Everything changed after the pandemic, including traditional marketing tactics. Business opportunities have been canceled. Working exclusively at home, your customers are busier than ever, adapting to video conferencing and taking on additional responsibilities.
How do you reach your target audience where it is?
High-quality content, of course.
According to LinkedIn, more than half of marketers are now increasing their efforts on social media (55%) and innovative leadership (53%). And with good reason: B2B and B2C customers are more anxious than ever for their content.
Are you ready to join the content movement?
Imagine this: you and your marketing team create a list of content topics. Select Internal Topic Experts (PMI) for an interview. Hire several freelance writers and distribute the work. They work and you are optimistic about the great posts and articles to come.
But if you open emails and read the first few responses, something is wrong. You like the title of a writer. You like someone else’s tone. Another author’s conclusion and appeal are promising. The messages are good, but they are not connected. They have no unanimous vote.
Type: Content marketing guidelines.
As more than one copywriter curates your innovative leadership articles, blog posts, and social media, you need to establish guidelines to ensure that all content (including that on your website) has a cohesive voice, the voice of your business.
How do you create guidelines for content marketing?
For some companies, the content marketing guidelines will be a ten-page e-book. For others, it is a one-page PDF reference page. The purpose of these guidelines will depend on the depth of your content program, your goals, and how you organize your writers.
You may want a separate set of guidelines for each marketing channel or vertical sector. Facebook is different from LinkedIn, your blog is different from an industry publication, and each business division is likely to target a unique audience … So consider all of your marketing and audience efforts when writing the line marketing guide.
Include these ten topics in your content guidelines:
Is your content written in first or third person? Are your blog posts and thought leadership articles more authoritative or conversational?
- Who are your target groups/markets? What language do they use? This problem is probably more important than any other problem in optimizing readers’ content. If you are working with new Freelancers who are not familiar with your industry, include substantive examples for this.
- Do you follow the AP style? List all of your exceptions to the rules (I promise you will have some!) And any unique style nuances specific to your business. For example, how should your company be named on the first tab and each subsequent tab?
- SEO. Specify the SEO terms and how you want to use them to optimize your content. Research the SEO terms for each blog post/article before distributing writing tasks. Returning to SEO after the content is written will destroy its readability.
- Use the ETA formula to write the headlines: the result from your client wants + the TIME he can get + THE ACTION he needs to take to get it.
- Take the keys or the cover. Create a key collection formula or the cover of your brand (that is, the short paragraph between the title and the copy that summarizes your main points). Here is an example I wrote this week: Requests for directors and officers (D&O) are expected to increase significantly in the post-COVID-19 environment. Here are 5 ways in which private equity firms and their portfolio of companies can reduce the impact on their hedge and D&O profits. Tedious? Yes, but you know exactly what you’re getting.
- About statistics. Ignorant readers still deserve the truth. Teach your writers to quote statistics. Do you use footnotes or direct to each state with “According to LinkedIn …”? You can name the source with the following: “Bloggers who prefer blogs have a 13-fold positive ROI,” says Forbes.
- Copy the body. Your readers have little time. Instruct your writers to create multiple entry points for the copy so that your audience can come in and then come in again. Use bulleted, numbered, or paragraph headings to keep the reader engaged.
- Call to action. Create a CTA that can eliminate leadership at the end of each thought to educate your reader about the next steps. Use different CTAs for each platform – your website’s blog features one, a trade magazine article, and another social media. Authors must be able to cut and paste from the content guidelines.
- Internal approval process. Discuss how writers should submit their blogs, the order of internal approvals, and the timeline. Many organizations use project management software, such as Basecamp or Scoro, to manage workflows.
- Others will want to include a flowchart in the guidelines that guide the author during the editing and approval process.
Of course, nothing is definitive, not even the impressive masterpiece you create to guide content marketing. Like a LinkedIn post or a blog on a website, you can and should develop content marketing guidelines over time.
As marketing trends change, adapt to them and adjust your content marketing guidelines accordingly.