Everybody seems to be jumping onto the content marketing bandwagon these days. Whether it is to generate business leads, reach out to target audience, or thought leadership, content marketing seems to be the buzzword. But, is it as easy as it seems? Not really, it is a different ball game altogether.
Content marketing has evolved over a period of time. Focus is now more towards sharing valuable information and building meaningful relationships, rather than hard selling. Customers expect to access information across multiple platforms and devices.
However, many web development companies continue with blatant advertising. On the other hand, some business owners think content marketing to be simple enough to be managed by anybody. Remember, content marketing expects full-time engagement if you want to see results.
In this article, we will take a look at some content marketing mistakes businesses should avoid in 2020
#1 Not putting distribution at the heart of content marketing
For all those who believe that content marketing is all about content creation and publication, it is time for a reality check. Great content goes unnoticed and unread on a daily basis on the Internet. True value comes from content distribution, which makes it a cornerstone of a successful marketing strategy.
The content distribution will help businesses march ahead in this highly competitive and saturated market. While marketers are still grappling with producing more or better content, the real debate should be on how much to spend on promotion. Simply because just creating great content is not enough.
There are primarily three different types of promotion- owned, earned, and paid. You should narrow down on your goals before selecting appropriate distribution channels for content.
PAID CONTENT DISTRIBUTION
There are many services available to help marketers distribute content in an advertorial manner. By focusing on distribution, content marketers can improve traffic, conversions, regular readers and lots more. These services can attract millions of eyeballs.
EARNED CONTENT DISTRIBUTION
This method is all about earning it the hard way. You can reach out to influencers, thought leaders, journalists and build relationships with branded publications in a bid to get your content organically featured in the most populous sites of the Internet. Ultimately, this will assist with distribution and ensure your content reaches your target market.
#2 Are you serious? Not making them laugh
Gone are the days of mundane corporate-speak and dull, boring campaigns. A sense of humor and business candor in the world of content marketing will help you strike a chord with your target audience. Large corporations are still skeptical about injecting humor into their content marketing efforts; fearing customers will equate humor with a lack of professionalism. However, this has been less true in recent years.
As brands strive to connect with the savvy millennials, mark the future as the year of humor in content marketing. Humor makes your content far more interesting, easier to decipher and exciting.
Elements of humor will greatly improve any content piece’s shelf life and make otherwise excruciatingly dull content enjoyable. It is high time to develop more relaxed and casual rapport with your audience rather than bombarding them with incomprehensible technical jargon.
Just let go of bland sophistication and monotony from your content. You will be astonished to see the results.
#3 Downplaying visual storytelling strategy
How many times have you heard or read “Content is king” recently? Well, I am sure you must have lost count. There is no denying that content rules. But visual storytelling helps to bring your story to life, build brand awareness and trust. Whether it is images, videos, infographics for presentations, don’t shy away from experimenting with different types of visuals.
Visual stories that spark emotion will help companies get noticed, deliver positive experiences and trigger immediate responses.
#4 Not identifying buyer personas
Know your audience: One of the most fundamental, yet blatantly ignored rules of content marketing. In a bid to churn out content on a regular basis, we just preach and create content that’s all about the benefits of our product and services instead of helping a potential buyer. Ultimately, everything boils down to what your prospects want and customers care about.
To create content that’s valuable, you need to identify buyer personas you’re interested in targeting. You can create a list of the traits of your most preferred customers, identify problem areas, and concerns regarding your product/services and what users hope to achieve.
Once you have the data, personalize your message. Stay away from the temptation of blasting an email newsletter to everyone who signed up. More relevant your content, the more effective it will be.
Here are quick pointers to consider
- Understand who your audience is
- Identify what type of content they’re sharing and consider valuable
- Strive to build and maintain relationships
- Stay involved and participate in conversations
#5 Hard sell? You are likely to be dismissed
Is your content marketing all about selling, selling, and only selling? It is time to rethink your strategy. Content marketing provides your brand with a revolutionary way to connect with your target audience.
The main rationale behind content marketing is to attract your audience towards your brand and not push them to buy. It aims at strategically using content to win your audience’s trust in hopes of developing a long-term partnership that transcends beyond a single transaction or purchase.
Roll up your sleeves folks, it’s time to show that you care. That means dedicating more resources toward making user’s life easy, like answering customer concerns and providing more value online.
#6 Do-it-yourself syndrome
Content marketing is not an easy ball game. It is an ultimate form of collaboration, storytelling, and sharing. You may be running a successful start-up, but it doesn’t mean you can create content all by yourself. Share content that others have created (of course with proper credit).
Recruit guest writers or bloggers to help spearhead your efforts. Another way to create content is by conducting interviews. You can interview a thought leader, a new customer, influencer or an employee. Always encourage a different perspective and stay away from me, me, myself approach.
#7 No measurable results?
Are you not measuring your content marketing results? Don’t be embarrassed, you are not the only one. According to a recent survey, only 21% of marketers say they are successful at tracking ROI. It’s extremely important to know what’s working and what’s not in order to rethink your budgeting decision. Be smart about resource allocation and investment.
#8 Ignorant of the mobile revolution
There are billions of global smartphone users. Quintessentially, this indicates that smartphone users went up by a whopping one billion. Is your content marketing in sync with the mobile revolution?
Whether it is booking your air tickets or comparing different products, busy professionals spend more time on their smartphones. Does your content render well on smartphones or makes optimum use of small screen estate of mobile devices? Think carefully about the length of your message, format, and visual elements that will shape the user experience.
The better the mobile experience, the higher are the chances of success rate. Mobile compatibility is not an obligation to users, rather a business reality.
#9 Not documenting your strategy
According to a survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute, 83 percent of marketers have a content marketing strategy, while only 35 percent have a documented strategy. The remaining 43 percent depend on verbal guidelines.
Companies that document their strategy produce more content, publish across more platforms, and most importantly are more successful at tracking ROI. It comes as no surprise that companies with a written strategy are more satisfied with the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. The year 2020 will witness a paradigm shift as businesses will get serious about documenting their content strategy and rise above the disorder.
#10 Tangent to Keyword research
Not using Keyword Research in your content marketing strategy is a cardinal sin. Don’t think about content planning without your favorite keyword research tool. Keep in mind– create content that people actually want, craft compelling headlines, manage the on-page SEO, and build a rich link portfolio.
The best bet is to apply the search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to every piece of content to improve your reach.
Answer these simple questions: Who is your target audience? What are they looking for? What keywords will they use in search box to find answers?
That’s what you need to know.
Companies that are successful at content marketing understand their audience, distribution capabilities, and brand reputation. Remember, content marketing is all about building relationships and not just conducting one-time transactions.
Albert Smith is Digital Marketing Manager at Hidden Brains, a leading web & mobile app development company specializing in mobile & web applications, IoT, Cloud and Big Data services. He provides innovative ways to help tech companies, startups and large enterprises build their brand.