5 content marketing lessons straight from craigslist

Where can you find a puppy, a roommate, a job, and spare auto parts? Craigslist, of course. So, why not turn to the almighty online classifieds for some lessons in content marketing, too? I’m a big Craigslist fan, so stick with me here as I extract five lessons for small business owners and marketers!

#1  Creative Posts = Likes, +1’s, Re-Tweets…

I could have just titled this post “5 Online Marketing Tips,” but of course, you wouldn’t be reading it. The same goes for Craigslist posts. (By the way, if you’ve never read a great Craigslist ad before, then you just don’t know where to look.)

When you get creative with the titles and content of your blog posts you’ll get the traffic that you crave. This is something I’m always telling my writers at Content Equals Money. Always take a couple extra minutes to write a killer headline!

#2  Be Time Sensitive

Depending on where you live, your Craigslist post can get buried in a tidal wave of content. In New York City, for example, a job posting from this morning may be back on the third page of listings by the afternoon.

Successful Craigslist posters know that they have to time their posts perfectly in order to get the audience they want. You should be doing the same thing with your blog posts, tweets, and Facebook posts.

A lot has been written on this subject, so I’ll just direct you to this Mashable article for everything you need to know about publishing time sensitive Facebook posts and Tweets.

#3  Give Readers More Than They Expect

When you exceed expectations, you don’t just make someone happy. You also gain their trust and come to be seen as a provider of value. I don’t have to tell you that those things go a long way in business.

Giving “value” does not necessarily mean giving more. Just look at Craigslist. As the Wall Street Journal points out, Craigslist founder, Craig Newmark, “did one simple thing: He thought about what his users wanted and put very little on his site that wasn’t useful to them.”

Sometimes less really is more.

#4 Show Some Personality

Don’t let your content marketing look robotic. Be personable. Great “Craigslist-ers” know how to write to their audience. Selling a jackhammer and passing off a litter of kittens require two totally different vocabularies.

Show your audience that you know who they are and how to talk the talk. This ties in with point number three because it helps build trust, too.

#5 Don’t Spin Articles/Content

As a content marketer, I loathe article spinning. You could argue that a form of “article spinning” exists on Craigslist in the form of copy-and-paste real estate postings. When you’re hunting for a new apartment, wading through this junk is painful.

Don’t do this to your readers either. Create original content that shares something worth reading. No, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you publish. But, every piece of content you write should be unique at the fundamental level.

Any other parallels you see between Craigslist and content marketing? Share in the comments section!