10 Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lessons That Will Make You A Better Marketer

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing LessonsWere you like me when you were young?

I felt like my mother told me to do stuff I didn’t want to do just to bug me.

When I ignored her, she just kept repeating and repeating and repeating her request.

Each time her voice got louder and more embarrassing. As if her increased noise level didn’t make me pay attention.

Instead I intentionally blocked out her words as if she never said them.

Why?

Because I heard nagging when my mother was trying to show me how to be a better person.

Sound familiar?

Even if you don’t admit it, you know it does!

Yet, without realizing it, we act like our mothers when we implement our content marketing plans.

We send the same message over and over and over without considering how our audience views them.

Even worse, we probably annoy our best customers and fans the most because we have various, more direct methods to contact them.

Like our mothers, we need to understand our specific audience.

So we can give them the content they want and need via their choice of devices and channels. Even better, we can deliver it when, where and how they want it.

While you may never have considered the influence that your mom had on your marketing, don’t worry!

I’ll show you how your mother helped to make you a better content marketer. Even better, I’ve included actionable content marketing examples and tips to improve your content.

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lessons

 

10 Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lessons

My mother taught me a lot that inspires what I do as a marketer.

As I get older, I appreciate those lessons and the example she set more and more. 

My mother continues to be my North Star. 

Every so often, I catch myself doing something that reminds me of my mother.  I call them my “mom” moments and smile.

To help you to become a better content marketer, here are 10 content marketing lessons inspired by my mother.

I hope that they help you as much as they’ve helped me.

1. Be true to yourself

My mother taught me the value of being honest and fair. Since your relationships and personal integrity matter.

This quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde says it best:
Be yourself since everyone else is already taken.”

At its core, it means to act in a direct and sincere way. Content Marketing Institute’s Lisa Dougherty’s mom said, “Choose to be honest. Choose to be positive. ” 

Dr. Seuss underscores the need for you to help others and your community:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

It’s not just mothers who believe that you must stand for something greater as a content marketer! In Marketing RebellionMark Schaefer makes a case for adding “Purpose” as a 5th P in the Marketing Mix.

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Stand for something greater than your financial business goals

The data supports mom-inspired content marketing lessons.

78% of Americans believe that it is no longer acceptable for companies to only focus on making money (2018 Cone Communications Purpose Research).

Consumer Response to Purpose-Driven Companies

 

3 out of 5 global customers want companies to take a stand on issues like sustainability, transparency and/or fair employment practices. @Accenture #BrandingClick To Tweet

 

Further, 3 out of 5 of GenZers and Millennials think that companies should take a stand on human rights, race relations and/or LGBTQ equality issues (Accenture).

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

 

2. Take care of your sister and brother

From an early age, parents teach their children to get along with other people. 

For me, this started with getting along with and take care of my younger siblings.

While my parents tried to be fair and treat each of us equally, my mother knew her children. She understood that each of us had different strengths and needs. So she tried to nurture us appropriately.

For other colleagues of mine, this translated to seeing the best in others. Specifically:

  • Kathy Klotz-Guest’s mother “had an ability to see something good in everyone. It did not matter who you were.”
  • Jessika Phillips’s mom taught her, how to get to know the heart of people no matter who they are. [Her mother] taught [her] to always be kind and generous no matter how much or little you have.”
  • Brooke B. Sellas’s mom was “the queen [of] being gracious and kind — even when others are not.” (Editor’s note: I wish more people followed this advice!)

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Know your audience

When it comes to content creation, mother knows best because:

To speak to your audience and move them to act, develop your content like you're talking to each of them person-to-person. #contentmarketingClick To Tweet

 

Do this by addressing your reader in the second person with the word you. 

Also get specific, not general.
Use details to make your writing more universal.

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Get to know your audience as real people. Reach out to each person and ask them for input. For example, I use my initial email responder to get input.
  • Develop a set of marketing personas. To create more tailored content, marketing personas educate your team. Ideally use 2 to 4 personas.
  • Use every communication and/or live event to deepen audience relationships. Since people relate to other people. Meet your audience in-person. As your mother taught you, you have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them in that proportion!

 

3. Clean up your room

My mother always made my siblings and me pick up our toys and clean our bedroom. (As a teenager, I had a work-around. Since my room had 2 beds I hid my stuff under the other bed.)

Pam Moore summarized her mother’s teachings related to this point as:

  • Appreciate the simple things in life.
  • Never give up.
  • Keep the faith and do the most with what ya’ got.

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Content context matters

In today’s always connected, multi-device world, your content must be contextually relevant to attract and hold audience attention. This includes:

  • Be visible when and where your audience seeks information. Make your content findable across platforms and search including mobile and voice.
  • Make your content visually and textually relevant to the platform. 
  • Format your content for easy consumption across devices. One size doesn’t fit all for content.

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Create multiple variations of your content for each distribution platform. This keeps your content from wearing out.
  • Use various content formats. Maximize your audience size and ability to consume your content how and when they want.

 

4. Eat your vegetables

When it comes to food, mothers are the nutrition police.  Often, you have to sneak sugary treats.

Further:
Moms teach us to get the right balance of foods.
(Hat tip: Susan Moeller, a mom who focuses on healthy family meals.)

Take a content marketing tip from my mother:

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Provide your audience with a well-balanced content offering

Use the 5 Basic Content Types to give your audience and potential buyers the content they actively look for.

5 Core Types of Content

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Give your target audience the information they want and actively seek. Offer the 5 basic content types that customers need.
  • Make extra content for other servings. My mother cooked several meals at the same time and froze the extra meals to reduce cooking time. Do this for your content by creating all related content at the same time with the same resources. Use these 100 ways to reuse your content.

 

5. Use your words

While mothers innately know what their children want, they push children to use their words.

Mothers encourage us by asking us, “What did you do today?” 

My mother always wanted to know what we did in school especially the big pieces of lined paper with drawings and wobbly letters.

Additionally, our mothers read to us every night and use stories to teach us important life lessons. At dinner and other family occasions, they tell stories about family members to make specific points.

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Use stories to make your words and ideas memorable 

As Chip and Dan Heath point out in their book, Made To Stick, stories get remembered. With a beginning, middle and end, include stories in your content to help your audience to remember them.

Problem-Action-Result approach to brand storytelling

Use the 3 step PAR approach to brand storytelling

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Select your words to attract attention. Use words that your target audience uses and searches for to make your content findable and relevant.
  • Choose stories that your audience will find relevant. Like your family stories, people need your information presented with people that familiar.
  • Use a variety of content formats. Appeal to a broader audience with multiple content formats like the bedtime stories with pictures that your mother read to you.

 

6. Put your best foot forward

My mother always looked stylish.

Why?
Because she believed that how you looked was as important for your mindset as it was for how people viewed you.

Even when she worked in her home office, my mom got dressed as if she was going to an office.  

Remember:
You only have one chance to make a first impression—make the most of it!

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Presentation matters

To this end, mothers tend to be sticklers when it comes to proper grammar.

Don’t let people overlook your content due to its sloppy presentation or poor grammar.

Yes—even in today’s text-savvy world, language usage counts!  (And Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes will show you how to improve yours!)

My colleagues’ mothers teach some great content marketing lessons:

  • Mari Smith’s mom said, “Always tell the truth, but don’t be always telling it. The translation: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” 
  • Katie Lance’s mom told her, Don’t put anything in writing you wouldn’t want the whole world to see.” 
  • Viveka Von Rosen-Martin’s mother emphasized the use of proper English and grammar!

Actionable Content Marketing  Tactics:

  • Format content to attract attention and draw readers in. No one reads your content when it is an imposing block of text or has tiny type. Also outline and bold information.F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Blog Content
  • Choose your words well to sound like a real person. Research shows that you should write for the 8th grade level and use shorter words where they retain the meaning.
  • Get someone to copy edit your content. Your content needs a fresh set of experienced eyes to improve it.

 

7. Do your homework

When it came to homework, my mother set an example for her children. She went to graduate school when I was in middle school. After dinner, she spread her books, notes and typewriter out on the dining room table and sat down to study.

Having taught marketing, I know from experience that students need to read and practice concepts multiple times before they can apply them.

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Do your research before you start creating your content

To create high quality content on a regular basis takes practice just like homework. You must show up at the page and write on a regular basis.

As Stephen King says:
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” 

Further, reading a wide range of quality fiction and other types of writing improves your writing. Specifically, fiction teaches you about character and story structure. Further, fiction also helps you develop your writing voice. Like Ann Handley’s mother, my mom was an avid reader.

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Start with a list of content ideas. Do your writing homework and generate your outline before you start. It speeds up your content creation. 5 Step BRAVO Method for content ideation
  • Use an editorial calendar. Instead of pulling an all-nighter before your big content projects are due, plan your major and weekly content efforts.
  • Read every day. Make it a habit. (Check St. John’s College’s list of 100 great books.)

 

8. Do your chores

Most kids have chores that help keep the household in good shape. It’s not just a matter of economics. Rather, chores teach children to take responsibility for helping to keep the household going.

Sometimes chores are rewarded with an allowance to teach the value of money.

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Make sure that your content adds value to your business

Like chores, your content requires lots of behind-the-scenes work like content optimization. This ensures that your content marketing appeals to the largest possible audience.

Optimize Content for 5 Audiences

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Provide resources (people and finances) needed to create, optimize and distribute your content. Quality content takes time and effort. It requires a combination of different talents.
  • Measure your content marketing results. Show the c-suite that your content marketing yields business value. Translation: Include a relevant call-to-action that is trackable.

 

9. Play well with other children

My mother exercised regularly before they had health clubs and trainers, or even fancy running shoes. Every day she exercised with her treadmill and free weights.

One of my mother’s favorite pieces of advice was:
“Take care of your body because the body you have at 20, 30 and 40 is the same body you’ll have at 50, 60, 70  and beyond.”

While you need physical exercise to allow your brain do important thinking while your body is active, you need to play well with other children. This means make friends and become part of a community.

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Build community to help others and developing relationships based on shared interests

Your content marketing’s higher goal is to support your community by providing quality information. In the process, build relationships with your readers, prospects and customers.

Being part of a community with shared interests, also helps you to develop relationships with influencers.

Kelly Hungerford de Vooght’s mother expressed these sentiments well:
“Everything about small business or volunteer success has to do with the relationships you invested in. Invest in your community and they will invest in you“ 

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Use your content to build or support a community. Since your content must be consumed, your community helps expand your reach.
  • Tap into the power of influencers. Ask influencers to contribute to your content (but respect their time and audience.)
  • 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.

 

10. Get out of the house

What mother doesn’t tell her children to go out and play? 

Beyond the health benefits, the subtext to this message is get out and interact with other kids in the neighborhood. It’s even better when an organized team sport is involved since you learn how to work with peers.

Rebekah Radice said that her favorite lesson from her mother was to, “Dare to Fail.” Her mother told her that “there were no guarantees in life, only chances we’d choose to take.”

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lesson:
Get involved in company and industry events

Getting out from behind your computer helps your content marketing.

It enables you to better understand your competitive marketplace through industry events and conferences. Additionally these interactions help you to build your community.

Further, like children, your content needs to get into the world to reach its biggest potential audience.

On a macro-level this translates to content amplification and distribution. Just as you have to get out of the house, you need to continually distribute your content.

As Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina says,

It’s not the best content but the best promoted content that succeeds. @Crestodina #contentmarketingClick To Tweet

 

Actionable Content Marketing Lessons:

  • Use events like conferences as inspiration for content. Live content presentation is another way to distribute your content.
  • Amplify your content for the first 3 days after publication. This sets the basis for your on-going content distribution. (
  • Distribute your content over time. Since once and done distribution doesn’t yield results. Keep your content visible with on-going distribution.

 

 

Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lessons Conclusion

Even if we don’t realize it at the time, our mothers teach us important content marketing lessons.

Like a mother’s love for her children, at its core content marketing is about communicating how much you care about your readers, prospects, customers, employees and the public.

Your content helps you to develop deeper relationships with the people you want to reach. As a result, you guide potential buyers by giving them the information they need to make informed decisions.

What content marketing lessons did you learn from your mother? Please add your response in the answers below.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

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

Editor’s note: This article has been updated and expanded. It was originally published on May 9, 2014 in honor of Mother’s Day then revised and republished again on May 13, 2018.

 


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5 Responses to 10 Mom-Inspired Content Marketing Lessons That Will Make You A Better Marketer

  1. mino says:

    Do you feel like there is starting to be a shift in terms of how brands view curation?
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  2. Josh St. Aubin says:

    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 says:

      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

  3. Storewars News says:

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

  4. Juan Felix says:

    Great lessons Heidi! Thanks 🙂