Picture this: You have been working on your content marketing strategy over the last couple of months. You have put a lot of effort into it and made sure that it benefits your business goals as well as your content users. You think you have taken everything into account in order to have the ideal Content Marketing Strategy. But somehow fruition just won´t come.
So, you wait. And wait. And… still nothing happens. Does that sound familiar to you? If not, congrats! You are doing it right. If it does, well—first of all—that sucks! But apparently you are not alone. According to a survey undertaken by the Content Marketing Institute, only 5 percent of B2B marketers rate the effectiveness of their content marketing as very effective.
A fact that is quite contradictory to the following outcome of the survey:
70 percent of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago.
Now, hold on a second. Why would almost three quarter of enterprises decide to create more content than last year, if solely five percent consider their content to be effective? There’s got to be something fishy going on.
Are you allocating more and more resources to your content marketing but getting less out of it? You are probably committing one or even more of the most common content marketing mistakes.
Want to make sure you aren’t? Let’s wake up and smell the coffee!
MISTAKE # 1: PUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON … YOURSELF
Lots of businesses use their content to hand their company to the readers on a plate. “We are the best. We are the greatest. Come and buy!” Customer came, saw and bought. End of the story… Well, not really.
First of all, people are—let´s be honest – quite self-involved. They don´t care about how incredible you are. What they care about is how they can benefit from you. Secondly, people are busy. They give you their time and therefore expect something in return. This is where you come in: Give them great and useful content they can actually profit by—they’ll be back and might even bring a friend.
How can you do that: Every time you create a piece of content, you´ve got to ask yourself:
- Whom is the content for? (Know your target audience!)
- How can they benefit from it?
MISTAKE # 2: NO OBJECTIVE
Just as you have to guarantee a benefit for your content users, you have to make sure the content you create also boosts your business. You can write tons of perfect blog posts, without a call-to-action, however, it´s not going to be effective and you´ll be wasting your time and resources.
So, figure out what’s the purpose of your piece of content. Depending on that you assign your call-to-action.
MISTAKE # 3: QUANTITY OVER QUALITY
Mistake # 2 often goes hand in hand with mistake # 3. Too many businesses churn out one piece of content after the other. Attention: Sometimes less is more. More content creation means less time for research, maintenance and analysis.
Besides, an overproduction of content might not only overwhelm you, but also your content users. Ease up on content creation and make sure every piece of content you create is top quality. How?
Check if it follows the three golden principles of content quality:
- It backs up a key business objective.
- Content user gets mileage out of it.
- It has a content owner assigned to maintain it.
MISTAKE # 4: INCONSISTENCY
Another common mistake is inconsistency. Inconsistency regarding style and tone as well as distribution. Find your voice and take a stand. That refers to all channels and platforms you use to communicate with the public.
A lot of businesses start their content marketing at full steam, publish a number of blog posts, don´t see immediate results and then, shut down their content factory completely or produce from time to time. You have to be consistent with your content production. Create an editorial calendar tailored to your resources and stick to it over the long haul.
In terms of consistency, think of your content factory as a TV news channel. You have to show up. And you have to show up on time.
MISTAKE # 5: UNDERESTIMATING CONTENT WORKLOADS AND BUDGETS
Creating and executing a great content marketing strategy is a whole lot of work. It takes a whole lot of time. It needs a whole lot of resources.
The perfect recipe for failure is the popular misconception that content marketing can be done incidentally. It can’t. You will end up struggling with missed deadlines, bad and boring content, and – in the end – your sales will be pinned to the ground.
Also, a lot of companies either spend too little money on content marketing or they don’t spend it wisely. Gear your budget to your content strategy. Analyze which efforts of your strategy generated THE best ROI– this is where you want to invest. Spend more on contracting content marketing experts instead of assigning their tasks to PR personnel. We are looking at two very different animals.
Set up your content factory team, start planning early, keep planning, producing and preserving your content consistently and permanently. Set aside your content marketing budget aligned with your strategy and goals.
MISTAKE # 6: THE ISLAND OF CONTENT MARKETING
Content marketing is cross-organizational. It involves IT, PR, graphic design, legal, and so on and so forth. In order to make your strategy work, you definitely need allies. Ask your colleagues and stakeholders for their thoughts on certain aspects of your strategy, apply their inputs and earn their trust.
Put a whole bunch of brilliant minds together and you´ll be the sun.
By getting your colleagues on board, you are paving the way to a successful and consistent corporate storyline.
MISTAKE # 7: STAYING ON THE SAFE SIDE
Sure, it is safer to create normal to boring content. But is it more effective? Or just a total bore? Try to step out of your comfort zone, once in a while. Do something different and spice things up. Show personality. People like talking to people, so let them get to know you a little.
In the end, who do you remember most? Your teachers that always stuck to the textbook or the one who didn´t bring anything to class apart from chalk and a hundred stories to tell? Who did you learn more from? Think about it.
MISTAKE # 8: NOT PROMOTING ENOUGH
Another common mistake that companies commit is thinking that content marketing ends with content creation. Fat chance. Content creation forms a great part of content marketing. Yes. But: Spreading your content is as substantial as creating it.
Your target readers are not going to tap at your door asking for your content. You have to get it out there. You have to be wherever they are. Don´t get too focused on one channel, but don´t overdo it either. Figure out which channels your target readers mostly use and persuade them with your killer content.
MISTAKE # 9: NOT REIMAGINING CONTENT ENOUGH
If you don´t reimagine your content, sooner or later, you might run out of ideas. Once you created and published one valuable piece of content, reimagine it. You can update and repost it (Not every one of your content users reads all of your great posts). You can turn it into other types of content like infographics, videos, presentations, ebooks, newsletters and beyond.
MISTAKE # 10: NO FOLLOW-UP PLAN
You want to get the most out of your content strategy? What you need is a follow-up plan. After creating your content, don´t sit back and wait for a miracle to happen. Analyze, measure and adapt.
There are a lot of different content types that can work. But they don´t have to work for everyone. Just because a webinar worked great for some company, doesn´t mean it´s going to work for you. Figure out what it is you need to reach the right people. Measure views, shares, CTRs, conversions and tailor your content strategy to your results.
SWEAR BY AN EFFICIENT CONTENT STRATEGY
Avoid those mistakes and make sure you are one of those (still too few) lucky persons who state “very efficient” when being asked how they would rate the efficiency of their content marketing strategy.
What’s your opinion on the listed common mistakes? Have you made similar experiences or completely different ones? Can you add some to the list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.