I’m guilty of this one. I’ve worked with some amazing clients who also couldn’t help themselves from using the term “content marketing” in a way that didn’t make sense to me. So, they weren’t effective at content marketing, and they didn’t even realize it! They thought they were doing something right when really they were falling flat on their faces. In this post, I’m going to explain how you can avoid these mistakes and start thinking about your content strategy correctly so that you can get results from your team’s efforts.
1. You’re not thinking content marketing
Think of content marketing as a strategy, not as an activity. It’s important to have a plan and goals for your content marketing efforts. Without this, you’ll just be guessing what to write about and hoping it works out.
You need to know your audience—and who is competing for their attention—before you can target them with the right kind of messaging that will resonate with them most. Your audience may be different from one channel (e.g., Facebook) to another (e.g., Instagram).
Understanding who owns your brand is also important so that you can communicate effectively with them in order to tell the story they want told about themselves through their favorite channels .
2. Everything is not a blog post
Blog posts are great, but they aren’t the only thing you need to do. Blogs are just one piece of your content marketing puzzle.
You need to think about how your audience is consuming content and where they consume it. If you don’t think about this, then it will be hard for you to get them to see what you have to offer or take action on it.
First, you should consider what types of content your audience is interested in consuming. Are they reading long-form articles, or are they watching videos? Are they listening to podcasts and audiobooks? By thinking about how your target audience consumes content, you can ensure that the content you’re offering them fits their preferences.
3. You’re not thinking about your audience
You probably already know the two big things you should know about your audience: who they are and what they want. But if you don’t, here’s a quick review:
- Who is your audience? This can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. If you’re going for “simple,” then just think about what kinds of people are reading this article right now. For example, I’m writing a post for anyone who owns an animal and would like to learn how to make them happy—and also anyone else who wants to read it because they like animals too. If that sounds like a lot more than one kind of person, then consider expanding on it with some specifics (e.g., “I’m writing this post for pet owners in Los Angeles”).
- What do those people want? That’s where things get tricky because there will never be an exact answer; however, there are certain patterns that most humans follow when making decisions about what we consume (content being no exception). You can look at what other content creators have done well before and try doing something similar; alternatively, if there aren’t any obvious examples out there yet then just go ahead and try something new anyway! Remember: the only way we’ll ever find new content marketing strategies is by testing out lots of different ideas until we find something that works well.
You don’t create for other channels
Creating content for other channels doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. In fact, latest research shows that 72% of marketers are using cross-channel publishing to reach their target audiences. However, we’ve found that most brands aren’t getting the greatest results because they’re not taking a holistic view of how all those channels fit together.
In order to do this effectively, you need to think about your audience’s journey from start to finish—how people engage with your brand day after day or month after month—and create content across every channel that supports that experience, whether it’s an e-commerce site or a social media profile. The goal is not just awareness but also engagement and conversion at every point along the way. The best way to measure success is by tracking conversions at each stage of their journey—from keyword search through social sharing and email follow up—to see if what you’re doing is working.
You’re not being helpful
You need to be helpful.
Helpful to your customers? Check. You’re writing content that solves their problems, and you’re optimizing for the words they use to search for answers.
Helpful to your employees? Check. Your content strategy is aligned with their goals and helps them do their jobs more effectively.
Helpful to your partners? Check. Your content strategy helps them sell more products, grow revenue, and tell their stories in a compelling way.
Helpful to investors? Check (if you’re a public company). Your investor relations department can easily share key messaging from your content strategy with large investors via email blasts or social media channels rather than having investors read through thousands of pages on an earnings call transcript.
You’re not doing what you say you’ll do
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If your content marketing strategy says that every piece of content will be relevant to the reader, but there’s a glaring mistake in one of the articles, it will be difficult for people to trust any other content you have published. It’s important that every piece of content is well-researched and free from errors so that readers know what they’re getting when they dive into an article or ebook.
- Don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. This goes back to the first point: if your goal is to create attention-grabbing content, don’t promise something that no human being could deliver on without having a huge budget or access to super secret information (like how many kangaroos are currently bouncing around Australia).
- Don’t make promises that aren’t true about yourself as a company/brand/person (as applicable). For example: “We offer everything under one roof,” when really we only sell products A–J; or “Our customer service representatives are always available by phone 24/7.”
Content marketing is used wrong a lot.
Content marketing is often used wrong. Why? Because people are doing it on their own, without any help from experts.
The most common mistakes include:
- Using content marketing as a form of self-promotion instead of providing valuable information to your readers.
- Writing about topics that don’t interest you or speak to your target audience’s interests and needs.
- Not using social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn effectively because you don’t know how to use them properly (or at all).
Content marketing is a great way to get your brand in front of potential customers, but it’s important not to think of it as just another form of advertising. It’s more than that—it’s an opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level and make them feel like they’re part of the team. So if you want your content marketing efforts to be successful, stop focusing so much on what looks good and start thinking about what will help actually people.
We help deliver engaging content to your customers where they hangout online! Talk with us today to learn how we can refine and target your content marketing!