Content marketing is an effective strategy for building a strong online presence. In fact, it is cost-effective too.
As per Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound and generates 3x the leads.
With a customer-centric content strategy, you can drive great marketing results. The formula to devising better content strategies lies in creating content which is useful and also unique.
Here are 5 pitfalls to avoid when building your content marketing strategy:
1. Serving content that doesn’t add value
If you are saying the same things as everyone else, you are not providing any unique value to your readers. And when that happens, it is normal for your audience to not feel enticed by the content you are creating.
In fact, with poor content, it becomes difficult to find an audience at all.
A common mistake committed by brands while creating content is that they focus on describing the problem when the audience is actually looking for a solution.
So the key is to introduce the pain-points while answering the “How-to” part.
While it is great to tell your audience about the various technical issues which are making them lose their website traffic, it is much more relevant when accompanied with a guide on resolving these issues.
Avoid this major pitfall by writing content which goes beyond the problems and offers solutions. Also, including facts which are backed by primary research add a unique value to your content.
2. Creating generation irrelevant content which doesn’t engage your audience
The first step of any marketing strategy involves understanding your target audience. Because when you talk to a specific demographic, you need to engage with them in a tone they find most comfortable and with a content format which they find most relevant.
As per a survey done by Fractl and Buzzstream, trends reveal that there are as many similarities as there are differences in the way the different generations consume content online.
Most consumed content across all generations is the same: blog posts.
Crisp content is preferred over long-form content by everyone.
While case studies are amongst the top 5 most consumed content formats for Generation X, for millennials, this position is taken by audiobooks and for baby boomers, by reviews.
Additionally, the least preferred content forms are white papers, slideshares and flipbooks.
So, while creating a content plan for your business, do keep in mind what appeals to your audience and what doesn’t make sense to them at all.
Engagement is one of the most crucial factors in making your content marketing successful. So focus on delivering formats which are preferred by the target generation.
3. Not optimizing content for SEO
As per Tech Client, websites with blog content have 434% more search engine indexed pages as compared to those that don’t publish.
This clearly indicates that content creation brings in great SEO results. But if your content isn’t optimized for SEO, it won’t give you good visibility.
Thinking that content SEO optimization is just about stuffing keywords is another pitfall that lands you far away from the first few search results.
Here are a few tricks to ensure that your content is SEO friendly:
- Do an exhaustive fact checking. If you are not using your own data and relying on secondary research, it is crucial to verify the source.
- Eliminate any technical issues arising from content. Too many visual elements might result in slow page loading time which hampers a good experience.
- Focus on minimising content duplicacy.
- When using images on your website, don’t forget to fill in the title, description and alt text sections.
- The keywords should naturally fit in the content and not look forced.
Acquiring visibility through content needs to go through an SEO optimization process. So include relevant keywords in textual content, optimize the visuals for faster loading times and create error free posts.
4. Using your content to only sell
Content strategy focussed only on promoting or advertising your business is bound to fail because as soon as your readers sense “self-promotion”, their automatic response is to block it out.
The goal should be to deliver value in all interactions without stressing too much on promotion.
A 2017 survey by Havas Group found that 60% of all content that brands create is ineffective.
Consumers tend to block out content which is sales-y but they respond positively to content that educates.
Tell them what they want to know from you instead of telling what you want them to do. Such techniques create loyal customers because you are delivering something that is first in their interest and then yours. It’s a win-win.
Keep your content and advertising strategies separate from each other because incorporating a promotional tone in content can backfire. Don’t sell, educate.
5. Sticking to one kind of content format
“He had Content is king written on his wall but his blog was filled with text-only articles.”
A content strategy cannot rely entirely on one content format. Additionally, because of the presence of so many channels where you can put your content, the need to experiment with formats has risen.
While Facebook may demand a Live video for visibility, Pinterest may prefer the infographic route.
So creating only one kind of content restricts you from utilising the power of different social channels.
A good solution to bring variety is to repurpose your blog posts by turning them into infographics or videos; create shareable and more engaging stuff.
Variation in content is crucial to keeping your audience engaged on different channels. Additionally, since visual content is dominating the online landscape, it makes sense to invest in videos, infographics, GIFs to talk to a diverse audience.
Content is powerful but it can produce evergreen results; people will come back to read it if it adds value to them. Additionally, content that answers common questions, remains relevant long after it is published.
The key to creating a good marketing strategy lies in focussing on quality but at the same time, not compromising on quantity because consistency plays an important role in bringing regular traffic.
Also, the purpose of content creation should never be to advertise. Content should always focus on consumer education because any advertising attempt will project you in a negative light.
So before you sit down to plan your content, remember that useful content is a great thing, maybe the best of things. And a great thing never dies.