Content marketing is a rage now (that includes content in the form of videos, blog posts, guest blogging, free reports, free downloads, articles, slide decks, and literally anything else you’d like to publish). As far as online marketing goes, that’s the only way to do marketing. Ever wondered how content shows up in almost all of the marketing methods that can be deployed online? Yet, we see projects piling up in content mills with requirements that border on the type of content readers don’t like to read online, ever again.
Many bloggers, small business owners, medium, and large businesses get it all wrong. Here are things you shouldn’t be doing with content marketing:
The Junk articles
We call them “junk” because humans couldn’t have written what’s just been written and sold for $2.45. These are the peanuts that those monkeys who wrote those articles got in exchange. You’ve always invested in the best paper quality for your brochures, the best business cards your money can get, and chose the best location for your business, why do you settle for the worst content your dollar could buy?
Oh yes, you might call it bootstrapping, of course. There’s a difference between being cheap and bootstrapping, if you know what we mean?
Your Content Is precious; Don’t Mess With It
Kerin Foster of Search Engine Watch notes that small businesses are looking to increase their investments in content marketing for the year 2014 and beyond. He mentions the possibility of “Content Combat” which would mean that more businesses would publish content and there’s a need for you to stand out and use content to reflect the unique voice of your brand. Did you know that every piece of content you create is now an asset for your business? Think about it.
Publish once; profit for lifetime
Marketing has always been an activity that should begin even before the business is born and probably only end with that business. Online marketing is no different. Publishing one free report, doing a guest post for a blogger friend, and sourcing 12 articles from a freelance job board isn’t marketing; it’s just an attempt.
Marketing ought to be round the clock, and forever. Customer engagement, content development, and social media activity for your business has to be deployed 24 x 7;nothing less will do.
SEO articles are for Dinosaurs
What on earth are SEO articles anyway? We don’t see Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week, TechCrunch, The Globe and Mail, and any of the other well-known publishers hiring writers to crank hundreds of articles stuffed with keywords. We forget that when we are publishing (even as a small business), we ought to benchmark ourselves against publishing giants and not with the garage-dwelling, black-hat SEO champ. We are not saying that keywords should not be used within your articles; do use them. Overdoing it makes your article unreadable, and hence your business stands the risk of losing the “trust” factor.
Pumping in a thousand keywords into a 600-word article says just one thing: that you are out to get your readers money without giving anything in exchange.
Economics doesn’t work like that – it’s always been “You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours”.
It’s content “marketing” and not just content “writing”
If you were to dole out a dozen poems in memory of your college crush, you’d be happy to write and store them on your hard disk. Businesses don’t benefit from anything written and stored (on hard drives, servers, or online backup services). It’s called content marketing for a reason: your content development efforts should align with the intent of your campaigns; your copy should make customers take action; your blogs should provoke discussions; and your free downloadable reports should provide information your customers wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Content development happens when creativity meets commercial intent.
Img Credit: Pascal