Are You a Content Spammer?

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spamThere are 2 flavors of content spam: personal and brand.

Let’s start with Personal Content Spam

How many times have you seen people you follow share the exact same content on your social channels? The same article, the same headline, the same tweet.

You know how it works (and if not, here’s a pro-tip on how to be a content spammer), you pull in content from Zite or Feedly, find a cool article on a thought leadership topic (like “7 Ways to Create Killer Linkedin Headlines”), dump it into Buffer and boom. It seems like a good thing to do, doesn’t it? Now you’re a thought leader, too.

You just “add value” (a phrase I can’t stand) to your followers timelines. Well, you and a whole bunch of other people, that is. Beyond the redundancy of the share, did you even read that article?

Sure, some of it!

Enough to know its a “value add” read that will gain some likes, faves and clicks. If you did read it, you might also realize how utterly empty many of these articles are. Half baked advice such as “create content that people will want to share”. Thanks, I’ve learned so much…

Don’t be that guy – or gal!

FACT: I’ve been that guy. For sure. Lots. But it occurred to me that I’m not adding any value for anyone. We’re all sharing the same stuff, the same headlines, the same content. Because we want to appear to be in the know, worth the follow.

Am I suggesting that you shouldn’t share articles on your social channels? No. Share them, just not 11 of them a day, with the same canned headlines. If you read something that you learned from, gained insight from, were interested in, share it with context. Actually write your own text. “Great read that made me think twice about the content I share”, for example. Give us your spin, your opinion or reason.

OK, now Brand Content Spam

I wrote above about how there is an increasing number of articles that are actually about nothing. Posts with tips such as “leverage hashtags”, “create engaging content”, and lists that take the obvious into a the realm of ridiculous.

I get that brands want to be relevant and engaging. I do this in my work, and it’s not always easy! It seems far too often that many brands want to comment on EVERYTHING these days. Do we need your take on Ground Hog Day, Mothers Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or other national holidays (worst ever – a Martin Luther King Day “special” via Twitter)?

Now – If it’s on brand – sure, yes, by all means, plan something for this. But brands don’t have to be always present. Pick your spots, be considered. Holidays and Hallmark days are not an open marketing challenge to prove how constantly witty your brand can be on social. It’s not a great idea to desperately tie your brand to holiday shark jumping.

Having said that, there is a skill to this – to jump on a real-time trend and make it work. It’s a very fine line… But I often wonder if we impress customers, prospects or consumers, or do we just impress other marketers?

Stay on brand. Be nimble, and be prepared to take advantage of trends, but don’t just do it for “us too”. Do it for “this works for us because this, this and that.” Be prepared to execute and more importantly – be prepared to let it pass.

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One thought on “Are You a Content Spammer?

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