Our current influential marketers and business developers have dubbed content marketing as the rising star of marketing in 2012. If you search the term “content marketing” in the ‘skills and expertise’ section of LinkedIn, you will find that its relative influence has increased by 27% in the last year.
I, for one, was convinced. The problem was that individuals and companies from around the world, word (and image) vomited content in order to become the next beneficiary of this “marketing phenomenon.”
Some content can be so inspiring that we feel like the next Peter Parker.
“Stories are what bind humans together. Inspire trust by touching people emotionally. Educate and entertain. Become a thought leader through your insightful content of utility.”
But, not all content is good content. And in some cases, it is counter productive.
Do your readers a favor and stop devastating your marketing campaigns with crap content. Besides making the rest of us in your marketing community look like egotistical, self-promoting spammers, your professional masochism is offensive.
Here are 11 examples of content that you should not be creating or sharing.
#1. Provide a link with no text
This tells me two things about you: (1) you are uncreative and (2) you are lazy. Not only will I not click your link, I will judge you and your employer.
#2. Provide a link with spammy text
This has never worked. It still doesn’t work. Unless I spill coffee on my keyboard and accidentally fall on your link, it’s not going to work tomorrow.
We do not live in a time when people want to hear you talk about yourself. Unless you are a celebrity, it’s time to get creative. A basic rule of thumb is that if your mom wants to put it on her refrigerator, it’s time to start fresh. We want utility, entertainment and authenticity – not a professional autobiography.
#4. Intoxicate your posts with keywords to boost you SEO
We know what you are doing, Sherlock. Optimization is an important part of any content-oriented campaign. (Let’s not be naïve.) But posts where you repeatedly abuse me with an attempt to assert your thought leadership in a particular subject leave me with editorial bruises. I want to help you, but I’m also kind of mad at you. Get smart and find a way to talk about these topics without giving singular posts SEO-poisoning.
#5. Say something that has been said 1 million times
Content marketers tend to think they are the craftiest people on the planet. Truth? It doesn’t matter how well you write. Unless you find an original spin, with new research, data and a cheery outlook, you can go ahead and give the article printout to your mom and expect an audience of one.
#6. Write about something that bores your colleagues
Assume that the people exposed to your content have a certain familiarity with the subject. If your co-workers think there is junk in your trunk (not the good kind), then the readers you want will also think your final product is trash.
#7. Write something that bores you
If you don’t smile once after reading what you’ve written – or cringe at the thought of reading it again – chuck it. If it doesn’t make it through the first content filter (you), it needs to be re-organized and recreated.
#8. Ignore the importance of visuals, formatting and grammar
Looks matter. So does your intellect and precision. Make your content aesthetically superior, pay attention to format and detail, and seek to impress your old 8th grade English teacher. Don’t be the “would-be” hot guy who can’t put himself together and forgets to clean underneath his fingernails. Use what you’ve got and make that extra effort to appear as more.
#9. Make it about you
If you don’t understand by now that content should be purposeful for the reader, then it’s time to rethink your marketing career. Write to satisfy your ego – but be sure you are polishing up your resume as you do.
#10. Have a strong title, but crap content
If you are smart and witty enough to craft a “clickable” title, then you are fully capable of writing something of value. Nothing makes me whack harder at my keys than the marketing snake who reels me in with a title that is full of humor and utility and then leads me to content that is ego-infused, dry, lazy or a scam. You are a car salesman in my book, a car salesman.
#11. Care more about the kudos than the impact
If you don’t give a rat’s ass about the impact of your content on your professional community, then your community won’t give a rat’s ass about you. There are a lot of egos in the marketing biz. Leave your desire to receive praise for your after-hours work at the shrink.
You don’t have to go to Oz to put heart into your content.
Provide something of utility – professional, intellectual, emotional, spiritual – for your target audience. Take creative risks. Strive to produce content that is entertaining, hopeful, tutorial or inspiring. And make us feel something that moves us to action.
Guest Author: Erin Nelson, who happens to do a great job at exploreB2B