August 30, 2014

Don’t Be Afraid to Break These 7 Content Marketing Rules

content marketing rules
Publisher Channel Content by
Nextiva

Content marketing is the way to stay in front of small business prospects to showcase expertise. There is a lot of advice on how to do this, that is just plain wrong.

For example, below are seven content marketing rules to break:

Rule 1

Send a monthly newsletter to tell customers and prospects about multiple topics they may be interested in.

How to break the rule: Send one-subject emails to highlight one relevant piece of advice. In this way, the customer will read it quickly and the company will get the brand reinforcement they want. It now takes 21 brand reminders for a prospect to remember the brand.

Rule 2

Don’t mix education messages with selling ones. Content marketers advise the company to split out theses two types of messages.

How to break the rule: Always be up selling. Condition the audience to always be expecting offers from the company while they are being educated. This will result in more sales annually.

Rule 3

Always be part of the online social media conversation in the company’s area of expertise.

How to break the rule: Only participate when the company has something useful to say and can contribute value to the conversation. While this should be consistent, a company does not need to be part of every conversation on every platform and website. This will result in being productive, not just busy.

Rule 4

Pre-program posts in advance so they systematically appear throughout the day.

How to break the rule: This can be dangerous because a company could have pre-programmed posts about getting rust off a car and the news of the day is that one of the big car companies filed for bankruptcy. Be part of what is relevant.

Rule 5

Don’t measure the outcome because this type of marketing takes a long time.

How to break the rule: All marketing needs to be measured for results. If there are no results, do not invest in it. Think of what success looks like before starting a content marketing strategy.

Rule 6

Leave the review process to customers to post.

How to break the rule: Some customer sets will naturally post comments on social media sites. Other customers need to be solicited by the company to encourage reviews and references. Don’t be afraid to just ask.

Rule 7

One size fits all. One piece of content can be shared in its same form across multiple sites and platforms.

How to break the rule: Customize the content to fit the site. Emphasize quick advice or wit on Twitter. Use pictures or video on Facebook. Highlight the post ‘s educational nature on LinkedIn. Show it in a series of pictures on Pinterest.

What content marketing rules do you break?

Rule Breaker Photo via Shutterstock

More in: 21 Comments ▼

Barry Moltz


Barry Moltz Barry Moltz gets small business owners unstuck. With decades of entrepreneurial ventures as well as consulting with countless other entrepreneurs, he has discovered the formula to get business owners marching forward. His newest book, BAM! shows how in a social media world, customer service is the new marketing.

21 Reactions

  1. Barry,

    Rules?

    Did someone just write the word, “Rules?”

    Me no like that word.

    People like you and me-we make them.

    Right, Barry???

    The Franchise King®

  2. I agree especially with rule #1. Newsletters are getting old nowadays. It only works if you managed to establish your brand. There is also a shift from text to HTML messages as more and more people are accessing their e-mails and other accounts through mobile devices like cellphones and tablets.

  3. First off, I LOVE that image at the top!

    I see no harm in still pre-programming posts, but keeping an eye on the news for recent developments, then either updating the post in question accordingly or deleting it if need be.

  4. Great article, Barry. I like your approach here. For companies like http://www.ProseMedia.com, who really try to engage their customers, it’s really important to know when and where it’s acceptable to break the traditional rules of marketing. For example, e-mails and discussion posts that seem automated completely turns off the customers. Great job!

  5. Regarding rule #2 I’ve always been told to avoid mixing the offer with the information and educational emails I send to my customers.
    Now, this is a whole new approach I should try and see what happens..
    Thank you, excellent post!

  6. Thanks Barry for the fresh insights.

  7. Thanks for all the comments!

  8. This is a good list, but I don’t know who would ever call number 5 & 7 “rules”. I’ve never heard someone say there is no point in measuring the outcome of marketing because the outcomes it results in take too long. And I’ve never heard someone intelligibly argue that one size fits all across media platforms.

    Both of these “rules” are really much more the result of limited resources. I know we don’t measure everything we do because we have a small team and not enough band width. We know that we should measure it all, but to some extent you have to examine the opportunity costs of spending your time measuring marketing outcomes versus doing marketing initiatives when your resources are limited.

    I also know we would love to be able to be more channeled with our social media postings, but again it comes down to resources. Isn’t it better to at least be active? Or is it not worth the time to even be active if you aren’t active in the appropriate way?

    Just my 2 cents but it seems as if calling these “rules people should break” is misleading. At least in my relationship to them they are more or less “rules I wish I didn’t have to follow”.

    • Many companies do not measure outcomes unfortunately…
      Many companies use tools to post the same message all at once across multiple social media channels…
      we shouldn’t, but because of time constraints we do…

  9. Great post Barry! I really like the last rule. Long gone are the days of one-size-fits-all marketing. We live in a time when marketers have volumes of data at their disposal. Relevant content is a must, but also personalization.
    I was absolutely astounded yesterday when I received an email from a very big and respectable company that I have been a client of for years, only to be addressed as dear sir/madam. Surely by now you should know a lot more about me and my taste, but at the very least my name!
    Dig deeper into data and try to deliver content that has the customers’ desires and preferences at heart.

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