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How to get content marketing right

Content marketing has been around for hundreds of years. So why is it such a big deal now?

While the term “content marketing” is relatively new, the concept of content marketing has been around for years. Remember the recipe on that can of tinned tomatoes? That’s content marketing. What about the Top Holiday Reads flyer you picked up at the local book store? That’s content marketing too. So is the quarterly magazine issued by your health insurer.

In a nutshell, content marketing is the creation and publication of original content. It can take the form of printed and online magazines, articles, newsletters, whitepapers and case studies. It can include blogs, podcasts and video. Its purpose is to engage clients (and potential clients) with interesting content that educates, informs, entertains and guides them through the buying process.

So, if content marketing has been around for such a long time, why is it such a big deal now?

Why use content marketing?

The rise of the internet has seen people change the way they receive information. They are more active in researching before they buy and rely less on traditional information sources. According to research company GFK, 80 per cent of business decision makers prefer to find out about a business through articles than through advertising.

Effective content marketing should:

  • Help position you as a thought leader and industry expert
  • Increase credibility and drive brand recognition
  • Persuade customers to choose your products and services over your competitors.

What do I write about?

Brian Clarke of CopyBlogger.com offers some great tips on finding compelling content topics.  Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Take  A Page From Someone Else: Brainstorm with friends and colleagues, ask your readers, or invite a guest writer
  • Use personal experience: Review something, write a case study or share your own success and failures
  • Use what’s topical at the moment: Turn to movies, television, trends and celebrities to see if you can tie an article in with their popularity.

How do I make sure it is interesting?

Your content should be engaging, and interesting, or people will not read it. Below are my top tips for writing good content:

1. Remember, it is not advertising!

Content marketing isn’t about self-promotion; it’s about offering consistent, ongoing and valuable information to buyers. Buyers will know if your content is blatant advertising. And they will turn away from you.

2. Ensure it is relevant

Content marketing must be relevant to your customers in order to build brand loyalty. When writing it, make sure it answers a question your customers are asking. Listen to what your customers are telling you or, better still, identify what they will want to know in the future.

3. Make sure it is your own work

Plagiarism will undo any credibility your business has.  While the internet makes good work much easier to copy, it also makes it much easier to detect. Don’t ruin your reputation on a silly mistake.

4. Entertain them

People’s attention spans are shorter than ever before. The internet and TiVo make it easy for consumers to simply skip things they don’t want to see. Keep them engaged by writing sharp, informative and entertaining content.

5. Increase your content’s credibility

Make sure your content is backed up with interesting quotes and statistics. It will bring an extra level of credibility and interest to your work.

6. Write it well

Poorly written content will have a negative effect on your business, its credibility and reputation. Take the time to ensure your content is free of spelling errors and grammatically correct.

If content marketing is not a part of your marketing mix, then it should be. Good content marketing will make someone stop, think and act. If you are not providing your customers with content that is engaging and informative, rest assured your competitors are.