Online marketing is key for any business in 2020. A strong digital marketing strategy can help you to grow your customer base, drive more sales, and make your business more profitable.
Content is a big part of any digital marketing strategy, from Facebook and other social media content to web content, videos and more. Content can make or break your digital marketing strategy, so it is critical that you approach content in an effective, comprehensive way.
This is where your content strategy comes in. If you have some kind of formal content strategy already, this is a great start. However, there are certain common mistakes that businesses make in their content strategy, that at best can make it less profitable than it could be, and at worse have negative impacts on their business.
Here are the 6 things that may be missing from your content strategy, and what to do about them.
What is Content Marketing and Why is Important?
Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses content – be it blogs, graphics, videos, podcasts, or something else – to build a relationship with your audience and strengthen your brand. It works by providing consistent, reliable and (most importantly) valuable content to your audience that they appreciate, therefore establishing your expertise, conveying your brand values, and building trust and rapport. All of this translates into more customers, more sales, and helps to build your business.
Anyone can build a free website these days, but how is the quality of the content on that site? You may be posting regularly on social media, but is the content you post working for you to support your business goals? Just 42% of B2B marketer say they are effective in content marketing. Content marketing can deliver many rewards for businesses, but to reap these benefits it must be executed well.
Common Content Marketing Strategy Mistakes
In recent years, businesses and marketers have recognised the importance of content marketing: 90% of organisations use content as part of their marketing strategy. However, as the use of this strategy has spread, so have poor quality content and ill-advised tactics. There are a number of common mistakes that businesses make in their content marketing strategies. Identifying these shortfalls can help you to strengthen your efforts and reap the benefits that content marketing can offer.
1. Not Posting Relevant Content
You’re probably already aware that it’s critical to post quality content. This is one of the most common tips floating around when it comes to content marketing, and yes this is important. However, even more important is that your content is not just high-quality, but also highly relevant to your audience.
In order for your content marketing strategy to be effective, it must provide real value to your audience. And in order to provide value, it needs to be highly relevant to them. Relevant content is that which is geared towards your target customers, and answers questions they have or, ideally, solves their problems. If you can solve their problems through your content, this shows you can solve their problems with your products too!
In order to provide relevant content, it is essential that you know your target audience in and out. Build an audience profile that clearly identifies your target audience and defines their needs, habits and behaviours. Remember also that your target audience may be different to your customer base: it could represent only a part of your customer base that is particularly susceptible to content, or a new group of customers that you wish to target.
2. Not Using the Right Social Media Platforms (and Not Understanding the Difference)
Pretty much everyone knows the value of social media in digital marketing these days. However, many businesses tend to lump social media and social media content all together, as if it is all the same. There are many different social media platforms, each presenting their own opportunities, and the content for each should be handled differently. Simply posting the same content across all platforms is likely to be ineffective, and could even hurt your brand in the long run.
For example, Facebook, as well as being one of the most popular social media platforms with the most traffic, is also focused on news and entertainment. You should therefore focus your Facebook content around news, updates and light-hearted items. Video is also increasingly effective on Facebook, so use as much video content as possible.
On the other hand, Instagram is a very visual platform: stunning pictures, interesting graphics and simple quotes perform the best. Hashtags are also important on Instagram for reaching new audiences. Pinterest is similar but without the hashtags, being a purely visual medium. Twitter, on the other hand, is heavily news-based, and is great for curated news and retweets, while LinkedIn is best suited to industry articles, data, and professional updates.
3. Making Content Marketing a One-Way Street
One of the most common mistakes brands make when it comes to content marketing is seeing content as something they send out, rather than a two-way conversation. Remember that content marketing is all about building relationships with your audience. And what is the basis for a good relationship after all, if it is not two-way communication and mutual understanding.
Make your content as interactive as possible, by asking your audience questions, or for comments an feedback. This will not only strengthen your content marketing strategy and make it more effective, it will also provide you with valuable insights that you can use to improve the way your business operates.
When gathering data, you need to dig deep into who your audience is and what makes them tick. This is the only way you can make sure you content is truly valuable to them. Use their responses to build a comprehensive profile of your audience. Of course, your audience will be diverse and it may not be possible to suit everyone, but try to satisfy the majority (say 80%) of your audience.
4. Focusing too Much on Written Content
Blogs and other written content are an important type of content and should be a major part of (at least most) content marketing strategies. However, focusing too much on words and ignoring other type of content can be a big mistake.
There are so many other types of content out there, each playing their own role, and each being very valuable in reaching your content marketing goals. Video, in particular, has proven to be very effective in recent years. There are many other types of content too, from memes and infographics, to podcasts and ebooks.
An effective and diverse content marketing strategy is one that is diverse, drawing on a range of different types of content. It should also be noted that not all types of content work well for all kinds of businesses, and you should work out which content works best for you. You can do this by trying various types of content, and seeing which performs best, in terms of engagement, leads generated, and so on.
5. Not Using Calls to Action
Yes, content marketing is not the same as advertising. It is not about overtly pushing products or chasing sales. However, it is still essentially about ultimately converting your audience into customers. Some businesses forget this, and simply present the content without effectively leveraging it to drive sales and meet other business goals.
There should be at least one call to action (CTA) attached to every piece of content. This is an important part of your sales funnel: you can’t make the horse drink, but leading it to the water certainly helps! In order to make the most out of your content, include CTAs such as linking to product listings, or inviting readers to get a free quote or book a consultation.
6. Not Having a Consistent Brand Message
This is a mistake that many businesses make when it comes to marketing in general, and it is certainly true in terms of content marketing. Brand messaging show underlie everything you do, in order to show your audience who you are and what you represent. Don’t get so caught up in creating great content that you forget to include your brand message.
If you are not sure what your brand message is, or how to communicate it to your followers, start with your ‘why’. Why do you do what you do? How does this relate to and benefit your audience? By communicating this through your content you will be strongly conveying your brand message.
It is also important that this brand message is important: the message should come across in every piece of content you produce. This doesn’t mean that the content needs to focus on that message, nor does the message need to be particularly overt. Rather, your brand values and mission (your “why”) should underlie all of your content, as part of a consistent brand message.