These six ideas threaten your marketing. They are truly dangerous notions. Believing even one of these puts you at a disadvantage. Combine a few and you’ll be frozen, unable to write, publish, win attention, and earn trust.
D: Don’t have the time to write.
It’s the most common and the most deadly. The very thought is poisonous to your marketing. Let’s deal with it head on.
Finding time is about setting priorities. When Marcus Sheridan talks about “no excuses” marketing, he suggests we make blogging part of our company culture, just like processing payroll
. Don’t even think of it as optional.
Luckily, there are hundreds of ways to do it efficiently. It’s possible (and easy) to create a post, even when you have no ideas and no time
, through the magic of content curation.
Pro Tip: You’ve already written your next post. Just look in your Sent box. You’ll find blog posts on relevant topics in conversational tone, waiting to be published. Don’t say you don’t have time to blog if you write 1,000+ words each day in emails.
A: Afraid I’ll give away too much.
Some people don’t publish their best advice because they’re afraid that their clients or competitors will learn their secrets. So they hoard their ideas, and they never become known as an expert.
Spoiler alert: Your secrets aren’t that secret. A lot of your expertise is available online already. By not publishing that information yourself, you’re letting other people win credibility and trust with your potential audience.
Share all your best tricks. If you fear that what you’re writing might be too good, you might be on the edge of greatness. Keep going.
Pro Tip: First, research keywords, and align your content with popular phrases with on page SEO. This is the key to being found in search engines. If you’re not targeting a specific phrase, you’re not engaging in SEO.
N: No one wants to hear from me that often.
This thought will kill your email frequency. It’s the enemy of your publishing calendar. I’ve met people who believe that twice a year is the most they should send an email. But had they ever tried sending more frequently? No.
If you believe in your content, have confidence that people will find it useful. If they really don’t want it, they’re welcome to unsubscribe. Sending frequently to a slightly smaller list will drive way more traffic than sending occasionally to a bigger list.
Pro Tip: The minimum frequency for your email marketing should be shorter than the typical sales cycle in your industry. If it takes someone a month to find and hire a competitor, you’d better be sending email at least every two weeks.
G: Good isn’t enough; it must be perfect.
I want to go over it one more time. I’m just not satisfied with this paragraph. Let’s not publish this until it John, Larry, Judy, and Zeke review it first. Content is late when writers can’t let go. This thinking slows everything to a crawl.
Digital ink is never dry. Nothing is ever finished on the Internet. You can always go back and tweak that bio, rewrite that page, or edit that post.
Pro Tip: If you’re building a website, don’t delay the launch just because the content hasn’t been finalized. There’s more ROI in launching 90 percent of the pages now than 100 percent of the pages next month. Never post a page that says “under construction.” Just hide the pages that aren’t done yet. The best day to launch a website is the first day that it’s better than the old site.
E: Everything has been said already.
Even if it has been said before, it hasn’t been said by you. You can still take the idea and make it yours. Say it in your voice. You likely have something to add. Say it to your audience. It’s unlikely they’ve seen it before.
[RELATED: Get advanced writing and editing tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela.]
Yes, be original. But if there is a question that is important to your readers and you haven’t answered it yet, they’ll never find it on your site. They may leave and look for the answer somewhere else.
Pro Tip: If you find yourself going over well-traveled ground, it’s an opportunity to curate a list. There may already be comprehensive resources out there, but there may not be a comprehensive list of those resources. You can make the list, publish it, and own it.
R: Readers won’t be interested in this.
The first thought is an idea. If the second thought is that people won’t care, hold on a minute. If you’ve had conversations on the topic and the listener didn’t zone out, there are readers who won’t either.
Of all the searches every day on Google, 16 percent have never been searched for before (source: Google Internal Data, 2011). The universe of readers’ interests is vast. There’s an audience looking for nearly every message.
Pro Tip: Stick to some basic blogging criteria. If you’re giving advice, make it actionable. If you make an assertion, add proof. If you’re stating an opinion, make it a strong one.
Purge the thought from your mind
These are anti-marketing thoughts. If you’re thinking any of them, get out of your own way. Then watch your message travel farther and faster. Here’s how:
1. Dedicate the time, and start now, but use time-saving shortcuts like leveraging content you’ve already created or by curating content from others.
2. Share your secrets with the world. This is the path to thought leadership.
3. Don’t be shy. Publish early and often.
4. Let go. That post is never going to be perfect. Push it live.
5. Don’t try to be original. Just be yourself. Don’t hesitate to write about the basic topics, even if they’ve been covered before.
6. Remember, there are people interested in what you know.
Do you ever have dangerous thoughts? How do you stay out of trouble?
Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design company in Chicago. He’s also the author of Content Chemistry, An Illustrated Guide to Content Marketing You can find Andy on Google+ and Twitter.