We’re all in the publishing business now. Survey after survey shows that marketers are producing lots of content and plan to produce more.
It used to be that you could build an audience simply by writing relevant articles in your domain of expertise.
Those days of content marketing are over, my friend. Every industry and discipline is awash in new material, much of it me-too.
When a market becomes saturated, two categories of winners emerge. One includes only the very biggest players. They have the resources and the reach to dominate all others. Economies of scale enable them to produce more articles on more topics across more channels than other companies. The best writers and creative people want to work for them.
The second category of winner is composed of the specialists that focus their energy on niches they can dominate. These players go unnoticed as they fly under the radar of the big players. They write in such depth and detail about a narrow topic that no one else can follow.
As the owner of a niche, this is where you fit. How can you dominate your area of expertise?
Here’s an idea. Apply the Content Rules from Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman to your specific niche.
Content Rules was written to give companies and their content marketers a concrete roadmap for producing content that will attract buyers and add value to each stage of their journey. With these rules you can dominate your niche.
- Embrace that you are a publisher – Like any publishing specialist who dominates a niche, you produce a continuous flow of useful and educational information.
- Insight inspires originality – When you know yourself and your customers better than anyone else, your understanding will lead to the insights your buyers crave.
- Build momentum – Keep your buyers moving on their journey with a compelling narrative and triggers that cause them to take action.
- Speak human – Write in a natural and conversational style. Speak in a language your customers understand.
- Reimagine, don’t recycle – Plan to use each piece of content in a variety of ways on multiple platforms.
- Share or solve, don’t shill – Once again, you want to create value for buyers at each stage of their journey. Educate and inform to help them move from their current stage to the next. Hold off on the product marketing until they are ready.
- Show, don’t just tell – Our brains are wired to understand and remember stories. Buyers can’t remember facts and figures, but they will respond to stories about customers and your company.
- Do something unexpected – Being educational and informative does not mean that you have to be boring. B2B products that solve problems in the workplace don’t naturally make for entertaining material. But if you can find ways to surprise and entertain, you’ll catch and keep the attention of your audience.
- Stoke the campfire – Can you find ways for people to share your material with their peers? When people talk about your content they internalize it more deeply.
- Create wings and roots – Ground your content deeply in your unique understanding, but give it the opportunity to fly freely and reach many people across the internet.
- Play to your strengths – As a niche player, you can’t dominate all the media channels, so pick one.
Handley and Chapman spend the entire book elaborating on these rules. It’s well worth a read.
With the avalanche of content coming of your competitors, the Content Rules are more important than ever.