Content marketing is “the way forward” in the digital age. The idea is simple – create content and keep your audience consistently engaged with your brand. The trouble is that in practice; this isn’t so simple and there are a lot of brands delivering content marketing that just doesn’t hit the spot.
When content marketing goes wrong – it turns your audience away rather than engaging. They switch off and tune out from your brand and may even go hunting for the kind of content they do want elsewhere.
So if you don’t want to send your customers packing to your competitors; you need to think about your content marketing strategy and avoid these content marketing sins:
Every single piece of content you produce be it for your social media, your website, your blog or promotional material should actually have some content. There’s very little point in delivering thin content.
What is “thin content” it’s contentless content. Let’s say you run a store which sells printers and print cartridges. You’ve heard that every piece of content needs to be at least 500 words long. So you churn out 500 words on how to reset a particular printer. Except the only content in that 500 words is really “switch it off and switch it on again”. That’s thin content. Tiny pieces of information that are stretched so thin that they hold no value.
Never forget that you are writing for an audience first and foremost. Sure, it’s a good to write for search engines too – that way your audience can find your content. But it’s never a good idea to prioritize a search engine over people. The search engines won’t be your customers any time soon.
Guest Blogging Overkill
One of the keys to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is creating incoming links from other websites. That’s because it tells the search engines that you have something that other people agree is worthy of being said on your site.
This is why guest blogging can be a good way of boosting your rankings. You write a piece for someone else’s blog or site and they, in exchange, give you a link back to your site in the piece.
The trouble with this strategy is that not all sites are created equal and neither are incoming links. If you guest blog for a site with spammy, poor quality content – you may be doing more harm than good for your rankings. Google and other search engines are increasingly trying to deliver high-quality content in their search results. When a crappy site says “look here on the internet” – they may reduce rather than boost your rankings.
This is actually good news. Guest blogging, when done right, is hard work. It’s better to save that hard work for top notch sites that will bring you readers and customers than to waste it on sites that won’t.
Constant Recycling of Content
It can be really tempting, when you’ve worked really hard to create great content, to keep pushing that content endlessly. You write an awesome blog post. Then you announce that post on all your social media channels and your website. It brings in a bunch of traffic. Then after a while – that traffic starts to tail off; your audience’s attention has wandered a little.
So… you decide to repost that content on social media. Every day for a year. That’s a terrible strategy. All it means is that people will see it over and over again and tune out from your channels. It’s much better to use recycle content sparingly – dig out those awesome posts and re-share them every few weeks or months but not every day or every hour. We know how tempting that is – particularly given the background noise on many social platforms but it’s also a great way to alienate the part of your audience that is most engaged with your brand.
Not Reviewing Other Sites Before Engaging With Them
This is a little bit similar to guest blogging overkill. Before you engage with any site to try and pick up traffic or links from them – you want to get under the hood of that site and see whether they’re really offering you any benefits.
Spammy sites with thin-content are clearly not going to deliver any results but other sites may also be negatively rated by Google without such clear warning signs. Look at their page rank, Alexa rank, etc. and see whether it’s really a good idea to associate your brand with their site before you start to engage with them.
Treating Content as Marketing and Advertising
Sure, the objective of creating great content is to sell product. Otherwise; why would you bother? It’s a lot of work and that work needs to see a return. However, content isn’t about trying to directly sell your products or services. It’s about positioning yourself (or your business) as an expert or experts in the field.
If people stumble on to your site only to be greeted with dozens of posts which say; “Buy from me! Buy from me!” They’re going to leave. There’s nothing to be engaged with.
Remember the catalogues that used to drop through your door with monotonous regularity? They’re not as common now – even online they’re not common. Why? Because that’s all they did; “Buy stuff! Buy stuff!” People got wise to that and they don’t need it any more.
When you use content to explain things, when you use it to help your audience reach their personal or business (or indeed both) objectives; you give people a reason to keep reading rather than close their browser tab and move on somewhere else.
The essence of content marketing is giving. The more you give, the more likely you are to receive in return. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any sales content on your site or blog, of course, it just means you should keep it to a minimum so that the visitor sees the value before the demand to buy and the price.