To create good content, the kind of stuff that people like looking at and will search out, you need to create content that’s valuable, relevant and consistent. It’s this approach, combined with a clear knowledge of your audience, which gets people buying what you’re selling, figuratively and literally.
Another important thing – and it might seem silly, but it’s startlingly relevant in many cases – is that you actually need to know what you’re trying to do with content marketing. Put simply, we want to show our audience things that will make them like us.
A good way to avoid getting things wrong is to work by process of elimination; put yourself in the shoes of your audience and check off all the things you shouldn’t be doing – then decide what you should be doing.
Put simply, we want to show our audience things that will make them like us. - Highlight to share -
So instead of trying to put together a one-size-fits-all ‘how to do content marketing’ guide, we’ve thought about the 10 worst kinds of content marketers:
1. The Salesman
Unsubtly trying to sell your products and services is cringe-worthy at the best of times, but when you’re doing this in the context of ‘here’s something for you to read that will be of interest to you’, this can only be described as horrific false advertising. Even if what you’re selling does add value, and your content clearly explains the value that it adds, you’ve lost your audience’s attention by making it an obvious attempt to try and get their money.
2. The Bragger
Sharing ways of doing things better, even if it is based on what you’ve done and learnt, is absolutely fine. Boasting about how well your company does things on the other hand will fall on deaf ears. Why would anyone trust you? And realistically, no one likes a show-off.
3. The Underestimator
People aren’t stupid – in fact, they’re extremely perceptive, digitally savvy, and actually have very high expectations. Getting things right should be the norm – and when you do something wrong, you’ll never hear the end of it. Assuming that consumers will be easily tricked or convinced by some ‘clever’ content you’ve put together is very early 20th century. Propaganda no longer works how it used to in the connected world.
4. The Narcissist
It might seem strange to even have to say it, but if you’re looking to provide value to your readers, it’s not actually all about you. Just because you think a topic is interesting doesn’t mean that anyone else will, let alone a specific target audience. It’s really not worth massaging your ego by assuming that your interests are above everyone else’s – and we all know what happens when you assume…
But if you’re looking to provide value to your readers, it’s not actually all about you. - Highlight to share -
5. The Disillusioned
Yes, your content should be providing value around a specific concept or subject – but acting like you’re an expert and know absolutely everything isn’t very believable. Adding to a conversation is all you need to be doing, not redefining or revolutionising it. Chances are you aren’t the first one to have thought of this, so why preach to people like you know better?
6. The Pusher
Context is incredibly important in any content strategy. Thrusting content in front of people, even if you think they’d be interested in it, will never work if the circumstances aren’t right. Consumers also tend to be impatient, and have very good memories – annoy them once and you may never get another opportunity.
7. The Blinded
If you’re not interested in following the results as you go along, and think that no matter what you’re doing the best job you can, then there’s something very wrong. There’s always room for improvement, and you should always be tweaking and optimising as you go, testing various techniques whilst sticking with your original overall strategy.
8. The Deafened
Not listening to your customers should be a criminal offence anyway – but when it comes to producing content to provide value to those customers, how can you not be paying attention to what they’re saying? Even if you have ideas around what they will find interesting, you should always do the research and listening before you start, and put whatever they’ve said ahead of your opinions.
9. The Ignorant
Creating content lives in the realm of creativity – granted – but if you’re not thinking about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it using the more scientific and logical side of your brain, you’ll never succeed. A real 3D strategy really is the best way, unrestricting your thinking but within reasonable constraints.
10. The Impatient
Expecting that a couple of good pieces of content will massively impact the world of consumers is far from realistic. Not sticking at your thought-out strategy because you don’t see results straight away is very short-sighted. Building a reputation is something that takes patience, but by holding onto your brand values throughout everything you publish, the hard work will pay off.
You’ll be getting off on the right foot by avoiding all these techniques, and really thinking about the best content strategy to engage, interact, provoke, raise (the good kind of) awareness, shape reputation, and maintain a meaningful connection.