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How not to do content marketing

See also: How not to use Twitter / How not to use LinkedIn

It's best not to do these things if you want to succeed with content marketing...

Assume you are interesting
Some brands lend themselves to storytelling and narrative better than others. Certain companies have interesting and unique histories that have bled into the ways in which the business has developed. These lucky brands can get away with publishing pieces about themselves. Most brands don’t fall into this category. But this doesn’t matter. You just need to make sure you create content that your audience would actually want to consume. This is the single most important content decision.

Assume you can write
Writing is one of the media world’s most undervalued skills. You only have to look at the rates charged by freelance photographers, designers and writers to see how this skill is regarded by the industry. But its position in the pecking order doesn’t mean everyone can write to a professional standard. There is plenty of well-written marketing copy out there. But there is more filled with meaningless phrases such as ‘most unique,’ that simply doesn’t make the grade. Which camp does your copy occupy?

Don’t share
It’s one of the first things you learn as a child, and it’s just as relevant in the cut-throat world of online marketing; sharing is caring. Remember, the days of ‘if you build it they will come’ are long gone (if indeed they ever really existed). You can have the best content anyone has ever created; it might be relevant, engaging and inspiring, but if you don’t share it across the web – making use of as many channels as are relevant to your target market – it’s not going to get you anywhere.

Do everything all at once
Thanks, in part, to social media and the mobile revolution, the internet now runs at 100mph. There is an emphasis on being new and first. While this is exciting, it can create a sense of urgency that serves to force brands into decisions they don’t want to make. It is much better to produce less content and make sure it is of a high quality than it is to push out new stuff everyday that looks like it’s been put together in five minutes. Bad content damages your brand as much as good content improves it.

Put it behind a huge data collection form
Though there is always huge pressure on marketers to deliver leads, there’s little point in creating content that’s hidden behind intimidating registration forms. Content is designed to be consumed. It is not designed to be hidden away in a concrete box, and made available only to the most desperate. Data and leads are important. But are they more important than people actually consuming your content? Perhaps try giving some away for free, then adapting a progressive profiling approach, once they are hooked.

Content marketing is undoubtedly one of the most positive opportunities marketers have at their disposal. It fits perfectly with the digital/social landscape and gives brands the opportunity to create experiences their customers actually want to consume. There are, however many ways of getting it wrong. Think before you act, and ask why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you can’t imagine consuming the content yourself, scrap it and start again.