Ready to master content marketing in 2018? Here are 23 new rules to guide your brilliant content marketing process! Brush up on important tips and learn what changed since last year.
New Rules for Blogs and Written Content Marketing in 2018
1. Tell the Truth.
The focus this year is heavily placed on squashing disingenuous online content and other forms of “fake news,” so the most important thing to do is tell the truth. Be consistent and honest about yourself, clients, your company and industry. Be truthful in blog writing and make sure all photos, videos, and interviews back up your story. It’s a real PR nightmare when a person or business gets exposed for double standards or for lying on the record. The demand for accuracy and authenticity is so high that Facebook, Google, and other tech giants are developing software and systems to help rid the Internet of fake news and misleading content. The bar is set high for content marketing in 2018, and there will be great rewards for doing it right.
2. Treat Headlines as Top Priority.
There’s no reason to waste time creating a quality piece of content if you’re going to use a mediocre title or boring intro. The headline is key to grabbing a reader’s interest just like a resume is key to getting an interview. Your headline must be compelling and interesting. It must clarify your keyword/topic. Ideally, it should have an odd number of steps, facts, ideas, etc.
3. Develop Your Writing Style.
You don’t have to be a literature major to produce great blog posts and articles and other forms of content marketing in 2018. More than anything, be interesting and write in a way that’s easy to understand. Your topics and points should resonate with your audience, but to earn a cult like following, you must develop a writing style to highlight your personality and your life. Reuse the same lingo from one post to another, link to your related pieces, and be authentic and open to share who you are. Developing your style and establishing yourself through written content is key to marketing success.
4. Don’t Skimp on Written Content.
Google, the mother of all search engines, sets the bar when it comes to ranking and gaining traffic. They quietly change the rules every so often and savvy digital marketers keep on the top of changes and test things out to confirm the new rules. Currently, the digital marketing masters are seeing better performance with long form blog posts that are 2,500 words or more. However, there’s something going on right now with the magic number of 1,300 characters (only about 400 words). It might be a temporary shift of preference or a test, but it’s worth taking note. The best advice is to write long form posts as a hook, then break it up into separate, shorter posts to specifically dive into the narrower topics. Don’t forget to link your shorter posts back to the longer keystone piece.
5. You’re Human – Act Natural!
Quite possibly the biggest thing on our side in the technology age is being human! There’s a lot of automated content, self-generated sentences, and artificial sounding nonsense crowding up the Internet. As bots and AI are continually gaining ground in business and marketing, real humans can generally still tell the difference. Let your humanity show. Avoid sounding scripted or robotic. Be natural when you’re using technology to address and interact with a human audience.
Optimize Posts for Smarter Content Marketing in 2018
6. Start With Data.
Before you exhaust your time and effort, make sure that your plan for content marketing in 2018 is consistent with the data. We can use analytics and keyword research tools to learn where the demand is. What information are people searching for? What questions are they asking? Which products and services are attracting the most attention? Do your research first to learn where the interest lies, then choose your topics according to your industry/angle once they’re backed up with ironclad data.
7. Put Keywords in The Right Spots.
Identify the keyword or keyword phrase you’re using, as detailed above in Rule #6. That same keyword needs to be in your title, in your meta description, and all of the file names and alt tags on your photos. The keyword should be in your headings and subheadings, and variations of it throughout your text. This is the secret sauce of SEO and it will enable your post to rank higher for the keyword. This was true last year and is still a must for content marketing in 2018.
8. Use the Right Amount of Characters.
Your title and meta description should be as short as possible without losing the message. The best length for a title is 45 characters or less, and the meta description will be cut short if it’s longer than one or two sentences. Get your point across right away and make sure your chosen title and description are compelling enough to warrant a click.
Gain Credibility and Show Authority
9. Link to Quality Sites and Sources.
The best way to show that you’ve researched your topic and/or have authority on the subject is by sharing your sources. This is best done using inbound and outbound links. Inbound links point to other pieces of content published on your website, and outbound links take the reader to other sites to see external sources. You should aim to include 3 of each type. High quality, credible websites that don’t compete with yours are the best ones to link to. It benefits the user and ultimately has an impact on your post’s trust score.
10. Share Firsthand Knowledge.
While it’s important to include external sources and share the findings of your research, there’s something special about firsthand knowledge based on personal experience. The more you can share from your personal experience or point of view, the better. You will build authority when speaking on a topic from experience. Better yet, conduct your own surveys and studies and include the results. When you offer new results and original quotes, you’re more likely to see people link to you and share your content.
11. Host a Webinar to Establish Yourself.
Easily grab some targeted attention by hosting a webinar on a topic that you specialize in. The smartest way to use a webinar as a tool for content marketing in 2018 is to have a post-webinar strategy in place. Your sales team must be prepared for follow up so you can convert leads after you have them hooked. Afterwards, write up a blog post to recap what you covered in the webinar to get more mileage out of your content.
Keys to Promoting Your Content in 2018
12. Use the News.
Don’t wait around for your article or post to be “discovered.” Seek out the attention it deserves and make it happen! You can browse HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and send a link to the journalists who are looking for content like yours. Or, comb through message boards and forums for topics that your content addresses, and make it easy for the right readers to see your content.
13. Be Strategic About Social Media.
There’s no faster way to lose attention than when you misuse and abuse your social media platforms. Don’t post the same thing over and over, and don’t copy and paste the same message and send it to a number of people. Don’t create a group and add people without opting in. Not only can your accounts be disabled and suspended for bad social media practices but you’ll lose people who would have otherwise paid attention if they weren’t scared off by your approach. Be strategic about when to post for the maximum visibility and what to post. Be aware of good and bad hashtags. Be aware of high volume posting times. Follow the rules set by the platform you’re on and make sure your admins and account managers are on the same page with you.
14. Hook Them Through Podcasting.
One of the most underrated forms of content marketing in 2018 is undoubtedly podcasting. The conversion rate from podcasting is at 30% – far better than social media marketing (1.3%) and Google search (13%). Still, the vast majority of businesses are sleeping on this medium so the competition in this space is low. Learn how to use podcasting for business and make this a priority for content marketing in 2018.
Incorporate Visual Elements in Content Marketing
15. Always Include Visual Elements.
Whether you’re publishing on a blog or on a social media platform, you should always include visual elements. You might use stock photos, original photos, graphic illustrations, screen shots, or enlarged quotes or statistics from the text. According to “The 10 Laws of Visual Marketing” your brain will retain 55% of something you learned three days ago if there was a visual presentation. Never publish without visual elements!
16. Use Better Original Images.
Avoid using stock photos for everything. If you don’t have a recent collection of high quality images in your media gallery, it’s time for a professional photo shoot. You need original photos for your website and at least half of your blog posts and social media posts. If you want to see examples of companies that are doing this right, check out this collection of the best product photography ideas we found on Pinterest!
17. Tie in Videos or Infographics.
Either create a video or infographic or find one that closely relates to what you’ve written, and embed it on your blog post. Add brackets to the end of your title to show that your post includes a visual component. This format has proven to deliver a higher click rate. For example, the original title of this post is “23 New Rules for Brilliant Content Marketing in 2018” but we will be updating it to add “[infographic]” once our Pinterest-friendly graphic is complete and ready to upload.
18. Polish Up Your Website.
It would be ridiculous to do all of this work just to lose leads due to a lackluster website. It’s 100% necessary to give your website design an upgrade before launching your new strategy for content marketing in 2018. Take a step back and look at your homepage with fresh eyes. Work through your website like it’s your first time and invest better website design for business before you start drawing new visitors. We all know the value of a first impression, so make sure your website takes advantage of the opportunity to “wow” a potential new customer!
Diversify Your Content Marketing
19. Use New Tools In Your Content Marketing Box.
Creating a quality piece of content takes time. You’re looking at several hours if you’re writing a well researched, nicely written blog post following most of the new rules for content marketing in 2018. Something you can do for a better ROI is to diversify your content marketing toolbox. Push content out on various social media platforms and publicity channels. Modify headlines and headings to cater to a specific audience. Break out of your typical format and add a new method to enhance your content marketing strategy and possibly reach a new audience.
20. Recycle Your Best Pieces.
Every quarter (or at least once a year) comb through the website analytics to find your best performing posts. Make a list of the ones that drive the most traffic and get the best engagement. Recycle those posts by updating them for the new year and publish them again. You can also reinvent your best content by putting a new spin on it. Just remember to add a link from the post that already has plenty of attention so you will point people to your newest content.
Get Serious About Scheduling Content Marketing in 2018
21. Commit to Long-term Goals.
Nothing lasting will happen overnight when it comes to content marketing in 2018. Fast changes like getting listed in the top half SERP are only temporary without a foundation for sustainable ranking. It takes time to do things right. Don’t get frustrated and abandon your content marketing strategy. Clearly define your long-term goals, commit to reaching them, and examine your progress along the way and make wise adjustments as needed.
22. Create a Content Calendar.
Most people underestimate the time it takes to create quality content and market your business online. If you’re serious about using digital marketing as a sales tool you will need to plan ahead. Create a calendar detailing all of the things you will write, film, record, edit, and share. Your calendar should include the keywords you’re using, the platforms you’re posting on, and when each thing will be created and published. With a content calendar, you’ll have a much better shot at getting things done and gaining new customers with better content marketing in 2018.
23. Automate Publishing.
Since you will be planning ahead using your content calendar, you’ll have the luxury of scheduling your posts in advance. This means you can post at the times that give you the highest visibility instead of posting as soon as you manage to finish up. Automated publishing allows you to post consistently on your blog and social media channels – even if you’re out of the office, on vacation, or just sleeping in. That’s pretty brilliant if you ask me!
Learn More About Your Content Marketing Options
Do you want your business to benefit from brilliant content marketing but you don’t have the time to commit? Do you have a shortage of talent on your marketing team?
The digital marketing experts at DotCom Global Media use inbound marketing strategies to achieve sales goals for businesses and influencers across the country. We can evaluate your website and current marketing efforts and help you focus your strategy, improve your methods, or unload some of those critical tasks.
We want to help you! Get in touch with DotCom Global Media to learn about the services we offer and see how our team can work to make your business more profitable.