Ten quick lessons in content marketing (for those who are pushed for time)

Actress Lucille Ball seated behind a desk and reading a brochure

If you follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter, you might be familiar with our ‘Want a lesson in content marketing but pushed for time?’ series of posts. Here, I’ve brought together a convenient compilation of ten of our favourite lessons.

1. Focus

Have you heard the figure of speech, Jack of all trades, master of none? It’s so applicable to content marketing. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of distribution and amplification channels, apps and digital networks available (thissite maintains a tally of how many people use the “top” 800-plus). So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s little wonder. It’s not even practical to think you could get your head around today’s 21 most important (according to Social Media Today). My advice? Start by mastering just two or three and focus on making sure you produce consistent and engaging content.

2. Authenticity

Remember this: credibility is what attracts subscribers; authenticity is what retains them. This especially applies to individuals who produce sponsored content, and to brands who engage social media ambassadors to advocate on their behalf.

3. Quality

How many times have you clicked on a shared link, only to be confronted by a premium content pop-up? It’s frustrating. So think twice before you share links to subscriber-only content. It’s the fastest way to lose followers.

4.  Timing

The best content marketing is timely and I’m not referring to the day of the week on which it’s distributed. I’m referring to how well your content is linked to the news of the day; how well it reflects the latest trend; how connected it is (and you are) to the pulse, and to your audience. So keep your eyes and ears open for hooks that give you the opportunity to start (or continue) a conversation.

5. Repurpose

The platforms you prioritise might be similar in many respects but each has its peculiarities. For example, migraine hashtags are an essential, valuable and prolific communication technique – a technique that does not work on LinkedIn. So don’t just robotically post content across multiple platforms. Re-purpose it first. Not doing so might cause others to think you’re sloppy or “un-social”.

6. Share

So you’ve created a piece of quality content. Great. And you probably have a bunch of subscribers. Cool. But if you really want to get mileage out of your content you have to share it, promote it, market it. And repeat. It won’t happen by itself.

7. Brevity

In communications, everything has an optimal length:

  • 100 (yes, 100) characters for a tweet,

  • fewer than 40 characters for a Facebook post,

  • six words for a headline,

  • no more than 1600 words for a blog…

If you want to engage your audience, familiarise yourself with these facts (yes, they’re backed by research) and then apply them to your content.

8. Frequency

To create brand engagement you have to have real conversations. Real conversations require regular communication. So think carefully about how frequently you will communicate with your audience.

9. Segmentation

In content marketing, the more relevant or personal the message, the better. So consider segmenting your database and then customise your content for each key segment.

10. Laughter, Amusement and Awe

Buzzsumo analysed 100 million articles to understand why content goes viral. One of the conclusions it reached is great content appeals to our emotions – if you can invoke awe, laughter or amusement, you could be on your way. The ‘awe factor’ was confirmed by a study of 7,000 pieces of New York Times articles: content goes viral if people feel activated after reading it. As explained by Wharton School marketing professor, Jonah Berger:

“Awe gets our hearts racing and our blood pumping. This increases our desire for emotional connection and drives us to share.”