Despite rumours of its impending demise, content marketing is alive and well.
Content marketing pre-dates the internet by centuries of course. And people were doing ‘content marketing’ on the internet well before it was called ‘content marketing’.
So far from being the latest thing, it’s an approach to marketing that, when done properly, can be an effective way to build your audience and strengthen your brand.
Labels aside, content that is audience-focused, informative and helpful will always ‘work’.
Because it meets people’s needs.
But there are challenges. ‘Content overload’ is a real thing. So how do you cut through the noise and avoid the curse of obscurity in an already saturated medium?
Well that’s a longer story, but today’s tip is simple: start by getting the basics right.
Attention is a privilege. And it’s easily lost. So here’s a first step on the path to successful content marketing.
It may sound like basic common sense – because it is.
Before you hit publish, proofread your copy.
Shoddy writing will damage your credibility – sometimes irreversibly.
And by shoddy, I’m not even talking about your subject matter, premise or conclusions.
Those are critical, but it’s more basic than that. I’m talking spelling, grammar and readability.
In the overcrowded world of online content you’re vying for attention. And nothing puts people off like spelling errors and sloppy grammar.
It has never been about ‘just getting something out there’. There is an excess of mediocre ‘something’ writing already out there.
People are looking for quality. But you already know this – because that’s what you look for.
The thing is, once you hit publish, there’s no taking it back.
You may think you can go back and fix errors. You can and should. But the way the internet works means that people see your published content in a variety of ways. Instantly.
You can’t fix an RSS feed that has landed in someone’s inbox for example.
Assume that what you put out there is out there forever. And forever associated with your brand.
We all make mistakes when writing. That’s why we need systems in place.
It’s especially difficult if you’re a team of one. Proofreading your own copy is tricky.
So here are some suggestions:
- Turn on the spelling checker.
- Get at least one other person to read your copy – without fail.
- Better still, build an editorial team around your business content.
- Apply the 24 hour rule (put your ‘final draft’ aside for 24hrs, then re-read).
- Create a routine around your publishing schedule that gives you the space to create quality content.
I get it. You’re running a business, you’re time-starved.
But better to not publish at all, than to publish material that will damage your brand because of simple mistakes that could have been fixed.
Quite aside from spelling and grammar, your writing will never be perfect. And it doesn’t have to be.
But don’t settle for mediocre.
There’s a lot of content out there. But consistently high quality writing is rare.
Building a body of content in your area of expertise has always been a good way to help your customers and establish authority.
You’ve spent a lot of time and money building your brand. Don’t undermine your own hard work for the sake of a small amount of extra time and a few simple checks.