Content Marketing Strategies: The Do’s and the Don’ts

By Maia Lopes-Gilbert

Some people believe the content marketing industry is still developing, while others believe we should already be thinking about what’s next. Regardless of which boat you find yourself in, both sides seem to agree on what makes a good content marketing strategy. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you become an effective content marketer:

 

1.    DO: Create content that stands out.

In the world we live in now, a single person scans more data in an hour than the average computer did in a day 20 years ago. What does this mean for content marketing? Make it interesting. If your audience realizes by the first word of your content that they’d rather be scrolling through Taylor Swift’s Twitter feed, your marketing strategies aren’t creative enough.

 

2.    DON'T: Make the content longer than “at a glance” scanning.

According to the New York Times, the average window to capture a human being’s attention is now eight seconds. That’s the length of a snapchat, and shorter than the attention span of a goldfish. Even if you somehow manage to grab them in that tiny amount of time, that only gives you about 4 minutes and 52 seconds to engage them before life drags them back in. In other words—keep it concise. Make your content grabbing, shocking, short, and simple. No one has time for complicated, intricate or difficult-to-decipher information.

 

3.    DO: Set a goal

In the world of the new and shiny, there seems to be a strange notion that entrepreneurs who founded startups throw themselves into their work, hoping for the best without setting a goal— as if they’re crossing their fingers, saying a prayer, and the next thing they know, they’re rolling around in bills.

That’s not true.

A goal is crucial. Sure, it changes over the lifespan of the project or business, and may end up completely different from what is started as, but setting a clear goal is imperative. It’s how your employees, marketers, testers, and audience members know what you’re trying to achieve. If your marketing content is unclear or too broad, you will not capture attention. Consumers won’t understand your business’ goal if you don't understand it first.

 

4.    DON'T: Shy away from narrowing down ideas that are too broad.

Most fear being too narrow, too specific or too precise in their ideas, leaving little to no room for growth or expansion. While this can happen, it’s better to define your ideas more clearly than to leave your audience aimlessly wondering what you’re trying to prove or accomplish. It’s possible to be clear and precise in your ideas without eliminating room for growth or change.

 

5.    DO: Consider your target audience’s wants and needs.

Once you figure out your target audience, it’s crucial to determine their immediate wants and needs. Teenagers, for example, want everything to be easy, quick, short, on-demand, and take as little effort as possible. Preferably, they also like things to be free. Or at least cheap (we can dream, can’t we?) Older adults, on the other hand, might want a product to be applicable, time-saving, and show a clear quality-of-life improvement. Discovering the wants and needs of your target audience determines how you’ll market and sell your product. Pay attention to your audience, and your audience will likely pay attention to you.

 

6.    DON'T: Purposefully exclude an audience.

Determining one target audience, however, does not mean you should purposely exclude all others. There’s a difference between catering to a certain audience and ignoring or denying the needs of another. Just because your product’s target audience is teenagers doesn’t mean it can’t also consider the needs of young working adults, and vice versa. Set a target audience, but don’t let this confuse you into thinking you should ignore everyone else.  

Alec Robertson