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The Three Rules of Content Marketing

On the flight over to Belgium I was reading a combination of Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, Screw It, Let’s Do It by Sir Richard Branson, and Why We Suck by Denis Leary.

Quite a potent combination.

As a content marketer, what can we learn from this brew?

1. You Are a Publisher

Publisher? What is the meaning of that word?

Ann and C.C. state in the preface of Content Rules about the hesitation to use the word publisher. Non-media brands immediately think of traditional publishers like the Wall Street Journal or the top trade magazines, but not themselves. But like it or not, we are all publishers.

Simply defined, a publisher delivers on the informational or entertainment needs of the reader in whatever format in which the reader wants to engage.  A traditional publisher does this to generate sponsorship revenues or get people to pay for content. The non-media brand does this to ultimately sell more products and services. More and more companies, like ours, do both.

Publishing is hard work, but also mandatory for today’s companies.  Believing that you are a publisher is the first rule.

2. Dream it, Do it!

The one thing to note about Richard Branson’s success is this: Whenever a fresh opportunity came, he grabbed it. Not maybe. Not, “I’ll consider it”. If the odds were good, and he could be the best at it, he did it.

That’s what a publisher does. Innovation through content.

Innovation is a new way of doing something, or new stuff made useful. As publishers, we innovate to solve our customers’ pain points. Every day, every minute. The innovation happens not because of the content, but the affect it has on the reader. That’s true innovation.

If we wait for someone else to do it, maybe for a traditional media company, or possibly a competitor, we will fail.

3. It’s Not About You

For all the rantings of Dennis Leary, his biggest criticism of Americans is that everything is about us. Look at our kids, our house, our dog. Simply put, nobody cares.

New content marketers have the same problem.  We like to talk about ourselves all the time. Our products, our services, features and benefits.

The barrier to entry into publishing is gone but the belief that marketers still have the deep need to talk about themselves all the time remains.

Successful publishing is all about the reader…your customers. If you are not solving their pain points with relevant and compelling content, you are adding to the noise, the clutter.

You have a choice.

Willing to take the next step? Check out Ann’s and C.C.’s book.  I’m proud of them for writing such a piece.  Thanks to both of you.