One of the biggest problems in marketing is when businesses start a content marketing strategy because everyone else seems to have one but they don’t want to spend a lot of money on the strategy. They will hire or appoint content managers that have no experience and aren’t able to work quickly and on the fly. These businesses make the mistake of thinking that a cheap content marketing strategy is still an improvement over not having one at all, and that’s a dangerous and false assumption to make.
When you have a good strategy with engaging content, it can help to communicate your objectives, mission statement, and values to your audience, and places your businesses as a source of authority and trust in the industry. On the other hand, cheap, poor content will have the opposite effect, reduce trust in your company from your audience. Trust is the most powerful tool to get shoppers to turn into customers, and good content helps to build trust while bad content actually destroys it. Here, we outline the worst mistakes in content marketing so you can avoid them in your strategy.
1. Putting Too Much Faith in Guesswork
A lot of people tend to start brainstorming and planning different ideas because they want to promote creativity. They will dive right into this step without taking a moment to think about what they know already about the product they’re representing and their target market. However, in reality your content is the main way that you can communicate with your customers, which means you need to be developing content that helps your customers get from their current state to the desired state by fulfilling a need or want.
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Without clearly understanding who your target audience is, what the market is like, and how to communicate with your audience, you can’t develop the right kind of content. The most successful marketing and advertising strategies with highly effective campaigns all come from a place of deep understanding of the product as well as the audience, and using average, accessible terms to talk about it.
For example, you should reach out to existing customers and employees and find out why they like your product, why they believe in it, and what makes them choose to buy that particular product from your business. Then, tap in to those top features and benefits that people are finding so valuable and interesting, and start your content marketing campaign from there.
Do a lot of research to find out what your prospective customers fear, the issues and problems they currently face, and what would solve those problems and get them to their desired states. Don’t be afraid to use surveys and seek existing customers’ feedback, which you can use as a starting point to figure out the niche your product fits in and what it offers clients that no other product does. If you’re a new business and you don’t yet have your own audience, you should look to audiences similar to the target audience you’re aiming for and find out what they think about existing businesses similar to yours.
2. Producing Too Much Content Without Promotion
A lot of people buy in to the common misconception, which is that the more content you make and put out there, the more people will hear about your business and it will benefit you. In some ways, you could boost your exposure if you’re constantly using the same topics and keywords, because you may rank higher in search engines.
However, the true downside and problem here is that you’ll be boring your existing audience and causing them to tune out, not to mention that you risk confusing search engines. Also, if you’re too focused on producing lots of content, you might not spend enough time promoting the one you do have in the right way.
One key example is deciding to remove lots of outdated blog posts from your website to have a better structure. This can be difficult to do because those pieces at some point cost a lot of money for your business and was a significant investment.
Changing the content means that you can have more organic traffic and more signups, because you’re getting rid of blog posts that are not longer valid, have other issues, or broken links. If you have a content team, they’ll soon produce fresh content that can replace deleted posts with new ones.
You need to also spend a lot of time and energy promoting your content, because this is a top mistake made by businesses. Growing organic traffic is the top priority for businesses’ inbound marketing strategies. To increase organic traffic, you need to have links that are high in quality and point to your content that is also keyword optimized. Producing content that is deemed link-worthy as well as getting guest posts are the top ways to build links if you want to rank higher in search engines.
You can also outreach to some websites that are relevant in your industry or niche and ask them if they would be willing to include some of your content on their site if they deem that it is valuable, perhaps in exchange for you doing the same, or offer them to guest post on your site – either way, you’ll need to offer them something of value as well. Reaching out is a great way to boost organic traffic at the end of the day and make sure you’re properly promoting your site.
3. Not Changing up Your Content Formats
Blog posts are the go-to option for format when it comes to content marketing. That’s because people are still using the search engines to locate blog posts about certain topics. However, you should still spend time on other formats for content as well as blog posts. For example, video is one format that’s not used nearly enough in marketing by businesses. In latest years, people are more and more engaged by video content, and people will tend to put all of their attention on videos.
YouTube, for instance, is the second biggest search engine in the world and businesses should be paying attention. If we consider that YouTube is a search engine, you should be posting video content on the platform to be able to compete with others in your niche and get your rankings improved for better results. Video SEO is just as important for content marketing as regular SEO.
Another booming method of producing content and engaging an audience is by creating a podcast. You can get a following for your podcast that will eagerly await episodes and releases if you make content that’s interesting enough. In 2014, the podcast subscriptions on iTunes reached 1 billion, and it’s only skyrocketed since then. That’s because more than half of all users of the internet across the word are using the internet on their mobile, so you need to be able to make content that is mobile friendly.
Social messaging is another example of a content type that’s perfect for mobile, because more people use the top four social messaging apps, which are WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber, than there are users of the top four social media apps, namely Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Even though that’s a researched fact, only 20 percent of marketers are using social messaging in their marketing strategy.
4. Not Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy
There is a massive difference between working off a documented strategy and not having anything set in stone. Documented doesn’t mean that you need to have a fancy presentation and format of your strategy. It simply means that you outline the goals of your strategy, the steps to achieve those goals, every team member’s responsibility, and more. The key parts of the documented content marketing strategy are the roles breakdown and a checklist of actions – that’s non-negotiable.
It prevents you from having any errors in the execution due to a lack of communication. It also means you know how you can test and measure how you’re doing compared to your objectives and plan. You also need to develop a content calendar so everyone on the team can be focused around the same timeline and goals. This is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of your strategy, because your planner lets you know what your long- and short-term goals are, and how you’re aligning your content process with your business plan.
If you have a launch of a product, or you’re updating your website or developing something new, you want to be able to have a content strategy for each that can work alongside these events as well as amplify them if needed. It helps your team see the big picture as well, which makes them feel more responsible and involved in the overall process.
5. Being Too Invested in Your Content
Another problem people make is getting too invested and falling in love with the content they produce. It makes sense, we may have all been there at some point. You’ve worked so hard and with passion for a great final product, in this case, your content, and you are so proud of what you’ve created. You post it and then find out that no one is watching it or engaging with it, and it’s not getting the reception you envisioned.
The problem comes after this, and your response to this content reception. Feeling angry or sad and like the whole exercise is futile doesn’t make you a marketer, it makes you a failed writer, which is false. Instead, compare the content you made with other content you created in the past. Review your buyer persona and see if the content you produced reflects that person’s problems and their buyer journey, fulfilling a need they might have. Then, make sure you haven’t included too many ideas in your content, and instead focused on just one story. Joan Rivers, a lifestyle writer at Australia2Write and Next Coursework, says to “review it for emotional content, because that’s what’s most engaging to viewers. They will typically find data boring if it doesn’t tell a story that evokes strong feelings in people.”
Then, have a look at the day you posted it and the time of day. It’s possible something major took all of your audience’s attention away from your release, or you posted it at a time in the day when people were busy or not online. You may have gotten the content right, but you didn’t publish it at the right time. What’s important is not getting so invested in your content that you can’t disconnect from it and objectively analyze what you did well or what you could improve.
6. Not Measuring the Success and Metrics
Once your marketing campaign is done, you can’t just look at the revenue to see if it was successful or not. The problem with doing that is that you can’t pinpoint exactly what tactic was working and which marketing channels were best for that content. Instead, you should be using key performance indicators, known as KPIs, to get a clearer idea of your results and if your hard work is paying off. You should always be making changes to your tactics and measure each result. That goes for everything, from the wording of a headline in a content advertisement to the day of the week that you sent your email out or published a post. Measure how each of those decisions impact the engagement you get.
Content marketing is an excellent way to communicate with your audience. However, if you don’t do it right and you don’t invest time and resources into a good content marketing strategy, you will come off as an untrustworthy or inauthentic source of information. There are some common mistakes that people make with their content marketing strategies and it can end up costing those businesses customers, so make sure you’re avoiding them at all costs.