The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing According to a Content Marketer

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I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase ‘content is king’ before. You’re probably bored to tears of hearing it. But it is true and when it comes to digital marketing, producing informative, entertaining and original content, will help put you ahead of your competitors.

Produce bad content and, well, you’re probably swapping king for court jester as you fritter your – or, even worse, your client’s – hard earned money away.

Naturally, not every campaign works, that’s the way of the world. But rather than consider it a risk, it’s worth thinking about just how important content marketing is to the digital world.

It has the ability to touch your audience more than advertising, showcasing your brand’s personality, without being too promotional. Getting that balance right can be tricky however, which is why we’re experts at what we do.

Like any industry, the world of content marketing has many do’s and don’ts and because we’re a kind bunch here at Marketing Signals, we’ve highlighted some key points to make your content a success…

Do’s:

Take Time To Study Your Client Objectives

One of the most important aspects of getting content right, is knowing what your client is trying to achieve. Discuss what it is it they’re after – links, engagement, sign-ups? – and what sort of publications they’d like to feature in.

For example, if your rent-a-car client is looking to build its female customer base by featuring in Cosmopolitan and Grazia, there’s little point in creating a campaign focussing on muscle cars or Formula 1.

Spend Time Brainstorming

Once you’ve uncovered your campaign objectives, brainstorming is a key part of the process. Many of us don’t give enough time to brainstorming, but it’s important to explore a number of avenues to come up with a winning idea.

Many people just settle on three ideas to put forward and consider it job done. Before pitching a set of ideas, expand that number to 20 or 30 top lines. From there whittle them down to those fit enough for a full on campaign and you’ll uncover smarter, better, and more newsworthy content.

Put Your Ideas Through A Vigorous Vetting System

Putting your top level ideas through a vetting system will certainly improve them, and save a potential grilling from your client when results don’t come through. Ask questions of your ideas…

  • What are the angles?
  • What information will it give? Where and how will I find this information?
  • How will you display this and in what form?
  • How is this idea relevant to your client and their audience?
  • Is this idea different to what’s already been done?
  • And, most importantly, how will a journalist cover this? What’s their story?

    Make Sure Your Idea is Relevant to Your Client

    Sometimes, you get an idea and it’s brilliant. The world will want to know about this idea. But if it’s coming from the wrong outlet, it’s not going to fly. Your idea should have at the very least have some kind of logical connection to the brand you are representing.

    After all, that company is an expert in their industry. Also, there’s something a little disconcerting for a journalist to receive a campaign totally unrelated to the brand. It makes them question why it’s been done, and in turn will begin to question the legitimacy of the research and campaign itself.

    Consider Data Driven Pieces

    Data is one of the easiest ways to give a journalist a headline. If you or your client is sitting on data that can be presented in a unique way, you can earn some really good coverage from high quality publications.

    How many headlines do you see with percentages, statistics or money? It’s bread and butter for a journo and as long as it offers interesting insight and is packaged so it’s understandable, the relevant outlets will be interested.

    Don’t’s:

    Panic If Things Start Slowly

    Not every campaign will get off to a flying start. In fact, it might struggle throughout. These things happen, but the last thing to do is panic.

    Take a step away from the campaign and look at how it can be improved. Could a change of angle be more appealing to outreach? Can the project be supplemented by any additional content?

    Adding extra elements or different dimensions can rescue the success of a campaign and staying calm and exploring all eventualities is the sign of a good marketer.

    Think It Will Work Because ‘It Looks Nice’

    Since when has style over substance ever won out in the end? While design is important, you won’t get anywhere if there’s no significant research, data or resource within the content.

    Design does need to be clear, understandable and have that visual appeal to grab a user’s attention, but if the content within it is boring and useless, then you’ve wasted potentially thousands of pounds on something that doesn’t actually say anything.

    Copy Something Else

    While there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other campaigns and stories, and there’s certainly no harm in making them better, simply copying another campaign because it’s worked previously won’t wash.

    Many clients may ask for a specific idea because a competitor has done it previously and earned links. Be bold, do something original, and avoid an idea that has already been tomorrow’s fish and chip paper.

    Miss a Deadline

    Missing a deadline will not only annoy a client, it can have a catastrophic effect on an entire campaign.

    A good hook for a campaign will often be a date. It may be an event, a national holiday, or perhaps even a week long national celebration such as National Curry Week. It sounds obvious, but make sure if you’re doing a campaign relating to a date, you get it signed off and live ahead of said date.

    A journalist will not want to know Britain’s favourite curry recipe the Monday after curry week.

    Only talk about your products and services

    And finally. Please. Please, do not create a campaign that only talks about your products and services. That’s advertising.

    Create a campaign that offers something to the world. Something that contains insight and encourages engagement. It makes you think, laugh, wonder and actively builds a relationship with your audience. It’s what content marketing is all about.

    Want a hand with your content marketing? Get in touch with the team at Marketing Signals today and see how we can help take your content to the next level.

Richard Greenwood
Richard Greenwood About the author

<p>Richard has over four years’ experience delivering successful content marketing campaigns across a variety of industries. A trained journalist, he knows what hits the headlines, and is regularly responsible for getting his clients in them too.</p>

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