7 Content Marketing Principles to Help You Write Better
November 20, 2023
I’ve found that there’s a world of difference between knowing how to write and content marketing. I’ve seen this with writers on projects I consulted on and on teams I’ve led.
It’s almost always an uncomfortable conversation trying to convince someone that even though they know how to write, they don’t really understand content marketing.
Some agree and learn, others, not so much.
It can also be time and energy-sapping trying to train someone on content marketing from scratch when you want to go go go!
That’s why I created 7 principles on content marketing that I share when I consult with companies and have to work with their writers or on teams I lead.
I call them Principles because templates are ridiculous and stunt growth. Rules are restrictive, limit creativity and box you in.
Principles are great because it’s not laying down rules on what you should say, it’s providing you a guide that allows you to decide for yourself how you’re going to write no matter who you’re writing for or what industry you operate in.
So, whether you’re a writer trying to become a better content marketer or you’re trying to power your team to develop, I believe this will prove helpful.
These are 7 principles on content marketing that I share:
This question is the first key to writing well. What are you writing?
“I’m writing a social media copy telling people to enjoy a new biscuit brand.”
“I’m writing a blog post on 4 reasons to learn tech”.
“I’m creating a video content on the pros and cons of living on the Island.”
Be clear on what you’re writing. It’ll come in handy and help you from straying off point in your writing.
In marketing generally, we create customer/buyer persona to help us put a face to the audience our product or service is for.
We include their age, their income level, where they get their news, what social media sites they like, how they like to be reached, the kind of work they do, etc.
You have to do something similar for your content.
Who are you writing for?
“People in their 20s that like Afrobeats.”
“Middle income earners looking for vacation ideas.”
“Entry-level job applicants looking for their big break”
“Computer village shop owner looking for fast and reliable delivery company”
“Lactose-intolerant man looking for organic alternatives to milk”
“Someone looking to apply for masters abroad but can’t write their admission essay”
“A lady looking to buy a new phone but can’t pay the entire fee upfront.”
Define who you are writing for or who will find your content helpful, interesting or enlightening.
Ask yourself what problems your reader/watcher has that your content will solve. What questions do they need answered and will the content you’re creating provide the answers? What clarity do they need?
“My potential reader is looking for affordable writing services to help with plagiarism-free admission essay”
“The person that’ll find my video interesting has been having issues with their delivery company and has been thinking of replacing them.”
“My potential reader has a phone with a bad screen. They need a quality new phone urgently as they use their phone for business, and have been thinking of either getting a loan from a friend to buy it, borrow from loan apps or find a platform that allows installment payment.”
“The potential watcher of my video content has not been getting interview invites. They have a feeling that it’s because their CV is bad.”
Put a face to the problem your audience/potential reader is looking to solve. It’ll help you write with that in mind.
After reading your content or watching your video content, what’s the ideal action you want the reader to take? What’s the effect you want it to have on them?
“I want them to click the link to signup immediately.”
“I want them to share with a friend.”
“I want them to drop a comment.”
“I want to change their thinking on installment payments.”
“I want them to consider XYZ airline when next they want to travel.”
“I want them to mentally decide to try ABC biscuit the next time they want to buy biscuits.”
Knowing what action you want them to take will make it easier to write the content or make the video content. If it’s a design, it’ll help you decide on the parts to emphasize.
What channel/platform will your content be shared?
Is it Social Media? Email? Blog? YouTube? The channel should influence what the content will look like.
And even for social media, you still need to narrow down on the ones where short form content works vs the ones that favor long form vs the ones that are professional vs the ones where videos do well.
Important part. Put yourself in your potential reader’s shoes. Will reading that solve your problem.
I normally do this exercise with picking titles that are keyword-optimized. Like, if I want to get this information online, how would I search for it.
Same applies to content. Ask yourself if your questions will be answered if you read the content the writer put out.
Would you take the actions the writer intended if you were the reader?
Whether you’re a business or individual, chances are that you’ll have a brand tone of voice defined. If you don’t, you should consider doing that.
The tone of voice part is just one part of a brand guidelines document that guides how your brand shows up. It helps with consistency whether it’s with colour use, communication and messaging.
Your brand’s tone of voice then ensures that you write in a manner consistent with your brand.
Is it friendly? Professional? Comical? The tone of voice is important.
Now, at first, you may need to ask yourself these questions and maybe even write it down before you write that social media post, the carousel slides on IG, the blog post, the email, but as you get used to it, you will no longer need it.
I hope you find it helpful! If you do, click HERE to go to my website and signup for my newsletter.