One of the things that's especially difficult about changing the direction of your business is getting out of those old habits. Since I"m moving into online publishing, where inbound marketing and content marketing have their place but not their former prominence, I am having some trouble figuring out what to do with my business blogging and inbound marketing knowledge. I understand that it could prove useful when creating our own stuff and marketing said stuff, but I don't quite need to keep up with the ins and outs the same way I now need to for online publishing and media (which, from initial research, is proving a little harder than I thought).
Through all this, I came across some of the many things that annoy me about content marketing. Primarily, it's when people do it wrong and the right way is seemingly obvious (or should be known by the person/entity committing the transaction). Now that I'm moving away from the business, I can vent without worrying of the perception that I am just harping on competition. Here are three things that bother me about business blogs and content marketing:
- Marketing agencies with horrible business blogs (especially if they offer blogging services) - There aren't many marketing agencies these days that are strictly direct, traditional, or offline marketing. Nearly all offer primarily or entirely online marketing services. A major part of online marketing is business blogging, and this cannot be ignored or washed over as if blogging is going to go away tomorrow (because it's not). Therefore, it bothers me when a marketing agency doesn't even have a blog, or doesn't even follow blogging best practices (like publishing something once every two months, or not including photos with their posts). It's even worse if the agency offers blog writing or business blogging services of some kind. I think it's very representative of an agency and its services when it can't even do its own blog and its own online marketing right.
- Great business blogs with no easy or obvious way to subscribe - I came across an excellent online media and publishing blog today through my research. I wanted to subscribe to the blog, but I couldn't find a place to follow it or to put in my email. I couldn't even subscribe via RSS feed. I suppose the only way to follow the blog is to bookmark it. But, isn't part of the point of having a great business blog is building a subscriber base? You can't even tell if someone's bookmarked your site. I have no interest in this company's custom content or SEO services. I just want to read your blog, share your content, perhaps write a response to an article or two. I guess I'm going to have to take that elsewhere.
- Horrible Formatting - Just an FYI, something like the example below looks horrible:
First of all, what kind of a caption is that? I can't even tell if that's supposed to be a caption, or an introduction, or an interesting side note. It's kind of long for a caption, and doesn't say much about the picture. If you have an educated guess, please tell me in the comments. Second of all, why is this "caption" to the side like that? It gets in the way of the actual lead sentence, and forces the picture to be small. Besides, there's all that blank space. Why isn't is underneath, so it's not confusing to the reader of where you should start reading? Third, giving your next paragraph, or introductory paragraph, or whatever that is, such minimal real estate is awkward and constraining. Fourth, pictures should be aligned on the right, not the left. People read from right to left, so starting with the picture is jarring and ruins the flow of reading the content.
As a side note, I understand that this isn't always necessarily the fault of the writer or the content marketer. One of my clients just updated his blog, and now the formatting is atrocious. You can't get the pictures to format correctly. I have no idea what he did and I have yet to figure out a way, if any, to remedy it on my end. However, don't leave something like that up for everyone to see, especially if you can fix it. It reflects badly on you while hurting the user experience.
Okay, I'm Finished
Time to put myself and my talents to better use.