Written by:
Payman Taei

Content Marketing is Ruining the Web: Here’s How You Can Stop it and Stand out in 3 Steps


If you have an online presence, you’ve probably heard of “content marketing”.

Simply put, content marketing is a practice of providing relevant content to your prospects that “pulls” them toward you.

Over time, you keep creating or curating nuggets of useful content with the goal to convert the prospect into a paying customer.

You don’t send them sales pitches; instead, you send them ongoing and fresh information that makes an impact. The readers reward you with their loyalty by becoming your customers.

Well. At least that’s what content marketing was supposed to be.

Recently though, many small business owners, marketers and educators have been making some grave content marketing mistakes such as:

- Churning out low quality content: Your reader is smart. Sooner or later, they will feel the lack of quality and hit the unsubscribe button.

- Making it all about you: Content marketing is about your readers, not you. Stop being narcissistic.

- Not weaving in stories: Business is built on good relationships. Relationships are built by people. And what do people love? Stories. It’s been that way for centuries. Look up the history of storytelling if you don’t believe me.

- Not stepping out of your comfort zone: If you don’t experiment with new forms of content and give your readers better content than your competitors, who will?

My point? It’s time to stop making these mistakes and stand out from the crowd of your competitors. Here are three ways to get started:

1. Find a persona

Let’s face it. There are more mediocre bloggers and content creators out there than truly excellent ones.

And those excellent ones have one thing in common: They know what they stand for.

They have a “voice”. Some have a mascot they use in all their pieces. Some are super-visual. Some are irreverent. You get the point.

All these people stand for something. They bring their offline traits online. And it’s refreshing! Plus it makes them easily recognizable.

2. Be different

Almost anyone who can string two sentences together can write.

However, what you need as a content marketer is to write well and differently.

Let me explain.

If there’s a trending topic in your industry, you can take it and write from a different angle.

For example, instead of writing “How visual content boosts your marketing,” I could write about “How creating visual content is breaking your bank and what to do instead”.

In short, I pick a new stance and instantly differentiate from everyone else.

Another tip is to write something controversial. For example, a common saying in the online world is “The money’s in the list.”

You can take that topic and put a different spin on it by saying the opposite: “The money’s not in the list” like this post does.

Last but not the least: Be different by adding some pop to your content. How? Try visuals. Infographics, images with text overlays and “snackable” presentations pulled out of your blog posts are all great examples.

3. Be genuine

According to Jon Morrow, one of the most important traits for your content is empathy.

In many ways, genuineness and empathy go hand in hand. Once you show real empathy, you are honest and can connect with your readers.

And isn’t that the goal of stand-out content marketing?

Taking Jon’s example, one of the most genuine posts he wrote (where he also empathises with the struggling blogger) is called How to be Unforgettable.

Notice how Jon opens up with a story and instantly builds a connection. Each sentence does its job well – and keeps you hooked to read the next one.

Genuineness also brings a grain of truth in your posts. Here is an example of Joe Pulizzi being refreshingly honest about a mistake they made, and how they corrected it.

Your Turn

Are you creating content that moves, touches, or brings about a positive change in your reader? How are you using content marketing to stand out from your competitors?

Tell me more in the comments below.



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About the Author

Payman Taei is the founder of Visme (he doesn’t like using the word ”CEO”—it’s way too formal), a DIY platform that allows everyone to create and manage presentations, infographics, reports and other visual content.

He’s also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning web design and web development company.

3 responses to “Content Marketing is Ruining the Web: Here’s How You Can Stop it and Stand out in 3 Steps”

  1. Aashdoda says:

    I like your article but aren’t you in point of fact just being another “spin doctor with a twist of reality” to spice up posts, and saying “Stop being afraid to be you”? Though it’s been said you had that eye catching hint of something worth looking at. See I’m here.
    Don’t get me wrong you have some valid points. Mediocrity has got to go and reality needs to prevail because that is what we all identify with. We need something tangible that relates to some aching resonance in us awaiting a voice that stirs us to write/ act/move creatively, and make our lives move forward.
    The one thing I’m good at is being me and there’s no way to spin that, no fears left to conquer, just moments to write and a life lived any positive way I find I can.
    Whether or not my work is what anyone likes is personal choice; in other words I don’t take it personally. I can take some getting used to. I figure if I swim with sharks and all sorts of creatures that think I’m supper, then they have a surprise in store because I am that twist that’s never easily forgotten. Rarely do I need my teeth to make a point just a keyboard and a heart with a mind that can’t stop, nor do I want it to.
    I look forward to checking out more of your work, investigating all that you’ve been accomplishing and putting your name to.

    Blessings Plus Wonder, Aashdoda

  2. Hi,

    Your Headline sounded very controversial and got me to read your article post. I was favorably surprised when I learned what you were actually proposing about content marketing. I am in agreement with you.

    A few years ago I was reading some content marketing advice that just felt wrong. The writer was suggesting that readers want to get to know you on a personal level. That writer wrote about his dog, that the weather was so nice in early December that he went out to wash his car, and other things like his son’ little league baseball game, daughters ballet lessons, etc.

    Except for a few situations, I don’t think this is good advice. You exist to solve a customers problems, answer their questions, provide suggestions and advice, content relevant to the reader, the prospect, the repeat customer or client, all leading towards an eventual sale or sales.

    I read a number of this individuals e-letters to subscribers and quickly got bored. I recognize he was trying to create the relationship of being a “friend” to his readers. As a prospect, I didn’t want to be a friend, I wanted to find an authority or expert. Perhaps in a network marketing list of your downline, this “friend” concept may have value, yet even in that context, I would assume the downline wants to know how to make more sales and recruit more effectively. I don’t think they want to know about his dog. Unless these personal items are part of your success story, selling pet products, or your website is about being a great parent, I don’t see how this type of content builds momentum towards the eventual sale. I certainly wouldn’t be on this guys mailing list for very long.

    Content needs to provide something useful to the reader. Content needs to position you as an expert in the mind of the reader. Content needs to provide momentum towards a future sale. Content for the sake of content, is just taking up valuable space and wasting the valuable time of your reader. Do this a few times and your reader becomes resentful, not appreciative.

    Thanks for you excellent post!

    (just a note … my website address above is still in development)

    Jeff Zadzilka
    NLP Master Practitioner
    Personal Influence Coach
    Freelance Copywriter
    [email protected]

    • Jeff, I agree for the most part with your take on personal content. I think there is a balance of being an authority and being human. While someone shouldn’t be trying to be friends with everyone, it is nice to see that someone does more than just pitch solutions everyday. It’s okay to be normal and show a different side. With that said, I don’t mind every other post. Find a good ratio and even better, use analytics to see how your audience responds to it. Numbers can drive you to develop better content if you bother to leverage them. Thanks for adding your input to this! ~ Adam

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