How To Write Website Content Without Rupturing Brains?

If you think this post is not “deep” enough, cool your jets. But, if you are a newbie and do not know where to start, welcome to the content writing industry. It is chaotic and deeply rewarding!

Websites have crisp content so you will have to take those cartons of ideas and shrink them to fit a website. Yet, your content has to look drop dead gorgeous for the reader after all the pruning.  On the other hand, E-commerce websites have exhaustive product descriptions —with infinite keywords—that you have to shoehorn till your fingers are crippled. Fear not, no matter what the type, you can always scribe!

Why pull your brains out to get some out-of-the-cranium-box inspiration? Instead, keep a digital notepad ready. These guidelines help all kinds of copy. The trick is to know where to start:

Step 1: Get the blueprint & prepare the dough

  • Get rules on what and what not to include on the website.
  • Get the tech-specs on products and services if necessary.
  • Get specs on the content layout on each page: paragraphs, word count, sentence count, white space, pictures, headings, and subheadings. Better have the rough layout drawn for you so you get a sense of how your content will pan out.
  • Get the wireframe from the UI/UX geeks.
  • Get the keywords from the SEO nerds.

Step 2: Make the content meaty

  • Search for top ranking websites in that niche and see how they have written their content
  • Date the product— spy on it: know its bio- the industry it belongs to, the common jargons used in that industry, the benefits of the product, its make, and other features
  • Write down your ideas for the descriptions and expand on them
  • Write more about how it feels to use the product: pain points and advantages

Step 3: Garnish the content

  • Organise all the content in headings, subheadings, and categories as you need
  • Create a general repository of catchy words and quotes as you research
  • Research more for quotes/idioms/catch-phrases/ easy-to-understand jargons/ quips on that particular niche
  • Check out synonyms of words you have written just to know if you can substitute those words with more snazzy ones that look and sound good
  • Keep your tone conversational, make your copy visually descriptive, and jazz it up with humour
  • Edit, edit and edit till your soul begs for salvation
  • Add pictures, videos and hyperlinks as necessary

Step 4: Serve and get served

  • Create a mock-up of the page and see if the content fits well
  • Show it to the client to verify if the copy is acceptable (take the praises and tomatoes like a boss!)
  • Take notes on what has to be changed and improvise

So all you need to do is:

Research.write.groom. edit. repeat.

 

Offbeat social media marketing campaigns for movies in 2017

Note: This article was originally published for the Influx Blog on 24th April 2017.

What persuades people to eagerly pre-book for some movies and boo the rest? How have people become fanatics of the Marvel universe, Fast and Furious, and The Mummy series?

A movie cannot be launched by releasing a trailer and then go MIA. Gone are the days of cheap Tumblr websites; people’s movie experiences have led movie marketers to go social. Movie marketers today are leveraging digital marketing trends to create a “buzz’ for their movies. Cross promotions, #FOMO, and viral and influencer marketing are some high-powered strategies that are driving movies to the box-office even before they are released.

movie-theater-revival-popcorn.jpg

Every movie that is made has a Facebook page. Marketers release movie posters, trailers, audio launch photos, press releases and wait for the audience to do the rest of their own accord. But these pages hardly get any attention or action from the fans.

2017 is seeing a few movies come up with some aggressive marketing campaigns:

While classic viral videos are the craze, the spoofs are crazier

Get Out, released in February this year, has inspired the #getoutchallenge that is raging on Twitter and Youtube. It started trending because of crowd-introduced spoofs while making the videos.The challenge is based on just one scene of the movie. Take a moment to digest that!

Exploiting the Influencer clout

Power Rangers has created nostalgic entertainment franchises for its television series, movies, and merchandise. For the third installment of the movie series, they took to influencer marketing. Recently, YouTuber iisuperwomanii (Lilly Singh, having 13 million subscribers) marketed for the movie that released in March 2017. She collaborated with RJ Cyler (Blue Ranger) and Becky G (Yellow Ranger) and gained more than 300,000 views for her video.

maxresdefault.jpg

Kudos to a #FOMO that was done right

2.0, the much-awaited Enthiran’s sequel, starring superstar Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, launched its first-look event as a live video stream on Youtube in November last year and promoted it on its Facebook page, which has more than one lakh subscribers. Its marketers are engaging audiences by releasing posters and work-in-progress photos for a movie due to be released during Diwali in October this year.

Teasers with a twist and contests with a spin

Meri Pyaari Bindu is a Bollywood movie scheduled to release this May 2017. Its marketers have released five trailers as chapters on Youtube since April and managed to engage audiences with suspense. Its Facebook page has hosted a #BinduPulpArt contest, inviting artists to design a “Pulp Fiction” movie poster cover featuring the character, Bindu.

Online promotion for an offline event

Baywatch, based on the television series, is due to release this May. Starring the legendary Rock (Dwayne Johnson), and our very own Bollywood-turned-Hollywood – Priyanka Chopra, the movie has none of the former cast of the television series. The marketers ran a campaign on Facebook promoting the Baywatch slow-mo marathon held at Los Angeles on April 22nd this year.The winner’s prize was a trip to Miami to watch the Baywatch premiere. Fans can pre-book tickets through Snapchat and Instagram and receive exclusive goodies as well.

17880252_800629090102966_556914520764054305_o.jpg

I remember the buzz created around movies pre-and-post release that drove me to the theatres within the first two weeks. So this is not about the three hours in the movie; it is about the promotional events, insider news, memorabilia, and fandom — a cultish cinema experience. Social media is ably nurturing these movie buffs.

Obviously, marketers ought to market aggressively and cash in on those social follows now! Not just create a Facebook page and snooze!

5 Tips For Professional Bloggers

Are you trying to make money or promote your company through a blog?

Yes?

Then you have to add professional flavour to maximise your clout in the blogging business. So, how will you differentiate yours from “my journey of weight-loss”, “abstract thoughts from an insane mind”, “everyday mamma-mia”  or “my husband is a daft-head” blogs?

It takes a few tricks to move from “gross” to “epic-swag” and gradually grow on your readers. I am diving straight into the specifics here:

Slang, jargon, and dragged-out articles

Set the right tone for your blog by visualising your buyer personas. A buyer persona represents your target reader; the key is to picture your readers vividly as you write.

No one likes dragged-out articles, especially when readers are pleasantly distracted by cute cat videos or celebrity gossips. Per millennial standards, an article-length of 700 words is acceptable, but 400 is desirable. Break articles and present them in a series – the Godfather movie had 3 parts!

Internet slang and Urban Dictionary words are contemporary yet sleazy, and jargons irritate readers. If you can not avoid these, use them tactfully, and try to stick to the ones found in articles online

Use tactics to engage readers and persuade them to take some action. Industry scoops, what-the-*beep* facts, inside jokes that provoke emotions—these will give readers’ wings even if Red Bull fails.

Use statistics, but do not give out drab numbers. Instead represent them creatively for readers to understand their magnitude.

It takes 127 minutes or two Game of Thrones episodes for me to commute to work every day.”

Makes sense?

A wack article is an unedited one!

Edit for grammar, punctuation, tense, syntax and readability. Check if there are context and continuity in the article. If a word or sentence doesn’t add value, scratch it out! Present tough and technical concepts in a way that are easy to digest—like Mcvities Oatmeal Cookies.

Check your blog piece for its virality quotient

Your blog should either invoke emotions in readers, or get them to buy/subscribe to something you sell, or—at least—get them to share it around.

Be wary of the public or political stands you take.  You could personally be racist but do not proudly declare that on your company blog. Your valuable customers may be of different colour or religions. Antagonising readers will be risky unless you are aiming for shock value – a marketing tactic used to incite negative emotions in people.

Be true to yourself

Search engines hate plagiarism!

There are SEO tools online that run tests on your blog content. If you have taken stuff out of several sources online, cite them as well. You could modify and rephrase your articles to score for originality.

Writer’s block is for wimps

I use Jotterpad on my mobile to simply note down ideas whenever they pay me a visit; better than papers napkins, I believe. There are various tools online that help you with writing every day.

I use Pinterest to pin new ideas on content strategy; Trello to organise my content ideas; and finally, Google Calendar to set reminders on various blog topics to publish.

Google Docs has a research tool where you can check for online sources to research on concepts and terminologies. Share your document and have multiple people edit it as well. The Grammarly extension on your internet browser makes sure that your content never gets published without proof-reads.

Look at magazines for inspiration or simply write about all the content you’ve been binging on online. Giving your readers something to anticipate by posting regular content keeps them tethered to you.

So when you start writing a professional blog:

  1. Tailor content to your buyer persona
  2. Keep the content readable, relatable, crisp, inoffensive, and original
  3. Use tactics to engage readers, create viral content, and have readers act on your what you have to say
  4. Use online tools to assist you in producing content regularly.

4 Tips For Newbie Bloggers

If you want to monetise your blog or create a personal brand then read on.

The rest of you can get back to your rant on whatever spoilt your morning. (Hey, I read personal blogs!) — Social Inquisitiveness.

Why complicate headlines with wordplay and highbrow language?

Those are not going to make a reader click on the article. Your headline should be #clickbait – simple, clear, specific and scare the reader with #fomo (fear of missing out).

A headline should tell readers what they can expect from your article. It can be written in a way people search for topics on search engines. These can be listicles  – ‘list of things to know while writing a blog article” or tutorials, “how to write a blog article”.

You could get creative with your headlines – break myths or give out did-you-know facts. Simply try out, “Guess what this lady found while out on a camping trip…” –  traps readers cleverly.

Basically, you start with a topic, make a title out of it, give direction to your article with some structure, write the article down, and finally tweak the title to make it as attention-grabbing as possible. If nothing else works, “Hubspot- blog topic generator” is our SOS.

Accessorize the article with hooks, slugs, excerpts, tags, and categories

A reader would quickly like to know what the article is going to cover. The headline might not finish a thought and you need accessories to crisply explain the concept to the reader.

A hook is an introduction to the article that makes the readers want to know more and gets them to continue reading. Excerpts like meta-data describe the article in a few words. Slugs, tags, and categories help readers to easily find your articles on the internet.

If I write an article on the topic “personal branding” in isolation and just let it be, it going to be as dead as a door-nail. Let me animate it:

Title:  5 easy tips for personal branding that your college hasn’t taught you.

Slug:  https://xxx.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/personal-branding-1/

An URL without Slug: https://xxx.wordpress.com/2016/10/1223243423s32423

Excerpt: This post is a quick hack for first-time resume builders who do not know what is wrong with their job profile and why they are unable to snag jobs.Consider these quick tips when you are building your professional profile.

Category: Categorising the article under “recruitment”, “job search”  instead of “lifestyle” places it better on your blog.

Tags: recruitment, employment, vacancies, jobs, resume, CV

Spice up your black-and-white article with some ingredients

Pictures, videos, bullet points, analogies, and examples give clarity to a coffee-deprived soul. Position them strategically along the body of the article to explain concepts better and make it visually enticing.

Structure your article, use sub-headings, and highlight important keywords. So, even if a reader just skims through the article, he/she gets the complete gist.

Be creative with colour and various fonts to make your article attractive. Speaking of that, you could link your article to several other awesome articles, as link-baits. See what I did there?

What is a movie without a climax?

Readers remember the morals/climax more than the story itself. Summarise and give them a few crucial points as takeaways. Cite references if you have taken sources online— that speaks of your professionalism.You could also give them a glossary of words they don’t know about, to understand the article better. Finally, have a call-to-action (CTA) for readers on what you want them to do with your article.  

Remember, to have a successful viral article, you need:

  1. A sensible and direct headline
  2. A hook or an introductory paragraph along with categories, tags, a slug and an excerpt
  3. A formatted article with sub-headings, bullet lists, analogies, keywords, pictures, videos, and examples
  4. A summary of crucial takeaways

6 Content Marketing Drivers In 2017

Note:
This article was originally published by me for the Influx blog on March 26, 2017.

 

With the rise of social media management tools like HootSuite and Buffer, people hardly go to specific social platforms to view content. In a bid to save themselves from fizzling out the way Vine did, social networks are vying with each other to offer their users personalised experiences with unique features

Taking the hint, brands everywhere are gearing up too. So, where is content marketing headed and what trends are likely to figure in 2017?

Here’s our take:

Brands have to make themselves more discoverable with efficient content.

Social networks and mobile apps give more importance to user experience when consuming content. The new Instagram picture slideshow and Facebook carousel ads are convenient options for brands to promote multiple products in one ad, and for a prospect to check out several options before making a purchase. Rather than directing users to external sites, Facebook has upped readability quotients with instant articles that load quickly and easily. Instagram lets you save posts to view later.With many people wanting to view posts or read articles at leisure, it also looks like #clickbait will increase in 2017.

Users want more interactive and symbolic content

Eye-catching colours and visuals help people retain and recall information better. Quizzes and polls are actively engaging the audience—just ask Buzzfeed. Snapchat Discover is gaining attention for its highly interactive and vibrant content posted by Buzzfeed, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Vice, Daily Mail, etc.

Snapchat caters to young users but serious brands like Mashable, CNN, and National Geographic have cleverly ventured into this space as well. Users are more likely to read Buzzfeed posts like “50 gross things you have done as a teenager” on Snapchat with audio, video, touch, and colour effects than they would on Facebook. Going forward, even mature audiences would like brands to engage them the same way.

#fomo – the fear-of-missing-out

Live video streams on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram give users an additional thrill. Likewise, “stories” on Instagram, Snapchat, and Whatsapp feed the users’ need to consume news that is “right now”. In late 2016, Twitter had streamed more than 600 hours of live premium videos attracting about 31 million unique visitors. Going forward, Twitter will partner with brands to give out new original content offerings, especially live video streams.

Bid goodbye to pay-per-click. Pay-to-play is here.

Mini is the new Mega in content marketing

Everything minimal is trailblazing across social networks to increase brand engagement today.

Twitter’s short stories —#infivewords, #shortstorysunday and #veryshortstories—are told in a few words or in a series of pithy tweets. Instagram’s trends like #micropoetry and #spilledink make it short and sweet for people to consume content. Boomerang is Vine for Instagram and lets you promote mini-videos. Inshorts, the highest-rated Indian news app, delivers news in 60 words, to keep users informed on-the-go.

Customised ads and aggregators rule the roost

People are using email subscriptions and RSS readers to get tailored news in one place. While news-aggregator platforms such as Flipboard, Feedly Mini, and Reddit rule, social-aggregator platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mention, and flavors.me help you manage what you want to receive or send out. Chennai-based Magzter, the world’s largest digital magazine newsstand, is a typical example of an aggregator platform.

Now brands have to not only cater to niche audiences but also compete for a space in their inboxes. Linkedin has already taken this route to market products to prospects.

Brands can feature their ads on Instagram stories. Facebook has launched “mid-ads” which will be played midway through video streams. So, all you marketers out there: get cracking already; start crafting video ads that give continuity even when they are split.

The carry-it-anywhere option is going to grab big bucks

Subscription models, memberships and limited period offers are going to peak. These would give loads of exclusive aggregated content on one platform for a minimal charge. Everything is going to be on Cloud, consuming lesser space on devices but accessible anytime you want it.

In India, Netflix’s competitions are players like Amazon, Hotstar, Voot, Box TV, Youtube Red, and Jio. These have made it big in subscription-based media-streaming and video-on-demand solutions. Youtube TV is set to launch soon, giving users access to about 40 to 50 TV networks. You can link your Youtube TV to the phone app and use it anywhere you like.

R.I.P. cable TV.