How’s your content marketing game?
If you’re trying to make some changes in your life, growing a business or simply writing for cathartic reasons, we need to talk about content marketing. There is so much content out there that it’s easy to fall right into the pool of what-not-to-dos.
We all need to stand out in a unique way through what we post, what we write about and what we share. God forbid, we piss anyone off with how we feel about something!
Let’s go back to the basics with a little content marketing history.
We’re going to cover what content marketing is, the right way to do it and what not to do.
Content Marketing 101
Content marketing, defined by the masters at HubSpot, is as follows: content marketing is a strategic marketing and business process focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
If you’re not familiar with the HubSpot Academy and want to learn the basics of content marketing, please stop what you’re doing right now and start learning from them!
Content marketing is the organic way to showcase your website through blog writing, promotional marketing and creative posting! I am literally doing it right now as you are reading this…with this content.
The key words in the definition of content marketing are these three gems right here: valuable, relevant and consistent. Let’s unpack this because many people are pumping out content and it isn’t any of these things.
PRO TIP: Don’t start writing content for your blog with the expectation that it will go viral. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your website traffic. Organic traffic built from blog writing takes time, so you need to be in it for the long haul if you want to be successful.
Create Valuable Content
The first step is knowing your audience. Who are you trying to reach? What do they like to read? What do they like to share?
Don’t be afraid to do a little research here, guys and gals.
You have the never-ending world wide web at your fingertips. Get out there and start your search. One of my favorite tools to find trending content is BuzzSumo. Find out what’s buzzing, who’s sharing it, what influencers are attached to it and then, even monitor it!
Once you know your audience, it’s time to create some valuable content! But, where do you start?
Start with something you can teach your audience. You want to put the power of the search in your readers hands. Find something that your audience needs to know and then help them by writing a big old blog about it!
There is an actual checklist of things that go into creating valuable content. I am not the creator of this but I use it as my content marketing bible, per say.
Check out the Content Marketing Institute’s must-have checklist to creating valuable content for more super juicy information.
What are some examples of valuable content? Well, since you asked…
- 11 Instagram Influencers to Follow For a Healthy Mind and Body (2019)
- 14 Apps To Up Your Health and Wellness Game (2019)
- 3 Ways to Increase Website Traffic Organically
See what I did there?
PRO TIP: Don’t write content simply to promote your product or service. Nobody cares, yet. They want to be informed, educated, engaged and excited about your content. Keep that in mind as you write your next blog article.
The Do’s and Dont’s of Links
Not sure if you know this, but when you write a blog you are going to be including links out to additional resources. Its simple content marketing basics.
Yes, you are going to be linking out to other people. No, they are not part of your business plan to make a ton of money off of them. Get over it.
The links you include in your content are little relationship builders.
Link mentions are physical shoutouts to the experts, to the ballers, to the masters. It’s sheer respect when you say, hey I am going to feature you in my article even though it will not help me to sell my product or service. Except it 100% does help.
Linking out to an influencer or expert can be extremely helpful to you. If they are humbled by your “shoutout” and share it to their (large) audience, guess what happens? A natural, organic web-like affect of your content has the potential to go “viral” (yes, I hate that word too). No guarantees!
When you’re linking out to external sources in your content, be sure they are valuable links (Moz, you are the KING at this), valuable people and valuable to your audience. Yes, I said it three times because it is THAT important.
Don’t just put a link in to put a link in.
Do your research and understand the value it will bring to both your article and the receiving link. Build the relationship with them! Lift up their expertise, showcase their badassery. Bend the knee. #GameofThronesgeek
Epic Presence writes all about this in the article, “How Strategic Brand Partnerships Can Boost Your Content Marketing“. Listen, it’s time to lift other people up in the world! We need to build relationships, not brag about ourselves.
“Collaborate for results that help both partners, keep your promises and promote your collaborative content as thoroughly as you would your own.”Epic Presence Team
Side note, you also should be including internal links out to content on your own website. Don’t be afraid to link to previous articles you wrote or your services page if it applies. Don’t be daft, you need to do some promotion. Just don’t brag about it.
PRO TIP: Do not make the mistake of linking out to someone who is unreachable, does not share other content or doesn’t understand that you’re not trying to steal their content. Do your homework, understand your links and make sure they are valuable.
Crushing Content Formatting
When was the last time you picked up a book simply because the cover caught your eye. Don’t lie, it happens. We’re all guilty of it.
The same goes for content! You need your content to be visually stimulating. It needs to pop!
Content formatting options that crush it are:
- Write a title (and content) formatted for SEO
- Add a bold, fun featured image, this your “book cover”
- Write bitesize paragraphs that are easily digested
- Include a bit of bolding (this is debatable, don’t just bold the keywords! Be creative with it)
- Write how you talk, don’t be too formal
- Include high-resolution, quality images that are visually appealing
- Add click to tweets or CTAs that are engaging
- Add a quote or two in big, bold print
- Embed a video if it applies
- Watch your length! Check out Google’s guidelines for help on this.
- Add social share buttons to maximize engagement
By the time this post is published there will probably be a ton more, that is how fast content marketing evolves. Stay educated, my friends!
PRO TIP: Don’t underestimate the power of content formatting. A poorly placed CTA, a failed ATL TEXT on an image or a grammatical error can result in a lost opportunity. Impress your readers and Google with spell check, and if you can’t do that, your friends at Grammarly have your back.
It’s like the ten commandments of content marketing. Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal…Authors that steal other people’s content are not cool.
The world is a savage place. Be the person that chooses the higher path. Show your true colors through your content. Tell your story.
The biggest take away you should get from this article is to “be yourself”.
Be yourself. Transparency is pretty rad. If you can be honest that’s the best path to take. Even if it means you showcase your faults, do it. Trust me. It shows you’re human!
When you write your content, know that another human being is reading it who is just like you! Be real.
CBCInked Wrap Up: Content Marketing 101
Now get out there and create some seriously crush-worthy content, friends!
Don’t be afraid to break outside of your comfort zone and start talking about personal hardships. The world loves a good redemption story and better yet, one that shows you’re human. Be transparent!
Not sure how to do this whole content marketing thing? No worries, I’ve your back. That’s why I wrote the Marketing in a Box eBook. Download below and get free marketing training, templates and resources to grow yourself or your agency.
You got this!