How to build a copywriting machine that produces high quality articles for $10

By Geff Harper on Jan 17, 2019
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Fast track copywriting with this simple content creation guide

In today’s information hungry world, businesses (should!) know the importance of helping their customers through the buying journey with free information. It’s called content marketing or inbound marketing and it absolutely works. Yet many business leaders would rather balance their accounts than sit down and write a 500 word blog.

As a marketing consultants, one of the most common challenges we hear about when it comes to content marketing is producing high quality content on a consistent basis. Whether it’s for social media, a blog post or a press release, objections seem to materialise as impassable roadblocks the second we sit down to write.

Here’s the step by step guide on how to build a lean mean copywriting machine

Note: This strategy assumes you’re not going to hire your own copywriter, which is absolutely best practice. If this is the case, then read on!

Step 1 - Content ideas based on FAQs & FOPs

Content plans can vary from highly researched, strategic plans to a simple list of articles in a spreadsheet. While it’s not the topic of this article to go into detail on how to build a content plan, here’s a summary:

  • Your content topics should focus on customer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Frequently Observed Problems (FOPs).
  • Run a brainstorm session with your sales and support team to find as many FAQs & FOPs as possible and group topics together.
  • Pick 3 representative topics relevant to your products and services. These will be your ‘Pillar Pages’ and they will cover a topic in-depth making reference to specific subtopics.
  • For each pillar page, choose 5-7 subtopics that cover 1 specific topic.

If you’re really stuck for ideas, here’s a great tool to find out what questions people are asking around a topic based on search data:

Step 2. Selecting an appealing title

Whoever said you don’t judge a book by its cover must have had a really unappealing cover. To perceive and judge is to be human. It's crucial that your title is appealing to attract a few precious moments of a reader's attention. So what constitutes ‘appealing’?

There are many different factors; it could be something controversial like this from our CEO: I am the CEO of an awesome digital agency in Sydney. And I am a woman. And to @KRConnect and anyone else who shares his opinion, I call “Bullshit”.

It could be a how to article on the exact topic you were looking for: How to get started with a Marketing Data Stack

Or something kinda silly: A brief history of Engaging Comms… it’s not War and Peace :-)

Whatever the case, make it interesting!

Step 3. Dictate!

When speaking at a normal speed you average 120 words per minute. So to punch out a 500 word article you’ll need to speak for little over 4 mins. If you account for the ums and ahs (you’ll be amazed how many you say!) it’s better to aim for 5 minutes.

Dictating a succinct, clear and concise message is an under-appreciated artform until you try it yourself. Some of you may have dictated an SMS on your mobile phone or perhaps even used speech to text software so you will appreciate it can be tricky. However, with a little bit of practice it is an amazingly efficient way to write.

Like all things, preparation and practice makes perfect. Spend a few minutes writing down the key points of your articles, i.e. the overriding theme, intro statement, point 1, 2, 3 with examples that supports the statement, and a conclusion which reiterates the opening statement. Just like writing an essay at school! If you are a subject matter expert on the topic this should take you 10 mins tops! Remember you’re just talking about questions and problems you’re helping clients with all day long.

Now, pull out your phone, go to the voice memo app (you should have one built in otherwise just download one), take a deep breath and in a calm steady voice start talking. Expect the first few times to be a train wreck, but again with practice you will get great at this. I have even dictated a blog post while driving my car!

Step 4. Transcribe

Here’s the cool bit. Go onto an outsourcing website like fiverr or just search transcription services. You can get your audio transcribed for as little as $2 per minute and turned around in 24 hours all with the ums and ahs removed and basic grammar added in.

Step 5. Polish It Up

The first few articles you get back may not be a great read. But you’ll learn very quickly how to fix that. If you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your subject, this energy will translate into your dictations and ultimately into your articles. Read through and give the article a final polish or assign that task to someone else in your organisation, or even an outsourced copywriter.

And just like that you have a shiny new article ready to post!

Let’s recap

Your ideas should come easily because you’re talking about FAQs and FOPs which you see all day long. Use the pillar and sub-topic method to structure your page. Pick a cool title. Pick a topic and spend 5-10 mins planning the approach. Hit record and record 5 mins of your best! Shoot the audio off to your transcription service, review the article and polish.

If you’re an agency or a marketing coordinator, you can do 90% of the planning work and help your Subject Matter Expert simply record the audio. For as little as $10 and 20mins per article, you can create a rockin’ article straight from the horse’s mouth. Now that is a lean mean content machine that can scale.

If you would like to know how to create and use great content to fuel a lead generation machine then get in touch.

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Geff’s been in design for nearly 20 years, in digital for the last 10. Geff uses User-Centred Design principles to develop CX and UX that delivers for clients. He loves problem solving, leading design sprints and prototyping. Geff advocates strongly for user feedback and enjoys the challenge of creating solutions that positively impact user behaviour and interaction with technology.

Get in touch, We love to talk