Did you know that 76% of B2B marketers say they will produce even more content in 2016? (source)
So it’s time to UP your content game!
I am sure you have an all new game plan set for achieving your content marketing goals this year. You must have written down your strategy, created a road map, delegated tasks to resources, formed to-do lists for the foreseeable future and even an everyday checklist to follow.
But wait, did you get yourself a checklist of mistakes that you should avoid while marketing your content?
If not, this post is for you. Here are a few mistakes which will only hurt your marketing goals, if not avoided.
1. Forgetting to act on customer feedback from the comments section
The whole point of content marketing is cutting right into the customer’s mind. Your content must be created, produced and edited solely for this purpose only.
The best way to get valuable information on what consumers want from you are the comments on your content piece.Paying attention to customer feedback in the is a crucial step towards building a customer centric organization.
For example, if a couple of your consumers have requested you to write a post on ‘how to learn coding’ in the comments section of your old post, what do you do? You drop everything on your plate and get the post published as soon as you can. Why? It’s safe to assume that a good proportion of your target segment is looking forward to it.
Comments section is a place where you get amazing feedback without having to shoot out feedback emails to your consumers and readers. Incidentally it is also the place where you meet most prospective customers.
So, don’t just interact, remember what they said.
2. Following an erratic publishing schedule
Content marketing has two main goals:
- Generate leads and revenue
- Build a brand reputation
Having an irregular publishing schedule will definitely not help you create brand reputation. For example, if you publish 20 posts in one month and publish 2 posts in the next month, you may generate some leads but your blog won’t have a name for itself in the consumer’s mind.
If you show a lack of consistency in your content, you will be failing to create long term value and brand reputation for your company.
3. Resorting to blatant self-promotion
There is nothing wrong with throwing a little bit of spotlight on yourself, but doing so subtly is important.
Think of it this way – if you create a really useful article that helps the readers, you have earned the right to link yourself or talk about yourself in the post.
This is an unsaid rule every good content marketer lives and should live by.
Writing an article with the sole purpose of promoting yourself and your ‘fantastic’ accomplishments, will definitely backfire. People can sniff out your true intentions and hence, wouldn’t even bother giving your content a read.
You can stick to the 5-3-2 ratio, while promoting yourself.
According to 5-3-2 ratio, while posting on social media..
5 – posts from others
3 – posts from you
2 – personal updates
Here is a little bit more about 5-3-2 ratio idea.
But a nifty hack that won’t make you look all too selfish and blatantly promoting what your business offers, is the Twitter Leapfrog Method. The tactic actually focuses on creating a high value piece of content specific to your industry, then reaching out to people who have previously shown interest in similar topics and encouraging them to share it with their audience.
You’re able to promote yourself as an expert and add value to the readers at the same time. Win-win!
4. Badmouthing competition through your content
Healthy competition and throwing a couple of punches at each other is acceptable, but absolutely bad mouthing them near your customers is not going to help and may even backfire.
Here are two reasons why you shouldn’t badmouth your competition:
- People don’t care about what you think of your competition, as they know your opinion will be biased.
- Obvious and unabashed bad-mouthing of competition is associated with lack of grace and quality, which will corrupt your brand image.
Remember, nobody likes a meanie! That’s not a tag you want to attach to your brand.
5. Not using business storytelling to your advantage
A lot of content marketers think that getting links is the sole purpose of writing and producing content.
So here is what they do – they collect a bunch of facts and stuff them together, throw in a couple of stats and a chunk of gibberish-like information, to make it look like an article.
What they don’t realise (until it’s very late), is that – this doesn’t work!
These not-so-smart tactics fail terribly in the area of creating user engagement and if there is no user engagement, there are no conversions. The mistake these marketers make is to not use the power of business storytelling to capture their reader’s complete attention.
A post should be like a story, with a problem, explanation, solution and moral. It is important to take the time to perfectly craft every article into an engaging read for your audience, using the art of business storytelling.
If you are not convinced about using storytelling yet, read the book Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story by Kendall Haven.
6. Gathering content from the internet, rather than personal experience
Let’s say you are a startup founder and you decided to write and share your expertise via posts on Linkedin pulse. When other Linkedin users see your post and your profile, they will be excited to read about what you have to say, because as a founder of a company, you will have a lot of self-learnt lessons and personal experiences from which they can learn too.
Now, how disappointing would it be if they open your post and all they find is a bunch of well-researched or well-googled points and nothing unique to offer?
The only way to succeed in content marketing is by having something you and only you can tell.
Here are some suggestions:
- Share some personal anecdotes through your content.
- If you state some advice, give them a personal story to corroborate that.
- Share stories of your failures and the lessons you learnt.
- Tell them about some ugly truths no one is ready to talk about.
7. Not repurposing your content
Original ideas are great, no doubt! But, it is impractical and naive to want to come up with a new idea every single time you need to write a post.
Trust me, people are not against the repetition of ideas, given that you can find new ways to express an old idea. So revisit your old content and see if you can give it a new angle.
Here are some ways to successfully repurpose your content:
- Reuse the idea, but not the whole content itself.
- Use visual content to add a bit more spark and flare in expressing your idea.
- Update old examples in the content with latest examples and experiences.
8. Ignoring distribution
Did you know that the movie industry spends 50% of its budgets on production and the other 50% on distribution?
Budgets should be divided in the same way for content marketing too, because great content will not be enough to get your website to the top of the search results.
Investing in paid distribution on platforms like Linkedin, Facebook etc can be a great way to give yourself a broader outreach and engagement with audience. Using pay-per-click services, where you pay only when you receive actual traffic would also be a smart choice.
With distribution, you can multiply the impact your content has on your revenue, thereby shooting your ROI through the roof.
9. Not collaborating with the product team while producing content
I hardly need to tell you why and how collaboration is the key to getting any task done efficiently and more effectively within a company. Because in the end no task or department is independent of each other.
Patrick Lencioni said, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
You can craft the perfect marketing message only by being in sync with the product team and understanding the ins and outs of the product/service. This is the only way to identify your unique selling point and craft a compelling marketing message.
It is the content marketer’s job to find the differentiators in the product. And this involves extracting a message for the consumer from all the jargon given to you by the product team. The thing you need to be careful about is that – in the process of converting the message from technical to creative, you may end up losing valuable key points about the product.
10. Not finding a balance between analytics and art of marketing
It is undeniable that marketing is both an art and a science. It is not enough to create the most amazing, unique, creative content, but it should also be search engine optimized and must have good backlinks to you.
Focusing too much on either analytics or creation can stifle the flow of the other and hence, the real challenge is to lay out a strategy where you find a smart balance between the two aspects of marketing.
Here is a post from HBR on both-brain approach, which you can use to frame your marketing strategy and figure the right balance between analytics and creativity for your business. Once you decide on a strategy, you must ensure that you are sticking to it and not getting carried away by the spur of the moment.
Finding the right balance will boost the value and ROI of content drastically.
“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world you are one.”
About the Author
Niraj Ranjan Rout is the Founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool.