Earlier this fall I had the pleasure of going to a Content Rules Workshop put on by Marketing Profs. The workshop was based on the book by the same name, co-authored by Ann Handley of Marketing Profs and C.C. Chapman of DigitalDads. I have been following Ann through Marketing Profs for what seems like forever, so it was great to spend the day focusing on her ideas for creating killer content. Michael Brenner led the day of diving deep into the content we write, and why we write it, with some great stories and insight.
My Favorite Content Marketing Rules (from Content Rules)
Content Rule #1 – Embrace being a Publisher – Let’s face it, everyone is a publisher now! Anyone can start a blog, share their deepest thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, or upload a video to YouTube. Publishing is no longer reserved to an elite group of marketers or industry leaders, it is a necessity for marketers to be seen and found online. But, content marketing takes a lot of work! Identifying goals and creating programs to achieve them will help marketers to stay focused on building up their content marketing.
Content Rule #2 – Insight Inspires Originality – There are so many ways that you can use data and customer insights to develop a deeper understanding of your audience. When you know your audience well, you can develop content that speaks to their needs, wherever in the sales cycle they are. Determine what content could be created to help speak to your audience whether they are at the early, middle, or later part of the sales cycle.
Content Rule #7 – Show; Don’t Just Tell – Pull together stories of how your product, brand, or company really “walks the talk” in the real world. Use testimonials, customer stories, or videos to show real success. Using true stories will help you establish credibility and connect with your customers in a way that a dry, numbers-driven case study can not. Stories can be formatted in a simple way that introduces the reader to the person and their challenge, then shares their solution and the results.
“Take your brand out of the story and make your customers the hero” – Michael Brenner
Content Rule #10 – Create Wings & Roots – Great content isn’t just published. Let your content thrive by posting it in a format that is findable, accessible, and shareable. Consider that many of your readers are consuming the content from a mobile device. To make your content findable, there are many search engine optimization techniques, such as writing with long-tail keywords in mind, that will help. Being active on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin, also helps to make your content more findable. Lastly, make your content worthy of sharing and make it easy to share the article to friends or share it via social media.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Content Rules workshop and love the book even more! There are 11 Content Rules altogether (it’s hard for me to pick just four!), an awesome How-to section, and a whole section on Content that Converts (success stories) in the book. If you are looking to bring your content to the next level, Content Rules has some great easy-to-implement, results-oriented ideas that will set you apart.