Every year, we read about what promises to be the hottest marketing ideas that belong in our content strategies.

And--don't get me wrong--it's important to try new things in order to keep our branded content fresh--it's a big part of the reason my content marketing agency Masthead Media makes a point to attend content marketing conferences every year.

That said, some just turn out to be duds (or, at the very least, not worth the investment). While these ideas were on the trending radar at some point, it's time to phase them out in 2018. Make room--and set aside budget--for the next crop of promising marketing ideas.

Bid Farewell to: Celebrity Influencers

If you have a mega-budget, celebrity influencers could be a (pricey) part of your marketing strategy. For most brands, though, celebrity influencers cost a lot without a whole lot of return on investment.

Instead Try: Engaging Microinfluencers

They may not have the multi-million followers, but microinfluencers have a lot more engagement with their 1,000 to 10,000 followers. In fact, microinfluencers in that range have a four percent like rate, as opposed to the 1.7 percent like rate of influencers with one to 10 million followers.

Stop: Writing for Robots

While SEO algorithms are important, they're also ever-changing. Jamming keywords into an intro just to grab the attention isn't enough anymore, so stop doing it.

Instead Try: Writing for Snippets

Or, another way of putting it: Write for humans. Answering top search terms with keyword-rich blog articles not only provides a helpful resource for your audience, but also helps the articles pop in search. Strive for the "holy grail" snippet spot (without compromising the content) by including a bulleted list summarizing the article right at the top.

Delete: Clickbait

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Clickbait makes your audience distrust you--and now it makes search engines not trust your content. Google now looks to see how people react when they click your article from search, and if people abandon it often, that bounce rate will push your article down in search ratings. So, if your article isn't going to "totally revolutionize the way you view life," don't make that promise in the headline

Instead Try: Data-Driven Headlines

Studies show that longer headlines are winning search--90- to 99-character headlines, specifically. Numbers and special characters also help with clicks. Data can also help to guide which words are going to better--you just need to use the right search term (or hire the right full-service content marketing company).

Shut Down: Autoblogging

Create a blog or don't create a blog--just don't expect to see any real impact if you opt for autoblogging. For those that don't know, an autoblog pulls content from other blogs and reposts it, and has roughly zero opportunities to showcase your brand voice.

Instead try: Engaging Through Chatbots

Communicating with consumers--and even facilitating sales--is getting much easier, thanks to   chatbots. These chatty computer programs respond to texts or digital chats, and can be scripted to match your brand voice. Your consumers are spending more time on messaging apps than other social media apps, so a chatbot reaches your consumers where they want to be reached.

Skip: Unbranded "Branded" Content

I'm all about keeping brand integration organic, but when it comes down to it, branded content is just that: branded. Lately, I've seen brands revolt against shoehorning brand mentions into content where they don't make sense (also not a good idea), and instead not mentioning the brand at all. It all comes down to creating content that aligns with your brand identity, so that you can include those important brand ties in a way that flows with your story without compromising the quality of your content.

Instead Try: Reaching Millennials With a Branded Podcast

Around 67 million people ages 12 and over listen to podcasts each month, according to a study by Edison Research. And a whopping 85 percent of people who start a podcast listen to all or most of it. So, if you want to get your audience to listen to your whole message--and you want to do it at the fraction of a cost of a commercial--start brainstorming branded podcast ideas.

Published on: Dec 20, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.