Last night, as I prepared for what was sure to be an amusing night of Twitter debate around the State of the Union address, I innocently fell victim to the old news feed bait and switch.
Frustrated, I sat through much of the address with a sour face that'd make even John Boehner crack a smile. Here's the scoop: Scrolling through my news feed, I saw a blog title that instantly resonated with me. However, what seemed like a resourceful blog article was actually nothing more than a print ad repurposed for Twitter.
What's even more frustrating is how common a practice this is.
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We get it: You have products to sell. Blogging is simply your vehicle for doing so. But there's a fundamental flaw with this line of thinking. According to Google's Zero Moment of Truth study, consumers consult an average of 10.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase decision.
Consumers need more information, not your sales pitch.
One Bad Blogging Habit that Annoys Readers
Self-serving content. It's everywhere. So much so that it's become the new "cold call during dinner."
"Well, at least it's not interruptive."
Oh, but it is. As consumers equipped with the technology and devices to perform our own research anywhere, we're always consulting search engines as well as our social networks to find what we're looking for. Stumbling upon a misleading blog post is not only interruptive, but extremely frustrating.
Frustrating prospects rarely turn into happy customers.
Using myself as a theoretical example, here's what happens. You come across a tweet like this:
You might say to yourself, "Great! I often have trouble coming up with a great title, and as a result, have trouble driving traffic to my blog."
Naturally you click through en route to what you think will be a helpful article.
You've click through only to read a narrative on "how our company strategizes blog titles for our clients."
However, instead of including anything of relevance, the author simply teases the process and expects you to take the bait and request a sales call.
Only one thing is accomplished this way: You've lost both a reader and a potential customer.
Are You Helping?
In a time where the consumer demands control, the ability to help and act as a resource is a marketer's only currency. So ask yourself, "who is my content helping?"
Like an objective journalist, leave yourself – and your company – out of the story. Focus instead on helping readers solve their problems. With so much information at their disposal, consumers don't go with the company who yells the loudest, but rather the company who helps the most.
If you're actually answering the questions your prospects have and not baiting them into your sales agenda, everyone wins.