“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.

Opinion

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

Cyber what? Why consistent style isn’t everything

typewriter

Photo by Bob Newman on Unsplash

As writers and editors, we live in perpetual dread of errors, typos and inconsistencies appearing in our copy. After all, this is our business. We’re meant to be professional.

We’ve written about this before: Pragmatism and clarity should always come before consistency.

It’s just sometimes hard when you see inconsistencies in your copy. Or at least things that readers and clients take to be inconsistencies. Think of it as a kind of mild grammar anxiety.

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So if we’ve talked about this before, why bring it up again?

Well, two reasons. First, because it’s advice to last the ages and never gets old.

Second, at Collective Content we are blessed to have a number of cybersecurity clients. We write a lot about cyberthreats, cyber risks, cyberattacks and cyber resilience.

See the problem?

How do we apply this to writing about cybersecurity? Or cyber security? Or even cyber-security?

The general rule of thumb we use is that if the phrase is in common usage then one word is better than two. So cyberattack, cybercrime and cybersecurity are always one word.

If the phrase is less common, then we split it in two to avoid the reader stumbling over it. Think cyberintelligence.

Another general rule is that when the first letter of the second word is ‘r’ (e.g. cyber resilience and cyber risk), we use two words, otherwise it just looks weird (cyberresilience and cyberrisk).

We’re not big fans of hyphenated words. Full stop. Or period.

Remember clarity and legibility are more important than consistency. We want to get the message across clearly without the reader stumbling across new words in an ever-evolving language.

I just felt compelled to explain this rule to a client and it made me feel a whole lot better. I thought sharing it with a wider audience might help spread the love even more.

So if you see these little ‘inconsistencies’, just know there is method behind the madness.

I hope this was as cathartic for you as it was for me.

 

(Ed: Don’t get me started on do’s and don’ts.)

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

Read Further

11 essential content marketing links from Q3 18

  1. 5 lessons we learned from building 250 landing pages

We love this piece, not just as creators of hundreds of landing pages over the years (fist bump to fellow LP folks), but because of the sound advice and the way the piece is constructed.

 

  1. Content Marketing, The Remix: Delivering True Content Experiences At Scale

Big Thinking alert. It’s time to think about the whole content experience, argues Uberflip CMO Randy Frisch.

 

  1. Now You See It, Now You Don’t: What B2B Brands Can Do With Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content – like Snapchat or Instagram Stories – is usually seen as a B2C thing. Contently open our B2B-centric eyes to some possibilities here.

 

  1. 3 Reasons Why Short-Form Copywriting Is Set to Become Your Next Superpower

Social media is one area where short-form skills rule. And it’s not the only one. (Want to talk landing pages again?) Although we’d also advise a mix, depending on context. Long-form is equally valuable, for lots of reasons.

 

  1. Symantec Wins at Content by Responding to Its Audience

Interesting and deep case study here from the CMI, not about one of our clients but from the type of company we work for a lot. We loved how the focus on the customer acted as a north star for that team’s content choices.

 

  1. 21 SaaS Content Marketing Examples

Sticking with a category we know well, this is quite the list – it’s specific, about 21 SaaS providers – and with lots of actionable info. Just as we’d expect from Feldman Creative.

 

  1. Content Strategy and Content Marketing – Not two peas in a pod

Not unusual to hear these two referred to interchangeably. Nice reminder here about how they’re different – though closely related – disciplines.

 

  1. Does your content generate ROI?

Content marketing and ROI – that old chestnut. But this is a simple option for working out if you’re getting a good return for all that time and money spent on content and its distribution

 

  1. 25 Content Marketing Platforms You Need to Know in 2018

Know your content marketing? Know these platforms. Bit of a refresher, this one.

 

  1. Everything You Need To Know About Ghostwriting

As frequent ghostwriters, we’d argued this isn’t everything, but in the spirit of this quarter’s round-up, there is a lot of good advice here. Or just contact us.

 

  1. Your Editorial Calendar is Not Your Content Marketing Strategy

And finally, we’ve said the same thing (pretty much) ourselves, but Michele Linn does a good job here of emphasising that your calendar is one of many tactics to get all this right. While your strategy is, well, strategic.

 

And why 11 links? It’s our favourite prime number.

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

 

Read Further

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