Content marketing is an art and a science. It is not something a company can (or should) engage in haphazardly. Content marketing paints a portrait of your company – it showcases who you are, what you do, and what you represent. Great content marketing allows a brand to shine, while unfortunate oversights threaten the integrity of the entire organization.
It’s 2017, and consumer patience for content marketing mistakes is wearing thin. Help yourself and your clients avoid these marketing blunders and earn a reputation as smart, savvy, and successful.
1: Ignoring Your Audience
You wouldn’t show up to an important business meeting in sweats and flip-flops… unless you wanted it to end badly. You know you need to dress appropriately for your intended audience. So why would you try to push content that doesn’t fit the intended reader? Tailoring content to the target audience is one of the most important – and often underrated – aspects of content marketing. Without paying ample attention to who you want to read your material, there is no way you can create the type of poignant, relevant content that works.
First, create a persona of your ideal demographic. What is this person’s age, gender, income, location? What does this person need from your company? Make your persona as detailed and realistic as possible. Give him/her a name, a job, hobbies, a family. Then craft your content marketing strategy around this person – not a massive audience.
Tailoring your strategy around just one person helps you keep your message clear, concise, and true to the point. Instead of trying to please everyone (which is impossible), try to please this made-up persona.
Paying attention to one’s audience is a major first step in content marketing. Only an in-depth knowledge of who you’re marketing to can help you choose the correct channels, platforms, and language. Content written without an audience becomes just that – content with no audience. B2B and B2C businesses alike need to focus intently on the audience before engaging in any content marketing strategy.
2: Going for Stock Content
You might think investing in cheap content is the best way to get the most for your money, but you’d be wrong. Today’s consumers don’t want stock content. They want originality, individuality, and authenticity. Google’s algorithms prove this – the search engine rewards websites that have original, valuable, authentic, and authoritative content. Excellent content may take more effort, but it is well worth the returns in search engine rankings and brand recognition. Creating unique content takes research, patience, and skill. Not everybody can create engaging content. Luckily, there is a simple, cost-effective solution – outsourcing your content.
Outsourcing content has many advantages, from better search engine optimization results to access to a broader skill set. Your end clients never have to settle for stock content – or worse – writers who plagiarize others’ work. This will not only fail to deliver the benefits of original content, but it will actually hurt the company.
You may be asking if consumers can tell the difference. As it turns out, they can – according to Neil Patel (a highly successful marketer himself), content marketing leaders get about 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders get. “Content leaders,” in this case, are those who craft compelling and valuable content for their readers. Consumers are savvy about businesses that cut corners and try to skimp on content. Generic, boring content is one of the quickest ways to lose traction as a business. Don’t make this epic fail when a simple solution is available.
3: Treating Content Marketing as an Afterthought
With the myriad components of running a business, it’s not surprising that content marketing sometimes falls to the wayside. However, letting it become an afterthought can lead to ineffective campaigns and wasted resources. Content marketing should be a mainstay of your business strategy from the beginning. Prioritizing this critical element is the only way to give it the time and attention it deserves.
Content marketing has incredible power to boost brand awareness, site traffic, and sales. When positioned correctly, your content campaigns can work wonders on your bottom line. You cannot use content marketing to its fullest potential without dedicating the right amount of time, effort, and energy to it. Anything less exposes you to making costly blunders – much like those on this list. Rushed, poorly fleshed out marketing campaigns will fail to impress your audience. Make content marketing a staple ingredient in your business plan, not a disposable extra.
4: Making Social Media Slip-Ups
When something major happens, social media is the first place modern consumers go to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. People expect brands to do the same. Yet many companies fail to make a real impact on customers and make horrendous social media blunders. Think back to the most recent national news headline. Odds are, many major companies commented on the topic via social media. Even more likely are the cringe-worthy mistakes some companies made doing so. Here’s a great example:
Cheerios posted this photo after Prince passed away, much to the chagrin and outrage of thousands of fans. Angry consumers berated the company for using Prince’s death as a marketing tool to focus attention on the brand. Using Cheerios in the post made it seem more like an advertising stunt than an actual tribute to Prince. Needless to say, Cheerios removed the post and issued an apology – but the damage was already done.
When executed correctly, social media marketing can raise brand awareness, generate organic interest in a company, and work exceptionally well for word-of-mouth advertising. It can position a brand as innovative and engaging, communicating with its consumers on their preferred channels. A 2016 study by Statista showed a solid social media marketing strategy could increase exposure by 89%, boost traffic by 75%, and improve sales by 51%. Social media marketing can also improve brand loyalty and search rankings.
5: Failing to Invest in the Right Resources
Your client’s best chance of avoiding social media and other painful marketing slip-ups is to partner with a content strategist. Working with a professional content provider can ensure your end clients – and your own company – never make these harmful industry mistakes. The future of a company can rest in how well it executes its content marketing strategy. Don’t compromise quality to save time or money. In reality, your client will lose both without investing in the proper content marketing partner.
Content Equals Money takes a custom approach to content, tailoring each project to the specific client’s needs and audience. We safeguard companies against costly content marketing pitfalls and set them up for long-term success. With help from our team of highly qualified U.S-based writers, your content and your client’s content can fulfill its destiny – making your brand shine.
Originally posted March 23, 2017 on business2community.com