‘Content Marketing’ – you hear it everywhere! It is fast becoming a priority on the agenda of marketers. Prospects and customers are no longer waiting to be fed information. On the contrary, they are actively gathering information, seeking recommendations, comparing offerings and alternatives. ‘Interruption marketing’, as it is called, is now an outdated method; and its effectiveness is steadily declining.
To counter this trend, marketers are now turning to content marketing as a key strategy for their marketing communication operations. The purpose of Content Marketing is to create an environment where consumers interact, react, communicate and market on their own. Instead of producing chest-thumping ads and self-congratulatory messages, the focus has now shifted to publishing engaging and effective content.
But how do you go about it? How do you make sure you publish ENGAGING and EFFECTIVE content for your target audience? The key here is the content itself, and how you mould it.
Here we give you 10 Commandments of Content Creation that will drive an engaging and effective content marketing strategy.
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD NOT BE PROMOTIONAL
No one wants to read a lot of chest-thumping ads and self-congratulatory messages. The key to winning the game is building credibility, creating conversations that matter to readers, and not being sleazy or overly self-promotional.
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD BE ORIGINAL
Truly original content creators build brands and win fans in the long term. What matters is not how ‘perfect’ your content is, but how appealing it is. While you can consider ‘content curation’ as a way to create content, your original idea and message should lay the foundation.
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD BE RELEVANT
Create content based on what your audience is interested in and what is relevant for them. Identify industry-relevant subject matter, popular topics and the most ‘liked’ content. You don’t want to deliver a pizza to someone who ordered a sandwich!
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD BE STRUCTURED
Structure first. Content later. Every plan needs a blueprint and in the case of your content; it is how you structure it, how you want to tell your story. You don’t want to end up with silos of loosely related words piling up.
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD BE DIVERSIFIED
People spend a lot of time watching videos, looking at pictures, listening to podcast. Not just reading. Your content bucket should contain stories, pictures, news, videos, presentations and many other forms of content. Keep the spark in your relationship alive!
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD CARRY A MESSAGE
What is your story? What are you trying to convey to your audience? Your content should have a theme, should carry a key message that is aligned to your end objectives and goals. Content for content’s sake, nothing but a mistake!
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD ADDRESS NEEDS AND ISSUES
Why should people bother to read your content? Most members of your target audience want to read things that help them. You should display a deep understanding of the challenges they face and align your content to address their needs and issues. It can elevate them from being interested readers to cheering fans!
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD BE EASY TO UNDERSTAND
If the people you reach don’t understand your message, then your effort is in vain. If your readers are forced to struggle, there’s hardly a chance they will read your content to the end. Simple words continue to make the most immediate impact and the same goes for you content.
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD ENCOURAGE INTERACTION
Your objective is to attract your audience and to sustain their interest. Rather than making an all-knowing one-way discourse, make your content engaging. Involve your audience, ask them questions, encourage interaction by including calls-to-action in your content – comment, subscribe, share, register, etc.
- YOUR CONTENT SHOULD BE BACKED BY PROOF
Your audience can always tell your bluff, if there is one. In today’s digital world, information is just a click away to be verified. Information is also just a click away to be found. Use information, statistics and trends as the proof to back your content. It can make your target audience much more accepting of your content.
Do you have any other content marketing commandments? Share them in the comments below!
Rohit leads the enterprise marketing team at Ethinos Digital Marketing (which also means getting out of the way of people doing some great B2B work). He has 5+ years of experience in working with clients right from digital strategy, branding & messaging to strategy for client acquisition, social media, advertising, leadership management. He is an alumnus of IIT Bombay, a huge Star Wars fan and thinks he is Batman! You can connect with him on twitter at @XYPsyche.