It’s almost impossible to effectively market your products, services or brand online without effective content. Content has to be entertaining, engaging and useful. All while converting visitors without them even knowing it. Unfortunately, creating effective copy can be one of the most difficult parts of content marketing. There’s a lot of ways your content marketing efforts can go astray.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of six of the most common content marketing mistakes people make when planning and creating their content.
1. Not Knowing Who You’re Talking To
Your content isn’t created in a vacuum; it’s part of your overall marketing efforts. Or at least it should be. That means you need to create a strategy for your content and plan it accordingly. Failing to do so will cause your content to fail before it even gets a chance.
There are two very important things to sort out when coming up with your content marketing strategy:
- Audience: How can you write good content if you don’t know who you’re talking to? The answer is you can’t. So your first step avoiding this content marketing mistake is coming up with buyer personas (also known as marketing personas). These personas are generalized avatars representing your customers’ wants, needs, goals and pain points. Take a look at your analytics data as well to make sure you’re not missing a segment, or that you’re way off base. Keeping this information in mind when planning and creating content will allow you to tailor messaging to emphasize features, benefits and use cases that will resonate with each persona.
- Content Lifecycle: The fact is, a lot of your content isn’t going to drive direct conversions on your website. And that’s ok! People seek out, consume and react to content differently at each stage of the buying process. This means that you should have content designed and optimized for each stage of the conversion process. A blog post targeting an informational keyword, for example, won’t bring the results you want if you’re using it as a lead magnet in a retargeting campaign. However, if you have articles designed specifically for each stage, your content marketing will be much more effective.
Creating a content strategy that incorporates buyer personas and the content lifecycle will make all stages of your content marketing more effective. It will allow you to find the right keywords for each user at each step of the funnel, and build trust and emotional ties more easily (steps six and seven in the content writing process).
2. Not Knowing Why
When you get in your car and start driving, you usually know what destination you’re driving to. That’s usually the whole reason you got in your car in the first place. Knowing your destination is how you know what turns to make and how you know if you’re on the right track to get there on time. Otherwise, you’re just burning gas.
The same goes for your content marketing. Publishing content without goals in mind is just burning gas.
Creating goals for content will allow you to:
- Determine what content is successful
- Gauge what content is not successful
- Refine your marketing personas and content lifecycle strategy
- Measure business benefits of your content
After you set your goals, you also need to create and measure the appropriate metrics. While they might seem similar, goals and metrics are two different concepts:
- Goals: The end result you want to achieve for your business. You goals can be somewhat generic, such as “increase awareness”, “grow audience”, “grow marketing lists”, “increase conversions” or “improve retention”. Note that goals will generally start of more generic, becoming more concrete as you move down the funnel. Avoid setting goals related to website vanity metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement and comments.
- Metrics: The actual data you will track and analyze to determine if you are achieving your goal. The big difference between goals and metrics is that metrics are specific, measurable, numbers with which to evaluate your efforts. Content marketing metrics can include website traffic, retargeting and/or email list size, click-through rate or number of return customers.
If you’re struggling to come up with a good metric for your goal, that’s a good sign your goal isn’t a very good goal. When creating your goals, I suggest using the SMART framework.
3. Overselling Yourself
One of the easiest content marketing mistakes to make is spending too much time talking about yourself, your products and/or your services. Content marketing is an excellent opportunity for you to build trust with your audience by guiding them through the decision-making process and establishing your business as an authority in your niche. Spending too much time talking about yourself, or pushing a hard sell to someone at the top of the funnel, is going send users running for the hills. And they won’t come back because they won’t see what you say as anything other than a sales pitch.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it often makes sense not to talk about your company or products at all, especially when creating content that targets top of funnel users and informational queries. Other times, it might make sense to mention a competitor or to discuss products or features you don’t offer.
Taking this approach will actually have multiple benefits for your marketing:
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