“We wrote our first blog post before we wrote our first line of code.”
- Jon Miller, founder, Marketo

Blogging is important for every business. So we don’t just offer ghostwriting services for others. We blog for ourselves. Why? To discuss big issues such as content strategy, commissioning and ROI, as well as tactics for effective copy creation or editing, not to mention news about Collective Content.

Remember, over a third of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type. Let us know what you’d like to read about here.

Collective Content (UK)

Quality work – why I constantly assess our agency model

On my mind: How to describe team members at our content marketing agency. That’s partly because we’re preparing a new website – nothing radical, just something every company does. But it’s also because of an article from a partner at a VC firm.

The founding general partner at Eniac Ventures talks about team slides in decks that companies use when they’re seeking seed-stage investment. Several things caught my eye, as they relate to Collective Content (although we’re not looking for investors). Number five on his list is “If you have shared history, make that very clear” – so we’ll be doing that, for example.

Our core team averages about 20 years working with B2B content, as writers and editors. That’s across a mixture of agencies, such as PR and content marketing, and working for B2B companies. But mostly we’ve all worked in journalism (another way we’re different from other agencies). Even our wider roster of part-time specialist writers and designers tends towards the higher end of experience.

This is in contrast to agencies where a team of junior writers often means lower prices, along with a we-can-turn-our-hands-to-any-content approach.

 

Process affects

How does all this affect the way we work with clients? There’s one obvious way and it goes like this: Collective Content works to a four-step process for much content – a white paper or e-book, say. Other agencies, often where content is produced by a faceless ‘pool’ of writers (have you heard about our ‘farm fresh’ content theory?) will feed content back into a cycle of edits and other amends numerous times.

This happens because each stage isn’t as well planned, and because their model is based on cheaper, less experienced writers who iterate again and again. I don’t want to mention Shakespeare’s monkeys. But I just did.

 

The difference

The results – to be honest – can be the same. In one model (ours), a group of experienced writers and editors takes fewer stages to get the right outcome. In the latter model, where a larger group takes several more rounds of work but at a lower per-employee cost, the overall price tag to a client is similar.

Clients don’t necessarily have a preference. They just want a good result.

But I prefer doing things thoroughly at each stage, with the highest-quality people and fewer stages, to keep everyone’s blood pressure at a healthier level.

There is always a trade-off across speed, quality and price. Focusing on quality doesn’t necessarily make you slower – but it can maintain project sanity.

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

Read Further

11 essential content marketing links from Q1 18

  1. A Take on 3 Confusing Terms: Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Content Marketing Strategy

This is the kind of foundational piece that everyone in who works with commercial content should read. You’re welcome.

 

  1. Don’t be a stickler: Why good copy often means bad grammar

We like this because it comes back to something we say again and again – consistency is really important… but not as important as pragmatism. You can break the rules. It’s about what works.

 

  1. Are You a Curator or a Dumper?

In a quarterly curated article like this, how could we leave out this piece? It’s a savvy look at the difference between real curation and just going through the motions of link gathering.

 

  1. The One Thing That Can Make a Big Difference in Your Infographics

We’re still being asked about infographics like it’s 2013. This is a handy checklist for constructing them well. Clue: you need more than a great designer.

 

  1. How a Journalist Constructs an Article that Google Will Love

From an agency made up of ex journos, we’d always be partial to a piece that shows our methods. And this article does.

 

  1. The newsroom approach to brand storytelling

Sticking with following how the media goes about producing great content, here’s another piece about newsrooms, which brands are increasingly using, with staff writers, editor-in-chiefs and more.

 

  1. How United Airlines is taking more video content creation in-house

Those brands doing more content in-house? United is an example. This piece looks at the airline’s video output.

 

  1. Evergreen Content Case Study: Why Long Form Content Performs Infinitely Better on Google’s Search Engine

This is a comprehensive guide to long-form content that keeps on giving and giving. Suitably, it’s a long piece – but worth your time.

 

  1. How to Get Huge Fines for Using Images (Do THIS Instead)

Before we wrap for this quarter, here’s a tactical piece on an overlooked subject (which is why we like sharing this). Use images the right way, which includes not getting into trouble over copyright.

 

  1. Five quick content opportunities for time-poor B2B marketers

As 2018 began, we liked this reminder of some useful tactics plenty of content marketers are neglecting.

 

  1. What Do CMOs Predict for 2018? [Infographic]

And finally, we began the year with some general CMO advice. But also dig the way this piece presents a vox pop in a neat infographic format.

 

And why 11 links? Our boss was born on the 11th.

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

Read Further

What’s more important than consistency in your copy? Give this a Go

With matters of style in your content, there’s generally no right answer to whether you should be informal, use Oxford commas or do – or don’t do – a number of other things. Believe me, that’s a controversial enough statement. (I’ve been accused of being an Oxford comma fundamentalist.) But it’s true.

We’ve stressed before to be, above all else, consistent. But ‘above all else’ is wrong. There’s something that trumps consistency.

I was just watching a short video about the ancient board game, Go. And there’s a clue here in what I’m talking about.

Go, the game, is interesting. But I’m drawn to why most spelling of games takes a lower-case letter. We write ‘chess’, not ‘Chess’. Or ‘tennis’, not ‘Tennis’. This is a constant. It’s not even so much about style, although we could probably think of rare exceptions in sports manuals or signage where these all get capitalised.

But try reading about Go, the game, if you use a lower case ‘g’. Given the meaning and common usage of the verb ‘go’ in English, it makes for hard work.

So here’s what trumps consistency: It’s pragmatism.

Above all else, be pragmatic with your content. Ultimately, you aren’t trying to prove you have been consistent 100 per cent of the time. You are trying to communicate. To influence. To speak clearly.

Be pragmatic 100 per cent of the time.

So I use Oxford commas when they help separate clauses in long sentences. I slip into informal second person prose for a call to action. I accept title case as opposed to sentence case makes sense when someone asks us for Google ad copy.

You will still aim to be consistent 99 per cent of the time. But that is not your goal. Your goal is to be effective. Pragmatism will guide you.

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

Download our exclusive research and report ‘Will PR and content marketing play together nicely?

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

Twitter:  @ColContent

Facebook: facebook.com/CollectiveContent

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/collective-content

Phone:  0800 292 2826