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Episode 071: The Worst Advice I’ve Heard about Content Marketing

August 17, 2021

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I'm  Amanda — simplicity-focused content marketing strategist.  I'm here to help you fit your marketing into your business.

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Are you looking for content marketing tips 2021? Avoid these absolutely terrible content marketing tips.

Looking for Content Marketing Tips 2021? Avoid this terrible advice.

“You should make sure you engage 15 minutes before you post something to your instagram feed, and 15 minutes after.”

“Don’t schedule out your posts! The algorithm will knock you for it!”

“Hey, you should come join our follow loop! It’ll get you a ton of new followers.”

“Everyday I make sure that I’m going through hashtags and responding to 5 peoples stories and trying to start a conversation with them.”

Hey there friend. You’re listening to the Chasing Simple podcast – episode 071. I’m your host, Amanda Warfield and everything I just said is terrible advice. (If you’re new around here – hi! I don’t hold back around here.)

Today, I’m sharing some of the absolute worst advice I’ve heard about content marketing. Some of these I’ve actually tried myself, and some I haven’t, but all of it’s awful advice, and I’ll be explaining why and what you can do instead.

If you’ve heard other terrible advice that I haven’t mentioned inside this episode, I would LOVE for you to hop on over to Instagram and send me a DM! I’m @mrsamandawarfield. But for now, let’s go ahead and dive in to this episode.


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Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.

First things first, let’s just get this one out of the way, because I know I get up on the soapbox all the time, but the number one worst piece of advice I’ve heard about content marketing is worrying about the algorithm. You have to engage within the first 15 minutes to help out your post or the algorithm punishes you for scheduling, who cares?

Stop worrying so much about the damn algorithm. It’s all right. Going to change. You’re never going to own your social media followers.  So stop giving it so much power over you with all the time, energy and mental space you’re giving it. You’re never going to own your social media followers.

I know I just had that, but I want to say it again. Because we put so much energy and effort into social media, I think because it’s instant gratification, right? You put up a story, someone can instantly and immediately engage and you get that instant feedback, whether they’re engaging or not, you know? Okay.

Well that maybe wasn’t a post that was worth engaging with things like emails,  having people go to your website and your long form content.

All of that is less instantly gratifying because people have to go out of their way to let you know that they read or saw it, or it’s just not as easy. And so we love social media because of that instant gratification, but we don’t own our followers. And so when we’re putting all this time and effort and energy into social media  at any moment, it could be gone.

I’ve heard of people who Alex Beadon, if you follow her, her YouTube channel, that she had grown to huge, huge, huge numbers of subscribers. It just disappeared. Which I know is long form content, but bear with me here.  In the middle of the pandemic when there was all this drama with tick-tock and they kept threatening to shut it down here in America, people were freaking out because they had built followers there. And only there, you can’t put all your eggs in the social media basket. And even if you have long form content, even if you have an email newsletter and you have a website, And you’re still putting too much energy in the social media.

It’s time to rethink that plan. The other thing again, the whole scheduler thing, Facebook created its own scheduling tool, no giant company like that is going to put all the time and resources into creating their own scheduler, just to discourage all of us to use it doesn’t make any sense. And finally, my last point to this, this whole algorithm. Fear based advice. Content is important. It is a wonderful, amazing, free to low cost way to market your business. It is part of your business, but it is not your business. And frankly, we all have better things to do  then fret about an algorithm and allow social media to take up so much space in our lives.

 Okay. I’m off the soap box. Now you’re going to get down.  We’re going to go over the next five and I won’t feel quite so passionately about these, although I feel pretty passionate about a lot of them, just not quite that passionate. The next terrible advice is the whole, the bots, the follow for follow loops, the follow/unfollow game. Anything that’s focused on growing numbers versus an audience. If you’re doing these, please stop. I know a lot of well-meaning people will post, you know, follow for follow loops on Facebook groups and once you to get involved. And here’s the thing, one bots are spammy,  they’re gross and they are going to get you other bot followers.

Which does nothing for your bottom line follow for follow loops, in theory, they sound great. But what usually ends up happening is you end up with a bunch of people who are in the same industry as you who are essentially your competition. And the Instagram algorithm, which I know I just told you not to ever worry about, but the algorithm will say, oh, you want to follow more people like this.

And oh, people like this follow you I’ll recommend other people, other competitors to follow you too. And then you’re not getting in front of people that actually. Want and need your content. And the follow /unfollow game is just dumb. It’s so dumb. It’s such a waste of time. I can’t even like, that’s all I’ve got for it. Don’t go follow people and then just go unfollow them. As soon as they follow you, like, let’s stop worried about numbers. Cause here’s the thing, a small, but engaged audience is a million times better than a large audience with people who aren’t engaged because they won’t see your stuff. If they’re not engaged.

And when they do see your stuff, they’re going to think, when did I start following her and why I’m not actually interested in her stuff? I just followed. Cause she followed me or I just followed because we were in a follow loop or I followed because the bot, whatever, it’s just not. It’s not what you want.

Also going back to the bop for one quick, second, people can tell when you’ve got a bot responding for you in comments and in other stuff, it just, it’s not natural. And then people are like, yeah, there’s no way I’m following you. So anyways, forgot to say that a second ago. A small audience that is engaged is going to do so much more for you than a large audience, because realistically, like what do those numbers do for you?

They’re vanity metrics. The only thing you could possibly say about what, having like 10 K followers, you get the swipe up feature. Is that really worth all that much? If people aren’t seeing your stuff, if you don’t have an engaged audience and if no one’s buying anyways, like what, what good does that really do you? 

There’s also the argument that it could, it makes you look more legit. Prove that you’re legit through strong high quality content through showing up through being consistent through educating your people and then having them come and say, you guys need to follow this lady because she knows her stuff.

When people buy into you and they share about you, that is the best way to grow your audience. Stop worrying about the numbers you’ll get there. I’ve built my entire business. I have just barely over 2000 followers on Instagram, which may sound like a lot to some of you listening. But that happened very recently for the longest time. I had almost no followers when I started actually growing my business and my revenue took off. I had very few followers on Instagram. You don’t need a large number of followers. You just need an engaged audience and you can build that engagement through high quality content and consistently showing up.

Another terrible piece of advice. Number three is that you should be making sure that you reach out to this many people every day and come in on this many posts and, you know, using hashtags to find people whose posts you can comment on and stories you can engage with similar to the last point, in that it’s it’s fake.

I just feel so fake to reach out to people just in order to see that growth. Because you’re not really building relationships. Now, if you go and you find someone that you truly want to engage with, like, please by all means do it. I’m not saying you can’t reach out to people, but the whole, the mindset of, okay, I’ve got 30 minutes, I’m going to go reach out to five different accounts and try to start a conversation with them.

The focus is on. The five different accounts, not on the actual relationships you’re trying to create, and it’s a subtle difference, but it is a difference. And frankly, what a waste of your time, again, show up with high quality content and engage with people that are engaging with you and people that you care to build relationships with. But don’t just got to find five new accounts today that I can reach out to. You know, when you see someone you want to engage. Create a list of people that you truly want to build a relationship with. That’s fine, but don’t just have a list and numbers for the sake of numbers. I talk about this a lot in episode 31, grow your business without playing the numbers game, or I go into a lot more detail.

So if you want to hear more about this head on over to that episode, after you listen to this one, The next piece of terrible advice that I’ve heard about content marketing is to go through and unfollow and remove unengaged followers. Now, with this one, I get the concept and the idea behind it, because it’s all about boosting that engagement and the whole idea of,  avoiding vanity metrics. And you don’t need a lot of followers to have a really good, strong audience. I get that, but at this point in time, You have to do this manually. I don’t know of , an app really that’ll let you do it. If you know of one, let me know, but to go through and do this manually, there are a million better things that you can do with your time also, because just because you recognize, you see a name and you don’t recognize it, one.

You may not really know if you have a super, super small audience, that’s one thing. And you may know, like, yeah, they’re not engaging at all, but realistically, do you know all of the likes that truly show up under your images?  I recognize names that come through my DMS a whole lot, and I recognize typically comments, people who comment, but frankly, I don’t look at everyone who likes my stuff. I ended up with so many of those notifications and I just scroll right through them. So think about that. You may be removing someone who is actually engaging and too, I know that I personally.

Am not awesome about engaging on Instagram because they get so overwhelmed. You may have followers that are consuming your content, love your content. Maybe on the way to buying from you. They just aren’t engaging and maybe they’re shy. Maybe they feel like they can’t reach out to you. I don’t know, but that’s another thing.

Let people unfollow you if they don’t want to follow you. But. There are a million better things that you can do with your time than going through and getting rid of unengaged followers. I get the concept behind it. The idea makes sense, but you never know, who’s maybe not quote unquote engaging, but as mentally engaging with your stuff and with you.

all right. Terrible piece of advice. Number five, social media is the only type of content marketing that you need. I touched on this a little bit with the whole algorithm thing, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it, but again, social media can disappear at any time. You need a website and you need an email list. And frankly, YouTube as well. I know I said long form content safer. It is generally safer, but YouTube, you’re not hosting yourself. YouTube posts YouTube. When you have a blog on your website, you’re hosting your website and your blog, or you should be when you have a podcast, you are paying for your podcast to be hosted.

So YouTube has a huge benefit of being free. You can just upload content. Yes. Something to think about also make sure that if you’re doing YouTube, you should also have a website, and an email list because that can then get disappeared anytime. Okay. So make sure you’re thinking on that. I’ve also heard of people who have been locked out of their accounts for various reasons. So don’t put all your eggs in the social media basket truly could disappear at any time. It’s like an investment portfolio. You want things to be a diverse and spread out. So make sure you’ve got a website, make sure you’ve got an email list. If you’re building a business, social media can be a great place to start building that audience, but don’t let it be the only way you have that audience built up.

Terrible piece of advice. Number six, any content is better than no content. And I left this one for last because yes. And no, I get it. If you’re talking about a starting point to get you going to avoid perfectionism, then yes, absolutely. A few weeks back, I put a very controversial, unpopular opinion that I can’t stand the scrolling captions on Instagram.

And I’m not going to sit there and watch your stories if you put scrolling captions on, because I don’t want to wait for it to finish scrolling anyways. Very controversial, got a lot of DMS about it. It was a great conversation, but I had a lot of people in my inbox saying, Hey, like I get it. But also it makes it so much easier for me to get up and do stories because I don’t have to type out captions, which if you guys don’t have a Bluetooth keyboard that you can do.

Attached to your phone. It makes Instagram so much easier, but that’s not the point. I get that I 100% get that. if you’re just getting started, I would rather you avoid that perfectionism show up on stories. Use the scrolling captions than not do stories at all. I would rather see you put up mediocre content when you’re learning, then you never getting started.

Everyone’s first, every day. Terrible. My first blog posts, they were garbage. my first stories were terrible. I cringed to look back at them in my archives. It’s terrible. My first Instagram posts. They’re terrible. If you scroll back on my feed, please, don’t I mean, you can, but like they’re not good. My feed looks terrible. The images aren’t good contents. Not that good. Everyone starts saying. I would rather see you post static images instead of showing your face, if that will give you the confidence to get out there. But there also comes a point where you have got to step up your game.  Don’t use the, something is better than nothing crutch forever, because it is truly a crutch and it will only take you so far.

The truth is, is that, and I don’t say this to overwhelm anyone, because again, everyone starts somewhere and you improve every single day the more you do something. But if you think about the people that are really, really, really successful in this online industry, they show their face on stories. They have great copy.

They are putting out high quality content, and yes, they have teams behind them. No, I do not expect any of you listening to this right now to be at that level. I don’t expect myself to be at that level. I don’t expect most of the people I know in the business world to be here. That level, the point is, is that they started somewhere too.

And they, every time, every day they improved and they forced themselves to take the next step. So. Yes to a point. Any content is better than no content at the same time, do not use that crutch forever.  Force yourself outside that comfort zone. Take a step every single time you create content to do something different and to make it a little bit better.

And if you want to focus on better quality content and giving your audience what they want to hear from you and building relationships with your audience through good content. It’s not too late to come join my Content Ideas Challenge that content generator is a five day challenge to amp up your content, ideas and inspiration. And you will walk away with over 50 ideas for what you can say to your audience that is high quality in geared. Them, you can come sign up over on Amandawarfield.com/challenge. And I would love to see you there. That’s your action step for this week. 

 And this week’s book recommendation is Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Now, I think I’ve said this in the past. I love her books because most of them are based in the Seattle, Washington area. And I lived there for so, so long. It felt lakes along at the time. Really? It was like three and a half years, but because I lived there for three and a half years, I just feel so connected the area.

So I love her books. They’re also really well written. But I love them for that too. But this one and this one in particular, you’ve probably heard of, because there’s, I think a Hulu show, maybe it’s Netflix. I don’t remember, but there’s a show. Maybe it is Netflix. It doesn’t matter. There’s a show made out of it. It’s got a sequel. It is really good. , it was sadder than I expected it to be, but. Something that she does really well is she can write a story over a long period of time without it taking a million pages, but also without it seeming rushed. And that takes a lot of skill, I think, because I’ve read quite a few books that you’re just like, oh, you skipped large chunks of time and I can feel it. Hers isn’t like that.

So anyways, this was a great book, truthfully. I didn’t love the sequel  at mud as much, but I’ve seen other people who preferred the sequel.  So, I’d be interested if you’ve read both of these. I would love to know what you, your thoughts are because yeah, I’ve seen enough people that definitely feel otherwise, but I thought the first one was so good.

And the second one was like, yeah, pretty good.  All right guys,  until next time, I hope that you will go out and Uncomplicate your life and biz.


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