Visit with the Ghosts of Content Marketing Past
By Sarah Malcolm, COO of The Content Funnel
Just as ol’ Scrooge learned the error of his ways, so can we learn from our past social media mistakes, our current marketing work, and the future trends. In this series, we’ll be visiting with the ghosts of content marketing past, present, and future to glean insights on the state of social media and blogging.
When did social media first begin? One source says Six Degrees and its 1997 launch represents the first social media site. Another website credits blogging host LiveJournal, founded in 1999. Facebook launched in 2004. We’re looking at around two decades of digitally creating and sharing content with the world. Modern our social media and blogging world moves a rapid pace, making Bob Cratchit’s head spin. Let’s stroll into social media’s past and see what we’ve learned.
#1. Quantity is the wrong strategy.
A time existed in the not-so-distant-past where the name of the blogging game was churn and burn. Reputable brands published data on how the more blogs you had, the better. It pushed brands to publish at least five blogs a week. Unfortunately, this practice created “spinning,” or rewording blogs of similar content just to hit keyword quotas and to get publication credits.
What a horrible strategy! Now the world-wide web is a graveyard of dead blogs, never-visited content, and junk web pages. A blog post that isn’t driving traffic is a worthless investment of time and effort. Furthermore, spun blogs repulse readers. They know when they’re served clickbait. Content’s for content’s sake does no one justice, but most especially, your brand.
#2. Over-emphasis on the keyword.
Some writers remember the era when they received spreadsheets of keywords for inspiration. These specific keywords had to be incorporated in specific ways: first words of the title, first sentence of first paragraph, into a subhead, into the conclusion. No synonyms, no changing a single suffix, but exactly as-is. This was an attempt to rank higher in search engine results by pinging for keywords.
Today we know keywords are important, but they should be organically incorporated into well-written content. Search engines are smarter. They’re learning to recognize similar phrases. And again, readers want quality text, not fluff.
#3. Change is a must.
Myspace what? Xanga who? RIP AIM. If you looked at how social media has evolved, you see we can’t keep doing the same old thing. Facebook is a prime example of evolution. It started with text-only posting, then supported images, and finally video. Each addition changed how people interacted and responded socially. Think about how live streaming video has changed social media engagement and posting.
#4. Post responsibly
What happens in Twitter doesn’t always stay on Twitter. Social media content can have second lives, third lives, fourth lives. People have learned what they share on social media can have real consequences, even years later, as Kevin Hart recently learned. Look to the mistakes of past social posts and campaigns to see how you say something can cause a stir.
Lessons from the past
The past shows us we must change, or risk dying out. Learn from those that have posted before and create insightful social media posts and blogs. Look to your past with a social media audit. See what you can glean from your personal posting history. And when you’re ready, let’s step into content marketing’s present.