A few weeks ago while refreshing my newsfeed on Facebook, I came across an email from a leading airline company. It wasn’t a sponsored post, rather a friend had posted it as one of the worst examples of marketing emails. The visual sparked my interest and I began to read the email only to give up two sentences later.

The copy left a lot to be desired, not to mention the number of words. I could see why she was irked. At a time when attention spans are dwindling, do companies really think that a 500 word email can create that connect? I am sure even George R. R. Martin would have settled for far fewer!

And here’s the rub. Those same social media platforms which you hope will spread your message, can also work against you. In this case, all it took was one peeved customer, and the content went viral for all the wrong reasons. Even the most passionate of marketers can sometimes miss the signs of content that isn’t achieving the desired results. So it helps to review the basics from time to time.

Reach the right audience

I have been married for three years, yet a leading dating website floods my inbox asking if I am looking for a like-minded partner. I assume they don’t know more than I do at this stage, so I can only chalk it up to poor targeting. Spam!

Clearly define your target audience and customize content according to their personas. Simply sending emails to any convenient mailing list without tailoring it to your prospect is the surest way to land in the trash bucket. It may also hurt your product.

Use the zeitgeist

A popular restaurant discovery guide published a series of infographics themed “Presenting the Primetime Yummies” within 24 hours of the Emmy Awards being announced. It went viral within no time. Their most popular one was of course “Baking Bread”!

But it’s not enough just to weave in current events, it also needs to be relevant. If you are in the food business, publishing a piece on the ALS Bucket Challenge just because it is trending on Twitter is only going to confuse your reader. On the other hand, if you publish an informational article on food items that can help fight ALS, that will fetch you more re-tweets and shares.

Refrain from self-praise

I used to frequent the website of a popular fiction writer. A few months ago, I realized her posts were becoming too full of herself. She would talk about how she is an excellent multi-tasker, how she gets invited for talks in universities, how she helped her next-door neighbor and so on. No prizes for guessing why she no longer features in my “To-Read” list.

Any content that features a “We” and “I” in every second line is bound to make your reader click the “unfollow” button very soon. Although it is important to let your reader know about your services and maybe your ranking in Forbes, it helps to use a “You” more often and be subtle about your achievements.

Revive that content calendar

A leading bank sends me numerous e-mails about their products and services any time they wish, even up to six a day! There is no fixed day of the week, time or any schedule followed. Don’t they realize over publishing is bane?

You will have lesser annoyed customers if you create a schedule for publishing content and stick to it. That way, your reader knows what to expect and when.

Respond to your customer

Some websites just publish and they think their job is over. It is as trivial as striking out an item in a to-do list. How about replying to queries and comments?

I am referring to the genuine ones if not the other thousand and one useless remarks. Timely interaction with your readers always gets you more brownie points compared to your competitor.

On that note, here’s to more interesting newsfeeds and retweets.

Get that groove back on!