Best Practices For Content Creation By Shriya Garg – Content Ninja

Best Practices For Content Creation by Shriya Garg - Content Ninja

Guide For Article

  1. Guide For Article
  2. Q: What inspired you to create Content Ninja?
  3. Q: Why do you name your company “Content Ninja”?
  4. Q: What’s your workflow to create effective content?
  5. Q: What’s your process for onboarding a new client?
  6. Q: What’s your process for approaching and connecting with new clients?
  7. Q: Could you share more about your partnership with HubSpot?
  8. Q: How do you help clients create their brand value through content writing and copywriting?
  9. Q: How to create an article that your audiences will want to read?
  10. Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who want to improve their skills and grow their successful careers?

Q: What inspired you to create Content Ninja?

I’ve always been a voracious reader my whole life, and my earliest memories of myself include those of me writing and reading. I was just really influenced and was growing up in a middle-class background. I could not even speak proper English until I was in the eighth grade. 

My dad brought us from a smaller village in India to a larger city. So I’ve always had a very tight relationship with words. I will always believe in the power of words to influence and persuade. 

So it was a natural progression from reading a lot to writing. I wrote my first book when I was 13. It was published when I was 16. And to be honest, it’s a little cringy. For me to read it today, it’s like looking back at your Facebook statuses from 2010. And you’re like, What was I thinking? Why did I write this? 

But I think it was a good opportunity because it really taught me that you could really do whatever you want, and there’s no restriction. I had no connections in the publishing industry. 

I wrote with the top agencies in the US publishing companies and literary agencies, and I admire the confidence of that 13-year-old girl today. I would not be able to do that today. Like, just take that book that a 13-year-old has written and just reach out to the top agents like, Hey, I think you would enjoy publishing this. 

So I think that experience just gave me a lot of confidence. We ended up selling over 10,000 copies. So it gave me a lot of autonomy financially, as well. And it just really helped me become a more independent and risk-taking person. 

I think it just set the right foundation to promote my book; I just learned how to code when I was in eighth grade. I learned how to use Photoshop, and I set up my first website on WordPress; this was back in 2008 or 2009. 

So the internet was not all that popular, but my father had a laptop that I just stuck into that in the evening. I learned HTML and CSS, and I just did all sorts of things. I experimented a lot. I think that exposure was really important at that age. 

 I got lost right in the middle when I got sucked into the financial business that our family has. So my father was also an accountant, and at that time, we did not feel like writing could be a stable career and stability. 

Financial stability is very important. Where I come from, and I was too young to understand what I was signing up for. So I spent over five years studying for my accounting degree. But I think, in a way, it has taught me a lot. I do believe that knowledge never really goes to waste. 

So today, I can run a business way more effectively, I have much deeper knowledge about financial concepts, and I have a much better handle on our books. I think it just makes everybody’s life a lot easier than I understand what’s going on. 

I would not have had that if I had not done my accounting degree. So it has worked out in terms of the transition from this. So I was working with PwC, it’s a large accounting firm; one of the top four, and the work was good. 

I was getting to work with really big clients, but I just felt like there was something inside me I was not satisfied with. There were numbers or numbers, no creativity. Two plus two is always four. 

So I just felt really starved emotionally, like I just did not feel fulfilled, and the best part was that because I had just started my career, it was easy for me to switch because there were not very high opportunity costs like I had just started my career, so my salary was not very high. 

It was easier today than plunge right then because I was I just graduated from being a broke college student. So There was not really a lot to lose. And I thought, hey, let’s just try. 

I’ve been freelancing for a while, and I just started writing. A few friends were running small businesses; one of them had an e-commerce Store. So he just wanted a few blocks and product descriptions, and I really enjoyed that, even though it was a little bit of a transition. 

Because as a writer, and if you’re used to writing for yourself, you’re used to reading poetry, short novels, and short stories. So I think the internet is a completely different thing. I mean, there’s really a lot of difference. 

So I realized that was not really something I was enjoying a lot. But I really enjoyed dealing with clients, closing deals, and just winning people over. I enjoyed editing other people’s content. I was still, in a way, connected to writing and creativity. 

So I think I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds. So my business degree and my finance degree were also coming into use. I was also able to manage a team of creative folks and, you know, get them to do their best work. 

So I evolved from a writer to more of a business owner or an executive. I think that was, again, a very natural progression. That really, I had not planned on it. I had planned to be this content writer or this writer who’s just traveling the world and covering stories, but I think what I’ve evolved into, I’m happy with.

Q: Why do you name your company “Content Ninja”?

To be honest, at that point in time, my partner and I had full-time jobs, and we were working primarily at night. So that was one of the reasons behind the word ninja because it felt like we were just walking at night, and being really sneaky, and trying to hustle and grind our way, starting a new business, and we were only 21. 

I mean, what did we really know about starting a business? I think it was just the blind faith that you have or the courage and confidence you have when you don’t know better. So I think that was one of the biggest reasons why we found that name. 

It was an appropriate name, and we also believe that we were more HR, the larger companies, with lengthy processes and systems that slow them down. So agility was a big factor for us. So that’s why we call ourselves content ninja.

Q: What’s your workflow to create effective content?

As I said that we look at content not just from one lens; but through the lens of writing and from a marketing perspective because the goal of all content you create is to eventually add leads, add to your top line and add to your bottom line. 

So you can’t really look at it in isolation. You have to look at it through multiple lenses. So, for example, this client came to us, and they help students in the US get placed with the top tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, etc.

So the goal was that, hey, how do we create great content? How do we improve our marketing efforts to show students that are coming to our website that we are the right folks to help you with your interview, prep, and land you the best shops, right? 

So thought leadership was a key goal here, and they’re offering a lot of free content to show that, “hey, we have we know how this process is done.” We know what questions your interviewer is going to ask you. 

So we’re going to prepare you for that. So their objectives were to thought leadership with problem-solving content, improve search engine rankings with SEO-friendly content, create a content strategy for various channels, and how to leverage HubSpot and other marketing automation tools to bring in automation and help with lead generation and lead nurturing. 

So again, the content is looked at from a legion regional lead nurturing perspective, and the first thing we do is just define the objective so that we’re on the same page with the client. 

If there’s any confusion, we can then work it out. Typically, it’s better to quantify it, to the extent possible, in further stages with the client. We would be more quantitative with our objectives like increasing traffic by 25%, or there an increase of 20 keywords on the first page. 

But at this early stage, we try not to quantify it because it’s just our assumptions that we’re validating right now. Then we start by explaining what the product highlights are or what is it that why would a customer come to the client? Or what is it that they’re offering? What are the benefits? What experience do they want the user to have? What are the user’s needs? 

So we just elaborate and explain that so that, again, we’re on the same page. And this is very useful to keep in mind while we’re doing the actual content writing process; we follow the idea approach, which is Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. 

So what that means is that the user follows a pattern, where first they need to know that this product exists, then they’ve got interested, then they have to want it, and then they buy it and become an advocate for that product. 

So from strangers to prospects, to customers to promoters. So that’s the kind of funnel we follow. 

Then we start doing the ideation for SEO and content. So we do a service content mapping, that, hey, these are our offerings. These are our content marketing goals. This is our target audience, and these are the channels that we’re using. 

For this client, we’re using blogs and articles; we’re using case studies; we’re using white papers; we’re using social media, email, infographics, and videos. Again, content is not just textual; it is very visual these days. 

Q: What’s your process for onboarding a new client?

The first step we do when we get a leader, have somebody who’s interested, we do a discovery call, and we ask a few questions to understand if they are a good fit for us or not. So this is in the discovery call; our criteria are way simple. 

The idea is that would this make for a good client? Are they serious about their content strategy? Do they have the right budgets for effective strategy? And am I speaking to the right person? For example, I might be speaking to a marketing executive while the decision-maker is the CEO. 

So the idea is just to do basic qualification criteria to understand. So then you don’t waste your time, and they don’t waste their time, right? So we just try to understand what their goals are, what their budgets are, their goals and budgets align, and what are they looking for? 

Then we schedule a follow-up call, where we dive deeper into their requirements; we ask them a lot of questions about, hey, who’s your persona that you’re selling to? What are your competitors? What are your keys, services, or product offerings? What makes you different from your competitors? You know, why would a consumer come to you? What is your cost of acquisition? What kind of goals do you have for your marketing efforts? 

So we ask a lot of questions, try to understand them as much as possible, and try to understand how we can add value to them? So sometimes, a client comes to us and says, hey, I’m getting two leads a week, I want 20 leads a week, but my budget is just $1,000 a month. 

So there is an obvious mismatch here. So we tell them that we will not be able to help you. So this is the point of these calls just to sort of qualify and understand what they want. And whether it’s a project where we can add value. 

Once we believe that we understand what the client needs, we go back to the drawing board. We have a discussion internally, where we present a plan. The plan includes a lot of research and data because we believe in being data-driven. 

A lot of our clients are techies. They’re not marketers who understand. So we have to really educate them a lot. We have to give them data because just telling them that this will work is not enough, and obviously, you need some validation. 

So we tell them that hey, like this is your competitor data, right? Look at the traffic they have, look at their ad spend, look at their domain authority, and look at their backlinks. This is where we start looking at what keywords they’re ranking for; look at what keywords we’re ranking for. So we show them what’s the difference. 

Then we have a very good conversion ratio. So if the client is good and qualified and we take them to the proposal stage. We almost went to all of those clients. So I think we have about an 80% success rate for our proposal states. So that’s pretty good for us. That’s worked out well for us.

Q: What’s your process for approaching and connecting with new clients?

Sure. S, very early on in our journey, when we started as a new agency, we were doing everything for everybody. And that was a big mistake that we were making because we had to specialize in something, we had to find our niche, but it’s a very common mistake, and I was 21, so I didn’t know better. But then I quickly realized the pattern that we were able to attract and retain tech companies versus nontech clients. 

So we were dealing with a lot of consumer-facing beauty fashion, f&b clients, and there was a lot of competition in that space because a lot of agencies competing for those projects, their budgets are typically lower than ours, and I don’t know how they make those budgets work. 

But it was getting very difficult to pitch those clients. And because I’m from a finance background, I was able to easily convince companies who are in that space to work with us. And my partner is from a tech background, so he was able to speak their language and convince them that we are the right partner for them. 

So I think that really helped us understand that, hey, let’s just focus on this area and let’s see how we are able to be more successful, like instead of spraying and praying that things were, let’s focus on one area. 

So we said that, okay, we would only work with emerging tech and BFSI, and both are really strong sectors, with a lot of new startups coming up and lots of demand for good content. 

Then we model our entire pitch around that. So we changed our website, we changed our decks, and even on our website, you will find a strong focus on emerging tech. So that really made a lot of people very excited. 

So when we would reach out to companies working in AI, and they saw a marketing agency that works almost exclusively with AI, that got them really excited. I think that really helped us because we were able to speak their language, and they’re very few agencies with this niche specifically. 

So and this is a big enough market for us that we don’t have to worry about pursuing other clients. So I think that’s something that really was a game-changer in our journey, finding our niche, and then making it our hero, and just changing our entire messaging and brand proposition around that. 

So we call ourselves the marketing agency for complex marketing challenges, best for ambitious companies.

We are very cheeky on our website, we’re very casual, and we’re not a formula. We’ve heard from a lot of clients who went through hundreds of websites and reached out to us because they found that a copy was really nice, or our language really appealed to them. 

So I think humor, cheekiness, and just being a little funny and sarcastic goes a long way in copywriting. That’s the approach that we always follow in all our marketing collaterals. So in terms of our sales outreach, we follow a mix of inbound and outbound. 

We work a lot on our blog; we put a lot of content, we do a lot of directory listings, and we build backlinks for our SEO. So our inbound is our biggest lead channel because we get a lot of inbound leads. We partner with HubSpot early on. So we’re on their partner listing page, and it’s a gold partner with the top row, so we get a lot of traffic from the HubSpot page. 

We also have listed our website on different aggregators like clutch manifests, etc. That, again, gives us a lot of traffic. So that’s been key to our lead generation, and another thing that we do is that we do a lot of drip campaigns and LinkedIn Sales Navigator outreach. 

Because we know that this is our market, we have a very small list of folks we reach out to, and our messaging is very personalized. These are typically tech startups, and we have a lot of small portfolio items to convince them. 

Q: Could you share more about your partnership with HubSpot?

There are many partnership programs that different tech companies run. So it is up to you. What is the right program for you? It’s a lot of investment in terms of money and time. So do not just blindly sign up with any partner like Data Box, Google, Facebook, and HubSpot; all of these companies have partner programs. 

So we became a partner with HubSpot because we felt our values really aligned. HubSpot believes a lot in inbound such as Lauren; it’s a company built on content exactly like us. 

So we felt that it was a good fit for our clients as well, and HubSpot has really worked on it. It has pioneered cluster pillar strategies. So we’re a big fan of HubSpot. 

I think it is up to the agency to figure out what is the right partner for them, and there are a lot of agencies that have different partners. So if you want to become a HubSpot partner, you just have to go to the partner program and sign up. It’s a bit of financial investment. So again, make the decision wisely.

Q: How do you help clients create their brand value through content writing and copywriting?

So I think one of the biggest things we do in our hiring criteria are little different. We look for somebody who has an ideal mix of left and right brains. So who can be creative but also analytical, because that is a very important part of what we do.

The good thing is that the Lord engineers in India, so that helps us because we typically hire folks who’ve studied those technologies because they have a high technical aptitude to understand the nuances and nitty-gritty of an AI model. 

To understand the complexity of that AI model, it’s important for the writer to understand what they’re selling or what they’re talking about. I think again, we use and we look at what the unique goals of that company are. And we try to make it as simple as possible. 

For the intended audience, we use a mix of channels, a lot of data, and automation to create and show value. We use a lot of sense of humor like we believe that a joke can make a lot of difference in making a content piece more viral. 

So I think there’s no really one tip or trick to follow to create value, because there’s just like, all of our clients are so different and so complex and depends on different things.

Q: How to create an article that your audiences will want to read?

I think some of the things that we do is just follow good writing tips in the sense that keep your paragraphs short, keep your sentences short, break down text, like it should not just be like long paragraphs of text, but use bullets, images, or GIFs; you have multiple mediums and formats. That’s the difference between writing for a newspaper versus like writing for a blog. 

So we try to use a lot of bowls, and we try to anchor so that the reader can quickly skim the content. So that’s one of the ways that we make the content more readable in terms of making it more engaging and keeping it conversational. 

Because a lot of folks write for search engines, this is really dry, or just keyword stuffing as really drab. So I think that are some of our tips for making it engaging at a human level and all the best practices from an SEO perspective.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who want to improve their skills and grow their successful careers?

I think if you’re an aspiring writer for the internet, I’m not talking about a novelist or a poet; I believe that the world belongs to generalists, not specialists. So this is a wave popular argument that, do you become an expert at one thing? Or do you become a deep generalist in multiple things? 

So my personal philosophy, and I’m a CPA, a writer, a business owner, I don’t believe that. I believe that you have to have multiple skills to become future-proof because the world is changing so fast. 

So as a writer, do not just stick to writing; also, learn more about what happens before the writing process starts? So how do you decide what to write on? What is your research process? How do you decide what keywords to choose? How to do a competitor study?

Then after the writing, it’s not enough to just put a good piece out there on the internet; it will not get traffic magically; you have to work hard to drive that traffic. 

So we believe that writing is a three-step process:

  1. Research
  2. Writing
  3. Distribution. 

So I believe that all good writers should apply themselves and learn more about the scientific aspects of how to create good content in 2022. And not just focus on Hey, how do I use metaphors better? Or how do I just use the right punctuation like that’s just not enough?

Even though that’s very important, just become more focused on becoming a deep generalist rather than a specialist. If that makes you more indispensable in any company and more valuable to whatever you do, It brings more value to your career as well.

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Picture of Author - Jay Sen
Author - Jay Sen

Jay Sen is the founder and co-host of Content Marketing Virtual Summit. His mission is to help bring thought leaders in content marketing together. And to help content writers earn more stable income, they can reach financial freedom.

Picture of Author - Jay Sen
Author - Jay Sen

Jay Sen is the founder and co-host of Content Marketing Virtual Summit. His mission is to help bring thought leaders in content marketing together. And to help content writers earn more stable income, they can reach financial freedom.

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