Content marketing and other online search engine optimization strategies have become more and more important as print media has slowly been challenged in favor of Internet interaction. As I have grown my business and worked with other companies to grow theirs, I have seen the Internet grow from a niche marketing tool into the primary vehicle for companies of all shapes and sizes reach consumers. This has included the growth of content marketing from a relative marketing strategy to an essential tool of building brand trust and image.
Here are a few major do’s and don’ts for how business’s can successfully use content marketing to help advance their bottom line.
1. ESTABLISH YOUR AUTHORIAL VOICE
One of the biggest pieces of advice for content marketers is a tip that has likely been repeated hundreds or thousands of times since content marketing became an industry essential: Make sure all content marketing materials have a distinct authorial voice. While there is much to be said for attempting to adopt the voice of an entire business or corporation, there is also something to be said for creating content that is compelling, well-written, and sparked with personality. Most good content marketing writers innately know how to blend an undercurrent of compelling authorial voice with a professional and engaging tone. Do not publish content articles written like dry business memorandums. Content marketing is aimed at an everyday audience, either browsing a business’s website for case studies and blogs or searching Google for articles about specific topics. In both cases, readers will be more drawn to writing that feels like it came from a down-to-earth blogger than they will be to content that is clearly aimed at boosting internet traffic and selling products or services.
2. HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
Content marketing articles are more or less worthless if they have nothing new to say on the topic at hand. Many content marketers trawl popular buzz topics in an effort to find out what is trending on Google, Twitter, or Facebook at any given time. There’s nothing wrong with this tactic as long as you take a news story and uses it as a springboard for an article that offers unique viewpoints, adds to the news story with updates or other relevant information, or poses questions of its own. Simply paraphrasing articles or blogs already published by reputable news sources will prove counter-productive. In other words, content marketers need creativity, analytical skill, and journalistic prowess to be successful. However, if a content provider can add his or her own spin to a popular topic, authorial voice will likely appear as well, and readers will reward the extra effort with more clicks and shares.
3. KEEP IT FRESH AND INTERESTING
It is far too easy for content marketers to fall into a rut with their material by not thinking outside of the box. For instance, a content marketer running a campaign for an educational institution should not only write blogs and articles revolving around schools and students. Myriad topics can be connected to education, from the state of the job market to trending health topics to questions of finance and inflation. Content marketers who are willing to venture into unexplored subject matter will stand a better chance of increasing their client’s Internet presence and boosting their own effectiveness.
4. KNOW WHEN TO WRAP UP
Similarly, content can become stagnant or dull even in the space of a single article or blog. A good content marketer is a writer who knows instinctually when he or she has run out of interesting things to say on a topic and when the content needs to move toward a conclusion. That is not to say that lengthier articles don’t have an audience—they do, especially among academic types—but traditionally, the attention span of Internet readers is shorter than that of the print media audiences of old.
5. STAY RELEVANT
It is easy to go browsing through news topics for content ideas. However, if a news story is more than a day or two old, chances is that the content’s lifespan is already running out, at least in terms of search engine optimization. A writer who believes he or she has something vital to say on a topic should not be scared away by “old” news, but in most cases, the same rules apply to content marketers as apply to journalists: if you aren’t one of the first to weigh in on a topic, there may be little point in expending the time and effort to weigh in at all. Instead, content marketers should consider holding off on old news topics and waiting for a similar story—or better yet, a news update—to come along and reignite the conversation.