Growth February 25, 2020

Checklist before you try content marketing

Harry Dry @harrydry

Any content marketing article should either:

a) be so good people enjoy it / share it
b) target a long tail keyword that you can realistically rank for
c) target a high search volume keyword that you might rank for over time

If your article doesn't do any of the above you're wasting your time

90% of content marketing is people wasting their time. Companies write deathly boring articles for really competitive keywords with no chance of ranking. And they do it cause, “everyone's doing it.”

I like to think “what is the tangible benefit from this producing this piece of content” before writing — just my opinion :)

  1. 3

    Great tips for those of us just getting started with content marketing. Thanks, Harry!

    The first one seems to be the hardest. Everyone thinks their article is going to be HUGE and VIRAL but it's very hard to make it so and probably involves a lot of luck.

    You gave one tip on the Indie Hackers podcast which I really liked and tried just yesterday. It was to not just tweet the title of your article and a link to it, but to decompose it and summarize it into a thread.

    With our recent StatusGator blog post, we did just that. It's not a viral sensation but I still like the way it reads and engages Twitter users better than a plain ol' link ever could.

    Thanks for the advice! Any others for making articles "so good people share it"?

    1. 2

      Nice one Colin. Good thread.

      Re writing good articles - it starts with having something interesting to say. And that comes from consuming interesting material or having a story to tell ...

      The best story teller always have the best stories to tell ...

  2. 1

    Thanks for the great advice here Harry, do you have an example of where you or someone else successfully executed this to add some context?

    1. 2

      Let me give you two examples:

      Starter Story grows predominantly because the content ranks for long tail keywords. Their organic traffic is awesome.

      My own blog Marketing Examples grows predominantly because the articles get shared a lot on Twitter.

      1. 1

        Thanks, those 2 links look like awesome resources as well by the way!

  3. 1

    How do you go about investigating whether or not you can rank for a given long-tail keyword as someone who is new to content marketing?

    1. 1

      good question. firstly I'd type it into google and see who's ranking. If the top 5 companies are giants it's going to be tough.

      Then you can look at keyword research tools. Some are free some are paid. You basically type in the keyword and it tells you roughly how strong your site's “domain authority” and how many backlinks you need to rank. This is a really rough measure. Maybe give this video a look. And use Ahrefs free backlink checker to figure out how strong your domain profile is.

      It also comes down a lot to the sort of article you write. If you write a quality article which matches searcher intent even if your “domain authority” is pretty weak you've got a good chance of rising up to no 1.

  4. 1

    A Gross Over Generalization...IMHO!

    If your content is targeted to your audience AND you can get it to your audience then it does not need to viral or high in SEO ranking. Your audience is probably not everyone...at this point (we being here) is AND should be as small as you can make it.

    Search ranking is nice...But, being able to reach your audience is better. There are many other ways to do this effectively...yes, work.

    1. 1

      I take your point onboard about satisfying existing customers. Just tweaked point one to reflect that. Cheers :)

      My post comes from having worked with a dozen companies with “nothingy” blogs — no search traffic, average articles, no email list. And yet they keep pouring more resources into a content marketing approach which taking them no-where.

      I'm basically saying => think before you mindlessly write another blog

  5. 1

    I go by the philosophy of creating content that is 'useful, value and leaving you with an intangible positive feel', often this means that it is shared, but not necessarily. Making something memorable means people will check back in and recommend 'your brand', but not necessarily a specific piece of content.

    That's how it has been for me in the past, people always recommending Ministry of Testing for a combination of things, but not necessarily for that 'one piece of awesome content'.

    1. 1

      yes. this is a fair comment. My three points are a touch over simplistic. Re point 1, I guess I'm just saying it has to be really damn good. So good that people remember it... and in your instance revisit your website.

      Filler articles get you no-where. And yet that's what most companies write.

      1. 1

        'Filler articles' have ruined the internet!

  6. 1

    In a strict metric sense, you are probably right. However, a lot of content generated for pure reflection or just for the love of writing (not necessary reading). And sometimes these are the ones which tend to get shared more than others.

    1. 1

      100% agree. I'm not talking about artistic work. Purely content marketing for a business.