Content marketing is something that has been growing in profile over the past few years and we’re forever telling you how important it is to provide your customers with great online material. Failing to take advantage of this limitless marketing tactic is a huge mistake for any modern business, especially start-ups and micro-enterprises looking to make an impression on the industry. However it can prove even more detrimental for a brand if they are sharing content that doesn’t adhere to regulation and obligation.
The benefits of a strong content game
In essence, content marketing is all about communicating with both your existing customer base and your target demographic to boost the status and reputation of your brand. Other marketing angles such as promotional campaigns and seasonal discounts are more about direct sales and the hard sell, while content exists to inform, attract and retain clients. Not only is strong content marketing great for cultivating and nurturing a connected community, it is also highly influential in where your business is ranking in those all-important search results. Customers will see you as a reliable source of useful information and Google will reward you for this.
This content can be shared on company websites, blogs, social media platforms, email campaigns and other external sites. The latter is what is known as link-building, in which brands get their own content featured on other relevant web pages to reach a whole new pool of readers and potential customers. Any material generated and distributed should have a purpose and this purpose should be to benefit your customers and boost your brand. This can be achieved by including plenty of popular search terms to better your SEO status and make it easy for consumers to land on your content.
Three fatal flaws you must avoid
Any brand that isn’t investing time and energy into content marketing is putting themselves at a serious disadvantage to the majority who are. However those that are breaking the laws of content sharing are putting their vulnerable businesses at an even worse risk so we’re here to help you avoid the following fatal flaws. Committing any of these cardinal sins could lead to you burning bridges with important connections, losing the respect of your valuable customers and even ending up on the wrong side of the law.
Copy-and-paste plagiarism – The degrees of plagiarism can be tricky because to some extent, everything we do has origins in someone else’s work. But if you’re going to keep your content on the straight and narrow (which is always advisable), you need to acquaint yourself with these grey areas and understand what is and isn’t acceptable practice. For example, directly poaching the work of somebody else can lead to serious legal ramifications and a one-way ticket to big, big trouble.
Taking inspiration from others is fine, in fact we’d even encourage it but when it comes to content marketing, copy-and-paste is an absolute no go. You may think that copying and pasting work written by somebody else onto your own website is harmless, flattering and a great way for you to save time and effort but this isn’t a risk you should be willing to take. By all means, take the topic or concept they are discussing but then be sure to put your own spin on it with original copy and content. If this means employing a content writer or outsourcing to a freelancer then that’s what you must do.
Illegally sourced images – As well as borrowing content from others in a bid to save yourself a bit of time, pinching images from Google can also seem like a tempting shortcut when you’ve got a million and one things to do. No matter how innocent this tactic may be, however, it can still land you in an immense amount of trouble if the original owner of the image decides to take legal action against you. Taking an image from Google may seem harmless but just because an image appears in a search result doesn’t mean that it isn’t covered by photography copyright.
You have three main options when it’s time to source an image to accompany your content. Firstly, if you do come across one via search result that you want to use, you could try contacting the original owner and asking their permission. Nine times out of ten, all they’ll likely require is a credit and link to their web page. Secondly, you could take advantage of one of the many stock websites that provide you access to thousands of high quality, royalty-free images. Lastly, you could always think about snapping and editing your own photographs as modern technology makes it increasingly easy to do so.
Inaccurate quotations – Relaying quotes inaccurately or paraphrasing what somebody has said without permission or explanation can also be fatal when it comes to creating content. Quotations from industry experts or those involved are a great way to back up any points you are making and enrich the content you’re sharing but if you are going to quite somebody, be sure that you are 100% precise. Quote somebody falsely could lead to unnecessary trouble and dispute so just be thorough in your translation. Better still, go to the original source when you can and get an original quote off them for yourself. This way you will have something nobody else has and be able to set yourself apart from the rest.