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11 Sorry Excuses for Content That You Shouldn’t be Sharing

Content marketing is the overindulged golden child of the online world. We love it, but it’s starting to smell.11 Sorry Excuses for Content You Shouldn't be Sharing

Our current influential marketers and business developers have dubbed content marketing as the rising star of marketing in 2012. If you search the term “content marketing” in the ‘skills and expertise’ section of LinkedIn, you will find that its relative influence has increased by 27% in the last year.

I, for one, was convinced. The problem was that individuals and companies from around the world, word (and image) vomited content in order to become the next beneficiary of this “marketing phenomenon.”

Some content can be so inspiring that we feel like the next Peter Parker.

“Stories are what bind humans together. Inspire trust by touching people emotionally. Educate and entertain. Become a thought leader through your insightful content of utility.”

But, not all content is good content. And in some cases, it is counter productive.

Do your readers a favor and stop devastating your marketing campaigns with crap content. Besides making the rest of us in your marketing community look like egotistical, self-promoting spammers, your professional masochism is offensive.

Here are 11 examples of content that you should not be creating or sharing.

#1. Provide a link with no text

This tells me two things about you: (1) you are uncreative and (2) you are lazy. Not only will I not click your link, I will judge you and your employer.

#2. Provide a link with spammy text

This has never worked. It still doesn’t work. Unless I spill coffee on my keyboard and accidentally fall on your link, it’s not going to work tomorrow.

#3. Self-promote

We do not live in a time when people want to hear you talk about yourself. Unless you are a celebrity, it’s time to get creative. A basic rule of thumb is that if your mom wants to put it on her refrigerator, it’s time to start fresh. We want utility, entertainment and authenticity – not a professional autobiography.

#4. Intoxicate your posts with keywords to boost you SEO

 We know what you are doing, Sherlock. Optimization is an important part of any content-oriented campaign. (Let’s not be naïve.) But posts where you repeatedly abuse me with an attempt to assert your thought leadership in a particular subject leave me with editorial bruises. I want to help you, but I’m also kind of mad at you. Get smart and find a way to talk about these topics without giving singular posts SEO-poisoning.

#5. Say something that has been said 1 million times

Content marketers tend to think they are the craftiest people on the planet. Truth? It doesn’t matter how well you write. Unless you find an original spin, with new research, data and a cheery outlook, you can go ahead and give the article printout to your mom and expect an audience of one.

#6. Write about something that bores your colleagues

Assume that the people exposed to your content have a certain familiarity with the subject. If your co-workers think there is junk in your trunk (not the good kind), then the readers you want will also think your final product is trash.

#7. Write something that bores you

If you don’t smile once after reading what you’ve written – or cringe at the thought of reading it again – chuck it. If it doesn’t make it through the first content filter (you), it needs to be re-organized and recreated.

#8. Ignore the importance of visuals, formatting and grammar

Looks matter. So does your intellect and precision. Make your content aesthetically superior, pay attention to format and detail, and seek to impress your old 8th grade English teacher. Don’t be the “would-be” hot guy who can’t put himself together and forgets to clean underneath his fingernails. Use what you’ve got and make that extra effort to appear as more.

#9. Make it about you

If you don’t understand by now that content should be purposeful for the reader, then it’s time to rethink your marketing career. Write to satisfy your ego – but be sure you are polishing up your resume as you do.

#10. Have a strong title, but crap content

If you are smart and witty enough to craft a “clickable” title, then you are fully capable of writing something of value. Nothing makes me whack harder at my keys than the marketing snake who reels me in with a title that is full of humor and utility and then leads me to content that is ego-infused, dry, lazy or a scam. You are a car salesman in my book, a car salesman.

#11. Care more about the kudos than the impact

If you don’t give a rat’s ass about the impact of your content on your professional community, then your community won’t give a rat’s ass about you. There are a lot of egos in the marketing biz. Leave your desire to receive praise for your after-hours work at the shrink.

You don’t have to go to Oz to put heart into your content.

Provide something of utility – professional, intellectual, emotional, spiritual – for your target audience. Take creative risks. Strive to produce content that is entertaining, hopeful, tutorial or inspiring. And make us feel something that moves us to action.

Guest Author: Erin Nelson, who happens to do a great job at exploreB2B


Want to Learn More About How to Create Compelling Content that Your Audience Wants to Read, View and Share?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 130,000.

Download and read it now.


Jeffbullas's Blog


  • I’d be careful about #5. I’ve seen all of these a million times, but I’ve been online for thousands of hours. I think many writers have the attitude well if I know about it than everyone must know about it…I think they’re are a ton of people where this would be new information. You put on your own spin, so it worked for me…

    I definitely see #10 too much. Strong title followed by weak content, or very little content. I like #7. If you feel like you shouldn’t click “publish” step away from the computer. It’s a bad sign if you have look away when clicking. Don’t send it to world if you’re not happy with your product.

    Thanks Erin, I felt the passion behind the piece.

    • Agreed on the 5th bullet. Visit Amazon.com and search for the keyword Pinterest. Look at the number of titles that essentially talk the same talk. Yet they’re all publisher-driven titles.

  • I think you should tell us how you really feel LOL BTW this was funny “This has never worked. It still doesn’t work. Unless I spill coffee on my keyboard and accidentally fall on your link, it’s not going to work tomorrow.”

    I think you are right there is just so much content out there and 10 million how to’s and avoid 5 mistakes etc; Creativity will probably lead the trends because we are all so bored out of our heads.

  • I see #5 daily when searching #SMM on Twitter. I’m thoroughly frustrated at the number of posts I see on a daily basis that seem to simply be a slightly tweaked spin on a old/dry topic.

  • Thank you Steve and Ari for you comments. Re #5 – this is a tricky task. You’re both right that it’s perfectly okay (and expected) to cover content that has been examined before. The aim with this number is to remind people to infuse a sense of originality so that while the topic may be familiar – there is a still sense of “newness.”

    Thanks again for your feedback, guys!

  • Thanks for the wake up call. I’m taking it all in.

  • This is why I keep reading your stuff. You remain fresh… with a blogpost about freshness… golden!

  • Anthony Baisi

    I’m glad I subscribed to your RSS with my google homepage.

  • @twitter-36761958:disqus It was a bit of a rant, right?! Thanks for you comment. I was indeed feeling quippy.

  • Dennis, ListsUK

    My favourite post of the week – thank you. But should I share it.. dilemma!

    I’d add #12: Don’t share content that you haven’t bothered to read yourself, as you clearly can’t know that it’s worth sharing.

  • This is the BEST blog post we’ve read recently. Kudos on a well written and informative blog that gets to the point – and makes your reader smile!

  • Jeff, you wrote what I was too chicken to write. It’s so true. I think many bloggers out there have lost touch with the essence of blogging. It should be original, personal and something you feel passionate about. It’s okay to use tools like SEO Yoast to boost your optimization, but don’t go overboard. Totally agree with all your points. Thanks.

  • erover

    Isn’t a book promotion at the end of a blog breaking one of your own rule #3? Seriously, though, this is a good list. Thanks.

  • So true, learned a lot from this article, brilliant.

  • Peter Odryna

    Kind of a funny blog that talks down to self-promotion, and then wraps up with a direct self-promotion.

    “Want to Learn More About How to Create Compelling Content that Your Audience Wants to Read, View and Share? My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.”

    But the message is clear. We will soon (or already are) overwhelmed with dismal content, and the worldwide ‘auto-content-creation’ engines haven’t even begun to spin their tale.

  • This was a great and refreshing read. Thank you for writing this. Credit goes to Phumela Ngomane (http://twitter.com/PhumelaNgomane) for sharing this article.