Content Marketing

There are only 3 secret rules to ace content marketing

Perfection is a journey, not a destination. And no matter how many blog posts and content creation guides you consume and memorise, none of that will help you become amazing at content creation. Not unless you are willing to and have prepared yourself for that long, hard, but extremely rewarding journey.

We are in the business of data driven growth. And since we are into analytics, day in and out, we are dealing with content. A lot of content. So, when my feed throws at me some article claiming to unravel the secrets of becoming great at content marketing, I am no longer surprised. Disappointed, yes. But not surprised.

Disappointed because a lot of times it is a bunch of bull crap.

Today, I came across yet another such article. On a reputable brand’s blog nonetheless.

Nothing new. Same old stuff. Despite my personal disdain for such articles, if that’s the kind of thing you are interested in, let me list out the steps without taking 10 mins of your time.

1. Good keyword research
2. Amazing research on the topic
3. Figure out search intent
4. Create well optimised meta title (not the headline, the meta title)
5. Catchy headline
6. Optimize meta description
7. Make your content readable. Structure it well
8. Visual content - small images, descriptive image names, meaningful alt tags
9. Readable url
10. Interlink your articles

There you have it. Apparently that’s all you need to know to win at the content marketing game.

Barring #3, I found myself cringing at the list. Keeping aside the fact that these lists are nothing but the same content regurgitated year after year, let me break down my biggest problems with them.

#A. My created content could would be a big fat zero

If I were to follow that list, I probably wouldn’t be able to get a single piece of content out. Ever! Much like Alice, I would keep on tumbling down the rabbit hole, with no end in sight.

#B. They make it seem like its all rainbows and unicorns out there.

Let us even ignore the reality that the sheer regurgitation of this sort of content stands at serious odds with the “well researched” advice they so callously throw around. The fact is even well sized teams have their constraints and challenges. And what about solo entrepreneurs and content creators? The segment that comprises a sizeable chunk of new businesses every year and has an amazing growth trajectory - how is this helpful to them in any way?

If you are a solo entrepreneur, and you even try following one of such lists, chances are you will give up on your content marketing efforts sooner than you think.

So today I thought I will address this aspect of our journey. And it is not applicable to just solo entrepreneurs and content creators, but businesses as well. If you want to win at content marketing, there are just a few things you need to remember:

#1. Most Of Your Content Will Be - At Best - Fairly Average.

Think of an area you are most passionate about. Whether it is sports or economics, it doesn’t matter. You would have someone you idolise. Now, if you look back at their life, you would find that they weren’t scoring homeruns all the time. Sure, today when they are at the top of their game, even their most innocuous statements would make a lot of noise, but it wasn’t always this way. For every point Mike Jordan scored, there were more than a few he missed.

Your content isn’t going to be any different. You can’t and won’t hit the bulls eye every single time. Neither should you be expected to.

What you need to remember is that it is okay. That’s how law of averages work. You will create great content. Content that resonates with your audience at such a level that it ends up going viral. But those contents would be afar and a few.

So what should you do?

Just a few simple things:

  • Stop thinking about how to create content that breaks the internet, and just focus 100% on creating content that adds value to your audience.
  • Be authentic in your voice. Discuss the topic at hand the way you would have wanted someone else to.
  • Be honest and sincere in your communique.
  • Be consistent. Discipline and consistency will always trump all else.
  • Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a step. Remember you are only human. And know that your audience knows that as well. When you are focused on authentically delivering value to them all the time, and are sincere in your efforts, they can see that as well. A mistake or two, they’ll overlook.

#2. Publish Or Perish.

The content world is brutal. And drafts folder is where content goes to die. Publish or perish needs to be your mantra. Should you try refining your content as much as possible? Of course, just not at the risk of an infinite delay in hitting that publish button.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or not, when you are someone who takes great pride in his/her work, it is hard to push out something you are not 100% satisfied with. I’m here to tell you that is almost impossible to achieve.

Remember, perfection is a journey, not a destination. If I look back at something I wrote a few days ago, I am sure I would find innumerable ways in which I can improve it further - even without using any tools that aide writers create great content. So, if I find something, and it needs to be fixed, I can always go ahead and fix it. But I won’t delay publishing my content today so that I can improve it by 20% in a week. That 20% improvement could be worth it some times, but most of the days, it isn’t.

You want to get better at your game (in my case, writing these articles for you)? Do more of it. I sit down every day with the one goal of creating valuable content for at least one of you, and give it a fair shot - every. single. day. If I continue doing that for weeks and months, my content will gradually end up being much better than what it was at the beginning. And that is what I am trying to do.

You can, and should, do the same.

#3. Your Content Is How You Communicate To Your Audience

Don’t try to be something you are not. Don’t try to polish your words, or be all professional in your content. Remember, your content is how you are talking to your audience. So let it flow exactly that way. Structure your content well, have an order to the supposed chaos of words you are putting out there, but let the overall tone and style be the same as it would have been in a dialogue between you and a friend asking you about the topic at hand.

That’s it guys. Three simple things you need to remember. You’ll ace content marketing, and I will too. :-)

And if you do need a rule, then there is just one - Always be creating content that adds value to your audience, even if it isn’t going to bring in direct revenue for you.

That’s it for today.

Cheers Abhishek

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