Content being the king of all marketing activities worldwide, content marketing has gained popularity over time as one of the best investments a brand can make. It’s great to generate leads and build thought leadership in the industry- both of which make for a great brand.
Seth Godin calls content marketing as ‘the only marketing left,’ given its authenticity and adaptability with new age media and the online generation.
With high competition and market saturation, user attention is dwindling. So, at this rate, your marketing efforts should be extraordinarily calculated and in line with your business goals and vision.
This also means that you can’t afford mistakes. But, given the race for content marketing and the excessive amount of money companies keep aside for it, these mistakes are bound to happen.
But if you’re in it to win it, then there’s a way to avoid those mistakes, and that’s by learning from them.
Let’s explore some common content marketing mistakes brands are making today and how you can work your way around it for maximized results.
- Not having a strong content strategy in place
Content marketing is more than content creation and distribution. It uses a strategic approach to understand the audience, align the audience’s needs and brand needs, and then establish a plan of action keeping in mind the analytics that need to be tracked.
Consider following these steps to draft a content marketing strategy for your brand backed by an effective action plan:
- Define your goals and objectives.
- Understand your audience and their buying habits.
- Do competitor research, understand where you stand in the market.
- Based on research, decide on the channels you want to create content on and where your audience is present the most.
- Decide what type of content you’re going to create.
- Divide the work among your team. Content marketing is a team effort, and transparency always wins.
- Start creating content after establishing an editorial calendar or social media calendar for efficiency.
- Promote content.
- Analyze your efforts by tracking metrics or KPIs.
Documenting this process will help prevent gaps, give a better idea to the team, ensure efficiency in execution, and provide results.
Pro tip: If you’re an individual or agency providing content marketing services to a client, you may want to use a proposal template to display an outline of your strategy for better conversions.
2. Not understanding your audience
While content is the glue that holds a content marketing strategy together, you cannot just brainstorm content ideas or create content on the first 5 things you see online.
If you want to generate leads, build a relationship with your customers, and nurture them, you need to understand them first. The more you know your audience, the better your content marketing results will be.
But how can you understand your audience?
Consider starting by doing these things:
- Ask yourself some questions
Before you understand them, understand who you want to serve first. Try defining their demographics, buying capacities, habits, daily activities, and things that would be ideal for ‘your’ customer.
- Carry a market research
Once you’ve understood who you want to target, try to see where you can find these people. What platforms are they present on, how do they communicate with each other, what language they use, what type of content they consume, how much they are willing to spend every month, etc. This will help give you a clearer idea about your audience and set a course for realistic expectations.
- Look over to your competitors
Your competitors, the ones who have a similar target audience as yours, are probably ahead of the game. They’ve been doing all of this and assessing their moves. You can see how their strategies have worked out and how the audience is responding to them. This will help you identify gaps that you can fill through your plan. Example: Here is a quick analysis of ColourPop’s successful campaign that helps in growing your brand organically.
- Carry a survey
Once you’ve defined your audience, assessed your competitors, and gathered a fair amount of information about your audience, it’s good to fact-check. There’s nothing better than directly surveying your audience through a questionnaire, asking them essential questions that will help you create and execute your content marketing strategy better. Keep the survey crisp, and to the point, if it’s never-ending, no one is going to fill it.
3. Not creating goal-oriented content
Every piece of content you create as a part of your content marketing strategy has a goal.
Being specific on your goals and creating content around it ensures that you’re walking in the right direction, and your content will yield the desired results.
There are numerous stages of a buyer’s journey, and creating content, especially around it, is so important because it caters to a specific goal.
Here are the different stages of a buyer’s journey and the type of content you can create at each stage:
- Awareness stage
The main goal here is to educate the customers, only then will they be able to understand properly. The content for the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey can be:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- White papers
- How-to videos
At this stage, they’ve gathered a brief idea about the problem they’re facing and contemplate if you’re the right solution for their problem. Here, they need to be targeted with content that portrays you as the best solution for their problem and a perfect fit for their requirements. This content needs to be backed by data and social proof that displays your expertise.
The content for the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey can be:
- Comparison videos
- Case studies
- Free Samples
- Buying guides
- Decision stage
They have decided that they want to be your customer at this stage. Here, you need to present content that tells them they have made the right decision and can fully invest their faith in you and leave their problems at your disposal.
The content for the decision and beyond stages of the buyer’s journey can be:
- Free trials
- Coupon and discount
- Not experimenting with content formats
Content marketing is not defined by nor is restricted to just blogs and social media posts. There are ample content formats that should be included in your content marketing strategy. Why?
Because it prevents your content on multiple channels from being monotonous. For example, successful Instagram experts have created their growth hacks by experimenting and understanding what actually works. Also, various methods are used by big brands to enhance Facebook video ads.
Let’s explore some content formats you can include in your content marketing strategy:
Infographics help relay important information in a detailed format through visual aid. It communicates the message to help the audience understand the topic much better. It would help if you acquaint yourself with various types of infographics that are used to communicate with the audience.
eBooks have recently taken momentum as one of the most popular lead magnets and free resources, with brands using eBooks to educate their audience in a more profound sense by providing extensive value.
With the rise in video marketing, more and more companies are now including videos in their content marketing strategy because they help establish a one-on-one connection with the audience.
You can incorporate many other formats in your content marketing strategy like podcasts, checklists, cheat sheets, and email newsletters, giving a significant edge to your strategy.
- Not promoting content effectively
Many people think that the execution part of a content marketing strategy ends after you hit the ‘publish’ button, but that’s where the real work starts. Using marketing funnels is one of the best ways for marketers to succeed.
Here are some content promotion strategies you can follow:
- Share your posts on social media in different formats.
- Send out an email blast to your email list as soon as you hit ‘publish.’
- Include the link to your latest post(s) in your email signature.
- Leverage your community and share your content on social media groups.
- Connect with influencers and talk to them about promoting your content or endorsing your product.
- Increasing number of followers on social media.
- Leverage guest posting.
- Use social media tools.
- Use LinkedIn marketing tools to help you with lead generation
- Not keeping up with trends
Not keeping up with these trends would give your competitors an edge over you. Every customer you come across will want to associate themselves with brands working on themselves in new and improved ways. Let’s look at some emerging b2b content marketing trends that you can include in your strategy:
- Videos are taking the front seat
It’s no surprise that the most prominent brands are now allocating their budget to videos, both shot, and stock. This is because of one very simple reason- videos keep the audience hooked and engaged for a more extended period than any other form of content.
Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz is doing a great job at videos.
- User-generated content is becoming a hit
User-Generated Content or UGC is the content created by your customers and fans about your brand without paying them. According to research, over 83% of people trust other customers’ content than the brand itself.
- Conversational marketing is evolving
What’s better to understand your audience and customers than talking to them directly?
We live in an age where chatbots are ruling but with robotic answers that do not give customers a personalized experience even though it helps them.
- Influencer marketing is making strides on social media
Influencers have the power to show people certain products and brands by endorsing them so that their massive audience is convinced to buy or at least give the product a chance. This acts as social proof, and everyone wants to use the brand that a social media influencer is using, right?
It’s a win-win situation.
7. Not paying attention to CTAs
One of the most common content marketing mistakes is not paying attention to your lead generation auto-machine, your Call-to-Action buttons.
You can create the most awesome content in your industry, but if you don’t tell the audience what to do after reading the content, you’re making a blunder, but don’t worry, we can fix that!
Whatever is your end goal, it needs to be communicated very clearly and explicitly.
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to CTAs:
- Use contrasting colors for CTA on your website to make them very evident.
- Highlight CTAs multiple times across the course of your website and content.
- Don’t turn around words. Make it straight cut.
- Use an innovative approach for CTA copy like ‘Sign up for awesomeness’ instead of ‘Sign up now.’
- Repeat your offer in different ways across channels.
- Strategically place your CTA along the reader’s natural reading path.
- Make the buttons optimized for both mobile and laptop.
- Practice A/B testing.
8. Not tracking performance
Every strategy requires analysis, and content marketing is no different. Imagine spending months executing a plan and not analyzing what results it brought you or if the strategy was right for your brand.
Analyzing your performance tells you about the gaps or challenges you faced in execution or strategy to determine how you can fill them up next time.
Say, you find that Instagram is performing well in terms of carousel content while videos are performing well on LinkedIn, you can tweak your strategy to focus on these platforms more and create more of this content.
Here’s what you should analyze:
- Website traffic
The amount of traffic you’re driving to your website says a lot about how your content performs. You can use Google Analytics to track the source of your website traffic.
- Social shares
Social media accounts for a significant part of your content marketing strategy. Analyzing the number of shares your audience is making tells you if they like your content and if it’s relatable enough for them to share it with their network.
You can use Hootsuite to analyze social shares.
- Conversions and sales
You can analyze conversions by looking at the number of people who respond to your CTA and buy your product/service, book your call or sign up to your email list.
You can use Google Analytics and as per the analysis, you can reform certain things to increase the conversion rate. Also, using conversion marketing funnel also provides better leads, sales and revenue.
Wrapping it up
If you’re investing your resources in a timeless marketing strategy like content marketing, you cannot afford to make mistakes. The key is planning!
With content marketing, consistency and patience are important because it’s a long-term game, and you cannot expect overnight results.
Don’t run; content marketing is here to stay.
All the best!