Superstitions are fine for ten-year-olds, who basically have nothing else to be afraid of. But there’s no place for superstition in marketing. As marketers, we’re already besieged by REAL threats—like Google penalties, email unsubscribes, coming face-to-face with Martha Stewart at Inbound 2014 and having zilch to say about crumb cake.
Still, some superstitions just won’t go away. I recently asked the folks on our PMG outsourced marketing team which industry superstitions freak people out (unnecessarily). Here’s what they said:
1. Never Schedule Emails on a Friday
Did you send an email blast today? On a Friday? Are you now frantically trying to escape your doom, while looking over your shoulder for Jason Voorhees?
Let’s be realistic. Most people carry their email in their pocket. They’ll open it when they open it, regardless of whether you sent it on a Monday or during a solar eclipse. Mail Chimp is a great go-to resource for all things email marketing, but even they hedge their email scheduling advice with lots of qualifiers and a suggestion that you sometimes try going against presumed trends.
2. Good Content Comes in 10’s
It’s perfectly acceptable—even preferable, if you’ve covered everything on your topic—to publish a Top 6 list, a 9 Steps article, an 8 Benefits blog, or a 7 Signs guide. Marginal list items are annoying, which is why this blog post stops at six.
3. Visual Content Is for Products; B2B Shouldn’t Cross the Line
Visual content is huge. But many B2B companies are still skirting this terrain like it’s the Bermuda Triangle.
Want to know what’s legitimately frightening? The average person’s attention span for text. And the fact that written content is processed 60,000 times slower than visual content.
If you sell professional services, don’t worry. You aren’t limited to those Stepford-looking stock-photo models in tasteful business suits. There are a million ways to incorporate visual content—including original photos, video, and infographics. In fact, studies show infographics yield 12 percent more traffic than other forms of content. Ask us for help if you’re not sure where to start.
4. Mentioning Competitors Is Dangerous…
…like saying “Bloody Mary” in front of a mirror three times. Your professional rivals will emerge from darkened corridors and haunt your lead gen efforts for all eternity… Or not.
Personally, we love doing roundups that mention other excellent outsourced marketing teams. We think most clients should be comfortable referencing their peers, too. Used strategically, outbound links offer SEO benefits. Plus, competitor mentions may help you more clearly define your own unique value proposition—for yourself and for your audience.
5. Content Calendars Must Be Obeyed
Creating an editorial calendar is a great way to ensure your outsourced marketing team is delivering fresh, relevant information to your prospects, who are often at different stages of the buy cycle. Calendars can incorporate your priority keywords, targeted answers for different personas, and upcoming events that deserve mention. But they aren’t etched in blood, people. Be open to changing or delaying content ideas when something better comes along.
6. Blogs Should Never Be about Your Products or Services
This superstition comes from a good place, but ends up scaring too many marketers into downplaying their work. Just like with social media, there’s a balance to be struck between helping and promoting. Sometimes the same blog can do both. As your Friday the 13th homework (since you’re probably too scared to leave the house), please send us a good example of a helpful blog post that also directly mentions a B2B product or service. Do it within the next 24 hours or you’ll have 24 years of bad luck.
Seriously, go do it now. And Happy Friday the 13th!