You have been working diligently on content marketing now for 4 months, 8 months, maybe even 12 months, 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 out there on a weekly if not a daily basis. In no particular order, here are five mistakes we see on a frequent basis:
No Written Content Strategy
It has been well documented (see graphic) that those organizations that have a written content marketing strategy, consistently outperform those who do not. It just makes sense. Marketing, let alone digital marketing is a complicated endeavor. You would not explore a country you have never been to without doing some research and using a map. Why wouldn’t you do the same for a brand new content marketing initiative? It does not have to be a 50-page document, but you must answer some fundamental questions and prepare a plan before diving in.
Not Knowing Who Your Customers Really Are
Personally, I am not an advocate of spending lots of time and resources developing multiple, detailed personas for most situations. Yes, a gigantic multinational 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 – and then writing specifically for that target audience.
Not Optimizing Your Content
Okay, this one really frustrates me. Most likely because I got my feet wet in this industry as an SEO. But come on people – you spend a lot of time researching, creating, editing, publishing and promoting your content. Why not take 10 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 provocative 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.
Not Sharing Your Content – Continuously
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 2 weeks later, republish a slightly edited version of the article there. All of that can be done in less than 10 minutes.
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 marketingand 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? It’s critical to get their buy-in right from the start. It’s also critical for you to address all these issues right from the start. And then keep reminding and communication with those same executives for months to come.
Find resources to help you get buy-in from HowToConvinceYourBoss.com
Your Single Biggest Content Marketing Mistake
Yes, I do remember the title of this post. So let’s get to it.
What do I think is the single biggest mistake most companies are making when it comes to content marketing? First, I must qualify my answer. 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?
How to Ensure an ROI from Content Marketing
I created the video below to help you understand exactly what I am talking about and as a tool for you to show your executive team. By the way, it’s another example of how easy it can be to create some content. I was frustrated (as you can tell by the tone of the article and this video), so I asked our creative team if they could just shoot a video of me in front of the TV in our break room so I could explain this whole concept visually. Voila it’s done. And it is being used in multiple ways.
Follow these steps and I can practically guarantee content marketing success (translation: ROI). Don’t follow them and you may be back in front of that executive team a year from now trying to justify this whole newfangled content marketing thing.
This post originally appeared on Vertical Measures
About the Author
Arnie Kuenn is the president of Vertical Measures, a search, social & content marketing company helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 20 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing available on Amazon.