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Content Marketing Rules: What to Ditch and What to Keep

Content Marketing Rules What to Ditch and What to Keep 1When reaching out to your leads and the targeted audience is on the agenda, content marketing is an approach that works.

The digital landscape is rapidly changing and different ways to promote our products and services are adding new dimensions to the way marketing was done in the past. The old mainstream habits have made way for innovation. And when was the last time you referred to the number of press releases you launched for your product to evaluate the reach of your brand or measure the success of your promotional endeavors.

Content marketing is not about press releases!

But, with an increasing awareness among the brands regarding the typical and atypical content marketing ways, more and more business owners have resorted to multiple ways to use content for maximizing their reach. That could include running a blog, or boosting their social media presence, or for that matter, continuing on with their email marketing.

…and that’s how the “Rules” were born

With the frenzy over content marketing as a potent tool to maximize brand’s presence over the web, the digital marketeers of the web have curated some “unwritten content marketing rules” that are being increasingly referred  to by those who are novices.

So, what really are these rules? Do you need to follow them to their last thread? Or maybe you need to listen to your own requirements and make your own rules.

Well, it’s a bit of both.

Instead of building from the ground up, it would be easier for you to go with the tried and true ways, but at the same time, using approaches that are relevant to your brand is what will serve you in the long run.

Here are some rules to “ditch” and some to “keep”

1. A rule to ditch: The title of post *Has to be shorter*

Shorter and crisper titles not exactly a passe, but if you are under the impression that your visitors will always find the lengthy titles too unwieldy to read, you have not been keeping up with the trends. The best of websites and bloggers can be observed of making their post breaking all the rules of word limit. Their titles sometimes end up being as long as 80 characters (at times longer), and they are still doing as far as gaining traffic is concerned.

A common myth going around the web is that the Internet readers are too impatient to read a long-drawn out title and they instead pay attention to the ones that express the theme in 5-6 words. The truth however lies somewhere between “definitely” and “not quite”. If you are able to make your title interesting enough, you have got their attention.

Look at Buzzfeed for inspiration

Content Marketing Rules What to Ditch and What to Keep 2

Buzzfeed has indeed created a buzz riding on their unconventional long titles that grab a reader’s attention.

2. A rule to keep: Include search-friendly phrases or words in the title

Now, there is no dearth of words and phrases that have a dominating presence over the web. As visitors, we usually start our queries on Google with certain words that include:

  • How to
  • What are
  • Why is
  • Difference Between
  • Tips to/for
  • Free
  • New
  • Best
  • Good

Now that you are already open to using long titles, injecting these keywords or phrases shouldn’t be a matter of force-fitting them.

3. Rule to ditch: Email marketing is passe, go for social media marketing

There is absolutely no doubt over the efficacy of social media as a marketing tool, but you would be widely off the mark in your analysis if you believe you don’t need email marketing.

All you need to do is to observe how many fans on your Facebook  page see your posts on their Newsfeed. I have observed it to drop as abysmally as 0.3%. on my luckiest day, it sometimes reaches in excess of 5%, but that is rare.

Twitter is now a much better alternative for organic reach.

Posts on your blog that are are directly delivered to the inbox of your readers is effective and an essential part of content marketing.

In fact why don’t you start building your email list with Facebook using a tool like Heyo’s free contest builder.

4. Rule to keep: Write longer posts

Whilst there is an anti-rule as well to the word limit which suggests that you write shorter posts to stand a better chance of capturing the attention of readers, but most experts would advise you to write longer posts. The more information your post provides (unless you are just forcing-in words), more eyeballs it manages to grab. Let’s elucidate it further by the study Moz performed a while back:

Moz ran a test on their blog to evaluate the number of backlinks they customarily get based on the length of the posts:

Content Marketing Rules What to Ditch and What to Keep 3

As far the links to those posts were concerned, here is the graph for links against number of words:

Content Marketing Rules  What to Ditch and What to Keep 4

But it doesn’t end with Google and links, the social media users like to Share and Like longer posts much more than the shorter posts. Neil Patel observed that the posts written in more than 1500 words received these results:

  • 68.1% more tweets
  • 22.6% more Facebook likes

Content Marketing Rules  What to Ditch and What to Keep 5

It has been proven that content-rich posts get more ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ across the social media and most importantly, Google likes them!

So, with more links and likes to the content which lasts for more than 1500 words, it can be safely deduced that you don’t have to hold back while writing a post.

5. An evergreen rule that’s beyond ditching and keeping: Make your blog conversational

Conversational writing is now an essential approach to content marketing. And what is one way to do that? By asking questions.

Refashioning that approach, you can use it for your blogs as well. Whilst you don’t have to change the approach you take while writing your blogs, you can tweak the conclusion part by adding a relevant question at the end of each post, asking readers to express their opinions in the comment box.

Increasing activity in the comment box leads to increased engagement on your website. But don’t make that question scientific or filled with jargons. Ask a question the likes of which can be answered by the general audience, and you will see a lot many hands raised.

Wrapping up

Content marketing isn’t an exercise where you need to overplot and overcook, but it sure is a practice where focusing on the relevant, and getting rid of the fluff is what matters to fuel more-than-desirable results come down the pike.

Guest Author: Sarah Parker is a blogger cum WordPress developer. She loves writing. Currently, she is employed with Designs2HTML Ltd, a markup conversion services company.

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Comments

  • Great post Sarah, you’ve really hit on some key points. We have always been told that posts should be between 500-800 words but the truth is you have to write for your target audience. If you’re writing for your target audience you can write 3,000 words and they’ll read it. You’re right, we have to get rid of the old school thinking!

  • Nice info! Your stats in #3 were interesting!

  • Great post Sarah. I learned a few valuable tips.

  • Jacky York

    Hi Kimanzi

    Re word length for blogs – I’d be careful to change on the basis of ‘global’ stats from content marketers. You need to find what your audience likes and needs are not follow the herd – you might end up following wilder beasts when you want to be with the penguins. I read a blog last year – and sod’s law I didn’t keep the reference, which said that 65% of posts are shared on headline/opening paragraph only, and only 10% of blogs get to the end. So look back at your traffic and go ask the question of your audience(s) – yep in person, and do what works your business and your industry. There’s so much automation and out-sourced monitoring out there you never know theses days just what is influencing the statistics.

  • John Ward

    Can someone please explain the graphs in point 4?

  • RE #3. I never saw the post on facebook or twitter. Saw it in my email box though. 😉

  • Shashank Hosahally

    I completely agree with the entire post except for one statement – Content marketing is not about press releases! Did you mean content marketing is not only about press releases?