If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson wrote that in the 1800s, and while it may have been true in the pre-digital world, it’s not that way today. You can create the best marketing content in the world and it may still fall flat. It takes compelling content that is created the right way and a marketing strategy to distribute it to get people to take notice.
Here are some of the common mistakes people are making when it comes to marketing content.
There’s No Plan
Just posting a lot of stuff and hoping what sticks rarely works. While content occasionally catches fire and goes viral, waiting around for that to happen is a bad strategy.
If this is you, you’re not alone. Nearly 61 percent of B2B marketers say they don’t have any strategic and documented content marketing strategy.
It’s Not Targeted To The Right Audience
If you write over people’s heads or aren’t providing real value, you’re going to lose either way.
When you know a topic intimately, it’s easy to forget that not everyone else does. Using technical terms, too much jargon, or failing to explain key concepts can make the reader feel overwhelmed or even dumb. Conversely, if the content you’re sharing is the same old tired material everybody’s seen or heard before, they aren’t going to engage.
It’s Not On Brand
You can’t just create random content about your industry. You have to use the content to distinguish your brand. That means it needs to be reflective of your company’s mission and show how your marketing efforts support that vision.
It’s also important to find what the marketing gurus call your “Brand Voice.” Not only does your content need to reflect your brand and what you believe in, but it needs to have a personality that encourages engagement. It’s the difference between telling stories with content and listing facts.
It’s OK to talk about how great your products or services are. However, anything that comes off as too self-promotional or advertising will detract from the message.
It’s Not Compelling
Marketing firm Yankelovich estimated we’re exposed to 5,000 messages every day back in 2007. Can you imagine what that number looks like today? If your marketing content isn’t compelling or doesn’t provide actual value to the user, forget it.
It’s Not Marketed
If people aren’t engaging with your content, you are wasting a lot of time and resources. You need to exploit marketing opportunities to showcase your work and get people to find it, engage with it, and share it.
How To Get Your Marketing Content Seen And Read
Understand the problem? Let’s talk solutions. You need to follow these five steps to make your content marketing hit home:
- Create A Plan
- Define Your Audience
- Develop A Brand Voice
- Create Compelling Content
- Market Your Content
Create A Plan
Start with the end in mind. As with any plan, you can only gauge its success or failure based on measurement. When you start out, it’s important to determine what are the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you need to measure to evaluate. The clearer your goals are, the better you can analyze. Tracking click-throughs, conversions, engagements, or other metrics are less important than knowing what you want to accomplish.
- Define your objectives: What results must we get to consider this successful?
- Define your goals: How will we measure progress against these goals?
- Define your metrics: What clear metrics can we track to demonstrate progress?
- Define your strategies: What do we need to do to meet these goals?
Your plan should include an editorial calendar. It should document a posting/blogging/marketing strategy including what and how often. It should clearly define roles and resources.
Target Your Audience
Clearly define who you are reaching out to and what they want. A strong understanding of your audience will help you create the plan, the content, and determine your marketing and outreach efforts.
The better you know your target audience and what’s important to them, the better you can craft your content and marketing efforts.
Develop Your Brand Voice
Is your company fun and quirky? It is grounded in research? Is it passionate and authentic? Only you can decide what your brand voice should be, but it’s important to have a voice and use it consistently throughout your marketing materials.
Make sure your content always connects back to your brand and to your plan. It is only considered successful if it meets your objectives.
Create Compelling Content
Compelling content will mean different things to different people. One thing it will have in common, however, is that it provides value to the reader. One of the best strategies is to identify pain points for potential customers and then provide solutions.
Successful content marketers employ the C.U.R.V.E. method in crafting compelling content:
- C = Curiosity
- U = Urgency
- R = Relevancy
- V = Value
- E = Emotion
Market Your Content
Marketing your content means putting it out there to be found. There are a variety of strategies to accomplish this.
Paid Search can get you to the top of search engine results if you are willing to put out some cash. This can be very effective. The top paid searches on Google get 47 percent of all the clicks. Organic Search can help your marketing, but it takes serious effort using SEO strategies. Use the right keywords, URL titles, and meta descriptions. Make sure the environment where your content lives is search engine friendly and mobile-friendly. Put your content in high-quality environments and on high authority sites.
Link Building can be a time-consuming practice but getting links to your content marketing efforts from respected sites is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your content. Guest blogging for industry influencer or well-known websites can also draw people to your content and your brand. Commenting on articles with valuable insights and a link to your content can also help.
Social Media is a valuable tool in marketing your content. In addition to sending marketing messages to your followers, there are opportunities to get in the conversation when you have content that relates to trending topics. You can expand your reach with inexpensive paid boosts or social media ads.
Avoiding these 5 content marketing traps and following the steps laid out above may make all the difference between the success and failure of your marketing plan.