5 Certain Signs Your Content Sucks

Does your B2B content suck?

If you're not sure, there are some dead giveaways for B2B content suckitude. 

If you spot any of the following in your own content, it's a good bet it meets the craptent standard. So it's not doing what effective B2B content is supposed to be doing.

And you're basically shoveling more dreck onto the manure pile of mediocrity and ineptitude piled high by too much of today's B2B content marketing.

How many times are you name-dropping your own enterprise in your typical blogpost, Slideshare or ebook? A few times? A couple times? Every paragraph?

Just once?  

That's already too much. In most situations. Here's the best rule to go by whenever you're tempted to make mention of your company or product in a piece of B2B content:

Nobody cares.

They're not there to read about you. They're not asking to hear your pitch. Buyers are insulating themselves from salespeople nowadays. If that wasn't true, cold calling wouldn't be an endangered species

Content consumers want value. Usefulness. Relevance. They're not interested in your last company picnic.

You're not that interesting. None of us are.

What's newsjacking? It's when you leverage trending news to elevate your brand’s message.

DiGiorno Newsjacking Twitter ImageThere's good newsjacking and there's bad newsjacking. When DiGiorno tweeted witty comments during the airing of NBC's live production of The Sound of Music, it was smart, funny, appropriate. 

Newsjacking Image Spaghetti-OsWhen an anthropomorphic chunk of pasta smilingly salutes Pearl Harbor Day, it's stupid. Offensive, even.

And if your blog and social feeds have too much newsjacking, good or bad, there's something wrong.

Your content shouldn't be saturated with commentary about the passing parade, industry news, or rejoinders to other commentators' posts. Especially in B2B.

Unless you've something absolutely brilliant to bring to the conversation each time out, you're not proving anything about your own depth of expertise and thought leadership.

It takes hard work to generate quality posts, ebooks, white papers and other really smart and worthwhile content.

Do it. Or you're not adding much worth hearing.

Really? Even I know what I'm posting about next month.

Thought that's mainly because I'm doing it for other people. Who have heard of a little thing called planning.

If you don't have a content calendar, then you're flying blind. You're missing a strategy to take advantage of industry events, key dates, product launches or other opportunities. 

It's also very difficult to integrate content with the rest of your marketing mix when managing it all by the seat of your pants.

So content ends up looking like something you'd find in the seat of your pants at the bottom of search rankings. Because nobody pays any attention to it or finds it relevant.

Your content planning calendar ought to extend at least six months ahead.  Without one, you're just making it up as you go along. You're not building presence, reputation and engagement. You're basically wasting your time content wanking.

Your blogposts are all about the same length. Maybe some are longer, because you were feeling pretty windy that day. Or sometimes you haven't got the time, so they're shorter.

Your social posts? Same thing. Because you don't think it matters.

Oh, it matters, all right. Even the length of your Facebook post or Tweet makes a difference.

There are a lot of B2B content channels out there. Each delivers different types of engagement and ROI. People have different expectations of different platforms, and even engage differently with content within the same platform.

A very long (and good) blogpost is more likely to get shared. A shorter one will do a better job of attracting comments. 

But a post that's indifferent in design and execution about how your audience consumes content? It won't do much at all.

Most craptent is blandly faceless. Who needs robots to write it?  It's bloodless enough already.

"But wait, smartass," you may say. "You said I shouldn't go on about myself.  Point #1, remember?"

Restraining yourself from flacking the flack out of your own brand doesn't mean you shouldn't express a point of view, you motherflacker. Show thought leadership. Remember?

Inflicting more-of-the-same content on your audience, covering the same ground they've tread a dozen times before? It's torture. Stop it. For pity's sake.

Provide constructive insight. Add value to the conversation. Prove your expertise by showing you're focused on what the audience finds interesting and worthwhile.

If you've got a sharpened perspective honed by years of experience or your native genius, strut it.

Stand for something. Be a curmudgeon, a contrarian even, so long as you believe what you're saying. Decision makers respect divergent takes on a topic, so long as you're not blowing smoke.

Out of the seat of your pants.

 

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