Lately I’ve seen a lot of “How To” posts from industry “experts” intentionally misleading readers.
The series of posts that sparked this one is a recent trend advertising that they have the steps for readers to gain verification on platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
In fact, I’ve seen three posts today with the title, “How To Get Verified on Instagram”. All three posts from different brands or consultants whose services are to help small business owners grow their social media presence.
The problem: you cannot initiate verification on Instagram. They pick you.
You can do things that better your odds of verification, and that is what the content of these articles ultimately boils down to. A better, and more honest title, would be, “How To Improve Your Chances at Instagram Verification.”
The topics of these How To posts go beyond getting that little blue checkmark, in fact, a quick scan of various marketing blogs reveal a number of brands and self-proclaimed experts claim to teach readers how to do nearly impossible things.
While How To posts are inbound marketing gold, being dishonest and tricking people is not.
When you are creating content to attract and convert new customers, you will be tempted into publishing “grey content” — not really dishonest content, but not really honest content, either.
Don’t fall for it.
Not only will you quickly lose the search engine rankings you’re trying to game, but you’ll also lose the trust of your readers.
When you’re attempting to position yourself as an authority within your industry, the least credible thing you can do is post thin-content with click-bait titles.
Call it what it is. Do the work. Establish real trust.
Your credibility is not worth a shortcut.