The First Step in Content Marketing: Avoid Bad Blogging
You will find it plastered all over the Internet: content marketing is The Next Big Thing. The SEO business is embracing it, massive brands like Patagonia are embracing it, and an increasing number of people are setting up shop and making a living at it. But with all of this variation, there are a lot of campaigns out there that are just bad.
Whether you are a looking for an agency or developing your own campaign you need to know what bad content marketing looks like because it’s everywhere.
Blogging Isn't Copywriting
Content marketing has become, incorrectly, synonymous with blogging. Blogging is a vital aspect of it, but limiting your efforts to blog posts is selling yourself short. Content marketing is videography, photography, graphic design, live events—basically any strategy you can think of to educate your audience on your business.
Blogging is, however, a place where every company can start doing content marketing. We live in an age where everyone can, and practically does, have a blog, so differentiating your site’s blog from the masses is a must.
What Bad Blogging Looks Like
Walls of Text
When you’re writing for the web, break up your article into short paragraphs and bulleted lists, and use headings and sub-headings to create an easy to scan page with a clear visual hierarchy. People don’t read long sections of text, but they will scan for the right information.
Neglecting Format and Design
The standard Tumblr layout works fine for a personal blog, but readers want more from a professional blog. Think of the blogs you keep coming back to and emulate their style and layout.
Focusing Too Much on SEO Keywords
Its important to have your content rank well in Google, but remember that the people searching for it are the same people that are reading it. Apply the same effort you put into getting that click towards crafting a readable article.
Content has to be valuable or it won’t stand out from the rest of the junk on the Internet. Readers are experts at skipping over useless copy.
If You Just Build It, They Will Not Come
Writing content and posting it to your blog is not enough. Even expert opinions can go unseen on quiet blogs in the far corners of the Internet. And in the ever-changing Google landscape, SEO and link building can only get you part of the way there. Your emphasis should be on creating content worth reading and worth sharing, and getting it in front of as many people as possible.
Promotion is Critical
Even the best content needs to be put in front of it’s audience. Whether you leverage your personal brand, promote on social media, or syndicate your work, getting it in front of as many people as possible is the key to success.
Think Like a Publisher
Starting a blog requires a plan: pick a niche, specialty, angle, beat, etc. If you are writing a lot of content, such as multiple posts each week, create an editorial calendar that lays out what you’ll write about in the coming weeks or months. Consistency is key, and even a thought stream like Seth Godin’s blog are consistently from Godin’s point of view. Define your strategy, and stick to it.
Finally, blogging, and content marketing as a whole, takes time. Expecting results in a short period of time will always leave you disappointed. An audience builds over a course of months, not a course of days. Audience loyalty takes even longer.
Blogging is a fast way to get started in content marketing and serves as a solid base for all your efforts going forward. When you get efficient at it, add other strategies to the mix. Have you made a great video? Put it up on your blog. The same thing goes for widgets, webinars, or infographics.
Using your blog as a content center underscores the importance of getting it started the right way and avoiding bad content marketing practices like sloppy text and disjointed posts that will hold you back.
Dale Bertrand runs Chimaera Labs, a digital marketing agency in Kendall Square, Cambridge. He has over a decade of search marketing experience. In his current role, Dale oversees projects involving organic SEO, AdWords and lead generation. His clients are primarily venture-backed startups, including several TechStars Boston companies. Prior to founding Chimaera Labs, Dale started two online lead generation businesses providing search engine based customer acquisition services to clients in the wedding, corporate events and education industries.