The Ten Content Marketing Commandments
Today’s guest post is from Aaron Charlie of Silicon Beach Training. This is essential reading for both client-side marketers and content marketing agency types alike!
To some, Content Marketing is like a religion. They worship the success it can bring, they pray that their campaign will go viral and probably say the words “oh God” a hundred times a day!
With that in mind, I thought I’d outline my Ten Content Marketing Commandments, which if followed, will get you to Content Marketing heaven.
1/ Thou Shalt Know Thyself
When you sit down to write your content, do you take on a persona? Or do you just write from the heart? The thing is, neither approach is wrong but what is wrong is mixing them up.
If you write angry rants about Google updates (and it’s doing well) then stick to it. If you have a straight, formal style, don’t start peppering your content with jokes about cats. Make sure your words fit your persona from start to end.
2/ Thou Shalt Tell Stories
Content Marketing is more than just throwing out words and hoping some will stick; it’s about creating a narrative.
Tap into that natural instinct that we all have; to want to view the world in story form (just think about how news is reported – not just events but sequences of events tied together by an overarching narrative).
Even better is to get your clients telling you their stories in response to yours. The only thing people like more than hearing stories is telling them themselves. We go into more detail about this in our Content Marketing Guide. Bring them in with your narrative but keep them with theirs’!
3/ Thou Shalt Not Be Dull
Easier said than done right?
Wrong! This is the easiest of all the commandments to get right (he says)
Keep it interesting by constantly mixing things up. If yesterday you wrote a tutorial post, today compile a list of your favourite funny videos on Youtube. If you write a long review one day, post a motivational photo the next (although, that has become a well-tread path by now).
Keep it fresh and constantly changing and it keeps it exciting. People like excitement!
4/ Thou Shalt Peak and Trough
This follows on from the previous commandment about keeping content interesting. As well as constantly changing up the type of content, you also need to be changing the style.
By this I mean, vary the ‘size’ and to some extent quality – although this should be the difference between being good content and great content, not bad content and good content.
Throwing out 1500 word behemoths every day can be just as boring as constantly putting out standard 400 word pieces as well. People don’t want to read mega-posts all the time, so vary it.
5/ Thou Shalt Be Aware of Your Audience
Knowing what type of audience you’re pitching to is vital. Think about the sort of style, tone and type of content that your target audience appreciates.
Management types probably won’t want to be bombarded with viral videos and teenagers won’t want in-depth political opinion pieces.
Work out who your target content consumer is and fit your content around their needs.
6/ Thou Shalt Be an Expert
Building up a level of respect within your niche, whereby you are taken to be the go-to for all things X, is the best way to build up content that people will actually engage with.
Think about the way you yourself approach content on the internet. You’re much more likely to use a trusted source in a particular niche than some random site you’ve never heard of.
Make yourself that trusted source by following the other commandments as well as engaging with people on social media by answering their questions and solving their problems.
7/ Thou Shalt Court Controversy (Somewhat)
That caveat was added in case of people taking this advice so seriously that they start spouting bilious filth on their site purely to rile people up.
That’s not the aim, but a little controversy can go a long way. Think about taking an unfashionable position on a topic and defending it to the hilt, or put out something packed tight with innuendo and sexual tension (never forget that sex sells!)
Do this right and you’ll spark a debate amongst your followers, leading to greater engagement on your site and awareness of your brand. Do this wrong and you’ll look like an immature or petulant child; so walk the line with care!
8/ Thou Shalt Be First
Never underestimate the importance of being first! Whether that’s first on the uptake of a new social medium (to ply your wares) or first to announce a new product/news item/whatever.
Being first is a great way to get your content seen because it means you’ll have a head start over the competition to get promoting and sharing and that means not having to play catch-up. It also ties in with the sixth commandment because often those who get there first are seen as the experts.
They say good things come to those who wait. Well, in Content Marketing, good things come to those who don’t!
9/ Thou Shalt Not Lie
It would easy, in the flurry of getting out good content, to fudge the odd statistic or even make up rumours about your competition. Don’t be tempted. Honestly, honesty will get you a long way in this business!
For too long, marketing and advertising has relied on bullsh*t to draw people in; smoke and mirrors. The thing is, in an age where anyone can access any information with the click of a mouse or swipe of a finger, this doesn’t work.
You will get called out if you rely on underhand tactics to promote or fill your content. So be honest with your consumer, tell them straight what it is you want from them and what they should want from you.
Don’t treat them as if they’re children.
10/ Thou Shalt Be Selfless
So we’ve reached our final commandment and what is perhaps the most important.
OK so maybe there’s no such thing as true selflessness when it comes to marketing; it is about the promotion of a product or service in order to make money after-all.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do selfless things as a Content Marketer. How about giving away resources you’d normally charge for, or creating a campaign to raise awareness of a charity.
Doing these things will endear you to your audience as well as giving you a warm fuzzy feeling. And everyone loves that feeling!
So, there you have my Ten Content Marketing Commandments, hopefully you have gained some ideas about how to get creating top-notch content. If you think I’ve missed anything important, why not tell me your top Content Marketing Commandment in the comments section below.