Content marketing might seem easy. All you need to get started is a computer and internet connection, right?
Not quite. To attract and keep customers, you need a content marketing strategy, buyer personas, and you need to use them to consistently provide high-value, original content over time. That takes a lot of time and energy.
You might be tempted to use some black-hat shortcuts like link-farming or article-spinning, but those will only hurt you in the long run.
Your audience will notice that you’re cheating, and so will the search engines that you’re trying to hoodwink. Don’t go down that road.
Four common habits that have big content marketing disadvantages
Let’s dive into four content marketing habits that have some big disadvantages, which you should avoid at all costs.
We’re human, and we all procrastinate sometimes. But if you want to be a successful content marketer, you need to focus on relentlessly producing quality content.
You can’t create awesome, well-researched, thoughtful content off the cuff. You need to put the time into creating a plan, gathering sources, editing and promoting your content.
If you put things off until the last minute, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll forget to cite sources. You’ll start taking shortcuts. Your articles won’t be as good, and your audience will notice.
Pro content marketers keep themselves on track with an editorial calendar (option to link to editorial calendar article), and you should, too.
One factor that search engines use to determine the rank of a website is by looking at inbound links, or the number of other websites that link back to it.
The goal of link farming to create a bunch of websites that all link to each other, thus increasing the number of inbound links on every site. The hope is that Google will then interpret those sites as authority websites, and give them a higher search engine ranking.
It’s a cheap tactic and no content marketer who takes pride in the content that they create would do it.
Plus, search engines will quickly catch on to what you’re doing and they will punish that behavior. Say goodbye to anyone finding your content through organic search ever again.
3. Plagiarism (of any kind!)
Contrary to what many people think, you can plagiarize another author even if you don’t directly copy and paste their content on your website.
There are different types of plagiarism, and Torque magazine divides plagiarism into three categories:
- Complete plagiarism
- Partial plagiarism
- Lazy plagiarism
Basically, don’t steal other people’s content or ideas and call them your own. Ever.
Cite your sources properly, and be sure that whatever you produce has your own voice and perspective and is valuable to your audience. Any type of plagiarism will severely damage your professional reputation.
Article-spinning is when you take an existing article and re-write the content to sound different without actually containing any new thoughts or ideas.
It’s a shortcut, and you do yourself and your audience a disservice if you use it. Search Engine Journal wrote an excellent article about why article spinning is bad for your reputation.
In short, it will:
- Annoy your customers and existing fans, because you’re just repeating the same stuff without adding any new value.
- Damage your professional reputation. At best, you’ll be seen as lazy because you couldn’t be bothered to write new content. At worst, you could be sued for plagiarizing somebody else’s content.
- Hurt your search engine rankings. Google is getting really good at knowing when you’re cheating instead of publishing original content. It will punish you by pushing your website way down in organic search rankings.
If you’re going to use content marketing as a strategy to reach your business goals, don’t sell yourself short by trying the sketchy tactics I’ve laid out here. Take pride in your work. Put in the work up front to create quality content, and you’ll reap the rewards later.
Avoiding content marketing disadvantages the right way
To avoid disappointing your audience, being penalized by search engines, and ultimately damaging your bottom line, steer clear of these 4 tactics. How do you stay on-track to deliver quality content consistently to your readers?
Let me know in the comments, I read every one. Then, learn more about how to create valuable content that your readers will love by claiming our definitive guide below!