Trends in marketing are dangerous. Everyone gets all excited, forgets what they were doing and starts piling on with little thought to why or how.
Content marketing fits this bill but only if you look at its explosion in popularity over the last few years. It’s the current darling of the marketing world, but that’s for good reason.
Way before the noughties – fifty years before, in fact – David Ogilvy was pioneering pages-long editorial to sell products. And I think we can all agree he did a fairly good job.
But the trouble is, it’s being ridden into the ground like every other technique. Which makes it very easy to show you some sure-fire ways of making sure your content marketing absolutely bombs.
1. Allocate a cheapskate budget
After all, it’s only writing isn’t it? Anyone can write, why would you pay for a bunch of words?
Hmmm, no. The idea of publishing content is to provide value. Useful information and well thought-out material – not the slap-dash ramblings of someone writing to a word count and then signing off.
There are so many places to get poor quality content that you can publish. It’s painfully easy and very cheap. But it will do you absolutely no good: search engines and humans both know shoddy content when they see it.
Don’t publish content just to tick a box and try to attract website hits. Think of it as building your authority and reputation: it’s a direct reflection of your brand, so it should be produced by people who care about that brand and know how to look after it.
2. Only publish words
I’m afraid to say that even though those words may be AMAZING, if that’s all you got, you got not enough. ‘Content’ doesn’t just mean writing some blogs. It’s creating infographics, giving free downloads and making ace videos.
It’s coming up to Valentine’s Day, so the human lust for variety isn’t a very appropriate subject – but it’s true. We lurrrrrve rich variation in what we see. The same old black and white blog post isn’t going to cut it every day.
Even if you have no design experience, it’s fairly easy to create graphics for free; they won’t be the same quality you’d get from a designer but they’ll brighten the place up. And with apps like Instagram and Vine, you can create some nice off-the-cuff, in-the-field style videos too – quick clips of how your products work or who you have in the office, for example.
I saw a Californian plumber’s Instagram profile the other day (sorry, I don’t have a holiday home in Bel Air – no need to butter me up in the comments) and the guy had like 3,000 followers! They were GOBBLING those pipework photos up.
3. Scrimp on publicising
What’s the point of creating it if no one sees it? ‘Blog and they will come’ isn’t a thing. At the very least, share your content on your social platforms with a little lead-in and an image.
You tend to attract a slightly different audience across the various social platforms, so it really is worth doing this, and customising what you post based on that audience.
Hint: Don’t use that #awesome cat meme on LinkedIn – save it for Tumblr and Instagram. Maybe Twitter if it’s Friday and you’re feeling frisky.
4. Publish all the stuff, in all the places, all the time
I have found it to be true that the more you publish, the more traffic and engagement you build: fairly obvious. However, that is only the case if your content is of a consistently high calibre. This also rings true for links to your content from other sites.
As per usual, the marketing world blew content marketing to pieces by creating looooooads of awful, awful articles on dodgy websites, linking back to client websites. Now, search engines are not stupid. They are built, run and constantly updated by ludicrously clever people.
So, don’t try to cheat the system. Don’t try to game the bots. Read up on friendly link-building and keep it in mind, but if you ever find yourself thinking “This is a bit pants, but it might get me up higher in Google” – stop. Consider: is this valuable to your people, the people you want to love your business? They’re the leaders here – they’re what make the lines on the graph go up or down.
Cardinal rule of content marketing: don’t publish stuff just so you’ve got stuff published.#Contentmarketing rule number one: do what feels right for your customer, not what gets you links. Click To Tweet