Before the New Year gets away from us, I want to make some resolutions as a blogger.

Here are some of the things I hope to do from now on. Add your own suggestions in the comments if you'd like, but please go easy on the sarcasm.

Avoid claiming best practice

Best practice is not absolute. We cannot claim any marketing practice is 'best' without defining the context i.e. the sector and the company involved, the country, the price point etc.

Marketing is horses for courses, that's what makes it interesting.

Go easy on the listicles

Listicles proved popular yet again in 2016. However, retweets aside, we saw more more engagement with articles that discussed a controversial viewpoint or answered a question, such as:

This kind of engagement may ultimately be more valuable than the mere view counts that listicles provide.

Maintain a healthy scepticism

Healthy scepticism is a fine balance to strike - straying neither into unalloyed enthusiasm nor click-bait naysaying.

Stop chasing search traffic

Ranking well in search should be an indicator of user-friendly and relevant content. However, are you trying to rank for the wrong terms, just because you know you can grab a share of their traffic?

There are a number of articles on the Econsultancy blog that consistently pull in traffic but aren't necessarily aligned with our strategy or our audience. The danger is that we try to replicate their success and reduce the distinctiveness or usefulness of our output.

Avoid woolly words

Words that served a purpose but are now starting to feel obsolete include multichannel, mobile marketing and agile.

Be wary of PR case studies

We've all seen the case studies produced by technology providers which claim an enormous percentage uplift in conversion.

These claims often seem huge because they compare one generation of technology with the next, or because of the novelty effect.

Stop asking rhetorical questions

Betteridge's humorous law of journalism says that whenever a headline ends in a question mark, the answer is no.

We should bear that in mind and not ask questions merely for effect. When we do ask a question in a headline, we should at least attempt to answer it.

Give examples

Theory is boring and isn't always borne out in practice. Including examples when discussing marketing concepts will help enliven any article.

Keep an eye out for banned words

Here at Econsultancy we enjoying listing all the words that enrage us (see posts by Christopher Ratcliff and Graham Charlton). 

I recently added to the collection with 10 horrible words and phrases that consultants need to cut outNeedless to say, I want to avoid being hoisted by my own petard.

Don't focus too often on social media

I recently wrote an article about fallacies of digital, one of which is that social media is very important.

Social media has its place, but it is often over-represented in the media because it's a topic we know our readers can easily relate to.

Avoiding the hype train

VR, IoT, AI, AR, they all have their place, just like social media. But let's not get carried away.

Give more consideration to the offline and analogue

Digital marketing is increasingly a tautology of sorts, or at least a wasted modifier. Therefore it stands to reason that Econsultancy should cover the offline, the whole gamut of marketing.

We've always done this to some extent but should attempt to address marketers in the round, no matter what their expertise.

Link to primary research

A stat is just a number unless the reader knows the source and can view the methodology used to calculate it.

Too often, stats are given without appropriate comment on sample sizes and demographics. 

Produce more industry-specific articles

It could be said that we focus too much on retail. It's a very important sector, of course, but may be over-represented (like social media) because our writers and readers are familiar with it.

Expect to see us bringing you more from the worlds of finance, travel, pharma, and beyond.

Write with greater style

Style can make or break an article. Too much is boorish, too little is boring.

What the most read authors in marketing and advertising (Trott, Ritson etc.) have in common is a firm viewpoint and a skill for storytelling.

This isn't always required, but a little flavour might just perk up our coverage.

Those are the resolutions that spring to mind as a writer for Econsultancy. Do you have any of your own, for me, or as a blogger yourself?

Ben Davis

Published 4 January, 2017 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (4)

Ben Potter

Ben Potter, Director at Ben Potter - business development mentor

Nice one Ben, I'll certainly be taking these points on board when writing for Econsultancy this year.

over 1 year ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff

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over 1 year ago

Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck, Research Analyst at EconsultancySmall Business

I think you're right that writing things which are challenging or answer a deep-seated question is a good idea. The issue is that such topics are rare and I reckon they are almost impossible to anticipate.

I had no idea that the Chinese website post would be the least bit controversial and it had 10x more views and comments (on Hacker News) than anything else I wrote. Other posts which I thought were more confrontational did relatively poorly.

over 1 year ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff

@Jeff A fair point. Wishing you many predictable successes for this year :)

over 1 year ago

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