Content marketing is, without any doubt, one of the best ways to generate leads which eventually increases sales. In fact, it is a favorite among the marketers for various reasons. For starters, it is at the core of the business digital presence. Content is what makes up a promotional side (Facebook ads for instance) or a professional website and business social media pages. Furthermore, it doesn’t irrecoverably drain your budget. Content is cost-effective and can help you get you tenfold of your initial investment. At least, that’s how it should be. Given the content is good.
Most people assume the content making process means just churning it out and posting it on an internet platform should be enough. But that is far from the truth. So today we share some hard-learned lessons (most of them come from personal experience) in the form of mistakes that every marketer is guilty of making. And more importantly, what should be done to overcome those mistakes.
Content writing is simple, but requires more than just writing a couple of blog posts every month. And it is created to be presented and compete against a highly crowded market. Doesn’t matter who you are creating it for. Could be future collaborators, customers or competitors. You have to go to several lengths to get noticed by people within your niche. Most people jump into the content marketing bandwagon without even know what kind of content they have to make. They don’t pay attention to the inevitable mistakes they make during the process.
Content Marketing How To
First things first, when most people heart ‘content’ in a ‘content marketing’ context, they immediately think about blogging, or writing for a business website. Which is correct, but not entirely. Creating texts and articles is not everything there is about content. It can cover much more than that. Visual and audio content is just as important as the verbal one. The most optimal choice though is to create the combination of all kinds of content, given it’s relevant and expresses what you want to convey in a certain message.
One Way To Demonstrate to Your Audience That Your Message Is Designed Specifically for Them Is To Know What They Want
Content is created for the audience. It doesn’t matter who the target is, meaning whether they are your customers or a business you want to close the deal with. What matter though, is how big or small they are, what demographic, the area of their operation, even small things like their activity levels on social media can be important. Meaning, you have to show the audience your content is specifically customized for them. And this can be achieved only through doing a thorough market research beforehand.
Not researching the type of content your audience wants is the most common mistakes. And usually it’s something new marketers struggle with. To be aware of the fact that doing market research ahead of the time is the first step in content marketing creation process is already a good start. The next step is to actually do the research. How do you do that?
Let’s say you are a writer that has to create content for a business. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean just typing out a text. It has to be the combination of visual content (videos and/or images), SEO and even audio content where needed. You don’t have to create all of this on your own. Nobody’s going to demand from a writer to go out and shoot couple of photos for an article they are writing. You can simply utilize what already exists on the internet, as long as you give credits where it’s due.
Not Doing The Research Part
Big companies with large team of professional marketers use special tools or request market analysis. These are effective of course but also costly. There are popular alternatives you can utilize as a new creator. Some people simply read other popular blogs to draw ideas for their own content. Is it really the right way to do it?
Yes and no. Yes, because getting inspired is the easiest when you have an initial material to work with. No because everyone has a different audience. Even if you are writing for the seemingly same audience the blog you are getting inspiration from has a different specificities than you. The key here is to take the inspiration, but adjust and customize it.
Let’s take an example. Say, your website helps startups grow traffic for their website so you have to create content about that. The keywords are about growing the traffic and creating commercial ads. Most popular blogs you will see on the Google first page when you search this up will be a general talk and the examples of popular brands. It may make an interesting article but it is unlikely that fresh startups will benefit from a general overview on how to go about it if they want to be in the place of Coca-Cola.
The reason being they don’t have extravagant funds to splurge on commercial advertising. What you should do is create a customized content based on successful personal experiences from the similar startup companies that focuses on short term goals. So don’t just read popular blogs on Google and move on. Search elsewhere too. Especially on social media. You can, in fact, write an analysis based on your observations.
A survey revealed that 55% of people say that the content they receive is not interesting to relevant to them. If your content falls under that category, here’s how to remedy that: research what appeals to your audience. Researching about your customer interests is something you can’t forget if you want to excel in your content marketing endeavors. Before writing, don’t think about what’s interesting to you, but instead always make sure that you know what will appeal to your audience.
The Importance Of Incorporating Visual Content
Not adding visual content means readers will easily lose their interest.
A lot of people simply post their content without a single image and no formatting whatsoever. And that’s another mistake you should avoid. What they don’t realize is that this is damaging to their content marketing process. The text ends up looking too much like an academic textbook. How many individuals have you seen that enjoy reading academic articles? Even PHD candidates hate it and it’s their actual job to read them.
Writing this kind of verbal content means creating a large chunk of text without a visually appealing image in sight and nothing to break up the text. This lack of visual content makes the text extremely bland and boring.
And by visual content, we don’t just mean adding an image or two here and there in your blog post. That may be acceptable, but it is not nearly enough. Why? Because, while stock images are a good way to break your content, they still are not appealing enough. Especially when used repetitively.
So, what else can you do? There are all sorts of engaging visual content that you can add to your text including videos and infographics. In a study, 41.5% of marketers said that original graphics, such as infographics and illustrations, performed best out of all their content marketing strategies. Infographics are especially helpful because it’s an image that includes everything from colors to short and to the point textual explanations and great formatting. People can just read that and be done for the day.
Can You Create Visual Content On Your Own?
Absolutely. It’s in human nature to get pulled by something visually appealing. And the overall creation process is much better and can be done faster than when you are writing plain text.
First thing to get out of the way. Nobody is against stock photos, or using any photo or a video for that matter. The key here is to give credits accordingly. You can put links to the original owners alongside their names. Sometimes you may have to email them to ask for the permission to use an image or a video. But usually, it’s not that dramatic. Just give credits.
As for the infographics. Don’t break out in sweat at the prospect of hiring a graphic designer to make infographics for you. You can do it on your own and that too in minutes. Search online for free tools to help you make free designs. Mostly, all you have to do is create an account (for free!) and choose a relevant template.
There are usually a dozen free templates to choose from and the best part is, you can customize the templates by changing its color, background and more as per your company or content type. So don’t just stick to plain text blog posts or just a couple of stock images. Step up your content marketing game with infographics and videos.
Inaccuracies Within Your Content
Exaggerating facts and figures to suit your narrative will break your reader’s trust.
Unfortunately, it is a common practice in the field that many writers adopt. In fact, most statistics are made up on the spot. The reader don’t really check if a random statistic is true. But they can. If they simply Google the stats they will most likely see the difference between the numbers. Not fact checking is one of the most common content marketing mistakes.
It is a known fact that many content marketers simply use some cherry-picked quotations, misquote the original or exaggerate what was said. Simply align the narrative with their stories. This does not help the audience and they can tell. Especially if we are talking about B2B content marketing. It will most likely cost you everything if you try to make up or exaggerate facts here.
What is the solution here?
In the end, your aim is not to write the most appealing content. Well it’s a part of it. The aim should be to write the content that appeals to the audience but at the same time it should be useful. So rather than giving out false statistics, you should try to quote stats from the credible sources. You can go to media, educational, and government websites to double-check facts and figures before using them.
For example, check out the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. They provide updated stats on current employment, pay, productivity and other stats pertaining to the country’s workforce. It’s just an example. There are so many similar reputable sources in your niche, where you can double-check your stats.
The Internet is inundated with fake news and wrong answers. You don’t want to be someone who is included in the list of fake news providers. Because in the end, people start realizing this faux pas and they will immediately stop reading your content altogether.
Releasing Content At the Wrong Time
If you plan to do real-time marketing, you need to use the right timing.
No matter how appealing your content is, releasing it at the wrong time is simply a no-go. It’s a major mistake. Especially when it comes to social media sharing, content marketing is often time sensitive. When you share your content is as important as what you share and where you share it.
For example, you run a tech blog. Your most loyal audience probably fall under the age group of 16 – 25 year old. Thus, you have more chances of drawing traffic if you share your content in the morning (before they go out for their schools, universities and jobs) or in the evening, after 4 PM (this is when they come back or at least take break). So be mindful of the timings of sharing your content.
Now the timings given in the example above are not something universal that you can utilize on all social media. Below are two more examples of the right timing strategy for the two most popular social media platforms.
Saturday is indisputably the best day to share your content on Facebook. It gets nearly twice as many shares than on any other day. When it comes to the exact hours, the best time to share on Facebook is in the afternoon. 7 PM is a close second. Oddly enough, posting at 2 AM is also highly effective.
Do you know that an average lifespan of a tweet is about 15 minutes, so you have to do your best to make it count. The largest percentage of retweets occurs around 5 PM. If you want maximum click-through rate, then consider tweeting at noon and/or 6 PM.
Has Your Content Marketing Approach Worked?
Not keeping track of your content marketing success means you have no evaluation of your control marketing plan.
You are spending hours and hours in your content marketing endeavors, but do you know what sort of content is generating maximum end result? Another common mistake is abandoning your content after you are done with the creation process. How do you know then, that what you have done has worked? What if it’s not doing that well, but because you never checked, you keep the “tried’ approach for the future creation process.
The good thing about controlling what you’ve done post the creation and release is that checking how it’s doing is actually free. Unless you are willing to pay someone for a full blown analysis with the mistakes pointed out in details and probably also the list of the ways you can fix them. There are free tools you can utilize.
Content platforms like Quora, YouTube, and many others have their own analytics. If you are using WordPress, it also offers its own analytics to make it easy for you to analyze how your content marketing strategy is working out. Another great way to check your website traffic is by making a free account on Google Analytics.
With these analytics tools, you can see a broader picture of your content marketing progress or the lack of it. However, if you are going into future blindly, you are missing out on quantifying your success and avoiding failures.
Content marketing is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. And it’s necessary for everybody trying to make it out there. It not only helps you in generating traffic for your website or social media, but also builds your brand status and increases your authority on the market.
However, like everything else, it will only work when it’s done in the right way. Simply running through the content marketing process by writing up texts, without understanding the needs of your customer or analyzing your efforts is the wrong way to go about it.
Make sure that you steer clear of the above-mentioned content marketing mistakes. And even if you are guilty of any of these anomalies, it’s better late than never. Whenever you learn about what you can do and start utilizing it, you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way.