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tumblr llcw71K5md1qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Nike Billboard in NYC

Yesterday you said tomorrow

tumblr lln5jqiRBI1qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Kill Bill Billboard in NYC – Bloody Mess

tumblr lln5opCDu71qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Realhiphop.com.br Outdoor Advertising

tumblr llnx22X4Vw1qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Sony PSP Transparant Billboard Advertising

tumblr lm60gmbhB81qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
McDonald’s free coffee promotion.

tumblr lmdzgyOBji1qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Mondo Pasta Boat Advertising

tumblr lnguymJuNy1qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
The first ever plant billboard. Coca-Cola and WWF have unveiled a new 60-by-60-foot billboard in the Philippines that’s covered in Fukien tea plants, which absorb air pollution.

tumblr ln8kcvEQIL1qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Allstate Insurance: Marina Tower

tumblr ln2yfzDmT41qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Powerhouse Gym Outdoor Ad

tumblr ln2xmoqdLG1qiqf01o1 500 10 very creative billboard advertisements from around the world by Jay Mug
Oltimer Restaurants – Special Poster for “Oldtimer”, a big Austrian chain for motorway rest stops

5 Top Tips for Content Marketing Success

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5 Top Tips for Content Marketing Success

5 Top Tips for Content Marketing Success

The power of online marketing on a social web has only scratched the surface of its full potential.

This year smart marketers will stop using content as a bullhorn and start using it as a platform for building engaged communities. Customers will no longer be seen simply as a source of revenue, but instead as a near endless stream of research, innovation, and sales.

This transition will mean targeted communities that are smaller and more social than the mass media audiences of the past will succeed like never before. Therefore, content will have to be focused, refined, interactive, shareable, and (most importantly) involve the audience in the creation process.

To get you ready for these important changes, here are five top tips for content marketing success:

#1. Bring the Customers Inside

Customers want businesses to solve their problems and are willing participants in that value creation process… if given the chance. Unfortunately, much of what we call “social” media marketing has hardly lived up to its name.

The key will be to move beyond the mass marketing mentality of “us vs. them.”

By empowering your customers to become part of your business processes you’ll get a great low-cost source of research & innovation.

There’s also no greater sales force in the world than a satisfied customer. And while this was once an added bonus for marketers, it’s quickly becoming a necessity. Customers increasingly vet their purchasing decisions through social networks before even considering a company’s traditional marketing.

Some things to try:

  • Ask for customer input on new projects you’re working on.
  • Allow customers to tell their own stories through co-created content (see below).
  • Create incentives (social and financial) for customers to become evangelists of your business.
  • Make sure to show that you are actually using the feedback you receive.

#2.  Focus, Focus, Focus

In the mass marketing era, half of the advertising was wasted but we just don’t know which half.

The Internet has created an ultra-segmented marketplace, which allows smart marketers to create specialized content that solves specific problems.

To be successful, your content has to be focused on a well-defined niche audience. Take the time to map out exactly who you are targeting by developing a detailed profile of your audience, including demographics, psychographics, and a thorough understanding of how they negotiate their social space.

#3. Get Organized

Most people classify content by format (blog, video, Tweet, etc.), often leading to repetitiveness and a sense by your audience that you’re shouting at them (rather than talking with them).

Why don’t you try a different framework, one that will give you a much clearer look at the role each piece of content plays in driving interaction within your community.

When you are planning out your editorial calendar, separate content into one of three categories, defined by how that piece of content was created:

  • Original content – This is material created directly by you. It should address a specific customer need – be that information, instruction, humor, motivation, etc. Use it as a way to highlight your expertise, make yourself useful, and build trust with your audience.
  • Co-created content – Created together with others. In particular, you should target influencers within the niche who can help build your authority. Examples of this are guest posts like this one, a webinar highlighting the successes of your top customers, or a podcast with someone who has expertise that complements your own.
  • Curated content – Created by others but useful in some way to your audience. This includes stuff like retweets or emailing your list with a useful report that was created by another organization.

Reframing your thinking in this way will force you to always keep in mind the business purpose behind everything you create and share.

#4. Get Emotional

In his awesome book Contagious, Wharton professor Jonah Berger showed us that one of the key reasons people share content online is because it arouses a person’s emotion.

Content has to go beyond just being useful; it has to be unforgettable. Rather than trying to churn out quantity, take the time to figure out what kind of emotions move your audience.

In doing so, it’s important to remember that not all emotion is created equal. In his research, Berger identifies that certain kinds of emotions – those that get people “aroused” like awe, passion, and anger – are much more likely to drive shares than those that make people feel toned down – like sadness, relaxation, or contentment.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to rock the boat a bit, because what gets one person excited might turn another one away. As long as you are exciting the right people (and treating everyone well in the process), it’s ok to let some people go.

#5. Respect the Numbers but Don’t be a Machine

There are so many tools out there that allow you to use data to paint a picture of your social landscape. So many in fact that it can turn into a hindrance if you’re not careful.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely crucial to analyze and optimize, but all the data in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t understand people.

And one of the most important things to understand about people is that they change. Often. Data can be an important tool for measuring these changes – it can help you test assumptions and sometimes provide a needed reality check. But it’s no replacement for digging in and becoming part of your customer community.

So, make the effort to really get to know your customers. Instead of just mass emailings and webinars, take time to have individual conversations. Understand what people are struggling with and you’ll have a near endless stream of ideas for new content to create.

The Big Picture

The world of marketing is changing, and I would argue it’s for the better. By harnessing the power of community, businesses are ending the awful competition between buyer and seller, replacing it with a much healthier process of mutual value creation.

In 2014 the kind of guesswork that has long been the way marketers figure out what their audience wants will be replaced by actually getting to know the customers themselves. By talking with them instead of at them, we can start to create a new way of doing business, one that helps bring people together to solve the problems of our day.

You now have the framework to get started. Use it to go out and build yourself a dynamic, engaged, and profitable community in 2014.

Guest author: Jake Parent has been building communities for more than a decade. His site Learn To Be Heard teaches marketers and entrepreneurs how to use blogging and other social media to transform an audience of static listeners into a dynamic group of engaged participants. 

 

 

Want to learn how to make your blog and content a success with social media marketing?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 185,000.

Download and read it now.

 

 
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Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/01/06/5-top-tips-for-content-marketing-success/#gXrHFDd6JuY4t6Uy.99

Top Digital Marketing Trends in 2014

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Top Digital Marketing Trends in 2014

digital marketing laptop Top Digital Marketing Trends in 20142013 will be known as the year organizations began embracing different tactics for digital marketing in a big way. It will also be known as the year of the biggest social media changes:Twitter’s IPO announcement, Google andFacebook’s algorithm updates, and the list goes on. This trend of disrupting the digital marketing arena will continue into 2014 and beyond. Here is a roundup of what we predict in 2014 for the digital marketing industry:

Content continues to be king

Social Media Today reported that 78% of CMO’s believe custom content is the future of marketing. Most marketers have embraced and accepted content as a major resource in their efforts. Along with this, there has been an influx of content discovery apps which support the growth trend: Flipboard, Pulse, and Fancy (to name a few). If you’re not dedicating budget towards content development, it may be time to consider doing so!

Growth of video marketing

It goes without saying that videos have the ability to convey a message that is ten times more powerful than text content. Kony 2012 was proof that great video content has the potential of becoming an overnight viral success. Also, with apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Vine, videos are being created, viewed and shared on mobile devices. Facebook has also introduced and enhanced their mobile ads platform. Combined with the mobile potential, we predict that video marketing will grow even more in 2014.

Social media diversification

2013 has been the year of social media growth. We will continue to see this trend in the coming year. 93% of marketers already say they use social media for business, but in 2013 we also saw a surge in popularity of new networks like Pinterest, Vine and Instagram – and have become a part of everyday life. These networks are carving a unique niche for themselves, which means that businesses will continue to use different platforms to build their brands and connect with consumers.

Malware Attack Hits Thousands Of Visitors To Yahoo.com

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Marissa Mayer

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

Two internet security firms have warned that hundreds of thousands of Yahoo.com visitors may have encountered malware from Yahoo’s advertising servers, The Washington Post reports.

In a blog post on Friday, Netherlands-based Fox-IT wrote that it “detected and investigated the infection of clients after they visited yahoo.com.” Some advertisements displayed to Yahoo visitors — which are served from ads.yahoo.com – were malicious iframes, hosted on a number of domains, the firm reported.

From The Washington Post:

Ashkan Soltani, a security researcher and Washington Post contributor, alerted me to the issue. Often, he says, such attacks are “the result of hacking an existing ad network. But there’s another possibility, he says. The culprits may have simply submitted the malicious software as ordinary ads, sneaking past Yahoo’s system for filtering out malicious submissions.

The fact that the malware targeted flaws in the Java programming environment is an important reminder that the software has become a security menace. When it was created almost two decades ago, the Java programming language was hailed as a way to make Web sites more interactive. But it has been largely superseded for this purpose by technologies like Flash and JavaScript.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-malware-attack-2014-1#ixzz2pY2D88hE

Gawker Loses Its Unbelievable Traffic Machine

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Neetzan Zimmerman is leaving Gawker Media to work at social media startup Whisper.

Zimmerman has what we in the blogging game call the “pageview gene.”*

He generates an insane amount of traffic. How insane, you ask? Well, for Gawker.com he was 99% of the site’s uniques.

For Gawker Media at large, he was equally impressive. Using Gawker’s publicly posted traffic for its writers, we put together the following comparison of Gawker, Gizmodo, and Lifehacker.

In October, Zimmerman alone had more unique visits than Gizmodo or Lifehacker.

His departure will leave a big hole in Gawker Media, but the company has 106 million monthly visits, so it will survive just fine.

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Affiliate Marketing for Dummies – Getting Started

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The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a framework for how to categorize metrics from the tactical to strategic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Mobile marketing research - Methods

English: Mobile marketing research – Methods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies – Getting Started

The Do’s and Don’ts

This article on affiliate marketing for dummies is for people who join affiliate marketing without a clue on what to do or where to begin, but don’t worry this happens to the best of us. If you’re like me then the moment you stepped into the affiliate marketing world you were overwhelmed by all the resources, tools, and training that jumped at you, that’s if you had a good sponsor (we’ll talk about that in just a second).

You must ask yourself, what caught your attention most in the industry? Was it the income opportunity, working from home, not having a boss, or just a little bit of all three? Maybe you just want to be successful and start helping people who want change, people who deserve change. Either way I have a few tips for you newbies out there.

Research, Research, and More Research

Before you even think about joining you have to do some research on the program that interests you such as proof videos, article reviews, company history, the company compensation plan, etc. This is a good way to really find out if the company is a scam or not. Don’t be one of those people who see 8 positive reviews and 1 scam review and end up thinking it’s a scam, those people are looking for every reason not to join.

If you made up your final decision then try not to hesitate. I had this same problem with hesitating and it did me no good, why? Well you have to be 110% sure for every decision you make when it comes to choosing a company but don’t get me wrong I do not want to feel like I am forcing you because at the end of the day the decision is all yours. I’m only here to provide information and value to you.

Find a Good Sponsor

Before you join any company you have to make sure you’re signing under a good sponsor. I can speak from experience, I remember joining without knowing anything about affiliate marketing, I must have joined under the worst sponsor alive. Your sponsor needs to provide you the training and resources you need to get off on the right foot because if not then you’re going to kill time finding this all out on your own.

There are a lot of people who come to other sponsors asking for help because their own sponsors abandoned them. They may provide help but you have to understand that the good sponsors have their own team to help out first, but don’t expect for your sponsor to hold your hand through everything. You need to put in your own work because this is your business, a sponsor will only put you on the right foot and guide you whenever you’re lost but he will not make the money for you, you have to work and earn it yourself.

Investing

Don’t think you will make money just by joining a program, no, you need to invest in tools like that’ll help you move forward. This is critical for your business, you need to think like a marketer which means investing and learning effective marketing techniques. Have a ‘marketers eye’ go outside and look at all the advertising signs and how they put their words together. You can also get the companies number and maybe do your own advertising. Just an idea ;).

The wonderful thing about investing in a work from home business is that it’s super cheap, the only thing you need to be aware of are the monthly payments most companies ask for. To open up a fast food franchise can cost you over $1,000,000 at times, landscaping businesses can cost up to $500,000, online businesses can cost up to $5,000 depending on what program you choose, not bad right? It’s actually mind blowing. Network Marketing came first in the total globe sales as of 2012 ranking over the many industries like the music industry and gaming industry with over $165 Billion. This alone should motivate you and pump you up to become successful in this industry.

A Little Bit of Me

I, personally love everything about this industry it has taught me so much so far. It has really changed the way I think forever and I know it will do the same for you if you stay focused and positive. My goal here is to help everyone in need because that’s what attracts me most and it should be the same way with you. Don’t just do it for the money do it because you want to, do it because you have that burning desire and faith that you will succeed and watch these same emotions open many many doors for you.

I believe network marketing will be the future and I also believe the 97% fail percentage will drastically decrease within the next few years. Why do I know this because what goes up must come down and if the fail percentage rate is that high then the only way from here is down, especially with all the resources we have on the internet we just have to take advantage of them and use them to the fullest extent.

Ask yourself, where will you be 5 years from now. Do you think you will have the successful life of your dreams? Do you see your hands on the steering wheel of your dream car? Do you see your house up on the hill? You need to dream and dream big and take action everyday. Don’t waste a second because it may be life changing

If you just joined the affiliate marketing world then please don’t be overwhelmed, this takes time, consistency, and patience so stick with it and don’t you quit. If you’re not taking action or learning something everyday then you need to start. Start right this moment, and now that you have this knowledge share it with others who are interested, become a leader and build a team and I promise you the world is yours. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the next Affiliate Marketing for Dummies article :).

Why can’t we be friends? Five steps to better relations between CFOs and CMOs

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Marketing Digital

Marketing Digital (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Español: Marketing Small Business Finance Corp...

Español: Marketing Small Business Finance Corporation, Compañía netamente puertoriqueña que trabaja con SBA para el crecimiento de los pequeños negocios (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finance and Commerce - New Applications Levera...

Finance and Commerce – New Applications Leverage The Popularity Of Social Networks – 02/16/09 (Photo credit: DavidErickson)

Übersicht der Marketing-Instrumente

Übersicht der Marketing-Instrumente (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Marketing Small Business Finance Corp...

English: Marketing Small Business Finance Corporation Logo Español: Logotipo de Marketing Small Business Finance Corporation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a framework for how to categorize metrics from the tactical to strategic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Histograms help analyze metrics

Histograms help analyze metrics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Der Loyalitätskreislauf (Marketing, E-Marketing)

Der Loyalitätskreislauf (Marketing, E-Marketing) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why can’t we be friends? Five steps to better relations between CFOs and CMOs

The application of data analytics offers a useful approach to build more collaboration in support of stronger growth.

Marketing is in the midst of a performance revolution. The application of advanced analytics and plentiful data has allowed chief marketing officers (CMOs) to demonstrate the return on investment from marketing activities with a degree of precision that’s never been possible before. With companies spending as much as 10 percent of their annual budgets on marketing, depending on the industry—a whopping $1 trillion globally—this rapidly developing ability to put hard numbers against marketing performance is music to the ears of both CMOs and CFOs.

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Why can’t we be friends? Five steps to better relations between CFOs and CMOs

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To date, however, the reality of marketing analytics has fallen short of the promise. Just 36 percent of CMOs, for example, have successfully used analytics to demonstrate quantitatively the marketing return on investment, or MROI.1 This suggests that nearly two-thirds still rely on qualitative measures or none at all. In fact, a 2012 survey showed that 63 percent of projects do not use analytics to inform marketing decisions.2 And the lack of an analytical approach has contributed to a barrier between marketing and finance—often leading to difficult budgeting conversations. One financial-services CMO told us how CFOs typically perceive his function: “Marketing has a vague status. We’re going to give a certain amount of dollars to those guys. They’re going to make ads and do whatever it is they do. And let’s hope it generates demand.”

To reverse this perception, we believe that CMOs must become true collaborators with CFOs and adopt an MROI approach that’s driven by analytics. The good news is that the same mountains of data that can deliver an array of value-creating insights can also help CMOs demonstrate marketing return on investment at a level of detail that the CFO expects. In our work with clients in dozens of sectors over more than five years, we have found that the strongest CMO–CFO partnerships develop when both parties take five actions: open their books to scrutiny, focus on the metrics that matter, balance short-term and long-term value creation, consider savings as well as spending, and seek opportunities to collaborate.

The opportunity is enormous. In our experience, companies that adopt this marketing-analytics approach can unlock 10 to 20 percent of their marketing budget to either reinvest in marketing or return to the bottom line.

Create an ‘open book’ mind-set

Creating transparency into operations is the starting point for marketing to help CFOs understand where and how value is being gained or lost. CMOs often find it hard to say how much they actually spend—by product, market, or strategic intent, for example, or by activity—on IT, different parts of the purchase funnel, digital and social media, or nonadvertising activities such as sponsorships, promotions, and trade events. It can be challenging because different regions may allocate the same spending to different categories. A trade-fair expenditure might fall into short-term spending in one market, for instance, but long-term brand-building spending in another.

Bringing people and activities into line is essential but seldom easy. Marketing departments are often reluctant to look beyond their own fiefdoms; it’s also time-consuming to align spending categories accurately—and a major task to communicate the value of doing so. An automotive company, for example, held more than a dozen workshops in six months to explain why it mattered and to ensure that the global marketing function clearly understood the value of analytics. The company used this process to develop a common approach for answering the seemingly basic question of why it was spending marketing dollars. For example, was it trying to promote the brand or draw customers into the showroom? Drawing such distinctions makes it easier for any CMO to answer basic questions about where and how marketing dollars are spent—and makes budgeting discussions much more productive.

Focus on the metrics that matter

Ideally, the relationship between the CFO and the CMO needs to function more like a partnership, in which the two explore together the performance that drives shareholder returns. That means CMOs will need to focus on the metrics that are most aligned with corporate business goals, which CFOs can help identify. Typically, these will not be brand awareness, share of voice in the market, or the number of “likes” on Facebook— areas where many currently focus—unless those numbers can be tied to profit. CMOs must demonstrate and track marketing’s impact by focusing on those key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most important for shareholder value such as return on investment, net present value, and operating margins.

Marketing KPIs that don’t directly address shareholder value and the company’s objectives don’t tell the CMO or the CFO where marketing efforts are having the most desired impact. This doesn’t portend an end to the creativity required to touch people’s emotions; it only means plumbing the same reservoirs of data that spark that creativity to better define when and where to target audiences with which messages— and to demonstrate the value in doing so.

In collaboration with the CFO, the CMO can develop a set of objectives that directly contribute to financial objectives and business goals. At the automotive company referred to earlier, for example, the CMO and CFO worked together with their teams to draw up a global set of financial and nonfinancial metrics for the short and long term. Financial metrics would typically include obvious numbers such as sales, return on investment, and cost per customer, while nonfinancial metrics included the number of people visiting dealers or long-term indicators of the health of the brand such as the number of customers considering the brand.

We’ve often found it helpful to create a chart to illustrate how business and financial goals at the top cascade down to marketing KPIs, then to tactics and strategies that can deliver on those KPIs, and finally to those metrics that measure the effectiveness of those strategies or tactics. In practice, marketing KPIs need to incorporate customer-acquisition and retention targets and costs. These metrics can easily be translated back into the company’s top-line or bottom-line performance, which resonates more with the CFO.

Given the complexity of marketing today, it can be difficult to develop metrics that prove categorically that an initiative is working. The metrics still matter in those cases, but what matters more is that the CMO and CFO agree on them.

Balance short-term and long-term value creation

One of marketing’s biggest challenges has always been managing the trade-off between short-term spending to boost sales and longer-term brand building. Econometric analysis can estimate the benefits of different combinations of marketing tactics—so-called marketing-mix modeling (MMM)—and to some extent is effective in helping allocate budget resources. Yet such activities drive only 20 to 40 percent of total sales, and so traditional MMM reflects a small portion of the total value of marketing investments, much of which can be attributed to the harder-to-measure power of the brand. The brand naturally takes much longer to develop, up to five years, but it has far greater staying power than a single piece of advertising.

Long-term brand performance is affected by many factors, which makes measuring the impact of investment challenging and the data harder to unearth. Calculating short-term effects separately from long-term benefits can help managers isolate which marketing activities truly build brand equity. With those calculations in hand, marketers can go to the CFO with the data to inform nuanced decisions about where to put dollars to boost short-term returns or build long-term equity.

Consider one food brand, for example. Marketing managers decided to connect with customers using Facebook advertising bolstered by contests, relevant sponsored blogs, photo-sharing incentives, and shopping-list applications. The approach delivered sales results similar to traditional marketing, including TV advertising and print promotions, at a fraction of the cost. Brand managers, therefore, considered massive cuts to their TV- and print-advertising budgets in favor of spending more on social-media channels. However, when they included long-term effects in their calculations, they realized that the contribution of TV advertising significantly out-paced online displays and social media at delivering the emotional connection needed to build brand equity.

Look at savings as well as spending

The concept of lean has driven tremendous productivity globally, largely by cutting waste and improving efficiency. While the concept’s origins are in manufacturing, it has long been applied in nonmanufacturing settings, including the finance function.3 Most marketing functions would also do well to embrace lean concepts—certainly they would find it worth taking a close look at procurement. Any savings could be invested elsewhere, and the effort would demonstrate responsible stewardship of company resources.

A data-driven approach to procurement isn’t a new concept, though marketers have been slow to embrace it. Something as simple as benchmarking marketing’s spending on external agencies could lead to astonishing cost savings and, once again, the CMO can go to the CFO with solid evidence on budgeting. At one consumer-packaged-goods company, for example, a series of strong brands had evolved in separate silos, each with its own marketing budget. On closer examination, marketing managers discovered the company was spending three times the industry benchmark on coupons, 50 percent more than the industry average on research, and overtesting TV commercials without improving them. It was also using more than four dozen market-research companies to conduct similar tasks. As a result of this insight, the company overhauled its spending on promotions, market research, and advertising, redirecting nearly 20 percent of its marketing budget to more growth-oriented tactics.

Seek opportunities to collaborate

As obvious as it may seem, one way to improve the CMO–CFO relationship is for both parties to recognize that they’re on the same team. CMOs should invite finance to participate in marketing’s planning process to build bridges but also to benefit from financial expertise. Spending time in the same room is a good start. Taking the time to speak with the CFO about the shape of the company and any shifting priorities will allow CMOs to be more attuned to the business and to move more quickly to make adjustments as necessary.

The experience at one global insurance company is illustrative. The company’s CMO found himself under pressure from the board to demonstrate the value of marketing activities—while at the same time, the company’s competitors were massively outspending it, solidifying their “top of mind” position with consumers. He recognized that he needed not only to justify the current marketing budget but also to ensure it was more effective to meet the challenge from competitors.

To build support for his effort, the CMO reached out to other parts of the business, including finance, explained that he wanted to adopt a more investment-oriented approach to marketing, and invited them to support the effort. They agreed on three goals for both the marketing and finance departments: to better clarify the role of marketing to the business, to better inform the analytics with their combined input on the assumptions, and to better understand the results coming out of the analysis. The CFO appointed a representative from finance to join the effort— and the CMO agreed, up front, to discontinue any activities that proved uneconomic.

In the end, the CMO was able to demonstrate quantitatively the impact of marketing on business goals and save his budget. Moreover, in the process of doing so, he developed a tool to show where his next marketing dollar should go and what he could expect in return. This allowed the CMO to follow an investment-oriented approach to marketing decisions, pursuing campaigns and other activities, and it provided the finance department with confidence that marketing was investing wisely.

An analytical approach to marketing may not mean the end of difficult budgeting conversations between the CMO and CFO. But the emergence of marketing-data analytics provides them a new common ground on which to compare notes and achieve a better understanding

50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

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50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

 

50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

Suppose you’re in the market to hire a great copywriter. Suppose you’re in the market to become a great copywriter.  What are the attributes of success? After spending many decades writing, editing and hiring/managing writers, here are 50 attributes of a great copywriter that stand out to me.

What can you add to the list?

1. Curiosity. Writers are like six–year-olds; they always want to know why. Curiosity is the gateway to clarity. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.“

2. Clarity. The difference between a writer and someone who writes is that the former enlightens the reader while the latter confuses the reader.

3. Passion. Further down, I’m putting words like “boring” and “trivial” in quotations because to great copywriters, nothing is boring or trivial if that’s what they’re writing about.

4. Vocabulary. More than just knowing a lot of words, writers must know the nuances of meaning that distinguish, say, notorious from famous.

5. Precision … The devil is in the details of grammar, punctuation and style. From sloppy copywriting, readers infer a sloppy author (i.e., your company).

6. … Without perfectionism. If a writer never says, “Done!” nothing ever gets published.

7.  Diligence. Professionals are expected to work efficiently and meet deadlines. This applies to copywriters and other creative talent.

8.  Ability to multitask. How nice it would be if copywriters could handle one assignment at a time. Unfortunately, in the real world they have to juggle jobs just like everyone else.

9. Focus. To multitask effectively, copywriters need the ability to stay in the moment, focusing entirely on the job at hand. Distractibility diminishes quality.

10. Self-motivation. The manager who motivates a writer to write by screaming, “WRITE!” has yet to be born.

11. Self-editing. Arrogance undermines quality. Great copywriters know when their own ideas stink and treat them accordingly.

12. Versatility of form. Business writing is so much more than articles and web pages; I once described 18 types of odd copywriting jobs. The more of these assignments a writer can handle, the more valuable he or she is to any business or agency or client.

13. Versatility of voice. Some writers master the conversational style; others master the technical or formal (boardroom) style. Those who can move gracefully from one style to another are rare treasures indeed.

14. Versatility of purpose. Some writers are uncomfortable with the concept of a hard sales pitch; other writers are uncomfortable with “boring” assignments. Great writers are uncomfortable with not writing.

15. Consistency of quality. Great copywriters consistently turn in work of high quality, rather than just being great when they feel like it or by chance.

16. Is quick on the uptake. Because of deadlines, copywriters often have to learn on the job and on their own – and quickly.

17. Knows when to stop learning. Being quick on the uptake also means knowing when you know enough to get the job done. Writers who feel the need to know everything before hitting the keyboard never get started.

18. Knows when to ask for help. A writer has two choices: struggle endlessly with a vexing problem or get help from a subject matter expert. The latter option improves speed and accuracy.

19. Knows whom to ask for help. A writer is only as good as the brain trust that surrounds him or her. Choose collaborators wisely. There may be no such thing as a foolish question, but without a doubt, there is such a thing as a foolish answer.

20. Handles criticism professionally. Clients, internal personnel and editors always criticize draft copy. If these people feel they must walk on eggshells when dealing with the writer about edits, morale and productivity suffer mightily.

21. Defends the work. Great writers not only accept and even welcome constructive criticism, they also turn the tables and make a persuasive case for their work. Clients, managers and editors are not always right; an overly compliant writer contributes to mediocre content.

22. Has perspective. On the other hand, great writers don’t make mountains out of molehills. Writers who continually get hung up on small matters of style or approach infuriate coworkers and bosses. 

23. Knows the rules. When it comes to punctuation, grammar and style, writers can’t make it up as they go along. Because both correctness and consistency are important, good writers are familiar with the rules (e.g., AP style) that govern their type of writing.

24. Knows when to violate the rules. Selectively breaking rules is a sophisticated technique for capturing attention. Apple’s “Think Different” campaign succeeded in part by departing from the boring and pedestrian phrase, think differently

25. Uses plain English. Knowing a lot of words is good, but using obscure words is bad. As Stephen King said, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.” This is as true for fiction as it is for business copy.

26. Is a master of brevity. Any writer can spew out 1,000 words on a given topic. A great writer condenses the topic down to 300 powerful ones.

27. Knows how to go long. Brevity in business writing, while generally advantageous, is not always so. Certain types of content, such as landing pages for complex products, demand long copy. Again, any writer can spew out 1,000 words of drivel, but it’s the great writer who can compose 1,000 words of irresistible persuasion.

28. Understands the business world. Writers write well about what they know. Thus, a first-rate copywriter understands the business process, customer behavior and basic business concepts such as features and benefits.

29. Anticipates reader questions and concerns. Because great writers understand the business world, they are able to identify probable reactions from the target audience – and address them in the copy. In addition, this knowledge enables them to discard messaging points that are not pertinent. An ounce of anticipation is worth a pound of verbosity.

30. Recognizes gaps and weaknesses in the information or ideas being presented. Business savvy enables great writers to spot flaws in the case they are being tasked to make; their input can be enormously valuable to a firm’s sales and marketing leadership.

31. Plays nice with designers. Business copy is more than just cranked out text. It is an important component of a brochure, web page, slide presentation or some other form heavily influenced by design. Writers and designers must be flexible and patient when working together to hammer out the finished product.

32. Knows SEO. Copywriters need not be SEO experts, but they do need to know the basics of keywords, anchor text structure and a few other details. SEO comes into play in such things as text, headlines, subheads, Meta titles and Meta descriptions.

33. Muscles through writer’s block. Writing when inspiration is lacking is agonizing – in fact, it’s every writer’s nightmare. Great business writers have the ability to crank it out even when ideas are harder to come by than five-sided snowflakes.

34. Tells stories. Today’s content strategies have circled back to perhaps the oldest technique of all, storytelling. The ability to spin yarns is essential for case studies, landing pages, slide presentations, videos and a multitude of other forms.

35. Is observant. Writing without seeing the details is like playing solitaire with a 49-card deck. You can’t win.

36. Listens. Most great writers I know are better at listening than talking – maybe because writers are often introverts by nature. Listening is crucial to many aspects of business, including content creation, because it is the surest way to understand the needs of a company’s leadership and its customers.

37. Takes notes. Relying on memory alone, a writer forgets or misremembers most of what he or shehears and observes.

38. Thinks logically. Most business writing is aimed at influencing action – influencing prospects to buy, customers to stay, investors to invest, etc. Since business decisions are made in part based on compelling arguments, copywriters must be able to lay them out.

39. Writes with emotion. Because business decisions are also based on feelings, writers must be able to provoke an emotional response in many of their assignments. Warm prospects freeze when exposed to cold writing.

40. Reads enthusiastically. Great writers are great readers. Reading is to writers what exercise is to athletes.

41. Reads widely. Versatile and authoritative writers read all sorts of things – newspapers, novels, history, comics, or even washing instruction labels if nothing else is available.

42. Reads deeply. Great writers enjoy mastering a subject. The combination of depth and breadth of reading facilitates the versatility in form and style mentioned above.

43. Isn’t a desk jockey. Great copywriters aren’t just about reading and writing. Instead, they go out into the real world and talk to employees, customers and even competitors. Without this, they lose their feel – or never acquire it.

44. Borrows well. Creative copywriting is often an exercise in recognizing effective content and adapting it to the job at hand. Great writers are discriminating judges of talent.

45. Borrows professionally. Crediting a source in the form of a mention, a link and/or a formal citation is a necessary element of credible and creditable writing.

46. Has a mentor. Exceptional writers almost always speak highly of a teacher, an editor or a writer who inspired and taught them.

47. Is not blunt. Many writers tell it too much like it is. Great writers control this tendency.

48. Is not temperamental. Many writers have mood swings; perhaps this goes with the creative territory. Great copywriters manage this tendency to prevent it from interfering with their work.  

49. Is imaginative. Although in some business situations, imagination may be seen as a negative, employers should not come down too hard on copywriters who appear to be daydreaming or throw out lots of ideas.

50. Possesses a sense of humor. Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe were brilliant writers, but neither would be particularly effective or happy writing an infomercial script for miracle meat slicers. A lighthearted spirit helps writers plow through “boring” and “trivial” assignments, connect with readers and work well collaboratively.

Over to You

This is quite a long list, but I feel as though I’ve left things out. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve really captured the essence of a great copywriter in any sense at all. So here are a few questions.

  • What can you add to this list?
  • Are there items here you would remove?
  • What makes you a great writer?
  • What do you look for when hiring a writer?

Categories: Content MarketingHeadline WritingInbound MarketingSocial Media Marketing