Brands and businesses are aware of the importance of content marketing, but many are still not seeing the return they’d like. Here are five common mistakes you’re still making and how to fix them.
Thinking content marketing doesn’t apply to your business
Just because you aren’t a major national or international brand doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from content marketing. It’s also not just for retailers and entertainment brands. Any type and any size business should embrace this modern tactic, especially when marketing on social media.
As John Rampton shares in the An Introduction to Content Marketing, “Technologies like social media create a better opportunity to connect with an interested audience. This gives marketers the ability to share more about their product or service and really tell their story.” And it’s all about the story. That’s the first step in connecting and building relationships with consumers.
When businesses do this, they “open the door to communicate with an offer to purchase exactly when [consumers] are in ‘buy now’ mode.” Or return to your site when they are. But, if you haven’t established a relationship, they’ll likely be elsewhere or won’t think of you when that moment strikes.
Making assumptions about your audience
If you’re sharing a ton of content but not seeing an uptick in engagement or sales, you’re missing your mark. It’s crucial not to “go with your gut” when it comes to content marketing, especially on social media. Modern consumers aren’t swayed by sales pitches, or anything generic. They want to be treated like individuals.
Getting to know them at this level requires social listening software to divide your audience into micro-segments based on common interests. And it’s also important to dissect the depth of consumer emotions, because when you know what each audience segment is most passionate about, you can craft messaging targeted directly at those specific feelings. The more personally, passionately targeted your content, the better the results. Make it matter, or don’t waste your time.
Forgetting about SEO
Google assigns value to websites based on their ability to meet the demands of search queries. So content must be intentional and organized by theme, topic or keywords to make it easy for search engines to recognize where you’re going, or it won’t be returning your jumbled mishmash in search.
Rampton advises, “If you know that a certain keyword draws a lot of traffic to your site, then you should focus your efforts on creating more content around that term. This will help you reinforce your relevance and boost your search ranking for that particular term. This should hopefully lead to more traffic and monetization opportunities for your efforts.”
If you don’t understand search engine optimization, it’s time to read up.
Thinking you have to do it alone
Keeping fresh content coming is challenging and time-consuming under the best of circumstances. Smaller businesses and solopreneurs might find it difficult to maintain a consistent presence–but you don’t have to be the only contributor.
There are countless guest bloggers looking for opportunities to expand their online presence by contributing to your blog. Post guest contributor guidelines on your website, and actively promote any writers who do provide content, and you’ll have writers clamoring to be featured.
And don’t forget about user-generated content. According to Hubspot, “Consumers are more interested in hearing the views of their peers than reading cleverly written sales messages.” So getting them involved saves you some time while also increasing content efficacy.
Not counting video as content
It’s not just text-based content that matters. Video is exploding online, so businesses and brands should take advantage of it. Marketing Insider Group reports, “Last year, online video accounted for 64 percent of all consumer internet traffic, and this number is expected to rise to 69 percent by 2017 and 79 percent by 2018.”
Video content also tends to resonate more with social consumers. As Rampton points out, “It involves more work and experience, and as a result, there’s noticeably less competition than in the blogosphere. Thus, creating your own visual content is a great way to separate yourself from your competitors.”
And the additional work is manageable–especially as social platforms continue to make video content easy to include. Smart marketers are also making good use of live streaming, which is taking video to yet another level–one where being a little less polished is okay.
Although it’s still important to follow best practices with regard to adequate lighting, background noise, appearance and scripting, less “produced”–i.e., more “human”–videos are cropping up all the time, and racking up views and shares. Add some video to your content strategy and watch engagement soar.
Embrace content and thrive: There’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to content marketing, but none of it is overly technical or challenging, no matter how big or small your business is. Avoiding these common mistakes will make a difference, as will consulting resources that offer up everything you could ever need to know. There’s no reason not to embrace this key strategy and apply it well. Your bottom line will thank you–and so will consumers.
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