The 10 Commandments of Content Marketing

1. Thou Shalt Keep Thy Content Relevant

Let’s get one thing straight – the goal of content marketing is not to sell. Well, OK, that is not strictly speaking true, the ultimate goal of content marketing is to sell – to attract more leads and convert those leads into enquiries that then becomes new business or donations or add to your growth. The point is, if all you do is broadcast sales information about your products or services it’s not going to be very effective.

However, every reader can and should be a potential customer, that is why targeted content does much better than content that is just produced for the sake of having it. Your content should be relevant to the needs of your target audience, i.e. your potential customers. It’s good to discuss issues that are related to your industry, share relevant events, and in general to give value to your readers.

2. Thou Shalt Stay Consistent

What a brand should do is strive to best meet their customers’ needs. Therefore, it’s reasonable to be consistent with their characteristics. There are different characteristics to consider; for example, language. If you produce content with overly technical language, you need to consider how this comes across – it may very well be incomprehensible to many of your readers. However, potential customers who are familiar with specific terminology might be looking for just that kind of content. Sometimes you may have several profiles of readers that you are targeting and they can be quite different from one another – be consistent in your approach to all of them.

3. Thou Shalt Create, Innovate and Inspire

Some may argue that nowadays there isn’t really any original content online, that everything produced is some version of content that’s been created by someone else, who had got the idea from some other content that they had read. However, that is not a legitimate reason to just go ahead and copy that content. What search engines value and what readers value is…well, value. Content that is new and original, that sounds and looks innovative, that inspires and excites the reader. That is the content you should be aiming at. And it may be just a short article or an eBook, but there is always a way to make content more useful. Use videos, create your own infographics, blog regularly and stay up to date. Remember there is nothing wrong with research, just don’t plagiarize.

4. Thou Shalt Respect Thy Content Team

A content development team may be just a small group of people or it could be a whole company; what really matters is paying proper attention to those magicians. Practice allowing everyone to be able to bring something to the table, unhindered by the notion of criticism. The Disney Technique is very useful here, it consists of three stages:

1. Conjur – blue sky thinking, all ideas allowed and no criticism.

2. Create – pick the best and draft the content.

3. Critique – first the content and then the content because a formatting or grammatical error speak volumes. If you are putting content out there you might as well do it properly. If you can’t do it properly and do not monitor the content that represents your brand, why do you think people will even bother to read it in the first place?

5. Thou Shalt Not Abandon Content

There is nothing worse than starting a company blog, being really excited about it, writing good content and then abandoning the whole thing for whatever reason. It looks really bad when you go to a blog and it hasn’t been updated in two or three months, doesn’t it?

6. Thou Shalt Value Order

One of the most repeated errors in content marketing strategies is disorganization. It’s not a simple task, because it requires a proper schedule, consistency and frequency. It’s important to determine the frequency of producing new content and promotion. Also, make sure that you re-promote older content as well.

7. Thou Shalt Put Interaction First

Nobody likes content that is presented as the absolute truth and allows no opportunity for discussion. Good content is all about communication and fostering that interaction between company and reader/customer.

8. Thou Shalt Trust Email

Email marketing is one of the effective ways of promotion so you need to make sure you are making the most of it. Email marketing is effective and its backbone is content so the two forms will always be related. If you have quality content and a solid email marketing strategy, you will see positive results. (link to email marketing article/s)

9. Thou Shalt Be Social

Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. Your potential customers are on those social networks, and if you don’t get your content out there, you are missing out. Of course not everything revolves around Facebook and Twitter. One mistake is publishing the same message on all social media networks. Try different things – add images, alternate your CTA, shorten or lengthen the message. Don’t forget to measure how much traffic your website gets from each channel. This will give you a pretty good idea of which types of messages are doing best.

10. Thou Shalt Befriend and Beware SEO

Well optimized content is good. But you know what’s better? Readable and interesting content that gets commented on and shared. Don’t forget that you write for people, not for search engines.

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