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20 Content Marketing Dos and Don'ts

Jeff Cohen
Director, Content Strategy

Content marketing is on everyone’s mind and on every conference speaker’s lips. I recently attended the Direct Marketers Association conference, where thousands of marketers who cut their teeth on direct mail and printing were trying to get up to speed on the latest approaches to digital marketing. Content marketing is part of that. 

One session was titled “Content Dos and Don’ts,” and it featured a very well-mixed panel that was moderated by someone from an analyst firm. The panelists were from a big brand trying to create an internal content team, an ad agency that creates content for its clients and itself, and finally a publisher that has started a content shop for brands that is based on a publisher mentality. 

The session was organized around a series of questions and takeaways, and the panelists shared lots of great stories from the trenches and lots of great ideas. I have boiled that down to a list of 20 content dos and don’ts. Note that not all of these came from this session, but they are acknowledged best practices of content marketing. I just couldn’t bear to leave some of them out. 

10 Content Marketing Dos 

1. Do focus on people and process first 

2. Do have a documented content strategy 

3. Do audit your content to know what’s available  

4. Do understand your audience when crafting content 

5. Do discover white space where there is not already an overabundance of content 

6. Do consider a brand newsroom/editorial approach to creating content 

7. Do solve business problems for your audience 

8. Do tell your organization’s story in a compelling way 

9. Do create a distribution plan for your content 

10. Do measure your content’s success against things that matter to the business 

10 Content Marketing Don'ts 

1. Don’t focus on technology as a driver 

2. Don’t create content for only one specific channel 

3. Don’t only talk about your products and services 

4. Don’t view your content as just another part of branding 

5. Don’t ignore all parts of the campaign value chain 

6. Don’t just create content as part of standalone campaigns 

7. Don’t ignore internal stakeholders  

8. Don’t forget that you may not necessarily represent your customer 

9. Don’t mistake follower numbers for engagement 

10. Don’t report on vanity metrics 

To get started with content marketing in your organization, download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing

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