Why your bad content is ruining it for the rest of us


As a content marketing writer, I am a tad protective of the field. Every time I see those articles that espouse copywriting as the new way to make money from home, I cringe. Just because you can write doesn’t mean you’ve got the straps to make a decent living writing content.

content marketing writer
Photo by David Bares

Having to wade through sceptical clients and rehabilitate people to the ways of the blog is no easy feat. As a content marketing writer I spend a lot of time unpicking the handiwork of others. It’s not always pretty, let me tell you.

So it’s about time to look at what we as a content marketing writer should do to help, not hinder, the field of business writing

Forget plastering SEO like cheap cladding

Let me point to the calendar people – it’s no longer 2010. It’s 7 years later. In dog years, it’s 49 years on.

Who knows how many in internet minutes? Maths makes my head ache.

That means wedging in SEO terms like teens at a One Direction contest doesn’t get you very far. Charging people thousands of dollars for blogs that don’t convert doesn’t get you far. Spraying terms around like a Tom Cat also doesn’t get you far.

People want relevant content. They want to be able to trust what they read. They want to attach to it. Coming back to a website on a regular basis to lift your business knowledge is King. It’s always been preferable to coming to an optimised blog and learning nothing. But now, we’re even less tolerant if we land on the irrelevant, repetitive info.

If you believed what some business posts are telling you, most people think $50 blogs will get them where they need to be. Actually, $50 blogs only get you the same tired dross everyone else has on their blog.

Super cheap blogs leave no time for research, planning, proofing or creative work. How can they? You can’t run a business in Australia on $50 an hour.

If you want some thought, some difference and some strategy, allow the budget and time for it. Get someone who knows how to do more than slink words in.

Content marketing needs to help the audience. If you have blogs that focus on rank alone that don’t add value, people click away. They don’t stay long enough to remember a business and they sure as heck don’t come back for more.

So say something worth saying and enjoy better conversions for your business.

Provide a takeaway for the audience

I don’t understand why I have to explain this but…

If your audience doesn’t leave with something worthwhile, they won’t come back.

They won’t remember you. Not in a landscape where billions of bytes of information are created each day.

Or if they do, they may remember you as someone who doesn’t add value.

Always have a point to the story. Always back that up with something the audience can take away. Give them something they can apply to their work.

As a content marketing writer, have a focal point. Solve a person’s problem. Acknowledge their point of view. Add to the learning process. Evoke emotion.

Do something to that person that makes your content memorable and worthwhile.

Above all else, make it meaningful and add value to their search.

Other grey areas a content marketing writer should approach with caution

Sales and activities like list building are starting to influence the content marketing writer set too much. Content is a slow burn and is better enabled when the customer has freedom.

So think long and hard before engaging in these marketing activities:

Gated content- it might seem like a great idea, but how good is your content? It has to be consistent, wonderful and useful to warrant a gate.

Pop ups- for every pop up you use you better have something in that blog that is pretty damn amazing. Oh, and if you’re tempted by 3 pop ups per article, you better be writing with the storytelling flair of TS Eliot and the intelligence of Noam Chomsky.

Email and phone tag- customers accept sales and list building are the reason for that free eBook or whitepaper. But please stop calling day after day or emailing week after week. Chase, but know when to quit so you can preserve some dignity, yeah?

Tone down the content diva, please

There’s inserting your personality as a content marketing writer. And then there’s making the whole world centre on you.

What if there’s only so many times that sensible, intelligent and engaged customers can watch a grown woman or man trot out the “look at me” parade?

The internet has a narcissism problem. What astounds me is that the content creators don’t realise how much of a part they have to play in that situation.

A decent content marketing writer should avoid:

  • Too much anecdotal evidence. Knowing what you know is fine, but you’ve got to back it up with these things called facts on occasion
  • Blatantly ripping off every idea ever …and then accusing everyone else of copying them. I can’t tell you how cross eyed this can make a person
  • Having content marketing that reads like an online diary. Complete with the spats, fights and moments of jealous hissy. There’s doing a fireside chat ala Seth Godin or Jeff Goins. And then there’s over-share. Be sassy, but not to the point where onlookers start to question the IQ of the people cheering your social media on

Oh, and the number one on the “not again!” hit parade goes to:

Hearing from the content marketing writer that has quit marketing again (yet again). Since when did quitting marketing become the business version of a John Farnham farewell tour?

Your peers notice. And they laugh. Then their eyes roll.

Then they get back to whatever marketing they are doing.

Customers notice too and it can start to look attention seeking.

Be yourself most definitely. But have some class, compassion and character about it. Content marketing and social media isn’t about making sure a bottomless ego gets its pillow fluffed.

It’s meant to be helpful to the audience. It’s meant to make their lives easier.

Stop making the content marketing writer experience the centre of your efforts and make some damn room for your customers.

Want an experienced content marketing writer?

I’m not the answer to your business prayers, but I know how to write a good story. I like digging into a business and finding what makes them tick. I enjoy translating that to the page. As I come from a product design and development background, I know how to define a product and find a voice for it.

So why not get in touch and let’s see what I can do for you?

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