Stop Carly Rae Content Marketing

// // December 17th 2013 // Marketing + SEO

Lately I’ve gotten a few too many Carly Rae content marketing emails, which makes me both sad and grouchy. This is not the way to promote content, gain fans or build a brand. Stop it.

What Is Carly Rae Content Marketing?

Carly Rae Content Marketing

The term comes from Carly Rae Jespen’s popular Call Me Maybe song which contains the following lyrics.

Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here’s my number
So call me maybe

I’ve changed the lyrics slightly to reflect the emails I’m increasingly receiving from folks.

Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here’s my content
So promote me maybe

Carly Rae content marketing are out of the blue outreach emails from people you have no relationship with asking you to promote their content or engage in some other activity. In the end it’s just shoddy email spam.

It’s An Honor To Be Nominated?

The Oscars

I’m sure some of you are thinking that I’m ungrateful. The fact that I’m getting these emails shows that people want my endorsement. Perhaps it is better to be noticed than not but if I am some sort of influencer wouldn’t you want to put your best foot forward?

First impressions matter and this one isn’t going to win me over. In fact, I might remember you, your site or brand for the lousy outreach instead.

Win Over The Persnickety

I might demand a higher level of quality than others. So you could simply write me off as some anal-retentive prat with outrageous expectations and a self-inflated ego. But that would be a mistake.

Mr. Fussy

Because if you can put together a pitch that doesn’t make me vomit in my mouth a little bit then you’re likely going to have better luck with everyone else too. In short, win over your toughest critic and you’ll have a powerful outreach message.

Content Marketing Basics


If you’re doing outreach there are a few things you must get right. A recent post by Tadeusz Szewczyk about the perfect outreach message covered some of the basics. (It’s not perfect in my view but it’s certainly above average.)

You must be relevant, have a decent subject line, get my name right, respect my time and show that you’ve done some rudimentary homework about me. The sad part is that 50% of people fail to even get my name correct. Yup, somehow AJ Kohn is transformed into John. (Clicks trash icon.)

Respect My Time And Brain

Do or Do Not Dumbledore

One of the things that has bothered me lately is the number of people asking me to take time to provide feedback on their content. Feedback! Some of these people might actually want feedback but I’m going to call bullshit on the vast majority. You don’t want feedback. You want me to share and promote your content.

Do you really want me to tell you that your infographic is an eyesore and then not share or promote it? Probably not. I mean, kudos if you really are open to that sort of thing but I’m guessing you’re in promotion mode at this stage and you won’t be asking for a redesign.

Getting me (or anyone) to do something is a high-friction event. Don’t waste it asking them to do the wrong thing.

Honest Teasing

Teased Hair with Aqua Net

Being transparent about what you’re trying to accomplish is almost always the best way to go. If you’re looking for a link, tell them you’re looking for a link. Stop beating around the bush.

I’d also argue that you should be applying marketing principles to outreach. Half the battle is getting me to actually click and read the content. So tease me! Get me interested in what you have to say. Give me a cliff-hanger! Don’t put me to sleep or ask me to promote the content without reading it.

Get me interested so that I view or read your content. At that point you have to be confident that the content is good enough that I’ll share and promote it. Stop trying to do everything all at once in your outreach email.


Stop Carly Rae content marketing! Fast and shoddy outreach might get you a handful of mentions but it won’t lead to long-term success and may actually prevent it in many cases.

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Comments About Stop Carly Rae Content Marketing

// 10 comments so far.

  1. Davide Di Prossimo // December 18th 2013

    Very, very good piece AJ Kohn (and not John) lol!

    A few people – at times I think too many actually – really do not know how to do marketing and distribute content.


  2. AJ Kohn // December 18th 2013

    Thanks Davide! And you’re right. Far too few understand … marketing. The reason most small businesses (offline and online) fail is poor marketing.

    It’s a shame marketers are cast in such a negative light when they can often provide the difference for a business.

  3. JD Ferries-Rowe // December 18th 2013

    Great post. Its analogous (although in a different vein) to the guest-post solicitations that i have been receiving. I think that part of the “feedback” request is less about driving traffic and more about getting comments…comment numbers are now a major metric in search engines, so if people are not interacting, the post stays off page one.

    My favorite blind solicitation are the ones that ask me to think, link, promote, allows to guest when they clearly have an educational agenda that is the complete opposite of anything I tweet or promote. But this is the world when your name is sold for a few pennies and then bulk-emailed :)

  4. Andrew Cilio // December 19th 2013

    Bah, humbug. I emailed you on here a while back using all of those methods and still got the cold shoulder, and I was just trying to send you my money! 😉

    Quality post though. There’s a clear difference in results between those who have done all of the above when marketing a piece of content as opposed to those who have not.

    Its just too bad even those marketing the right way tend to get overshadowed by the hit and run, BS-laced outreach emails that fill up the trash bins of most webmasters.

  5. AJ Kohn // December 20th 2013

    Sorry Andrew. It’s been a crazy year and figuring out how to scale the business and handle the volume has been challenging to say the least.

    And it is a shame that the hit-and-run outreach gets lumped into the same bucket as good marketing and because of the volume of that schlock winds up being the general opinion of those efforts as a whole.

    But that just means the good stuff should stand out even more than usual.

  6. Cody Baird // December 27th 2013

    Funny Post AJ. It’s only going to get worse. The problem is that Carly Rae’s didn’t and won’t read this post or any others before they pitch you. Maybe you should create an autoresponder with this post content.

  7. AJ Kohn // December 29th 2013


    Very true and oddly enough I’ve been playing around with the canned response function for inbound requests. So perhaps this could be one of the links in that email.

  8. Brady // January 28th 2014

    Great analogy. I loved the piece. If you want the results, the work needs to be put into it.

  9. Mark F // June 03rd 2014

    A very clever concept to connect your arguement with a worldwide blockbuster song.

    The challenge we have with content, is fitting in with Googles perception of how content should be structured. Good webmasters are well aware of this and choose theor marketing content sometimes to suit Google and ranking v what is actually reads better

    Content over several pages, means several reasons to make you vomit not just one.

  10. Erin // August 08th 2014

    Ughh that earworm song! A promotion from a source that can vouch for you is definitely more valuable. Plus it always feels weird to solicit strangers for marketing. Great read!

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