Content marketing advice is all over the internet. In the ten or so years since its importance has been recognized and elevated, the number of content marketing experts has quite literally exploded. Unfortunately, much of that advice is created in the name of their own SEO benefits.
Now, I’m not saying there’s something wrong with an SEO strategy that focuses on content – we all do it because it works. Unfortunately, what a lot of these ‘experts’ and growing number of posts on content marketing do is focus on what they’re interested in and not strategies that work for others.
So, here are some of the worst content marketing strategies we thought to put together for easy reference.
1. Any Content Will Do
No doubt, this advice has been taken by more than a couple of people! But, it is definitely advice you should never follow. Ever.
Yes, content is important. Regularly updated content streams are even better. But, if you don’t have something interesting, relevant or entertaining to share, then it’s best to keep quiet. Or, as Thumper’s father in Bambi told his cheeky son: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”.
Whenever you add content to your website or use it in any marketing strategy at all, it has to be good, great or spectacular. Anything less than good won’t get you the results you’re looking for. And, if it’s particularly badly written or thought out, it could result in penalties from Google and/or a loss of users.
2. Target as Many Social Media Platforms as You Can
We get it, we really do. Social media is an important tool in capturing an audience, particularly a younger one. But, if your business, product, service or brand isn’t relevant to the users of a particular platform, then it really isn’t worth your while. Trust on this.
Spend your time wisely and target your potential audience in ways that will reach them, at the right time and in the right way. Now, if you do follow the advice to target them all you’re in likely to lose customers or be penalized by search engines. But, you will be wasting time, effort and money. And that’s something few businesses can afford.
Of course, in rare circumstances, businesses can tap into an audience they didn’t realize was relevant for them, But, this really, hardly ever happens.
3. Don’t Waste Time on Documenting Your Content Strategy
Another misnomer. And one, that if you follow it, could cost you, customers. Documenting your content marketing strategy includes keeping track of:
- Definitions of what content would best reach your target audience.
- Planning what content you place where, when and how.
- Recording the analytics of each piece of content.
- Collating the evidence.
- Creating a new, better strategy based on your results.
If you don’t follow at least some of the above, then how will you know what you’re doing, what is working and equally important, what isn’t. Data from Content Marketing Institute’s annual Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, consistently shows the importance of documenting your content strategy.
In fact, 61% of the most successful content strategies were run by businesses who documented that strategy. Yes, it’s another job to and your already long list. Once you get into the habit of documenting everything you do, though, you’ll be surprised at how quick and easy it becomes.
4. Let an Agency Handle All your Content Decisions
This is a tricky one. But, letting an agency handle everything to do with your content, isn’t the way to go. Sure, there are lots of excellent content marketing agencies out there who can help you achieve the results you want from an effective strategy. But, you need to be in control.
Giving an agency a brief is all well and good, but always ensure the brief is followed. Don’t hand over any sign-off authority to anyone outside your business. That can lead to problems with your content both now and later on.
Asking agencies for advice or even to write/create much of your content, works well for many firms. But, only when certain rules are followed – by both parties. That means you need to know exactly what you want and need and have a firm deadline in place. Think tone of voice, topics you love, ones to avoid and confidence you’ll get what you request – and are paying for!
Always make sure everything associated with your website:
- Is in line with company policy.
- Fits the brand image.
- Delivers what your customers want.
5. Focus Only on Keywords and Adding Links
While both of these details are important to any content marketing strategy, they should only ever form partof it and not be the sum total. If your content is an obvious vehicle to place a large number of keywords and phrases on your site, people will notice.
That includes site visitors looking for informative, interesting or entertaining content. It also includes search engine web crawlers and bots who know gobbledegook or keyword stuffing when they find it. If they do see that in your content, you’ll be penalized by dropping down the rankings.
The same goes for links. Adding in two-or-three relevant links to other websites is appreciated by your visitors and search engines. But, go crazy with too many and readers will switch off – or onto another site – and Google won’t be impressed, either.
We said it further up, but we’ll say it again. One of the keys to great a great content marketing strategy is to focus on creating content that is well-written, useful, has only a couple of relevant links and is easily readable. Yes, it might take more time or cost more money, but it will earn you more site visitors and grow your sales. And that’s what most companies want.