My mom might just kill me when she reads that headline. (I’m 30-something, and that concern still crosses my mind)
But I’m becoming more and more passionate about the power of content marketing – and more irritated when I see content marketing that is poorly executed (aka, it sucks).
A special target of my loathing includes keyword-stuffed spammy content marketing that might, if you’re lucky, tell you one or two new things. That’s if you can get over the sense that you’re reading something that says “blah blah keyword, blah blah keyword.” (It sounds a lot like those old Peanuts cartoons when the teacher is talking. Wah-wah, wah-wah, wah-wah.)
Another favorite kind of content to hate (can I have a favorite-to-hate?) is obvious PLR content, especially PLR content that hasn’t been edited and enhanced to be a unique piece of writing. Nothing says you don’t respect your readers by foisting a piece of poorly researched and even more poorly written content on them (that looks identical to the next piece in the meta description).
If you’re not writing your own content marketing materials and you’re not hiring a content marketing professional to create custom content for your blog, please don’t cut and paste PLR content! Don’t buy an article that isn’t uniquely written for your audience and needs. And for the love of all that is holy, please take the time to make it unique for the people reading your blog. (Side note – as those Google algorithms featuring pandas and penguins and future black and white animals get smarter, your blog will actually be penalized for duplicate content if you have bought PLR articles and used them without enriching them and making them uniquely yours.)
I’m being more blunt than usual. But please. Stop creating content that sucks. Sure, you can SEO-the heck out of crummy content. You can land your way on the top line of a Google search even – but if people who are conducting the search aren’t compelled to click your titles, much less invest time in reading your article, it doesn’t matter what your ranking is.
How Do You Create Content Marketing That’s Good – or Great?
Since I’m being blunter than usual, I’m going to throw out another 4-letter word that makes some people uncomfortable, quite frankly, as the secret for creating content that’s rich, compelling, and even great.
The secret is this – it’s work. Whether it’s in the researching, the framing or the actual act of putting the rear in chair and pen to paper (or hands to keyboard), it takes work to get better at creating content.
It takes reading. Obsessively. For those of us who are self-professed word nerds, this is a labor of love, of course. But it’s not just a “nice to do.” It’s so essential to our existence and growth as writers that it’s a planned activity in our personal development, and when we skip it, our writing is deprived. Suffocated. Starved.
It takes practice. Obscene amounts of practice. It takes the ability to step back from one’s own writing and examine it closely for strengths and weaknesses. It takes a relentless drive and desire to become a better writer with each and every piece written. It takes seeking out new techniques and styles and trying them out, seeing how to appropriate them and make them one’s own.
And for those of us crazy enough to enjoy the art and science of content creation – this work is indeed a form of fun.
Creating content that doesn’t suck take something deceptively simple. It takes not settling for mediocrity. And no matter where you are on the road to learning to create content – that’s the very first step that anyone, no matter his or her skill level, can take.