The end of content marketing? Or just the end of bad content marketing?
Is all this just too darn depressing? Are you ready to give up? I hope not. You shouldn’t. And though some might say these different data points spell the end of content marketing, I don’t think that’s what we’re seeing.
I hope what we’re seeing is the end of bad content marketing. Forgive me, but I do hope that some of the people just blasting out awful content will go away. I hope the rest of us will consider publishing less content, but better content. Content with far more planning and strategy and promotion.
In other words, it’s time to up our game.
Fortunately, that isn’t out of reach. While some companies do struggle with content marketing, there are others who are simply knocking it out of the park. These firms get great ROI and delight their audiences. They use the whole engine of content not just do better at marketing, but to do better with their overall business.
It’s time to be like them. So while I am about to walk you through a list of “don’ts” and other warnings, I’ve paired each one with a positive. Something you should do, and a company that’s doing it.
1. You’re creating low-quality content.
Let’s be honest. If you didn’t work at your company, would you read or share the content you publish? And – if you wouldn’t read it – why should you expect your audience to?
I apologize if that sounds harsh. Consider it tough love. Use it – as a motivation and as a yardstick – to define the kind of content you (and all the rest of us) should create. Because with the overabundance of content we’re dealing with, it’s time to stop publishing “filler” content.
The first implication of this is to fire your $10-an-article writers. Go find a subject expert and partner with them. And know you’ve got Google’s blessing.
The next thing is to create some quality standards for your content. No one expects your site to become a world-class journalism outlet, but you do need to meet basic criteria:
- Don’t publish content with misspellings.
- Format your content for scanners: Use subheaders and bullet points where you can.
- Use images every 300-500 words.
- Aim to write at a 7th-grade reading level.
- Extra credit: Reach out to smart people in your industry and get their take on your topic. This adds enormous value, gets you friendly with influential people, and means your content is more likely to get shared, sometimes by them.
There are many other aspects to good content. If you want to know more, take a look at our video, Creating Killer Marketing Content.
By the way… don’t give us no lip about not being able to create good content because you’re in a boring industry. The B2B firm PerkinElmer, which “creates technologies in life sciences, diagnostics, and environmental health” has figured it out. They enjoy engagement rates more than six times the average, even while publishing less often than their peers.