Content marketing is everywhere. Seriously. Visit the website of your plumber, podiatrist, or favorite painter, and they've probably all got a blog with (hopefully) useful tips on their industry. On the one hand, it's simple supply and demand. We produce content because people love to consume it, and the rapid rise of mobile devices basically guarantees that content, in some form, will continue to play an important role in any comprehensive marketing plan.
On the other hand, there's just so much content out there that a good chunk of it has to be... less than stellar. Standing out in the crowded world of content marketing is more challenging than it once was, but you've still got a waiting, hungry audience. We've got four proven content marketing tips to help you reach them.
Take a Stand
Go big or go home, right? No reason to start with the small stuff. One of the challenges when producing content for a broad audience is that you'd like to avoid offending people, when possible. It's a smart, sensible impulse, but the desire to please everyone often leads to content that doesn't make a memorable impression on anyone. And making a memorable impression is what it's all about.
Don't be afraid to take a position with your content, as it relates to your business. Think about the way you'd advise a potential customer, and the confidence with which you'd present your ideal solution. Be courteous, responsive, and thoughtful, but don't be afraid to present your ideas with confidence.
Read Widely and Often
Stephen King is one of the most prolific, popular writers in recent history, and lucky for us, he loves to share his writing tips. Among the best: “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.” Reading is absolutely crucial to the content creation process, and not just for research purposes. The quality of what your read influences the quality of what you write. Read well, write well.
The good news is that you don't have to drill down only on reading related to your industry, though you'll definitely want to stay up to date on that, as well. Read about marketing trends, recent news from around the world, or even just fun posts from your favorite sports or culture writers. The benefits of reading can be subtle, but there's no doubt that it will make you a better writer. Hubspot is a great place to start, if you're looking to keep up with the latest in content marketing.
Check Your Sources
With the sheer volume of content available, finding authoritative sources can be a real challenge. Still, it's worth the effort. When you provide a source link to another site, your reader is trusting you to send them someplace safe, relevant, and interesting. Content marketing is a valuable tool for building relationships, and trust is a key component. As you create more content, you'll naturally develop a go-to list of reliable sources.
Quality links also have real benefits for SEO. The best benefits come when an authoritative source links back to your website, but that will only happen if you consistently produce valuable content. The quality of your sources matters, in more ways than one.
Cut the Fluff
There are some common misconceptions about the links between content length and quality. In truth, the “right” length depends on the topic, how deeply you choose to analyze it, and where the content will be published. A long blog post (within reason) is perfectly fine, as long as it's dense with information.
In other words, don't write a long post just for the sake of hitting a word-count benchmark. That's an easy way to end up with a post that's full of fluff, and long statements that don't say much. Think like an editor, and cut the fluff. Sometimes you'll have to cut a sentence or paragraph you really like, but that's a price every good writer has to pay.