The New Rules of Information Marketing

One of my predictions for 2012 was that the quality of online content would rise to meet the expectations of the general public.

To be honest, while that is exactly how things are playing out, even I have been surprised by some of the developments.

When you make predictions, it’s easy to look back and point out how you made the right call.  Yet, if you are being honest, you often have to admit that how everything unfolded wasn’t exactly what you had envisioned.

#1 – Quality is More Important than Frequency

It goes without saying that quality is always important, and Google certainly made that clear with their Panda update last year.

This is one of the primary reasons I made this prediction, and why I changed my frequency of publishing to 3-4 times per week to deliver consistent quality.  What I did not expect is that the traffic to my site would actually go up as a result.

For the most part, evergreen content is responsible for the consistent traffic to this site, and I suspect many others too.

Thus, creating more of it will serve to sustain that traffic. That’s my new plan, along with occasionally serving up some casual observations such as I am in this post.

I happened to notice earlier this year that my friend Chris Brogan is adopting a similar practice. Chris is one of the top business bloggers worldwide, and someone who has singlehandedly published on a daily basis or better for quite some time.

I was used to reading new articles from Chris every single day. Now, when nothing shows up in my news reader for a day or so I find myself intentionally going over to see what I’ve missed. And isn’t that the idea behind content marketing – to attract an audience and keep them interested in more?

Sometimes I learn I haven’t missed anything. Though, it’s interesting that I have been conditioned to make the visit, isn’t it?

So, it seems the old rule of publish or perish is becoming less relevant.

#2 – Original Perspectives are Essential

There are simply too many media outlets summarizing the news – we don’t need another.

Today I came across another me-too article on the death of QR codes. The commentary was the same as dozens of others that have been published over the last year or so, with exactly the same message – we don’t know what will happen, so we’ll have to wait and see.

It’s one that provides absolutely no value, and yet surprisingly still gets published on more than a few reputable sites.

If you are going to go to the trouble to share information, take a stand. Even if you are wrong you will get us to think – and there is value in that.  

Will QR codes last?  My most recent article is an in-depth study of 2d codes (QR codes and MS tags), and how they can be used as mobile triggers. Quality articles such as this take time to prepare – more than I care to admit.

If you are going to consistently deliver quality information (and you do not have a team of bloggers), you almost have to publish less frequently than those that do.  Yet, your reward is evergreen content with staying power for driving traffic to your site.

One of the reasons blogs have achieved their current level of popularity and credibility is the traditional media outlets dropped the ball – expecting an audience to show up to consume lazy journalism. Now the same thing is happening with some of the top blogs, at least in technology circles.

As a result, some are seizing the opportunity, with Pando Daily being one refreshing newcomer that is endeavoring to create quality content worth consuming.  And they are indeed starting to attract a crowd.

If you are a technophile or interested in Silicon Valley start-ups, you’ll want check them out. I’m neither, but I find the work of the eclectic mix of journalists to be a breath of fresh air.

#3 – It’s All About the Audience

When blogging was a new thing, it was common to make it all about you. After all, there were no rules, so we just had to figure things out for ourselves.

However, the economy was strong back then – so we all had time for the online entertainment of web celebrities. Now most people are looking for practical solutions to real problems.

As a result, information publishing today has to serve an audience – plain and simple. When the news is light, it’s usually because it is just there to feed the machine – satisifying the advertisers that expect to see a regular stream of content distribution.

Don’t go there if you expect to earn the trust of your core audience.

The truth is there are no rules with respect to blogging and other forms of information marketing. People like Seth Godin break them every day and do quite nicely.

Yet, as he breaks most of the acknowledged rules, Seth indeed adheres to a philosophy of providing his unique insights to get his audience thinking about how they can solve their most essential problems.

And yes, he does religiously publish every day – 7 days a week.

Nevertheless, that’s still two out of three.

You’ll have to make your own rules.

Just consider these three content marketing trends and find a practice that works well for you and your small business.

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Until next time,  Jeff

Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici