When I asked the CMO of one of our clients why they hired us (over larger marketing agencies), the response was “Simple. You guys were a media company and our content programs need to be ‘media worthy’ in order to work.”
For content marketing to work, it first has to engage. And media companies know how to engage readers, from the headline to the last sentence. We ran a media company that served small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) for 11+ years, and if we may be candid, many of our readers were raving fans. So we learned a few things about engaging SMBs. And in five years of helping our clients with their SMB content marketing initiatives, we learned a few things about successful content programs. Let us share four key points:
- Make sure the content you serve up to business owners goes above and beyond the obvious. The all-too-common path (which we see all-too-many times) is to provide basic, bland, “heard it before” content. If you are not sure whether your content is compelling, find an expert who is sure.
- This should go without saying, but make sure any advice you are providing is actually correct, because when it isn’t, you are tarnishing your brand image. As content marketing proliferates, I see more and more incorrect information published. Is the person providing and editing your content truly an expert?
- The people spearheading your content marketing must suppress the product marketing and sales urges. I know it’s hard. But remember, content is meant to engage. Your first task is to create a communication medium that people like before you try to sell stuff. Engage first, then sell. It works.
- Keep the lawyers in check. For example, some lawyers like to take out mention of specific products or companies (I don’t know; maybe this was a course in law school?). Are they really worried that your company will get sued because one of your articles mentioned that Amazon has a great ordering system and it looks as if you endorsed them?) These omissions create more work and uncertainty for the reader instead of less.
Remember that you are competing for eyeballs with top media companies. Act accordingly!
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