The DOs and DON’Ts of Marketing Content That Works Jessica Lunk Marketing strategies for small business can be a bit overwhelming at first, but when you break them down into simple steps they are more understandable and actionable. If you are new to creating content for the Internet, then there are some simple DOs and DON’Ts to follow to ensure that you are engaging your customers. It is important to keep SEO in mind while creating marketing content; however your primary purpose should always be the user experience. Here is a list of 14 rules that will put you on the pathway to success: Don’t plagiarize copy, steal or borrow other people’s content. You can link or refer to it. Do infuse your content with personality, humor, drama and excitement where it is appropriate. Readers like to get to know the “real you” as they follow you in your journeys. Don’t keyword-stuff your content. Google has become sophisticated enough to find content via context. Do use SEO wisely to help Google define your content to appeal to your target market. Keywords should be used in context in a natural manner, and links to valuable information added. Do create content that is a minimum of 300 words for articles, and write as much information as it takes to offer your information fully. Longer is better, but only if you are providing substance. Don’t create worthless, fluff content. Create valuable and helpful content that people will want to read. Don’t create content on large broad topics. Focus on small, niche topics. Don’t try to engage everyone. Define your target market and create content for them. Do use social media to help distribute your content to your target market. Choose channels that resonate with your specific audience. Don’t patronize, belittle, look down on or act superior toward your readers. Treat them like honored guests or good friends. Do make your content more readable by adding bullet points, short paragraphs and white space to make key points stand out. Don’t act as if you have all the answers. Provide your expertise and ask for feedback from readers. Do use different styles of writing for web copy, blogs and emails. Use tracking metrics to determine which writing style gets the best response, and follow through with changes until you determine the best style for your audience. Do stay up to date with changes and best practices for professional marketing copy online and offline to provide your audience with high-quality content that will keep them coming back. Use your content to answer the questions that your clients ask as they look for your products and services online.