12 Golden Rules of Content Marketing for Those Who Want to See Some Real Results
There’s a saying in the marketing industry that says you can have the greatest website in the world, but if nobody visits, is it really the greatest? That means that without visitors, your site might as well not exist. You could have a great method for teaching people how to start a successful blog, but you then need to get people to visit your site. That’s where content marketing comes into play.
If you create a piece of content, you should have a plan on how to get it out there. After all, if you aren’t going to put the effort into making sure people see it, why are you creating it? An beyond having a plan to market it, how are you going to make people see that it is different from the huge amount of content that is already available?
That’s what we’re here to address. Here are 12 rules to marketing that are guaranteed to drive results to your page.
- Content is King – Those words were written by Bill Gates in 1996 when he described the future of the internet. He said that content was the key to making money on the internet and he was and still is correct. But the key to making sure you get noticed is to make the right sort of content. It has to be unique. There’s no sense in creating something that ten thousand others have done unless you can deliver your message in a way that separates you from your competitors. Remember, your content needs to be engaging and unique.
- Have a Destination in Mind – The key to getting something done is to know what you want to accomplish in the first place. If you don’t have a goal in mind when you create the content, then you’re just splashing around aimlessly. But your goal can’t be arbitrary either. Remember the SMART rule. Make all of your goals Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, and Timely. What do you want to do with your content? Is your goal to educate? Do you want to inspire? Create a change in your audience? Once you know what your destination is, you can begin to create the road map and directions to get you there.
- Know Your Audience – This is a part of your destination. When you know your audience, you know what you can bring to them that they will find valuable. This enables you to give them the best value for their time possible. You capture their interest and then get them to regard you as an authority. Once you are a trusted authority with your audience, you’ve won half the battle. After all, at that point, you can guide your readers or followers into whatever conversion funnel you want. Is your goal to sell them a widget? Consumers are more willing to buy things from somewhere they consider to be an authority.
- Take Inventory of What You Have – You already have content, but what is it? It’s important for you to do an inventory of your content. Don’t just look at written content. You have to consider videos, podcasts, blogs, and any presentations you might have made. Once you have your inventory, mark each piece according to its value to your current goals. It either has a place or it doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to discard content that doesn’t fit your vision. There may be some pieces that you can update however, so keep those in mind as well.
- Create a content schedule – When you start to create content, you need to create a schedule and stick to it. Think about what would happen if your favorite television show didn’t come out with a new episode weekly, but instead was random and sporadic. You’d lose interest fairly quickly most likely. That’s the same as your website. Without a regular schedule to publish and promote content, your visitors will soon turn to other places to get their information. And when you lose followers because of a trust violation, it is more difficult to bring them back than it was to attract them in the first place.
- Make it Mobile-Friendly – Cell phone and smart device penetration are huge. There are 71 billion smartphone users and an estimated 5.13 billion people with mobile devices worldwide. That is a huge number of people who you will be reaching that will want to browse your content in the palm of their hand. So in order to avoid losing visitors because your content doesn’t display correctly or that it loads too slowly, you need to ensure that your content is made for mobile. Use AMP coding to ensure that your content loads quickly and ensure that your website has the CSS code to transition smoothly from desktop to tablet to phone.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Take A Risk – You can’t always play it safe. Taking risks with your content is a sure-fire way to ensure that your content is unique. A safe strategy may offer consistency when it comes to click-through rates and conversions, but the risk can generate a much higher return on your time investment. As an added bonus, as you continue to take risks, you become a leader, innovating in your field instead of following in other people’s footsteps. While it is difficult to find a risk that will payout, the rewards become more than worth it.
- Study Your Metrics – In order to judge how your content marketing is going, you have to be able to interpret the results. It doesn’t matter where you get your metrics from; you can get them from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or something that you embed into your own site. The key point is that you keep track of the engagement that you have with your base. Look at what pages are getting the hits and how long people are staying. See how Facebook Ads are doing in drawing people to your site. Look at promoted Tweets. There’s no such thing as bad data when it comes to measuring the impact your marketing is having on your content.
- Engage Your Customers – You want your content to inspire your visitors. And in inspiring them, you encourage them to share your content with their friends, who share it with their friends and so on. Use social media to connect to your followers. While there are the big three of social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you shouldn’t neglect the other areas where you can share content. Reddit, Imgur, Pinterest, and even sites like Mashable can be great for reaching new people. Sites that accept user-created content can be a gold mine when it comes to generating buzz about your content. Don’t be afraid to test as well. Use A/B testing to see what content is resonating with new people and how each funnel is driving people to your website.
- Be Trustworthy – Nothing will cause you to lose followers and readers faster than being caught in a lie or breaking your own word. It is okay for you to have a position that 50 percent of the world finds detestable if that’s your goal. But what isn’t okay is if you suddenly flip on your stated position without a clear explanation or reasoning. And even then, you should be prepared for the fallout of that decision to change directions in your content. As a rule, people hate change, especially in someplace that they consider to be theirs. And make no mistake, when you create content that people love and as you engage them, they begin to develop a sense of ownership.
- Find Your Gimmick – When we say gimmick, we mean the one thing or group of things that separate you from the rest of the world. And when you find it, use it. Don’t think that you are going to overuse it. This is your brand, after all. You don’t think that Starbucks or Pepsi overuse their name when they create their content. Once you have your brand, use it. There is the only one you, and that’s how you build your brand. Don’t copy your competitors, make them copy you.
- KISS – Remember the old adage: Keep It Simple, Stupid. When it comes to content marketing, you don’t need to overcomplicate it. Create unique content that delivers your message. You will learn your audience and discover your brand as you go. And as you continue to build your content library, marketing will become easier and easier as you learn what content draws people to you and what makes them stay.
Content marketing may seem like something that’s mysterious and esoteric when you first start to create your mark on the digital world. But as you go, remember these 12 rules and let them guide you on your journey. They will not only improve the quality of your marketing, but it will also increase your customer’s loyalty, buy-in, and overall engagement.