Beginning a content marketing campaign can be a daunting task. When you are inundated with all the other needs of your business, figuring out how to add another layer to your advertising efforts may seem impossible. Though it will take some extra forethought and planning, laying the groundwork for this particular area of outreach will be worth the sweat.
Our team has executed content marketing for several years, and we’ve spotted a few common mistakes that tend to lead marketers astray with their content marketing efforts. If you can avoid making some of these mistakes and learn how to delight your audience with effective content marketing strategies, you’ll be a leading force in the digital world.
Mistake #1: You Haven’t Identified Your Audience
If you have been working in your industry for any length of time, you have a good idea of the types of people that patron your business. If you have a handful of varied services, you probably have a few separate audience groups for each. Many marketers, however, fail to determine and analyze the various personas of your audience. This can lead to creating content that doesn’t serve your audience, and either attracts the wrong audience or falls on deaf ears.
Content marketing is all about creating content that serves your audience and attracts them to your brand or services. If you don’t have a good enough understanding of the personas of your audience, their purchase behaviors and the digital platforms they use, it will be difficult to get your content in front of the right people.
Mistake #2: Your Content Isn’t Helpful
Many marketers and business owners make the mistake of creating content that doesn’t solve a problem or answer a question of their audience. How do you make your content useful? Remember that audience we talked about in the last mistake? Go back to those buyer personas and dig deep into what their pain points are. What problems do they face on a daily basis that would drive them to hire you or purchase your product? This is the million dollar question. If you can grab a prospect in a time of need, they are highly likely to convert.
Mistake #3: Your Content Isn’t Optimized
Your content should be optimized for search engines and conversions. Too often, content writers and marketers create content without SEO (search engine optimization) or CRO (conversion rate optimization) in mind. This is a huge mistake.
SEO is what will help drive traffic to the content and decrease the cost of customer acquisition efforts. SEO is more than just using keywords or phrases in your content in hopes of landing in SERPs. In addition to knowing these keywords, you have to optimize the title tags, headings, images and other content items across the page. If your site is slow or not mobile-friendly, this could also push you down is search results.
CRO gives your content a purpose. Sure, we want to provide our audience with useful, engaging and relevant content. Ultimately though, we are using content marketing as a tool to generate more business, and so your content should be optimized for conversions. CRO includes adding contact forms, white paper downloads, resources and other way to obtain leads into the content.
Mistake #4: Your Content Isn’t Effective
According to B2B Content Marketing Statistics, marketers are using an average of 13 different content marketing tactics. The top 10 are:
- Social Media Content (93%)
- Case Studies (82%)
- Blogs (81%)
- eNewsletters (81%)
- In-Person Events (81%)
- Website Articles (79%)
- Videos (79%)
- Illustrations / Photos (76%)
- White Papers (71%)
- Infographics (67%)
Interestingly enough, marketers aren’t utilizing what has been reported as the most effective content marketing tactics. There are many tactics to choose from, but it’s best to focus on the types that your audience will consume and ultimately be the most effective. B2B Content Marketing Statistics state the 10 most effective tactics are:
- In-Person Events (75%)
- Webinars / Webcasts (66%)
- Case Studies (65%)
- White Papers (63%)
- Videos (62%)
- Research Reports (61%)
- eNewsletters (60%)
- Blogs (59%)
- Infographics (58%)
- Online Presentations (58%)
Mistake #5: Your Content Isn’t Being Shared
Marketing your content on social media is a great way for it and your brand to gain exposure. Make your content share-worthy by adding social share buttons to the pages and content on your website.
Optimize your content for each social channel. The audience on Twitter and Facebook may vary wildly from what you’ll find on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites. While you might get away with certain types of content on your Twitter account, you might want to change it up and maintain a more professional tone on other platforms. Make sure to include compelling images, headlines and post content when sharing on social media to help further entice users to engage with your content.
Mistake #6: You Don’t Have a Documented Content Strategy
Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks revealed that 35% of B2B marketers has a documented content marketing strategy, compared with the 32% reported this year. For the last two years, this research has shown the positive impact that documenting content marketing has on a marketer’s overall effectiveness. But B2B marketers have made less progress in this area in 2016.
Without a documented content strategy, it is easy to lose site of the goals and structure of your campaigns.It’s important to have open communication with your team about the goals of your content strategy and what success looks like. Hold regular meetings and continually monitor the results of your strategy, so that you can adjust and improve where necessary.
When done properly and with a well-documented strategy, content marketing is one of the most effective and cost effective ways to market your business or services.
By creating content that is engaging, helpful, effective and relatable, you increase the odds of becoming a well-known and credible brand in your industry. People will begin to turn to you for your services and online presence. This will make it easier for you to acquire leads, increase sales and further increase brand awareness.
Want to avoid making the same mistakes we often see with content marketing? Don’t know where to start? Check out our white paper on “Delighting Your Audience Through Content Marketing” — a step-by-step guide to determining and creating the content strategy that best fits your business.