Creating compelling content is not just crucial to your long-term content marketing success, but also plays a starring role in your overall business goals. While it's easier said than done - when done well - content marketing can be the difference especially when you have to deal with a limited budget.
Whether you are a one - person content department trying to get the most out of your content strategy, or an editor managing an in-house and remote content marketing team, the following commandments will help you create more compelling content and drive more leads or earned media for your business/product.
Following these ten commandments will help you create a baseline for your content marketing strategy, and act as a reminder of what it takes to create and deliver effective content.
"Know thy customer, and thou shall know peace"
Successful businesses understand what makes their customers tick. They understand their pain-points and needs.
When creating content - be it a video, a blog post or an email newsletter- it needs to be built around topics that meets their deep desires, provides answers to their most pertinent questions and solves their pain.
One easy way to solve for this is to always put yourself in the customers' shoes. Keep asking these questions, "Is this something my customers need to know?" or "Would they find this tips useful?". If you have a firm grasp of your customer and industry, then you know what those answers and topics are.
Considering how easy it is for your potential customers to switch to other options, creating boring content is suicidal.
Creating engaging content that is hyper-targeted at the right audience sets your business up for success from day one. Your content becomes a resource and potential leads and existing customers visit your content depository for interesting, engaging, and helpful information.
The spontaneity of digital sometimes deceives us into thinking we can pour all our thoughts out without having to worry about a coherent framework or structure.
We live in a society bombarded with information, and too much information is overwhelming to almost everyone. In situations like this, the challenge is often not what we decide to consume but what we decide "not to consume".
The avalanche of information means that you can easily lose potential leads or existing customers if your content is not well structured.
For example, the key elements to well structured written content are:
That is pretty obvious, right?
Your content piece MUST be built and optimized for the dynamics of the social web. Social sharing button APIs are much easier to set up these days. Also ensure you throw in some social proof - how many people have retweeted or shared the link in the past three days?
Those stats also encourage social shares.
It may take some time to optimize your content for Google's search index, but you have to start from somewhere. Facebook and Instagram might be massive platforms, but Google is still earth's most reliable encyclopedia.
Always make sure you have made it easy for search engines to index and crawl your key words, phrases and content.
Someone once quipped that consistency is the hallmark of greatness. For artists and other creative heads, this might seem counter-intuitive.
But in content marketing, consistency is key.
Be sure to keep your content focused on your brand, from tone and style to voice. Create a single brand experience across all aspects of your content universe, setting a strong expectation for your audience, keeping them engaged, and coming back for more.
Well, maybe not all the time. But do test your content pieces and frameworks as often as possible.
Testing is an important element of your content marketing strategy. It helps prevent you from wallowing in mediocrity for too long.
It's quiet easy to buy engagement from a bot farm in some far-flung area of the world, but it's detrimental to your long-term content marketing success.
Earning your own engagement is a testament to your content marketing strategy, and creates a strong foundation for your brand.
Your content pieces should be in tune with your company culture. There are obvious exceptions, but you don't want to sound serious if your company has a fun and laid back approach to business.
It is important to sound and be genuine and consistent.
Great content marketers know what to put where. A certain message might be best suited to a video treatment than a text-based blog. Or an infographic might be the best way to announce the company's new strategy.
Experimenting with various channels and formats is how you learn what works for your audience and what doesn't.
And there you have it - The 10 Commandments of Content Marketing.
As you plan for your next content project, keep them in mind and you will be on track to delivering content that is truly king!
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