Are You Guilty of Wasting Readers’ Time With Bad Content?

This post is a copy of the original posted on our site at www.oconnorandkelly.ie

Are you a marketing manager and an expert on writing blogs? If so, you probably never waste a reader’s time, which is fantastic. We in O’C&K believe that we don’t deliver bad content but still, we’re going to be honest with you about why we’re not experts. After that, we will share our thoughts on better blogging.

Why we might not be considered blogging experts is the fact that we don’t always stick to an editorial calendar and we don’t publish every day or even once a week! Furthermore, when we do publish, we don’t distribute it through every channel available on the internet. And, shock-horror, our rationale, in writing a blog, is not to solely generate leads.

On the positive side, though, we don’t produce low-quality posts as often as possible, just so we can tick a job-done box. And what’s more, we never sell our outsourcing services in the body of a blog post, (but do have a call to action at the end, if readers would like to chat to us).

For us, producing quick fire content for the sake of it, can lead to bad content. This approach would probably do our business more harm than good in the long run, anyway. Bad content = bad marketing.

Good content takes time and effort and let’s face it — it is not (time) cheap either. Plus, we all know what Google thinks (and does) with bad content.

When Aidan and myself agreed to commence this blog we agreed on three things a) we would host it on our own site, b) the content would be helpful (good) rather than conveying a marketing message (bad) and c) we would only write about marketing topics that we have expertise in or experience with.

Of course, hosting it on our own site may drive additional traffic with the potential for lead generation and we won’t turn that down. In the main, however, the content of our blog, and its intention is to reflect our brand value of being relevant to our customers and businesses in general.

We firmly believe in the mantra that helping people with something that matters to them will provide business reciprocity, in due course.

Bad content just wastes a reader’s time.

Let’s face it most customers don’t really need another blog post. What they do need is a source of relevant ideas that will help them get better at something. If you can use your expertise to help them, that’s great. If not — don’t waste people’s precious time with irrelevant content.

We thought about all the blogs we read and the ones that annoy us the most i.e. wasted our time. Here are some of the common themes that we’ve noticed and which you might want to avoid:

  • The posts are extremely complicated, self-indulgent and too frequent
  • The posts are not easy to understand and appear to be written for SEO purposes
  • The author doesn’t appear to know who they are writing for and get lost mid-stream anyway
  • There is no fresh perspective and no personality to convince us to return for more

(check out unroll.me which is a great tool for cleaning up email subscriptions)

Have you experienced any of these? Well, if you want to continue reading here, we’ll provide 6 suggestions on what we think will help you avoid wasting a reader’s time (and your own).

  1. Determine what the purpose of your content is and who will be reading it
  2. Decide what you can bring to the table that will inspire a reader to think or act differently
  3. Know what content your customers / prospects already enjoy
  4. Research how your competitors use content as a strategy
  5. Agree how often you will publish content and how you will distribute it
  6. Assign responsibility as to who will create / curate, maintain and measure the results

Dispelling some myths about content marketing

If your blog isn’t structured to produce revenue, then it should, at least, play an integral part in raising awareness for your brand. There is no need to throw yourself beneath the feet of the content king, however. General guidelines will help but not a rigid plan, in our opinion.

For instance, we limit our posts to 4 general areas of marketing (brand, digital, engagement and offline), but not to specific topics. Thereafter, we distribute our blog posts, not only on specific online platforms, but also seek out speaking opportunities and networking events. At such events we direct people to our blog, should they want to find out more on a topic.

It is important, though, that each post is repurposed so as to engage different audiences e.g. we will share a shorter version of this post as just tips (below) on LinkedIn Pulse, Medium and Bizsugar.

If you have to convince your line manager about the benefits of blogging, you might have to dispel a few myths first. Here are some arguments that they might put forward:

  • Our type of customer / industry doesn’t expect or need to get content from us
  • We’re already spending time on social media, that’s how we’re sharing our message
  • We just don’t have the resources or the capabilities to produce sufficient content
  • We don’t have an interesting story to tell and anyway how would we know if it worked
  • This is just another marketing fad — we have better ways to spend our marketing budget

These misconceptions can be easily dispelled (maybe we’ll attend to this in another post) by marketing managers who understand inbound marketing. Perhaps you can also give examples of some tools that can explain the methodology e.g.(click throughs are available on the original blog)

Post research:

Coschedule’s Headline Analyser Hubspot’s blog topic generator

Buzzsumo’s most shared content Google’s keyword planner

Design / Images:

Canva’s design tool Pixabay

Fotojet’s pic editor Pickmonkey image editor

Curation:

Buffer Post Planner Scoop.it

These tools help to keep a focus on making the post relevant to your customer through automation and customisation. Of course, you should know who your customer really is, so that you can show genuine empathy with them. The idea is to build quality relationships by helping them with their pain points using your expertise.

By the way, an expert in online tools is a fellow Irishman Ian Cleary. Ian does a fantastic job sharing the most up-to-date, online tools available for your business. Check out his site at RazorSocial.

Tips and Timesavers

As mentioned, blogging is one way of allowing other people benefit from your experience. The more you share good content, the more people will pay attention to what you can do and the more they interact, the stronger your relationship will become.

Let’s look at six elements that we feel will help towards better blogging and towards not wasting anybody’s time:

  1. Write honest and genuine content. Don’t write with a hidden agenda because insincerity will be reflected in the quality of your content and very obvious to a reader
  2. Your passion will be shared. Readers will spot straight away if you’re going through the motions. You can only write with passion when you really care for and know your subject matter
  3. Strive for creativity. People love to read and absorb stories. Try and give your reader a different way to think about things / topics and write in a storytelling manner
  4. Have a consistent look and feel. Readers will get comfortable with your layout and style so changing it around each time you post will unsettle them
  5. Your blog is an extension of your brand. Be personable, approachable and conscientious
  6. Be generous. If you have something free to give away — just do it without hiding it behind a lead capture gate. People should finish your article feeling informed, educated or entertained.

Conclusion

Blogging with good content will form a major part of your online success. Stick to areas that you are an expert in and people will get to appreciate your advice when they require it. You owe it to yourself and your readers to produce the most effective content you can.

Before you know it you will increase your professional exposure, boost your reputation and guess what — you might even enjoy it too.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” — Aidan & Jim.

Would you like us to notify you, by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know on our website. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim — O’C&K
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