In this article, you'll learn...
- Five key ways to captivate your audience with content
- Three pitfalls to avoid in content marketing
- How to identify your company's voice when writing content
Here's a basic truth of content marketing: Your work must be in publishable condition before you hit the "post" button. "Publishable condition" means your podcasts should be as professional as your favorite radio shows, your videos as polished and entertaining as the shows you watch on TV, your articles as well written as the magazines you read. Well, your stuff should at least aspire to reach that level of professional excellence.
"Are you kidding?" you say. "I can't compete with all that professional content!"
Sorry, but you have no choice: The Content Wars are on. "The one who has the most engaging content wins, because frequent and regular contact builds a relationship" and so offers lots of opportunities for conversion, says Joe Pulizzi, the unofficial godfather of content marketing (as quoted in Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley 2011), co-authored by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman).
Like it or not, your content battles, every moment, to break through the daily avalanche of contemporary media and claw its way to its intended audience. To succeed, it must be as strong as you can make it.
The most direct way to create first-class content is to hire a professional writer or videographer. But if your company can't afford to do so, don't worry. There's another, more cost-efficient path: The Five Commandments of Editorial Excellence.
1. Be patient
People—marketers included—generally hate to write. When forced to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, most of us race through the task... and in our haste we don't necessarily do our best work. If you've ever been in a college composition class, you know what I'm talking about: One very fast draft, maybe a quick proofread, and then, boom, "Here's my paper, professor!" So much rushed writing is, to borrow from Shakespeare's Richard the Third, "Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before [its] time / Into this breathing world scarce half made up."
Marketers write quickly for a specific reason: They have an enormous amount to accomplish. They are burdened with so many tasks—regular tweeting and blogging responsibilities, making sense of analytics reports, crunching numbers to prove ROI to Sales, writing copy for a new print ad, and making sure the printers get the right colors on that cursed brochure—that they can certainly be forgiven if they don't devote hours to their prose. Right?