“If I hear ‘Content Is King’ one more time, I’ll go crazy.”

One of my friends and I were talking about content marketing and that was her reaction. I get where she’s coming from – content marketing has been promoted as the best form of online marketing for the past few years. Marketing agencies have repeated that mantra – but it’s gotten a little old.

Yes, content is king. But it’s also changing in 2014. If you want to stay relevant, continue to rank well, get engagement, and drive leads – you need to update your strategy if you want to compete.

  • Amaze Me. Is your content relevant, awesome, deep, or groundbreaking? Or is it the same list of “5 Reasons…” that every single one of your competitors has published? If you don’t have something new to say – don’t waste your time.
  • Find Your Voice. Sales and corporate-speak won’t fly on the company blog. Transparent, honest, engaging content is what works – it’s what has always worked for real conversions and branding. Find your company’s voice and brand your employees. People want to hear what “Joe” has to say – not what “Brand X” has to say.
  • Get Technical. Does your content have all the essential SEO elements to rank well? Did you write a great title and Meta description? Are your blog posts properly categorized and easy to browse through?
  • Go Beyond Text. Is it visually appealing? Content isn’t limited to words. Do you have original images that accompany your written content that are begging to be pinned or shared? Or is it the same generic stock photo that every other SEO article uses? Again, content marketing isn’t JUST blog articles. It can be awesome images, visual guides (think recipes or DIY tutorials), infographics, videos (how-to’s, humor, user-generated, etc), podcasts, and more.
  • Never Ignore Social. If your business isn’t social – you are missing out. I don’t care if you’re an extremely technical B2B company – you need to be social. You probably shouldn’t develop a Facebook page – but you better get on LinkedIn and Google+! LinkedIn is a no-brainer for any B2B company looking to network and get out there. The great thing about Google+ is that any content shared is indexed very quickly. Google+ communities are also another way to engage with people, and if you’re a local business – your Google+ page will appear in map results. You cannot expect to see results by writing great content and doing ZERO promotion. It doesn’t work. You have to get out there and promote it – and the most effective way to do so is social media.

I had to agree with my friend, I was tired of hearing that ‘content is king.’ But I’m more tired of companies who produce bad content that is destined for page 1,534,878,341 of Google’s index.

Content Marketing isn’t easy. It takes energy, patience, and a lot of red ink. It’s tempting to whip out a few blog posts and call it a day – but where will that get you?  Hint: it’s wasted time, a bad reputation, and no leads.

Taking real time to develop a strategy, create fantastic content, and then spend hours of painful revisions is enough to make you want to throw in the towel and buy a billboard.

But check out companies like Ruche, women’s clothing retailer, who features fantastic “look books” (below) – this a great example of effective content marketing that really speaks to their audience. Or visit Airbnb and see how their Neighborhood Guides sell their travel service. See how Glassdoor’s blog full of great job search and career advice sells its services.shop_ruche_screenshot

All of these are great examples of companies who rock at Content Marketing. If you are doubting that content marketing is right for you – talk to us. I promise, the payoff is so worth it.