10 Content Marketing Lessons From Mom

What My Mother Taught Me About Content Marketing

10 Content Marketing Lessons from Mom-1 As children we think our mothers nag us to do stuff just to bug us. Even worse, when we ignore them, they just repeat (and repeat) what they said in a much louder, often embarrassing voice.

What we heard as nagging was really our mothers’ life lessons and at the heart of her communications was her love.

As marketers, we can apply our mothers’ lessons to content marketing. I was lucky that my mother walked the talk when it came to content. Not only was my mom an avid reader but also, during her retirement, my mother became a prolific content creator.

When she retired, my mother developed courses on modern art to help school children better appreciate contemporary painting as a docent at the Neuberger Museum.  She also led seminars in the Greek classics at a local community college for a group of seniors.

10 Content marketing lessons from mom

Here are 10 content marketing lessons from mom based on insights I learned from my mother.  10 Content Marketing Lessons from Mom-1


1.
Be true to who you are.

While my parents tried to be fair, maybe it was my mother’s training as a social worker, she understood that each child had different needs and strengths and she tried to nurture them appropriately.

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Know what your company and brand stand for. This is critical since you need to incorporate these attributes into everything you do, especially when it comes to creating content in a 360° media landscape. Consistency supports your brand and streamlines your process.

Also, it’s critical to know your customers and be loyal to them. To this end, take the time to create a marketing persona that includes customer interviews.


2.
Use your words.

If your mother was anything like mine, she probably was a stickler for using proper grammar.

It also meant to use the right words and to build our vocabularies. In terms of content, words are critical for attracting attention, especially in headlines. Use words that your target audience uses and searches for.

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Choose your words well. As research shows, you should create content that can be read at the 8th grade level and the shorter the word the better (as long as it retains the meaning of the information.)

Sound like a real person and be clear in your use of language. Don’t write in stylized corporate-speak.

Have someone else copyedit or proof your content to ensure that it’s the best it can be. If you’ve just written something there’s a good chance your mind will insert the missing words.


3.
Clean your room.

My mother believed that living in a messy place meant your thinking was disorganized. As a teenager, my bedroom had 2 beds in it, so my get rid of the mess solution was to stuff everything under the bed.

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Set up a place where you can think. It’s hard to organize your thoughts when your workspace is a disaster zone. (This is why many people go on a cleaning frenzy when they have a big project to do. I know that it helps me think.)

Of course, some creative types will chime in that they need clutter to inspire them. If you are one of these folks, I suggest that you have two distinct spaces, one for your thinking time and one for your creating time. 


4.
Eat your vegetables.

At home, mothers are the food patrol. They make sure we get enough of the right foods. This means shopping and cooking. I was lucky since my mom was a great cook!

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Give your target audience the information they want and actively seek. This means the 5 basic content types.


5.
Put your best foot forward.

We all learn what’s appropriate to wear and how to look from our mother. Presentation matters. 

Remember–You only have one chance to make a first impression—make the most of it. There’s a reason for the saying “Dress for Success.”

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Format your content to attract attention and draw readers in. If the best content like an imposing solid block of text, no one is going to stop, let alone read it. (While titled for blogs, here are 30 tips to help your formatting.)

Use easy-to-read fonts in a moderate size type. (People over 40 wear reading glasses and can’t see teeny type.)

Outline and bold information to guide readers through your content, even if they only read 20% of it.


6.
Show me your pictures.

My mother always wanted to see what we did in school. I remember bring big pieces of lined paper with drawings and wobbly lettering home. My mom still has one pinned to her bulletin board from one of my nephews that reads: My grandmother is a good cook and a book reader.

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Use a variety of content formats to appeal to a broader audience. This is particularly important for photos since they attract our attention and pulls us in. Also people process photographs faster than test.


7.
Skip the foul language.

No mother wants a child spouting trash talk. The same holds true for content marketing.

While foul language attracts attention, it’s usually not the type you want to get.

Erika Napoletano is a notable exception to this rule and it works for her and her brand. But tread with care when using the f-word and other explicatives since they’re more likely to loose prospects and customers.

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Attract attention for your content, whether it’s text, video, audio or live, based on the strength of your ideas not four letter words.


8.
Do your chores.

Most kids have special activities that help keep the family home going, whether it’s setting the table, taking out the garbage or raking the leaves.  It’s not just a matter of economics, it teaches children to take responsibility.

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Provide the resources to produce and distribute your content effectively. There’s more to content creation than just writing the text or snapping a photo.

At a minimum, your content requires editing, technical support, and distribution to maximize its reach and effectiveness. This is an aspect of content marketing many businesses overlook.


9.
Play ball.

My mother exercised regularly before they had health clubs and trainers, or even fancy running shoes. She exercised daily using her treadmill and free weights.

One of her favorite sayings was: “Take care of your body because the body you have at 20, 30 and 40 is the same body you’ll have at 40, 50, 60 and beyond.” Content Marketing Lessons From Mom

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Exercise your body as well as your mind to function at your peak. It’s difficult to be creative when you spend all of your time glued to your computer screen. You need to give your brain a break so that it can do its creative magic.


10.
Get out of the house.

What mother doesn’t tell her children to go play. The subtext to this message is get out of the house and interact with other kids in the neighborhood.  It’s even better when an organized team sport is involved.

Content Marketing Lessons From Mom
Engage with other people in real time in real life. These person-to-person interactions provide insights that enlighten and enhance your content creation.

Getting out gives you new ideas as well as helps to build relationships. This is particularly important for today’s telecommuters who spend most of their day on computers and telephones.


W
e all learn important lessons from our mothers that can be applied to our content marketing because at its core content marketing is about communicating how much you care about your prospects, customers, employees and the public.

What content marketing lessons did you learn from your mother?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

PS: This article is lovingly dedicated to my mother for all of the wonderful things that she’s taught me over the years.


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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Return on Authenticity:
Making Effective Storytelling and Content Performance Align

Return on Authenticity: Making Effective Storytelling and Content Performance AlignJoin the discussion on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM PT/ 1:00 PM ET with Nancy Slavin, SVP of Marketing, Macy's Merchandising Group, and Dan Kimball, CMO, Thismoment.

According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.

Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.

Join the CMO Council on Wednesday, October 29, at 10am PST/ 1pm EST for a one-hour webcast that will invite industry experts in content marketing and user-generated content who are effectively leveraging authentic storytelling as part of their content marketing strategies. We will also feature an interactive Q&A session at the conclusion of the speaker presentations.

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  • http://felixrelationshipmarketing.com/ Juan Felix

    Great lessons Heidi! Thanks :)

  • Storewars News

    Interesting article! Here is something equally interesting: Samsung
    Invests in Drugs After Outselling Apple’s. Full story here: http://bit.ly/1ny3Pdf.

  • Josh St. Aubin

    These are great suggestions Heidi, and so simple. Mom’s wisdom often gets overlooked but somehow she always knows best. Who knew she knew content marketing so well…

    • heidicohen

      Moms are our unsung heroes. They’re our personal cheerleaders and life guides. Never underestimate the gems your mom taught you. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • mino

    Do you feel like there is starting to be a shift in terms of how brands view curation?
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