Written Content – Tone and Approach

When it comes to content marketing, your tone and approach can make or break your strategy. This covers word choice, language, sentence structure, and generally everything under the purview of “written communication”. And let’s not forget about the place in which you submit this content. Long form blog posts will differ from Tweets or Facebook posts, and journalistic articles need to adhere to stricter guidelines in terms of how the content is organized and delivered. Marketing content have calls to action that creates an atmosphere of urgency.

A good writer will take advantage of the digital landscape; tone is difficult to mold and direct and not everyone will understand subtle jokes and satire. This means that, given the creative freedom they desperately deserve, writers and content developers can push the envelope when it comes to tone and subject matter in order to set the stage for audience reception. How they do this depends on several factors: the audience you have, the audience you want, and your company’s reputation. A bank seeking investors might write about numbers, risk assessment, and assets, but if they want people to use their services, they adopt a friendly tone and focus on savings, security, and rewards. Two different audiences, two different approaches. Once you’ve figured out your audiences, the next step is focusing on consistency.

Small companies might only need the services of a single copywriter or content developer, but when you’re talking about large corporations, you’ll need a small army to get through the workload. This is where consistency is paramount. When I say consistency, I mean all the things I listed about word choice, language, and sentence structure. Everyone on your content development team must be on the same page using the same tone and approach or you’ll end up sending mixed messages. You’ll want everyone to have as consistent an experience as possible, regardless of who they’re talking to or where they find their information about you. Think about how you speak to your supervisor versus how you speak to your colleagues. Note the differences in your vernacular and tone. That is exactly what writers need to be mindful of when producing content.

I’ve always said writing is difficult, and anyone who tells you it’s easy is either lying or has a very high opinion of themselves. It’s supposed to be difficult. Each writer has a personal style and structure, and that’s the part that comes most easily to them; if writing is “easy”, it most certainly means they are exceptional at writing in one tone and style: their own. When you write for others, you have to adopt a different voice and produce content for an audience you might not be comfortable with yet. Whether or not you can break down that wall of discomfort and get the job done speaks volumes about your writing ability. To do this you have to research your audience, gather data on how they communicate with each other, compare it to your company’s “personality”, assess the type of content your audience expects, produce that content, and then edit it into a satisfactory result. Writing is difficult. It can be frustrating, painstaking work, but it constantly pushes you to become a better writer and communicator.

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Opening Promotional Emails = More Promotional Emails

emailMany people might not know this, but nestled inside every promotional email is a hidden pixel, a tiny 1 pixel image that’s the same color as the email background, that serves an important purpose for every email marketing campaign: tracking and collecting user data. Since every image lives in some nebulous server space with a requisite URL, you can use analytics programs to gather tons of important data about those opening your newsletters and promotions, including geographic location, whether you clicked on any links, when you clicked, what you clicked, how long you stayed on the website after clicking, whether you’ve made a purchase within a set time frame of opening the email and clicking a link, etc. All of this is used to collate a pattern of behavior in order to better market and advertise to you via email. Believe it or not, it’s standard practice, and it’s rather ingenious. You only want to receive emails about topics and products relevant to your interests, right? This method of tailoring content based on your consumer behavior ensures relevancy in the long run. For those who don’t want their behavior tracked, there’s always the option of opening text-only versions of emails.

So what happens when you don’t open promotional emails and newsletters? After a while you get taken off the main mailing list and put on a sub-list that will be targeted with a more significant incentive to purchase. This can come in the form of a coupon code, an exclusive but time-sensitive sale, or it can simply be a reminder email asking where you’ve been. If you’re familiar with the email marketing process, it might actually benefit you to open the first few promotional emails you get from a company you’ve signed up with to trigger the tracking pixel, then waiting a few weeks for them to send you a better deal. One of the most important goals of email marketing is customer retention; you might even notice additional incentives thrown your way when you try to unsubscribe from promotional emails!

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from opening promotional emails – not at all! There’s a reason why you signed up for them in the first place! Open the ones you want to keep receiving and unsubscribe from those you don’t want to hear from anymore. Additional Tip: If you didn’t sign up for something but you receive emails from a sketchy source, block them. Clicking the unsubscribe button they provide might only exacerbate your SPAM problem!

Customer Experience: A Delicate Process

The key to building an excellent relationship with your customers is to provide an excellent experience, both in your marketing campaigns and in customer shopping ventures. One of the biggest problems businesses face is straddling that fine line between being pushy and being absent. Here is where social media can be your balance pole.

On one hand you want to be ever-present in your customers’ experience with your site, product, or service, so you lean toward sending multiple emails and newsletters with calls to action. It reminds them of the interest they once had in you, and hopefully with enough nudging, they’d come around and convert. After all, you don’t want potential customers forgetting about you, right? However, do it too much and your customers get annoyed, and you’re likely going to lose a follower or end up in the SPAM box.

On the other hand you want to create a structured, easy-to-navigate site where you can let your customers run wild and do what they want. While users appreciate this level of freedom, they may feel disconnected from your company. They need someone to connect to, a human being that they feel will be present if needed – someone available to engage with. This is where your employees come into play, especially on the social media front. Social networking is an ever-present system in our lives, which means that your social media strategists and community managers need to be an expert in your company’s services and products in addition to being savvy on social networks. According to a Forbes article by Christine Crandell, “For employees to own the customer relationship they need to understand how they fit into the whole engagement expectation equation.  Don’t assume they will ‘figure it out’; they lack the perspective and information to do that.” In other words, if the employee cares, the customer will care, and a caring customer is more likely to convert.