It all starts out wonderfully. The sun is shining; you just had a big dish of yummy cat food; you slurped up your fill of room temperature water with a side of yesterday’s hair floating in it. Life is good. Then you see it, a big glass jar calling your name. It looks so inviting, so cozy, so see-through, so perfect. And then, suddenly, you’re stuck inside, and the whole world is all at once a terrible place of transparent doom and captivity. Mistakes were made.
This is not just a story about a curious cat stuck in a glass jar; it is also about a wide-eyed and bushy-tailed content marketer skipping into Content Marketing Land singing of rainbows and talking sunflowers. If she’s not careful, our brave content marketer is going to end up trapped in a mean old jar of bad content and strategy. Mistakes will be made.
This is not how the story has to end, however! In their infinite wisdom, the Content Marketing Cat Gods have sent down a sacred scroll of no-no’s for savvy marketers starting out their journey towards content marketing bliss. Let the scroll unrolling commence:
- Thou shalt not create a fickle content team who is like a knotted up ball of yarn and yarns: Great content starts with great writing. So when hiring someone to create content for you, make sure they truly know how to write well. After that, you can train and guide them towards your brand’s style, voice, and on-point content. Don’t throw your team into content creation willy-nilly, either. Instead, craft a content creation guidelines document to help direct your team towards unified brand creation and presentation. That way, no matter who is writing for you, your brand experience will be clear and on point every time.
- Thou shalt carefully watch and measure your herd of cats: If a cat is a piece of content and you have a whole bunch of content, then you essentially have a herd of cats. Many marketers make the mistake of ignoring the herd of cats once it’s been let out of the corral. This is a no-no. As hard as it is to herd cats, it must be done to get the most out of your content. Indeed, content can be hard to track and measure. Without measurement, however, improvement cannot be made. Start off small by making specific content engagement goals; then set up and study Google Analytics. You’ll be steering your herd of cats like a boss in no time.
- Thou shalt not confuse your audience with too many content play toys, useless gizmos, or gadgets: Too many marketers try to create content for the whole world and end up with a big pile of junk nobody knows what to do with. The secret is to stay niche and focused on your content. As Mike Mooney of News360 says, “Understand your target audience, pick a niche, and serve that small segment well with highly specialized content. They’ll take notice and keep coming back.” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/content-marketing-mistakes-youre-probably-making-mike-mooney)
- Thou shalt not hide your content under beds or couches; distribute it to the ends of the world and ye shall be rewarded: Besides having good SEO practices in place for all your content, you also need to be sure it gets distributed beyond the walls of your blog. Content without engagement is like having a laser pen without a cat; it’s just no fun. At a minimum, post your content to all brand-relevant social media sites. Also consider teaming up with content distribution platforms like News360 (https://news360.com/brands/) , Outbrain (http://www.outbrain.com/), and Taboola (https://www.taboola.com/). Experiment, monitor, and refine. The Content Marketing Cat Gods will be with you.
- Thou shalt frequently lounge lazily on comfortable chairs but also keep up the stealthy fight of content creation; never give up: Too many marketers want a quick-fix pill for their marketing woes but for the most part that kind of thing just doesn’t exist (and is an awful way to view marketing strategy, too). Content marketing is a long-game strategy. “When you’re planning a content marketing initiative,” says John Hall of Forbes.com, “take the long view. Any substantial initiative needs at least six months to yield impact. The day-to-day, however, is important as well. Evaluate and iterate constantly.” (http://www.verticalmeasures.com/content-marketing-2/how-long-before-my-content-marketing-shows-results/). Look at content marketing like you’re building an empire. Keep the big picture in mind and keep at. Honor, glory, and fun are yours for the taking!
So ends the sacred scroll of content marketing no-no’s from the Content Marketing Cat Gods. If you find yourself already stuck in a glass jar of poor content and strategy, do not lose hope! Take a little time to lounge lazily on a comfortable chair. Strategize and reevaluate, then go back to square one and follow these five precepts. Also, don’t be afraid to give us a call. We’re experts in helping brands (and cats) get out of glass jars and back on the path to content marketing bliss.