Why PR agencies need to get it when it comes to content marketing!

Why PR agencies need to lift their game when it comes to content marketingI’m feeling testy and here’s why. I just wasted an hour of my life editing and prepping an article for my website that ended up being unusable. Why, preytell, was it unusable? Well, let me enlighten you.

The article was sent by a PR agency that claims to specialise content creation. On first glance the article sent to me contained valuable information and seemed to be linked to authoritative websites. However, upon a more indepth read, it was clear the article was paid for by a client looking for SEO link juice and the agency representative was evasive about who the author was.

Now, I am approached by digital agencies all the time. However, lately I’ve noticed a trend towards pushing content that is purely designed to boost search engine rankings for a paying client. Often that content comes with a dubious author name and bio. I try really hard to sort out the fake authors from the real ones but lately it’s just been ridonc! I thought my detailed author guidelines might scare off the time-wasters, but no dice. So, I’ve now made the decision to only accept articles from real people with real social profiles and a real passion for content marketing. If they can’t put a credible name to their pieces, then I don’t want to publish them.

My question is, how is it possible to work in the PR or digital marketing space without having a credible social presence?

PR agencies clearly need to lift their game. Content creation is not about SEO and it is not about rehashing stats. It is about answering your potential clients’ questions and addressing the problems that keeps them up late at night! It is about genuinely caring about consumers, not about manipulating bloggers to publish content they aren’t getting paid for (but the agency is).

My opinion is agencies need to either ghost write pieces and let clients take full credit (I acknowledge that not everyone can or should write blog posts),or make darn sure that a real person with credibility in whatever field they are writing about can take ownership and respond to comments.

So, content creators and PR pros, if you have to make up an author and bio in order to get a story out there into the blogosphere, just stop! Stop! I have better things to do with my time than vett content from phantom writers who could care less about my clients or their own.

Rant over.

ps: I thought long and hard about this blog post. It’s been weighing on me for awhile and this experience was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Regular readers of my blog know that I don’t rant like this usually, but when you’re a solo business owner, time is money and I take it personally when someone wastes my time because that’s time I could have spent with my kids, my husband, my loyal clients and followers, a good book or my business. If you’re a blogger who’s experienced something similar, I invite you to leave a comment below and if you’re someone looking to hire me at some stage, know that I will always put your interests first.

  • Anne Maybus

    Yes, I’ve had quite a few of the same thing over the last year or so and it stinks of desperation. I’ve also had clients ask me about people proposing to write a “guest post” for their blogs when really all they want to do is plant linkbacks wherever they can. I totally agree with you – content creation should not be about self-promotion. It’s about helping your clients and caring about them. Great post, Cas.

    • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

      Thanks for your comment Anne! And congrats on being one who truly gets it! I’m a big fan of your work!

      • Anne Maybus

        That’s really kind of you to say. You know I’m a fan of yours, too. :)

        • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

          Nawww! mutual admiration society! :-P

  • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

    Cas, I may be backwards on this in many ways. I just decline guest posts. I know it hurts my blog in some ways (for instance, I’ve only posted once in 2+ weeks now), but too often I’m let down even by “good” guest posts on other blogs. I don’t follow blogs for news or advice, I follow blogs for perspective from the individual blogger and the background they have. Even great guest content doesn’t deliver that.

    Thanks for the rant, and keeping me firm in my no guest post policy!

    • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

      Hi Eric, thanks so much for your comment. I think I’m just going to start approaching people to guest blog who resonate with me. This week I’ve had several emails from PRs and have turned them all down. It’s just a waste of time. It’s almost as if requests for guest blogging are the the new link back schemes. What’s your blog by the way?

      • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

        Oh Disqus, why do you make it so hard now for people to get back to a commenter’s blog?

        My blog is B2B Digital Marketing, at http://b2bdigital.net

        Agree, and the scheme’s are getting more sophisticated. Two of the latest: an infographic, with a link to embed (and of course, link back to them) and a request (sometimes even paid, although nominally) to contribute to THEIR blog and then, as part of promotion of my own content, link to my guest post on their blog from mine. Shaking my head…

        • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

          Thanks for sharing your blog. I just left you a comment on your mobile article. And yes, all the more reason for us to band together and say “enough is enough!”

  • http://www.orgasmicchef.com/ Maureen | OrgasmicChef

    I only accept guest posts from people I know. I tried it the other way and I got the “I will like you to try this” type of submission and that’s not what I want on my blog. It’s definitely invite only for me. good rant.

    • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

      Very wise Maureen! Thanks for your comment!

  • Helen Lindop

    A while back I created a detailed guest posting guidelines page to help me separate the credible experts from agencies who were looking for a backlink for a client in return for a boring article. It just made my job harder because then the generic writers and agencies pretended to be credible experts! It’s a shame, because guest posting used to be a very positive thing. Now, as you say, it’s been reduced to little more than a low quality link exchange. I honestly don’t know if some of the people who approach me are fake authors, it’s so hard to tell. But if they’ve no social presence and they have nothing other than a few 500-word articles in their portfolio which are all factual with no opinion then I avoid them anyway.

    All of this relates to my blog BusinessPlusBaby.com. With my new blog HelenLindop.com I’m still working on my angle and ‘voice’ (that always sounds a little pretentious, LOL!) so I haven’t accepted guest posts at all there. I may decide to not accept guest posts at all there for the reasons Eric gives.

  • Mary Barber

    As a newbie to blogging, this was an enlightening read, including the comments. Cheers, Mary

  • http://www.marquet.com.au/ Michelle Nichols

    Hi Cas, I had one particular person based in the UK email me twice this year to submit a guest post. No website, but has had articles published on a few well known sites and also a few other VAs blogs. Has a twitter account which is mainly tweets asking to write guest posts. I couldn’t work out why they wanted to submit a guest post on my blog. After the first, I said no, I decided to draft guest blogging requirements and have now posted on my blog. My rule is I like guest bloggers to be active members of the MARQUET Community via online or local networks. But I still got a second request. It does make me wonder if people check backgrounds etc when these requests are received. My blog is too precious not to a little research first. Michelle

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