Content Marketing is becoming increasingly necessary in today’s competitive business world. Especially because content marketing is reliant on SEO to be found in the overly-saturated search engine algorithm.
SEO is an excellent long-term solution to your business traffic and sales requirements, however, it is extremely slow-going to build. There must be a broad array of information and content, as well as SEO best practices, for your site or business profile to remain ahead of the pack.
This is where content marketing comes in. Search engines will not rate a “thin-content” website or business highly. And content marketing is a great, and often inexpensive, way to produce some results in SEO discoverability.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. – Contentmarketinginstitute.com
So, today we are going to dive into some of the main content marketing dos and don’ts to keep you and your business on the right track towards growth and to save you from the inefficiency of wasted efforts!
You may notice some recurring themes in content marketing as they relate to other business practices also! So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Content Marketing: Dos and Don’ts
Here are some things you should (and shouldn’t) do regarding your content marketing strategy!
Do: Focus on Providing Value
Remember, content is a factor of pull marketing, NOT push marketing. Therefore, the value you provide needs to be the largest consideration in the content you make. Who is going to find it valuable? Will they continue to come back for more information? These are the largest considerations.
Without providing value, you are giving your target consumer base no reason to engage or interact with your content. Failing to provide value will also harm your reputation in the consumer’s eyes, and cause them to actively avoid engaging with your content in the future.
Don’t: Be a Salesperson
This goes right along with providing value. If your content is littered with sell-y jargon and offers, your consumer base is going to feel alienated from the value and pressured as a result. This is an extremely bad thing to be, especially in a competitive environment like the internet.
Consumers NEVER want to feel pressure to buy from anything other than their own desires. Therefore, riddling your content with offers and multiple CTA’s (calls to action; some are ok, but not too many) is going to push your consumers away and further ensure they don’t engage with your brand or content in the future.
You may ask, “Then how do we go about making our offer known?” The best way to do so is by providing amazing value FIRST. This will establish yourself as an expert or go-to in the marketplace, and provide a subtle CTA or offer at the END of the content.
Doing so will free your consumer from undue pressure, as well as ensure them that you can truly provide a valuable and helpful product or service.
Do: Keyword Research
Due to the nature of the compound effect, and exponential factors, it is true that very specific keywords will be searched 99% more than others. This provides you very little leeway into choosing the most optimal keywords for your content.
Your keywords need to have sufficient search volume to ensure that there is a demand for your content, however, they also need to be relatively free from competition so you can establish a dominant presence.
This is why choosing the correct keywords is so critical. Online keyword tracking tools and software is available to give you an idea of the monthly or daily search volumes of certain keywords to use in your content or on your website to maximize SEO.
Don’t: Publish Willy-Nilly
Content marketers without a plan of action or consistent schedule will find it almost impossible to grow at any time in their journey. Almost every SEO algorithm considers random posting and random topics harmful to your website’s credibility. This is because they consider your website unspecialized and randomly assorted.
Publishing willy nilly is going to not only harm your SEO ranking but also your own internal habit of creating content. Waiting for inspiration to strike is unsustainable in the long run, and especially through the long ROI cycle that we see in content marketing. There is simply no replacement for taking action.
Do: Be Consistent
There are few things that you CAN’T get in the world by practicing consistency of some kind. Consistency is likely the single most important factor in your content marketing (or person/professional success) journey that there is.
Being consistent in terms of content marketing means putting out relevant, informative, and valuable content on a set schedule. Take this blog, for example.
I put out blogs consistently every week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’ve not missed a day, rain or shine, for roughly six months now, and there are people out there who have done this for ten years.
Consistency directly helps your SEO characteristics. This is because the search engines consider your website to be new in information, and caught up with changing times. Both of which is great for a search engine that focuses on providing up to date value with the searchers.
Don’t: Expect Quick Rewards
I fully believe that the most fulfilling and rewarding things in life are built upon the compound effect. They usually take a lot of initial investment and risk before you start to see rewards that tower above anything else.
When you start content marketing without an already solidified consumer base or audience, you are in for a LONG journey. This journey will be difficult in terms of your motivation, but it will also be fulfilling as long as you don’t place your definition of success in terms of quick rewards.
Six months of consistent quality blogging is going to get you hardly any traffic. A year of consistent quality blogging is still only going to get you some traffic. The same is true for almost every content marketing channel you could create (videos, podcasts, photos, etc.)
I don’t say this to discourage you, but without realizing this before your content marketing journey, you will be set up for failure from the get-go.
Do: Set Measurable Goals
Due to the length of time that it takes to see results from content marketing, it can be frustrating to balance the doubt in your effectiveness with the nature of building something from the ground up. Often times, I wonder if I am doing something wrong, or if I simply haven’t been patient enough.
Setting measurable, but realistic, goals is necessary if you wish to create consistent conversions and traffic to your website. This will allow you to focus on the best practices that work for your organization in terms of content and mimic those practices across other pieces of content.
Measurable goals can mean a litany of things. From a certain amount of monthly traffic, to unique visitors, to page views, whatever it is, make sure that it is realistic based on your niche, and allows you to take action to directly affect them.
Don’t: Be Generic
The content that ranks the most highly in SEO and does the best in terms of engagement is content that tethers itself to a very specific niche of people. This is a scary thought: Almost as if you have to choose perfectly from the beginning of your content marketing strategy to produce niche content, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as you think.
There is no doubt about it, niche content produces better results. People want to feel like you are talking to them personally, not the masses. After all, nobody wants to feel like they are only part of a crowd when they read your content.
Which of these blog topics do you think will perform better?
1. Entrepreneur Tips
2. Entrepreneur tips for men in their 40’s.
I guarantee you the second one will reach more people, garner more engagement, and make a bigger splash. Nobody wants a boring article that doesn’t directly relate to them.
Do: Re-Use and Re-Cycle Content
Who said content had to be published just once? In fact, a major part of my own strategy is recycling content into various forms and channels. I take a blog, publish it, then later I use that blog as a script for a video, make that video, then use that script as discussion points for a podcast! The possibilities are limitless!
You can also, re-cycle content. What this means is that you are simply updating outdated blogs that you have written before. However, what you want to keep in mind is that you should always re-write a blog post, never copy and paste to re-use it. This is harmful to your site’s SEO.
Re-using and recycling content is an excellent way of creating multiple forms of a successful article or video you make in order to save your creativity, increase your efficiency, and reach many more people through various media channels.
Don’t: Forget the Customer
Remember, the customer is why you are doing all of this. Forgetting them is like taking off and doing your own thing while the purpose of your actions lies somewhere else entirely.
Content marketers that forget about their consumers often provide little value for the sake of getting more content out into the world. Focus on the customer experience and interaction with your brand by continuously asking yourself, “what will our market base pull from this?”
Remember, you want the content to be highly engaging, useful, and share-able to reach even greater numbers. the best way to do this is to create content with the customer in mind at all times.
Do: Show Some Personality!
NOBODY likes to talk to a brick wall.
If your brand is high-energy, consumer-focused, and identifies itself as “joyful” than reading a monotonous and flat informative article is not going to hit home with your consumer base. You need to present consistency in your brand recognition and presentation in order to make ALL content engaging and coherent with the brand message.
On the flip-side, if you are promoting scientific information, professional services, or the like, presenting yourself in your content as a “loosey-goosey” and biased/opinionated person is not going to do well for your brand recognition.
I’ll say it again, the personality in your content must match the formality level of your services or products. That is what your audience will expect.
Don’t: Forget to Promote
So, you publish an awesome piece of content that is getting good views, good engagement, and is overall a “winner.” Is that the end of the line for that piece of content? NO!
Not only did I mention before that you can re-use and re-cycle that content to form “winners” in other marketing channels, but you can also promote that content to leverage your consumer base or augment your audience!
Promotion could mean a paid social media advertisement, influencer marketing in your niche, or anything else where you use that “winning” content to draw more of an audience to your brand and offer. That is the true use of “winner” content.
Promotion is the fastest way to grow an audience when you are first starting on your content marketing journey. This is because SEO takes a while to develop, so you can use promotional content as “push marketing” to gather sales or increase traffic in the meantime while you develop your “pull marketing.” (SEO)
All in all, these have been the insights that I have learned, researched, and used in my own content marketing journey. I have seen consistent growth in my usage of these principles, and I run almost every platform of content marketing there is.
Put succinctly, don’t expect immediate returns, keep the consumer in mind, and maintain your sustainability by re-cycling and re-using your content. Doing so will allow you to become consistent, relevant, and successful over the journey!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.