Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Successful Content Marketing’s Magic Formula: Quality

March 6, 2013

A third, slow-moving evolutionary wave in social media marketing creates more of a challenge than the first two did.

Todd Martin 030513 image 1If you were in business when the World Wide Web was invented, you remember how difficult it was just to get a website up and running. If you were selling products online, embedding a shopping cart that worked consistently could be an Herculean task.

Once businesses got the hang of that, Google loomed large. How do you get to the first page of results lists for your industry’s search terms? Everyone started talking SEO and likes and shares and retweets. Now that companies had great websites and blogs and Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, they began competing fiercely for eyeballs.

“Content mills” sprang up, companies that paid people who could assemble sentences and count keywords a few cents a word to write about subjects they knew little about. The goal was not to create expert, well-written, thoughtful articles and blogs. The goal was good search engine placement.

A Third, More Promising Stage

Understandably, that second stage will be with us always. You have to help people find you. But there seems to be a new emphasis on content quality.Todd Martin 030513 image 2

If you wanted to create the perfect content marketing developer, the formula would go something like this:

Expert in a given field + exceptional writing skills + ability to understand Google algorithms + marketing whiz + extraordinary photography and videography skills, etc.

Obviously, that’s a one-in-a-million combination. Besides, that formula leaves out some of the most critical elements of successful content marketing: the human factors.

Common-Sense Characteristics

There are tools available that attempt to rate the quality of web contributors, things like Facebook EdgeRank and Klout, or simply the process of counting retweets or likes or shares. But these are meaningless for you as a content marketer unless you understand your customers’ problems and know what they’re looking for.

That’s the ongoing challenge. And while “quality” is a subjective word, there are several attributes that the best web content marketers share, and that are worth emulating. As you create content for your website or blog or social media networks, try to keep these qualities in mind:

  • Todd Martin 030513 image 3Be an authority. There’s no shortage of individuals who refer to themselves as authorities or experts or gurus in any given field. But do they walk the walk, or do they just hope that people will believe that the label makes it true? People are looking for solutions, for answers, for ways to improve their personal and professional lives. Apply your expertise to problem-solving.
  • Be generous. What you know may be worth a lot. But provide valuable information free to your online visitors. When they see the people and knowledge behind the products, what you’re selling will appear more desirable.
  • Be genuine. Whatever that means to you personally, be yourself. Are you funny? Warm-hearted? Exceptionally smart? Sociable? Let those things shine through in your content.
  • Be nimble. Woody Allen once said something like, “Relationships are like sharks. If they stop moving, they die.” You could say the same about your content marketing efforts. Learn from the responses you get to what you publish and change your approach when it looks necessary.

Yes, your ultimate goal is to sell products and increase your company’s revenue. But in today’s web, a world of misspellings and bad grammar and false claims and hyperbole and overpriced knowledge, real quality can triumph.

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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comments

A great topic Todd, and a good quality article. For ‘significant’ pieces I feel that a multi-media format works well. Clear headline, succinct introduction (standfirst), audio/video and then body copy. Wordtracker is very good at this. I liken it to the format of Rupert Bear stories which I read to my kids.

Hi there, after reading this amazing article i am too cheerful to share my knowledge here with colleagues.

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