April 15, 2014
Content marketing is not just a fad, it’s a full-on marketing movement — and for obvious reasons. Content is what makes the Web go ‘round, and great examples of articles and videos are the absolute backbone of the entire infrastructure. It stands to reason, then, that marketers have fully embraced this well-tested strategy.
Yet all content is not created equal. And because content creation is so prevalent, it has become increasingly challenging to produce examples that help brands stand out from the crowd. The last thing the world needs is another regurgitated, mundane blog post. Rather, marketers creating content of any kind these days need to work their tails off to ensure their creations are original, quality-centric, and full of information their demographic is actually seeking. Failure to hit the mark on any of these requirements will result in lackluster metrics.
To avoid the curse of bad content marketing, study the most common pitfalls below very carefully, and ensure you’re not making any of these mistakes in your content strategies. Otherwise, you risk wasting precious time, effort and dollars publishing content that most of the world will simply ignore.
Mistake No. 1: Insulting Your Audience with Boring Content and a Lack of Engagement
For the love of readability, infuse your creations with an air of intrigue and personality. We seriously don’t need any more flat, lackluster blogs about any topic. Instead, take the time to define the uniqueness of your brand, and create a style and tone that draws in the audience you have in mind. Don’t be afraid to generate some pizazz, to have a personality in your voice, and to offer up information that is controversial, engaging and share-worthy.
Engagement is the name of the game in content marketing; if your audience is excited about what you’ve produced, they will share it with their network, and your reach can dramatically expand. Remember that you are not talking at your audience in content marketing, you’re talking with them. Pay attention to comments and posts related to your brand, and if a visitor starts a relevant conversation, join the fun. If you aren’t connecting with your demographic, your content marketing tactics are just plain not working.
Mistake No. 2: No Clear Commitment or Consistency
If you’re ready to launch a full-scale content marketing attack, you need to commit to several variables:
- Have a person (or team) in place to execute the vision. This means having someone on board who can craft the content and monitor audience engagement, as well as plan future iterations.
- Take the time to put all tools and apps in place that you may need to create and publish your content; don’t do this on the fly, or your quality could suffer.
- Document a clear sense of your brand identity, and the consistent way in which you are committed to communicate these attributes.
Recognize that most companies tap third-party experts and companies for assistance in successful content marketing campaigns. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the experts, unless you have one in-house.
Mistake No. 3: Failure to Plan Ahead
It’s astonishing how many companies consider content marketing a random act of article publication. This kind of misguided, impulsive creation hardly ever works so, in short, don’t do it. You need to invest the time and thinking prowess to conjure up a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Include, at a bare minimum, the following categories:
- Brand attributes that you most wish to communicate.
- Content marketing types and channels (i.e. what kind of content you will publish, and where).
- Sample campaigns that inspire and point to your overall vision.
- Researched keywords that are critical to include.
- Calendar of launches.
This kind of fantastic planning clues all your team members in on the most important aspects of your campaigns, and it forces you to think critically about how to properly execute content marketing efforts before you do any damage to your brand.
Mistake No. 4: Lack of Setting Goals
If you don’t take the time to clearly outline a handful of critical goals for your content efforts, you have no way to measure success or failure. And if you haven’t considered the metrics you’d like your marketing campaigns to help you reach, you have absolutely no focus on the overall strategy, and that will amount to failure too. Goals are one of the most essential elements to your content strategy; plot them out in detail, and keep them in mind as you craft each creation. This will do wonders to generate a successful approach.
Mistake No. 5: No Overarching Marketing Methodology
You are almost certainly employing other marketing tactics outside of content marketing; don’t forget to merge all your cross-channel promotions with overall commonalities. If your social media campaigns have inconsistencies with content marketing or advertising, your customers will take note, and mass confusion will result. Plus, you’re missing the mark if each channel fails to support the other in the macrocosmic goals.
Mistake No. 6: Embracing the Hard Sell
Content marketing is never, ever about straightforward selling. That is, it never should be, and any related attempts will fall flat. Readers don’t want you to manipulate them, but to educate them. Your focus on value and quality should always keep your audiences’ needs in mind. By providing content that actually enriches the lives of your viewers, you will engender brand loyalty and assist in your company’s overall reach and success. Begging or tricking folks into brand loyalty is a dead practice, thank goodness.
What other content marketing mistakes do you commonly see? Any advice for folks just starting out in this space?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.