“Content Marketing”. Everyone is talking about it and advice is flowing from every direction, but there are some myths I see daily in regards to articles and guest blogging. So I am going to discuss rant about these myths a bit and hope some businesses writers can learn from them.
1). “Be Original” Is a Good Suggestion or Headline
WRONG! Two phrases that have been used to death in articles are “Be Original” and “Be Yourself.” I agree with the idea behind it, but I must see “Be Original” 2-3 times a week and you know what I think when I see it?
“I don’t want to read this because I have already read it many times before!”
It doesn’t matter that the rest of the article may be great. If readers see the same thing over and over there is no reason to believe a new article will offer anything better. Don’t copy advice from other articles; come up with your own.
If you are going to suggest that someone be original or be themselves (because they are original) I suggest you come up with a different way to say it. Example: “Using Your Weirdest Quirk/Hobby/Favorite To Make You Stand Out”.
Giving the same advice that others have given many times before is a turn off to your readers. Take “Be Original” and twist it around a lot; make it a better and more detailed suggestion.
2). Your Opinion Is the Most Important Part of an Article
WRONG! [Obviously this entire article includes “opinions”, but that is alright because technically I am “ranting” (see title).]
I have worked as an editor for several websites and also work with clients on content marketing and it is important for everyone to know that the part of an article that is the least important is the writer’s opinion(s).
Content marketing is supposed to offer something valuable, informative and be influential to the reader. Opinions can be each of these things, but only if there is supporting data that backs up an opinion.
An opinion without supporting data is neither valid nor valuable.
If you have an opinion on something, and are offering suggestions based on that opinion, you should be prepared to back it with data that supports your opinion and suggestions. If you want people to trust you as an authority, and/or a writer, you must back up what you say.
3). The Smart Way to Utilize Content Marketing is to Guest Blog Anywhere and Everywhere
WRONG! Guest blogging is huge; we all know it. Unfortunately, there are a large group of people that do not understand the following critical things about guest blogging:
- They suck at writing and therefore should not attempt to write (hire someone else). Not everyone is a great writer and that is totally fine! But publishing crappy articles does not make a business look good; it is better to find the right person to create fantastic articles for you.
- You should only be guest blogging on sites that are within your realm of knowledge and experience. If you are an expert at dog grooming you should not be giving advice on building a pool. It is obvious when writers don’t know a subject well.
- Writers should edit their articles, check for grammar issues, check for spelling errors and remove any information that really isn’t relevant to the article. Grammar and spelling mistakes do not scream professionalism and often sites don’t want to do all the work to fix a lot of errors. Edit and proofread. An example of irrelevant info: “This situation reminds of a time my dog jumped into a car window at the park.” No one cares! Provide an article full of great stuff and remove everything that isn’t useful.
- Writing for sites in a different language rarely works out. Finding the right person to edit and review is critical if you are hoping to get published in a different language.
- The writer is providing a “free article,” but that doesn’t mean that the writer gets to speak down to the website/blog they are submitting to. In most cases the site publishing the article is doing a much bigger favor to the writer than the writer could ever do by writing an article for the website.
- Editors never forget people that are rude, insulting or negative. And editors move around a bit, so if you are rude to an editor at one site keep in mind that you might encounter that editor in the future. Best thing to do is not to be rude, listen to whatever issues/suggestions the editor has and learn from the suggestions you receive.
Guest blogging can be a great thing if it is done the right way and if a writer/business is honest with themselves about the skill and knowledge level they have.
4). Guest Blogging is a Content Marketing Cure-All Solution
WRONG! Guest blogging alone is not “content marketing”. Guest blogging, done right, can be used for exposure, links, image building and more. But, it is not the only content marketing option out there and it is not a quick fix for your online marketing needs or goals.
There are so many important things businesses should be focused on that have nothing to do with guest blogging if they want to have a successful online presence. However, it appears that many believe that the easiest way to get into “content” is guest blogging and the guest blogging will meet all their needs.
That is just not the case. To get published on respected sites that have the online authority to help a business or write with branding/links/etc. it takes a significant amount of knowledge, work, research and planning.
If you think guest blogging is a cure-all solution for your business, your website ranking, and your branding you will be disappointed.
5). The Topic/Phrase the Writer is Discussing Should Be Capitalized throughout the Article
SO WRONG! For some odd reason writers capitalize random things. So let’s say for example they are writing about “content marketing”. There is no reason to capitalize “Content Marketing” every time it is mentioned. This doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t follow any grammar rules I have ever seen.
For some reasons many writers believe that the phrase they think is important should be capitalized throughout an entire article. This is wrong. Here is a guide to proper capitalization.
So there are 5 myths I see every day and I hope they go away soon.