Every man and his dog is doing content marketing nowadays, but this doesn’t mean everyone’s doing it well. Content marketing is a long-term game – one that requires a strategy, consistency, creativity, and a lot of time and effort.
So, what is the difference between brands that do content marketing well and those that don’t?
Here’s where many go wrong…
Doing it half-arsed
Companies that invest in marketing reap the benefits. Those that cut corners and go cheap don’t get the return. You need to set aside a reasonable budget for designers, writers, and paid promotions. Quality content costs money – there’s no way around this. While you can try your luck with low-cost services on marketplaces like Fiverr, you generally get what you pay for.
Not having a strategy
Without a strategy, you’re lost. A strategy is crucial for success.
Define your target market / audience. This Buyer Persona Template from Hubspot is a great tool.
Define your objectives…
Then outline how you will plan, create, distribute your content, as well as measure its performance.
Not providing a destination
Great content is just part of the equation.
If visitors can’t identify what it is you do within seconds, they won’t stick around long.
Make sure your site:
- Resonates with the target audience
- Communicates a compelling value proposition
- Is mobile-friendly
- Includes calls-to-action (CTAs)
Salesforce does a fantastic job with its marketing cloud content hub.
Sounding like a pretentious douchebag
If your tone comes across as superior, insincere or disingenuous, you ain’t gonna win friends and influence people. You may be proud of your polished and pompous corporate spin, but guess what? No one’s buying that shit anymore.
It’s all about youContent marketing means that you have to produce quality content that helps your audience solve a problem. Click To Tweet
A content mission statement will help keep you on track.
As excited as you may be about your new product or service, resist the temptation to rave about it in a blog post and pass it off as content. People see right through this and will be pissed off you wasted their time. Your content needs to add value and help others with something they’re struggling with or wanting to learn more about.
Don’t get too caught up with things like word count – your content should be as long or as short as it needs to be to address your audience’s problem or question.Your content needs to add value and help others with something they're struggling with or wanting to learn more about. Click To Tweet
Not promoting the s**t out of it
If you’ve slaved away over a blog post (or anything else), you want it to be promoted as much as possible.
Unfortunately, many organisations will push it out on their social channels once and think that everyone’s seen it. Wrong. Rookie error. A very small portion of your audience probably even had this in their feed, let alone actually clicked on it. All the big social networks nowadays work off an algorithm that isn’t chronological, making it harder for you to show up in people’s feeds. This is why you need to share your content multiple times.
This infographic from Buffer shows how often you should post on social.
You can change your images and social teasers as much as you want, but don’t be afraid to share the s**t out of it.
You ignore SEO
This is a big one. Many businesses deem it as a nice to have. But if you ever fancy showing up in the top search results for a particular keyword, you must pay attention to SEO. By ranking high for search terms, you increase the chances of people clicking through to your website and potentially converting.
Getting to the top of Google’s search results isn’t easy – in fact, it’s much harder than it used to be. But this isn’t to say it’s impossible. You can either pay a small fortune to Google by bidding on keywords, or you can try doing it organically with stellar content. Either way, don’t ignore SEO.
You’re a content farm
While frequency is important, if you’re serving up rubbish for the sake of meeting a quota, this will show. You’ll lose credibility fast on this route.With content, you're better off focusing on quality over quantity - any day of the week. Click To Tweet
You’re regurgitating the same stuff as everyone else
It’s always tempting to mimic the high-performing content shown on BuzzSumo, but you’ll never gain the same traction by being a follower. In fact, you’re better off presenting a completely different opinion or position.
You’re focused on vanity metrics
Page views and number of visitors alone mean very little at the end of the day. Marketers often obsess over these numbers because they sound impressive. But they don’t mean s**t if you’re not converting. You want to align the metrics that matter with each part of the customer/buyer journey.
|Lead acquisition & qualification||Equip Sales teams||Define next steps||Nurture relationships|
|Blog posts, infographics, videos, how-to guides||White papers, webinars, microsites, events||Fact sheets, presentations||TBA||Blog posts, customer email newsletters|
# of downloads
|# of registrations / downloads|
# of new leads
|Content usage, qualitative feedback||TBA||Open rates, online engagement, downloads etc|
Content marketing is an art and a science. It takes time, patience, and a lot of experimenting.
Giving your content the attention it deserves will pay dividends. With so much noise on the Interwebs, you don’t want to be seen as another business screaming for attention. Taking the time to work out what you can do differently or better than others will serve you and your customers well.