Skills You Need for Successful Content Writing

Writing is a dream job, but not for everyone. Some writers are hired to write product descriptions for catalogs, and some turn out to be J.K. Rowling. Unfortunately, however, most writers have a better chance of writing product descriptions than they do of becoming best-selling authors.

While successful content writers seem to have an enviable life — they work from home, make their own schedules and work as much or as little as they please — the vast majority have a hard time making a living of it. They lack the skills necessary to succeed. Because no matter how talented they are, writing skill is simply not enough. So, if you want to become successful as a content writer, you need a full toolkit of marketable skills.

1. Successful content writers must master different writing styles.

The reason is that each form of writing has its own style. News is delivered AP style, in short, informational paragraphs with the meat of the story at the top. Blogging is personable, friendly and often opinionated. Ad copy is short and persuasive. White papers are long; they describe a problem and provide the solution. But, regardless, each and every category is content, and each style writers master makes them more valuable and in demand.

2. Successful content writers don’t pick random subjects.

“Ideation” is a marketing industry buzzword that describes the creative process of finding a subject, title and angle to write about; and ideation begins with analytics. Most ideation is done in a team setting, but freelance writers are usually on their own. Which is why it’s helpful to know how professional marketing teams generate ideas. Before doing that, successful content writers need to:

  • Understand their audience. Marketers call it creating a “buyer persona.” If you know who your readers are, you can write what they want to read. You write for your audience. Not for yourself, not for your company, not for your brand.
  • Perform keyword research. Buzzsumo.com showed that “content writing” is a better keyword than “content writer,” which is what led to a title change. The site also revealed that writing how-to posts are popular. One by Neil Patel on how to come up with topic ideas was shared nearly 16,000 times. (swoon)
  • Check out the competition. What successful content are others in your industry sharing? A competitive content audit gives you a ton of information. Not just about what your competitors are sharing, but who is linking to their content, blogging about it, tweeting it out and posting it elsewhere.
  • Craft a snappy title. After you have keyword, competitor and reader knowledge, take your time, choose your subject and craft a title that will interest readers. The title compels people to read. . . or not. The most important words on your post are the title and the meta description.

3. Successful content writers are original.

It’s your reputation. Every post with your name on it should be original. That probably sounds crazy, with all the tens of thousands of people writing about the same subjects, but it’s easier than it seems. Every talented writer can bring a unique voice, different perspective or new light to an overworked subject.

Related: 6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Content

Plagiarized content is bad for SEO, bad for your employers and even worse for you. Protect your reputation and your career by taking precautions. Before you submit your work, use an online program tocheck for plagiarism. With all the content out there, it’s easy to accidentally duplicate writing.

4. Successful content writers know SEO, HTML, CSS and WordPress.

Don’t panic. You only need a few basics. WordPress themes have varying levels of automatic functions, and sometimes the only way to make your text appear the way you want it to is to dig into the text/HTML tab and manipulate the code to make a title tag or fix a spacing issue. It’s worth your time to learn the basics.

Updated SEO knowledge is also critical. Search engine algorithms change constantly, and writers have to keep up. One thing remains constant: High quality is always in demand. If you can write in-depth content from a unique perspective, you’ll be in demand.

5. Successful content writers are social media specialists.

Name recognition is important. Social media puts everything you need within your grasp. Build your audience, meet publishers and talk to industry experts. When your writing is published, the fun has only just begun. The more active you are on social media, the more likely your followers will be to recommend your content. Successful content writers are active, public and friendly.

So, think again about writing “success.” It stops being about words on paper as soon as “content” is added to “writer.” Content writers are marketing experts, SEO specialists, on-page coders and social media butterflies. With the right skill set, you’ll succeed and find that yours is the best job in the world.

Cost of setting up a e-commerce business in India

The market has evolved a lot since then. Marketplaces such as Shopo and Craftsvilla have gained traction. There is significant competition to MartJack in the form of Zepo, Shopnix etc. Several payment gateways such as PayU, PayTM and CitrusPay have really taken off. Payment solutions provider CCAvenue has introduced a small-business friendly starter plan. Logistics providers are improving.

Here is a look at what it is like to setup an ecommerce business in India now.

The ‘business plan’ below is based on real-life experience from expanding an eCommerce operation from Shopo to Shopo + Zepo.

At the outset, let me clarify a few points:

» This article is not a commentary on either Shopo or Zepo or any of their competitors. [We have been pretty happy with both, if that helps]

» A storefront set up at a marketplace doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘Basic’

» A store set up with a SaaS provider doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘Small’

» The model outlined below would work best for products that are fairly unique or not widely available. E.g. designer apparel or handicrafts.

Most importantly, this is just a superficial model that considers only the ‘e’ part of eCommerce. The ‘Commerce’ part is the row highlighted in red. This is domain specific. Success or failure will depend on how well you manage your sourcing, operations and marketing so that it costs you less than Rs 500 per order while creating value worth more than Rs. 1000 per order for your customers. (The numbers are just examples).

Basic Small Medium
Scale 1 person operation out of home. Either as a hobby or as a side business 1 -2 person operation. Likely as a primary source of income Serious business
Indicative Turnover < 1 Lakh /month 1 – 10 Lakhs / month 10 – 100 Lakhs per month
Ave no. orders per month (@ ave size of Rs 1000) 50 500 5,000
Typical IT infrastructure Online marketplace – E.g. Shopo, Craftsvilla SaaS – E.g. Zepo, Martjack Self-hosted on AWS, Rackspace etc. Software could be Magento or a similar product
Legal status and formalities Proprietorship:PAN card, VAT / CST No. Proprietorship:PAN card, VAT / CST No. Pvt. Ltd. / LLC:VAT/CST, Accounts, Audits, Payroll
Payment Gateway Not needed Economy / Basic Plans – PayU, PayTM Premium Plans – PayU, PayTM, CCAvenue, EBS
Shipping / Logistics Retail rates Small business account with negotiated rates Discounted rates
Employee count (excluding founders) 0 < 5 (mostly temp / ad hoc skills) 5 – 10 (including professional skills – tech, marketing, accounting etc.)
Setup costs
Legal formalities 10,000 10,000 100,000
IT infrastructure 0 0 – 25,000 100,000 – 200,000
Office space (Assuming Hyderabad) 0 15,000 – 30,000 30,000 – 60,000
Payment gateway 0 0 – 6,000 20,000 – 40,000
Operating capital – (3 month fixed operating costs + 15 days variable operating costs) Rs 20 – 25K Rs. 3 – 4 Lakhs Rs 34 – 38 Lakhs
Total initial investment Rs. 30 – 35K Rs. 3.25 – 5 Lakhs Rs. 36 – 42 Lakhs
Ongoing fixed costs (monthly)
Employee salaries 0 20,000 500,000
IT infrastructure 0 1000 – 10,000 5,000 – 10,000
Office rental 0 5,000 – 10,000 10,000 – 20,000
Utilities (Power, Internet, Maintenance) 0 2,000 – 5,000 4,000 – 10,000
Payment gateway 0 0 – 200 200 – 1000
Total ongoing fixed costs 0 28,000 – 45,000 520,000 – 550,000
Ongoing variable costs
Sourcing / manufacturing
(Assuming 100% markup)
500 500 500
Shipping 100 – 150 per order 60 – 100 per order 30 – 60 per order
Photography
(~ 5 orders / product)
0 – 100 per product

0 – 20 per order

200 – 500 per product

40 – 100 per order

200 – 500 per product

40 – 100 per order

Marketing 0 (Assuming the marketplace handles this) 250 per order
(Assuming CPC of Rs 10, Conversion rate of 2%, 50% paid traffic)
125 per order
(Assuming CPC of Rs 10, Conversion rate of 2%, 25% paid traffic)
Transaction costs 150 – 200
15 – 20% charged by marketplaces
50 – 70 per order
5 – 7% charged by payment gateways. CoD & Paypal not considered
20 – 40 per order
2 – 4% charged by payment gateways. CoD & Paypal not considered
Total cost per order 750 – 950 900 – 1050 750 – 850
 
Gross margin / order 150 – 250 -50  – 100 150 – 250
Operating margin / order 150 – 250 -100 – 50 50 – 150
Total profit 7,500 – 12,500 -50,000 – 25,000 250,000 – 750,000
 
Summary » Zero fixed costs means risk of losing money is low.

» Margin is not highly dependent on order size (within certain limits)

» Hard to scale since you will not be spending money on SEO / marketing (if you plan to, you are better off building your own website)

» Average order size of less than Rs 1000 will most likely mean losses for new sites where proportion of paid traffic is high.

» This can be overcome if the sourcing costs are low (E.g. if you are selling your own paintings) or markup is high (E.g. designer wear)

» Marketing cost will come down after 3-4 months as you build a base of loyal customers

» You are in business if you have reached this scale.

» Fixed costs are mostly salaries. Need to plan your hiring well.

About the Author

Haribabu Thilakar has been in the software services industry  for 17 years, and has worked for Infosys, Kanbay and UnitedHealth Group. His current focus is on Data & Analytics. Ecommerce is a side interest of his which was first ignited while he was managing a large program for a retail giant, and flared up recently while he was helping his wife set up her online store

The Tipping Point – Summery

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is the debut book by Malcolm Gladwell, first published by Little Brown in 2000.

Gladwell defines a tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”.[1] The book seeks to explain and describe the “mysterious” sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do”.[2] The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the steep drop in the New York City crime rate after 1990.

The three rules

Malcolm Gladwell describes the “three rules of epidemics” (or the three “agents of change”) in the tipping points of epidemics.

The Law of the Few

“The Law of the Few”, or, as Malcolm Gladwell states, “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts”.[3] According to Malcolm Gladwell, economists call this the “80/20 Principle, which is the idea that in any situation roughly 80 percent of the ‘work’ will be done by 20 percent of the participants”.[4] (see Pareto Principle) These people are described in the following ways:

  • Connectors are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles. They are people who “link us up with the world…people with a special gift for bringing the world together”.[5]They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [… for] making friends and acquaintances”.[6] Malcolm Gladwell characterizes these individuals as having social networks of over one hundred people. To illustrate, he cites the following examples: the midnight ride of Paul RevereMilgram’s experiments in thesmall world problem, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” trivia game, Dallas businessman Roger Horchow, and Chicagoan Lois Weisberg, a person who understands the concept of the weak tie. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to the fact that “their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy”.[7]
  • Mavens are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.”[4] They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others. Gladwell cites Mark Alpert as a prototypical Maven who is “almost pathologically helpful”, further adding, “he can’t help himself”.[8] In this vein, Alpert himself concedes, “A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving his own”.[8] According to Gladwell, Mavens start “word-of-mouth epidemics”[9] due to their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate. As Malcolm Gladwell states, “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know”.[10]

The Stickiness Factor

The specific content of a message that renders its impact memorable. Popular children’s television programs such as Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues pioneered the properties of the stickiness factor, thus enhancing the effective retention of the educational content in tandem with its entertainment value.

The Power of Context

Human behavior is sensitive to and strongly influenced by its environment. As Malcolm Gladwell says, “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur”.[11] For example, “zero tolerance” efforts to combat minor crimes such as fare-beating and vandalism on the New York subway led to a decline in more violent crimes city-wide. Gladwell describes the bystander effect, and explains how Dunbar’s number plays into the tipping point, using Rebecca Wells‘ novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhoodevangelist John Wesley, and the high-tech firm W. L. Gore and Associates. Malcolm Gladwell also discusses what he dubs the rule of 150, which states that the maximum number of individuals in a society or group that someone can have real social relationships with is 150.[12]

Research on consumer behavior ‘Get Into The mind of Consumers’ with feedback

Each business is having a benefit rationale. It is truly critical to study and think about customer conduct in the business sector. What is the purchaser’s feeling about the item and administration in the business is additionally an essential truth to study. Since the clients are the genuine customer who gives bread and margarine to specialists, it will be the obligation of the agents to give adequate fulfillment to every buyer. Since rivalry among the retail locations are expanding in the business sector, it is truly imperative to try for complete research on purchaser conduct. This will help you to keep a note about their prerequisite. You can undoubtedly supply them with that assortment of products and administrations that fulfills them.

Information and insight realistic examination

It is fundamentally a realistic visual representation of information, data and also learning. With the assistance of Data and illumination realistic examination, it gets to be truly simple to present the complex data plainly and rapidly. This instrument can undoubtedly enhance perception by making a successful usage of illustrations so that capacity of human visual framework might be effortlessly improved in this methodology. This is a grand path through which it will be not difficult to see the examples and in addition patterns. This methodology of making investigation of data illustrations is otherwise called data plan, information visualization and data construction modeling.

Actualities about information mining

Information mining is fundamentally an interdisciplinary subfield of software engineering. Through this technique, substantial information are ran across with the methodology of meeting the manmade brainpower. Information mining pattern has the objective to concentrate the data from the set of information and get it changed it into an attractive structure. Different steps are included all the while beginning from preprocessing stage to outlined structure. This is a study of concentrating the valuable data from a huge database. Examination of information likewise happens with a flawless mixture of the counterfeit consciousness. Examination could be utilized with information mining as to more extensive prospect.

Showcasing and its effect

Beyond any doubt, the pattern of advertising is regularly evolving. It is likewise essential for agents and promoting executives in the advertising dares to roll out changes as per the improvements. With fitting examination you can think about the eventual fate of showcasing exploration. It will be truly normal for the customers to make inquiries around an item and administrations. In the other hand, the customer will be constantly prepared to give addresses particularly. Profit of the advertiser is specifically relative to the fulfillment of the customers. Accordingly, overviews are constantly led to know buyer conduct. Likewise in different sites, there are extensions for buyer criticism. When the shoppers are fulfilled by the item and in addition administrations, businesspeople will get full focal point of the same. You can read different articles about the prospects are well as the eventual fate of the promoting business. No, association can run without the boosting and in addition well as limited time action of showcasing wander.

10 Easy Ways to Get More Facebook Likes for Your Business Page

In order to achieve success on Facebook you need a community. That’s a fact. If you don’t have a community, you don’t have anyone listening to you, and if there’s no one listening to you, it’s difficult to build brand awareness and deliver ROI.

You need a community filled with people who like you and share your content with like-minded friends. But it’s not just about the quantity of Facebook likes that you collect, it’s about the quality; attracting Facebook likes from a group targeted to suit your business goals whose comments (and endorsement!) can increase your shares on Facebook.

So here are ten quick and easy tips to drive targeted Facebook likes to your business page.

1. Complete your Facebook Business Page Profile

Your Facebook Page is the first thing people see when they come to visit you on Facebook. Let visitors know why they should like you! Create a catchy description and make sure you categorize your page correctly. Also make sure to list your address, phone number and hours of operation (if applicable). Not only will this inform your potential followers, it will tell Facebook what kind of organization you are you so they know to show your page when users are searching for companies like yours – which can increase your Facebook likes even more!

2. Ask friends, business partners and other contacts to like you on Facebook

Friends are like underpants. Some snap under pressure, some are a little twisted, but some will give you support. When you first create a Facebook Page invite your supportive friends, family and business partners to like your Facebook Page. These initial likes will give you higher social media credibility and visibility. Then, alert your customers, prospects and your other social communities, and promote your Facebook page anywhere you mention your website. If people don’t know your Facebook page exists, they can’t like it.

3. Add social plugins to your website

Visitors on your website should be able to  find your Facebook Page easily. My recommendation is to use Facebook’s Social Plugins, like the Like box plugin, to get more Facebook likes. These plugins include a like button, your recent posts, and pictures of some of your fans.

4. Find out what interests your community

With Facebook’s new Graph Search it’s really easy to find out what interests your target community, and post relevant content to increase Facebook likes.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say that I have a Facebook Page for my new pizza restaurant in San Francisco. To learn more about my target community’s interests, I search for “Favorite interests of people who like Restaurants and live in San Francisco, California.“ Facebook tells me that my target community also likes cooking, wine tasting and traveling.

Facebook Graph Search Results

 

 

 

 

I also want to see the interests of my competitors’ communities, so I search for “Favorite interests of people who like Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza,” and I find out that they like cooking, chocolate chip cookies, eating, food and partying.

This information is great to have at hand when I’m thinking about what to post on my Facebook page. By posting content that my audience is interested in (for example, suggesting which wines go well with my pizza) they will share it with their friends and help me get more Facebook likes. This same content will also attract likes from people who come to my Facebook page from my website, email signature, or a Facebook search.

5. Use Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are another great way to increase Facebook likes. To get the most out of your ads, you can target by your community’s interests to find people similar to your current fans.
In the image below, you can see how I’ve used the information that I got from Graph Search and how I’ve targeted my ad for my new pizza place.

Facebook Ads

 

 

 

 

Experiment with different types of ads to see what works best for your organization, and make sure you choose the option that allows Facebook users to like your page directly from the ad.

6. Run a contest

There are many companies that have created successful contests on Facebook that resulted in many thousands of Facebook likes. But there are some things that you need to know before you create your own contest. For starters, make sure that your contest follows Facebook’s promotion guidelines. Your contest must use a Facebook app, which allows you to create a fan-gate, so that only those who first like your page can participate in the contest. Apps also have a unique URL, so you can promote your contest with a Facebook ad and increase Facebook likes even more.

Also, when you create a contest make sure that your app is working for mobile users, that the content of the contest is funny, that it’s easy to participate and that the contest encourage users to share their result and participation with their friends.

7. Like, and interact with, other companies

Did you know that you can engage with other company pages as your Business Page on Facebook? This is a great way to build awareness among like-minded companies and their followers.  To do this, visit your Facebook Page, click on “Edit Page” in your Admin Panel and select “Use Facebook as YourPage.”

Facebook Like as Page

Finding companies to like and interact with is easy. Use Graph search and search for e.g. companies, pages, places that is of interests for your company and like these Pages (you can’t like personal profiles).

After you have liked some Pages, you can view your company’s Newsfeed and engage with the pages you like. Not only is the company likely to follow you back, but their engagement with your page will help you increase Facebook likes amongst their followers as well.

8. Publish engaging content

It’s important to publish engaging, entertaining and interesting posts on a regular basis, and to keep an eye out for the posts that get the most engagement. If your posts are valuable to your followers, then they will share your posts with their friends, helping you increase your Facebook likes. Images are among the best types of post for driving engagement so make sure you publish images your followers can relate to and will like. You may also want to include calls to action in some of your posts, asking followers to like, comment or share your content, or ask your community a question.

9. Be active

By now you know that you should publish engaging, interesting and entertaining content. But how often should you post? There is no magic number but there are best practices and analytics to guide you. Post at least one status update per day, and experiment with the timing of your posts to see when the majority of your followers are active. People are unlikely to like your Facebook page if you don’t post regularly – and they certainly won’t engage with your content (or help you get more likes) if they don’t see your posts.

10. Measure, analyze and learn

Use Facebook Insights to find useful metrics on your page performance. You can see things like reach (how many users are seeing your posts), engaged users (how many users engage with your posts) and new likes (when and why do you get new followers). These metrics will help you understand what’s driving your likes and engagement, so that you can adjust your posts accordingly. If you would like to know if you have good engagement, or want other recommendations for improvement, try out our free Facebook analytics tool, LikeAlyzer.

Would you like to add any tips for getting more Facebook likes? Did I forget something? Please add a comment and, if you like the post, feel free to share it with your friends

The Art of Blog Marketing

This is a story about building relationships online through blogging and how connecting and sharing is about the art of marketing. For this post, we will leave science aside, except for the technology required to blog.


Over Memorial Day weekend, a group of us met in NYC to honor CK and her recently passed momma, Sandra J. Kerley, with a tree planted in a corner of a Spanish Harlem family garden. The spot is a haven of green among the concrete, brick, glass and steel setting. Five of us gathered with CK, but many participated in the celebration through their generous donations. Some who could not join us called to speak with CK.
In the group were Drew McLellan,
David Reich,
Luc Debaisieux,
Valeria Maltoni, and me. Drew and his family flew in from Des Moines, David drove from the ‘burbs, Luc came all the way from Belgium, Valeria trained from Philadelphia and I took the commuter line from New Haven. If you want to read more about the event, each of us posted or you can click here to read my post and see the photos.
The gathering made me think about what brought us and so many of you together. The tool was blogging but the strategy that connects us is that of relationship building. Each of us believes that life and the part of it we call business require the art of connection to grow. Anyone can blog. It doesn’t require either great technical or writing skill to do so. But among the bloggers who I have met in-person and online, a sense of sharing, connecting and getting to know others is inherent within us. And that is a basic principle in marketing.
At the end of the day, marketing is not about products, services, technology, advertising, public relations, or traditional tools. It is about creating connections, what some of us may call experiences. Successful marketing gives people a reason to care about us. In business we may call the “us” our brand. That is also true in life.
Why did we gather in New York City, a group of strangers, some of whom had previously met, others who had never met face-to-face? We cared about each other. We had connected. We wanted to be part of the brand experience (honoring CK and becoming friends). This may seem a strange analogy. To some it may seem a bad and heartless analogy, as we are talking about a friend’s loss. But to clarify, I am talking about love for a friend and caring for her. I am talking about what we gained through CK’s loss.
And that’s what customers feel about brands that they are loyal to: Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, Apple, VW, Coke or Pepsi. Those companies have connected with their customers. They share their human sides, build relationships, and become friends to and with their customers.
They do so by telling stories and touching our emotional sides with those stories. The 40-something accountant who loves the rumble of a Harley. The 30-something mom who cherishes her escape to Starbucks Third Place Experience. The Mac lovers who hold onto their minority but special status.
These things don’t just happen. They happen because of the art of marketing. That same art applied to our personal lives and our businesses is producing enduring relationships, more sharing opportunities by writing for other blogs such as the Daily Fix, and work opportunities. All because of relationship building. Like me, I suspect most of you have a similar story.