Did you heard the phrase – “content is king.” Despite that all efforts, however, it is hard to see what the content hype is about. Website owners write blog posts, create videos, and participate in social media, yet it is not getting very far and they are not getting any response. This is because creating content isn’t enough to really market a business.
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If consumers are not engaging with what website owners are producing, those owners are simply wasting time, energy, and resources. They are lost in an already overcrowded market.
This does not mean that content marketing is ineffective, however. 20% of business owners believe that content marketing has the largest impact on their business, and if there are no results from content, it means something is being done wrong.
Content marketing is projected to grow 16% between 2017 and 2021, so it’s not something to be passed by. In order to market a business successfully, owners need to find errors, shape up content, and start getting conversions. Here are seven of the biggest mistakes made in content marketing and what to do to turn results around.
1. Having no strategy
A lot of marketers post whatever they want whenever they want, and only 37% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. 41% have a content marketing strategy but it isn’t documented. 17% do not have a strategy, but plan to have one within 12 months. 4% have no strategy and no plans to have one within 12 months. Most marketers don’t have a plan, and aren’t thinking strategically about the content they’re creating. When marketers don’t have a strategy, it’s easy for audiences to ignore what they’re sharing.
A content marketing strategy forces marketers to put intention behind content by helping to identify what they’d like to accomplish with content and how they’re going to use it to achieve larger business goals. Marketing strategy is the overlap between content marketing and content strategy. Content strategy includes internal guidelines and governance, and content marketing includes editorial calendars, creation, curation, promotion, and iteration.
The overlap between the two, content marketing strategies includes vision, goals, audience research, voice and style, ideation, and external governance. This intersection allows marketers to use the content they’ve created to bring business plans to life. Operating without a content marketing strategy makes it difficult for target audiences to know what marketers want them to do.
When marketers create a plan, however, it puts purpose behind content. It doesn’t need to be difficult; in fact, Content Marketing institute outlines how to create an effective plan in just one page by outlining objectives, goals, metrics, and strategy. With this completed, the next step is an editorial calendar, which should work hand-in-hand with the content marketing strategy already created. The calendar shows exactly when to publish a blog post as well as title name, content details, and keywords to target; and shares which audiences are being reached and what is being offered to them. Well thought out planning fits each piece of content into a marketing plan.
There are dozens of ways to create an editorial calendar. Quickbooks is one website that allows users to manage over 4,000 pieces of content. Others are Trello and Asana . Ultimately it doesn’t matter which website to use; what matters is using the one that gets everybody to use consistently.
2. Not publishing enough
Quality always beats quantity in uploading content, but publishing only once a month will not get any real attention from audiences. To build trust and credibility with audience and search engines, consistency is key.
Creating more blogs drives more traffic to a website, and with more traffic Google sees that a website has content that people want to read. Once Google understands that a website has valuable information it will give that content a boost on results pages. This brings in more traffic and attention.
Stuffing websites with low-quality information that audiences don’t care about does not help in gaining traffic. Blogging every day can decrease views compared to blogging six times a month. The Cooperative ran an experiment on this. In 2017 they were getting about 14,000 views each month, but once they blogged every day the views began to decrease. They found that they couldn’t continue to create high-quality content every day.
To get attention through content, it is key to find the right balance between quality and quantity. Go beyond simple blog posts as well, as not everyone likes to read blog posts. Over half of consumers say they prefer more videos. Consumers are becoming more and more dependent on voice search and smart speakers, so blogging isn’t always the most effective delivery of content.
It is also important to consider what to publish as well. Videos grab attention, break down complex topics in an understandable way, and show off products. Many companies use YouTube as a way to show off their products. Using infographics is also a great way to make content more interesting, especially when using large amounts of data or research. Over 41% of marketers say that infographics are the most engaging form of visual content for audiences. In fact, this ranks even higher than videos. Infographics are popular because they are easy to skim, making them ideal for busy consumers.
Podcasts are another way to reach consumers. With their increasing popularity, an estimated 67 million individuals listen to podcasts every month. Creating spoken content can help reach consumers who don’t enjoy reading.
It helps to be creative when producing content, but it is important to always think back to the target audience and focus on creating content that audiences will want to engage with.
3. Confusing content with sales pitches
While the whole purpose of marketing is to create interest in a business and drive sales, content should not sell. Customers don’t like to be sold to, and it is not good to start a relationship with a sales pitch. Customers also don’t need to be sold to, as the Internet makes it possible for them to discover options without ever speaking to a salesperson.
Most buyers already know what they’re looking for before they even connect with a salesperson. So a marketer needs to use content to educate consumers before connecting with them, and content should be formatted to meet the needs of a buyer during every stage of their journey.
The steps of the journey are as following: the consumer becomes aware of a brand, which means it needs to be entertaining, engaging, or interesting enough to stand out. This can be done through videos, fun blog posts, webinars, or social media posts.
Next is the consideration phase, during which consumers need to understand their problem as well as available solutions. The content to give them during this phase includes product comparison videos, articles, case studies, or podcasts.
Next comes the decision phase, in which the consumer is ready to choose a product or service. This phase can be encouraged with testimonials, product reviews, and demonstration videos.
When a customer decides to buy, they have entered the delight phase of the journey. Here marketers should use content to encourage customers to buy again using newsletters, training webinars, and customer satisfaction surveys.
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4. Not knowing the audience
When creating content it is important to know who to engage with, and that is not just anyone with a credit card. Customers can always find content that speaks directly to them, so it is important to find an audience and create content just for them. This allows marketers to make deeper connections and causes real growth from content.
To find an audience, first create a buyer persona, who walks marketers through who their ideal client is, what problems they experience, and what kinds of solutions they might look for. The persona should be detailed in what they like to do, what kind of education they have, etc. monitor their social media activity helps give insights into the problems they’re experiencing and the solutions and questions they might be looking for. This information helps to refine content and guarantee content consumers care about. Finally, participating in conversations with audiences allows marketers to make a great impression and gives insight into what potential customers may be struggling with. Becoming familiar with potential customers’ conversations can help to refine messages and topics to better suit customers’ needs and preferences.
5. No genuine voice
Customers look for honesty and trustworthiness when shopping, followed by friendliness and helpfulness. If a marketer is obviously putting on a persona customers are going to be hesitant to connect. A brand voice should connect who the brand is with who the audience thinks the brand should be. A brand’s voice should go beyond industry jargon and bland business tones, and should match with customers’ needs and provide a human element. Build a brand voice off of the buyer persona already created, and based on that get familiar with the kind of language, tone, or colloquialisms the audience uses. Based on that, create a storyboard for the voice, thinking of the brand as a unique individual. Consider the likes and dislikes, how they perceive themselves and how they are perceived by others, beliefs, and other larger ideas.
6. Not promoting
It is important to use proper content promotion to get attention on content. Simply posting links on Twitter will not get any attention. Include email marketing, social, forums, and influencer marketing to improve results. When promoting on social media, it is important to pay attention to changes in algorithms and signals. Marketers should make sure content is easy for audiences to share content on their own but using “Click to Tweet” bars or share buttons. Using more targeted approaches to email marketing such as segmenting email lists to target certain groups helps to improve campaign results.
7. Content isn’t properly optimized
To help audiences find what is being created, content should be properly optimized so that each piece of content complies with a marketer’s greater SEO strategy. This means factoring keywords into each piece of content. This increases the chance of audiences finding content. A good tool for this is the Keyword Planner from Adwords which finds keywords that are high in monthly average searches and low in competition. It is important to not just guess at what audiences want. Content should be properly formatted, with titles and headings strong and capable of standing on their own. Most readers only read headlines, so it is important to create headlines that make audiences want to read on. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer can help to improve headlines but analyzing word balance and providing insights on length, sentiment, and guessing at which keywords are being targeted.
It is also important to optimize videos, infographics, and images. For videos, start with an optimized title that includes a description and keywords. For images, use high-quality images to help with page load time and place keywords in the file name. Google can’t see images, so it is important to tell it. Using captions, alt text, and title text also help Google better understand the image.
It can be time-consuming to create content that is not easily ignored, but in the digital age it is very important. Using these seven tips will help in creating content that will engage audiences.