Content marketing has become one of the most popular (and most effective) digital marketing strategies available, in part because of how easy it is to get started. The premise is simple: create written, visual, or audio content that people want to consume. When they consume it, they’ll get to know your brand, think more highly of your brand, and will be more likely to visit your site and purchase your products.
This is often executed with both onsite content and offsite content, and you don’t have to be an expert to get started. That said, there’s a trap that many newcomers fall into; they end up practically spamming their content, defeating the purpose.
The Trouble With Spam
Content marketing is effective because it counters one of the biggest issues with traditional advertising; people are inclined to trust it and value it. But if you post content in a spammy way, people won’t value it—or worse, your brand will suffer reputational damage as a result.
Spammy content can be:
- Low-quality content, which isn’t well-researched or well-written.
- Uninteresting/irrelevant content, which nobody wants to consume.
- High volume, overwhelming users with too much information or too many options.
So which content marketing strategies can you use to avoid spam and appeal to your readership?
How to Use Content Marketing Without Spam
These strategies can help you use content marketing effectively, without spamming your audience:
- Focus on quality over quantity. First, focus on quality over quantity. New content marketers are often tempted to produce as much content as possible, or promote that content as far and as frequently as possible. While good content can yield strong results with this approach, prioritizing quantity often means sacrificing quality. It’s usually better to invest more resources in creating higher-quality, more appealing pieces, even if it means creating fewer pieces total.
- Work with a partner. As a novice content marketer, you’ll have your work cut out for you if you’re working alone. But you’ll be able to create better content and get better results if you work with an experienced partner. Of course, finding the right partner can be tricky, especially when so few content marketing agencies are transparent about the nature of their services. Some display the cost of their writing service right on the site, while others require ongoing conversations before they even reveal how their services work.
- Listen to your audience. The most valuable, least spammy content is content that your readers actually want to read. The best way to figure out what they want to read is to ask them. Spend some time getting to know your target demographics, and use a combination of surveys and social media to figure out which topics they’d like to see.
- State your actual opinions. Don’t be afraid to take a bold stance, as long as you’re able to back it up. People prefer to read content that feels like it was written by a human being—not just an algorithm mimicking what other people have already said.
- Provide meaningful data. Original research and hard data are almost always valuable. If you’re presenting new information that’s meaningful to your target audience, nobody can accuse you of spamming.
- Help people solve a problem. Good content should help someone solve a problem, whether that’s a physical/logistical problem or something more figurative. Try to understand which problems your target audience needs to solve, and resolve them.
- Assist journalists and editors. You can also use your content and contributions to help other content creators. Work with journalists, editors, and other content creators in your niche if you want to get more exposure without spamming in any way.
- Be choosy with publishers. It seems like getting published with as many publishers as possible is the right move, but it’s usually better to be choosy with your publishers. Focus on high-quality publications with a readership that fits your niche.
- Utilize multiple mediums. Producing the same type of content over and over can get tired and stale, so mix things up with multiple different mediums. Written content, photographs, infographics, podcasts, and videos are all valuable in different ways.
- Analyze your content data and improve. Finally, take the time to measure your content marketing results. Even with a good hypothetical strategy in place, there’s no guarantee that your content will be well-received. Only through data analysis will you be able to figure out which of your tactics are working and which ones are falling flat; make sure you update your strategies accordingly.
Content marketing requires ongoing work and refinement, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. As long as you’re writing valuable content that readers want to see, in the channels where they want to see it, you’ll eventually see the results you want.