Content marketing rules to ditch and to keep

Do people want to read short or long posts? How long should a blog headline be? Is email marketing still effective? Get the answers here.

With the frenzy over content marketing as an effective way to maximize a brand’s presence, digital marketers have curated some unwritten content marketing rules.

What are the rules? How closely do you need to follow them? Should you make your own instead?

Here are some rules to ditch and some to keep:

1. Ditch: “Headlines must be short.”

Short, crisp headlines are not passé, but if you believe your visitors find lengthy titles too unwieldy to read, you have not been keeping up with the times. The best websites and bloggers break word-limit rules. Their headlines can be as long as 80 characters (sometimes longer), and they still gain traffic.

A common myth is that online readers are too impatient to read long headlines, and only pay attention to headlines that are five or six words. The truth lies somewhere in between. If your headline is interesting, it will grab readers’ attention.

Use Buzzfeed for inspiration:


2. Keep: “Include search-friendly phrases or words in headlines.”

People usually start Google queries with words and phrases like:

  • “How to …”
  • “What are …”
  • “Why is …”
  • “Difference between …”
  • “Tips to/for …”
  • “Free”
  • “New”
  • “Best”
  • “Good”

Now that we’ve talked about writing long headlines, injecting these words and phrases shouldn’t be hard.

3. Ditch: “Email marketing is passé. Use social media marketing.”

There is no doubt about the efficacy of social media as a marketing tool, but you’re widely off the mark if you believe you don’t need email marketing.

Observe how many Facebook fans see your posts. On my page, I’ve seen this metric drop as abysmally low as 0.3 percent. On my luckiest day it can reach in excess of 5 percent, but that’s rare. Twitter is much better than Facebook for organic reach.

Delivering blog posts directly to your readers’ inboxes is an effective and essential part of content marketing.

Start building your email list with Facebook using a tool like Heyo’s free contest builder.

4. Keep: “Write longer posts.”

While some people suggest short posts stand a better chance of capturing readers’ attention, some experts advise writing long posts. The more information your post provides, the more eyeballs you grab.

Social media users like to share and like longer posts more than shorter ones. Neil Patel observed that posts with more than 1,500 words received 68 percent more tweets and 22 percent more Facebook likes.


It has been proven that content-rich posts get more likes and shares across social media. Most importantly, Google likes them!

Since content longer than 1,500 words gets more links and likes, don’t hold back when you write your next post.

5. Keep: “Make your blog conversational.”

Conversational writing is essential in content marketing. Be conversational by asking questions.

You don’t have to change your approach to writing blog posts—just add a relevant question at the end. Ask readers to express their opinions in the comments section. More comments leads to increased engagement on your website.

Just don’t make your question scientific or jargon-filled. Ask something the general audience can answer, and more people will chime in.

Sarah Parker is a blogger cum WordPress developer. She loves writing, and works at Designs2HTML Ltd. A version of this article originally appeared on JeffBullas.com.

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