3 unforgiveable content creation sins

Steer clear of generic messaging, be mindful of keyword use, and don’t ignore spam filters.

3 content sins

Great content can take your audience on an epic, entertaining and enriching journey.

Lousy or lazy content, however, will do more damage to your brand than having no content at all.

To make your messaging compelling instead of repelling, avoid these three harmful content creation sins:

1. Avoid generic [Your Name Here] content.

An email with a first name is not a personalized email.

If you are sending this type of “personalized” email, stop right now. Nobody sees their name on an email and thinks, “Oh, this message was handcrafted just for me!”

Even if the reader is momentarily duped, the excitement will quickly wear off if the rest of the message has nothing to do with his or her interests or industry.

Trying to write blog posts that appeal to a huge range of industries might sound like a great way to attract a broad customer base, but it isn’t. Instead, carefully target the niches you think might be most profitable for your business. Then, implement backlink building strategies (with key players in those niches), and make sure your content is useful, helpful and edifying.

2. Don’t ignore those filters.

Spam filters are getting more sophisticated—and increasingly stringent—and they are eager to zap your junky messaging into oblivion.

The rising popularity of secure email—complete with spam filters linked to extensive trigger word databases and end-to-end encryption—has made it more crucial than ever for content producers to mind their manners. To stay out of the spam folder, be mindful of salesy, scammy words, and follow these three basic rules:

  • Run spam tests on your emails.
  • Consistently tidy up your email lists.
  • Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

3. Don’t ignore keywords.

I bet this sounds familiar:

“If you are looking to create great content for your blog, then the best way to create great content for your blog is to use these tips to create great content for your blog.”

Painful, right?

This kind of keyword stuffing nonsense gets published when brand managers chase keywords above all else. This strategy will only annoy your readers—and possibly get your site penalized by Google.

People are more likely to see and engage with your content if other people recommend it. That means your content should engage with the problems of real customers, not problems that you’ve made up in order to sell your products.

Create content that will please and attract people—not robots.

Less is more

The scattershot approach to content marketing can be tempting. If you produce 100 blog posts that loosely touch on a subject, surely one will go viral, right?

Well, no. As privacy tools become more affordable and better at detecting spam and malware, you are far better off spending the same amount of time producing five exceptional pieces of content or emails than 100 mediocre ones. For proof, use one of the many tools available to test your content, and you’ll see that views (and conversions) are probably concentrated on just a few posts (and you probably already know which ones they are).

If you clog up your site with posts just for the sake of “content creation,” you’ll bury the few gems that are driving conversions. Do less—and prioritize quality—and focus on how you can help your ideal customers solve their most vexing problems.

Dan Fries is technical product lead at Next Ventures.

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