Far too many businesses see content marketing as a “set it and forget” proposition, which leads to a whole host of costly mistakes. These mistakes can lead to muddled marketing messages, missed targets and wasted opportunities to set the stage for conversions, closes and market growth.
Here are ten common content marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.
1: Only Drawing Content Ideas from the Marketing Department
Although it is important that the content strategy and execution comes solely from marketing departments, content ideas should be drawn from across the business for content marketing to be effective. It’s often the case that design, sales, and engineering as just some examples can have a better handle on content ideas than marketing alone. While marketing departments should always drive the content strategy development and the process, gathering ideas from other departments can ensure greater focus to the message in ways that avoid it getting muddled and becoming ineffective.
2: Marketing Content via a Single Channel
Rather than seeing the company blog as the only place for content, businesses need a broader focus that encompasses other channels as part of an integrated marketing strategy. That means developing content approaches that further the message via social media, video, slide shares, infographics and other means.
This doesn’t mean putting the same content on each channel, but rather knowing your audience so that you can use one channel to direct them to another such as using LinkedIn teasers to draw readers to the blog. Other times, you should create new content for a specific channel that compliments the original content on the blog or elsewhere. You can then use deep linking to take readers looking for more information to the other content.
Cross channel content marketing can include things like:
- Turning a blog post into an infographic that gets posted on other sites
- Creating thought leader videos that delve deeper into a blog or infographic topic
- Interviewing experts for an article that expands on a theme from other content in other channels, and getting it placed with a publication or other blogs
- Using press releases to promote specialized content like case studies and whitepapers
3: Failing to Clear Permission for Use of User-Generated Content
User generated content can resonate far more deeply with your target audience than a lot of other content, but it’s imperative to gain clear ownership from the user for the content (images, videos etc.) before posting it. The alternative can result in a missed marketing opportunity at least and a legal issue at worst if the campaign gathers steam.
4: Not Measuring the Results
Your content marketing is all for naught if you aren’t tracking it and gathering metrics on its effectiveness with the target demographic. That means measuring things like the click-through rate, time spent on site, bounce rate and unique visitors from the standpoint of sales metrics. Other measurements include:
- Greatest to least connections via different media channel engagement
- Where and how the content was shared socially
- Whether or not content converted into customers
- Not Having a Marketing Strategy
Content marketing cannot exist in a vacuum and have any lasting value, so it’s imperative to have a well thought out and executed marketing strategy. Successful content marketing hinges on knowing your potential customers and how they vary in terms of need and desired approach among others. This informs the type of content, who it is specifically aimed at, how it fits into a campaign and how each campaign fits into the overall brand.
All of this must be seen through the lens of specific outcomes in terms of things like increased market share, sales goals for a specific product or service, and time-frame goal projections. Setting milestones will help to measure progress and enable you to pivot when things need to be adjusted. Clear goals – qualitative and quantitative – are required in order to succeed.
- Not Considering the Narrative
Content and content marketing is meant to change behaviors. This requires that you avoid the mistake of not always being aware of the content that already exists and how it fits into an ongoing narrative. In short, you can’t see each piece of content in isolation from every other piece of content.
The goal is to produce an ongoing narrative. That doesn’t mean speaking about the same thing. It means creating individual content pieces that either build on an earlier topic, theme or subject, or branching off into a related theme or topic.
You should also always be aware of the backlog of content that has been produced. With blogs for instance, you should always be completely aware of what has been produced in the past. This enables you to either refer back to it in new related posts, avoid duplicate subjects, and bring new knowledge forward that may make an earlier post outdated or even obsolete.
- Not Knowing Your Audience
The biggest content marketing mistake to avoid is losing site of what the reader wants and making the content self-serving. This goes back to understanding the needs of your target, what questions they have, and avoiding a sales pitch at all costs. This can manifest itself in video tutorials, infographics that provide insights into their industry, or case studies that reflect their situations in the real world.
- Not Promoting the Content Effectively
Effective content marketing doesn’t stop with producing compelling content and making sure that it is part of a cross-channel strategy. Search engine optimization is crucial to getting it seen by the people that you target.
All of these elements can subtly and sometimes more overtly connect and lead to your products, but they must put the needs of the reader first. This is where effective CTAs come into play. Not knowing how to use them effectively is just as big a mistake as not using them at all as this is the means by which you take the reader to the next step of engagement.