Many of my clients have made the jump into the digital age with their marketing. They know that they need to be involved in social media, but often have never heard of content management. While I do not pretend to be a content expert, I have picked up on some best practices over time and try to apply those to my own firm and the clientele I serve. My email inbox receives regular updates to keep me abreast of what thought leaders have to say about content. Over the weekend, I read about “8 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid,” a whitepaper that was very well written. The authors/sources quoted include Heinz Marketing’s Matt Heinz, Marketing Interactions’ Ardath Albee, Babcock & Jenkins’ Carmen Hill, The Funnelholic’s Craig Rosenberg, and The Sales Lion’s Marcus Sheridan.
Excerpts appear below, followed by my own formatting for emphasis, observation and commentary:
1. Don’t neglect to do the groundwork. Before you start any marketing activity, you have to know why you’re doing it. How does this activity translate to immediate or eventual sales and revenue? (Heinz)
You have to know (to) whom you’re talking, what they need and want to know, and where their interests intersect with yours. (Hill)
2. Don’t focus on yourself—focus on the buyer instead. Think like the end user, not like a business owner. Great content marketing is about education. To be great at content marketing, the focus has to be about the reader, and not the company/writer. (Sheridan)
Our content needs a lot less “we” and a lot more “you.” (Hill).
3. Don’t pitch your product at every stage. Give the people what they want: interesting content that makes their life better. (Rosenberg)
What are your customer’s issues? What do they need help with, right now? That’s the content that will spread like wildfire for you. (Heinz)
5. Don’t forget that effective content marketing is a two-way street. To really accelerate your audience and impact, you must devote time to responding, commenting, engaging questions and so on. (Heinz)
6. Don’t produce content that lacks substance. Audrey Gray of American Express advised that we put our energy into what we’re making rather than the platform: “Create content that makes you feel smarter, celebrates human artistry, or that has with real-world value.” (Hill)
7. Don’t treat content marketing as an afterthought. Content marketing is a practice that integrates all of your content-driven initiative into a consistent and holistic experience for your target markets. Content marketing is at its best when it’s used to pull everything together so that an experience in one channel makes sense or adds value when the audience switches to another channel. (Albee)
8. Don’t underestimate the power of various formats. Written content may be the core of your content strategy, but don’t forget video. Or podcasts. Or short, embedded slide presentations. Or whatever other formats your audience naturally gravitates toward. (Heinz)
Marketers will benefit tremendously by embracing the Rule of 5. Take one topic and develop 5 different angles to approach it, creating 5 different formats of content. (Albee)
Sound advice from some stellar content curators and marketers. Incorporate these principles into your own business environment. Become engaging, relevant, and indispensable. Doing so will build a loyal following that can be turned into either revenues or referrals that produce revenues. At the very least, your brand gains equity for your efforts and that is no small feat!