It’s raining outside and I’m feeling lazy, like curling up with an afghan, a full french press of coffee and a great book. Trust me, I have hundreds of books to pick from. So…. in my haste to wrap up work for the day, I think I’ll bang out a quick listicle!
Content marketing is on my mind quite a bit this week, for a variety of reasons, so we’ll use that as our topic.
Busy week! I landed a new digital agency client for strategic work in repackaging what they package, sell and deliver to their clients as they change from link-building services to content marketing – so my mind has been tackling some of their major issues in preparation for launching work.
A second client tasked me with building a list of recommended next steps to move their content marketing forward, AND I’ve been working on my own 2015 content marketing strategy for Rock The Status Quo.
See why it’s top of mind?
Don’t Overlook Its Importance
When I think of content marketing, one of the primary tactics that comes to mind is guest blogging. It’s critical and, as bloggers now outnumber journalists, it’s a public relations tactic that can’t be ignored.
That being said, here are a few dozen “do’s and don’ts” to help you in your pitching and writing efforts.
- Think like a publisher, not a marketer.
- Remember that most consumers wouldn’t care if 80 percent of brands disappeared tomorrow. How can you make them care?
- Match voice to the publication or blog. (Blog posts are usually opinion-based with a casual tone; e-zines might be written in more of a traditional journalistic tone – quoting sources, using a formal tone, written in AP style.)
- Thoroughly understand the audience before you pitch or write.
- Carefully match audience to goal. Is your goal reach? Lead gen? Traffic? Set the goal first, then select the placement opportunity to fit the goal, and write copy with the end goal in mind.
- Include one link to the client, max of two (one in article and one in bio).
- Tell stories, be visual and have a unique voice.
- Repurpose content in multiple ways – never plagiarize, use fresh copy! One blog post can become a SlideShare deck, video, infographic, quote image. How can you leverage content further? Integrate?
- Focus on writing quality – even in the pitch.
- Offer an exclusive.
- Mix long posts with short.
- Publish more than once in the same blog.
- Mix evergreen content with timely or trending topics. Know which one the blog you are pitching prefers by looking at recent posts.
- Choose blogs based on their traffic and visitor volume, even in small trade verticals.
- Put a keyword in the title, page description and first paragraph – even with semantic search progress, basics still apply.
- When the placement hits, give clients pre-written tweets/shares/updates they can use to share their new content.
- Ask for the client’s Twitter handle to be included in the share content, or wrap it into the title (if allowable).
- Help clients remember to share the article on social media; once for most platforms, but retweet it multiple times on the day it hits.
- Wrap in a larger client goal for each piece of content.
- Make it entertaining – embed videos, add images, embed posts or tweets, etc.
- Don’t always start with what the client wants to sell – start with what the end audience wants.
- Don’t put SEO first – writing quality comes first.
- Don’t blog to to collect backlinks – you are blogging to give value to readers, and provide great content to a specific audience.
- Never be negative, critical or participate in brand shaming within a post.
- If it’s a client blog instead of a guest post, don’t ignore security measures to protect clients from being hacked
- Don’t forget to stop and put yourself in the reader’s shoes before writing!
- Never, ever accept poor writing quality from your team or client. Fearlessly kick it back or use that red pen.
- Try not to write the same things everyone else is writing about. Be unique and creative to stand out.
- Don’t be afraid to take a strong stance or share an opinion, even if it might be unpopular. But FACTCHECK.
- Don’t forget to include a measurable CTA (call-to-action) at the end.
- Never forget to monitor and respond to comments – you want to engage with them!
- Don’t bother pitching hobbyist bloggers. If they don’t have guest posts or contact information, move on.
That’s it – short post today. Later, gator!! Those books are calling my name.