Because I’ve done a lot of brand and editorial consulting with professionals in the design field, I follow a lot of product manufacturers, architects and interior design firms. But I’ve found myself unfollowing a lot of them lately out of pure exasperation.

And it’s not the ones who are promoting too much product. The reason is actually the inverse — it’s the ones who simply share third-party content. Because the way they’re sharing that ‘value-added’ content is, in fact, absolutely worthless.

Think about it: If I’m already following a design firm or design product, odds are I’m an engaged audience member. And if you know anything about your audience, you should know I’m also following the same design-driven publications that you are. So I don’t need you to share the exact same insight I’ve seen probably a dozen times before.

Content sharing is simply lazy content marketing, in that it offers no benefit to either the reader or the brand. You’re not driving your reader to your site to read something original that appears on your blog. All you’re doing is driving your reader to a media site that they probably already read.

But could you say these sharers are at least building brand awareness? I’m doubtful, given today’s competitive content landscape. If the content is engaging enough, your audience is going to read it and remember the media outlet that wrote it, not the brand that shared it.

Now, design firms aren’t the only ones guilty of this. I’ve seen several realtors share the same Apartment Therapy post on kitchen trends or various tech firms sharing the same Fast Company article on a new gadget. Of course, sharing content written by others can be an effective part of a broader content strategy — it just can’t be THE strategy.

So when it comes to incorporating shared third-party articles into your content marketing mix, consider this: the primary objective of sharing third-party content should always be to reinforce your own expertise. Before you share, ask yourself:

  • Does this align with your Editorial Strategy?
  • Does this content come from a source that your reader has likely seen already?
  • Can you include your own perspective (perhaps in the form of a synopsis that links back to your specific area of expertise)?

Better yet, if you see an article you think is interesting, write your own article about it and link to it. That way you’re still driving traffic back to your site.

The point of content marketing isn’t to add to the clutter — it’s to educate and inform your audience about what makes you a thought-leader. So put some thought into it! 🙂