Conversation makes the world go round. In order to build and maintain healthy relationships with your friends, family members, coworkers, significant others, etc., you need to engage in healthy, two-way communication on a regular basis. Don’t and you come off as a socially inept weirdo.
If you hope to succeed as a content marketer, you’ll need to engage in the same kind of smart, two-way conversation that you do in real life, just via great content. Don’t believe me? Just ask Amie Marse of Small Business Trends, who said that “content marketing is about having a conversation.”
Be a smooth talker — deliver great content — and you’ll keep the conversation flowing. Don’t and you’ll look like that socially awkward brand who collects bugs and wears rainbow suspenders.
Here are 5 ways not to connect with customers doing content marketing, along with some pretty decent alternatives:
- Promote your brand incessantly
I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.
That’s actually a quote from the 2004 comedy “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” The truth is, I actually own zero leather-bound books and my apartment smells more like a subdued oak.
Would you follow a business who only shared content that highlighted their brand and how awesome they are? What value would that content offer you? That’s right. Zilch.
What you should do: Share content that your audience wants to consume. Listen to what they’re talking about and provide them with personalized content that appeals to their unique needs. It’s okay to be confident and share promotional content now and then, but too much content related specifically to you will just make you look like a pompous, me-me-me kind of brand. Don’t be Ron Burgundy. Be a giver.
- Share content whenever you feel like it
This blog post has ended. Stick around for part two, arriving in just six months!
Got ya! In all seriousness however, how annoying is it when a brand shares content and disappears for days, weeks, or even months at a time? Failure to share content on a regular basis is the content marketing equivalent of a super long “awkward silence.” And we all know how good those are for maintaining a conversation.
What you should do: Be a powerful presence in your industry. You can accomplish this by being consistent in your content marketing efforts. Make an editorial calendar. Schedule posts. Do what you have to do to share content regularly, even if it’s just one blog post a week. Whatever you do, don’t just disappear and show up ten years later thinking your audience will be waiting for you with bated breath. They won’t.
- Share new content every two seconds
“Did you hear they’re seeking applicants to colonize mars?”
“How about that new Google Glass video, huh?”
“I’ve got the inside scoop on the new Justin Bieber album, if you’re interested.”
Conversation is an art; not a competition to see how much you can talk about until your tongue falls off. Share too much content and you’ll 1) devalue the good stuff 2) be seen as just another noisemaker and 3) turn off the people who might actually be interested in the value-rich stuff you have to say.
What you should do: Have some common sense. There is such a thing as information overload when it comes to content marketing, so be sure to space out content you share to allow for breathing room. According to prominent content marketing consultant Barry Feldman, “Content marketing isn’t about adding words, it’s about adding value.” Don’t just post as much as you can. The last thing you want to do is to be seen as a motormouth, content-spewing pariah.
- Share poor content
Is there anything more banal to say than “How’s the weather?” Okay, maybe “I watched the grass grow today.”
Boring topics and dull tidbits do not a good conversation make. Would you want to talk to someone about ear wax removal for eight hours? I didn’t think so.
Sharing poor quality content is like talking to your audience about boring, mind-numbing nonsense. If you don’t put effort into creating or curating high-quality content, your customers will likely leave and go have a chat with a cooler brand.
What you should do: Put effort into creating, curating, and sharing only high-quality content with your audience. If you’re going to make an eBook, make sure it’s content-rich and looks very professional. If you’re going to make a video for YouTube, you better make sure it looks better than the average teenager’s vlog. Do the social media equivalent of talking about post-modern French cinema and share high-quality content.
- Rehash existing content
Sharing poor content is akin to talking about dull stuff. If you don’t put effort into… Wait. I already wrote that a few paragraphs ago. Why would you want to read something you’ve already read before?
No matter how much your audience likes cars or yoga classes or whatever it is you’re selling, they won’t want to consume the same content they’ve already consumed a bajillion times before.
According to content marketing leader Joe Pulizzi, “you’ve got to create a concept that nobody else is doing.” Would you talk to somebody who did nothing but retell old stories and jokes? Of course not. Your audience doesn’t want to consume rehashed content either.
What you should do: Brainstorm. Search the web for fun ideas and/or write your own spin on a topic. Answer questions that your audience is asking. If your competitors can come up with original content, you can too — and you don’t need to be a professional copywriter to do so. You can also curate content, but be sure to add value by adding context. With a little bit of effort (okay, maybe a lot), you can provide your audience with new and engaging content. Because even lolcats got old. Okay, maybe they’re still kind of cool.
Are you guilty of content marketing dweebiness? Can you think of any other conversation killers? Let us know in the comment section below.