Die, Knaves! These Content Marketing Trends Need to Go (Swiftly)

We’re not particularly violent people at Tigris.

However, there are a few content marketing trends that can’t help but stir the beast within. Find them below.

You may disagree. Good! We enjoy a nice debate and welcome your opinions. But in the meantime, here are the seven things in the content marketing world we wouldn’t mind saying “farewell” to forever.

The useless lead magnet

A lead magnet, often an eBook or some other free digital resource, can be a killer tool for capturing your audience’s contact information.

But enough people have caught on to the fact that lead magnets work, and so the internet is absolutely saturated with them. Think back to the last time you wanted some simple information from a website and were suddenly blindsided by a popup advertising a bland “10 Step Guide” or an “Ultimate Toolkit” or a “Free eBook on Everything You Need to Know About XYZ.”

Lest we appear to be hypocrites (we create lead magnets for our clients all the time), a disclaimer is in order: we’re not suggesting all lead magnets need to disappear. We’re just tired of the ones that tout a big promise and don’t deliver.

Useless lead magnets do nothing to establish authority or build credibility with your audience — in fact, if the piece you’re creating isn’t compelling, useful, or entertaining in some way (and it absolutely has to be relevant to what your audience is interested in), you’re probably better off cold-calling or shouting your message from the top of the Empire State Building.

Rude, presumptive buttons

You’ve been there before. A popup with a “limited time offer” interrupts your weekend blog reading, and there are two button options:

  1. Yes, count me in!

  2. No, I’m a boring nobody who hates everything and doesn’t play well with others.

Ouch! #Offended

We’re all for a little fun, but there’s no need to get cute with the buttons. A simple “yes” and “no” are truly just fine.

Unruly punctuation and formatting

If you’ve been around content marketing for two seconds, you’ve seen it: ALL CAPS, Random Yet somehow Inconsistent Use of Title Case, emojis gone wild (☝💓👽👩👏👏😊😝🙊)

excessive

line

breaks,

and *over* the TOP punctuation!!!!

We’ve found that the more compelling the offer, the less you need attention-grabby formatting and cheap tricks like these.

If you’re using a ton of exclamation points or emojis, it may be a red flag that your copywriting or your offer aren’t great.

Keyword obsession

Keywords are definitely important. Despite Google’s ever-changing algorithms (and the rise in image-based searches), keywords still play a massive role in SEO. In addition, keyword research can clue you into what your audience is most interested in -- allowing you to better meet their needs with the content you create.

But focusing your blog or website strategy on keywords alone can be a huge mistake. This is especially the case when posts go overboard with synonyms and subtle variations on your target keyphrase, à la poor content marketing trends and bad content marketing trends and terrible content mar--you get the picture.

Related: SEO for B2B Companies

Content regurgitation

Readers aren’t baby birds; they don’t want vomit for breakfast. If you’re publishing something that’s already been done to death in your industry, or you just can’t possibly find an angle or edge or tone that makes your content distinct, it’s time to re-evaluate if it’s even worth publishing.

Of course, there are plenty of cases where you just can’t do better than the pros. For instance, Tigris will probably never have the top-ranking page for the search term “content marketing” (I’ll bet the Content Marketing Institute, Moz, or Hubspot owns that, because they’ve got mad credibility and longevity in the industry).

So instead of regurgitating the same ideas they have, we focus our blog content on our own original ideas and research. And if we’re going to cover something a little more generic, like a how-to or roundup piece, we make damn sure our unique voice comes through clearly.

Heavy reliance on stock photos

Stock photos are useful in a pinch, and can sometimes depict the exact concept of your piece better than other types of graphics.

But readers can sometimes have a bit of banner blindness toward generic photos, favoring super-relevant or super-helpful charts, graphs, illustrations, and infographics instead.

Yes, it costs time and money to create those custom graphics, but they’re often the thing that gives your content a competitive edge in a saturated digital world.

Strictly “how-to” blogs

How-to content is still having its heyday, which has practically been going on since the advent of the internet.

Here are some of the issues with how-to blog posts:

  1. There’s tons of competition. The more general your instructional pieces (and the more high-level your target search phrases), the lower the likelihood your blog will ever see the glory of Google’s coveted page one.

  2. They tend to be a bit boring. Your audience is a lot more likely to engage with a controversial opinion piece or a bit of fresh thought leadership than they are to click another “X Ways to Learn Your ABCs” piece.

  3. If you’re hoping to snag the attention of VP or C-level personas, how-to content may not be the best path, since these people aren’t likely to be the ones implementing technical processes. On the other hand, CEOs may be a lot more interested if you’re answering big-picture questions like why the market needs a product like yours, why you do what you do, or which business problems you’re solving.

Here’s a post from Buzzsumo on content originality that’ll help you get away from creating clinical, how-to content and give you some ideas on making your work original.

And, of course, if you need a helping hand, Tigris specializes in top-tier written and visual content (and the strategies behind it) for B2B software, IT, and consulting companies. If this sounds like you, let’s talk.