Avoid these common pitfalls in your content marketing strategy
Content marketing is an important piece of your marketing puzzle that allows you to really connect with an audience by sharing your story. But that doesn’t mean it comes easy. With so many companies entering the content marketing game, it can be hard to know whether or not you’re on track with your strategy, as there are so many diverse examples to compare your work against.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top content marketing mistakes we’ve seen — along with the solutions to fix them!
1. Not making content
This one’s pretty simple. Ever think content marketing just isn’t for you? Well, that’s a myth. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a government industry, if you’re B2B, or if you’re a small mom and pop shop. Content marketing is still the right choice for your business — and if you’re not creating content that draws customers by now, you’re behind your competitors.
How can you get started? Narrow down an area where you can create one new piece of content each week. That might mean for your blog, your Instagram, or your email newsletter. Whatever it is, get that material flowing. And if you’re having trouble getting started, don’t be afraid to hire someone to do it! There’s no shame in the outsourcing game — the professionals have a handle on how to quickly find the best strategies for your unique brand.
2. Expecting immediate results
Like any good thing in life, content marketing takes both commitment and time. Nothing great comes instantly (sorry, ramen noodles), and content marketing results are no exception. Understand that your new strategy is a long-term effort that requires patience before results can develop. Be willing to invest both the time and money needed to really make a difference for your brand.
Also keep in mind that those results might come in various, sometimes unexpected ways. They might manifest through an increase in traffic to your site, through greater interaction on your social media pages, or via a booming open-rate on your email list. Although these are great results, they’re not always going to translate directly to an increase in sales. Marketing creates the opportunity, but it’s your job to take that momentum and convert it into conversions.
3. You are using your content to pitch
We get it. You’ve created the greatest thing ever (seriously, we believe you), and you want the world to know about it. But your blog isn’t always the place to tell them. If we’re being honest, no one wants to come read a blog with a pushy, obvious sales pitch. Replace those old content marketing tactics with newer methods: the material’s job is to inspire, empower, entertain, and above all, inform. Promotion is a secondary focus but a corresponding benefit.
Don’t get us wrong, your blog should tactfully incorporate a call-to-action in the text, but if the entire post is a hard sell, you’re going to lose readers.
4. You’re writing for yourself
We do not, in any way, shape, or form, condone the use of heavy jargon in content. And if you’re using it to show off your industry-expert prowess, then you’re writing for yourself and your colleagues, not your audience.
The first step here is to define your readers and then take yourself out of the equation (because chances are, you and your colleagues are probably not them). Be honest with yourself about who your audience is, what they’re looking for, and how you can meet their needs. Be aware of the type of language they use, and understand what they might enter into a search engine when looking for the services you offer.
5. Thinking your content has to be perfect
We’ve seen it time and time again. A brand comes to us, excited to get some new content rolling out to their audience. And then it happens: one or two members on the team hold the entire process back, expecting a piece to be perfect before publishing.
Don’t get us wrong — grammatical errors are never acceptable, but nailing your brand voice and style is a work in progress. It’s only natural and healthy to allow your content to evolve with time.
Think about it in terms of software. Software companies release different versions of the product, tightening up the loose ends and making greater progress with each release — and this adaptation is designed right into the process. First, alpha is released and tested, then beta, and finally version one (not to mention 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and so on).
Be comfortable with the evolution of your content and trust the experts. Know when it’s time to let go and never let your team members hold you back by striving for absolute perfection off the bat. Besides, where’s the fun in immediate perfection?
6. Trying to do it on your own
It can be hard for brands to let go and let the experts do the job, but it’s worth it when you do. Trust us. It’s both necessary and fundamental for businesses in 2016 to develop a content strategy, and allowing those with years of experience do the job will make the material more effective and efficient.
7. Not promoting your content
One of the biggest mistakes brands make is buying into the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. With so many pages indexed on Google, that’s simply not true. You do need to build it and organic search results are essential to any strategy, but then promote your content to drive traffic! Encourage your loyal fans, customers, and audience to check out that fancy blog post you just published.
Be sure you also keep your social media channels updated with your own unique material on a consistent basis. Finally, send out your content in a weekly email blast or newsletter to ensure your subscribers don’t miss a beat.
8. Focusing on SEO, not content creation
It’s always critical to write for your audience first and search engines second. Unless you want to sound like a robot, that is. Yes, you can optimize your content, but no, you should never stuff an unhealthy amount of keywords into your short 500-word post. People will never read your work if it’s written strictly for search engines. Besides, search is getting smarter, and it actually rewards content that people want to read. Stay ahead of this curve by focusing on the quality, utility, and readability of your material.
9. Not investing enough in your content marketing
As we mentioned, you need to be willing to spend enough on your campaign to actually get somewhere with it. Commit a percentage of your budget to content marketing. Studies show that the most effective organizations spend an average of 30 percent of their marketing budget on content.
When you budget for the strategy, you’re bound to end up with useful content that is going to get you closer and closer to achieving your goals. Thinking about making it a priority in 2016? Reach out and we’ll be happy to start crafting a tasty, custom content strategy just for you.