Content Marketing Mistakes
The content marketing space is the most competitive it’s ever been. You have industry leaders like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc.com selling access to their best content for eye-watering prices.
There’s a whole host of new startups with shiny objects trying to grab your attention from every corner of the web. And in this kind of saturated market, it can be really challenging to stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself as an industry leader. But that doesn’t mean you should just settle for “decent-but-not-amazing” blog traffic and conversion rates. The truth is there are a number of common content marketing mistakes that hold businesses back from achieving their goals.
There are many things you can do to cut out this frustratingly common issue. Let’s focus on the biggest mistakes so you can avoid them in the future and get your audience exactly what they want and need.
What is Content Marketing
If you’re not sure what content marketing is, then that’s OK. A quick refresher will help: a marketer’s job is to promote their business, product, or service through the creation of content — usually of an informational or analytical nature.
In other words, your content marketing strategy involves generating a series of posts, articles or videos that add value to your target audience.
Content can be built from scratch (in-house) or it can be taken from other sources. Although the right type of content will always have a direct link to your business’s benefits and customer needs, the important thing is that it has the power to make a difference to your audience and drive them to take action.
Now that you know the definition of content marketing, you can come back to this blog post and start analyzing what’s going wrong with your strategy.
How Content Marketing Helps Your Business
You’re probably starting to understand the importance of the concept of authority. If you want to make your content genuinely useful to your audience, it’s essential that you use examples of similar businesses, products, or services in your content. When you speak in terms of “examples” you’re saying: “Look, here’s a list of things like this that my competitor is doing. I’m just like them but we’re going to do it better because we know what customers need.” This makes your content that much more credible — not only that you have an angle on the topic, but that you have real, practical experience in the field.
The one thing I want to stress is that your content should never be used to trick, mislead or defraud your audience. When creating content, avoid using persuasive language, gimmicks, or anything that might falsely claim to provide you with an answer to your customer’s problems, or automatically rank your company higher on search results or sales pages.
Creating content for people is, in many ways, a bit of a dance: you can’t just say something; you have to actually show them. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your content — but remember that if it isn’t relevant and authentic, your audience will be too distracted by the quick-fix information it provides to actually take action.
By working closely with your customers and paying close attention to what they’re telling you, you will find your audience to be extremely loyal and receptive to your unique message. By offering your audience the facts, alongside your unique perspective, you will gain their loyalty and respect. The ability to give customers the news they need without confusing them or making them feel like they’re being used is a valuable asset in any marketing strategy.
Remember to also consider the fact that, although you have a role to play in building your customers’ trust and loyalty, you also need to stay out of the way. Don’t try and dictate who they should trust, how they should spend their time, and what information they should use — if you do, you will just annoy them.
To ensure content marketing is used to its full potential, your marketing team needs to work closely with your in-house creative team, PR or SEO team, and design teams. All of these disciplines should be at the heart of your content marketing strategy.
Remember that you’re competing with other businesses — so you’re not the only one offering a unique voice or angle to your audience. Find ways to build and present content that will help to position your brand as the solution, not just another competitor.
Mistakes and What to Do Differently
Here is our list of content marketing mistakes and how to correct them going forward:
Choosing “low quality” content that appeals to the “zombie” masses
The first thing that your readers will notice is your title. Even if you’re using a great picture or a clever headline, if you don’t also provide a killer headline that will hook your audience’s attention in the first place, it won’t be read.
Your main goal should be to ensure that every single piece of content you publish is specifically designed to answer the questions that your audience has about your industry. The content should be highly-targeted and generate engagement with your audience. This means that every blog post should be crafted with the intention of converting your audience and gaining their trust. Once you get their attention, it’s time to deliver the right information and material that is actionable for your target audience.
Not making it a brand experience
You might be proud to call yourself a marketer, but you should probably do a better job of branding yourself than the plastic surgeon working out of the tire shop next door. You should be able to stand out from your competitors by making sure you understand who your audience is and what motivates them. Why are they there? What do they expect from your business and why is it important to you?
Your content should also be integrated into your website in a way that engages and impresses. The attention that a website deserves can’t be left to chance; you should focus on making your website the kind of destination that delivers genuine value to the visitor in a way that feels human and personal. Always remember that a good visitor will leave with a positive impression of your brand.
Not offering enough value
Content marketing works because it’s an extension of what your customers already want. If your readers can’t see the value in what you have to offer, then they will spend all their time searching for it elsewhere. Your customers want more than just great content that answers their questions, they want a reason to trust you and your brand. Your content should be a tool for your customers to navigate their lives in a way that suits them and your business. There should be no business that can do it better than you can.
You shouldn’t simply write articles for the sake of writing them, your content should be useful to your customers. Aim to provide something of real value to your readers so that they want to come back for more. It’s also important that your content is always responsive and up to date. This means that you should never publish a post that’s out of date or irrelevant.
Misunderstanding Your Audience
The most successful companies in the world succeed by creating loyal relationships with their customers — you’ll never reach that level if you don’t understand who your audience is.
For instance, if your target customers are not tech-savvy, don’t go straight for a blog post about the specs of your product or how it’s better than the competition’s; instead, try giving them a practical problem they have or offering to answer some technical questions they might have. There’s no point in trying to recreate the solutions someone else has already found for you; you need to go further to create something special. The problem that needs solving will determine the type of content you create to solve it.
Try to avoid thinking of your content as a marketing tool
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “content marketing”? I’m guessing a lot of us were thinking of a poorly-rendered web page filled with well-worn, out-of-date buzzwords. That is all too true — although content marketing does offer several opportunities to use all the latest digital tools, it’s also very pragmatic to think beyond the proverbial marketing checklist
In the world of marketing, you can’t always predict which types of content will be the most successful, nor how best to use them. When working with your clients, it is sometimes very difficult to know what your audience is looking for, and what they want to get from your work. So, you have to think a little more in-depth about how you want your content to engage your audience, to be able to give them something they want to read, see and share.
Persistence & Perseverance
Despite the fact that there are a lot of mistakes I could mention, that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the content marketing towel. There is plenty of evidence that shows a brand that can produce great content on a consistent basis will gain a considerable competitive edge over the competition.
Keep learning and improving, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Be comfortable with messing things up. If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be able to maximize your chances of creating a positive impact on your industry.
Just like anything you do in life, the key is to find something that you are passionate about and dedicate yourself to improving. In the realm of marketing, that means finding an angle or vantage point that motives your efforts to work in the direction of creating something unique that your audience will enjoy reading or viewing.
Stay focused on the big picture. By applying some of the tips and principles outlined in this article, you’ll be able to create great content, build a unique business voice and make lasting relationships that will be rewarding in the long run. By allowing your ideas to unfold as they will, you’ll discover the right formula to put your business on the map.