Are you ever curious about what led to a great piece of content marketing? Or do you wonder who the marketer is behind the campaign?
We're curious. We love to learn from Cobomba customers. Our CEO, Bart Frischknecht, sat down with Brittany Ryan, Founder at Pointed Copywriting to shine a spotlight on her content marketing experience.
Here is a portion of the transcript from that conversation, which has been lightly edited for clarity. Check out the video for more juicy details.
Q: Tell us about Pointed Copywriting.
A: We’re a copywriting first content agency, which sounds super marketing buzzwordy, but I think it’s important because the nuance there is that everyone on our team started out as a copywriter. That said, we really look at the message first, and storytelling plays a big role in the content we create.
Content marketing examples
Q: Are there any particular content marketing successes or failures that stand out in your mind?
A: I’ll start with a failure.
When I was starting out as a freelance copywriter, I was breaking into the B2B space and I was given a brief for a really, really technical B2B topic about the difference between MySQL and it’s competitor. I was just desperately trying to humanize this topic and I ended up comparing it to a trip to the dentist, and it just didn’t work.
I learned early on as a content marketer, that when you are looking to give a little life to a topic, you need to always take the time to find out what experiences connect with your reader. A little embarrassing, but it’s the first thing that came to mind.
On the flip side, we had a recent big success where we had a lot of traffic for one of our clients in the HR tech space. It’s a very competitive space and we’d built up a lot of traffic through blog strategy over the course of two years.
Then COVID hit and all of a sudden, it was just let’s get as many leads as possible through the door. So we identified our highest performing articles that we knew we could optimize for conversion. We pinpointed one that was on inclusive recruiting. We were able to partner with an expert in the space and hosted a well-structured mini-course that brought in over 1,100 leads in less than 2 months.
In a way, it felt like free leads were coming from the sky. We had invested the time up front in organic, so we knew what was working and what was truly evergreen. From there, it was just a matter of finding the right partner to repurpose the content.
Keys to success with content marketing
Q: Are there any patterns, organizational behaviors, or mindsets that you see in the organizations that are most successful with content marketing?
A: I love this question. I could go all day, but I’ll keep it brief!
So obviously my bias is organic, right? It’s inbound. As a copywriting first agency owner, that’s always going to be my bias. The way that I define success are people or brands who use content to increase their brand equity over time, so that regardless of your sales strategy, or marketing strategy, or paid ads budget, you’re going to have evergreen content and a real brand.
A real brand is one that people know and when they refer other people, they know exactly what words to use to spread that message. Then, no matter what else happens you still have a message and a brand to grow organically. I think that the SaaS brands that have that point of view are always going to do better over the long term because instead of trying to go for those quick wins - where you’re putting an ad out there and it’s like a meal you’re eating on the spot - they are investing in recipes and their own unique secret sauce that will always be theirs.
We work primarily with SaaS companies and B2B niches, and the brands that know their differentiators, understand that content is a long game, say “yes, I want traffic” and “yes, I want leads,” but first and foremost want those traffic and leads to be qualified through the lens of their message and what makes their product different, are the brands that are the most successful.
Q: Are there pitfalls or common mistakes that you see organizations make when it comes to content marketing?
A: Short-term thinking is one. I also think that marketing’s reputation doesn’t help us because we are people who can talk a big talk and walking the walk sometimes isn’t always as easy as we’d like it to be in a data-driven world. But, if you can overcome this, trust in the process, and the quality of the content you’re seeing is good, it’s easier to believe that it will work over time.
When you’re thinking really short-term, for example say SEO is your main distribution channel and you’re looking at conversions before you look at traffic, you’ll be constantly switching strategies and tactics. Content marketing is like everything else in life, focus and consistency gets you there.
Impact of COVID on content marketing
Q: Has your approach to marketing content or inbound marketing changed since the COVID pandemic? If so, in what ways?
A: Change since COVID, I just don’t even know where to begin. In the beginning what was interesting for me was figuring out how to develop assets that were evergreen and still acknowledge the current context of business in light of COVID. That was tricky. For example, how much do you mention COVID? Do you create assets specific to COVID?
And, we did a lot of this crisis response content. We joke all the time with our clients, “pivot, pivot,” because that’s like the hashtag word of 2020.
In the long term for me, it’s put more of a strategic focus on content hygiene over time. It really highlighted how things are changing and how important it is not to just focus on generating and tracking new content, but also looking back at past content to see what's doing well, what’s not doing well, what needs a facelift, and what’s no longer relevant. That’s the great thing about inbound, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
Refreshing old content
Q: What are some of the opportunities you look for when you go back and review content that may not be performing as well as you think it should and you want to refresh it?
A: This is a really great question. I was actually on a call with a client the other day, we’ve been doing content with them since 2017. Even though we’ve only been doing 3 to 4 pieces per month, we have such a rich library of content. It’s difficult to decide what the right approach is to improve each piece.
We dont like an over-systemized process with content. You need to take a look at each piece of content individually. For example, if you have a piece that is doing 1,000 users per month but the conversion rate is nearly 2%, then maybe you want to optimize that piece with really topical CTAs or even a video CTA using a Wistia clip from an interview with one of your clients. You want to go beyond saying “hey, let’s just change this page from 2020 to 2021,” to asking yourself what you could be doing better for each piece of content. You’re better off doing that than creating 5 new pieces of content a month just to say you did.
Connect with Brittany Ryan
A big thank you to Brittany Ryan for sharing her experience with us. Pointed Copywriting is growing, and we wish Brittany and her team continued success.
Deciding what content to create, how to distribute it, and then promote it takes a ton of work and still ends up being a guessing game. Cobomba is a content recommendation software that uses AI to help marketers plan the right content so they consistently grow sales with content marketing.
You can see for yourself and start your free trial today.