You know the ones – spammy marketing articles with titles like ’10 Signs You Are Getting Content Marketing Wrong’ or ’10 Signs You Are Getting Content Marketing Right’. I’ve been guilty of this kind of crap myself, but it has definitely become one of life’s major annoyances. Here are 10 reasons you should not write a ’10 reasons…’ article:
1. Because you sound like a patronising idiot
Nobody wants to be treated like a 5 year old child, not even a 5 year old child. You think that by breaking things down into a series of points, your reader is going to thank you. They are not going to thank you, they are going to think you are a patronising bastard.
2. Because nobody will read it anyway
You slave away on your article for 15 whole minutes, and then with a huge sense of satisfaction you create a custom tweet to announce it to the world, gulp the rest of your coffee and click ‘Publish’. Sadly, you receive 2 favourites and one retweet from Twitter bots who retweet everything with a certain hashtag, and then your article is lost forever, instantly drowned in the quicksand of spammy content marketing tweets, never to see the light of day again. Dismayed and disillusioned, you consider tweeting the link again, this time copying in an online marketing ‘guru’ – but they ignore you because you’re not a member of their inner circle and your list article is crap. Finally you resort to a Twitter ad, and waste $50 finding out that Twitter ads don’t provide a return.
3. Because every man and his dog is doing it
In today’s spam-filled, aggressive online marketing world everyone is a sheep. Some influential guy says that list articles work, and everyone starts doing them. To succeed in online marketing you need to be unique – writing tedious list articles like this one is not unique.
4. Because you’re doing it for the wrong reasons
Let’s face it, the reason you’ve written a list article is not because you want to help your readers better understand a topic. It’s because you’re trying to sell something. Usually something that is not very valuable, for a ridiculously over-inflated price.
5. Because it’s lazy
You’ve broken the topic down into bitesize, vague chunks not because it will be easier for your readers to understand, but because it’s easier for you to write. It’s basically glorified bullet-points. Had I written my dissertation in the same format I would have failed my degree. Don’t be lazy – use proper paragraphs.
6. Because you are not an expert
Everyone thinks that by pretending to be an expert you can make lots of money online. In reality, most of the ‘experts’ you see have never made real money online. Admit it, you probably fall into this category. You see Pat Flynn’s income reports and have your eureka moment – “I can get rich if I do a course telling people how to get rich”. That’s fine if you actually have the experience, but if you don’t then please don’t muddy already murky world of online marketing for the few genuine success stories. The worst example of this are the ‘expert speakers’ you see at conferences. Many of these guys are paying for the privilege to speak, which is why you’ll mainly get sales pitches from people who don’t really know what they’re talking about.
7. Because you’ll run out of things to say
You think that 10 is a nice round number – everyone else is doing ’10 reasons…’, right? 5 looks half-assed, but you think that people will really appreciate 10 whole points. The problem is you run out of things to write around point 7, so you waffle and start to make things up. Your points become as meaningless as this one.
8. Because life is too short
Content marketing may be a buzzword, but anyone who has run a blog for any length of time will tell you that it’s a time-sink. What’s more, hardly anyone is going to read it (see point 2). If someone tells you that you can earn passive income from blogging, treat it like a complete lie. Blogging is the most time-consuming thing I have done, and for little reward. Unless this article goes viral (which it won’t, because I don’t belong to the ‘inner circle’), I will have wasted a precious half an hour of my life that I will never get back.
9. Because you’ll be really scraping the barrel at this point
Something about building a tribe. Dominate your niche. Some other vague motivational-type point that bears no relevance and has no value. Yawn.
10. Because you will use point 10 to sell something
Assuming your 2 blog readers have got this far, you are now going to destroy all the trust you may have (but probably haven’t) built up over the duration of your article. How are you going to do this? By very tenuously linking to your own online course. For example, did I tell you that writing a list article is a bit like HOW TO MAKE MONEY USING GOOGLE ADWORDS? For a limited number of people. ONLY 100 REMAINING! For a limited time. OFFER ENDS NEXT MILLENIUM!
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