Content marketing, on the face of it, is easy to do. You produce great content demonstrating you are an expert, and people buy from you. Right? Well, it should be that easy, but it is more complicated than that. There are some critical steps you need to follow to ensure your strategy produces results and a return on investment.
However, a lot of people do it wrong because they execute poorly, or don’t take all the necessary actions. Here’s some of the top mistakes people make with content marketing
1. MY PRODUCT IS THE BEST! Writing articles that boast and brag promotes instead of educates. It also annoys. If you are creating that kind of content, you are missing the mark here. Teach “how to”. Demystify. Provide insight. Provide overviews. Don’t write about how your Widget ™ is better than all the other generic widgets. Instead write about why the market for widgets is hot and what people are using them for and what widgets do to improve a person’s life. After reading this people will understand the value of widgets and they know you make Widget(tm), because they are on your site or you tell them at the end of the piece (that’s ok) so they might buy yours. Or think of your Widget(tm) when they want to buy a widget. Produce great content that you would be proud to see reprinted in the New York Times.
2. DON’T BE A BRAND FIREHOSE Share your content on your Facebook page, on Twitter, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on Instagram. Instagram? )Yes, it’s now the 2nd largest social media platform behind Facebook and ahead of Twitter.) Then engage people who consume it or share it on. Ask them questions. Remember it’s SOCIAL media. And share other people’s great content in your area of expertise. Don’t be a one way brand name firehose where your content is all about you. You are building a reputation for expertise about your business focus. Be a sprinkler. Share expertise from other places too. You will become a resource as opposed to a product shill.
3. YOU WRITE IT, BUT THEY DON’T COME: Search engines are your most valuable source for free traffic from people that you can turn into customers. However, you have to format your content to ensure it is being found for the right keywords that people are searching for. This means you’ll need to gain a command of Search Engine Optimization (LINK: What is SEO?). That includes three things: 1) Research keywords that get searched. 2) Optimize your content for those keywords…and 3) Get people to link to your content. #3 is your hardest task and will be your most successful method to attract search engine traffic. Google and Bing reward content with lots of inbound links to it.
4. IGNORE THE POWER OF EMAIL This is a huge mistake in content marketing strategy. When people come to your web site, offer them something crazy-awesome in return for signing up to your email list. Then use the list toshare your most valuable content. Email is a great way to stay top of mind with a prospect. It’s a brand-building process. It’s also a way to validate your expertise. Create content exclusively your email list subscribers. Write it with them in mind. And give them extras, bonuses and exclusives. And I am not talking about selling here. Give away your best stuff. Make them feel like they have stumbled on a goldmine of information by being on your list.
5. WRITING OCCASIONAL POSTS Writing one article per month is not going to cut it. I don’t go live with a new web site without posting at least five articles and then I try to produce a piece of content once a week at minimum and only because I run more than 10 sites. If you run just one site you should post once per business day and at a minimum twice a week. Write daily if you can squeeze the time.
6. MISUNDERTSTANDING BUY TRIGGERS – B2C content should have content that moves and inspires. Consumers are emotional buyers and connect and purchase from experts that make them feel safe and that embody trust. B2B content should be jam-packed with data and numbers that are evidence based. That inspires and validates business cases. Buyers buy from vendors that are trustworthy experts that back their business with data.
7. DON’T FORGET TO MEASURE – Be sure to track your content engagement. You want to write more copy that gets consumed and shared and less content that gets visited occasionally. Track your social media shares. Track you page reads with Google Analytics and use a Smart CRM to track email marketing content engagement, including opens and actions. Tracking audience behavior response should guide content strategy.
8. DON’T BURY YOUR LEAD – This is a term in journalism that means the point of the story is buried down in paragraph 5 or 9. Don’t open with “There was a community meeting on April 14 at 6pm”…and then five paragraphs later talk about the water pipe that burst during the discussion about water quality. Start with “A ceiling pipe burst in the middle of community meeting last week, as a discussion began about water quality.” Put the most important material at the top of the article – open with it.
9. DON’T BE TOO BRIEF – While writing short posts is occasionally ok, writing longer more comprehensive pieces is better, because longer pieces get indexed by search engines more often, and can demonstrate your expertise because they provide all the information someone is seeking. Make your content a one stop for all the info someone needs. They won’t move on to your competitor.
10. AVOID WALLS O’ TEXT – A wall of text is intimidating to read, so be sure to present your awesomely written and engaging post with images and diagrams. Use links where appropriate and break up the text with subheads and bullet pointed lists. All these tricks help with readability and improve search engine pickup.
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