In the effort to get links and spread word of your business online, many people can get a bit overzealous.  Ryan Sammy put together an excellent list detailing the 7 deadly sins of content promotion.  I’ve summarized them here, with my own input on it.

1) Greed (Excessive promotion)

Some people think that putting everything that they have written or available and putting it online to link back to themselves is the only way to do it.  However, when doing this a lot of the content you put out is useless.  Spammy.  This will not do well for your image and can get you a bad reputation, and in some cases get you banned from the sites you submit content to for a temporary or even permanent amount of time.

Try to submit only quality content.  This will make people look forward to seeing your information, and if it’s not seen all the time, it also raises impressions of quality.  Plus it cuts costs in time and/or money to send information out.

2) Sloth (Trying to save time too much)

Doing good promotion work online takes a LOT of time.  This means early mornings, late nights, and details details details in order to do the job right.  A lot of people think, “I’ve got this content, let’s just fire it off using my easy-to-use software to all the social networking sites and we’re set.”  Well, there’s a major difference between Slashdot, Digg, Facebook, and Fark.  The same content will NOT do well on all of them.

Find out which sites would work well with the content you have.  Submit to them separately, not all at once, and uniquely, so you have different titles for your posts.  Identical titles will hurt chances of going viral.

3) Wrath (Attacking competitors)

Most sites have a way of reacting to posts.  By either giving it a thumbs up/down, making comments, or voting on the quality of a post, you can give a response.  Some people try to increase their post rankings by down-ranking all of their competition.  This can give a little bit of help, but will generally produce only bad long-term results.  You’ll make enemies, and some of these people WILL target you and retaliate.

The better way to do this is to not attack, but try to make contacts with others, even your competitors.  Sometimes this can help you work with each other to promote your content mutually.  And it’s better to avoid making enemies, so any attacks on you are best ignored.

4) Envy (Taking great content as your own)

This is one that I see a lot of.  There’s some amazing content that’s right in your market.  So why not use it?  And claim it as your own?  Since you can’t seem to create equal quality yourself because of time or talent, the best choice is to use someone else’s, right?  No.  It’s the web.  People will find out if you steal, and find out quickly.  This will get you banned very easily from the networks, and if you do it enough people will place you on their “enemy” list, which can have a variety of ramifications.

If you find content you think is great, give credit where credit is due!  (Note: check out my credit to Sammy for his excellent outline on these issues, with a link in place and all.)  By posting credit to the original author and/or a link, you’re helping each other.  And this causes no ill will when you respect the author.

5) Pride (Bragging about black hat achievements)

Some people try to gimmick the system with certain sites and find ways to get their posts elevated or as a front page listing, but by using nefarious tactics.  Even if you weren’t caught originally, talking about doing it and how you were tricksy with your techniques will get you caught.  The penalties for this can be drastic and long-lasting.

It’s better to play by the rules.  This way you keep your reputation and recognition for legitimate information.  The focus should be on providing quality content, not on gaming the system.

6) Gluttony (Single site promotion)

There are times when you find great success on one specific site.  Then when you learn how you succeeded, you can get more and more success by using the same methods you used originally.  The problem is when you forget about using other sites and focus ALL your energy on the one site.  It only takes a minor change to their system and site setup (or even the site to disappear) to ruin everything.

Try to distribute your time to multiple sites.  It will help get it to more markets and crowds, plus if one site makes a major change, it won’t hurt you nearly as much.  Keep up with the way each site works, and adjust when needed, without pouring all your time into a single channel.

7) Despair (Breaking the rules)

If you try everything and nothing seems to work, it can get frustrating.  Sometimes it seems like the only answer is to try dirty tricks, in some cases a lot of the same mistakes listed above.  Well, it may not happen immediately, but playing these types of tricks will get you into a bad place.  A lot of them will get you banned from sites, networks, and even search engines.  Then you’re dead in the water.

If you’re having problems, try looking around.  See what other people have been doing with legitimate methods, try some of them.  Ask people in your industry what they’ve been trying or have them look at what you’ve been trying.  You need fresh eyes to revise your approach.  Doing this will help.

Conclusion

Even though it may take a lot of time and get frustrating, playing by the rules of sites and social networks will pay off.  Create unique quality content to put on the web in a variety of ways and it will reward you.

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