Content marketing success is more elusive than ever. More competition. More cynicism from audiences. Artificial intelligence and robots being used to create hyper-relevant, just-in-time content.
Meanwhile, as we kick off a new year, I’ve been keeping track of what the team and I tell our clients, and how we advise them to do content better. I collected them here, in this list of the 10 Content Marketing Commandments for 2018.
1. Thou Shalt Not Engage in Random Acts of Content
Have a strategy and an editorial calendar, and stick to it.
2. Thou Shalt Not Be a Content Coward
The only way you can really succeed is to be someone’s favorite blog/podcast/video/webinar/email. And that only happens if you have the courage to be SPECIFIC about your topic and point of view. Content that’s about everything is about nothing.
3. Thou Shalt Not Embrace False Metrics
Content consumption (views, downloads, plays) is a symptom of success but is not the sole measure of it. The goal is not to be good at content. The goal is to be good at business because of content. (More on the four types of content metrics here.)
4. Honor Thy Audience as a Messenger
Human beings trust one another far more than they trust companies. It is wise to find ways to encourage customers and partners to create content; it is often more successful and persuasive than company-created content.
5. Thou Shall Be Mobile-First (For Real)
We know mobile is important. But mobile-first means that you use the mobile view as the primary visual canvas. After all, if you say “mobile-first” but you’re constantly using a 34-inch, 4K monitor to create everything, you’re not really mobile-first, are you?
6. Thou Shall Create Talk Triggers
Same is lame. If you’re going to the trouble of making content, wherever possible do so in a way that creates conversation. Talk Triggers are purposefully created differentiators that make word of mouth involuntary. Here’s a great one from LinkedIn. Talk Triggers is also the title of my new book with Daniel Lemin, coming October 2.
7. Thou Shall Atomize Content
Take your big, tent-pole content executions and deconstruct them into a series of smaller, nimbler content executions. For clients, we use the 1:8 Principle: Each big piece of content should spawn at least eight smaller pieces of content. This approach makes your content execution much more efficient.
8. Thou Shalt Not Cross-Post
While atomizing your content, however, you should not be posting the exact same thing in multiple places. Audiences choose a platform or content archetype for a reason, and to not customize and optimize your content for each disrespects their choice, and rarely succeeds.
9. Thou Shalt Not Pray at the Altar of Volume
Creating more content is not a measure of success. Creating just enough content to exceed your business objectives is the goal. In fact, creating too much content (e.g. sending too many emails, posting too often on social) often has a negative impact on results.
10. Thou Shall Covet Moving Pictures
Video. video. video. video. If it doesn’t move, it may be a snooze.