Having come from the world of journalism before joining the eTail team three years ago, I have a particular interest in and soft spot for any advice that’s content related. You can imagine my delight, then, when I saw that Shanna Mallon rounded up some tips from some of the content pros, for her recent post that ran in a publication called Healthcare Communication News (not something I would typically be perusing, but turned out worth the exploration!) Here’s an abridged version of her tips, which consist mainly of quotes from some big guns:
1. “If businesses can be transparent, be authentic.” Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group.
2. “The trust, credibility, and authority that content marketing creates knocks down sales resistance.” Brian Clark, Founder of Copyblogger. Instead of thinking of content marketing as a way to make sales, look at it as a way to build authority and establish credibility with your audience. Good one!
3. “Write human.” Milk Stelzner, SocialMediaExaminer.com. Avoid obvious sales pitches by being real.
4. “Define your objectives.” Paul Gillin and Leslie Reiser, IBM.
5. “Answer the questions your customers are asking. It’s not sexy, but it’s what’s needed.” Nick Kellet, Co-founder, Listly. When you’re tapped for content ideas, the best answer is also the most obvious: go to your customers.
6. “Create an editorial calendar.” Christopher Jan Benitez, Editorial QA, PrintRunner. One of the hardest parts about creating solid content is coming up with topics when you need them. That’s why many content marketers rely on predetermined calendars with topics already chosen. And I would add to that: try to stick to it! (Easier said than done…)
7. “Don’t make the brand front and center.” Karl Sakas, KarlSakas.com and Hesketh.com. A powerful content marketing strategy involves not making the brand itself the focus but rather on helping your audience, promoting your brand indirectly. (Examples: RedBullUSA.com, Tablespoon.com, and KraftRecipes.com.)
8. “Remember, content marketing is about having a conversation.” Amie Marse, Small Business Trends. Figure out where your clients are, and go there.
9. “Regular frequency is just as important as developing quality content.” Nate Riggs, Director, Social Business and Content Marketing, Karcher Group. In content marketing, consistency is key.
10. “Execute daily.” Roger C. Parker of Content Market Institute. Success that lasts is directly tied to regular, consistent writing, and one way to keep creating content is to discipline yourself to write every day.
11. “One article or video is not a content strategy; it is a shot in the dark.” Jon Gelberg, Editorial Director, PR News. Good content marketing means steady content marketing. This means that before you jump in to a strategy, you’ve considered the time investment it will take. (I wish I could plaster this on my forehead for all to see! Ok, maybe not, but I do oh, so love this one.)
12. “Research has repeatedly demonstrated that marketing that is targeted and more relevant to the end recipient tends to see better results.” Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot Blog.
13. “What dynamic content via marketing automation really offers us is the marketing equivalent of power tools.” Geoff Livingston, GeoffLivingston.com.
14. “Ideally, your customer should be able to choose the form, channel and frequency of communication they prefer.” Michael Durie, Business Lounge. With dynamic content, it’s all about understanding your audience. You want to vary your content to suit different forms and channels.
15. “Many brands are taking advantage of Instagram and seizing the opportunity to share a more personal perspective with their customers.” Shawna Kenyon, Top Rank Online Marketing Blog.
16. “Video is growing in use and is still underestimated.” Gordon Locke, D Custom. Engaging, interesting, customer-benefiting video content is on a rapid growth track. Make sure it’s part of what you’re doing with content.
17. “Online seminars are an increasingly popular means for small businesses to educate.” Kathryn Hawkins, Intuit Small Business Blog.
18. “We are seeing tons of interest in video…number two area of interest is mobile.” Rebecca Lieb, Digital Marketing and Media Analyst, Altimeter Group. Video opens doors for content marketers in terms of storytelling, and with the prevalence of mobile devices in today’s society, using the medium for content marketing only makes sense.
19. “The days of one social media manager handling Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the rest is coming to a close.” Jay Baer, Founder, ConvinceandConvert.com. Instead of one or two people handling the brand’s social media efforts, company-wide efforts will become more common.
20. “It’s about giving people something they can use.” Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire. The future of content marketing is about more than just more content; it’s about valuable content. Skerik advises asking yourself whether content is valuable every time you’re about to publish.