3 content marketing myths we can smash once and for all

05 Sep 2017

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work on content production with various clients in various ways and as part of various projects.  I think it’s fair to say that although all we’re really asking people to do is write about what they do every day, the act of turning subjects they know inside out into something their clients, targets or contacts will want to read does not (at first at least) always come naturally to some of the solicitors, accountants, barristers and IP attorneys we work with.


This is not meant as a criticism in any way.  They all understand why content’s required, it’s just that there seems to be a couple of hurdles blocking the production of that all-important first piece to get them up and running.


While these hurdles will vary slightly from person to person, I would roughly lump them under 3 main headings, each of which is one of the titular myths I want to try and smash today.  


1 Content has to mean articles


I’m not going to hide away from one great marketing truth – having articles published in the trade publications or local press your clients and would-be clients read is a fantastic way to build profile within your target markets.  However, is a full blown editorial a realistic first step in your content producing career?


Producing new articles for your firm or Chambers’ website is another objective regularly doled out to nascent authors.  The only thing is – hand on heart – when was the last time you read a 1500-2000 word article online?  Exactly ….!


There are loads of other ways to present content today that can be digested by your clients, targets and contacts more easily and more quickly.  Look at producing FAQs, ‘how to’ lists, ‘listicles’ (a dreadful word but a highly effective format that turns key information into easy to follow bulletpoints).  Or, if you have more information to disseminate, look at serialising it.  Serialising your content will not only make it easier for your audience to read, it’ll also sustain your visibility over a longer period without constantly having to find new topics!  


2 Content has to be long and takes ages to write


It will be if you insist on sticking to the traditional article route but not if you are willing to experiment with the types of formats outlined above, the time required to produce your content will immediately reduce … and reduce drastically.


And remember your readers because content production is a value exercise, not a vanity exercise.  An editor once told me the majority of content is read on the move so if it’s much longer than one page on a tablet or smartphone, you’re unlikely to hold your readers’ interest.  


3 Content has to be serious, technical and directly relevant to my practice area


Do you constantly want to be bombarded with po-faced, academic pontification punctuated with impenetrable jargon?  Or would you rather see a lighter touch that delivers a single, well-chosen, practical tip you can put into action to that will benefit you, your practice or your family? 


The world is awash with content.  The majority is overly long, overly technical and overly technical and, as a result, it never achieves anything like the readership it should.  Become the writer your audience doesn’t delete because they know they’ll get something useable from you rather than just being bored into submission yet again. 


And don’t be afraid to put your tongue in your cheek to make your point.  Using current headlines from the news, sport or popular culture will catch a reader’s eye in a way legislative or regulatory change never will.


At Tenandahalf we recently audited all of our LinkedIn blogs under lab conditions (over a pint) and discovered:


Our most profitable post was about the World Darts Championship

Our most read/liked post was about Line of Duty

Our most ‘participated with’ post was about Northern Soul

Our most ‘difficult to reach contact’ was brought to the table by a post about David Bowie


It’s worth thing about isn’t it?!


We are currently taking bookings for our practical content workshop on ‘How to produce content that really does BD’.  If you’d like some more information on what we cover please email me at douglas@tenandahalf.co.uk.

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