5 Things we learned the hard way about Content Marketing

If we agree that good Content Marketing leads to attracting and securing the right customers for our business, then two things hold true:

  1. People will like your company and will put you on the short list because of the content of your web presence.
  2. People will dislike your company and will not put you on the short list because of the content of your web presence.

We have gone through an interesting time on the web. As a B2B marketer who has spent more than 25 years watching the evolution of marketing, I think that these five things hold true for marketing in general but especially hold true for content marketing.

1. You have to be curious

The great thing about being a kid is that you are always curious and you are always learning. It becomes a bit of a drag as a teenager when you think you know it all. One thingĀ I have learned the hard way about Content Marketing is that you can never stop learning and you always need to be curious. If you think you know it all, you’re sunk. Because every day, a new tool or new data set is popping up to show you something you didn’t know the day before. If you think you have your email marketing all locked down, as an example, you’ll be disappointed when in three months, it stops performing. And it might do so because you weren’t curious enough to ask after every send, how you could make it better.

2. You need a good work ethic

You’ve likely heard this one before associated with the rich and famous. Those that climb to the top of their profession did so because they worked hard. It’s no different in Content Marketing. You have to work at it. Just when you thought you had the editorial calendar nailed, something happens and you have to adjust. And if you think you can coast and get by without rolling up your sleeves and looking at your data, you can’t. Just re-purposing other people’s content as a way to boost your SEO rankings may work for search engines but it won’t work for human beings. If prospects are going to choose you, they want to know why you’re different. You can’t be different when you are only regurgitating someone else’s words. Put another way, Retweeting doesn’t get you far. To build a real following you need to do the work and create original content.

3. It needs to be fun

No one in school liked writing essays or having deadlines. We find that companies we collaborate with to develop original content also groan about deadlines and writing content. But if you make it fun, it will be fun for the team and fun for your reader. Even technical, dry content can have multiple headlines and purposes. Maybe a whitepaper can be turned into an infographic with a catchy headline. The minute it stops being fun for you to produce the content, it’s going to be even more painful for your audience..

4. Be authentic

It’s really important that you dig deeper to find a topic, tone of voice and character for your content that is authentic and has a presence. Don’t try to cover a zillion topics and hope something sticks or try to be everywhere in your social channels. Find a connection with one prospective customer and use that experience to develop content that matters. Throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks is not the way to find your voice. Find it one customer at a time and create valuable content that matters to them.

5. Ask the right questions

Questions are very powerful. This goes right back to point #1. When we think about what people want to hear from us without being curious enough to dig deep, in order to understand what they are really asking, we develop content that doesn’t hit the mark. Just because you think a topic is good it does not mean your prospective or current customers will like it.
And after this all of this trial and error, we were able to develop a new Essential Guide to Better Content Marketing this year for you to use and follow.
Happy writing!

Marketing CoPilot