Author: Donald Dunnington
At the dawn of the Content Marketing revolution, David Meerman Scott published “The new rules of PR: How to create a press release strategy for reaching buyers directly.” You can still download the free e-book from his website.
In 2006, David sent galley proofs and asked me to write a promotional blurb for a new and bigger book, “The New Rules of Marketing & PR.” This was the first comprehensive book to gain traction as an essential resource for the world’s Content Marketers (a new role in itself). Equally important the book helped online communicators persuade organization leaders to adopt and invest in a radical, new way of marketing.
New then, new now
Scott’s 8th edition will be released May 3, marking the book’s 15th year. I gave the first edition to several senior executives I worked with. It’s still the main textbook in an “Online PR” graduate course I created at Rowan University. More than 425,000 copies have been sold, and it’s been translated into 29 languages.
7 Evergreen Content Marketing Principles Scott Teaches
How “New Rules” became—and remained—the Internet’s leading guidebook to online marketing is itself a lesson in content marketing done right. Scott touches on the story in “New Rules.” Perhaps someday it will become a book itself. For now, let’s focus on seven principles that Scott and other successful content marketers have employed to create content that starts new, continues feeling new, and builds success over time.
Content Marketing is all about attraction, not naked promotion. Scott called content based on a hard-selling, “Buy Me” urgency the old marketing. The new marketing is based on a patient, “How Can I Help” attitude.
Seth Godin in his 1999 “Permission Marketing” set forth some foundational rules for new marketing. Scott, along with many of the early PR and Marketing bloggers, helped spread the word that how we market had to change. Scott’s “New Rules” helped new and seasoned practitioners acquire new knowledge and develop new skills needed to accomplish the task.
“SATISFY ME NOW” is a human habit that’s hard to tame. In the Internet Age it’s morphed into a “CLICK ME NOW” mentality that undermines faith in those organizations that chase clicks and drag marketing down into a Trust Depression. For Content Marketers, the answer to the Rolling Stone’s lament, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” is change your focus from get to give.
To get satisfaction, give satisfying content to your visitors. Give satisfaction on platforms where your visitors, your readers, your viewers and your listeners can find you. Create content specific to, and relevant to, each social platform. Go deeper with more content on your own blog and website.
You have to aim in the right direction with the right content to attract the right visitors. The web is… well… Worldwide. Sharpen your aim to get more than random clicks. Who are your Target Audiences? Do the results of your social media stats and blog/weblogs match your targets?
4. Engage (With Purpose)
Some marketers call it engagement, but it’s best expressed as a verb. It’s something you do on purpose and with a purpose. It’s action between and among people who engage with your content. Measures such as clicks, likes, retweets, and visits can be helpful signals of engagement, but to what purpose are you collecting those signals? Where’s the action?
5. Do… What? Who?
Ask not just what you want visitors to do. Ask what do your visitors want to do? Take them where they want to go. Deliver the content they’re looking for. Go the next step and become a thought leader. Create a vision, a story that takes them somewhere they never imagined.
Develop and organize your content so it reaches and services a multitude of readers/viewers/listeners/visitors. On a multitude of platforms. With the right content for the right platform. Make it easy for visitors to navigate your website. That means organize for visitors, not your organization.
At a minimum, you need to:
- Serve new visitors who don’t know you
- Convert anonymous visitors to prospects and buyers
- Serve existing customers
7. Cherish Time (Yours and Others’)
The digital world hungers for your time and attention. It’s filled with algorithms competing to eat all the time you can give and demand more. But there’s another way to approach the precious time your visitors share. Reward them with content that gives more than it takes. Start with fresh and original content: newsworthy, topical. Go deeper with guidance, answers to questions, pro tips—perhaps videos—that make using something easier, more effective, more satisfying. Create evergreen content that has lasting value and longer blog articles that provide deeper insight. Update old but valuable content to keep it fresh and relevant.
Time to Say Good-Bye
You can’t tell everything at once. Don’t try. Leave your visitors satisfied but eager to return. Follow this timeless show business advice, “Always leave them wanting more.”
We’re at the end of this story. If you’re curious about knowing when to stop, see Brad Wadle’s article at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. Wadle advises teachers to stop before students get bored. No matter our job titles, we’re all teachers