Trends in marketing come and go, but when targeting modern audiences, the saying “content is king” will always ring true. However, producing quality content that engages audiences with the power of Live Jazz is no mean feat, and you will be jostling with your competitors for attention. Many common errors emerge when marketing departments try to come up with a content marketing campaign. However, if you can anticipate these challenges, you can avoid many pitfalls and clear a path to success. We’re going to look at some of the most common mistakes people make with their content marketing strategy, and provide some effective tips for how to fix them.
1. Failure to Plan
A lack of planning and preparation is the biggest obstacle to creating an effective content marketing strategy. Everyone wants to leverage the power of content, but not everyone is prepared to establish a proper structure of management to bring their plans together. Creating content in a void makes it impossible for you to set goals for your content marketing campaign, and so it’s harder to judge its effectiveness. It also means that you’re not implementing content in such a way as to compliment your broader marketing strategy.
Solution: Commit a content marketing strategy to paper. First, establish the goals you want to achieve, then come up with a list of objectives to complete that will bring you closer to your goals. Establish milestones for these objectives such as, say, 500 likes in a month for a blog or video, then think about creating content to achieve that objective. Liaise with the rest of the marketing department to see how your content can cross-promote your overall marketing strategy.
2. Creating Useless Content
There’s such a glut of content out there that yours will have to tick the right boxes to stand out. Audiences can tell the difference between high-quality content that offers value, and cobbled together content that’s simply promotional materials with delusions of grandeur. Your products and services succeed because the meet customers’ needs and your content should be no different. You need to first consider the needs of your audience. Then you can produce content that they’ll find relevant and useful.
Solution: Generate audience personas based on the demographics you’re trying to reach. Use these to form the foundations of your content, and think of how your content marketing can bring them closer to finding a solution to this need.
3. Ineffectual Search Engine Optimization
More and more people turn to the internet to meet their needs, which is why search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to grow your audience and generate leads. However, SEO is a delicate art, and Google is very adept at penalizing pages that are trying to game its algorithms by cramming pages with keywords. Not only will this result in pages that will rank lower, but the on-page copy will read badly, and the content is likely to suffer as a result.
Solution: Try using long tail keywords and phrases that are less generic to leverage SEO and content marketing. Because long tail SEO is more specific, it’s more likely to be viewed by audiences whose needs are more closely aligned to the goods or services you’re trying to promote. Firstly, this means that they’re more likely to provide you with conversions and respond to your calls to action (CTAs). Secondly, it also means they’ll stay on your pages for longer and potentially explore your site, leading Google to improve your overall rankings.
4. Uninspired Content
If you believe in your products or services, there’s no excuse for generating sub-par content marketing ideas. Try and look elsewhere for inspiration, whether that be social media trends or your competitor’s content strategy. Inspiration is everywhere if you’re really looking for it.
Solution: Start building up a collection of bookmarks for interesting blogs or news articles relevant to the kind of content you want to produce. If that doesn’t work, have someone in the relevant marketing team create a survey or poll that you can use to discover new angles to attract customers’ attention.
5. Inconsistent Content Releases
We understand that it’s hard to put out quality content on a regular basis, but it’s the best way for a content marketing strategy to build up momentum. If you have a flurry of posts for a month, just to drop off to nothing in a year’s time, it’ll reflect poorly on your brand. Create a schedule for posting new content that will provide you a framework to update on a regular basis for content marketing growth. Try and ensure that you’re also employing a mixture of different content, including blogs, social media posts, and videos.
Solution: Create a content release calendar for the next 6 to 12 months. Cross-reference these releases with seasonal trends and upcoming public holidays, so you can ensure your posts feel fresh and relevant.
6. A Lack of Quality Images
Images will be the first thing that grabs people’s attention when they land on your pages. If your blog post is nothing but a dense wall of text, many audiences will be put off by the thought of getting to the end. Pictures, on the other hand, can instantly engage emotions and help focus the viewer’s attention. Images also help break up your text and help with creating page layouts.
Solution: Include imagery in your written copy, either from hosting sites or your marketing materials. Add image captions or the right keywords to the file name that can give your SEO a boost.
7. Narrow Content Marketing Definition
People enjoy diversity in their content consumption, and you can make your content marketing more dynamic by taking advantage of different mediums and leveraging their own strengths and weaknesses. If the only content marketing that you’re producing is blog posts, you’ll be missing out on attracting audiences who prefer getting information from videos. Diversifying your content helps with brand visibility and makes for a more dynamic content marketing campaign.
Solution: If creating new content for different mediums seems overwhelming, try taking one of your evergreen blog posts with the most views and repurposing it into a video. Get into the habit of writing content that can be repurposed into different formats moving forward.
8. Failing to Promote Content
There’s no point in spending time and money to create great content if audiences aren’t going to see it. Make sure you’re producing content alongside a plan for getting it promoted. Don’t wait till your content is published to start promoting it: you can promote it on your other channels while it’s still a work in progress.
Solution: Remember the content marketing basics with your posts. Including share functions on your posts and videos might seem obvious, but too many marketers forget to add them to the finished product or don’t give them enough prominence on the page. Add CTAs to help encourage audiences to like and share your content.
9. Unrealistic Expectations
We’d all like our content marketing to produce instant results, but unless by some miracle our content goes viral, then we have to exercise patience. A content marketing strategy requires a long-term commitment if we want to see it result in organic audiences and sustained brand engagement. Develop content with the future in mind, and the dividends will come eventually.
Solution: Don’t expect to see an immediate impact from your content marketing. Make sure you have a budget ring fenced for long-term content marketing business that will give you some breathing room when results don’t appear overnight.
10. Lack of Agility
Once your content marketing campaign is out in the world, don’t think you can put your feet up waiting for new customers to flood in. From the beginning of your campaign, you need to make sure that a content marketing analyst is regularly checking on the progress of your content marketing. Without this framework, you can’t establish the efficacy of your work or understand where it needs fine-tuning.
Solution: Use analytics to track the performance of the individual components of your content marketing. This will let you find out which medium is having the most impact, and where your work needs readjusting. Use analytics to find out which keywords are driving the site traffic and see if those can be implemented elsewhere.
The modern media landscape means that, more than ever, marketers need robust content to make their work stand out. Come up with a plan to create content that keeps the needs of audiences at its heart, and audiences will repay your concern. Have a plan for every step of your campaign, and periodically check in to see where your efforts are having the most impact. Are there any common pitfalls that you’ve had to navigate with your content marketing? Tell us how you solved them in the comments section below.
Author’s bio: Arthur Rowley is a content marketer with decades of experience under his belt. He’s worked for a variety of marketing agencies and now offers consultancy for digital transformation.