Lazy, Crap Content Drives Wolves to Attack

Post, post, post! Get your name out there! Show your expertise! Get followers! Drive reader engagement! Sell ads!

There is so much bad advice out there when it comes to content marketing. If you follow the example of many of the "gurus," quantity and ubiquity seem to trump all.

I was reminded of this today when I was scanning Business Insider and I came across the following headline. (Note: I'm not linking to the article because I don't want to encourage more of the same).

"What to Do if You Are Attacked by a Pack of Wolves"

Now, what does this have to do with business, you ask? Is getting attacked by wolves more likely if you're a "business insider?" I really don't know. Perhaps this article was meant to be ironic or a little diversion for the day or even native advertising for survivalists. Whatever its rationale (besides the helpful wolf avoidance tips), the article crystallized for me how much inane writing passes for "content" in the marketing world.

From the unrelenting assault from "listicles" to the riveting exposés on the morning routines of successful entrepreneurs, we are literally drowning in a sea useless garbage. 

So how should you approach content marketing?

As I fight the overwhelming urge to write a top 10 list, here are the fundamental things to remember.

Set expectations up front.

To maintain your readership, you obviously have to write regularly. But don't pay any attention to these silly "rules" that you have to post 3x per day, etc. Create your own rules; but set those expectations up front with your readership so they know what they're in for.

Stick to what you know & care about.

Nothing shines through clutter like passion. Keep the tangents and asides to a minimum; a focused content strategy is a powerful content strategy. It conveys your expertise, provides real value, and even helps in search rankings. People are following you for a reason. You should always remind them why.

Make it quality.

Don't take the lazy way out with endless lists or other ephemera. Put some time and effort into your writing. Even if you're simply sharing someone else's article, take the time to provide some commentary as to why you think it's noteworthy. It's fine if that means you post less frequently. What you do publish will just be valued all the more—and that usually translates into more comments, likes, retweets, etc. 

Be respectful of people's time & attention.

A little levity and a few diversions are fine and can break the monotony. Just don't think of it as "filler." People are busy and inundated with all kinds of messaging. Give what you promised and they'll value you even more.

It's ok not to post.

Reality check: The world isn't going to end if you or I don't share our thoughts. If you're truly putting out high-value content, you'll find that absence can really make the heart grow fonder. Leave them wanting more.

Simple, yet true.

I won't babble on about Occam's Razor or anything; but yes, these guidelines are simple and obvious. However, when you're staring at a blank screen or an empty blog entry for the day, the inclination to post something—just anything—can get the best of us. 

Stop. Remind yourself that sometimes, silence is golden. Keep those wolves at bay and write when you actually have something to say. I think you'll find that exceptional quality gets noticed even more.

Let us know what you think...unless you don't have anything to say. :)