No one likes a cynical content writer

Content marketing works when you add value and build relationships.

Content marketing can work for almost any business. Sadly though, for many it doesn’t. In this post I highlight some pitfalls to avoid when creating and marketing content.

How could this be? Isn’t content marketing the modern panacea for all business ills? Well, even I wouldn’t say that. What I would say, though, is that, if you take the right approach, there is no reason why content marketing shouldn’t work for you.

So, what is the wrong approach? Where do businesses go wrong? Well, in my experience, as a content writer, many take what I call a “cynical approach” to content marketing.

Related posts:

How to market a website with content marketing

What is content marketing and why is it powerful?

What is cynical content marketing?

So, what do I mean when I say some content marketers are cynical? Well, though they know that content marketing is about adding value and building relationships, they still take every short cut possible. With a knowing smirk, they will often say something like, “When marketing content you need to appear like you care about other businesses. However, I’ve got a few tricks that make it look like I care and save me a lot of time.”

I once attended a presentation where a marketer actually admitted to using software to post canned comments on other businesses’ blogs. He, in effect, admitted to being a spammer — the lowest form of life in my book.

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One-way conversations

This cynical approach takes other forms too. How often have you seen businesses post images on social media making a statement or asking a question? How often do they actually respond to replies?  Businesses that don’t respond demonstrate that they are only interested in one-way conversation. In my opinion, if this is what they want they should just pay for advertising, like in the old days.

I believe that a major cause of this lack of engagement is due to businesses contracting out their social media marketing. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this; in fact, I handle social media for some of my clients. Where they do go wrong, though,  is when they have absolutely no involvement — a social media marketer can’t be expected to respond to specialised inquiries; doing so would be a recipe for disaster.

A guideline for successful content marketing

Content marketing works when you add value.  Adding value does NOT mean posting endless self-promotional material on social media with aggressive calls to action. Adding value does NOT mean posting inane comments on blogs like, “nice post.”

When I read a blog or watch a video, I want to be informed; I want to see that the authors understand their topic, that their intentions are honourable. A very good blog, called Is your blog just another billboard?, takes the same view.

Agonising about Google

Many content writers and SEO live in constant fear of what Google will do next. They worry about which cynical black-hat tactics will be banned during the next update. I believe that if everything you do is based on adding value and building worthwhile relationships, you really don’t have a lot to worry about.

What do you think? If you found this post useful please share. I’d love to know your views.

  1. Well that has taught me something. I often don’t reply to peoples comments to my blogs. That’s changing as of now.
    However if its a troll I will still retain my policy of don’t take the bate. Its hard not too sometimes.
    I’d be interested Andrew to hear you views on how to handle trolls?

    1. Hi Max, thanks for your feedback. If by Trolls you me people (or software) who place inane comments, I just report them as spam and then delete . As long as your website’s setting don’t allow comments to be published without approval, they will never get through. The problem is, though, that many less experienced people think these comments are genuine and approve them.

  2. Hi Andrew… your post is impressive I liked it. I know the importance of a valuable content. Also I think that maintaining good relationships with your clients is very important. It is very important to understand the creativity of your client. Ideas and content originate from the real-life friendships and fans. What say?

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