Why you shouldn’t post just to post…and how to avoid it

Image via First Novelists Club

I’ve dropped the ball. I went a week and didn’t arrange for a peep to be heard from Red Gal’s. My apologies. Life just gets in the way sometimes. Certainly I could have just posted something – anything to say I posted and to draw traffic. However, I’d never misuse my readers’ time that way and I hope that you all wouldn’t either. That’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you why you shouldn’t post just to post, even though we’re all telling you how important it is to post regularly (life is full of contradictions and hypocrites, ain’t it) and then I’d like to share some tips on how to avoid this no-no.

  • Chances are if you’re not even interested in writing it, no one is going to be interested in reading it. I get it – ideas are running low, but traffic is, too OR ideas are running low and traffic is pouring through and you HAVE to keep up the momentum. It’s not worth it! Always, always, always remember quality over quantity.
  • Your audience has a life. Don’t waste precious minutes of your readers’ time by posting and pushing un-enthused content. Writing a ‘I-just-need-to-get-something-up’ post could make a very bad first impression for new traffic or could deter repeat visitors from returning.
  • Content isn’t something you do for the sake of doing it. If this is your mentality, then it is likely that people are just scrolling over it and not getting anything from it. If you don’t have the passion to write, don’t.

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I am a firm believer in posting new content regularly, so here are a few tips to consider when you hit a wall or life gets in the way and you can’t find real time to craft copy that your readers can appreciate.

  • Share content from another site. Either reblog or write a blurb on your site and direct them to a visit-worthy read elsewhere. It’s nice to give others some shine every now and then and who knows, they may even return the favor one day.
  • Enlist guest writers. A new presence and voice on your blog can be refreshing for readers and your site.
  • Share something fun (and at least semi-relevant) like an image or video that only requires a simple caption. This can show your readers that you’re not “all-work and no-play” and free you up for a day or two.
  • Don’t forget the magic in sharing old posts. While it would be nice, everyone doesn’t have time to post new content every single day. On your off days, take to social media and push out old posts that are still relevant.

What benefit does it serve the reader/engager? – Is the post really necessary?
Are the cows coming home?
– Is this a rewrite of yesterday’s post?
Will the reader/engager understand it? – People tend to talk/write in circles when they don’t have much to say

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10 reasons your brand leaves a bad first impression

Image via WP Clipart

First impressions are important. People say don’t judge a book by its cover, but when you first encounter something, especially something that is requesting your time, attention and/or money, you better believe the cover will be judged and it better be perfect. With that said, I wanted to stress how the simplest things can leave a bad first impression for your brand.

Cluttered, unappealing website design
Putting too much stuff (stuff=copy, banner ads, images, etc) on your website’s homepage can be overwhelming to a person who is making their first contact with your brand and consequently, could turn them away. Also, if your website looks like it was just thrown together without any consideration for organization, logic or style, that can have a negative reflection on your brand. If you have a smaller budget for web design, at least consider getting advice on how to organize and lay out your site from someone who knows their stuff.

Low-quality images and advertisements
In case you haven’t noticed, pictures have become a big deal. From Pinterest to Instagram, people are looking at and engaging with hundreds of images everyday. With this new phenomenon, consumers are encountering their introductions to brands everyday, just not necessarily through a platform that the brand itself houses. Therefore, all of the images associated with your brand need to be of high quality, so that if Jane Smith happens to pin it, and her all of her 120 followers on Pinterest see it, they won’t be left with a negative impression.

Grammatical errors in your copy
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to proofread. If your site is visually appealing and organized perfectly, but contains a glaring spelling error, a first-time visitor may get a bad impression. Not to say that they won’t ever want to have anything to do with your brand, but any chance you can avoid giving consumers (as skeptical as they already are) something negative to say about your brand, take it! I’ve even posted grammatical errors, and I understand that it happens – but always try to avoid it. When possible, always try to have anything that is disseminated or made public on behalf your brand proofed for errors.

Missing elements that are generally expected and sought out
If you’re in retail, chances are consumers that encounter your brand will want to know about the return policy. If you’re in the food industry, chances are consumers that encounter your brand will want to know about ingredients. Provide the consumer with everything that they might need to determine whether or not they’d like to pursue a “relationship” with your brand or company. Leaving out pertinent information could leave a negative first impression with someone exposed to your brand for the first time. I think that it’s important to be as transparent and helpful as possible.

Website malfunctions, broken links
Always double-check the links that you send out. If a person is taking the time to open up an email that you’ve sent them, the link that they click on from the email should get them the results that they’re expecting. The same thing is true with printed materials. Always be sure to double-check and double-check again any URLs or email addresses that you have listed.

Also, it crucial to do (at a minimum) weekly audits of your site to be sure that everything is showing up as you intended. Broken links and dropped images can leave a negative impression.

Poor social media efforts
If a person first encounters your brand through a social media network, only to find that you haven’t made any updates in two weeks, they will very likely become disinterested and move on without subscribing or following. Develop interesting, relevant social media content and post it consistently so that if someone encounters it, they’ll immediately want to join in the conversation and learn more.

Poor customer service
One of the biggest things that can deter consumers from making repeat encounters with a company or a brand is bad customer service. Not only will it leave a horrible first impression, but in this age where people can share their horrible experiences with the masses, one bad customer service incident can lead to negative first impressions of your brand to millions of consumers. It is so important to train your team (and I mean your entire team) on the proper tactics to use when dealing with customers.

Lack of cleanliness and order
If you have a physical, brick and mortar location, it’s so important to ensure that the environment is as welcoming and clean as possible. A person’s first encounter should not be an unattractive display of littered cigarette butts. Always make sure that both the outside and inside of your establishment are both clean and organized. If you have a website only, make sure that your categories make sense and that your consumers will be able to get to what they’re looking for easily.

Pushiness or nonchalance
If you have a team of individuals whose job is to get your brand’s name out there, they should be trained on how to effectively inform people about the brand without being pushy, but at the same time, have a level of enthusiasm about what they’re doing that interests and intrigues whomever they’re speaking to. We’ve all heard tales of the “pushy salesman” and that is not how you want your brand to be presented. You also don’t want it to be presented by someone who looks completely detached and uninterested.

Ratings
People pay attention to ratings. While there is nothing that you can do about ratings that have already been submitted, you need to address the low ratings and see what you can do to make them better. Don’t just ignore them and don’t spend time trying to make the consumer understand why their review isn’t indicative of the brand/company/product, etc. If a person goes on your site for the first time and reads a negative review, but then sees a comment from a representative of your company apologizing and stating what will be done to try to make things better, there won’t be as bad a first impression left.

Are people just scrolling over your social media content?

Image via Firing Squad

So you’ve got the message, social media is important, and if you aren’t tweeting, posting, pinning, blogging, etc, then you may very well be failing your brand. With so much hype around the importance of social media, it’s easy to be an eager beaver and dive right in without stopping to think about what you’re actually doing. Consider the following when reviewing your social media practices.

1. What benefit does it serve the reader/engager? Is your social media content serving a purpose? Remember quality over quantity! Don’t put stuff out there just for the sake of doing it! This is something that is crucial to go over with your social media team/department if you have one. Don’t just tell your team that they need to post twice a day and tweet five times a day and leave it at that. True, your content needs to be consistent, but it needs to be appealing and relevant, too. Consider some questions.

  • Will it teach my audience something new?
  • Will it be a helpful reminder?
  • Will it save my audience money?
  • Will it make my audience laugh?
  • Will it make my audience think?
  • Will it provide something that my audience has been asking for? Or something they’d appreciate?
  • Will it solve a problem?
  • Will it shed light on something else that will teach, remind, entertain, etc, etc.
  • Is it a means to an end? (teasers, part of a larger campaign goal, etc)

2.    Will the reader/engager understand it?
People spend their entire day working and thinking, your social media content should not present them with yet another “task” that the have to figure out.

3.    Are the cows coming home?
Are you saying something that you’ve said over and over and over and over and…? Well, you get the point. I know, you have a story to tell and you have messages to convey, but are you presenting those stories and messages the exact same way or are you keeping them new and interesting? Are you translating those messages in different terms that your consumer will not only find new and interesting, but also in a way that they will be able to understand and relate to?

4.    Does it make sense for your brand?
I know, social media is supposed to be the “hip” new thing and so you want to make sure that your content matches the channel. Don’t get me wrong, this is important; however, it is important to find a balance between making sure your content is relevant to the channel it’s presented through and SIMULTANEOUSLY relevant to your brand and what people expect from it. Sure, everyone loves a little shock value every now and then, but don’t reach too far. Be able to reel things in to a common factor that makes sense.

5.    Don’t sign up if you don’t qualify
There are social media networks popping up left and right, and these new ‘next-big-things’ are accompanied by articles and blog posts about why you should be using them all. Maybe you have a brand that should, in fact, be represented on all of these sites – but maybe you don’t. Think about whether or not a presence on a specific site makes sense for your brand and what you offer before signing up and devoting the manpower and money.

6.    Is it a repost, retweet, share, or quote – again?
It’s definitely okay to repost, retweet, share, quote, etc. But make sure that’s not all you’re doing. You have to provide some original content.

7.    Are you begging?
If you are, stop it. Please. No, seriously. We all want followers. We do, I do, too. But begging people to share your content all day, everyday is just not okay. It’s okay to encourage people to share your content every now and then, but when you start to sound like a broken record, your brand can come off as a little desperate. Do you want a larger following? Ok, well, what’s your incentive? Are you running a contest? Are you pushing out content that deserves a larger following? Remember, patience is important. If your content is good, keep putting it out there and be patient. People will catch on.

 

 

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