Michael Lallana Shares Five Tips for Great Content Marketing
Content marketing and other online search engine optimization strategies have become more and more important as print media has slowly been phased out in favor of internet interaction, and in light of a recent Forbes article that revealed the “top 7 content marketing trends that will dominate 2014,” business marketing veteran Michael Lallana is offering up five of his own favorite content marketing strategies.
Michael Lallana, who currently works as the CEO and president of the Mila Venture Group, a strategic business marketing firm, has been working in the business world since 2000. In that time, he has seen the internet grow from a niche marketing tool into the primary vehicle for companies of all shapes and sizes reach consumers. He has also had a front row seat to the growth of content marketing from a relative marketing gimmick to an essential tool of building brand trust and image, and has culled a few major dos and don’ts for how businesses can successfully use content marketing to help advance their bottom lines.
One of Michael Lallana’s biggest pieces of advice for content marketers is a tip that has likely been repeated hundreds or thousands of times since content marketing became an industry essential: Make sure all content marketing materials have a distinct authorial voice. While there is much to be said for attempting to adopt the voice of an entire business or corporation, there is also something to be said for creating content that is compelling, well-written, and sparked with personality.
Most good content marketing writers innately know how to blend an undercurrent of compelling authorial voice with a professional tone, but Lallana nevertheless cautioned against publishing content articles written like dry business memorandums. Content marketing is aimed at an everyday audience, either browsing a business’s website for case studies and blogs or searching Google for articles about specific topics. In both cases, readers will be more drawn to writing that feels like it came from a down-to-earth blogger than they will be to content that is clearly aimed at boosting internet traffic and selling products or services.
Michael Lallana’s discussions on authorial voice lead directly to his next tip: that web content marketing articles are more or less worthless if they have nothing new to say on the topic at hand. Many content marketers trawl popular buzz topics in an effort to find out what is trending on Google, Twitter, or Facebook at any given time. Lallana finds nothing wrong with this practice, but believes that many content marketers, once they have compiled a list of topics that can be connected in some relevant fashion to their business or client, simply resort to paraphrasing articles or blogs already published by reputable news sources.
The above practice is counter-productive. Readers don’t want a rehash of an article they have already read. Instead, most internet readers will be far more drawn to content marketing that takes a news story and uses it as a springboard for an article that offers unique viewpoints, adds to the news story with updates or other relevant information, or poses questions of its own. In other words, content marketers need creativity, analytical skill, and journalistic prowess to be successful. However, if a content provider can add his or her own spin to a popular topic, authorial voice will likely appear as well, and readers will reward the extra effort with more clicks and shares.
Stagnant Content Marketing Is Far Too Common, Michael Lallana Says
The rest of Michael Lallana’s tips for successful content marketing revolve around keeping the content fresh, relevant, and interesting. First, Lallana believes it is far too easy for content marketers to fall into a rut with their material by not thinking outside of the box. For instance, a content marketer running a campaign for an educational institution should not only write blogs and articles revolving around schools and students. Myriad topics can be connected to education, from the state of the job market to trending health topics to questions of finance and inflation. Content marketers who are willing to venture into unexplored subject matter will stand a better chance of increasing their client’s internet presence and boosting their own effectiveness.
Similarly, content can become stagnant or dull even in the space of a single article or blog. A content marketer, Michael Lallana notes, is a writer who knows instinctually when he or she has run out of interesting things to say on a topic and when the content needs to move toward a conclusion. That is not to say that lengthier articles don’t have an audience—they do, especially among academic types—but traditionally, the attention span of internet readers is shorter than that of the print media audiences of old.
Finally, Michael Lallana stressed the importance of staying relevant with content marketing. It is easy to go browsing through news topics for content ideas. However, if a news story is more than a day or two old, chances are that the content’s lifespan is already running out, at least in terms of search engine optimization. A writer who believes he or she has something vital to say on a topic should not be scared away by “old” news, but in most cases, the same rules apply to content marketers as apply to journalists: if you aren’t one of the first to weigh in on a topic, there may be little point in expending the time and effort to weigh in at all. Instead, Michael Lallana advises content marketers to hold off on old news topics and wait for a similar story—or better yet, a news update—to come along and reignite the conversation.
Michael Lallana has been working in the business development and management consulting professions for the past 13 years. He currently serves as the CEO and president of the Mila Venture Group, a strategic business marketing firm, and as the COO and CMO for Health Matrix Direct LLC, a private health benefits company. Lallana lives in Los Angeles with his tight-knit family.
I think a key point to add to Michael Lallana's input here is that if you are serious about content (and these days you should be) and you are not a strong writer - hire one! I've seen a lot of people try to take on the content beast themselves and it doesn't work for many reasons. You really need someone who can bring your ideas to life in a way that creates ROR (Return on Read!).