Companies and organizations are often held back by their fear that they are going to do content marketing wrong. Rather than taking the necessary steps to identify their buyer-persona’s needs and formulate a content marketing plan, marketers may find themselves like a deer in headlights when contemplating the best strategy for their business. But can you really do content marketing wrong? Some content is better than no content, right? The answer to this depends on your approach. The key is to tell a good story first, and sell a great product or service second. To help overcome your fear and get your content marketing efforts on the best track, avoid these most common misperceptions.
1. Not having a clear strategy or goal: Who are your customers, and what do you want them to do when they visit your website? Having well-developed personas, different conversion opportunities for buyers at different stages, and clear calls-to-action will get results. Next, make sure that you have ability to track and understand your results - this will guide your future strategy with much more than a guess.
2. Talking about yourself, your product or your service too much: Most prospects are looking for a solution to their problem. In your content, it’s important to lead with the buyer’s pain points. Give them valuable knowledge and context, and then follow up with your solution.
3. Being boring: One series of recent content marketing is Kate Spade’s #missadventure videos. These creative, engaging, and share-able spots subtly feature the fashion brand’s products while telling a funny and relatable story. Allstate’s Mayhem is the perfect example of conservative industries, such as insurance, producing fun and memorable marketing. No matter what industry you are in, there is most likely a way you can humanize it, or look at it from a unique angle.
4. Not trying anything new (or trying EVERYTHING new): Many companies stick with what they have always done for marketing, even if the results and costs are no longer what they want. This is obviously a mistake, but a less obvious one is constantly changing your tactics. If you switch strategies too much, you may not be giving your efforts time to work. Inbound marketing can incorporate long-term strategies that won’t show results overnight. In addition, trying several new things at once makes it hard to clearly determine source of your best results.
5. Not promoting your content: If you build it, they might come, but they will get there a lot faster if you tell them (and their friends) about it. Any new content that you create for your website should be promoted in multiple places. Social media / promoted posts is a great place to start, and press releases or guest posts on other blogs work great in certain industries. Remember, you can also get multiple promotions out of one piece of content; you can repeat promotions when relevant, or combine and re-purpose several pieces of content into a new post.
6. Not updating consistently: If you are a believer in inbound and content marketing strategies, but just can’t fit it in to your already busy schedule, there are a number of ways you can find additional resources to help with the work load. Internal representatives from departments within your organization are subject matter experts and a great way to obtain content topics and drafts. These individuals don’t have to be great writers and will save you a lot of time if they can provide you with a great Q&A interview or the main points for your topic. Interviewing customers, vendor partners and other individuals who support your organization is another easy way to collect valuable content that can be shared. Some marketers also consider outsourcing all or some content development to 3rd party resources that can provide the necessary assistance. Remember that nobody knows your business better than you and it’s always important to review or put your personal touch on a piece of content before it is shared – regardless of who assisted with the initial draft.
7. Hanging on to an outdated website: Some small businesses with seriously outdated sites are afraid of a redesign due the fact that their ancient site is somehow ranking highly for certain search terms. The value of those rankings is nothing compared to what you are losing out on by not having a site that can work with the current trends and technology in SEO. As time (and Google) marches on, you will only get further and further behind. In addition, following a few tips will ensure good search rankings after the short re-indexing period is completed.
8. Not taking social seriously: Don’t ignore the power of social media marketing, or relegate it to being an inexperienced staff member’s last priority. Social media has the power to deliver real results for you company; organic interaction with brands on Facebook more than doubled in 2015, and 77 percent of business-to consumer (B2C) marketers have acquired customers through Facebook. Shouldn’t you put some real effort (and expert insight) into planning and analyzing your social media marketing strategy?
As a marketer, the most important factor to take into consideration when planning your content strategy is to remember to put your audience’s needs and interests first. As more and more content is published online, the best way to capture prospects' attention is to avoid the sales pitch and share your expertise in a genuine way. Readers take notice when content is approachable and written with their needs in mind.