150 Content Marketing Tips

1. strategy

You create content because the buying process has fundamentally changed. You need new ways to start conversations and engage with prospects.

2. strategy

Content drives search, search generates traffic, traffic yields readers, readers become leads, and leads fuel sales.

3. strategy

The moment we started having strong stories, the CEOs, the CFOs, the investors loved it. Content has an incredibly strong grip on culture formation.

4. strategy

Show them how many more emails you’re collecting with content—emails are worth money.

Neil Patel, Kissmetrics

5. strategy

Marketers cannot differentiate brands or prove to be innovators by sharing somebody else’s stuff. Creation wins.

Tom Gerace, Skyword

6. strategy

There's less of an emphasis on pure technical perfection in terms of SEO and more of an emphasis on user experience.

7. strategy

Content is anything that adds value to somebody who you want to do business with that is consistent with brand image.

8. strategy

If you don’t know what business objectives are, ask. If you’re a CMO, print them out and put them on everyone’s wall.

9. strategy

Start with pain points and structure your content from there. You need to flip the lens and say, "What is going to meet their needs?"

Aaron Dauphinee, Aimia Institute

10. strategy

Customer-facing teams need to have cross-functional workflows so that any employee can work with any piece of content in real time.

11. strategy

We want to make sure our expertise is accessible to the folks that need it. That’s our primary objective.

12. strategy

It’s never about volume. Get your message right and be very strategic in what you do.

13. strategy

Publishing is not enough—you need to be sharing a unique perspective on the world you're trying to create.

14. strategy

It's about old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting. You have to go to the factories. You have to develop sources.

15. strategy

It costs less to retain a customer than it does to acquire a new one.

16. strategy

It’s a strategic decision, who you want to talk to. An editor has to decide who their audience is.

17. strategy

Start with a description of the problem your company solves. Identify the people who have this problem and segment personas.

18. strategy

Instead of filling out a persona document based on hunches, get out and meet your customers and prospects. Nothing replaces that.

19. strategy

People have developed a low bar for bullshit. Nothing replaces quality and authenticity when building an audience.

20. strategy

Think beyond persona and challenge your assumptions. Go deep with your target audience—you'll discover important subtleties that are critical when going to market.

21. strategy

Talk about themes and issues. Don’t talk about products. Have a framework that starts with the user.

22. strategy

Storyboarding: Come up with your characters, get to know them, test the believability of the story. Does it change your life?

23. strategy

Too many brands start with: "What do we want to talk about?" They’re not thinking about how content flows from the people who create it to the people who ultimately consume it.

24. strategy

Talk to people who have purchased your product. Understand what they used in that consideration process.

25. strategy

Provide helpful, engaging, and challenging content for business decision makers. It’s about their information needs way before you’ve earned the right to recommend solutions.

26. create

Don’t create anything that doesn’t address a problem or offer an innovative update to an old solution.

27. create

Prior to publishing on a topic, research everything. Have the ability to say this piece is better than that piece—and why.

28. create

The best native content is stuff that puts your brand in the middle of something bigger.

29. create

Can you move beyond that traditional, static one-way ad? How can you have a deeper connection?

30. create

Have a style guide and voice guide that add lots of detail and concrete examples, like what each voice characteristic means.

31. create

You need editors, not brand managers, who will push the envelope to make the thing go forward.

32. create

Find people who have subject matter expertise. Sometimes you need insights from inside the trenches.

33. create

Give writers the freedom to be creative. Take the risk of letting them take risks. And hire an editor who will guide them.

34. create

Allow creators to choose their own adventures. Be a mentor, but let them lead their creation within a strategic framework set by the organization.

35. create

Carve out a beat system. Find one or two reporters who have a strong track record in a certain focus area.

36. create

If a visual execution requires an explanation, it's probably not a great piece of content.

37. create

Give the user authority over what they consume—help them embark on their own journey of self-discovery.

Kobie Fuller, Accel/Growthverse

38. create

Use video at every stage in the customer journey: increasing brand awareness, driving engagement, acquisition, and retaining customers.

Megan Cunningham, Magnet Media

39. create

Great visual content must enhance the story being told.

40. create

Let the designer lead. Provide them the context for the story, what you are trying to accomplish—then let them run with it.

41. create

Map to the values and passions that you share with your consumers. Boost the authenticity of what you're creating.

42. create

The key hire for a brand: that person internally who can advocate for good storytelling.

43. create

Knowing what you won’t publish is just as valuable as being able to recognize good article ideas.

44. create

So many sites treat content like a widget—they’ll source it, churn it, and post it. The best sites have editors and provide feedback.

45. create

I run my blog more like a television network. Week to week, there’s a narrative like a TV show.

46. create

Expect to see Fortune 500s work to move away from gut-driven programs and instead focus on using data that predicts what their audience will react to.

Allen Gannet, TrackMaven

47. create

We’re about to see quality content recognized for what it truly is: advertising creative that delivers value to its recipient, not a forgettable impression.

48. create

Content won’t just be a department within marketing, it will become the source that feeds all departments.

49. create

Messaging is the next big platform. In terms of time spent, attention, retention—this is where it’s happening.

50. create

Brand marketers will shift the $600 billion they spend annually on ads toward original storytelling. Smart marketers will move those dollars into creation.

51. connect

We're seeing a decentralization of content. You have different touch points with different people in your community.

52. connect

Map your buyer personas to the channels they prefer. Test and optimize to find out which channels are most successful.

53. connect

There's huge value in thinking more in terms of reader segments—their interests, their lifestyles.

Nicole Breskin, The New York Times

54. connect

Use social listening and influencer marketing technologies to determine where your audience spends their time and which topics interest them.

Bernie Borges, Find and Convert

55. connect

Users generally operate in two “modes”: active and passive. During active periods, they’re searching research and insights. Most of the time, they’re just skimming their inboxes and social feeds.

56. connect

Budget to do native advertising and pay to promote your own good content.

57. connect

What is your target audience or ideal customer? How are they struggling? Go in and solve those pain points.

58. connect

Make your writing voice as human as possible, illustrate your ideas, and don't hit publish unless you have something you really want to say.

59. connect

The quest for authenticity is as important for brands as it is for humans. Get deep into the problems you have, the industry has, and how you are—authentically—trying to solve them.

60. connect

At the heart of it all, the key to driving traffic is publishing outstanding content targeted to your audience.

61. connect

If you're a young researcher, engineer, biologist, artist: Talk about your perspective, have an opinion, and write about it.

62. connect

The goal is to engage consumers. Get them to associate with your brand; build lifetime value with them.

63. connect

Determine how content can move the audience along in their journey from where they are to where they will most strongly contribute to ongoing business success.

64. connect

I never tell people what to do. I describe—authentically—what happened to me in horrific situations and then people can decide for themselves whether they like it or not.

65. connect

All we’re trying to do is keep people engaged. If we start to behave like everyone else, our brand falls away.

66. connect

Listening is one of those skills a leader must have.

67. connect

Twitter is indexing with Google Search, so you better be applying some of your traditional SEO treatments in the Twittersphere.

68. connect

KISS: Keep it short, silly. No one reads more than a line or two before deciding whether your content is worth a click.

Kieran Dahl, Contently

69. connect

Join the communities you want to be influential in. Be the person who shares new information.

70. connect

Publish content from various experts with different points of view to resonate with as many people as possible.

71. connect

Think about all of the different pathways that people take to find great things. It should not impede creativity—it should inform it.

72. connect

More and more people are spending time on mobile devices, and if you need to get in front of those people, Facebook’s a really good way to do it.

73. connect

Follow group conversations and then create stuff specifically for those people.

74. connect

You don’t want to be the brand that does the planking thing too late.

75. connect

Paid content distribution is the easiest way to take a huge leap in 2016.

76. optimize

We need to be careful when we talk about ROI. The savvy marketer will track only what’s relevant and important.

Mitzi Hunter, Compuware

77. optimize

It’s not as easy as dollar spent, dollar earned. As a CEO, what I’m interested in are broader principles. How will this impact my brand?

78. optimize

The ROI talk must be an ongoing conversation, not an end-of-year declaration.

79. optimize

In some cases you’ve got to ask yourself, “What’s the ROI of calculating ROI?”

80. optimize

Use audience insights, competitive intelligence, and marketing analytics to identify what will resonate with your target demographic and eliminate ideas that won’t take off.

81. optimize

You have to pay for distribution, and if you’re paying for distribution, you might as well get it right.

82. optimize

Newsletters are an incredibly effective way to engage non-active users. Of course, those newsletters have to be populated with content people actually want to read.

83. optimize

Rigorous analytics are essential, but also, it's important to stretch and try new platforms and not expect the world right off the bat.

84. optimize

Two big ways to improve your reach in 2016: First, identify places where your audience exists and “borrow” those outlets. Second, create sponsored posts behind your best content, using targeting capabilities.

Allen Gannett, TrackMaven

85. optimize

Think about how to communicate holistically with readers about breaking and interesting stories.

86. optimize

There are four categories of success metrics: content consumption, sharing, lead generation, and direct revenue.

87. optimize

Measure whether and how relationships are being formed.

88. optimize

Figure out what your KPIs are and start by selecting 10. Then go back and ask, "Why aren’t you where you need to be?" Invest in that.

Wendy Harrington, Tyto Life

89. optimize

Look at what's broken. Document the areas of friction, misalignment, chaos—and prioritize them.

90. optimize

Constant testing is how we evolve over time. We are trying to figure out how we can engage people just a little bit better.

91. optimize

Writers need to incorporate keywords into their thinking before they write. That needs to be what drives the creative direction.

Jessica Bowman, Consultant

92. optimize

You have to look wider than your average competitors and find your content competitors.

93. optimize

Stop looking for shortcuts. Every piece of content needs to be the absolute best of its kind.

94. optimize

Title tags are the least sexy thing in content marketing. But they actually make a difference.

95. optimize

Keep URLs evergreen whenever possible.

96. optimize

Gate everything that’s worth an email address.

97. optimize

Build your content program to reach the decision makers.

98. optimize

Engage consumers with content that’s credible, unbiased, written in plain language, and free of marketing tactics.

99. optimize

We need to continue to find surprising and unexpected points of contact in our customers’ lives where we can communicate and relate.

100. optimize

You can get more signups using manipulative forms, but the quality of readers is lower than you’d get by using a more transparent form.

101. connect

Clients are always looking for content that showcases products and the intellectual capital around them. It's for this reason, PR and content marketing sit nicely side by side.

102. strategy

We want our customers to know that we are here to create content that can help them manage their lives.

103. strategy

Content humanizes financial brands and builds relatability.

Stacey Warwick, JPMorgan Chase

104. strategy

Have a small compliance group that physically sits in marketing, so it’s an integrated part of the process.

105. create

Humanization of B2B tech content is essential to create meaningful experiences.

106. strategy

Content is to inbound what the Arc Reactor is to Iron Man.

107. create

Stories should have real protagonists who are trying to solve real problems and reach real outcomes.

108. strategy

We look at content as a task force that anyone can join or leave at any time.

Kevan Lee, Buffer

109. strategy

Content is the new retail store.

Amaryllis Fox, Mulu Media

110. connect

It all goes back to content creation. We create content so our network can come to us to learn more about the creative community as a whole.

111. create

Content is the best way to differentiate your business. But you have to have a clear voice.

112. connect

We're worrying about inspiration and how our consumer's getting inspired.

113. strategy

Allow all contributors to come up with innovative ideas—from an article on beauticians in Delhi to the booth renters in New York.

114. connect

Stop interrupting what people are interested in and become what they’re interested in.

115. create

We build around trend lines, not headlines.

116. strategy

Brands have narratives. They have stories to tell—complete narratives that take time to unfold.

117. strategy

Telling stories that folks enjoy reading has been the recipe since the beginning.

David Jones, John Deere

118. connect

We use the blog to tell the stories we want to tell—the ones the media isn’t picking up on or that we want to give some attention to.

119. create

Linear storytelling is less relevant because it is a one way process. Digital ad technology allows us to have the user participate in the story, and even direct it.

120. strategy

Content performs at its best when relevance and timeliness come together.

121. strategy

The blog is a way of marrying company history with current technologies.

122. create

The sweet spot for branded content is to do the stuff that you’d want to do anyway and do it with a brand.

123. create

Serious journalism always has been and is subsidized by something. Every subsidy system has traps and we have to continuously examine them.

124. connect

If brands just publish press releases, that’s not going to work. It produces a test. Brands now have to produce material actually worth reading and compete with everything else on the web.

125. create

Journalism is the only profession that’s mentioned in the Constitution. We have the opportunity to reimagine how journalism monetizes, how the economics of it works.

126. create

Every company should have a journalist poking around at the ill shit that they do.

127. create

There are a lot of media companies in aggressive competition for strong freelancers. The challenge for the freelancer is to figure out what they can contribute that's unique.

128. strategy

Longterm branding and longterm sustainability depend on high-impact stories that last more than four hours.

129. create

Ad spending is a fixed amount of GDP. It's a Cold War-type business, it's not a pure-growth business, say, like cylicone micro chips. What does this mean? Media companies have to do better.

Alex Magnin, Thought Catalog

130. connect

Your content provides value to reporters, reporters provide value to readers, and readers provide value to your publication. It’s a virtuous cycle.

131. create

Con artists are storytellers. As journalists, we do the same thing. We craft narratives to affect how people think, to draw them in. The same tools can be used for good and evil.

132. strategy

Are advertisers con artists? It depends on intent.

133. create

Avoid being a generalist.

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

134. optimize

There are a lot of measurements that don’t mean anything at all. Meaningful analytics answer if they sticking around and how far down the page are they reading.

135. connect

You have to use the right tool at the right time getting people active on the right platform.

Sree Sreenivasan, Metropolitan Museum of Art

136. strategy

What you really want to do is fit in, within the flow, within the feed.

Adam Schlachter, DigitasLBi

137. strategy

Brands are asking, ‘Why should we buy media if we can create our own?'

138. strategy

Smarter brands in general realize that their products are just enablers to a lifestyle—changing the lifestyle itself can be more profitable than any change to your product.

139. strategy

Great brands don’t just ride shifts in culture, they contribute to them.

140. strategy

Large brands like GE and IBM are publishing more content per week now than TIME magazine did in its heyday.

141. optimize

If ROI is measured by just leads and sales, marketers are missing the point. Owned properties create a relationship with the brand, and should be measured by longer-term metrics like brand perception and increased loyalty.

142. create

Audiences will engage with great content regardless of its provenance, provided they have a sense of where it’s coming from.

143. strategy

Advertising isn’t going to go away, but smart companies are investing across owned, paid, and earned media. Brands really are media companies. And content is our product.

144. create

Your system should encourage people to write better articles instead of clickbait.

145. optimize

Every item has a story. We need to get those stories out there. Let’s just tell people about it instead of always trying to create new things. Let’s think about resurfacing, resharing, and reposting our content.

Sree Sreenivasan, Metropolitan Museum of Art

146. strategy

Everything starts with the marketing calendar. We look at the big marketing initiatives and then go back and at what gaps we have. Then we pull stories from there. That’s really our bread-and-butter.

147. optimize

You really have to understand the psychology of the customer better, rather than just data.

Kay Streit, Walmart

148. strategy

Syndicated content is like giving popcorn to children. It will keep them busy for a while, but that’s it.

149. connect

Today, it’s all about being in the places with the right content, at the right time, in the right context. Leaning into content is really leaning into today’s behavior.

150. connect

I went over to Ice-T's apartment and I asked him, "How long do you think it would take of you doing nothing before people stopped talking about you?" He said, "Six months." But the thing is, your best things don't disappear.