-mail folder and see what phrases are used there. Similarly, avoid typos, using all capitalized words, or multiple exclamation marks in the subject line, as these are also frequently associated with spam.
  • Don’t use too many images. A high text-to-images ratio is very common in spam. Most e-mail service providers recommend having about a 60/40 ratio of text-to-images in your message.

4. Send your e-mail at the right time

Typically, messages sent overnight or late in the day end up being deleted rather than read. The best time to reach your customers will vary based not only on your industry, but your customer base. MailChimp has done a large amount of analysis on this topic and has a helpful article that covers the best times in detail.

5. Create click-worthy content

Once a customer sees your e-mail in their inbox, the battle is only half won. The effectiveness of your campaign now rests on the content of the message. Consider three things when creating your content: an enticing subject line, an easy-to-navigate layout, a clear call to action.

6. Measure the effectiveness of your e-mails

The most common measurements to look at are open rates and click-through rates. These metrics give you an idea of how many people your message is actually reaching and how many of those customers are actually acting on your messages.

As a marketer, you already know that nothing is set in stone. We create. We innovate. We sell.

However, these are the pointers that have kept the marketing campaigns straight and my clients sane and healthy in today’s tough market.

So, you MAY take the pains to keep this in mind.

Why Most Email Newsletters Fail

Tools like Curated, Goodbits and TinyLetter made it easier than ever to start a newsletter. Many people took advantage of these great tools and began building lists and curating content.

The problem?

These tools don’t suddenly make people care about what you have to say. Marketers, the chief offenders of bad emails, took it too far this year. Most newsletters flopped, whether the creators are willing to admit it or not.

Here are a few reasons why most newsletters fail along with some suggestions on sending an email that actually works.

They don’t start at the beginning.

Most newsletters send recent posts to subscribers. Regardless of when the subscriber joins, everyone receives the same information at the same time. Dropping a reader into the content slipstream is the easiest way to send a newsletter, but it’s certainly not the best.

A new visitor to your site lacks context. How has your blog evolved? How do you help people succeed? What do other readers know that they don’t?Answering these questions goes a long way towards earning loyal readers.

New subscribers to the Vero blog receive a six-step campaign. The first email welcomes the new subscriber and shares the Vero blog “Hall of Fame.” These aren’t our most-trafficked posts, they are the highest-converting posts.

Next, we send a series of five emails explaining how we can help them succeed. We offer content as well as tips for using our app to send better emails. Within the first few days of subscribing, we send four emails. We want to provide the most useful information we can while the reader’s curiosity is piqued. After this campaign ends, subscribers simply receive our normal weekly newsletter.

Our strategy isn’t perfect, but it’s worked well. More than 50% of the early emails are opened. That’s more than double our weekly newsletter.

New readers need different information. Tailor their initial experience with a simple campaign to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.

There is a disconnect between the audience and the content.

This problem isn’t unique to email marketing, but it’s the reason many newsletters go unread. People subscribe to newsletters for information that will help them succeed in their work or personal life. Promotion, therefore, falls on deaf ears.

This is the exact reason email can’t be viewed as a channel. Email can be used to build relationships at scale, but it requires that marketers move away from a “channel” mentality and towards a “user experience” mentality. That may seem like a subtle difference, but it results in completely different messaging. Marketers that view email as a channel gravitates towards blast emails and promotions. They burn through lists without regard for the subscribers’ needs or wants. Marketers that focus on user experience deliver content that helps the subscribers succeed. They, in turn, are rewarded with loyal customers.

It’s what ad man Bob Hoffman calls “brand babble”:

Modern marketing is operating under the delusion that consumers want to interact with brands, and have relationships with brands, and brand experiences, and engage with them, and co-create with them.

Sorry, amigo. Not in this lifetime.

Make sure the content of your emails is what your readers need. Without empathy, your email is doomed to fail.

It’s sent too often or not often enough.

Creating a publishing schedule is a positive constraint that results in big wins for your business. This starts by setting an expectation during the signup. If you promise an email every day, you better send one every day. And if you promise one every month, you can’t send one every week.

A schedule is a key to creating habitual readers. They must know when to expect your emails or your results will be wildly inconsistent. If you plan to test subject lines and calls to action, send time is a variable you need to consider. Make a promise to your readers and keep it.

Users don’t actually ask for them.

Email marketing is the pinnacle of permission-based marketing. This means you have the privilege, not the right, to communicate with prospects, leads and customers. It’s the #1 reason we see email marketers fail and the #1 reason we see them succeed. As Seth Godin says, it’s all about building trust and earning respect.

It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

If you’re sending your newsletter to trial sign-ups who didn’t explicitly request your emails, you’re breaking that trust.

Respect the inbox, deliver value and you can succeed.

Branding: What It Is and Why It Is Important

“You do branding? That’s like graphic design, right? Like, logos and websites?” – about 30 people we shall not name.

One common misconception about branding is that it is the same as design. And while design is the visual representative of your brand, it is only an element of your branding. Lately the word “branding” is viewed more like buzzword than a staple part of starting a business.

However, branding is a significant part of your business development. It should be highly prioritized when starting a new company. Your branding will influence how your company does against competitors when it enters the marketplace.

What is branding?

Branding is the practice of creating a name, symbols, or designs that represent who you are, why you are, and how your target audience should perceive you. Its purpose is to differentiate your company from its competitors and clearly display the promises that you make to your customers.

The branding process includes research that helps develop a strategy of how to present your brand to your target audience. This research is then used to create assets that support your brand promise and appeal to your customers.

Doing brand research.

Brand research helps define exactly what you intend the brand to be. It is an essential step that should be done prior to developing any elements to market to your customers. This research ensures that the assets you create attract the most qualified buyer for your products and services.

The two types of research that you should do when building a brand are:

Market Research

Market research is the process of finding information about the competitive market you are entering. You should know who your competitors are, what they offer, how much they are charging, and what unique benefit you can offer to your customers that they cannot. This helps define your company’s value proposition.

Customer Research

Customer research is the process of finding information about people who are currently purchasing products and services similar to yours. When doing product research you should determine what customers are looking for in a product, what they are not receiving from the current provider, and how they will value what you offer.

Developing your branding.

Your company’s branding includes a complex set of assets that collectively establish a relationship with your customers and defines your values. These assets should be deliberate and consistent.

The following assets are part of your branding:

Brand Message

Your brand message is the value that you offer to your customers. This is what makes people relate to your brand and influences them to buy from and follow you.

Brand Tone

Your brand tone is the tone of voice that you want to use when communicating with your customers. It is a representation of your brand’s message. The tone used for your branding will influence how your target audience thinks of and interacts with your brand.

Brand Name

Your brand’s name is the first thing a potential customer hears in reference to your company. It should be strategically developed to clearly define what you do and who you do it for. A customer should not have to guess what your company is about when hearing your name.

Color Palette

Understanding how colour affects emotion allows you to capitalize on the emotional elements of sales. Color is one of the first things that your brain perceives. It will influence the customer’s reaction to your product or service before they learn any detailed information about it. The colours for your brand must be consistent with how you want your customer to feel when they see your brand.

Typography

Typography is the art of arranging type. The fonts you use when branding your company will heavily influence how your message will be perceived. They must be consistent with the tone of your brand.

Logo

A logo is a symbol used to visually represent your products and services. It should incorporate all of your branding elements. Your logo should be a clear, distinct symbol of your brand.

Brand Collateral

Brand collateral is the media, usually printed, that you use to promote your brand. Business cards, flyers, direct mailers, and product labels are all brand collateral. These are used to strengthen your brand’s message and tone and generate customer leads.

Website

Your website is your strongest marketing tool of all. It incorporates all elements of your branding to generate a stronger brand presence in your industry. It is your global voice as it is the most accessible asset you will have worldwide.

Why branding is important?

Branding is important because it makes your brand relatable to your customers. It also creates credibility for your company. Your branding will influence the success your company has in its target market.

It takes 5-7 impressions for your brand to become recognizable to the customer (Action Card). If your branding is inconsistent, even a little, your brand value and message may become lost in your marketing. This will make it harder to produce brand loyalty.

Having strong branding allows the customer to build a connection with you that they can trust. 90% of purchases are made subconsciously (ISPO News). Once you have secured a place in the customers’ mind, it is easier to close a sale.

The colours that you choose for your branding significantly impact your brand recognition. A staple colour increases brand recognition by 80% (University of Loyola).

The strength of your branding plays a huge role when trying to secure funding for your company. 82% of investors see brand strength as an important factor when deciding on an investment (Reuters).

How strong is your branding?

If you did the necessary research prior to starting your brand development, your branding should be generating sales and producing customer loyalty. However, if you are like many entrepreneurs starting, you may have overlooked a step or two. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to rebrand.

Branding is something that has to be monitored actively to ensure that it is effective. Just like the customer, it evolves and you must evolve with it. Well-known companies like Coke-a-Cola and Starbucks have all re-branded at some point or another when their branding no longer reflected their direction or reached their valued customers.

Invest in researching, defining, and developing your brand. Full-service agencies ensure consistency within your development and design processes. They are capable of creating all of the elements seamlessly while being able to monitor the impact that it has on your sales. Because they help create your strategy, they understand your goals and are able to help your brand pivot without losing the company’s core values.

In conclusion, great branding leads to loyalty and sales. Don’t sell yourself short.

To your business success,

Ron C. 
Owner-Manager, Copy-e-Writing

Relationship Marketing With Solid, Interactive Content In 2017

“I want a relationship with you.”

“Why?”

“Because I love you.”

“Come on, seriously? That cheesy you are?”

“No, I just spoke from my heart, you won’t know…”

Oh, my dear readers, I love you too.

But okay, these are the lines from a very boring Bollywood movie—becoming more of a downgraded version of Hollywood movies these days. Well, even Hollywood movies suck these days.

I know I sound too cynical. Can’t help it, it’s in my nature, man.

Do you still want a relationship with me? That’s great.

Then keep reading on.

Because today, we are going to talk about relationships, I mean, Customer Relationships.

And how well-connected and almost inseparable it is from your Content Marketing strategy.

For many who might not be so well aware of the term…

Relationship marketing is about relationships, of course. Here, the idea is not just getting new customers; it is reaching the right public, the one that’s able to perceive and extract the best out of your solution or product, reaching their goals and total satisfaction. And it goes beyond that, focusing on building and nurturing long-term relationships to increase loyalty and make clients loyal to your company.

We are talking about generating more business opportunities, and yes, we do want to improve the company’s revenue and get a bigger number of clients. However, relationship marketing aims its attraction efforts on:

  1. Your target prospects with fit, able to get results from and with your company.
  2. Identifying opportunities that can really benefit from that purchase.
  3. Creating connections and providing a good communication throughout the funnel
  4. Keeping clients happy and engaged even after the sales cycle is over.

If we take the dating analogy, it is about building a momentum where the woman gets smitten with you, agrees to sleep with you and is still happy to have more of it every day afterwards. She is a happy and satisfied client you have a very HARD-core relationship with.

(God! My examples—complete baloney I know! Forgive me.)

And the most important confession now as a copywriter now…

Can any sales or ad copy ever achieve this? NEVER.

What a sales copy does is, lure the woman or manipulate that 16-year old (underage alert!) to sleep with you once and only ONCE. She might regret it later and not see your face again. Heck! She can complain to the police. Whatever.

But the point is, no relationship is formed. No loyalty is created.

That’s where content marketing comes in.

Content marketing comes in to fill the gap left behind by traditional advertising or marketing methods (We are talking about brochures, flyers, website banner ads, etc).

But How Does Content Marketing Work To Build Customer Relationships?

The short and precise answer to that is: If someone comes to you for advice and you help him again and again, you create a relationship with him.

Forget about selling anything to him at the moment. Who cares! If you have an audience, you will have ready buyers.

According to a study by Robin Buchanan and Crawford Gillies, the increased profitability associated with relationship marketing is the result of several factors:

There’s less dating around. Loyal customers don’t go shopping around and they’re far less to switch. As an added bonus, they’re less price-sensitive because they’re more focused on the value than price.

It’s the foundation of word of mouth. Strong relationships are essential to a high Net Promoter Score — the chance that a customer will happily refer your business to a friend.

Your regulars are your rock. Returning customers buy more and buy more often. They’re often less expensive to serve because of their familiarity with your business and how your product works.

Expansion becomes easier. Longstanding customers are much more likely to purchase ancillary products through upselling and cross-selling.

You reduce the cost of acquisition. Happy customers introduce you to new prospects, reducing the need to paid advertising and costly marketing campaigns.

—      From an article by Gregory Ciotti

That’s what content marketing does for your business.

“What if businesses decided to inform, rather than promote? You know that expression ‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime?’ The same is true for marketing: If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life. In every business category, one company will commit to being the best teacher, and the most helpful. And that company will be rewarded with attention, sales, loyalty and advocacy by consumers who are sick to death of being sold, sold, sold.”

— Jay Baer, author of Youtility

So How Does Creating Mind-Blowing, Quality Content Affect Your Relationship Marketing Strategy?

Oh, I can ramble on and on…on this topic. Remember, it’s my job to ramble on in print.

However, I normally like to keep my letters short and to the point (apart from a little frivolous yapping in between). So, in the next 350 or 400 words, I will try to wrap this up.

Reason #1. Content marketing helps you retain long-term customers.

Research has shown that the longer a customer stays with a brand, the more valuable they become. In fact, an annual increase of just 1% in customer retention can equate to a 20% increase in revenue annually. When you work on building relationships with your customers, and not just selling to them, you begin to develop loyalty, which means they’re more likely to stick with your brand for the long haul.

Reasons #2. Content marketing helps you increase the likelihood of referrals.

Regardless of the dozens of different marketing techniques out there today, word of mouth is still the most powerful, with 84% of consumers citing the recommendation of a friend or family member as their most trusted source when making a purchase decision. The more satisfied and loyal your customers are, the more likely they will be to refer your brand to others. The best way to achieve this is through relationship marketing.

Reason #3. Content marketing helps create your “market moat”.

This term coined by me, proudly speaking, means how much market power you have—not based on your market share, access to limited resources or market penetration, but by dint of love and loyalty of your customers. Interactive, engaging content anthropomorphize your brand in the eyes of your target audience which they get into a unique relationship. It’s all in the personality, man.

Reason #4. Content marketing creates a two-sided interaction with your market.

When you’ve got a whole slew of happy, loyal customers in your corner, you’ve got an instant test market at the ready. Whenever you need to try out a new product or propose a new service, your loyal clientele will be there to offer feedback. Want to know how you’re doing? Ask your long-term customers. Their feedback can help you determine what your business’ greatest strengths are as well as identify areas that need improvement.

Content marketing DOES form an indispensable part of any marketing campaign. Yes, short, snappy two-liners look sexy and they do work in their own way, but when it comes to long-term advantages, long-term content, those 1000+ words articles, in-depth videos or podcasts and so on, rules. As @Kit_Smith says: “Content marketing can help you build an audience for the longer term, as good evergreen content will provide years of value.”

For the sole reason that they help to build a clout around you—the denser and the more outstretching it is, the better. And it all starts with one term ‘relationship’.

To your success,

Ron C.
CEO, Copy-e-Writing

P. S. It took me another 600 words to complete it. Whew!

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