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Online content marketing strategy – Do you follow the Top 10 content marketing lessons?

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 04 May, 2010
Essential Essential topic

We love this book, Get Content. Get Customers by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett because content is at the heart of today's marketing and it does a fantastic job of explaining the why and the how of online content marketing.

The authors advice is summarised in the top 10 content marketing lessons which we review at the end of this post.

If you need to push content up the agenda in your organisation, and many need this, then we definitely recommend this book, but with one caveat we give at the end of this review.

I think it succeeds because it blends both practical, structured advice on creating a content strategy, plus many small, but specific case studies from many sectors to inspire you to develop a content strategy.

The B.E.S.T. formula

As an example of the structured practical guidance, we liked this formula for creating a content marketing roadmap. B.E.S.T stands for:

  • Behavioural. Everything you communicate with customers has a purpose. What do you want them to do?
  • Essential. Deliver information that your best prospects need if they are to succeed at work or in life.
  • Strategic. Your content marketing efforts must be an integral part of your overall business strategy.
  • Targeted. You must target your content precisely so that it's truly relevant to your buyers.

Top 10 content marketing lessons from successful practitioners

Here's our take on their Top 10.

1. Content must have intrinsic value. Content is a key part of your online value proposition. You must define it's relevance to customers - help them live their lives, do their work better.

2. Understand what content customer value. You need to do the research to understand the value. Enough said.

3. Content marketing strategy may completely or partially replace traditional advertising and marketing. You need to prove the relative importance of content marketing within your budget, for your market.

4. Print magazines can be a powerful weapon. We still spend more of our time offline than on, so reaching your audience offline through third-party or offline content can still be important.

5. Great design adds value. Invest in design to help prove the value and encourage engagement and advocacy.

6. Invest in a dedicated internal or external team (maybe). The authors aren't clear on this, but clearly many content initiatives fail because of poor quality content or not sustaining the content.

7. Drink your own Kook-Aid. Relate it back to your products through showing your products or services in action.

8. Get your customers to participate. Yes, interaction is the name of the game online - don't just push, engage and share - comments, polls and surveys all help.

9. Make it easy to buy. Content must fit with your ultimate goal in investing in content.

10. It's not the investment in content, it's the content marketing mindset that counts. This helps level the playing field and arguably makes it easier for small organisations to master content marketing.

What we don't like

Content strategy isn't just about the content quality, it's about the quality of the communications to support it. This relatively brief book focuses on the content, not the promotion. It does emphasise the importance of promotion and briefly references core content promotion techniques like SEO, social media and E-PR, but you won't find details on those here.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site,, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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