When I started working at Weidert Group last May, inbound marketing was a very new concept to me. In fact, the first time I had ever seen the term being used was while I was researching the agency and open position! That being said, fast-forward through 9 months on the social media frontlines, and those days of blissful ignorance are all but forgotten.
As the man in charge of @WeidertGroup’s Twitter feed, I scour the web everyday looking for the most helpful, well written content to share with our audience. With my trusty HootSuite account and keyword monitoring streams, I hand pick the posts I think our audience will find most useful. However, after spending countless hours monitoring thousands of Tweets, blogs, and websites, you start to develop a knack for spotting a bad post almost as quickly as you can a good one. To help improve the quality of your brand’s content, make sure you stop doing these 5 things, ASAP:
1. Using “Content Marketing” too Loosely
When finding blogs to share with our audience, I often look for articles that give real life examples of different content marketing strategies being used. Lately, however, the terminology “content marketing” seems to be used too loosely. For example, unless you’re allergic to viral videos, you’ve probably seen the Volvo commercial that features Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two moving semitrucks. With over 68 million views on YouTube, marketers from all across the web were quick to praise this as content marketing genius. Just one thing though: since when did traditional advertising become content marketing? Volvo made an excellent ad that shows off the precision of their stability steering, but the fact of the matter is, it’s still just an advertisement used to sell their product. Our content should be defined as something that helps educate the customer, not a pitch of your products/services. Just because your video appears on YouTube, doesn’t make it content marketing.
2. Worthless Infographics
While there’s no doubt that some infographics are done exceptionally well, too often I stumble across some real duds. Take this one for example:
Honestly, could they have piled more pie charts in there? You can’t even tell what’s going on! Or how about this one:
I think they left out “worthless content kool-aid” as an option.
As my colleague Jamie pointed out in his recent blog, Weidert Group doesn’t create a lot of infographics. It’s not because we don’t like them - in fact, we’re big fans when they’re done correctly – it’s because we want to make sure our infographics are relevant and valuable to our audience. Rather than creating an infographic for the sake of hopping on the visual content bandwagon, take more time to create something that your audience will find useful.
3. Sites That Aren’t Optimized for Mobile
In 2013, eMarketer estimated that 73.4% of global internet users accessed the Web from a mobile device. This year, they expect that number to grow to nearly 80%, with it expected to rise to over 90% by 2017. With roughly three-quarters of the world accessing the internet from their mobile device, don’t you think it’d be wise to make sure people can use your site on their phones?
For starters, you’ll want to make sure your mobile site is easy to read. Since your site’s visitors will be reading off a screen that’s only a few inches big, it’s important that your text is easy to read and your images aren’t too large or overwhelming. Not only will fewer/smaller images look better, it will also help improve your page’s load time – a crucial aspect for mobile web success. Finally, since online video accounts for 50% of mobile traffic, make sure you use CSS and HTML 5 (not Flash!) to ensure that your videos can play at good quality with few problems.
4. Automated Direct Messages on Twitter
I don’t even know what to say about this anymore. Seriously, has anyone ever even gotten a lead from this? If I had to guess, I’d actually say this method has LOST more followers/leads than it’s gained. I mean, just look at the screencap of the one above! Not only is it full of spelling errors, it’s clearly just a shameless plug to get me to Like their “FB Pg.” If you’re going to insist on sending an automated DM, at least send something of value. You won’t find new followers complaining about any that say something like, “Thanks for following us! Watch our tweets for special contests & offers, but for now, use code FOLLOW1ST for 20% off your first purchase.”
5. Blogs That Don’t Offer Any Specific Value
With the use of long-tail keywords becoming more important for capturing better leads, most content writers have shifted their style to be more specific when addressing a problem or answering questions. That being said, in a world where the quality of content is constantly improving, why would you still blog about something that clearly doesn’t provide any value? You know the ones I’m talking about; blogs with titles like, “Top 10 Twitter Tips” or “5 Ways to Improve Your Blog.” Blogs like these always repeat the same advice, and because these tips have been blogged about over and over again, at this point, they’re not really tips anymore – just common sense. Today, if you really want to establish yourself as a thought leader, you have to be answering the difficult questions people need answers to. Think of it this way: if content marketing were like owning a barbershop, you wouldn’t be very successful only offering buzz cuts.
To be successful with your inbound marketing in 2014, you can’t keep settling for “good enough.” Too often it seems like brands are putting out content for the sake of keeping up with a publication schedule or just trying to hop on the latest content bandwagon. Instead, make an effort to focus on the quality of your content and make sure it really answers the questions of your target personas. Not only will it improve your brand’s reputation, you should start capturing more high quality leads as well.
Posted by Alex Sobal Alex has exceptional writing skills and the ability to learn new industries and their complex processes. While at Weidert Group, he was also an avid social media marketer and wrote frequently on online community engagement and content creation strategies for our blog.