Why I Don’t Follow Marketing Content Rules
I don’t follow marketing content rules.
Yes, I run an SEO and inbound marketing company that helps businesses become more visible online, more proficient at what they do, and more helpful to the constituents they serve…
And I still refuse to follow marketing content rules.
Lock me up. Sue me. Tell my mom on me. No matter what you do, you can’t tell me that I have to follow some prescribed template just because someone said it was a formula that works.
When it comes to the way Mouse and Man produces content, we take an alternative approach. Instead of following a paint-by-numbers schematic, our team builds a marketing content plan that serves only one purpose: to care about clients and their unique audiences.
However, entrepreneurs are forced to follow an invisible bible when it comes to marketing content. There are a set number of rules—some spoken, others implied—that locks all of us inside a cage.
I’m not sure why marketing content comes with a list of DOs and DO NOTs. Surely any video, blog article, or art project meant for human consumption includes a more than few places where we can color outside the lines.
As a creator or purveyor of marketing content, you may feel as if you’re under an unbreakable contract to abide by these unspoken commandments. Truth is, I call bull.
A few of these so-called rules include writing content that coincides with your business, plugging products, selling with every sentence, and generating articles for the sole purpose of collecting oodles of cash.
These rules are meant to be broken.
These rules must be broken.
Otherwise every digital marketing expert will remain confined and forced to create milquetoast content that is as unhelpful and irrelevant as it is boring.
When it comes to creating something meant for human engagement, there is only one rule: give your audience something worth caring about.
Here’s the ironclad, God’s honest truth: I only follow one rule when it comes to making inbound marketing, or any content, for my clients.
I give a crap.
That’s right: I care about not only my clients, but also their audience. When I place the principal focus on audience-centric inbound marketing, I don’t have to consult any rulebook.
Marketing content is about integrity.
None of this aims to say that there is no contract between the creator of content and the constituents/stake-holders. As a business owner who makes things, I know that I have a list of client requests and expectations to fulfill.
However, my integrity remains intact. That’s because, though I make an effort to exceed expectations and create stellar results, the marketing content I create focuses on what matters most.
That is, the person reading it.
Creativity is the only way.
A couple of years ago, a blog article appeared on this website that profiled how to define intelligence. The most innovative thinkers—the women and men who created things that changed the world’s landscape forever—share one attribute.
And you can’t do anything creative when someone forces you to follow a code that you didn’t design yourself.
Related: The Essential Form of Intelligence
The rules have put you in a box. Now step out of it.
That’s what Leonardo Da Vinci did when he drew a mockup of a helicopter.
That’s what Bill Gates did when he developed this weird thing called Windows.
That’s what Marie Curie did when she defined the Theory of Radioactivity.
These people became innovators because they remained sternly unwilling to stay pinned down. They didn’t cling to old ideas or subscribe to any notion that there was a right way and wrong way of doing things.
They blazed their own trail, and the world is all the more thankful for their endeavors.
You too can take this approach when it comes to creating marketing content for your audience. The outside-the-box thinkers only had one thing in mind as they developed items that positively changed the fabric of our existence.
That one thing: the people. If this is your focus with content, no rulebook will weigh you down.
Failing. Failing. Failing.
Thomas Edison—that no-name who invented or helped come up with the light bulb, the turntable, and the movie camera—once uttered a sentence that provides the true essence of marketing content.
“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
Damn. If that’s not the truth, then what is?
The key is to create something, not to follow a template. Even if you fall flat on your face, you’ve made progress.
Failing means you’ve inched your way closer to creating an ideal and breaking the status quo. This is the essence of entrepreneurship.
In the comments below, let me know how you break the content marketing rules.