How to diagnose and cure ten major content marketing problems. Are your content marketing efforts in good health? Most mistakes people make with content marketing are totally avoidable. Let’s look at how to avoid the most common problems.
Symptom 1: No Steering Wheel, No Focus
Using content marketing without a strategy is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel – you will get nowhere fast. If you’re not sure who you’re creating content for and what they need to get from it, then you’re definitely suffering from this content marketing disease.
The Cure: Fix it by thinking upfront about:
— who your main customers are / who you want the to be.
— what their goals are when they read your content
— how the content can position your brand, company and services in the marketplace.
Figure this out and you will know what your message is and where to best publish content for improved awareness, leads and sales.
Symptom 2: No Involvement from upstairs
Your strategy must include buy-in from the highest levels in the organization. If the Director’s Suite isn’t invested in helping the marketing department by providing brand perspective on content, then customers won’t get the kind of engagement with your company they really want.
The Cure: Your content marketing strategy will work best when there’s tight integration between what’s happening inside the company and what you’re sharing with your audience. That applies to everything from news of new products and services to highlight your authority through branded content to show the fun side with memes and social media updates.
Symptom 3: Quality Sacrificed to Speed
On social media, the early bird catches people’s attention, which is why companies fall over themselves to respond quickly to events, issues, and trends. That has its own problems. Many of the worst social media content fails happen because people didn’t take an extra five minutes to see how what they planned to share might be interpreted.
The Cure: Take your time. If you make a mistake on the quality and effectiveness of content, it will haunt you for a long, long time—nothing really dies on the web. However, that can work for you. Even if you’re not the first to respond to a trend, you can still grab attention with a high-quality response.
Symptom 4: Irrelevant or Inauthentic – or Both!
The current reality of content marketing is that it’s not about you; it’s about the people you are trying to connect with. Being relevant here is not always about being on-trend but about figuring out what interests your target audience.
The Cure: Ways to find this out include:
— using analytics to see what they are looking at on your site and what’s being shared socially.
— checking out your competitors’ successful content to see how they are meeting consumers’ needs.
— being authentic and personal. Google’s most recent research on the current generation of web consumers advises: “Giving them content that matches their definition of quality has become their expectation, not a nice to have.”
Symptom 5: It’s Too Branded
Let’s get one thing straight: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with putting your company’s name and branding on the content you create. But it’s not the only way to fly. Some of the greatest recent content marketing successes have been with lightly branded or non-branded content.
The research shows that millennials (you’ll have more and more of those in your target audience) have been conditioned to ignore anything that looks like an ad. So, if they’re ignoring you, over-branding or over-promotion could be the cause.
The Cure: Concentrate on delivering useful, relevant content and keep branding in the background to avoid this content marketing fail.
Symptom 6: You’re Stuck on Old-Style SEO
You’d be amazed at the number of people who still think content marketing should be heavily keyword-based and focused on links (wrong!) I’m not knocking SEO for content discovery (on the contrary), but it’s clear that a good content strategy has to include content to help people find you and keep them there.
The Cure: Never underestimate the value of creating thought leadership articles and long-form, interactive content to highlight your value to your target audience.
Symptom 7: You’re Hung Up on Timing
Everywhere you look, people are trying to figure out when they should post their content. But, social timing doesn’t matter as much as quality. Sure, it’s good to make sure you hit the major time zones your audience is in, but that’s not the most important aspect of content marketing.
The Cure: If you create good content regularly and bring it to the attention of those who are likely to reshare, that’s a good start.
Symptom 8: You’re Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Are you trying to create something new for every channel, every day, every couple of hours? That’s a one-way ticket to a nervous breakdown. It’s impossible to market effectively with content if you’re trying to be everywhere.
The Cure: It’s far better to invest in creating some excellent pieces of content, then repurpose them into other formats. Extracting quotes to make quote graphics, sharing key points via social media, and creating presentations, podcasts, and ebooks are all easy ways to make your content work twice as hard (so you don’t have to.
Symptom 9: Missing CTAs
What do you want people to do when they read, watch, or listen to your content? Have you told them? If you don’t, then don’t be surprised when all that great content achieves nothing.
The Cure: Direct people to next steps with a call to action to make your content marketing create higher ROI and more opportunity.
Symptom 10. Missing the Glaringly Obvious
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