The Worst Content Marketing Advice We’ve Ever Heard

AdobeStock_65892778-Converted-1200x900Content 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.


4 Signs Your Online Presence Is Dying

In today’s online world, a business needs to have a good online presence that is sought out by as many potential customers as possible. Sure, there are times when things are slow, but it’s usually nothing to worry about.

However, there are times when things have been slow, for quite some time and you need to know if it’s just a blip or if it’s the death knell of your online presence. Read on to discover four signs your online presence is disappearing and how to get things back on track.

1. There’s Nothing New

If your website is offering your customers nothing new at all; products, services, content, engagement, then your customer growth is sure to be zero, too. Of course, there are times in many businesses where new things are being developed and only the existing offerings are available and that’s fine.

However, you need to make some changes and update your website regularly to help keep your rankings afloat and encourage new customers to take a look. Without a popular website or social media presence, your customers and engagement will at best stagnate and at the worst sink, very quickly.

Fix it!

Luckily, this can be a pretty easy detail to fix. Options include:

  • Having a website revamp
  • Add some special offers
  • Create a regular social media chat or competition
  • Get a fun or relevant blog going
  • Begin highlighting relevant news articles
  • Encourage customers to share their views on your products/service

You can do one, some or all of these and they should have a positive impact on your online presence. By keeping your website regularly updated and securing a stream of visitors – both new and returning – you’re supporting your rankings and doing your best to keep your website up high.

It might take time, but provided there are signs of new content on your site and new visitors too, you’ll know you’re moving in the right direction.

2. You’re Doing Too Much and Not Satisfying Anyone

In many businesses, the founding team learns new skills or can see profit in adding an additional range of products or services. For general sale or service websites, that’s a positive. But, for specialist brands or industry firms, it can put potential customers off.

Customers often want to know that the company they’re using for something specific, is an expert in that field. And while they might put up with some expansion in similar and relevant offerings, if a company begins looking like a jack of all trades, master of none and is only interested in profit, it will show.

Once you’re existing customers begin to look elsewhere, you’ll also likely struggle to attract loyal, high-spending new customers too.

Fix it!

There are a few options, but the two we like are, either to stick with what you’re good at, or to branch out on a separate website and business, but with close links to the original.

If you’re looking for a fresh challenge, rather than alienate your existing customers and jeopardize the growth of new customers, put your energy into improving your current products and services. Ask your customers what they want from you and work on trying to deliver it.

Or, if you’re confident your new ideas will work, give them their own, separate identity. Create a new website and support and advertise it on your existing one. That way, you can show your loyal existing customer base what else you can offer, without pushing your pre-existing business to one side.

3. Organic Traffic Has Fallen off a Cliff

In the wonderful world of the web, there are times in most businesses existence that organic traffic falls close to zero for a week or two. That’s fine and often happens without any real reason. If, however, you notice this has gone on for more than a month, you need to investigate as there is likely to be a problem that you want to know about.

You can easily measure your organic traffic with Google Analytics. Click the acquisitions button and you’ll be able to clearly see how many site visits you’ve had from organic sources. If the long-term growth pattern is upward, then you should be ok. But, if there’s a sharp drop that isn’t showing signs of recovering, you need to take action.

Fix it!

Rectifying the problem might be a bit more involved than you might expect. A good place to start is by:

While in some cases you can recover organic traffic growth relatively quickly, it’s not always that easy. But, don’t be disheartened – you’ve done it before and you can do it again. A quick way could be to employ a reliable agency to undertake a content review for you. Or, if you have the time and expertise you could conduct one yourself.

Once you have fixed any initially pinpointed problems, you can work on improving your organic traffic marketing strategy. If it’s done well, you could end up with a superior organic traffic growth rate than you had in the first place, which would be a very welcome result!

4. You’re Not Retaining Customers

Where once you were able to attract new customers and turn them into loyal returners, this process appears to have come to an end. Not only are you struggling to attract new customers, but previous ones haven’t visited our sites in an age.

Customer retention is as important as the ability to attract new ones. After all, you already know you’ve got a product or service an existing customer likes and is willing to spend money on, so work on making them feel valued. If you appear to be focusing all your efforts on new customers and not enough on your existing ones, you’re going to lose out.

Fix it!

While it will often take more than a loyalty bonus or special offer to keep your customers hooked for the long-term, it’s a good place to start. Combine a special loyalty discount with further gifts or discounts for increased spending or regular purchases.

Another option could be to create an exclusive club for returning customers. Give them access to content you know they’re love, freebies they want and social media engagement that will thrill them.

Make your existing customers feel important to your business in any way you can, that’s also relevant to your company and your customer’s needs.

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