Mucked-up marketing is thus: Shoddy content, bad sources, poor storytelling, and terrible grammar. Literate marketers and consumers already know this, but why has the Internet become plagued with millions of ill-formed words and forced content campaigns? It’s easy, that’s why.
Small businesses seeking refuge on the Web rely on exposure to generate sales and attention. These companies use a combination of social media platforms, blogs, press releases, images, infographics, and countless other tools to up the contact rating between the brand and the consumer. Great — these strategies are proven to work, but only when they’re formalized, professional, and demonstrate results.
Most companies create what are known as “content personas,” or ethereal personalities that attempt to communicate with the living (i.e. you). These guises filtered through campaign messaging are effective in different capacities given the industry and stage of sales the reader is at. A ghostly “reviewer” blogging about Product X vs. Y, for instance, is useful for tipping the scales in X’s direction.
These personas are often directed toward that special reader for different reasons. However, this schizophrenic marketing tactic is riddled with pitfalls and meme-like facepalms that marketers fall for. Here are a few persona-type personalities to stay away from before pushing content in every which way:
The “BS” Content Floozy
When content creators are faced with an endless maw of writing assignments and ticking deadlines, one of the best ways to get out of a slump is to make stuff up. We’ve all done it — don’t lie! — whether it was for an English paper or we were filling out an absurd survey, it’s happened. People of all stripes are fabricators—it’s fun, easy, and natural. But it isn’t a bear trap you want to tussle with.
In technical terms, the Internet is a massive lie detector and readers are excellent polygraphs. When they know something is wrong, they’ll rate it poorly, comment, and debunk the piece at every sentence break. Doing so empowers people, and if you wrote a lie you deserve to never hear the end of it. What’s worse is when people don’t detect the deception. This leads to trouble down the line with a consumer purchases Product X 3000 and ends up filing a lawsuit.
The Data Miner
Marketers and readers love data, facts, and figures. Give it to them if it supports a point of view, but implanting false datum (even unintentionally) is dangerous. Writers with the best intentions need to keep an eye on sources and dig out discrepancies before publishing a “fact.” The data miner is at risk because the “numbers never lie,” just like the saying that all statistics are 80 percent false. Check sources, add citations, and practice caution when wrangling in numbers.
The Socialite/Gossip Queen
Another risk when writing content personas is talking to the wrong crowd. As you know (from this blog, of course), marketing is best when directed at a particular audience. However, never assume that what you’re saying is what a particular person wants to hear. The best way to zero in on content is to find trends in the multitude and shape the piece around collective needs and interests. Gossipy marketing arises when writers develop far too many personas to keep up with. This schizoid approach leaves room for deprived content. Don’t waste your time writing for every single consumer — content marketing is a war, not a battle.
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