Guest Blog Post provided by: Tea Liarokapi
So, you’ve decided to start investing in content marketing.
Good for you, as content marketing is the marketing tactic that does the work for you and generates leads while you’re taking a much-needed power nap.
If you don’t believe me, check the numbers:
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating content that can be distributed and will be of value, educational and informative.
It needs to be able to answer the “Why” question: Why does someone need to check your blog, watch your video or listen to your podcast?
If the answer is also generating leads as it goes, then your content marketing strategy is on point. You see, what it needs to do is not just sell.
Content needs to be there, ever-present, to help your audience solve whatever problems and answer any questions that may come up.
But what happens if none of that is the case with your content? What happens if it doesn’t generate leads, or even traffic?
Is your content marketing strategy problematic? Is your content not SEO friendly or – even worse – of no interest or value?
This article aims to pinpoint some rookie mistakes that you may have made during the content creation process, so read on!
And now, may I present to you:
The most common mistakes in content marketing – And how to avoid them!
1. You didn’t do your research
This is more common than you’d think. You know what your brand is and why your audience should take notice of your content, so you just go ahead and start creating some content that expresses you.
Fantastic in theory, right?
In practice, not so much.
You see, your posts may answer the “Why?” question, but without any proper research, it’s your “Why?” and “How?” and not your audience’s.
How to avoid it
Avoid it by doing research and creating content based on what your audience likes. In order to determine that, a survey to make sure that your content is what your audience would like to see could work wonders for you!
Secondly, you could produce content based on that survey and make data-driven decisions. Access your analytics and see what worked best. Go through with some A/B testing and change some key components, one at a time.
Maybe an email template didn’t work well. Maybe your CTAs were a little too weak or you used one too many. Maybe your webpages or landing pages don’t convert as well as you would’ve thought.
2. Email marketing who?
There there… You just thought that email marketing is this little cousin that is nice and all, but is constantly left out of fun activities and whining about it?
Well, let me tell you, you were wrong, one hundred percent. Email marketing’s objective is to drive engagement in and of itself and honestly, there is no better way to do it.
Think of it as someone coming at your house and knocking on your door.
You will open the door, just for the sake of it. And now, imagine how rude not opening the door would be, if you had invited them in the first place.
Same goes for email marketing. If I subscribed to an email list, then I expect to receive updates and newsletters.
Email marketing is a foolproof way to convert, have a valid email list with interested leads, distribute content while having a content of its own… What’s not to like?
How to avoid it
By realizing the power of email marketing and creating an email list with interesting content, really.
Email is like a knock on the audience’s door, and an interesting knock, too.
Just pick out an email marketing and automation platform that works for you, like Moosend,and start creating interesting emails and distributing your content to your subscribers.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
3. You didn’t nail down exactly what you wanted to achieve
It’s only normal for a beginner, seeing as not many realize the importance of a solid foundation to build on.
Rather, most marketers that are only just starting, think that building on as they go is the best thing to do things, as they don’t have enough data, to begin with. But there are some things that you can determine, with little to no data:
- Your buyer personas
- Your KPIs (key performance indicators)
- Your objectives
- Where you’d like your brand to be in a year from now
The answers to these questions provide data, believe it or not, and they can help you set goals and organize your content marketing strategy more effectively.
How to avoid it
First of all, sit down and observe your demographics.
- What does the majority of your audience look like, in terms of demographics?
- Are they male or female?
- Single or married?
- What is their age group and budget?
- Do they make impulse purchases or plan their purchases beforehand?
- What is their educational background?
The answers to those questions hold valuable information that will help you create the personas, first and foremost. Your personas will help you set realistic goals.
More importantly, the personas will help you figure out exactly what your content should be.
For example, if the majority of your audience is people who are just starting their marketing career, you can’t expect them to find value in content that is overly complex.
Furthermore, if your audience is comprised, for the better part, of busy people who think that time is money, the best content you can create is a podcast that they can listen to on their way to work.
So the end goal is to create something your audience will not only find of use but also will be able to actually use.
Pro tip: Try to repurpose your content as well. You’ve got a blog post that didn’t do well? Don’t fret!
Instead, think that now, you’ve got the ideal content, all set and ready, to create a tutorial or an infographic!
4. SEO is not the (only) way to go
It’s true that, in order to be seen, you need to optimize, use keywords and SEO tactics and segmentation. Now, let’s assume that you’ve got these on point.
So, why is the result different from what you thought you’d score? Why are people not as engaged as you would’ve liked?
While SEO is the best way to rank high and gain visibility, it’s not the only way. So, don’t think that you need to optimize for SEO alone.
The first thing you’ll need to actually go through, is your data. You’ll build content based on what your audience wants and not what your SEO endeavors dictate, alone.
You need engagement and ranking higher on Google. Choosing one over the other just won’t do.
How to avoid it
Again, make data-driven decisions. You will need to find keywords that rank higher, sure, but not at the cost of your audience’s interests.
If the keyword “sea” ranks higher, but you’re an engineer and your ideal buyer persona is also an engineer, then you can’t focus on that.
What you can do, though, is find a way to incorporate this keyword into your content.
The key here that will help you avoid this mistake, would be to always think like a part of your audience when it comes to reviewing your content, and not like the marketer.
And now that I’ve got that all cleared up, here’s some SEO tools:
Because the point is not to overdo it with SEO. Ignore it completely and you’re doomed.
5. Sharing is caring
This is said for a reason, and content marketing shouldn’t be any different. So, let me ask you this: how did you try to get your point across? Which were the platforms you trusted?
If your answer contains the name of just one platform, well you should think again.
The volume of content produced nowadays is so large, there is no way posting on just Facebook, Instagram, Medium and so on and so forth, will do the trick.
How to avoid it
Find more channels to post your content in. Facebook and Instagram are powerful, sure, but did you try LinkedIn?
What about Slack communities? Guest blogging? Finding influencers in your niche, who will be happy with reading what you have to say and, eventually, collaborating with you?
Posting your content in one platform only is like clipping your own wings.
Your audience won’t find your content without knowing where to look, and the more the platforms, the bigger the audience.
Pro tip: Here’s a valuable source on content distribution for a bit of light reading!
6. Content is not meant for blogging alone
Let me hear you repeat that, please! Louder for the people at the back!
I know I said it before as well, but I’d like to make it crystal clear for those of you who didn’t realize. Content does not equal blogging.
Here are some things that are content:
- Posts on social media
There surely are more, but you get the gist, I suppose.
How to avoid it
Take a look at the data. Do your research. If your audience is more into YouTube, for example, go make yourself a channel and go crazy with webinars and vlogs.
If your audience prefers reading, then blog posts, social media posts and maybe infographics are for you. Also, don’t forget that the social media platforms your audience uses more, more or less dictate the content you should post.
Just do your A/B testing and don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they think. After all, they’re the reason you went into content marketing in the first place.
And by the way, asking them will give you more insight than you’d think, as you’ll be able to create a more accurate, less based on guesses and more based on data, buyer persona.
7. Are you in for the hard sell?
If so, I’ve got bad news for you… Hard sell won’t do you any favors. Neither overselling your talents and all the amazing value your product or service has, will.
Having something amazing to sell is great, but nobody will actually want it if you boast and pat yourself on the back instead of actually presenting the product’s true value.
Such tactics are reminiscent of spammy-looking websites and emails and 80’s and 90’s infomercials-they just won’t cut it anymore. Not in an industry as competitive as the marketing industry is.
How to avoid it
Think of the true value of what you’ve got to offer and present it using cold, hard facts. Be friendly. It’s been a long time since people began trusting other people and not marketers or advertisers.
- What does your product have to offer?
- Why would you buy it?
- Why would you follow your social media accounts?.
- Why would you read your blog?
Do you have an answer to these questions? If so, try and make the answers look as friendly as possible.
Oh, and include your audience in the process, while we’re at it. Ask them what it is that they love most about you.
Or better yet, ask them to create content about you! If they want to engage to the point where they collaborate with you, then they consider you a “friend”.
They want to be an active member of the community you’ve built. In short, you’ve won.
To sum up
These, of course, are not the only mistakes one can make when it comes to generating content and using content marketing. But they are some of the most important.
If you want to avoid mistakes and save yourself time, effort and resources, the most important thing to remember is that you’ll always need to innovate, keep things personal and always look at your data.
That way, you’ll be onto a very well-structured content strategy.
Is there something we forgot? Something you’d like to ask or add?
Please tell us in the comments!
Oh and don’t forget to share the knowledge!
Téa is a content writer working for email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas-and cats-to play with.