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Content Marketing Is the Marketing That Matters

Content MarketingRemember when Bubba was running through the list of potential shrimp dishes with Forest? Marketing could be handled the same way. Let’s see, there’s email marketing, attention marketing, social media marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, print marketing, traditional marketing, new media marketing, permission marketing… and on and on we go. Which one matters most for we who are blogging for income? Ultimately, content marketing matters the most.

We need reliable hosting, a uniquely branded design and identity, and robust publishing features. We should be building a mailing list and distributing our content in all the right directions. But at the end of it all, we’re ultimately leading people back to a destination that ought to be worth their time. We’re always concerned with getting people to spend their money on something so that we can profit from our blogging efforts, but where our concern should really lie is with motivating readers to spend their time interacting with our content.

So building a great blog begins with producing great content. It continues as people read, consume, and share that great content, and it ends when decisions are influenced by that great content. The question remaining is, what kind of content is best for content marketing?

Great Content Grabs a Reader’s Interest

Effective content marketing starts with the title, and the style of your title will depend on the personality of your blog. I’m annoyed by article titles that use all lowercase letters (that’s why it’s called “Title Case” after all), but I recognize that one or two words in all lowercase letters sometimes fits the artsy and poetic nature of some blogs. More common perhaps is the approach of giving emphasis to keywords. A well-crafted article title ultimately says “HEY! I’m what you’re looking for! You need to read me!”

Great content entertains. That is not to say it doesn’t have a much deeper purpose, but it entertains in that it attracts and holds the attention of the reader.

Great Content Meets a Reader’s Need

Why is it that “how to” posts always skyrocket in popularity? Why are tutorial sites so successful? It’s because they position their content near the point of pain or need in the minds of their readers.

This is not true only of “how to” articles though. It’s also true of articles that encourage the discouraged, connect the disconnected, and inform the uninformed. It’s true of articles that report news people are eager to learn about and articles that honestly review products and services the reader is on the fence over purchasing.

Having solutions goes a long way when it comes to popularity.

Great Content Moves a Reader’s Will

I’m not referring to playing Jedi mind tricks on anyone or using shady marketing tactics. I’m simply saying that the content of a great blog post (as opposed to that of a great short story or novel) should be designed with the resulting action in mind. What should the reader do next? Great content not only answers that question, but spells it out and makes the action apparent and easy to take.

If you want the reader to comment, to share the article, to check out a related post, or even to look at a product for a potential purchase, you should use the content to move the reader’s will toward that decision.

Great Content Motivates a Reader to Share

It’s the social web. We have a thousand sharing options when it comes to content. We can distribute articles through RSS feeds, email lists, content aggregation services, social networks, and microblogs. The issue isn’t having the space in which to share great content, it’s having the content ready to share when the time comes.

I often find myself giving advice to organizations who are launching blogs or online publications for various purposes. Most of the questions tend to revolve around platforms, costs, and editorial calendars. But I always interject these basic thoughts that often get overlooked: Make it simple. Make it social. Make it sharable.

How would you complete my list? What else goes into the making of great content?

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  • http://www.creativeblogger.net CreativeBlogger

    Nice post, Brandon!

    As the editor of FUEL, you know that I’ve been experimenting with a different type of content – content that offers a level of interactivity in addition to the information. Though this requires a bit more work from the blogger, it’s proved again and again to really engage readers and get them to chime up in the comments section.

    I wouldn’t necessarily this is great content by any means, but rather a good way to offer a connection with your readers and discover something valuable in the process of the conversation.

    I think a lot of publishers are falling into the trap of the echo chamber and forgetting that readers want to connect and engage. If bloggers forget about engaging, they might as well be publishing along with the majority of the traditional, one-way media.

    • http://bcox.me Brandon Cox

      Excellent point, and this is something I’m learning from you as we go. It may even mean cranking out less so that we can spend more energy responding.

  • http://www.perfilgeek.com Edwin Sandoval

    Good Article, I think that is very important to develop our skills in order to write better articles.

    • http://bcox.me Brandon Cox

      Thanks Edwin, I tend to agree!

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  • http://ghostwriterdad.com Sean Platt

    Writers have the edge when it comes to developing quality content, but we often fall into the trap of writing for other writers, rather than for a specific audience.

    Great job laying out the basics of what it takes to get read, and more importantly, what it takes to get shared.

    • http://bcox.me Brandon Cox

      Great point, Sean!

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  • http://john-champion.com/ John

    Good job Brando, thank you fr sharing with us…

  • Pingback: Content Marketing is the Marketing That Matters for Blogging at Marketing Tips Online

  • http://emptypockets01.com/wpfile Jennifer

    Great post, Brandon. Ultimately, you have to get right to the heart of the matter, which is creating great, engaging content. That absolutely needs to be the essence of what you’re doing, and the income should start to trickle from that primary source. Awesome!