When writing an article for your blog or a guest article on another’s website or even a print article, keep that article an article and don’t use it as an excuse to flagrantly advertise your products or services.
With anything other than outbound marketing, advertise by example, not by blatant promotion.
Content marketing, which writing articles is a large part of, is about good content, plain and simple.
Only promote yourself enough for you to be seen as a legitimate authority and then no more. Anything more than that ruins the credibility of your article by making it look like an advertisement, and it makes the article spammy and not fun to read.1
Imagine watching a movie and seeing tons of glaring product placement. Does it become harder to take this movie seriously? Well, when you’re writing an article and you say that your firm is “award winning” and “packed with talent” when trying to make yourself seem like an authority, that’s what you’re doing. When going on a tangent about what you’re offering and side tracking the article, that’s what you’re doing.
The best content marketing comes from actually WANTING to inspire and educate people. The best content marketing comes from genuinely wanting to share your voice with the world and help people. The best content marketing is altruistic by nature and selfish by utility. The best content marketing puts content first and marketing as an after thought.
Content…wait for it…keep waiting…wait a little longer…marketing.
Back to writing articles. If you’re writing an article on how to create a better social media profile, for example, give your tips and then allow your bio to give objective facts (and not hyperboles or adjectives) about why you’re an authority on this matter…maybe your LinkedIn gets 2,500 visits a day, maybe you have the third most total followers on Pinterest, maybe 100% of your Facebook friends think you’re awesome (and somehow you can measure this)- you get the idea.
Content marketing, not content advertising.
People’s time and their attention spans are shrinking every day. People don’t want to read advertisements, they want to read things that interest them. Your job is to write something so good- be that informational or interesting- that the reader feels inclined to learn more about the author.
That is the real key to writing a good article and to doing good content marketing in general.
Why do we care to learn about the personal lives of celebrities? Oftentimes celebrities become celebrities because they’re extraordinary in some peculiar way.2 They stand out, and we feel inclined to know who they are why they’re so comfortable putting themselves out there. We care to learn about the personal lives of celebrities for the same reason that a good article converts into leads and sales.
Real content marketing is standing out by helping, inspiring, and entertaining people and then being deserving of the attention you get.
Again, if your article is overly promotional, it will not be effective content marketing. It will create distrust in your readers and drive them away. They will not be curious about your identity and they will not be drawn to your services.
It’s not as paradoxical as it sounds: non promotional content marketing is more effective than promotional content marketing.