When you’re in the content marketing world, it’s important to study what works, and what doesn’t work. In the spirit of Halloween, here are some common content promotion practices that lead to unwanted results – tricks – and some practices that lead to desired results – treats.

1. Oversharing in Your Content

Trick! In writing your post, you feel readers would benefit from a story you have about a traumatic experience. So, you share it in graphic detail. People comment on your social shares that they wish you’d had a trigger warning, or worse, with “I really didn’t need to know that.”

Not only do you risk alienating readers, but you risk having potential customers and clients feel that you’re too risky to work with. Instead, rein it in and ask yourself before posting “do I really need to share this to make the point I wanted to make?”

2. Engaging with Your Audience on Their Social Channels

Treat! Engaging with your audience on your blog and social media posts is important. What’s equally important is commenting on others’ content, like other posts, and share things that you find relevant. It’s too easy to get caught up with tunnel vision when you have a lot to do.

Be sure that you go to where your potential customers and clients are. Don’t just share and comment on others in your industry, but also share and comment on what your target market is sharing and posting. What better way to help increase others’ trust in you than through relationship marketing?

3. Sharing Content Constantly on All Channels

Trick! Some sharing is good, more is way better, right? WRONG. When you share content constantly – whether it be through Tweets, Pins, Facebook Posts, etc. – you risk appearing like a spammer. Even worse, you could be flagged for spamming on social media and lose access to your social media accounts.

Instead, share little bits throughout the day, interspersed with other content of value. Remember, you’re trying to engage in a conversation with, not talk at, your target audience. Your own content should be the salt and pepper of what you’re sharing – if you add too much, you ruin the entire dish.

4. Posting When Inspiration or Need Strikes

Trick! It can be tempting to hold off on posting until you feel you have something important to say or you need to share information about your company with your readers. Post sporadically enough, and you’ll be giving your keynote speech to an empty room.

Instead, keep a list of topics related to your field that you can write about and try to post on a regular schedule. Make sure your blog posts are predictable and keep your social media updated daily. If you find that you do not have time to write and post, consider hiring a consultant to ensure that your audience is there when you need them to listen.

5. Thanking Others

Treat! Thanking others for what they post and for following you may seem unnecessary, but it can go a long way for starting a conversation. Whether you’re thanking someone for an idea you used in a blog post, or you’re thanking someone for sharing your content on Twitter, a little gratitude goes a long way.

When you thank someone, asking a question can spark a conversation – even if you’re thanking that person on Twitter. Consider saying something like “Thanks for the follow, what’s your favorite tip for ____?” Chances are, the person will respond, opening you up for further engagement.

6. Engaging in Putting Others “On-Blast”

Trick! It’s tempting to vent publicly when things go wrong in a transaction. But blasting others rarely reflects poorly on the person being blasted and consistently looks really bad for the person doing the blasting. It’s best to avoid this kind of behavior.

When someone frustrates you vent to a close friend or write your frustrations out in a document that won’t be shared. Be sure, after you’ve calmed down, to think about what you can do in a similar future situation to prevent it from blowing up.

7. “Borrowing” Content from Others

Trick! You’re pressed to get a Facebook post up, see a meme in your feed, and re-create it with your branding. Later in the month, you rewrite a blog post that’s already out there on one of your competitor’s sites, creating fresh headings and rewriting the paragraphs. This is clearly wrong and can destroy your reputation.

When you “borrow” (a.k.a. steal) content without crediting someone else, that’s plagiarism, and you can get into some serious trouble when you get caught. Not only that, it’s likely that members of your audience have already read the post from your competitor and that they’ve already seen the meme.

8. Memes and Trend Sharing

Treat! Sometimes, there’s a meme or a trending post that makes its way into the general population. If you’re wondering whether to share the meme or topic with your own audience, don’t hesitate if you can do so while making it relevant to your brand.

Social media and content creation are meant for engaging with your audience – where they are at. Add your own comments to something you share, relating it back to your brand (if you can). If the meme or trend is relevant enough, create a blog post about the topic.

9. Deleting Negative Comments

Trick! Someone blasts you in the comments section of your blog or on one of your social pages. Unless it’s outright spam, or negative talk from a competitor meant solely as trolling, don’t delete the comment! This can actually hurt you in the long-run as it will look like your company can’t respond to criticism.

Instead, engage with the person. Try to turn their bad experience or impression into a positive one. If the person is pointing out a mistake or flaw, do what you can to fix it and then share the fix on their comment. Be sure to be responsive when you receive negative feedback.

What tricks and treats have you seen in others’ content marketing practices?

Because the Internet is such a large community, we can benefit from looking at what others are doing that’s working and what’s not working for others. By working to embrace the best practices that help others achieve positive results and avoid the practices that cause others to flounder, you can make a huge difference in the results you get from the energy put into creating content.

Ronda Bowen – Content Creator

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