5 Content Marketing Shortcuts That Cost You in the Long Run

Content Marketing Shortcuts to Avoid

Content Marketing Shortcuts to Avoid You know what they call a shortcut that actually saves time?
The route. That was the wisdom my dad gave me the first time we
went hiking together. Sometimes when you look at the map, it looks
like there’s a better path. But the route is the route for a
reason. Chasing a shortcut feels like making progress — but it
might not get you to the trail’s end. Marketers dig shortcuts.
Or, as we call them, “hacks.” It makes sense: We’re usually
overworked, understaffed, and expected to work wonders. A content
marketing hack promises to cut a straight line through a tedious
process, increasing efficiency and boosting results. While some
hacks can absolutely aid success, there are several instances in
which you’re better off sticking to the route. Here are five
shortcuts that will actually cost you time, resources, or
reputation. #1 – Shady Linkbuilding The Shortcut:
Search algorithms consider how many backlinks your content has,
right? So why not treat backlinking like another paid channel?
There are plenty of entities that will help you out. Their tactics
range from moderately shady (groups that exist only to share each
other’s links) and incredibly shady (you pay them, they link you
on tons of cloned spam sites). But backlinks only work in your
favor if they’re from reputable sites — and if your
content is really worth linking to
in the first place. If shady
sites are linking to your content, that will actually hurt your
ranking. And if Google finds out you’re engaging in shady
linkbuilding, they might choose to penalize you further. Search
engines are fiercely protective against any attempt to game the
system. via GIPHY
The Route: Link building is possibly the only
marketing function for which there isn’t a good paid alternative.
It has to be organic, and you have to put in the work. The best way
to get quality backlinks is to
create amazing content
. Make stuff people will want to link to.
Include influencers who will throw you a link. Do some outreach to
reputable sites who would find the content relevant. It’s a
drawn-out and tedious process, but it’s better than risking
Google’s wrath. Plus, even if you don’t earn hundreds of
backlinks, you’ll still have quality content to bring people in.
#2 – Copy/Paste Repurposing The Shortcut: As an
agency, we’re bullish on
repurposing content
. It’s a good way to fill out your
editorial calendar. It’s great for squeezing every drop of
potential from an eBook, a blog post series, or an influencer
submission.  But proper repurposing takes a little time and
effort. So why not just take some old stuff, paste it into a new
blog, and call it good? Who’s going to remember that blog post
from 2009, anyway? Short answer: Google. Duplicate content is
another ranking factor that can move you down in the SERP.
Thoughtless repurposing can get you in trouble with your audience,
too: If they catch on that you’re repurposing without updating
(those “Call Me Maybe” references are a dead giveaway),
you’ll lose credibility. And if you’re just slapping a new
image on an old blog post to fill out the content calendar, odds
are you haven’t considered whether the content is still relevant
to your audience. [bctt tweet=”If you’re just slapping a new
image on an old blog post to fill out the #content calendar, odds
are you haven’t considered whether the content is still relevant
to your audience. @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”] The
As with all content marketing, repurposing should
start with strategy. Make sure the content you want to repurpose is
still resonating with your target audience. Update it so it’s
superfresh and hyper-relevant. You could even add some influencer
quotes (original or curated), or transform the content into another
medium entirely. In short, repurposing is great for putting out
content with less effort… but it still requires a little effort
to truly rock it. #3 – Uninspired Curation The
Curation is another way to fill out an editorial
calendar with low-effort, high-return content. That means list
posts, news roundups, lists of stats — anything that’s
primarily bringing in third-party content. You can see uninspired
curation posts everywhere. I won’t call anyone out specifically,
but try a search for “[subject matter] stats” for one type.
You’ll see dozens of articles all listing the same 20 statistics,
most of which don’t cite their source (or they’ll cite another
stats article as the source). Lazy curation can also look like a
news roundup with nothing but headlines and hyperlinks. Or a “x
best books” that’s just a list of titles. Or a quotes roundup
with content everyone’s seen a dozen times. There are lots of
ways to go quick, easy, and dull. The Route: What
sets good curation apart from lazy curation is an intent to provide
value. Lazy curation is all about filling blog space. The
alternative is to understand your audience and actively seek out
stuff they might have missed that would be useful to them. [bctt
tweet=”What sets good #curation apart from lazy curation is an
intent to provide value. @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing”
username=”toprank”] Your curated content should also include your
brand’s point of view. Anyone can compile a list of links. Stand
out by bringing valuable editorial context that only you (and your
brand) can provide. Read: Content
Curation 101: 7 Best Practices, Helpful Tools & Great
#4 – Single Drafting The Shortcut: It
takes work to make sure your content is the best it can be. And
look, I know how it goes: Sometimes the deadlines are looming, the
creation process was slow, and you just want to click “Publish”
on that first draft. It may not be perfect, but it’s something,
right? Maybe you can glance over it once before you publish. You do
good work; who needs an editor?
Based on some of the content I’ve read recently,
publishing without editing is a new favorite content shortcut. But
all those typos, awkward sentences, and trailing thoughts can hurt
your credibility. The Route: We believe every
piece of content needs at least two pairs of eyes on it. Everything
gets an edit. Even this blog post by a senior content writer.
Ideally, you should write, edit, and have someone else QA before
you publish. It’s as simple as that. #5 – Shallow Influencer
Marketing The Shortcut: We all know
influencer marketing
– working with industry experts and
thought leaders to add value and credibility to your content – is
a great way to increase amplification, connect with new audiences,
and build valuable relationships. The quick and easy way to do
influencer marketing is use a tool to find influencers, pay them
for content, then go your separate ways. Like the other shortcuts
on this list, it’s quick, and it works – for a while. Until the
budget runs out, or your audience gets jaded, or your influencer
gets on someone else’s payroll. The Route:
Shallow influencer marketing is similar to a celebrity endorsement.
There’s no relationship-building, no follow-up, no mutual
excitement for the content you’re creating. Of course, some
influencers want financial compensation, and that’s fine. But if
you want truly effective influencer content, something has to be in
it for them beyond the money. We strive to cultivate relationships
with people who are not only influential, but smart, fascinating,
and doing cool stuff we want to share with our audience. Over time
we have developed a community of influencers who we love working
with, and who love working with us. Read:
Beyond the Hype Cycle: It’s Time to Redefine Influencer
The True Danger of a Shortcut All of the above
shortcuts seem like they can save time or effort with just a little
trade-off in quality. But those little compromises add up, and can
actually hurt you in the long run. The real danger, however, is
that chasing these shortcuts keeps you from optimizing, improving,
and perfecting. [bctt tweet=”Constantly chasing #contentmarketing
shortcuts keeps you from optimizing, improving, and perfecting. –
@NiteWrites” username=”toprank”] Definitely keep an eye out for
ways you can genuinely increase efficiency. Move faster and get
better results over time. But remember that there’s no shortcut
for doing it right and doing it well. There’s only the route.
There are no shortcuts in content marketing. But there are
ways to increase productivity and efficiency in a strategic way.
Check out these posts to find more inspiration:

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5 Content Marketing Shortcuts That Cost You in the Long Run

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5 Content Marketing Shortcuts That Cost You in the Long Run