Dos and don’ts of content marketing

Inevitably, when we discuss brand objectives and marketing tactics with our clients, their main goal is to be recognized as “leaders,” “experts,” and “innovators.” How do they hope to achieve this? Without fail, the first question is always: “Can you help us fix our website? We just need it to look sleek and modern.”

For many small to mid-size business owners, marketing tactics fall into two categories: a great website and pretty brochures, but you have to get prospects to your website for them to see it, don’t you? And you need to give them a reason to hang onto that brochure, right?

This is usually when we introduce the concept of content marketing to our clients, who are often familiar with the term, but don’t fully understand how to produce and leverage a strong piece of content, due to a misunderstanding of the format, purpose, and use of a solid piece of content marketing.

So what constitutes a great piece of content marketing? It can be a case study, white paper, blog post, buyer’s guide, webinar, or infographic, but in all cases, it must abide by three core principles: clear editorial direction, deliberate prospect targeting, and multilayered promotion strategy.

There are two main angles from which to approach your article: either you are an expert in the field and can highlight valuable insights in a thoughtful commentary piece, or you are a marketer or junior staffer and need to approach the piece as a journalist would, gathering research and thoughtfully presenting facts. Most importantly, this is your chance to meaningfully connect with your audience, so be creative, be authentic, be you!

Ready to try your hand at writing a content marketing piece? Remember:

  1. The aim of this piece is to deliver valuable information that will lead prospects to bookmark, print, forward, and reference it.
  2. This piece is NOT sales collateral, it is a thoughtful representation of a certain aspect of your industry or business.
  3. Mention your company only at the very end of the article. It should feel like a helpful suggestion, not a sales pitch.
  4. Writing a good piece of editorial marketing is a rare and valuable opportunity to showcase your thoughts on the direction your industry is taking, get in the details about the reasons behind your org structure or service architecture – enjoy it!
  5. Make sure to have a robust promotion strategy for your piece: if prospects have nowhere to go after reading your article, all of your effort is for naught: make sure to end with a call to action and links to a landing page as well as a direct phone number, and use your piece in a variety of ways (e.g. email campaign + social media posts + landing page + blog).
  6. Make sure to cultivate your reputation as an innovative thought leader by producing this type of long form article on a regular basis, driving prospects back to your site over and over.
  7. Regular engagement is a great way to get to know you audience: Pay close attention to your analytics so you can keep track of the most popular topics and content types that are bringing in or driving traffic to your site. Do a lot more of what works, and cut the dead weight from your strategy.

Still don’t feel ready to take the plunge? We can help! Contact Caitlin Hassinger at Southern Growth Studio.