One of the primary drivers to convert targeted audiences into consumers, content marketing ‘rules the roost’! It is not just controlling the organic search, it involves reaching the right audience with right channels and tools. This is the reason why digital marketers consider content to be the ‘king’. Effective content marketing plays a dominant role in small business marketing. High quality content is loved by Google and allows a website to rank high on search results. The crazy amount of content available out there on the world wide web is testimony to the fact! As per a recent study of TrackMaven, a digital marketing company, 76% of B2B marketers and 77% of B2C marketers are in the process of generating more content in 2016 than last year. This is why content marketing by individual webmasters is becoming a tough job day by day, with steep competition from professional content marketers, giving rise to a desperate need for better content strategy for an effective online business marketing! Anyone can take part in content marketing (and they do) but the success lies in doing it right!
Avoid the common content marketing mistakes to ensure your content strategy brings the desired result in your overall online marketing campaign. Below are the most common mistakes in content marketing that should be avoided to prevent ruining your business and marketing efforts:
- Not understand the audience. Before creating content, consider who you are creating it for, your target audience. This groundwork of knowing your audience, their interest, what they want to know etc. should be the stepping stone to small business online marketing strategy. Your subsequent content marketing mistakes will often originate from this void.
- Not chalking out a useful content strategy or plan. The report for Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ Content Marketing Trends – North America points out that 53% of the SEO marketing experts have a well crafted and documented content marketing initiative before taking the plunge. And that leaves the other half of the community indulging in this profession without a plan to execute! So buckle down and chart out a comprehensive plan! An experienced content marketer does not create content for the sake of adding text in your name.
- Next, not defining the purpose of content marketing. Ask questions like, what is it that your client wants to achieve out of content marketing? Is it more leads, want to highlight their brand/product, or are they interested in increasing their customer base and their loyalty. Content could be information, stories to connect with audience, content for Branding, whitepapers with data, and a whole lot more. When you design your content, keep in mind your goals.
- Lack of variety! Well served content of the same kind every day too can lead to monotony. As a great content creator, bring in occasional variety by being humorous, highlighting the offbeat, or take the perspective or view point of those factors that do not usually get attention. Your regular product and service updates common to your domain remains your staple for the other days. You may include links of other writers and refer to top blogs relevant to your community which might interest your readers from time to time. Offer a healthy mix of open environment for your audience to thrive with subtle self promotion.
- Not publishing consistently. A common content marketing drawback is to stop when there is more work load, apparently work that's more important. Consistent content in online marketing business establishes brand awareness, authority, feeds audience's expectation of content frequency, your credibility as a brand and helps to generate leads. As a result, it improves SEO and traffic for a website.
- Giving more importance to quantity over quality. Consistent but poor quality content is poor marketing. Emphasize on the marketing goal and create content that cater to the audience needs. On a secondary level, work on spellings, grammar, format with subheadings and bullet points, visual presentation (can't emphasize enough on its importance!). A good way to validate your content quality is by connecting with the industry experts (starting with your peers in the industry and gradually working your way up) and invite their opinion on the content piece relevant to their domain of expertise. Linking with their work can also generate their interest and can be a good way to promote each other. If you resort to poor quality content to generate volume, your peers won't show an interest to be linked to you.
- Not using the right platform. Social sharing is one of the easiest and most common tools of sharing content. Too many platforms are available today, with no demarcation of audience groups. Its rather a crowd from all backgrounds socializing together. Knowledge of using the right channel to reach the right audience is an important tip of digital marketing. A local company with an entertaining and fun aspect may opt for Facebook marketing, while a B2B company may consider LinkedIn in connecting with specific target companies. If you are looking for million engagements, try Snapchat or Instagram and if you want to roll out conversation then try twitter! In fact, there is no reason you can't combine your marketing channels to reach out to a varied audience community. Of course to do this, you might want to plan your content strategy differently. The right distribution yields the right benefit!
- Not using featured snippets. Ben Goodsell, a marketer, revealed that one of his clients got an upsurge of 516% of organic performance the moment Google allowed featured snippet for one of its pages. A snippet in Google search result provides a link in the search that takes you to the site featuring content. So don’t ignore featured snippets as you could be losing out on visitors!
- Not doing comprehensive marketing. As per Neil Patel, founder of KISSmetrics, "the secret to content marketing boils down to three things: creating great content, making sure it gets found in search engines, and promoting it to your followers". Pretty neat suggestion! Use influencer marketing, create Adwords campaign, email marketing and native advertising to activate followers and subscribers, apart from social campaigns.
- Underestimating headlines. Too cliche to be included? Not if you see the number of poor SEO-unfriendly headlines that are published every day. Pretty much takes away the merit of the content. A poor headline can ruin your b2b digital marketing efforts completely. As per a recent information on image published by infographicworld, a New York based design agency, "Number of readers that click beyond a headline is 1 in 5”. Therefore you want to feature in the 20% bracket that is clicked, you will want to focus on this tip.
- Not using media for engagement. 65% of readers are visual learners. A recent study of ROI Research shows 44% of the audiences prefer dynamic and visual content while associating with a brand. As such, textual content often loses its sheen despite being a great read. As an alternative, start publishing videos, podcasts, memes and embedded slide shares or any form of visual content that balances your text posts on your blog while marketing your business online.
- Not highlighting a call to action. After reading your content, a well crafted call to action allows readers to connect with you so you can capture the lead. Things like commenting, or sharing or signing up for newsletters, or subscribing to a trial etc. If you are looking to build a thriving community, divert your audiences' attention to respond to your call to action at the end of the post. If you want more social sharing, you can offer the downloadable PDF format of post in return of Facebook likes and if you want to strengthen your email list, provide a pop up that shows readers the amazing benefits for signing up to your list.
- Bad backlinks. Content is a potent way of backlinking. However, it also leads to poor links in the process. Avoid links from spammy, unreliable and heavy ad sites. Get rid of ineffective and broken backlinks through a regular link audit.
- Lengthy content is good content. Not necessarily (although this is a common myth). Content that answers the question, is comprehensive, backed by credible data, and to the point, is good content. The length of the content is immaterial. Read more.
Like link building, content takes time to generate value. And it needs both - creating content, as well as sharing it (to the right audience). Content marketing is an ever evolving process. What worked before might not be the right step now. So if you aren't a pro at this, nor can afford the time and patience to research, plan and execute your online marketing, invest in a reliable agency or professional digital marketer to do it for you, and check progress reports.
By the way, did you identify any of the mistakes listed above in your current content strategy? If yes, fix them before it gets too late as successful online marketing experts are quick in identifying and rectifying their flaws. Have you identified any other content marketing flaw that is common in your circle or industry? Do you disagree with any of the pointers listed above? Would love to hear from you!!