It’s the start of a new year, which for many small business owners means taking stock of their marketing efforts. When it comes to content marketing, there are always new tools to adopt and new strategies to explore. There is always room for improvement. The only question is, how would you like to receive your new content marketing advice—in the form of some dos, or in the form of do nots?

Thanks to a couple of worthy new content marketing guides, small business owners can effectively take their pick.

Three Content Marketing Dos

We’ll start with the dos, as illustrated in a new article from The Guardian. In it, author Jack Cooper says this: “Content marketing is driven by demand, originality and the ability to serve its primary purpose, whatever that may be. What all this means is that poor content goes nowhere.”

How, though, do small business owners keep their content from being poor? Cooper offers these three words of guidance:

  1. Content marketers aren’t supposed to create content just for the sake of content. Simply blogging every week is not enough; what companies need are integrative marketing strategies that connect content back to their business goals. For example, mobile-friendly content might be deployed to reach on-the-go consumers.
  2. Small businesses can also develop a competitive edge through making their content truly consumer-oriented. “Today’s consumers and search engines are more aware of outdated, purpose-written, search engine optimised (SEO) content,” Cooper writes. Today’s consumers want to learn, not be sold to—and as such, they respond to content that truly nurtures.
  3. Finally, Cooper recommends that content producers work closely with all other areas of the business, getting full team buy-in while also leveraging all of the expertise that the team brings to the table.

Three Content Marketing Don’ts

Meanwhile, Pratik Dholakiya, writing for Entrepreneur, notes: “While content marketing is a valuable tactic, you cannot afford to take a wrong step.” He goes on to list three missteps to avoid:

  1. First, small business owners should not settle for usual, conventional, or generic content. “Ordinary does not work anymore,” the author suggests. “Shift focus to ‘unusual’ content that is imaginative, authoritative and extremely interesting.”
  2. He also warns against viewing content marketing as nothing more than a way to build links. Instead, it’s important for small business owners to regard content marketing as a way to build relationships and engage their audience.
  3. Finally, Dholakiya cautions against trying to Google by producing low-quality content. Small business owners should know that they’ll never be able to outsmart and outpace search engine algorithms for very long.

So there you go, small business owners: Some things to do, and some things to avoid in your content marketing.