The Hypocrisy of Content Marketing Blogs that use Pop-ups
I hate websites that use pop-ups. Period. Recently, I have been particularly bothered by blogs that have pop-ups for email subscription. I have been holding back on writing this article for several months because the organizations that I will mention are amongst those that I respect the most and spend the most time with. I will also note that I adore the content that these organizations provide and I interact with it on an almost daily basis.
The problem is this, every time I visit their blogs I get slammed by an annoying pop-up that I am forced to close as they look for me to subscribe to their blog, even if I am already a subscriber. This seems particularly hypocritical to me as these sites promote best practices for content marketing and social media, which at its very core is about NOT interrupting your audience, but rather providing value and attracting them.
Now, I know exactly why these sites are using this practice. It's because it works. Guaranteed, hundreds of people are regularly subscribing to the blog through this pop-up window. But what it doesn't measure is the little 'annoyance' factor that occurs every time it happens and someone doesn't subscribe. Furthermore, I know that blogs have massive pressure to increase readership and reach, especially those that make money from ad revenue. At the end of the day, this is what pays the bills. But please, let me choose to subscribe. The content is so good, I'll probably subscribe anyway.
I'm sorry to be so negative about it, as I really do respect these organizations, but it hit a breaking point for me this morning. I expect pop-ups from free tv streaming sites, I'll even let it go from major traditional news sites (although this bothers me too), but not from professional content marketers.
Here's a run down of a few that have hit me with a interruptive pop-ups recently:
Content Marketing Institute
If any site should be setting a 'best-practices' example on how we shouldn't interrupt our audience, it should be biggest evangelists in content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute. There is already a massive sidebar ad that encourages me to subscribe, that is more than enough.
Nothing but respect for Ann Handley and her team, but it seems strange to get suprised by a pop-up when you think you are going to get to read an article. At least it keeps a snippet of the article up in front so it remains a little bit more relevant than others where it simply asks for a subscription.
Social Media Explorer
What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Would love to know your thoughts on if there is ever a 'right time' for pop-ups. Let me know in the comments.