Content marketing is about creating and sharing content to serve customers, solve problems, and build relationships.
Done well, the content you publish is relevant, useful, and entertaining. It engages visitors and keeps them coming back.
You not only enhance your brand, but you also bring home organic traffic when you help your audience with a problem they have.
Alas, no shortage of potential mishaps lies in a dyed-in-the-wool content marketer’s way.
This article walks you through mishaps to fix and pitfalls to avoid.
Let’s jump straight in! Or something like that.
Clarify Your Content Marketing Goals
Having great content is as key as the cliche has it, but putting it in the service of strategic business goals is how you make content and marketing count.
Your goal is to build and market a business, after all.
You want to get the most bang for your buck from your efforts.
That means you’ll need a compass to guide how that’ll work.
The basic idea of content marketing is solving problems with content that educates or entertains and then converting your readers into customers. Yet, believe it or not, a significant percentage of marketers eschew having a well-defined content marketing strategy at all.
A real head-scratcher when you consider that, according to studies, companies who figure out their content marketing goals and how they plan to achieve them succeed more reliably.
So make use of free web meeting solutions if you have to. And get to planning with your team.
The content aspect of content marketing is about flexing your knowledge and providing an abundance of valuable tutorial content.
Too many marketers, however, settle for subpar.
Without exception, every piece of content you publish should be clear, engaging, and thoughtful.
Teams going with a quantity-over-quality approach often crash and burn.
With quality so critical, at a minimum, it ought to be well written.
A marketer’s job is to ensure content shines, just like a contact center agent on a fixed VoIP phone, for example, would put their best customer-facing foot forward.
How else will people read and share it?
There’s some truth to the modern mantra that audiences have the attention span of Dory from Finding Nemo.
But it’s no reason to be down about your chances of getting them to consume brilliant content they care about.
This is especially the case when you pull out all the stops to make content accessible and easy to read. Think about what makes a user-friendly experience.
To keep it interesting, remember not to let your content needle get stuck on any single form.
Vary it up with an enticing mix of video, images, gifs, infographics, or any content your target audience is likely to appreciate.
Another good general rule of thumb is, keep things scannable. For smaller businesses, personalizing websites goes hand in hand with hosting entertaining content.
And have a clear call to action.
Finally, don’t hesitate to do a deep dive on content that matters to your audience, even a series. And you can repurpose it in different forms to get more mileage from your hard work.
But also, consider zooming out and going with a much wider lens to mine context, trends, and the culture at large for content ideas and angles that could set you apart.
Steer Clear of Clickbait
Content marketing is about earning trust and building a good rapport.
When you provide value via helpful, insightful, inspiring content, you earn appreciation from your audience.
You seem knowledgeable and competent and get to showcase your personality – all of which increases the chances that new prospects will find you approachable.
By and by, they trust you. You become an authority in your niche.
Natch, they’ll want to work with you. Sometimes, you may win a customer for life.
Valuable content is like your currency to earn the trust that translates into conversions.
Let’s suppose a current major goal of yours was to keep end-users or increase app stickiness, as they say. In such a scenario, you’d aim to provide meaningful value for your user to retain their loyalty.
Simple as it sounds, content marketing is no different.
Whatever you do, avoid being tempted by clickbait, as it undermines the very trust and authority on which your success depends!
Speaking of temptation, too many content marketers still fall into the trap of overselling.
They confuse effective content marketing with a sales pitch.
We’re all familiar with how cringey the insincere corporate overture can be.
Overeager and overdoing calls to action – you’ll discourage potential customers.
Remember the key to content marketing that works: Answering pressing questions and solving the problems that rankle with your visitors.
And how do you do that? Well, the first step is getting attuned to how you can help customers.
A top-class content marketing strategy delves into prospects’ problems and makes an effort to relate to their pain points.
Even better, proactive marketers will solicit information from customers about the problems they face – whether through old-school emails or business calls on a voice over internet protocol app.
Listen and explore the issues causing them to lose sleep. Then, once you have a clear idea of their problem or need, paint the picture and tell a story about how you have the solution.
Scattershot Approach (a.k.a. One-Size-Fits-All Content)
Another common mishap is when marketers forget to reflect on their target audience. Who is your content for?
You can create the content they want to consume only when you know the answer.
It’s safe to say you probably had a decent idea of your audience when you started your company. All the same, your actual audience develops.
One way of gaining a better understanding of your ideal customers is practicing social listening.
Collect insights from social media to understand more about existing customers and find new audiences.
Having a clearer idea of your ideal customer is an absolute prerequisite for tailoring your content to their needs.
Put yourself in their shoes and create avatars that will represent typical problems and you’ll soon clarify the kinds of resources you can offer to help.
Rather than targeting anyone and everyone, committing to your ideal customer is a mental exercise that helps sharpen your content marketing.
Whether for people new to your products or services, people who are already intent on buying, or buyers who require follow-up advice, it’ll help you create meaningful content that nurtures and connects.
Know Your SEO
While SEO copywriting is still incredibly important, and keyword research still matters, they have updated the search engine algorithms from the early days of content marketing.
In the past, marketers could, in their desire to elevate their ranking, subordinate the user experience to their SEO.
Today, optimizing the experience for the human beings who consume your content is the cardinal rule.
SEO is about providing appealing content that sparks conversations and attracts shares.
And it figures: No one ever has to ask why are reviews important?
The more trust and authority you can establish, the higher page rankings you’ll experience since Google uses these as proxies of quality and relevance.
So cut out on overstuffing your content with keywords. Verbal word salad alienates.
Instead, conduct research and then use the language your audience uses when they’re searching for your content.
They have drilled it into us so much that we might excusably get the wrong idea.
That crafting quality content is such a holy writ that it causes us to stop there.
Content is king, yes, but it doesn’t have magical powers.
The truth is, producing winning content is only half the job.
And your prospective audience is unlikely to discover your content absent skillful promotion.
Content marketing starts once you post your articles.
Okay, but how do you boost the chances people will see your content?
Unless you’re publishing on a sizable platform to a substantial audience, the chances of your potential audience seeing it are pretty modest.
An effective generic start, though, is simply sharing it across all of your social media.
Think about what makes your content go viral. Some brands are turning to influencer whitelisting. Compelling content gets you more links, shares, and conversations – ultimately more notice.
And content that attracts shares brings a fresh flow of customers that keeps your business humming along nicely.
On the other hand, don’t overlook the ways you can create richer experiences for your existing customers. Tap into the power of their loyalty as your valuable source of referrals and repeat business.
Pro-tip: try to create content that allows your visitors to interact.
Know What’s Working
E. L. Doctorow famously said that writing a novel is like driving a car at night: ‘’You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way’’.
Which also turned out to be brilliant advice for living life itself.
Yet, we hope that being effective in business and content marketing is not quite as much of a leap of faith.
More about goals, than guesses.
The only way to create, iterate, and discover what is working with your content marketing efforts is to measure its effectiveness.
Your goal is to build an audience by publishing consistently authoritative content.
But without tracking your progress with analytics tools, you’ll be laboring under a partial view.
To Wrap Up
Earning your audience’s attention and persuading them that your content is worth their time takes planning, research, skill, empathy, and much more besides.
For all that content marketing has sometimes gotten a bad rap, not having such a strategy could crimp your progress as an online business.
A thoughtful content marketing strategy skirts the mishaps we outlined above. So make use of our recommendations.
Solve problems. Build great relationships.
Turn readers into customers and customers into fans of your brand.
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