These days, it seems everyone is interested in white papers. If you market products or services to businesses, you may consider creating a white paper as a content marketing tool. While the term can sound a bit stuffy or formal, a white paper is simply an evidence-based case for why an organization needs what you have to offer. White papers are sort of research papers in disguise. They appear unbiased, but they offer specific solutions to particular problems.
The goal, of course, is to present the research in such a way that the solution you offer is the obvious choice, but a good white paper is also a tool for vetting clients to make sure your service is a fit for their needs. White papers are different from other types of content marketing pieces, most of which are less formal.
Do you need a white paper?
The simple answer is maybe. There are other types of content marketing pieces that may work better for you. If your clients are businesses, though, a well-crafted white paper may be more effective, since the decision to hire you will likely be made by more than one person or at least after more one than person considers what you’re offering.
Other content marketing options: brochures, case studies, guides, and e-books
Before you decide if you need a white paper, consider the other options. These include brochures, case studies, guides, and e-books. A blog may also be a better option for your business or service, especially if your clients are mostly online and easy to find on social media.
In contrast to a white paper, brochures are sales oriented and not heavily researched based. You may include one or two statistics to support your sales pitch, but a brochure is usually a more emotional appeal than other types of content marketing pieces.
Case studies are specific to your business and how you have helped clients solve problems. In other words, you present examples of actual companies or people you’ve helped. You may need more than one case study, especially if you target different markets.
If your business has a how-to component, even something intangible like “how to get better sleep,” a guide is a good content marketing option. Less formal than white papers, guides can be designed in creative ways. They are tools readers can use to reach a goal but leave room for learning more and solving related problems (which is where your service comes in).
The term e-book is a general term used to describe text delivered digitally. An e-book is usually longer than other types of content marketing, but not always. I’ve seen e-books as short as six pages, though I’d be more inclined to give something that length another name. You can write an e-book on any topic related to your business.
Does it matter whether you call your piece a white paper or something else?
The short answer to whether it matters what you call your piece is probably, but not necessarily. In general, it matters most if you’re using it to attract larger companies (versus consumers or small business owners).
If you tell a company’s decision maker you have a white paper and it’s really a brochure, you’ve already failed to meet their expectations, making it less likely they’ll hire you. A white paper needs to focus on research and evidence and most decision makers expect a white paper to have a formal tone. The same is true for case studies, which must give examples of how your company (not others like you) has helped actual clients. You’ve got a little more leeway with e-books and brochures.
Of course, if your prospect doesn’t know what a white paper or case study is, this will be less of an issue. If they have the wrong idea of what either of these is, you have a different problem (though one that’ easier to solve by simply explaining what you’re offering accurately).
The bottom line is your content marketing piece should capitalize on your strengths. It should offer solutions to real problems your client has that you can solve. You can do that as directly and scientifically or as informally and generally as appropriate. Consider the service and people you serve and what they will likely respond to best.
In other words, if you’re marketing to large companies, and you have the content, expertise, and research to write a white paper, go for it. If your prospects are consumers or small businesses who will be happily informed with a brochure, guide, or case study, one of those may be a better option for you. If you have a lot to say, you may want to create an e-book. If you have a lot to say, but you want to say it over time, you may do best with a well-publicized blog!
Need help deciding what you need or creating it once you’ve decided? Contact me anytime to chat about how I can help!
Lately, I’ve spoken with a lot of wellness professionals who are wondering what to do next and how content marketing writing can help them reach their goals. A yoga teacher wants to write a book. A personal trainer is thinking about blogging. Another yoga teacher wants to get certified to teach Pilates, and a nutritionist is branching into holistic health coaching, so she can focus on the mind and emotions as well as diet and exercise.
The great thing about wellness is the possibilities for growth are endless. I’m working with a coach right now who has just been through a series of certifications so she can do wellness counseling. She’s also a writer, and the project we’re working on is a book to supplement her counseling and position her as an expert her field.
Today I met a young woman who described herself as a “holistic wellness junkie” and a “hippie.” She was wondering how to focus her passion as an entrepreneur.
First Steps First: Outline Your Story
Before you can create content for your well-being business or service, you need to know what that business or service is. Sounds obvious, I know, but most of us evolve, and as we do so, we become a slightly different version of our former selves.
For instance, if you're a yoga teacher, what sets you apart from other yoga teachers? Maybe it’s your love of restorative yoga or your ability to inspire others to become more powerful. Maybe devotion to classical yoga is your thing. Or perhaps you’re ready to offer videos of your classes or write a book about how yoga changed your life.
Or maybe you started your career as a nutritionist. Your next step may be holistic health coaching that focuses not only on food but on the mind, emotions, and physical fitness. What tools will you create to reach that goal?
Do you want to connect with your tribe via email marketing, or is blogging your passion? Helping people grow their own well-being business may be next for you. Or perhaps you offer complementary healing services, like reiki or aromatherapy in addition to teaching yoga, meditation, or tai chi.
I worked with a personal trainer who created his own vegan protein powder and became a new kind of entrepreneur. Another client turned a passion for yoga into a business selling yoga and aromatherapy products.
Let Your Passion Lead You
Last winter, we had a blizzard in the northeast. The yoga studio where I practice was closed, but one of teachers posted a YouTube video on Facebook so we could all practice at home. It was wonderful! I wouldn’t be surprised if the next step in her career is creating more videos and DVDs.
The point is if you tune in and follow the voice that led you to a career in wellness to begin with, it will continue to lead you. What would you like to create next?
Content Marketing Writing for Your Business
If you market online, you’ve heard it said that content is king. Obviously, your online presence depends on something your audience can read, hear, or see. The problem is there’s so much to read, hear, and see these days that a lot goes unnoticed.
The real question is how can you stand out? Here are a few things to consider when you are working on your content marketing writing plan:
I hope these ideas will help you move along the path of your dreams. I’d love to learn what you’re creating and how you're using a content marketing writing strategy to share what you're creating. Right now there is someone out there who needs the service you provide. Please share in the comments, and let’s see how we can help each other move forward!
One of the services I provide is social media assistance. Specifically, I find and share great blog content, quotes, and other media that inspires my clients' audiences, many of whom are yogis and other wellness enthusiasts. You’d think this would be easy. After all, there are so many yoga and wellness blogs out there, right?
Well, yes. There are a lot of yoga blogs and websites, but I have a surprisingly difficult time finding “go-to” sites that stand out as sources of great blog content I can share.
Do you have one? I’d love to see it! (Feel free to send me a link!)
Not sure if you have one? I have a few tips for you. Obviously, you want to be sure you have well-written posts, but there's more. If you want your content to be shared, there are a few features you need to include.
Case in point: I did some blog ghostwriting for a yoga client a while back. So, I know I like the content! The problem is, when my client designed his website and posted the pieces I wrote, he didn’t make the content shareable. So, while I’d love to share those posts on social media, I usually don’t.
Five Simple Ways to Be Sure Your Great Blog Content is Also Shareable
1. Write well. I know. I said this already, but it’s important. I’m not suggesting you need to be an award-winning writer, just that you should organize your thoughts concisely and minimize typos and grammatical errors. No, one or two mistakes won’t hurt (you’re human after all), but I promise you, your readers will get a subconscious message if your posts are riddled with errors.
2. Use short paragraphs, headings, and numbered or bulleted lists. I still come across blog posts that are just a few long paragraphs with no headings or other way to break up the text. That’s fine if you’re writing a print book, but your online readers will get tired quickly if you don’t give their eyes a break!
3. Use social share buttons, and be sure they work! Be sure, too, that it’s obvious which icons are for sharing and your content and which are for connecting with you on social media. It shouldn’t be a surprise that your content is easier to share with a simple click of a social share icon. The alternative is to copy the link, go to my Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest page and share from there. I don’t do that often. Other potential ambassadors for your content won’t either.
4. Include an eye-catching image. You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, right? I’d take it a step further and point out that a thousand words are also worth a thousand words. And the picture and words together are worth much more than 2000 words. There’s no replacement for prose—for dialogue with your reader that encourages, inspires, or informs. But images enrich prose by appealing to more of our senses. They also call attention to content in an undeniable way.
5. Make sure your image can be shared easily. That means that when someone clicks the social share icons I mentioned earlier, they will be able to share the post and the image. People are much more likely to notice, click on, and read a post if they are attracted to it by a colorful image that helps tell the story.
So, now that you know what makes your already great blog content shareable as well, you may have a bit of tweaking to do. I hope you’ll do it, because the easier you make it for like-minded folks the share the love, the more likely they’ll do it and help get your message out there!
Need help with content creation or social media? Contact me anytime for a free brainstorming session!
If you're thinking about hiring a professional editor, the first step is to consider your goal. Why do you need editing help? Are you self-publishing a book? Do you want to put your best foot (or word) forward when marketing your well-being service? Do want clickable content that search engines will find and people will read?
Of course, you can do a lot of this on your own. Before you think about paying for editing help, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about creating sound copy. (If you need a place to start, you can download my free resource here.)
But we all need help from time to time. Even editors hire editors. (I do!)
How Can an Editor Help You?
Think about what you want help with and set some realistic expectations about the time and cost involved. The most important piece of advice I can give you is find a professional editor who knows about your topic. Better still, find someone with a passion for it! Also be sure to find someone you connect with.
A carefully selected second pair of eyes can cut your workload by more than half, because neither you nor your editor will burn out if you are both committed to the project. You'll want to be able to work together efficiently. You should enjoy the process and feel supported as well as assisted.
How Quickly Can a Professional Editor Work?
Granted the term professional is not regulated, but there is a wide range of skill when it comes to editors. Fast is not better. (On the other hand, slow doesn't necessarily mean detailed or thorough.)
Knowing a bit about how editors work can help you decide if you've found editing help worth paying for.
In her book, The Copyeditor’s Handbook, editor and teacher Amy Einsohn, a leader in the field of copyediting, gives the following estimates of a “typical pace for copyediting hard copy.” The estimates are based on two passes (the minimum necessary to do the job well).
Light copyedit: 4-9 pages per hour
Medium copyedit 2-7 pages per hour
Heavy copyedit 1-3 pages per hour
The “pages” Einsohn refers to are manuscript pages, which are typically only 250-325 words in length. (Manuscript pages are double-spaced for ease of editing.)
How Much Should Editing Help Cost?
According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, the rock-bottom rate for an established editor is $30 per hour for light to medium copyediting. An average rate is $45 per hour, and the top rate can be $65 per hour or more. Higher fees are usually for very heavy developmental editing.
If you have a 25,000-word manuscript (approximately 50 single-spaced pages in a typical Word document), editing fees can range from $250 to more than $7000! For a typical light to medium edit, expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for professional editing help.
What do copyeditors do?
So what kind of editing help do you get for your investment in professional editing? The short answer to this question is probably more than you realize. If you are hiring a professional editor, ask about his or her process. Look for clues that the person is a qualified, experienced editor.
Here are some questions (and answers) that may help.
1. Does the editor use a style sheet? You shouldn’t have to ask this question, because all professional editors do. In case you’re not aware of this tool of the trade, a style sheet is a form of keeping notes, usually on a chart. The goal is to keep track of anything that may be inconsistent or need attention as the editor reads. Style sheets are crucial to accuracy, as you probably can imagine. For example, while editing a book that is hundreds of pages long, it would be easy to miss that a name is spelled one way on page 3 and another way on page 233 without a style sheet.
Editors also use style sheets to note stylistic preferences. For example, should there be a comma before the conjunction in the last item in a series? Does the author want to use "vanity caps"? Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition? (If you were in school more than a few years ago, you may not realize this is now okay.) How should vertical lists be punctuated?
2. How many “passes” will the editor do? “Pass” is editor-speak for reading the manuscript once. As I mentioned before, two passes are the minimum for quality work. In some cases, due to budget or time constraints, an author may request only one, but be aware that it is not reasonable to expect perfection if you do this.
3. How does the editor ensure accuracy? Some tricks of the trade include reading the manuscript out loud, taking a break at least once every two hours, or spending no more than six hours editing on a given day (except in emergencies). Yes, we all want things done quickly, but as I said, quick does not mean good. Editing is tedious work. If an editor promises to complete a 300-page manuscript in three days, find another editor!
3. Does the editor work on hard copy with traditional proofreaders’ marks or on electronic copy using a feature like Microsoft Word’s Track Changes? If the editor doesn’t know much about either of these methods, don’t expect professional results.
4. Which style guide does the editor use? There are different guides for different purposes. Some companies (and authors) have their own house style as well. I use CMOS (The Chicago Manual of Style) or AP (Associated Press) unless a client requests something else. Ask this question to ensure the editor you hire will not simply be working from memory of high school English class.
One quick tidbit before you get out there and find the right editing help for you. There is no consensus on how “copyeditor” should be spelled. CMOS (and I) spell it as one word; AP (the style guide for journalists) spells it as two (copy editor). Go figure!
Not ready to hire an editor? Join my email list and receive access to my free guide that will help you start editing your own work today!
If you’re in the well-being niche, content marketing may not be on your radar. In fact, marketing in general is probably not what you love most about your work. You want to be teaching yoga, helping clients improve their diets, or facilitating an awesome reiki healing.
Take heart. Marketing does not have to be something you dread, so don’t think of it in a negative way. Marketing is nothing more than getting the word out that you have something of value to share with the world. In fact, one effective way to market is in part a type of service itself. It’s called content marketing and it works.
I’m not just telling you this because content creation is one of the services I provide (though, of course, I won’t complain if you want to hire me). I’ve gotten more involved in content marketing because my clients want me to help them do it. They want to do it because it works. So I’m sharing this with you so you can do it too!
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a way to stay connected online with people who care about what you do. It’s not cold calling or spamming; it’s giving current and prospective students or clients information they need or want. That doesn’t simply mean giving away your services for free, though. Content marketing is about establishing relationships through writing.
And it’s awesome!
How Can Well-being Professionals Use Content Marketing?
It’s simple. Create content and share it online. Well, it’s not exactly simple, but it is fun. You get to create content that shares something of value that you are passionate about and then find ways to get it in front of people who want it and can benefit from it.
Getting your content out there is a subject for another post. For now, let’s look at the different types of content you can—and should—create and distribute.
5 Types of Content Marketing Pieces for Marketing Your Yoga or Well-being Service
1. A Blog
As I’ve taken more content marketing workshops and webinars and read more and more books and articles about it, one thing comes up over and over again. You must have a blog! Websites with blogs are much more likely to be noticed, visited, visited again and again, and trusted.
If you don’t have a blog, the first thing you need to do is create one! Then decide what kind of content you will post, who will write the content, and how you will get that content distributed to people who will eventually become your students and clients (hint: you can do this via social media).
The most important things to know about using your blog as a marketing tool are you must update it regularly and you must make your posts search engine friend; that is, you must understand how people search for content and how to write yours so it’s more likely to be found and appreciated.
Don’t know how to do that? Don’t worry. There are people who can help you.
2. A Newsletter
In a survey conducted in 2012, more than half of business owners said that their newsletter was the best content marketing tool they used. If you subscribe to newsletters, you’ve probably noticed many of them contain the same, or same type, of content as blogs. The difference is the content is delivered to your inbox rather than you having to go to the blog to read it.
Newsletters are best for practitioners and teachers who often have events to publicize or new classes or services to announce. They also work well for sharing larger industry trends. For example, if you are a nutritionist, you might distribute a newsletter to explain a health study that’s been all over the news recently, or if you are a yoga instructor, your newsletter might highlight the life of a guru whose birthday is happening this month. Newsletters are also great tools for sharing holiday recipes or tips for developing a home yoga practice.
3. Free Guides, Special Reports, or White PapersSometimes known as hub pieces, guides, reports, and white papers are usually longer pieces that readers can turn to often as a resource. Offering a free guide or report to readers serves a few valuable purposes. First, it puts your content (and you) in readers’ hands for an extended period of time. Second, it positions you as an expert in your niche. Third, it’s a great tool you can build other campaigns around. You can write blogs and articles related to the content in your giveaway piece, or you can create a series of emails.
Which brings us to the fourth type of marketing content.
There are different ways to use email for content marketing. Industry experts say the most effective is a drip series. A drip series is a series of emails sent out over a certain period of time to share information related to a certain topic.
A yoga teacher might do a drip series on the chakras, for example, while a nutritionist could write a series of emails giving people tips for lowering blood sugar or understanding essential nutrients in more depth. A health coach might do a series on natural ways to manage stress.
As I mentioned, a drip series is often tied to a longer guide or special report created as a giveaway for anyone interested in your work.
5. Social Media Updates
Facebook shares, Tweets, Linked In updates and the like are also important parts of an overall content marketing strategy. Which platform or platforms you choose depends on the type of service you offer.
While social media content is usually easiest and quickest to create, it won’t do much good alone. The purpose of social media marketing is to develop and maintain relationships. You want to connect with people who visit your website, read your blog, or request your content. And the purpose of having people do all of those things is to nurture relationships that turn leads into clients or students.
Since the vast majority of people use some form of social media on a regular basis, you’ll have access to the largest pool of potential students or clients via social media platforms.
Other Types of Content Marketing to Consider
You don’t have to limit your marketing to content people read. Videos, podcasts, and infographics are also great tools, though they may be more difficult and costly to create.
Videos are especially good tools for yoga instructors. You can create a short piece to demonstrate a series of poses or to highlight your teaching style. If you are a health coach, you can create a podcast or infographic to explain a concept or give health tips.
Overwhelmed? Don’t Be
As you can see, there are lots of ways to use content marketing to stay connected with people who may be interested in taking your classes, hiring you as a consultant, or using your well-being service.
Do you need to use them all to be successful? No, you don’t. Pick one or two to start and focus your efforts there. Before you know it, your network of readers, followers, and colleagues will grow.
You never know when one of these leads will become a paying student or client, but until then, enjoy the journey of sharing what you have to offer and getting the word out about how you can help others live a better life.
Would you like more help with content marketing for your well-being business? Join my email list and receive access to my free guide that will help you start editing your own work today!