I see a lot – I mean A LOT – of people attempting to “do” content marketing, and they are doing it ALL WRONG! Now, I don’t claim to be a goo-roo, or even an expert, but I am enough of a professional content marketer to know when some things are just plain old wrong. And believe me when I say I see a lot of wrong in the world of attempted content marketing.
I can understand that anyone can make a mistake every now and then. Everyone can bend or break a “rule” for the sake of doing so. (I’m doing it right now, in case you were wondering…) but then there’s just crappy content marketing. Most of it has to do with the content itself, and not so much with the marketing side of things. But there are a few absolute crappy things your can DO with your content that won’t matter how kick ass that content is – they will still be crap.
So, if you’ve been wondering why your content marketing hasn’t taken off like you hoped it would, or maybe you’re ready to call it quits because “that crap doesn’t work”, read through this list of stuff to NOT do. See if you recognize some of the “tactics” you’ve been using. If you DO, then maybe you’ve discovered why your crap isn’t working for you.
And if you’re new to the content marketing game, you’ll have a head start on success, because you’ll know the crap to avoid doing in the first place.
Too Much Marketing
This is probably the most common, and the biggest, pile of crap I see business owners make with their content marketing. They are so focused on self-promotion, they neglect the CONTENT side of the equation. Sure, content can and should be used to help sell your stuff, but if that’s ALL it does, you become a nagging bore of a content provider. If every blog post, every video, every newsletter, every webinar, every social media post turns into a “buy my stuff” sales pitch, guess what? Nobody’s gonna buy, because everybody’s gonna get tired of your salesy crap real quick.
Another way to lose readers and watchers real quick is to not put enough of you in the content. If I want content that sounds or looks like it was created by a bot, there are apps for that. If I want to read something that sounds like it’s coming from my attorney, I’ll go re-read my divorce papers. Don’t be afraid to put some of YOU in the recipe. in fact, you and your personality ARE the secret in the sauce. Your voice, or at least the voice you’ve chosen for your brand, are part of the reason your people ARE your people. They could probably get the content from any of a hundred sources, online and off. They come to you because they like you, they like what you have to say, and they like how you say it. Be you. It’s the only real thing you can be. That robot crap is for sci-fi movies and talking-head dudes on documentaries.
There’s probably a better way to say that, but the gist is, don’t get too defensive in the comments or replies, if someone has something critical to say about your content. Pay attention to what they have to say. Listening to your audience can be one of the most effective ways you can learn to serve them. But don’t get upset or angry or defensive. Remember, there be trolls under the Internet’s bridges, and feeding them is never a good thing. How you respond, even IF you respond, to negative feedback, is something you’ll have to decide on your own. Me, personally, I give them a polite “Thank you, you’ve given me something to consider.” (They don’t have to know that the only thing I’m considering is how I’d like to fry their crappy a$$es with a fire-breathing dragon.)
Mama should have taught you that polite conversation NEVER includes religion or politics. And I’d have to say the same, mostly, holds true for content marketing. Even IF your business or your topic or a relevant trendy topic is geared toward one or the other or both, it’s best to include some content that doesn’t. Or if it has to, that it does so from a more “neutral” or “balanced” approach. Look at an issue from both sides, if possible. Or at least keep it civil and useful to the majority of your audience. That politico-religious crap can become very tedious and boring, and alienate a lot of followers. Not exactly a good thing when trying to market through use of content.
This is the one I’m breaking, or at least bending all to bits, right now. Most readers and viewers of Internet content don’t like to be yelled at. It hurts their little feelings. And when you DO have to be strong with them, don’t be a.) female or b.) negative or c.) call them out on their crap. You SHOULD try to be positive. Helpful.
Polite. Especially if you are a woman. (sarcasm dripping venomously here) It would seem that business people are either very thin-skinned, or man-eating sharks. You could offend some by being too strong in your opinion, or in your stating of that opinion. Me? I could care less. Y’all are ruining your businesses and/or your content marketing by doing some of this crap on a routine basis. And then you go around bad-mouthing content marketing and yapping about how it doesn’t work and is in itself a load of useless crap. It’s a big part of MY life and business, so if you want polite, hand-holding, please-stop-doing-that-whispers, go somewhere else. I’m trying to tell you how to get better at something that can have great success, if you do it properly. So, suck it up, Buttercup. I’m calling it as I see it.
Trying Too Hard
This is a tactic I see that is almost the opposite of being too strong. It’s that “I want everyone to like me” crap that I find on a lot of websites and social media sites. They are either trying too hard to please everyone, or they are trying too hard to get likes, or they are trying to hard to “go viral”. And in any and all cases, it tends to turn into insipid, sappy, sloppy content that is pretty much useless. Not everything you publish has to be stellar, but you have to at least TRY to reach YOUR audience. Whether that is an audience of 1, 10, or 1 million, they are STILL your audience. They deserve your respect. They deserve some thought put into each and every item you put in front of them. Sure, they are at different levels of knowledge, purchasing decisions, and experience with you and your “stuff”. But that doesn’t mean that they should be neglected for the sake of the one or two new leads you MIGHT add through that blog post, or that Instagram pic. There should be content for EVERY level of user, including the newbs, but adding new people shouldn’t be your only focus.
Not Trying Hard Enough
Whether it’s through lack of skill, or lack of time, or lack of effort, a lot of the content I see marketers publishing is total crap. It’s a rehashing of something someone else published without anything new, or personal, or interesting added. It’s trendy crap that won’t matter a month or so from now. (How much content can mention the Summer Olympics, or the Kardashians, or the Donald, and STILL be relevant and interesting by Christmas of this year?) It’s jargon-filled crap that only industry insiders will EVER understand. It’s tired, boring, bored content that should just be left to lie in peace. Or it’s crap that contains one or more of the mistakes I’ve just discussed. In short, it just doesn’t try hard enough to be useful, relevant, kick ass content that readers and/or viewers will want to consume again and again. And that – creating what we call evergreen content – should be every content marketer’s goal. It’s the “secret sauce” in content marketing. It’s the Golden Goose that keeps producing the followers, and keeps them coming back for more.
So, stop with the crap, already. Enough is enough!
PS If you aren’t sure where your content falls on the crappy content scale, let someone read this, then let them read/watch some of your stuff. If they truly care about you and your business, they’ll let you know. Crappy content is hard to hide.