We all dream of creating that one piece of content that goes viral with shares, comments, likes and reposts. But truthfully, not every piece we publish always turns out to be a huge success — it just doesn’t click with our audience.
If this is happening with your content, you might be making mistakes. But don’t beat yourself up over it — learn how to make it right.
Let’s take a look at the top five mistakes you should avoid making when it comes to content marketing:
Mistake #1: Forgetting to Lay the Groundwork
Before you start creating content, it’s important to have a plan in place. What should this piece of content achieve? What objectives would you like to cross off your checklist? If you don’t have specific goals to tie your efforts to, your content can lose purpose and lack solid direction. Ask the question to yourself: why will my reader care? Setting your content in that context is the first step to keeping a reader engaged.
It’s also important to step back and look at your bigger marketing picture. Determine where your content fits in. Is it addressing gaps? Does it make sense with the rest of your marketing messages and tactics? If so, then you’re on the right track. Another consideration is to survey a few of your current clients or prospects to uncover what they want to read about, where and how. By doing this, you will be delivering exactly what they want, in the right place and in the right format…whether it’s a blog, graphic, video or other piece of content.
Mistake #2: Overselling and Undereducating
While selling is often the name of the game in business, it can be tricky to incorporate within the body of your content. Pressing customers to purchase can leave a bad taste. Good content should aim to educate your audience, address their pain points and encourage solutions. The reason: a potential customer will have already completed most of their research about your company before they even contact you.
So save the content that aims to sell for the later stages of your sales process. They’ve done the background research and are likely comparing the service offering and pricing structure of your business and your competitors. When done right, content created for this type of end user can be highly effective and can drive that user to make the connection with your sales team.
TIP: Start a drip campaign fed through a marketing automation program to help you serve up this type of content at the right time to the right kind of potential customer.
Mistake #3: Failing to Use Calls-to-Action
Good content should always drive a reader to take a desired action. If content doesn’t encourage a new business lead, a social share, a comment or a download, it might not be reaching its full potential.
Calls-to-action can be included at the end, but also throughout the body of your blog posts, infographics and whitepapers. As stated by Marketing Interactions’ Ardath Albee, calls-to-action provide access to the next step.
Not only do they encourage action, but they also provide you with benchmarks and behavioural information about your audience. Setting up a goal on a call-to-action featured at the end of a blog post can show you how many people scrolled to the bottom of the page to download a free infographic or eBook that you’re offering in conjunction with a post.
Mistake #4: Implementing Content Marketing as an Afterthought
This mistake might be one of the most crucial ones to avoid. Content marketing is such an important slice of the modern marketing pie, and failure to treat it as such can have serious ramifications for your business. It shouldn’t be an add-on to your existing marketing strategy, but rather a key strategic function pulls everything together across your entire organization.
Content marketing must be integrated into everything you’re already doing to market your brand, including PR, events, collateral, advertising and even internal communications. An integrated content strategy results in a more consistent and coordinated approach, helping you to see the true return on investment of your efforts.
For those who still treat content creation as an “if there’s time…” marketing activity, you’ll miss essential opportunities to engage with and educate potential customers, partners and thought leaders who can help share your hard work online.
Not only that, but well-planned, well-organized content is critical when it comes to search engine optimization. Every search engine query is made with intent. Searchers want to find, learn, fix, purchase, fix, solve, treat or understand. As explained by Moz, search engines organize results in order of how relevant or helpful the content on the page is in addressing a searcher’s query. Not producing excellent, keyword-optimized content on the regular? Good luck getting found in your customer’s search engine of choice.
Read more: Five Fatal Content Marketing Mistakes