You have been working diligently on content marketing now for several months, maybe even a year or more, yet you are just not seeing the organic results you were hoping for. My bet is that it boils down to just one simple, yet subtle change in your approach.
Some Common Content Marketing Mistakes
But before I get to that, let’s talk about some of the common mistakes we see. In no particular order, here are five mistakes we see on a regular basis:
1. No Written Content Strategy
It has been well documented that those organizations that have a written content marketing strategy, consistently outperform those who do not. It just makes sense. Marketing is a complicated endeavor. You would not head off on a trip to visit a country you have never been to without doing some research and using a map. Why wouldn’t you do the same for a new content marketing initiative? It does not have to be a 40-page document, but you must answer some fundamental questions and prepare a plan before diving in.
2. Not Knowing Who Your Customers Are
I am not an advocate of spending lots of time and resources developing multiple, detailed personas for most situations. Yes, a Fortune 500 company with many different product lines will need to understand many different personas. But most of us do not need to go to extremes when it comes to persona development. Yet, we still see lots of companies creating significant amounts of content without considering who they are targeting.
3. Dismissing SEO
You spend a lot of time researching, creating, editing, publishing and promoting your content. Why not take a few minutes before you hit publish and check to see that you have the fundamentals in place? A quick checklist can ensure that you have created a solid title tag, a meaningful meta description, a proper H1, properly optimized images, and that you have formatted your document in a way that makes it very easy for people to scan before they decide to really consume it.
4. Not Continuously Sharing Your Content
Let’s say you did everything listed above. You have a strategy, understand who your customers are, wrote and optimized useful content for them and hit publish. Maybe you tweet it out once, but too often we see it stop there. Again, you have already done all the heavy lifting. Why not take 10 more minutes and schedule many more tweets for different time zones and different days of the week? Post it to your Facebook page. Put the images on Pinterest. Push out a status update on LinkedIn, and maybe two weeks later, republish a slightly edited version of the article there. All of that can be done in less than 15 minutes.
5. Your Executive Team Does Not Fully Understand True Content Marketing
In most cases, you had to get sign-off from someone on the executive team for the budget and concept of your new content marketing initiative. They may have even heard of content marketing and even understood what you were going to do at the time you presented it. But now months have gone by since you received that approval and content is starting to be produced… and that’s when a whole new set of problems arises. They want to see the content before it goes live. They wonder why it is not branded. Your content does not seem to be selling. It doesn’t even mention the company by name. They want every sentence perfect. Why are we giving away all this information? And now we have to re-educate the executives on what true content marketing is – and worse yet, they are not sure they really want to do this now. Sound familiar? I highly recommend you get as many people from your team to attend conferences or workshops to enlighten them and get everyone on the same page.
Your Single Biggest Content Marketing Mistake
What do you think is the single biggest mistake most companies are making when it comes to content marketing? Before reading on, stop and think about that for a minute. What is keeping you from achieving success?
Now let me give you my response. I bet it’s different than what you just listed in your own mind. But understand that I am going to answer this from the perspective that you have not yet had 12 months in a row of true content marketing success and have yet to see that ROI from your overall content marketing efforts. If you are already successful, and are seeing all of your metrics on a classic “hockey stick” trend, then my answer might not apply to you.
All of the mistakes listed above can sabotage your content efforts, but I feel there is one that I see over and over again. That mistake is NOT creating content that your prospects and customers are ACTUALLY searching for. Instead you are focused on keywords or worse, you are guessing at what would be interesting to your audience. While I am at it, I would say you are making a mistake if you are trying to create content with the hopes that people will share it.
Instead you must have the courage to create content that your audience is searching for using Google, Bing, or some other search tool. This could be from any device; desktops, tablets, phones, whatever. The reason I say it takes courage is that you will find people are searching for pricing or cost information, they search for comparisons and reviews, the search for “best of” and “top”, and they search for solutions to their problems. Are you providing that content? Will your executives approve that content?
On the Road to Success
The key to success (in the beginning) is to create the content people are searching for. In other words, they ask it – you answer it. Unless you have a big budget to promote your content, you are reliant on organic traffic. Therefore, you need to think hard about what people might be searching for related to your business. Then create that content.
To learn all the steps to success, including coming up with hundreds of content ideas, join me at the Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas where I will be speaking and teaching a workshop that will get your entire team on the right path to success.