Content marketing is in its relative infancy, but those who do it well are reaping huge benefits. And those who do not are missing out on a customer base that could really grow their businesses. Gone are the face-to-face relationships that businesses used to have with their customers; now relationships have to be built online. If you are making these content marketing mistakes, you are not building those relationships, nor are you improving your SEO.
1. FAILING TO REACH YOUR AUDIENCE
According to Jeff Bulas, one of the top “gurus” on Internet marketing, content marketers must research the demographics of both current and potential customers. Content on websites and in blogs should be balanced between those who are loyal customers and those who merely visit the site and blog because it is educational, problem-solving, funny or inspirational. Getting the correct balance of content that appeals to both audiences is a challenge, but not finding that balance is a huge mistake. Another big mistake in content marketing is appealing to a wider customer base than is a “fit” for the products or services.
2. FOCUSING ON SALES RATHER THAN INFORMATION/EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT
A business gets brand loyalty by building relationships and giving out good information, not through repeated pressure to buy. If a business has window treatment products, for example, it is fine to promote sales on its site and in targeted emails. But the audience is composed of a demographic of people who are interested in new ideas for decorating, and not just for their windows. Any content market strategy should provide information, education, and new ideas for all kinds of decorating for a pre-determined precise audience. Adding some humor, anecdotes, and inspiring photos will market the company and its brand, not just its products.
3. WRONG AMOUNT OF CONTENT AND/OR VENUES
Websites should never remain static, for fresh design is appealing. And, any schedule for blog posting must be followed. Followers come to expect new content, and a blog post that goes dormant will result in loss of audience. Usually, blogs go dormant due to lack of fresh content. Marketers must do the research to get fresh content or invite guest posters, so that there is always something new.
As to Venues: Jeff Burley advises marketers to make content “spread.” All social media venues should be included in this. “Teaser” tweets about new content with a link to the business blog or to a Facebook re-print of a post are great ways to entice an audience to come and read; the blog can be advertised on a LinkedIn account; email newsletters are good methods of informing an audience of what is new on a site or blog, but inundating an audience with too much content can be a detractor. A marketer must find that “sweet spot” between too little and too much.
Content Variety: Marketers should take a tip from educators here. People have preferred modes of getting information – some prefer reading; some prefer visuals and some prefer interaction. Having infographics and media allows a marketer to formulate the same content in a variety of ways, and appeal to the variety of “learners” within a targeted audience.
4. FAILING TO PROMOTE WHAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN ON A SET SCHEDULE
New content should be treated like a new product launch. Marketers must develop a “content route,” a tiered schedule of publishing that will spread that content to venues over an established period of time. Marketers should develop a list of all venues to which the content will be promoted and place each venue into a time schedule. In this way, there is a regular flow of promotion each time new content is generated. If, for example, a new e-guide or whitepaper has been produced, it should be announced on Twitter three times a day for the first few days, and then perhaps once a week, until new content has been developed for promotion.
5. NOT MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ONE’S CONTENT MARKETING
Marketers must determine which promotional venues are working best and to keep count of traffic from each venue and type of device. How many people are coming in from Facebook posts; how many from Twitter; how many from email newsletters? Google Analytics does a pretty good job, and it’s free. However, for more sophisticated analyses, there are some great paid tools – Ahrefs or MajesticSeo are two that are quite popular with Internet marketer for their feature of tracking backlinks.
6. NOT MAKING ALL OF YOUR CONTENT MOBILE FRIENDLY
Tablets and iPhones are just not an option, and a hugely growing number of people use these devices. Simon Penson, master of strategies to develop online audiences, advises that marketers use demographic research to know the percentages of audiences using PCs, tablets of smartphones, and what times of days these devices are in use. Fitting content spread to devices is key to maintaining and growing an audience.
7. INCORRECT STYLE AND VOICE
Unless an audience is highly scientific or technical, content should be conversational and reflective of simple sentence structure and vocabulary. Use human interest, humor and first-person voice – it’s more intimate and develops relationships. Audiences do not want to dredge through complicated structures and terminology/vocabulary they do not understand.
8. TRYING TO BE A “JACK OF ALL TRADES”
Marketers must know their limitations. Most are not great strategists, content writers and Internet-savvy techies wrapped up into one person. Getting pros for those tasks that are not personal strengths goes without saying.
Everyone has heard the expression, “Don’t leave money on the table.” Lack of solid content marketing strategies does just that.