Thursday, November 8, 2012

What’s Not Working In Content Marketing And How To Avoid It

It’s enough to give a blogger heart palpitations. The moment readers find your online content, they evaluate whether or not they like you, and if they trust your message. With only nine seconds to make a good impression, bloggers make fatal decisions with their content that costs them readers, fans and cash. The bottom line is, if your writing gives off a used car salesman vibe or, on the contrary, if you’re as boring as an accounting class, your readers will drop like flies. The following lists common pitfalls and ways to avoid them.
How Not to Be Overly Sales-y Online
Over marketing, otherwise known as hype, is high on the list of those fatal flaws. Don’t confuse marketing with hype. Marketing is using a well crafted, refined message, while hype is excessive and exaggerated. If you are an expressive writer, it will be easy for you to cross the thin line between pointing out how awesome your brand is versus hyping it to the extreme. Editing makes all the difference.
To craft the best possible marketing messages, try this. Write your marketing content without judgment or editing. Then, step away from the computer, and don’t look at your article again for at least a few days. When you read it again, remove excessive adjectives and sentences that aren’t needed to get your point across. Tight, punchy marketing content that makes readers feel something will serve you better than flowery poetics.
Also, train yourself to spot hype, and therefore avoid writing it. Keep two digital documents handy – one for headlines and one for paragraphs. When you read a headline or paragraph that utterly smells of shady salesmanship, copy and paste it into your file. What you find to be overly salesy and hyped will more times than not turn your readers off, too. As your swipe files grow, you’ll notice common threads among the headlines and content – perfect examples of what not to do. Refer to these as you edit your own marketing content to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes.
A Recipe for Online Sales Success
The hype problem segues into a second common marketing mistake – overusing one purchase trigger while failing to use others. The same purchase triggers are common across all industries. Some of the “buy now” buttons to push are fear, mystery and trust. If you use overuse fear, exaggerating to readers why they are doomed if they don’t purchase your online program, you risk turning them off. While if you only key in on evoking trust – you are in danger of being a bore. Sprinkle your marketing content with a dash of fear and healthy doses of trust (a consistent, repetitive message), and things become more interesting. Then, evoke an air of mystery by giving readers just enough information, but not quite the full picture. An air of secrecy makes use of the old adage, “Leave them wanting more.” The punchy combination of fear, trust and mystery is just one recipe you might use for marketing content that drips with appeal.
Stand Out in Your Industry With an Authentic Message
Counter to hype and overused triggers, novice bloggers sometimes fall into the trap of being too much like everyone else – especially those at the top of their industry. This is often a misguided attempt to be well received. While this method won’t offend anyone, it won’t make you wildly popular either. People won’t talk about you, and you won’t top the list of ones to watch in your industry. To get noticed, differentiate yourself by adopting an opposing core message, or put a new spin on a widely accepted industry idea / method. To find your point of differentiation, answer these questions, asking how you can further push your message into uniqueness, while still maintaining authenticity.
What do you know a lot about, and what are your interests outside of your industry? How can you infuse these interests and knowledge into your brand, message and offerings?
What personality traits have you had since childhood? How would being known for these traits set you apart?

Who are the top three types of people / industries you want to work with, and what do they have in common? Begin to craft your unique message and mission based on this.
What problems do you solve, and how do you accomplish results differently than your peers? Is there something different about your approach? If not, how can you improve upon your industry’s approach?

Remember, it only takes nine seconds for someone to determine if they want to stick around your website. Make this time count. Use these three marketing mishap benchmarks as filters to avoid making regrettable mistakes with your own content. The better you are at editing your messages and adding flavor with sprinkles and pinches of purchase triggers, the more readers, fans and cash will result. As you continue to differentiate yourself, you’ll find more fans in your corner.
About the Author: Monica Crowe writes blog posts and sales pages with pizzazz for creative, passionate entrepreneurs, so they can do more of the work they love and help the people they most want to serve. Get more tips on how to write better marketing and blog content at