Perhaps you look around and it seems like everyone else is having success with content marketing, while your brand is just barely scraping by. Or, maybe you’ve tried content marketing before, but didn’t see much (if any) results from it. As it turns out, there’s more to content marketing than creating stuff for people to look at online. Several content marketing principles should help to guide you and your team as you go about creating a strategy for content marketing, and putting that strategy into place.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs Into One Content Basket
You might love writing blog posts or putting together short funny videos, but focusing on just one type of content or just one publishing platform could significantly limit the size of your audience.
Taking a multi-channel, multi-format approach to content marketing is generally preferable to focusing on just one area. For example, if you only share your blog posts on Facebook, you’re ignoring all the people who prefer Twitter or Instagram. If you only create blog posts, you’re ignoring all of the people who prefer video.
Of course, you don’t want to go multi-channel just for the sake of it. If you try video and realize your audience doesn’t dig it — or if you start Tweeting but no one’s following — it could be that those channels just don’t work for you.
Focus on Quality
The internet is a big place, with more than a billion websites and more than four billion separate web pages, according to LiveScience. Really, when you think about it, the last thing the internet (and the world) needs is more content just for the sake of more content.
Although some marketers think it’s best to produce a lot of content frequently, no matter how good it is, it’s often best to put quality first. Just think of it this way — would you rather buy five cars that kinda work, or one really excellent car that does just what you need it to?
When you create any type of content, always focus on its quality over anything else.
Put Your Audience/Customer First
Here’s a secret: Your brand cares (or should care) about the audience/customer, but the audience/customer doesn’t particularly care about your brand.
If someone stumbles upon a piece of content that’s all about the brand, and that has a very “brand-first, look-at-me” tone, they’re really not going to care. But if someone comes across content that speaks to them directly, and that solves a problem they are experiencing, they’re going to be interested.
Not only will they read that content, they’re likely to remember who produced it and come back to that brand in the future with any other problems they have.
Don’t Fear User-Generated Content
One of a content marketer’s favorite words should be “outsource.” Outsourcing content creation helps to breathe new life into what your brand produces. It can also help your content resonate with your audience.
One way to outsource your content creation is to tap into your audience/customer base. User-generated content tends to resonate with audiences because it comes from a genuine place. There’s less polish to it, which can make it seem more trustworthy to other users.
Remember That Content Marketing Is More Than Just Content
Step one of putting together a content marketing strategy isn’t creating content. In fact, content creation and ideation shouldn’t come until a few steps down the line.
If you only focus on content, at the end of the day you’ll end up with just content. You won’t have an idea of who it’s for, where it should go, and how you’ll get it out into the world.
At the heart of content marketing — and a key content marketing principle — is focusing on your strategy. Set a goal for your content marketing, determine who your audience is and what their needs are, think about the types of content that will best serve your audience, then form a team and create that content.
Once the content’s created, your work isn’t done. Next, you want to track that content. See how it performs, who reads/views it, and what they do next. If nothing happens, or if your content lands with a thud instead of a big splash, you can think of things to change for the next attempt.
Can you ignore these content marketing principles and still succeed with content marketing? Maybe. But why risk failure when following these principles can help to guarantee success?