The *biggest* challenge I see facing small business owners is not having enough time. We are an idea-rich and time-poor bunch of people, especially when it comes to content creation—which is kind of the name of the game with marketing. Content marketing IS the only marketing left, said Seth Godin. So how do you create regular, consistent content—in the midst of the 50 million other things you’re doing for your creative business—that’s actually worth the click?
You’ve got to extract an idea from your head, research it to the nth degree, write a really good synopsis of it, come up with the imagery direction, and then disseminate it on different platforms. Andddd that can be overwhelming.
I started blogging in 2009, and over the years have created a content creation template I’m so excited to share with you today. This content creation template has allowed me to crank out regular consistent content that’s worth the click.
Today, I want to show you how to support your content writing efforts with research and examples and stats, and tutorials. By the end of this post, you’ll know my entire content creation system for creating pillar pieces of content every week in my business.
If you want to get your hands on the actual template that I use in my business, again, I’m talking through it today. We recently added that to my template shop, The Copy Bar, so you can go over there and check it out, grab one for yourself.
Let’s hop to it!
Build a content research idea bank and plot your content calendar. I hate having to think of what to blog about or what to create content about— I want a list ready to go at. all. times. So yes, I absolutely keep a list of batch ideas on file, but I have a couple of other tools in my arsenal that I lean on for bulking up my content with research and more fodder for me to reference when I’m creating these videos.
One is we have an email folder that is easily searchable inside Google Drive. If there are any questions that we get asked about, they go in there.
I’ve said before, my goal is that we have at least one piece of pillar content to answer every type of recurring question that we get. If we get a question all the time about XYZ, I want at least one good free piece of content out there that can help that person answer the question.
Now, I go into my content planning system ad nauseam inside my Prime to Launch Masterclass Series. But your content has to tie to your sales goals. So once I know the topic, I can go into my overall content mapping calendar and see that topic fits to where it will actually help push sales goals.
Before you start writing, outline the content. Use a template and a pre-writing question list. So a rule for writing copy or anything in your business is truly to start with the end in mind.
(I show you how I do this and then show you that document that I use when I’m creating content in this week’s episode on my YouTube channel, you can watch that here. )
If you’ve been around here, you know how obsessed with time I am. I track my time. I set a timer to make myself do things because I get distracted so easily. I also am not gonna just stare at the blinking cursor, trying to figure out what to say. I want all that fodder in front of me. I wanna know, are you like that, too? Click the like button if you function the same way. Squirrel much? 😉
I do this with 6 questions that I write at the top of EVERY single pillar piece of content I write. So this template, which is in The Copy Bar shop if you want to grab it, saved in Google Drive, I click it open, and it’s set and ready to go with how I need to fill it in.
Okay, I’m sure you could ask yourself 50 questions before you start writing your content. I don’t have time for that. These six at least help me get my head on straight, my head in the game and I am ready to write after I filled out this part of the template.
So number three, the first thing I’m gonna do in the content creation writing process is sketch out the outline. I have a very simple outline that you can use in your content creation process as well. Whether you create video content or written content, I think this will help you.
Here’s the brief five-point outline that I used for years:
This is the outline I’m gonna use if I’m trying to build authority on some kind of a subject. So if you are, for example, blogging your case studies or your portfolio work or recent weddings that you’ve done or press that you’ve been involved in, that format is going to be a little bit different, but this type of a content outline will help you when you’re trying to build that authority on a subject that you know a lot about.
Next up, decide your non-negotiable content gold and research BEFORE you write. Have you ever been on Pinterest or Google before and you’ve clicked something and you get through the click and what you land on is just not meaty enough? It’s not helpful. You’ve gotta go back, start over and keep researching. I hate that feeling. I want your content to be absolutely worth the time that it takes for people to click through. You can do that by collecting in advance as much solid content gold as you can.
Essentially, this is research to bolster up the content that you’re putting out there I have a specific list of things that I add to my content to make it meatier and jucier and more worth it. That content creaton process, again, is starting out answering those six questions, doing an ish outline of how I think this is gonna go. Then I start researching and I’m copying and pasting and pulling in all these different anecdotes and examples, tutorial ideas, images, quotes maybe that I can include.
Basic Blog Post Gold Outline Structure:
That list can be a game-changer for your content because if you’re bulking up your content by adding those things, it’s that much more applicable for people when they can see it applied in different ways and it also helps different learning styles.
Okay, number five, you finally get to write and edit. Just like a chef gets their mise en place together before they start cooking, I’m making sure that I have all of these things first. Then writing is honestly, a breeze and it’s so much faster.
Great copy isn’t written, it’s assembled.
That is a copywriting axiom, and while content writing and copywriting are two different things, done a video on that, this helps, too. Having a system and workflow can help so much. Whatever your content creation workflow, make sure that you hammer it out in a good tool like Asana or Trello.
Like I said, if you wanna get your hands on the actual Google template that we use in my business, the one that I copy every single week into the appropriate folder and I build my content off of, then be sure to grab yours here.
Also, I would love to hear from you in the comments, what are some of your best content creation hacks, or what tips stood out from you in this video that you wanna try to apply to your business?? As always, thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you in the next one!
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Reading Time: 7 Minutes The *biggest* challenge I see facing small business owners is not having enough time. We are an idea-rich and time-poor bunch of people, especially when it comes to content creation—which is kind of the name of the game with marketing. Content marketing IS the only marketing left, said Seth Godin. So how do you create […]
Have you recently ghosted your email list? This is a safe space, you can tell me. 😉 Listen, it happens—no need to panic! I’ve created a 3 part email sequence series to win back that click. I’m sharing email copywriting tips along with email newsletter content because we all know it can feel strange trying to slide back into our audience’s email… especially after we’ve ghosted them!
By the end of this post, you’ll have an email marketing & email copywriting strategy to build back trust with your audience and let them know why they signed up to be on your email list in the first place. It’s time to REVIVE your email list!
Let’s jump in!
I want you to use a clean and organized three-part email sequence funnel, which I’m gonna call these *really* silly descriptors—you’ll see why.
#1 The Not-Cousin-Eddie
#2 The Oprah
#3The Gatsby Email
Okay, here is my overall philosophy on emailing your list if it is been awhile—don’t make it weird. Picture “Christmas Vacation”. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know Cousin Eddie. He’s the weird comedic relief, uncle character in the movie. He barges in, a little bit tipsy, causes all sorts of ruckus, eyebrows raise. He leaves the family wondering, “Who is this guy? How are we related again?” I don’t want you to be that, zooming back into inboxes, making it weird, giving them the feeling of “when did I sign up for this person’s emails?”. So this is how we are going to make sure that doesn’t happen!
“The Not-Cousin-Eddie”—that’s a very quick “who I am again” email. We’re gonna give them some killer value and give them an out if they’re really not interested.
“The Oprah email”— We’re gonna give them your absolute best, things that you’re consuming lately, tools that you’re loving. It’s like inviting them to come and sit on the couch with you for a minute.
“The Gatsby”— We’re gonna toast to them. Give them a free invitation, a coupon code, free shipping, something to express your gratitude for them. They stuck with you.
Okay, now you know the three emails that I want you to have in this sequence. My next tip is number two, I want you to keep your explanation short and sweet.
So basically, we don’t wanna over-explain why you’ve been MIA, and I’m gonna give you an email copywriting swipe for this. The other week I was at my friend Amber’s event, the Blooming Grove Live, and I was leading a round table discussion. People are coming up to my table and asking all sorts of email copywriting questions, and this one came up a lot which is why I was excited to share about it. What I told them is in this campaign, in this email sequence, you don’t want to over-explain and apologize for why you’ve been MIA. We’ve got to flip things and help them understand what’s the value for them. That’s rule number one in copywriting is everybody’s reading things, thinking “Okay, but what’s in this for me?”
So like I said, I wanna give you a little copy swipe template that you can use.⬇️
This is about how long this should be. You’ll see it’s pretty short and sweet.
This is The Copy Party Starter. If you’re a service provider, a great way that you can frame this is, these are some of the tools and resources that you’ve created for your clients. You wanted to bring them to your subscribers as well. And so, *zhuszch*, change them a little bit because they’re not deliverables. But you can give them those kind of tools.
Maybe give them a VIP seat, let them understand what it would be like to be a client of yours. This can also subtly seed. People do pay you for what you do. In this email, our overall goal is not being weird and we just want to come in with lots of value and remind them why you’re there.
I also recommend letting them know you’re gonna offering up some kind of sweet deal or offer like extending a friendship bracelet to them in the coming days. And that would absolutely remind them what they signed up to hear from you about. So, you’re the “what” girl or guy for them.
You may also need to include a PS in this email that points them back to their original freebie or download or opt in that they use to get on this list if it’s been a while.
Overall here, keep that copy minimal because the goal is for them to actually use the resources and the tools that you’re sending along.
Tip number three, make unsubscribing super-duper obvious. If unsubscribing is hard to find, that will just tick people off—you will not be making any friends that way. It definitely needs to be in the footer copy of any email that you send out to adhere to CAN-SPAM law.
I’ve found in an email sequence like this, when it’s been a minute, it can even be that much more of an olive branch extension if you put it right there in the body copy of the email saying “if you don’t want to hear it from me anymore, click here to unsubscribe”. Same link as the one in the footer.
Okay, quick recap so far:
☑️ You know your three-part email sequence
☑️ You have that first email short and sweet with a roundup of useful tools or content that you’ve created.
☑️ You’ve made that unsubscribe link very clear for them.
Next up: Reinforce your value.
We’re talking about emails two and three in this series. More gifts, more presents. Like Oprah invites people to come sit on her couch or like she did when the TV show is on, that’s what we’re doing in email, too—it’s more intimate.
Make sure in this email, they’ve definitely connected the dots and understand that this point who you are and why they first started subscribing to you. The rest of the email, just share really valuable tools, resources you’ve enjoyed lately, or tools or things that are on your desk right now. You can mix your stuff in there, but let’s think about it. >>>
That first email, you are shilling your links and content that you’ve created. And then the last email of this series, we’re gonna be doing that, too. So here is your break to talk up other businesses or tools on your desk. Yes, you can throw in some links to things that you have done, but we want to help reinforce the idea that you just share killer content—you don’t care where it comes from. You’re gonna be valuable in their inbox no. matter. what.
<< Related:9 Strategic Ways to Send Better Emails to Your List >>
There is a section in Anne Handley’s weekly fortnight email that I love. She just shares stuff she’s enjoying, and it is always helpful for me. She’s a writer, I’m a writer. That’s why I’m on her list. But that’s what I mean. I’m gonna put up a little example of a recent email from her, but this is the kind of content I’m talking about. So valuable.
Then for the final email, like I said, you’re gonna get back in the saddle of selling your own stuff or reminding them that you do what you do for a price. I’m calling it The Gatsby though ’cause we’re essentially channeling this GIF >>
I want you to just serve it up complimentary.
Maybe you wanna do that with a coupon code or free shipping. You wanna invite them to a masterclass or something completely on the house or give them a massive discount to one of your products. Really trying to soften the blow of completely ghosting them for a while. Now we’re trying to slide back in with regular content, and there you go.
Those three emails have reminded them of what you do and what your value is. And now you can add them back onto your regular weekly or bi-weekly or monthly newsletter campaign.
**But, here is the kicker. You can’t forget again. You’ve already forgotten once. Sooooo, don’t do it twice. They will lose trust with you.**
Tip number five, don’t worry about unsubscribes. You are gonna get unsubscribes on a campaign like this. If you get weird about that number, then reframe it in your head. No, it doesn’t always mean people hate you. It may just mean they’re in a different stage in their customer or client life cycle than they were when they first signed up for emails from you.
Maybe they needed your content at that time in their life, and they are just not there anymore. They’re in a different phase and they don’t need this type of value and content in their lives. That’s okay.
<< Related:6 Steps to Clean Up Your Email List Subscribers >>
I talk about cleaning up your list a lot. Otherwise, it’s just dead weight. So, it’s okay. I meant it when I said you actually need to keep showing up though if you do this once because we want them to now trust you that you said you’re gonna show up, and you’re gonna show up. So be sure to watch this video that I have right here, I’m taking you through an entire year’s worth of email marketing ideas you can use.
Okay, there you go. Put on your best pump-up jam, crank out this series, or just swipe from The Copy Bar shop our template for this. You can for your own business and *zhuszch* for your own brand voice. Bottom line, don’t worry if it’s been a hot minute since you’ve sent out an email newsletter to your email list. Follow this tips and strategies I talked through in today’s video to win back that click from your audience. Comment below with any questions that you may have as well. If you need help analyzing your email metrics after you get this campaign out, be sure to watch this video I’ve got teed up for you next!
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Reading Time: 7 Minutes Have you recently ghosted your email list? This is a safe space, you can tell me. 😉 Listen, it happens—no need to panic! I’ve created a 3 part email sequence series to win back that click. I’m sharing email copywriting tips along with email newsletter content because we all know it can feel strange trying […]
True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, but *cringe* for our email metrics. These changes will directly affect the email metrics that you’re measuring in your creative small business, as you use email marketing. Soooo let’s talk about it.
Now when you first hop in and look at your email marketing analytics, you may get a *little* bit overwhelmed with all of the geeky vocab flying around in there, but I wanna break it down and make it as simple as possible for you to track and figure out what to look at. I want to set you up so that your email marketing is on track for success.
By the end of this post, you’ll learn what email marketing metrics actually matter and the ones that I don’t really care about. Plus, since we are on the cusp of that new iOS update, I’m gonna give you my opinion on what things to actually change up and how you can prep best for it.
So today we are talking through these 5 email metrics:
If you’re working through this and you want to grab some email subject line swipe files, don’t forget to click here or down below for a link to my 42 Plug-And-Play Email Subject Line Templates!⬇️⬇️
Come out of the gate here and give me the big secret. I’ve talked about this in some other videos, you want to make your subject line, which is what your open rate is kind of dependent on— you want to make that obsolete. Instead, I am far more concerned about how I and how my copywriting clients can build that know, like, trust factor so much that when a reader sees your name in the inbox, it’s no question, they absolutely click open—they want to hear from YOU.
Now, here’s why that matters more than ever. Apple has recently unveiled some of the features that the iOS 15 update will have. For many of us working here in the digital marketing and email marketing space, some of these features are a little bit, *shall we say* not so fabulous. Like I said, I love privacy as a consumer, but it’s gonna hurt the way we track email metrics and that’s okay, we just have to prep for it.
As it is, open rate is a super inaccurate email metric. Think about things like unroll.me. If you use a tool like that, that screws things up because essentially to track an open rate, here’s what happens. An email service provider embeds an invisible pixel in each email. And that email goes out if the email is opened and the image is displayed, tracking information to sit back and recorded as an open, sounds great in theory, but it’s simply not reliable.
From far away, it’s okay. But up close, it’s a big, old mess.
I’m telling you all this because I don’t want you to freak out so much about your open rate. We’re gonna get into what you actually should worry so much about later on. If email open rates were that imperative for us to look at in the future.
Now with this update, according to tactical.co, with this feature, you are not gonna be able to tell what recipients are using iOS 15 devices when they open the emails and open rates are important for tracking the success in most email marketing campaigns, at least a lot of us look at it that way. Furthermore, this is my favorite part of the article, it’s the metric that most marketers use when cleaning your lists. I mean, if you’ve cleaned your list before, this is probably something you’ve looked at, who’s actually opening your emails?
How can you prep best for this update? Well, today, go ahead and put it on your calendar for this week or next. I want you to go ahead and clean your list. We’ve talked about how to do that in some of my other videos—this is paramount for you to go ahead and do— you should be cleaning your list regularly anyway.
This is surprise, surprise, the number of people that after that email is open, click the hyperlink that you have inside your email, where you want people to go.
For example, when I send out my weekly dog-ear newsletter, I include the main link that I want them to go to three different times—that’s the same hyperlink, three times.
I’m gonna put it once above the fold. So for people on mobile devices, it’s there at the ready. I’m usually going to link some sort of either an image or a button. And then I’ll also probably hyperlink an entire sentence.
That percentage of people who click the link, that forms the click through rate, that is always the metric that I’m way more concerned about than the open rate. While industry standard varies from industry to industry, a whopping 2% is kind of the overall average—that’s something to think about as you’re looking at your metrics.
I harp on it with my team when we’re going through and crafting different campaigns for our copywriting clients. One thing you could always do is remember that each email has one goal, essentially one CTA. Now there’s variance there. I’m gonna change it up sometimes, but overall, I have one goal and one big call to action or a link that I’m driving to in every single email. Sometimes you’ll send out roundups, but by and large, go with that rule.
Another tip, and I talked about this when I did a video all about your subject line, you would think that your subject line has more of an effect on your open rate, but weirdly enough, it actually has more of an effect on your click through rate.
Another way to say that is your click-through rate can change depending on how powerful and strong your subject line is.
Think about it as when they see your subject line, that is priming them for what they’re gonna see as whatever they should click on in the body of your email—that priming is very important.
A little mathlete note to mention here for you to remember—your open rate and your click through rate are going to naturally decrease as your email list grows. That’s just how math works. That can be helpful to keep in mind as you’re hearing maybe how peers are doing in the industry or those metrics can be different depending on somebody who has 100,000 person list and somebody who has 100 people or 1000 people on their email list.
Go ahead and let me know in the comments below, does that 2% industry standard click-through rate number surprise you or does it make you feel good? Is that a little bit more on track to what you are seeing in your email marketing platform? I’d love to know. 🙂
<< Related A How-To Guide For Tracking Metrics That Matter >>
Hot take here, but I don’t care about this from that much. I’ll tell you in just a sec what I’m more concerned about, but I would always rather, whether it’s social media metrics or email marketing metrics, I would rather have a smaller list of more loyal people who are tuned into what I wanna say and wanna be there and don’t mind me pitching and selling from time to time, than a broad list of people.
I have a friend who logs into her email marketing platform and puts her hand over the unsubscribe number until she gets to where she wants to. I personally look at it, but I don’t worry about it that much, because I’m more concerned about what I’ll tell you in #5.
Okay we’ve talked through these email metrics so far: open rate, click through rate, and unsubscribe rate. The next email metric we’re concerned about is the conversion rate—you knew I was gonna say this one. 😉
This is what happens when they get on the other side of that link that they clicked in your email. Do they actually convert? Do they do what you wanted them to do? Did they go to the shop page and buy the template? Did they click through to the sales page and actually purchase your offer? Did they click through to the reg page and sign up for whatever challenge or webinar hype piece you have going for your launch?
If you follow my Quarterly Champagne Campaign system that I teach inside Prime to Launch, which essentially, is setting up your business to do FOUR big launches a year. Then when you’re in one of those launch seasons, this is when you start to measure for that metric. Your typical weekly newsletter probably isn’t gonna be as concerned about converting because we’re starting to, in those weekly newsletters tackle those objections and start to prime for your offer. We’re not concerned yet about converting to the sale, but when I’m in pre-launch for that hype piece phase, then I’m worried about this.
Now in a recent video I walked through and basically gave you a screenshot-able example of what your email funnel could look like for a say, evergreen webinar launch, that may help you. I’ve also talked about conversion rates, borderline ad nauseum in this video, I will link that in the description box.
Here’s my final little soap box moment—watching is a numbers game. I know I’ve said that before here. I’m gonna say it again. I tend to see students in clients be a little surprised that conversion rates are just by and large, lower than maybe what they were expecting. And that’s like most math, most numbers. That’s not for us to judge. It’s just something for us to keep in mind as we build our lists. As we grow for our traffic, leading into a pre-launch for a launch phase, you got to do that backwards math and figure out if this is the goal that you wanna sell, how much traffic do we need to go into that funnel?
All right, and the last email metric is number five, list growth rate. Okay, I told you I’m not as concerned about the unsubscribes. What I am concerned about is this though, this is essentially the over-under of how much our email list grew in a single week, new subscribers minus the unsubscribers or the balances. What you wanna track here is your email list growth and attrition, either a week over week or a month over month, quarter over quarter, basically, are you adding more email addresses every single month than you lose through your unsubscribes and your hard bounces.
You want to make sure you’re tracking all of these email metrics when it comes to your email list.
I want you to get ready for that iOS update. And I want you to just map these things at least quarterly in your business. Again, that’s open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribes conversion rate and the overall list growth rate. These provides such valuable information, and they’re gonna help guide you in the direction that you need to go for your email marketing fabulousness in your business.
If you’ve got any questions about the emal metrics I covered today, as always, make sure that you leave them in the comments below and be sure to check out the video —I’m showing you all about how to craft a sales and a launch sequence for the upcoming, big marketing campaign you’ve got in your creative business. Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle, and I’ll see you in the next one.
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Reading Time: 9 Minutes True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, but *cringe* for our […]
Get a front-row seat to sales copy tips & hacks I’m applying to write first-rate/top-shelf funnels for clients, what’s on my desk (and in my earbuds), and what lessons I’ve learned … sometimes the hard way. Hope you’re ok that I’m a little more personal here than I am in social media land. 😜
These emails are read—and swipe filed—by people you probably follow in the creative industry … and you can get ‘em, too.