Seven rules for great content marketing

Over the years, it has become abundantly clear that content marketing is crucial in your marketing mix. It’s easy to say you have to “do something with content” if you want to succeed, but how should you actually approach this? Our content marketing expert has compiled seven rules that set you up for success.

Content marketing can help you stand out from your competition. It’s the link between your audience and your brand. Through content, you can tell your brand story and reach the right people. Follow these seven rules to increase the chance that your content resonates with your target audience.

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1. Fit the content in your customer journey

While most companies know and understand their customer’s journey, this tends to be overlooked when it comes to content. A pity, since the topic and tone of your content has to match the phase in the customer journey in order to be effective.

When creating content, you first have to decide on the purpose of this specific piece. Are you making it in order to generate brand awareness? Or is your goal to generate leads with it? Maybe it’s a content piece that offers some after-purchase advice or tips. Whatever the goal of your content, make sure it fits the correlating phase in the customer journey. This will impact both how you write the content and where you will distribute it.

2. Put the right content in the right place

When creating content, it’s crucial to know where it will be published. Is it a static page on your website, or rather a video on social media? Will you publish your content to LinkedIn, or is it an Instagram post?

Depending on the channel, the tone of your content will likely change. A Facebook post will likely focus more on generating awareness and engagement, where your newsletter is focused on customer loyalty.

When it comes to channels, your website is probably the only true exception to the rule. This platform is your own fully owned channel, meaning that it should serve as a central hub for all your content. All roads should lead to your website. In the end, you want your Facebook fans and Twitter followers to end up here and get inspired by everything you have to offer.

3. Structure your content ideas

To make sure your content reaches its goals, it’s best to structure all your ideas. You can do this with the four W’s.

  • WHY – are you making this piece of content? (for example: brand awareness)
  • WHERE – will the content appear? (which channel)
  • WHEN – will the content go live? (where does it fit in your content calendar?)
  • WHAT – is the piece of content you want to make?

It’s best to get a clear grasp on these questions by writing the answers down in a comprehensive overview. You don’t need a special tool for this. A simple Excel-spreadsheet can get you far.

4. Always keep SEO in mind

Why bother making content if people aren’t able to find it when they need it? That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. Especially when you’re making content that will end up on your website, but also on platforms like Medium or YouTube, good SEO is crucial.

Some very high level SEO tips to help you on your way:

  • Always make content with a specific, relevant keyword in mind. To know which keyword is most suitable, you can use tools like Google Trends or Keyword Planner to see which terms have the highest search volume.
  • In text, make sure your keyword shows up on all relevant places; your page title, H1, sprinkled across the body of the text, in your meta description, …
  • Maintain an internal linking structure. By adding links and call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your content pages, you can get visitors to click and engage with your content. When people engage with links on your website, search engines will consider your web pages relevant and worth ranking high.

5. Content is more than text

Content marketing isn’t limited to a blog post here and there and the occasional social media update that links back to said blog. There are many tools to your trade, meaning text-based content is just one of the many options. Think of the message you want to share, the goal of the piece of content, and pick your medium accordingly. On social media, video can be a great format to help you gain brand awareness, for example.

Content can even be a combination of various formats. For example, you can integrate an infographic in a blog post and even put a relevant video on the same page. These separate elements that make up your story can then be shared piece by piece over various channels.

6. Stay true to yourself

Keeping tabs of trending topics to fuel your content calendar, can be a great way of keeping the ball rolling. However, it’s just as easy to become a slave to the trends you are covering instead of owning your own narrative. This is why you shouldn’t simply look at trending topics, but select the subjects that actually fit your brand.

It’s key to stay true to your own brand story. Stick to topics that have a fit with your DNA and are in line with your company values. Otherwise, your audience might consider you a sell-out, only saying and doing things to stay popular, instead of actually adding value.

This is true both when it comes to the topics you discuss, as well as the form of your content. To make sure your brand doesn’t change its style as often as a leaf rolls over with a gust of wind, it’s best to create a set of guidelines. These can define things like your tone and voice, the influencers that fit your brand, the hashtags you want to focus on or the style of images you use.

7. Get a second opinion … and then a third

Nothing is perfect, especially not a piece of content you’ve just created. When you’re done writing your text, editing your video or designing your infographic, have at least one other person review it. And if you’re reviewing it yourself, it’s best to wait at least one day after finishing the initial version before doing so. A fresh pair of eyes can help you spot details and errors you otherwise might have missed.

Looking for professional help?

Our content marketers live by these seven rules and make sure your content stands out from the competition.

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