By Mari Rogers
Websites need great content marketing strategies in the same way that children need healthy food. Sure, you can feed your child piles of candy, and for a while, you'll both be happy. Similarly, you can use cheap, illegitimate content marketing techniques, and for a few days or weeks, your website will do great. Eventually, though, the "sugar rush" of bad content marketing will tank you (or more specifically, Google's algorithm updates will).
Want to have a healthy content marketing strategy? Here are three things that you need to avoid.
- Recycled Content - Good content is original, brings something new to the table, and incorporates important keywords in a way that feels natural. Some amateur marketers realize this, but only have a few pages of quality content. "I'll just keep rotating in these posts," they decide. Or, they copy great posts from other websites. This is a bad idea, because Google algorithms do not like duplicate content. If two pages are basically identical, Google will typically choose one—not both—to appear in search results, because duplication doesn't add value for the user. And for duplicate content that appears to be deliberate—spam—Google's Matt Cutts has said that "we do reserve the right to take action (on spam-like duplicate content)."
- Not Knowing You Audience's Interests - Last year, JC Penney tried to turn around sales through a rebranding effort. They assumed their customers didn't like constantly receiving sales and instead just wanted low prices reflected in-store. They cut their online and mailed special promotions nationwide. The result? A 20% drop in sales, equating to millions in lost revenue. As it turns out, loyal customers liked those deals. Lesson learned: your approach to a better content marketing strategy will only be successful if you understand your customer—what they want, and what they will react positively to. If you're a pizza company, don't just blog sauce recipes because you think it will attain a high level of readership; conduct consumer research so that you know.
- Not Seeing the Big Picture - Many people look at certain aspects of their content marketing strategy and fail to see the big picture. "Why pay for an onsite blog, when it's not directly advertising my brand, and is just interesting facts?" Might seem like a reasonable question. But when it comes to blogs, people want to read interesting posts, not recycled ad-speak. And in reality, the overall statistics speak for themselves. Websites with blogs have 432% more pages for indexing on average, which helps raise websites in search rankings. Organic search rankings, in turn, are the biggest source of online leads. Research has also shown that 61% of consumers will feel better about companies that have a blog—and trust is an important factor when it comes to online sales and leads