For busy professionals who want to get found on the Web, writing quality content that not only informs but generates business leads is a challenge. Most small businesses and professionals like doctors, psychologists and leadership coaches aren’t media or Internet experts. Many don’t even know what content marketing means.
I’m a big fan of the Content Marketing Institute and have followed its leader, Joe Pulizzi, since he first played the content marketing trombone and started leading the big parade. For any consultant and small business owner responsible for getting found online, CMI offers great advice.
Joe’s latest book, Epic Content Marketing, is a fine example. Written for both small businesses and global corporations, there are key content marketing principles to aim for. Here are six principles that anyone can and should apply to their writing, whether it be for for their business blog, e-newsletters, or e-books and websites.
I’ve taken each principle and adapted them for independent coaches and consultants, who are my ideal clients. Anytime you write content on the Web, your content should meet these principles:
- Fill a need. What problems do you solve for your clients? Most Internet users go online to either be entertained or educated. Your clients have challenges that you are uniquely qualified to help. Write quality content that does just that.
- Be consistent. Deliver your content on time, whether it’s a monthly e-newsletter or weekly blog posts, your readers need consistency to know you’re reliable and trustworthy.
- Be human. This should be easy for you, since you are selling your services as a professional. But you’d be surprised how many doctors, executive coaches, and highly educated consultants write like academics instead of using a conversational style. Find your voice and share your stories with readers. Be real.
- Have a point of view. Even when you present statistics and research, don’t write it like a term paper. Share your opinions, don’t be afraid to take sides. Position yourself as a thought leader.
- Avoid “sales speak.” The content you publish on the Web is ultimately designed for a marketing goal such as promoting a product, workshop, or services. There are times you want people to do something like invest in your business. But avoid the hype of sales clichés. Promotional pieces are necessary, but remember they will only garner 25 percent of views and shares as other informative content. The more you talk about yourself and your business, the less people will value your content.
- Be best of breed. Your goal should be to write and publish the very best content in your field available online. This means you must know what others are doing, but don’t follow them, exceed them. If you want a growing list of followers who read your content, you must deliver value every time.
Keep these principles in mind and check your content before you publish your blog or e-newsletter. Give your readers something they can use, solve a problem, be as charming or be as controversial as you naturally are in person, but be real. People don’t read to be bored, or to be sold to.
What do you have to say or write that’s all about them? Share something about yourself or about your clients that shows you know what you’re talking about. That’s what quality content marketing on the Web is all about.